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More on the sad state of US education

  1. Feb 14, 2005 #1

    This is really bad, worse than i knew.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2005 #2
    To be fair, evolution is pretty damn complicated. A brief overview in grades K-12 may not be enough to convince those who are deeply rooted in religious beliefs.
  4. Feb 14, 2005 #3

    Its not very complicated. The idea itself is very simple. If you can teach mendel's methods for cross-breeding plants and mendel squares, then evolution is not too complicated. (Granted, the same schools that don't teach evolution probably don't teach Mendel either)

    Now if you mean, the students simply won't believe it, well there is nothing we can do about that. But the subject should still be taught. I've known people in high school who called the idea of evolution "stupid". Of course they also thought catholics worshipped Mary before god, which is also bull****. Loony born agains and knowledge never mix well.
  5. Feb 14, 2005 #4


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    I agree - I don't think it requires more than a day (45 min to an hour) of treatment in high school biology. Spend 15 minutes describing how Darwin came up with it, 15 minutes on improvements/discoveries since then, and 15 minutes on the controversy.

    I'd add to Evolution, QM and Relativity. Once again, you can't get a very deep understanding in an hour, but it would be useful to give a taste. I remember doing an e=mc^2 calculation in chemistry, but we discussed none of the implications of it and didn't mention the rest of the theory. We also did a double-slit experiment in physics, but never mentioned its implications - imagine the shock a person gets when hearing for the first time that the double-slit works with particles with mass!
  6. Feb 14, 2005 #5
    You mean people still belive man was created by god and not evolved from pre-existing organisms!
  7. Feb 14, 2005 #6

    Those two are not necessarily exclusive.

    Further: Yeah, it came as a shock. And an annoyance at the time. She was kinda cute.
  8. Feb 14, 2005 #7


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    <derailment> Who ? </derailment>
  9. Feb 14, 2005 #8

    The fundamentalist who thought the idea of evolution was outright "stupid". As she kept talking, i lost interest faster and faster.
  10. Feb 14, 2005 #9
    Most of this can be seen in smaller schools. At my old school, which I spent freshmen year of HS at, they taught evolution. However, being a small town with more churches than gas stations you came out feeling that it was an absurdity. The subject was taught as if it were wrong. I then moved to a bigger school which taught evolution rather well.

    Rural America's education system is in desperate need of improvement.
  11. Feb 14, 2005 #10


    Rural America is in desperate need of an education system.
  12. Feb 15, 2005 #11


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    I don't agree with this. That's just enough time to give them enough for the Creationists to convince them it's all nonsense because of all the things that weren't explained.

    However, one thing that time is wasted on and that inevitably winds up confusing students is teaching Lamarckian evolution. It's taught to give context to what preceded Darwinian evolution, but is quite often misunderstood and students end up thinking Lamarckian evolution is what happens. There's no need for that in high school biology, and it can be saved for college if students want to study it in more depth.

    I honestly have mixed feelings about teaching evolution in high schools. While it is important to biology and not teaching it leaves the general public susceptible to Creationist teaching, not enough teachers know it well enough to get it right themselves, so end up teaching the same misconceptions they learned, which isn't at all helpful. A good portion of the time teaching evolution at the college level is spent on undoing misconceptions the students brought with them from high school. I preferred teaching it to the students who hadn't learned it in high school, because they didn't have to unlearn wrong stuff to learn the right stuff.
  13. Feb 15, 2005 #12

    Thats a problem in all subjects in high schools. Again, thats a large part of the abysmal failure that is public education in this country.
  14. Feb 15, 2005 #13


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    School boards in pretty much every state of the US are dealing with (or have recently dealt with) the creation-evolution debate thanks to well-funded creationist organizations. Frequent news updates available here...
    http://www.ncseweb.org/default.asp [Broken]

    Seems like recent hotspots are Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, & Texas.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  15. Feb 16, 2005 #14


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    TBN's point of view

    I watched some Trinity Broadcasting TV tonight. There was a program on evolution. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron talked about why they believe evolution is a farce.

