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← Creationism raised as Ont. election issue

Creationism raised as Ont. election issue - Comments

fatcitymax's Avatar Comment 1 by fatcitymax

"Publicly-funded religious schools..." What the heck is going on in Canada? I thought they were smarter than their southern neighbor.

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 15:09:00 UTC | #64845

jimbob's Avatar Comment 2 by jimbob

Thank you Jefferson and Madison for sparing us this nonsense!

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 15:09:00 UTC | #64846

Breadbin's Avatar Comment 3 by Breadbin

Horrifying. I live in Ontario and although I'm not a Canadian citizen and hence can't vote, I know for a fact my wife will definitely be voting against the "Progressive" Conservatives. She would have even without reading this story but now we'll be motivated to show it to everyone we can between now and Oct 10th.

Incidentally we were just talking about the private faith-based boarding school a few hundred yards from us which recently closed down. The official story was that it went bankrupt but there have since been allegations in the local paper of serious abuse by teachers and staff in the 70s and 80s.$rec=23597

"Among the behaviour described in the Globe articles are so-called "light sessions" where students would be roused from sleep and taken to a room where a bright light was shined in their faces as unseen people accused them of being sinners."

Truly shameful things done in the name of religion. The sad thing is I wasn't in the least bit surprised.

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 15:16:00 UTC | #64848

Johnny O's Avatar Comment 4 by Johnny O

"They teach evolution in the Ontario curriculum, but they also could teach the fact to the children that there are other theories that people have out there that are part of some Christian beliefs

Only Christian beliefs? Surely if this is being done in the name of a varied education we should bring in all creation theories?
But Education Minister Kathleen Wynne – who is running against Mr. Tory for her Toronto seat – said teaching creationism alongside evolution would be a violation of the curriculum.
Briliiantly put. We have to hope that she gets in and by a massive majority to so the people of Ontario show these people that they have no foothold there.

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 15:21:00 UTC | #64850

JSW's Avatar Comment 5 by JSW

Tory is backpedaling on this statement now.

A bit of a relief, but still not enough to keep me from voting Liberal.

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 17:41:00 UTC | #64857

Linda's Avatar Comment 6 by Linda

The Green Party advocates eliminating the Roman Catholic School Board and thereby having a single public education system that is free of religious superstition. That would move would offer a huge tax saving and maybe it would be possible to reduce tuition fees for higher education. If only a candidate would run in my riding.

John Tory claims to mis-speak and be misunderstood. Haven't we had enough trouble caused in the world by GW Bush another conservative who also can't make a public statement without coming across as either stupid or dangerous?

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 17:50:00 UTC | #64859

Shrunk's Avatar Comment 7 by Shrunk

"Publicly-funded religious schools..." What the heck is going on in Canada? I thought they were smarter than their southern neighbor.

The public funding of Catholic schools in Canada is largely a historic anachronism. It arose in response to fears of the (predominately Catholic)French minority, at the time of Confederation, that their culture would be lost amidst the English majority. To address these fears, the establishment of separate Protestant and Catholic school systems was enshrined in the British North America Act, the de facto Canadian constitution at the time. The Protestant system eventually evolved into the secular main public system, but the Catholic system has survived, at least in Ontario.

As it happens, opinion polls generally show the public favours scrapping the Catholic system, if only because of the inefficiency of funding two separate systems. However, to date it has been too hot a potato for politicians to handle. Ironically, by putting the issue on the table, Tory may actually spur the elimination of publicly funded religious schools.

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 17:55:00 UTC | #64860

Crazymalc's Avatar Comment 8 by Crazymalc

This further emphasises to me why Dan Dennett is onto such a winning idea of compulsory religious education.

In "Religion Class" (not "Faith Class") every aspect of every religion is taught. These would get more and more indepth as the kids age. Start with basic tennants of Christianity, Judaism et. all. This would demisifty each of the religions, and allow the kids to see the outrageous claims each of them make. I think the kids would come to the conclusion that all religions are just as absurd and we're better off without them.

And let's obviously not teach religion in Science classrooms.

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 18:19:00 UTC | #64864

neander's Avatar Comment 9 by neander

Yes, Daniel Dennet's idea has merit. Otherwise, its wellcome to the dark ages.
Is there a possability that if Tory's idea goes though, that subsequent governemats could control the private schools and actually remove their religious content?

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 19:08:00 UTC | #64875

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 10 by Chrysippus_Maximus

I agree with Crazymalc (that is to say, I agree with Dennett).

I am also a resident of Ontario and I went to a Catholic highschool AS AN ATHEIST.

They didn't require that I be Catholic (I think I was able to get in because my mother is a lapsed Catholic... LOL).

In any case, I've never been Catholic, but I got a better education at an Ontario Catholic highschool than I would have at the public school I was supposed to go to.

