Your support for Bill Nye's campaign against teaching creationism as science ("Core Belief," Sept. 27 editorial) is very commendable. We can't lose sight of the fact that elevating the factual stature of creationism is more than flawed science. It is intellectual arrogance that is insular and narrow-minded.
Today's Christian creationist mythology is pernicious by its sheer egocentricity. Man cavorted with dinosaurs and Earth was created 10,000 years ago? That would make it around the time of the birth of ancient civilizations in the Fertile Crescent along the western Mediterranean. I wonder how the creationists can explain the timeline here. Once you subvert education with religion, you can make any manner of idiotic claims. As American creationists jump history, I can imagine it is only a small leap to teach that God created man and then begat Columbus and breathed into him directions to America and, behold, the shining city on the hill.
Children would grow up denied the wondrous story of Columbus' discovery of the New World using astronomical observations, navigational aids and maps he obtained from Arab scientists and mariners. Beginning with Aristotle's demonstration in the fourth century B.C.E. that the world was round, the foundations of the European Age of Discovery are to be found in Greek and Arab scientific literature along the coast of Asia Minor, through Anatolia, in Alexandria, and west across the Mediterranean to the lands of the Moors in Cordoba, now modern Spain. This knowledge, which reached Europe in the 12th century, inspired Columbus to sail west to reach Asia.
That is hardly the history the religious right wants to tell. Defenders of "American exceptionalism," they refuse a narrative that credits achievements accomplished by any other than Christians. This is evident in their spurious claims that America was founded as a Christian nation.
Left unchallenged, they would erase from our classrooms the exciting stories of centuries of important, colorful history.