Re: Teaching (Was: Re: Final Textbook Insert)

Tom Pearson (
Wed, 26 Nov 1997 09:03:29 -0600 (CST)

At 08:26 AM 11/26/97 -0500, George Murphy wrote offering a proposal,
including the following suggestion:

> 2) Have a course (perhaps required for anyone who takes the
>preceding biology class) called something like "Religious Beliefs about
>Creation" - or perhaps do this as part of a broader course teaching
>_about_ religion.


> 9) The nature of the course would be made very clear at the
>beginning & throughout: It teachs about religious beliefs and their
>implications, but does not teaching a particular religion, or even
>general "belief in God", as the true religion. Students would be
>allowed to express their own beliefs on these issues in appropriately
>civil ways.
> I can see no reason why such an approach would run afoul of the
>law. It seems to me a sensible approach in today's American society.
>Now all someone has to do is implement it!


There is a proposal currently before our university curriculum
committee to establish a course tentatively entitled "Origins," to be taught
periodically (every 2-3 years) as a special topics course within our
philosophy department. This course would cover the same general territory
you outline. Its approval is not imminent -- it still has to be blessed up
the line through the system -- but the life science and earth science
faculty here are, for the most part, supportive (as in, "Thank goodness, we
can tell the students to go and talk to someone else about this stuff"). If
and when this course is sanctioned, I (or whoever else winds up teaching it)
will need all the help I can get.

Tom Pearson

Thomas D. Pearson
Department of History & Philosophy
The University of Texas-Pan American
Edinburg, Texas