Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance In The Alberta Legislature

Mr. Mason: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Over the weekend the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit admitted that evolution was science, and he said that his government isn’t arguing science. But, you know, despite all of the protestations from the other side about what they’re not doing, we need to remember that it was the Premier himself who said that evolution would be optional if parents objected on religious grounds. This isn’t a fantasy of the opposition; this comes from the Premier. So I want to ask the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit: have you and the Premier figured out why you’re contradicting each other and why the message . . .

Mr. Blackett: Well, Mr. Speaker, I know one thing: I don’t pretend to speak for the Premier[...]if you have a question about what the Premier said, I suggest that you ask the Premier that question.

Mr. Mason: Well, I keep trying, Mr. Speaker.The minister knows that those things are subject to interpretation.It is the interpretation of what is religion that is at stake here.

As an aside, if you are wondering what interpretation of Bill 44 turns a biology class into something that deals explicitly with religion, here's Bishop Henry, who thinks it does not go far enough:

...all education is faith-based to some extent. It's time to ask why the opinions of the majority of the citizens in Alberta are being ignored, i. e., "why should the faith of the atheist and agnostic be the only and the governing paradigm in public education?"

...which is to say, there is no Truth, only faiths. And apparently the agnostic and atheist faith rules in Alberta. Who knew?

h/t Mr Smith.


MgS said...

BCL: Your link for Bishop Harvey just links to the Alberta Hansard, which does not appear to mention the Bishop at all?

bigcitylib said...


Fixed now.

Ti-Guy said...

It's "Bishop Henry."

I know that so well because I've sent him so much vitriolic mail.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

Just to make the "progressive" position clear, you are suggesting that the state should have an active part in explaining to children how their parents faith is "wrong"?

Don't get me wrong - if you're advocating classes in metro Toronto to "educate" Muslim children about how Sharia law is offensive to women, I'm all for it.

Just seeking to assure there is no "cognitive dissonance".

bigcitylib said...

If a child were to argue in class that his religion told him the world was 6,000 years old, I would expect the teacher to inform him that was false, yes.

Why bring up Ontario? We're not the ones introduced this silly law.

Ti-Guy said...

Just to make the "progressive" position clear, you are suggesting that the state should have an active part in explaining to children how their parents faith is "wrong"?

You're not requesting any clarification, Rob. You're making an assertion.

Grow up.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

Hey Ti-Guy, good to know I have a place to get abused while R/T is taking a break..

My point, or my question, is fairly simple and is the whole point of the "dissonance" issue.

If a parent's religious beliefs counter the prevailing wisdom of the broader society, do we have the right to educate that child differently, or do parents have the right to prevent that.

I believe in evolution, personally.

I have no great angst about gay marriage.

I'm pro-choice.

So - personally, I have no problem with the sort of curriculum to which my children have been exposed.

My question, and the reason I bring up Ontario, is that BCL, apparently from Toronto, is taking a shot at my Province.

My point, simply stated, is does our school system have the prerogative, generally, of over-riding parental wishes regarding faith-teachings - stupid as the rest of us might think those beliefs are.

It's a pretty simple question, really, it's the answer that I think is a little more complex than implied in the blog.

bigcitylib said...

I am taking a shot at your government, Roblaw. Not that I haven't taken a shot at your province before. But I am not doing that now.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

..but the question remains. Is it a bad idea to allow parents to prevent education of their children contrary to their beliefs.

bigcitylib said...

Certainly, if they are in the public school system then they get the public school curriculum. For one thing, if otherwise, chaos might result.

Put it the other way around: would it be okay for an atheist to put their kid in a Catholic school and demand they be excluded from Catholic indoctirination. Some have argued Bill 44 paves the way for that too.

Ti-Guy said...

Is it a bad idea to allow parents to prevent education of their children contrary to their beliefs.I'm not interested in that question. I'm just interested in keeping the divisive crap that has devastated the American education system from seeping into Canada via that nest of fifth-column traitors known as Alberta.

bigcitylib said...


See, TiGuy is taking a shot at your province. Right now I'm just doing your government.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

LOL.. I'm used to it.. however, as another blogger once suggested, "Ti Guy, you're punching over your weight".

Personally, I tend to agree - public school, public education.. which may include instruction that runs contrary to your faith..

I will, however, be curious, if we go beyond questioning fundamental Christian dogma and enter the realm, particulary in Ontario, of questioning Muslim dogma.

Is it ok to publish a cartoon characature of the prophet Mohammed kind of thing in Social Studies classes.. Should we question a faith which issues death threats against people whe question that faith..

Oh, and by the way, Ti Guy, I'm rather flattered that you would refer to Alberta as "fifth column traitors", as, generally, that term was applied to those who infiltrated the fascist and nazi governments in Spain and Germany and sought to destroy from within.

Yes, I suppose you could say that Alberta stands against the creeping "smiley-faced" fascism that other Provinces are appearing to welcome.. and if we stand against that, I'll not be embarassed.

Ti-Guy said...

I never meant any of that, you Albertan toad.

Gawd, you people are obnoxious.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

"you people"? Seems somewhat xenophobic..

Next you'll be asking for special "camps" for "my people".

bigcitylib said...

"Special Camps". Isn't that Calgary?