Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pseudoscience isn't just for Creationists

Usually these days when the discussion is raised of pseudoscience being taught in public schools, the assumption is that creationism/intelligent design is invovled somehow. But Kent Hovind, Carl Baugh, and Duane Gish aren't the only culprits- indeed, not Christians, not even monotheists can claim a monopoly on this enterprise.

Eastern religions have just as many pseudoscientific claims as anything in Western culture- be it acupuncture, feng shui, or qigong. All of these are based on the concept of "qi," or "chi," which is roughly analogous to the Western concept of "soul," or "spirit." Whatever it is, it's completely unverifiable by scientific methods, and so wouldn't have anything to do with a public school curriculum, right?

Wrong. A parent at the International School of Monterey, California alerted me that this had actually been the case. A qigong practitioner had been instructing students without parental notification in such essential skills as "energy manipulation." Once discovered by parents, this practice was ended, but the school has refused to disclose any documentation about how this pseudoscience became part of its curriculum. This school follows the International Baccalaureate curriculum- I would expect a more rational commitment to the establishment of rigorous scientific education.

More information and a petition can be found here.

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