    A TV camera was taken to some public place, and questions about evolution were asked to (randomly chosen?) people who appeared to be roughly college age. After asking if the person believes in evolution, and getting an affirmative, they asked things like, "When the first creature came out of the sea onto the land, did it have gills or lungs? Was it male or female? Was there air for it to breathe?" The people they were interviewing gave a shot at providing answers, but for the most part the answers were far from convincing. (I am sure I would do poorly if a camera was pointing at me for an impromptu interview on this topic!)

    They asked one guy, "What made the Big Bang?" I don't know if he was deliberately being humorous when he answered, "An asteroid hit a planet." I am not sure if the hosts of the program think there was no Big Bang, or whether they allow that there might have been, but that God made it happen. I tend to think the former is more likely, since the hosts hinted that science may well be getting the age of the universe all wrong. (A hypothetical situation involving a passenger jet that is about to crash, which may be an "old" aircraft according to one passenger, or a "young" aircraft according to another, was something they seemed to be using to illustrate this point, though I was distracted at that part of the program and didn't really catch the point of that illustration.)

    They did interview a long-haired fellow who was identified (if I caught it right) as a biology major. In the very brief part of that interview that they showed, he did a nice job of fielding their questions. But they got him to admit on the issue of biogenesis: “The problem we have is with the beginning.” They played that back in a tape loop for dramatic effect: "Theproblemwehaveiswiththebeginning.Theproblemwehaveis..."

    Other claims made on the program: They’re finding a huge gap in the fossil record. They don’t find these transitional forms. There’s not just one missing link, there’s thousands. The truth is they are not missing at all--they never existed. What about those science teachers' drawings of an apelike creature walking left to right across the page and turning into a modern human? The truth is there are no "missing links" because in fact there is nothing to connect apes and humans--except in the minds of those wanting to justify their theory of evolution.

    They quoted Gould saying something about like this: "The dirty little trade secret of paleontology is that so many forms that should be in the fossil record are missing." I have heard the Gould quote more than once, and I suspect he really did write it.

    They asked whether the fact that a jet and a biplane both have wings and engines mean that jets evolved from biplane. "No... God used a similar blueprint when creating features of men and apes," was the point they were illustrating.

    They phoned some airlines, to ask if “a relative” could go on a flight-- a chimp. No, animals are not allowed except in the cargo hold, they were told, thus proving that chimps are animals and humans are not animals, I reckon.

    Another point they made: Primates such as an orangutan cannot reason or invent.

    To show that Darwin was a bad guy, they quoted him writing that man has evolved higher than woman in imagination, reason, and deep thought. Darwin was both sexist and racist, they pointed out. (I have heard Rev. James Kennedy say the same thing on his radio broadcast, I think.)

    They quoted several scientists saying evolution is implausible, or even a joke.

    They didn't make a believer in creationism out of me, but they did a pretty effective job of showing that when people say they "believe in" evolution without being prepared to answer detailed questions about evolution, they can be made to look like they are dupes of scientists and their naturalist (read "godless") agenda.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2005
  16. Feb 17, 2005 #15
    Kind of like creationists are for their priests?
  17. Feb 17, 2005 #16
    are you pissy tonight or what?
    it's what got me interested in physics. still blows me away, wish I would have learned it earlier
  18. Feb 17, 2005 #17


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    Is that the same Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes? Is that guy still alive?
  19. Feb 17, 2005 #18
    if you googled Kirk Cameron to come up with the computer wore tennis shoes this is funny
    if you knew Kirk Cameron was in the computer wore tennis shoes it is sad.
  20. Feb 17, 2005 #19
    Nah, i just can't stand bible thumpers.

    Being religious is fine. Being dogmatic isn't.
  21. Feb 17, 2005 #20


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    Come on. I never actually saw that movie; I just have a good memory for advertisements for whatever reason.
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