With the exception of random MANDATORY masses (which I eventually managed to figure out how to skip out on, after going to a few as an impartial observer)... their teachers tended to be far better than the public school counterparts.

And interestingly enough, my religion teachers sort of "under-the-table" told us most of what the Vatican says is B.S.

Grade 11, we had the choice to take WORLD RELIGION. Which many people did, including myself.

And in Grade 12, we got the choice of religion OR PHILOSOPHY (yes, it had a slightly CATHOLIC bent to it... but by no means did we skimp on the LOGIC or the existentialists, or the various philosophy of religion and ethical debates concerning religion... of which I was often the lone bastion of rationality (which made it all the more interesting). Oh, and the public schools often don't even offer philosophy (THEY DAMNED WELL SHOULD).

However, clearly these discrepancies in standards are not a result of Catholicism inculcating academics...

I think it just happens to be a contingent fact in Ontario.

In any case, it is HIGHLY unlikely that the publicly funded (and yes, highly anachronistic) Catholic school system in Ontario would EVER be abolished... there are far too many Catholics in Ontario (especially outside of the GTA) for that to happen.

So the only way to have EQUALITY is to allow public funding for all PUBLICLY WANTED religiously inclined schools.

BUT, I think many many many caveats should be added...

It is already FAIRLY safe, since the Catholic schools are required to teach the same EXACT curriculum... they just substitute MANDATORY gym class in grade 9 for mandatory religion class.

And like I said, science and philosophy-wise, my school was far far far better than any public school. Much as I admit that to my own chagrin.

So, I think Dennett is absolutely right. Compulsory WORLD religion and religious history/literature classes would be a GREAT thing to institute.

Taught as a history or literature class, not an indoctrination.

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 19:14:00 UTC | #64877

neander's Avatar Comment 11 by neander

Spinoza, I also got a very good, liberal education in a religious school (as an atheist). But was that a sign of the times? Given the current state of religious evangelism and the present pope we must ask if those schools will stay as you remember. Leaving them alone is really a ticking bomb!

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 19:30:00 UTC | #64879

Cerberus's Avatar Comment 12 by Cerberus

It would seem the catholic school we had in Québec were quite different. In primary school (or elementary if you prefer), everyone had 1 hour a week of religion (catholic of course). Religion was the default choice but we could choose to have "moral" taugh instead of religion (yes, taht was the actual name of the class). Around 10% of the school had "moral" only. We never had to go to mass or anything either.

In secondary school, we had 2-3 hours or religion or moral again, except this time, half the school chose moral now (or rather, their parents let them).

Now, however, faith school in Québec have all been pretty much abolished and now children have (or will have) classes on the major religions in the world, so it's kinda like a class on the history of religion. I guess we now have what Dennett is proposing.

Also, every school has to follow the government approve curriculum, which means you have to teach evolution, if you don't, the school will be closed down.

Thu, 06 Sep 2007 20:07:00 UTC | #64881

NMcC's Avatar Comment 13 by NMcC

Leaving aside the serious element of this article, I'm somewhat perturbed that there's a Conservative politician in Canada named 'Mr Tory'.

What do you call the headmaster of the local faith school? 'Mr Dopey?'

What do you call Mr Tory's son? 'Tory Boy?' - Harry Enfield, eat your heart out!

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 02:10:00 UTC | #64922

Shrunk's Avatar Comment 14 by Shrunk

Leaving aside the serious element of this article, I'm somewhat perturbed that there's a Conservative politician in Canada named 'Mr Tory'.

It is an ironic coincidence. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Toronto a few years ago, and I'm convinced that his surname cost him votes, if only on a subconscious level, in this largely left-leaning city.

A (big C) Conservative in Canada is not quite the same thing as a conservative in the USA, and Tory is generally a moderate on social issues. His statement on creationism seems out of character. However, there are always social conservatives within his party who pull some weight in policy making.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 03:05:00 UTC | #64942

tangerine_tree's Avatar Comment 15 by tangerine_tree

I also agree that its a good idea for schools to teach, or rather make known, all the worlds religion.
In my 10 yr old sons school they get have a class called "Religious and Moral Education" - which I object to as I do not see the link.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 03:09:00 UTC | #64944

CJ22's Avatar Comment 16 by CJ22

The leader of the conservatives is called Mr. "Tory"?? Hahah.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 03:33:00 UTC | #64949

Mat's Avatar Comment 17 by Mat

No, no, no, the politicians have got it all wrong AGAIN!

"At the moment, only Roman Catholic schools get tax dollars, while other faith-based schools are left out of the funding loop."

ALL faith-based schools should be cut out of the funding loop, for [insert-deity-of-choice]'s sake!

