Poor Mrs. Heimburger. What do you do when the smallest first grader in your class has the biggest mouth? She couldn't get it through my skull that she had twenty-three other kids to watch over (yeah, class sizes were that small back then). God bless her, she tried her best to let me be me: the constant center of attention.
Come Christmas time, my big mouth got me into trouble. I told Mrs. Heimburger I was Jewish and didn't celebrate Christmas. She invited me to the front of the class to tell everyone the story of Hannukah.
Uh-oh. I didn't know jack about Judaism, but she
didn't know that.
Like Odysseus, I was a man (well -- kid
) who was never at a loss. I took the front of the classroom and for the next several minutes held forth on the miracle of the Hannukah lobster. (That's not a mound of spinach on his head; it's a yarmulkeh.)
When those kids eventually learned the story of Hannukah
, they must have realized I was talking out of my ass. I like to think I helped foster a healthy degree of skepticism in each and every one of them.
That's why we should be teaching "intelligent design" in our schools. If we only teach the truth, how will kids ever recognize the lies? Worse still, they'll never perceive the lies which are
commonly taught in the American classroom, such as: the Californian Missions helped Native Americans; Manifest Destiny was a good thing; the Civil War was fought to free the slaves.
Here's an idea: let's teach critical thinking skills to our kids. And let's begin by teaching them the difference between tenets of faith and scientific hypotheses. Let's give them the tools they need to see "intelligent design" for what it is: a flabby attempt to dress up religious belief in scientific clothing.
Class motto: Doubt Everything.
Class mascot: the Hannukah lobster.
PS: I'm not the only person who wants his crazed beliefs taught in the classroom. Thanks to Kate Rothwell's blog
for pointing to the Flying Spaghetti Monster website
. And this bloke is way ahead of me in marketing: check out his Cafe Press line of products, too