# Teachin of Evolution in Schools

qspeechc
Teaching creationism in public schools has consistently been ruled unconstitutional in federal courts, but according to a national survey of more than 900 public high school biology teachers, it continues to flourish in the nation’s classrooms.

Researchers found that only 28 percent of biology teachers consistently follow the recommendations of the National Research Council to describe straightforwardly the evidence for evolution and explain the ways in which it is a unifying theme in all of biology. At the other extreme, 13 percent explicitly advocate creationism, and spend at least an hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.

Find the (short) article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08creationism.html?ref=education".

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humanino
So what do you think ?

Kevin_Axion
I just heard yesterday that my friend's theology class (we got to a Catholic School) showed them a video of a creationist denying evolution and it angered me so much. I don't think the teachers were trying to manipulate the students but were just showing arguments in ontology et cetera. Anyways, my school teaches evolution in detail such as phenotypes and microscopic mutations in genetic code and are very accepting as a Catholic School should be.

cobalt124
I'm unhappy I wasn't taught evolution in my biology classes. All of life on Eath was classified into types but there were always exceptions left dangling, such why there are mammals that lay eggs, why there are mammals that swim, how come spiders and scorpions are closely related, and the rest. Come to think of it, I'm not sure it's any different now.

Nicodemus
So what do you think ?

People are not satisfied with their current level of ignorance and stupidity, and have decided to replace a mere lack of knowledge with knowledge of falsehoods.

story645
Anyways, my school teaches evolution in detail such as phenotypes and microscopic mutations in genetic code and are very accepting as a Catholic School should be.
One friend's school had my favorite approach to this from a religious school perspective: her teacher said "we don't believe in this, but it's required for the regents so we're going to learn it" and the teacher then covered all the basics. Many of my other friends in Orthodox Jewish schools didn't learn it, thereby losing the points on the state exam or the schools engaging in various forms of sketchiness to make up for the fact that their student body didn't know the material.

On the flip side, my AP bio teacher irked me so much when she covered evolution because her attitude was that anyone who doesn't believe in evolution or believes in creationism is a moron. There are ways to teach evolution without insulting every student who buys into a judeo-christian-islamic faith, especially since some of them may very well also believe in evolution (I do, I do).

At the other extreme, 13 percent explicitly advocate creationism, and spend at least an hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.
See, this hurts my head, 'cause much as I believe it, creationism is still just a creation myth and therefore belongs in a literature class or history class (where it should be taught alongside other creation myths) or in a theology class. It has no business in a science class, which should be limited to well science.

humanino
Just to clarify
People are not satisfied with their current level of ignorance and stupidity, and have decided to replace a mere lack of knowledge with knowledge of falsehoods.
I think qspeechc is opening a political discussion without any other material but a link. This is not in agreement with the rules, so he decides to post in the wrong sub-forum. I may be wrong however, so I think in any case qspeechc must provide more elements to give a specific direction to this discussion.

Nicodemus
Just to clarify
I think qspeechc is opening a political discussion without any other material but a link. This is not in agreement with the rules, so he decides to post in the wrong sub-forum. I think qspeechc must provide more elements to give a specific direction to this discussion.

I agree with you, which is why I gave such a deeply unfair and terse response. You took what I would consider a kinder route, which I admire, but can't imitate.

cobalt124

Me too, I held back in lieu of a response relating to the OP. Evolution should be taught in science classes, and can be taught without reference to it being true, as it is a falsifiable scientific theory. Creationism I'm not so sure about. If its only raison d'etre is evolution bashing, which I suspect is the case, it shouldn't be allowed to poison any school. If it claims to point to a truth about a Creator, this puts it in religious studies, theology, wherever, but not science. Reading that again, creationism is just an evolution basher, surely.

qspeechc
I didn't say anything because I was tired and I had a lot to say. I wanted to see what other people think about this.

