The religious right-wing has a dream: one day, they’ll be able to use their Bible as a reference in a variety of science fields, from astronomy to biology to geology.
It’s a shame this dream will never, ever line up with reality, but just as ignorance didn’t stop the Indiana General Assembly in 1897 with their infamous Pi Bill, it won’t stop Idaho state senator, Sheryl Nuxoll, who introduced a bill that allows teachers to do just that.
“Tool in their tool box”
“The Holy Spirit’s intention is to teach us how to go to Heaven, and not how the heavens go.”
This sentence was written by Galileo in a 1615 letter to Madame Christine of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany. At the time, Galileo was not yet faced with the long sentence of home imprisonment for daring to declare that the pagan Ptolemy was wrong and the Earth did revolve around the sun — that would come later. The intention here is clear, though; the Bible and the Holy Spirit have no intention of telling us how physics work, only how metaphysics work.
This is how you properly cite the Bible in a science document — i.e., you don’t, because that’s not what the document is for.
But nobody told that to the Senate “Education” Committee in Idaho, who gave the preliminary approval to a measure that would allow teachers to use the Bible for “reference purposes” in classes on astronomy, biology, and geology.
The brain behind this bill? State senator Sheryl Nuxoll, the woman who once compared the Affordable Care Act to the Holocaust.
It’s to clarify and make sure teachers know their rights,” Nuxoll said. “A lot of teachers are scared to use the Bible.
Teachers in math and science classes don’t need to use the Bible. And while the bill doesn’t require students to obey the Bible if they or their parents object, it doesn’t make the same exceptions for other religious texts, because Nuxoll insisted the Bible was “embedded” in American culture.
The measure resembles another measure adopted last year by the state’s Republican Party, who argued the Bible should be another “tool in their tool box.”
I can cite the Bible for scientific purposes, but I get the inkling that people like Nuxoll won’t like the results.
For instance, Psalms 93:1 —
The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved.
And Psalms 96:10 —
Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
Imply the world does not move and that the sun and stars orbit around the Earth. I opened with a quote from Galileo for a reason: while Galileo wasn’t the force who initially usurped the Ptolemaic view of the world — that honor goes to Copernicus — he is the face of heliocentrism and father of modern science.
You can cite the Bible all you want to. It doesn’t change that the pagan Ptolemy is wrong and the Christian Galileo is right, even though the Bible itself claims otherwise, so unless you’re proving it wrong, what purpose does the Bible serve in a science classroom?
Feature image via KTVB