It is indeed ironic that Atheists United SLO, which promotes itself as a “free-thought organization,” would lead a campaign to stifle classroom debate and limit academic inquiry.
This is especially true seeing that there is a renewed emphasis at the high school level in producing students who are “college and career ready.”
Mr. Pettenger should be applauded for attempting to get students to actually think for themselves. Perhaps schools like Arroyo Grande High School should look to Princeton University and the University of Chicago for direction. The faculties of both schools recently adopted principles of academic freedom.
These included the right to dissent, freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas and the idea that individuals should not be shielded from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive. One would think Atheists United would agree with principles such as these. Instead, they insist “there is no debate” and that people must “refrain from attacking evolution in public schools.” Sounds like the thought police are at it again! Perhaps evolution and creationism belong in the same classroom after all.