Anyway, teach religion, by all means. It's interesting stuff. Important stuff, too. It's just that the claims that all religions make can simply not be shown to be "true." So you shouldn't teach it in science classes. Full stop.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 03:54:00 UTC | #64951

ThomasB's Avatar Comment 18 by ThomasB

John Tory's statement that "It's still called the theory of evolution," echoes George W. Bush's faith-based assertion that the "jury is out" on the merits of the subject.

It should be noted that John Tory's scientific literacy was not shaped by the publicly funded school system.

Perhaps a failing grade should be given to his science teachers at UTS, a private school in Toronto.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 06:55:00 UTC | #65002

mdowe's Avatar Comment 19 by mdowe

I'd worry more, but haven't the Progressive-Conservatives been politically extinct in Canada since the 1980's?? Is there any chance they will win anything, anywhere? Somehow I doubt it ... it sounds like they have sunk to new levels of desperation. Anybody from Ontario reading this forum? (Silly me, looks like there are several Ontarians!)

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 09:15:00 UTC | #65045

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 20 by Chrysippus_Maximus

@ Ultraviolet G:

Who used the word "tenant"?

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 10:04:00 UTC | #65053

SRWB's Avatar Comment 21 by SRWB

The PC party is alive and well, at the provincial level across Canada. The federal PC party disappeared into what is now the Conservative party (at that level).

This latest stunt is the sort of nonsense that pisses me off. While Tory has opened a can of worms, the current premier, McGuinty, a devout Catholic, has only selfish reasons for maintaining the status quo. The only sensible solution is to get rid of all separate school funding and put all education under one umbrella. Any sect wishing "religious" education should pay out of pocket, preferably not mine!

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 10:18:00 UTC | #65056

atheist_peace's Avatar Comment 22 by atheist_peace

"What the heck is going on in Canada? I thought they were smarter than their southern neighbor."

In this case, it is only in Ontario. Other provinces, like British Columbia, don't have this problem.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 11:53:00 UTC | #65075

atheist_peace's Avatar Comment 23 by atheist_peace

Also, please check out One School System Network, a group who is against the segregated school system.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 11:57:00 UTC | #65076

Eric Blair's Avatar Comment 24 by Eric Blair

As anyone who has lived in Ontario can tell you, the contradiction between public money going to separate schools but not other faith-based schools is a real can of worms but sooner or later it has to be dealt with -- but probably later. The best solution is to merge the RC system with the public system but that won't be a slam-dunk.

Separate schools in Ontario (and the former "Protestant" schools in Quebec) were legally protected as minority institutions (French and English, respectively) in our founding British North America Act in 1867. That act was superseded by our own constitution in 1982 but no one has dared apply logic to the situation in Ontario. (The nominally Protestant system in Quebec was transformed into an English system in the 1980s that includes Catholics alongside everyone else.)

One problem is the separate system in Ontario no longer represents just French people (in fact, very few French-Canadians) and is almost as big as the public system. It has its own tax base (taxpayers choose which system they want to pay school taxes to), along with govt grants, and it represents millions of dollars in capital and human investment.

Many people see it as better academically than the public system, so it attracts non-RCs. However, it still retains elements of RC instruction and "values" to the extent that some schools will not hire non-RC teachers (despite laws against such discrimination).

I don't think the people of Ontario want to fund other faith-based schools -- which is why Tory is going against the grain here -- but they don't want to take on the task of "dis-establishing" the separate system, either. They'll just let this issue die, and Tory and his party with it.


Fri, 07 Sep 2007 14:10:00 UTC | #65096

dancingthemantaray's Avatar Comment 25 by dancingthemantaray

Is anyone else loving the fact that the conservative mp is called mr Tory?

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 15:08:00 UTC | #65116

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 26 by aquilacane

I'm living in Ontario, and as pissed as I am about tax dollars going to Catholic education, there is no chance in reality that I will see another cent of my tax dollars going to promote more dogmatic insanity.

I just wrote John Tory a very irritated letter outlining my objections. The 400 million he proposes to use to fund this program could put religious theory classes in every public school, and leave the private schools to raise their own money, as private schools should. I wonder if Tory would include a completely Atheist based private school among the institutions to recieve cash.

I doubt it.

Fri, 07 Sep 2007 15:51:00 UTC | #65127

Nefrubyr's Avatar Comment 27 by Nefrubyr

21. Comment #68508 by Spinoza

Who used the word "tenant"?

Actually it was spelled "tennant". But I'm sure the current star of Doctor Who has even less to do with this discussion.

Sat, 08 Sep 2007 01:20:00 UTC | #65190

hakija's Avatar Comment 28 by hakija

The tradition of publicly funded parochial schools must have its origin in the established Church of England. Thank goodness our Founders were deists and skeptics of religion.

Thu, 13 Sep 2007 04:31:00 UTC | #66424

Sunnysgrewal's Avatar Comment 29 by Sunnysgrewal

Praise the lord that I live in BC.

Sat, 19 Jan 2008 00:40:00 UTC | #107877