By the way, it was not at all clear to me that this article had anything to do with politics. It is about education in the US. I do not see politics mentioned anywhere in the article. Even the NY Times classifies it as Science. I am not starting a debate. I am not putting forth an argument or opinions and using this article to support them. I am merely presenting facts and asking for comments on them. The article explains itself. However, the moderators are welcome to move this to the Politics forum if they please.

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Researchers found that only 28 percent of biology teachers consistently follow the recommendations of the National Research Council to describe straightforwardly the evidence for evolution and explain the ways in which it is a unifying theme in all of biology. At the other extreme, 13 percent explicitly advocate creationism, and spend at least an hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.

Isn't there some set curriculum teachers have to follow? How is it that they avoid teaching evolution? How is it these people are allowed to teach biology? Something has gone terribly wrong here. Only about one quarter of teachers are bothering to teach evolution properly! I still can't believe that the US is the wealthiest, or one of the wealthiest, nation on earth, and yet you guys still can't get the teaching of evolution right. Evolution is what unifies biology and gives it meaning; without it the subject is just a random colection of facts and just-so stories. Creationism isn't even a science; how is it that it is taught in biology? There is some sort of failure on the part of educating the teachers.

The survey, published in the Jan. 28 issue of Science, found that some avoid intellectual commitment by explaining that they teach evolution only because state examinations require it, and that students do not need to “believe” in it. Others treat evolution as if it applied only on a molecular level, avoiding any discussion of the evolution of species. And a large number claim that students are free to choose evolution or creationism based on their own beliefs.

...

More high school students take biology than any other science course, the researchers write, and for about a quarter of them it will be the only science course they take. So the influence of these teachers looms large.

It's not about believing, it's about science, facts, and well-established theories. What better way to learn about the scientific method than evolution? Creationism should be left to religion, it shouldn't even be brought up in a biology class. Aren't any Americans worried about this?

Randy Moore, a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, was unsurprised by the study’s conclusions. “These kinds of data have been reported regionally, and in some cases nationally, for decades. Creationists are in the classroom, and it’s not just the South,” he said. “At least 25 percent of high school teachers in Minnesota explicitly teach creationism.”

About as many teach creationism as teach evolution properly; sad, isn't it?

“Students are being cheated out of a rich science education,” said Dr. Plutzer, a professor of political science at Penn State University. “We think the ‘cautious 60 percent’ represent a group of educators who, if they were better trained in science in general and in evolution in particular, would be more confident in their ability to explain controversial topics to their students, to parents, and to school board members.”

But Dr. Moore is doubtful that more education is the answer. “These courses aren’t reaching the creationists,” he said. “They already know what evolution is. They were biology majors, or former biology students. They just reject what we told them.

I can't believe how educated people can simply reject all the evidence in support of evolution, reject the scientific method, and teach myths to children, thus passing on their warped views of the world to the next generation.

And what a sad and ominous ending:

With 15 to 20 percent of biology teachers teaching creationism,” he continued, “this is the biggest failure in science education. There’s no other field where teachers reject the foundations of their science like they do in biology.”

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As you will have gathered, I am not an American, and so I am not too passionate about this, but it still bothers me. I posted this because most of the people on this forum are Americans with an interest in science; I thought the Americans here would find this interesting and would want to discuss it. I am surprised that no one is really interested in this, you are more interested in discussing where this thread should be; trying to say things about me, but I can't quite gather what exactly (Nicodemus:"People are not satisfied with their current level of ignorance and stupidity, and have decided to replace a mere lack of knowledge with knowledge of falsehoods...I agree with you, which is why I gave such a deeply unfair and terse response. You took what I would consider a kinder route, which I admire, but can't imitate." humanino: "I think qspeechc is opening a political discussion without any other material but a link. This is not in agreement with the rules, so he decides to post in the wrong sub-forum").

