New York City Department of Education Bans References To Dinosaurs To Avoid Insulting Creationists

This story is so bizarre that I had to check it twice to make sure it was not an early April Fool’s joke. The New York City Department of Education has barred the use of “Dinosaur” on tests to avoid upsetting people who believe creationism. Putting aside the fact that creationists do not deny that dinosaurs existed, the decision is to bar the use of a reference to an entire species because a fact might insult religious sensibilities.

Educations in New York decided that, with such things as Halloween and dancing, the reference to dinosaurs “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.” Also banned is the word “evolution.” It is basically designing a test for Sarah Palin to pass.

“Birthday” is also out because Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays.

The problem with this type of self-censorship is that runs against a core value of public education. I have been a long advocate of public educations and we have kept our kids in the public schools. Public schools are a core foundation for civil society — training future citizens in a shared and pluralistic environment. A child must learn not to be “distracted” by references to evolution because it is an accepted scientific fact in the world. It is part of the learning process and is itself a measurement of educational development. The same can be said for the realities of dancing and birthdays. Political correctness is being allowed to trump intellectual content.

Here are the other words on the list:

Here is the complete list of words that could be banned:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)

Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs

Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)

Bodily functions

Cancer (and other diseases)

Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)


Children dealing with serious issues

Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)

Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)


Death and disease



Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes

Gambling involving money



Homes with swimming pools


Junk food

In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge

Loss of employment

Nuclear weapons

Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)





Rap Music


Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)

Rock-and-Roll music

Running away




Television and video games (excessive use)

Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)

Vermin (rats and roaches)


War and bloodshed

Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)

Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

Source: Daily Mail

72 thoughts on “New York City Department of Education Bans References To Dinosaurs To Avoid Insulting Creationists”

  1. I would be very interested if we were to hear from the person responsible for the list.

    New York City Schools Ban On Words For Standardized Tests Revoked

    04/ 2/12 10:39 PM ET

    Schools, New York City Word Ban, New York State Tests, Standardized Test Questions, Test Questions, New York News
    NEW YORK — New York City’s Department of Education has decided to drop its list of words to avoid on school assessment tests.

    Companies that want to come up with school tests used to measure student progress were being advised to stay away from a range of topics in the questions they put together. On the list of subjects to avoid were creatures from outer space, junk food, vermin and birthdays.

    The Department of Education had said the list was a recommendation, not a ban, and was meant to make sure tests don’t contain any biases or subjects that could distract the students.

    The department on Monday released a statement saying it will “continue to advise companies to be sensitive to student backgrounds.” It says the decision to drop the list of words was made after “the reaction from parents.”

  3. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject Birthdays all holidays,Thanksgiving even benign Mother’s day.
    The Watchtower leaders want to be ‘different’ for the sake of being different.Jehovah’s Witnesses are a dysfunctional group from the get-go .
    Christmas-Jesus was not born on exactly Dec 25th,but he also did not have his *invisible* second coming in the month of October 1914,a falsehood that is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.

    *tell the truth don’t be afraid*–Danny Haszard

  4. The original story was about banning the use of certain words from education(!) for someone’s crazy notion of sensitivity, and it sounds like satire to me. it has to be. Surely we’re not that irrational as a society that such a thing could be real. But then I notice how the comments have digressed into these tirades and unrelated issues and name-calling and arguing back and forth, and I just wonder if ANYBODY is rational any more. Let me tell you, fellas, what the rules are. You DON’T call other posters idiots, morons, etc. That’s a third-grade mentality, unworthy of intelligent, adult dialogue and debate. Stick to the point, and argue the merits. Make sense, don’t personalize and insult others who may disagree with you. OK, I’m ready to receive my insults now. But don’t forget…certain words are banned.

  5. Mr. Turley, I would love for you to submit this post to 10 Day Book Club. Send your submission to and include your contact information within the content. All submissions must be written by the author. This is a great article showing how our words are being “cleansed” by some idiots in positions of power. As a paleontology representative, I am appalled.

  6. commoner

    I’d appreciate a reply to my post where I replied to your accusing me of anti-semitic positions and/or espousing anti-semitic ideas.
    Having cast some heavy shit moral wise at me, I think you are obligated in fairness to reply to my defense.
    My position is clearer from that, I’ve previously in many posts made clear my jew position (which essentially is null, because I’ve never met them until intl conferences as an adukt, but admiring the many examples of outstanding ones, I’ve read 3 books I mentioned earlier in a post to SwM.

    If my information is incorrect in your eyes, then that is no proof of bigotry or bias or anti-semitism.

    Hope you will address this in all fairness. I am not one to look for scapegoats, that’s stupid. Neither ones responsible for our economis woes, that we can ascribe in part to the two most recent FED chiefs in my eyes, not as scapegoats but as poor judges of the need for regulation of CDs. And the Israel-Palestine conflict is not an area I have expertise nor studied closely—-but the casualty ratio (oproportionality) and the use of white phosphorus in cities is indefensible.

    Public ceremonies are poor indications of lobbying results. I mean comparing AIPAC speechs to bowing to Arab Kings and dictators.
    And the tokenism of the Israeli arab handling can best be evaluated by the scholars and position take living there. That handling was offered by you of neutral handling. And see no reason to pursue that for the reasons I give.

    It was the misunderstanding that I meant that the one percent is composed of jews. Of course not. Wouldn’t that be easy to identify, and so far have seen no attempts to do so.

    But an overmeasure of economic influence was my contention. Is that anti-semitic of me. A position says essentially nothing about bigotry, anti-semitism, etc. It is the other flag waving and emotionally charged words which are indicators. I showed none, I feel.

    Ignorance, taking a position on grounds you don’t approve of—-maybe, but anti-semitism, definitely no.

    But my position on Israel closely follows Chomsky, who is a respected Jewish scholar. In my eyes if someone from his own side criticizes with specifics, as Chomsky does repeatedly, then he’s either a traitor or a truthsayer—-or at least someone who has a defendible position.

    I attempt to summarize, but welcome your review of my earlier reply.
    Looking forward to your reply as I want to leave here cleansed, in your and particularly SwM’s mind from the anti-semitism smear.

    I am waiting.

  7. First, I can’t believe this is real. Second, if it is real, then I predict that the only words left ten years from now will be “my”, “lord”, “and”, “savior”, “jesus”, and “christ”.” Nothing will exist or ever have existed. All memory of human culture and particularly science will be gone and forgotten. Schools will then be able to close entirely, as no one will need an education. Society will save a lot of money.

  8. Maybe intelligent people should work for the DoE or run for local school boards instead of these creationists and other nut cases.

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