High Stakes Creationist Testing

Another day, another creationism bill in Alabama. So far, so snooze. But did you know—I didn’t—that some of today’s creationism bills and laws include sections on how to grade creationist test answers? And because they do, it makes no sense to me why creationists would support these bills.get fuzzy evolution

Here’s what we know: Creationism watchdog National Center for Science Education recently posted the news from Alabama. A new bill would allow teachers to teach both creationism and evolution as science.

Here’s the kicker: Students are allowed to choose either creationism or mainstream science. Whatever they choose, they can get credit on tests as long as their answers match what the teacher taught them.

Apparently—also news to me but not to the folks at NCSE—Kentucky has long had a similar creationism law on the books. Here’s the Kentucky language:

For those students receiving such instruction, and who accept the Bible theory of creation, credit shall be permitted on any examination in which adherence to such theory is propounded, provided the response is correct according to the instruction received.

Okay, now call me silly, but doesn’t this sort of law present a terrible dilemma for creationists? I understand why the evolution mavens at NCSE don’t like it, but I am surprised that Kentucky’s or Alabama’s creationists do.

After all, conservative evangelicals celebrated when SCOTUS agreed to ban bland, ecumenical school prayers in 1962, as I demonstrated in this academic article. They loved the idea of school prayer, of course, but they hated the idea that their children would be praying the wrong prayer in public school.

These laws seem to push the same buttons. Why would creationists fight for laws that hem them in theologically? Because creationism is so ferociously controversial, that is, how could creationists give the thumbs up to a law that tells children one form of creationist thinking?

As SAGLRROILYGTH are well aware, nothing peeves young-earth creationist impresario Ken Ham more than his rival creationists. How can Alabama’s creationists decide WHICH creationism schools should teach? How can creationists smile if their children come home from school mouthing different creationist visions from those of their church?

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