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Nicodemus
I'm an American, and the only way I've found to deal with this, is to accept it and move on. What else can I do, in the face of such a strong desire by so few to control how so many think? I'm too angry, and too saddened by the world to care about it much anymore, and the certainly includes the education of our pathetic progeny.

cobalt124
Not being an American does not necessarily exclude you from this. With regards to the U.K., many things that happen in America happen in the U.K. about a decade later. As far as I know, we do not teach evolution at all (I could be wrong), so there is possibly a vacuum for creationism to fill here.

JaredJames
As far as I know, we do not teach evolution at all (I could be wrong), so there is possibly a vacuum for creationism to fill here.

The UK certainly does teach evolution and it's the law that any public school must do so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_and_evolution_in_public_education#United_Kingdom

I certainly was taught it.

Creationism wasn't even entertained. Religious Studies simply outlined peoples beliefs. It didn't try to teach you a belief system and why it's right.

An interesting point from the Arch Bishop of Canterbury from the above article:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, leader of the Church of England, has expressed his view that creationism should not be taught in schools."

cobalt124

JaredJames

Truly disturbing.

I particularly liked this comment at the bottom:
Believing in evolution takes just as much faith as believing in a six-day creation - it is all about interpretation of the evidence. Evolution is actually impossible, but the scientific community and the media (especially the BBC) seem so intent on indoctrinating the country that evolution is fact.

Destiny153
i like that comment 2. :)

ebits21
From 2005:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4398345.stm

Believing in evolution takes just as much faith as believing in a six-day creation - it is all about interpretation of the evidence. Evolution is actually impossible, but the scientific community and the media (especially the BBC) seem so intent on indoctrinating the country that evolution is fact.

I gave up trying to convince people like this long ago. If someone wants to ignore a plethora of converging evidence and basic logic, well then fine.

But when it comes to teaching about a topic, like biology, you damn well better teach what the evidence is for that topic and not random, ill-thought out arguments. Evolution is about as strong as scientific theories come, and it isn't just about interpreting the evidence in a random way.

I'm going to stop now, haha. As I said, there's no point arguing with ignorance.

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mugaliens

As it's not science, I do not believe Creationism should be taught in science classes.

I do believe Creationism should be taught in a comparative religious studies class, along with the other religions' beliefs of the origens of our world and mankind. I don't think making a comparative religions class mandatory would fly in our society, although there's nothing inherently unConstitutional about doing so, provided all major religions were given equal coverage and emphasis.

Of course I also believe the U.S. Department of Education should get the ax in its entirety, returning an average of $1.9 Billion back to each and every state. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Education#Opposition". More to the point, there are approximately$125,000 schools in the United States, so the DOE's 2011 $94 Billion budget+ARRA funding, if cut completely, could potentially result in$752,000 returned, on average, to each and every school, every year.

That's a LOT.

Personally, I think that money would be put to far better use if the schools were given direct control over the funds, than if those funds were sucked up in bureaucratic overhead as is happening today.

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╔(σ_σ)╝
I don't think these matters should be introduced in highschool, leaving it up to individuals to choose, without bias, evolution or creation.

Call me a git or whatever but I did, with my complete mind, choose the creation side.

Hence, it equally annoyed me when I had to listen to my secondary school instructors teach evolution.

JaredJames
Religious education in the UK aims to give an insight into the major religions, I don't like it but as long as it remains an insight I'm not too bothered.

However, there is something that annoys with the law surrounding. Every child must participate unless they are excused on religious grounds by their parents (they have to bring something else to do relating to their religion). This to me is severely bias in that it means a religious person can choose to 'remain ignorant' and not bother with the other religions, but an atheist must/I] attend.

JaredJames
I don't think these matters should be introduced in highschool, leaving it up to individuals to choose, without bias, evolution or creation.

Call me a git or whatever but I did, with my complete mind, choose the creation side.

Hence, it equally annoyed me when I had to listen to my secondary school instructors teach evolution.

Evolution is an established scientific fact and as such holds as much weight as gravity. This isn't about allowing someone choose to 'believe' in evolution. Evolution is here, it's observable and as such there is no valid reason it shouldn't be taught in schools. The fact people don't like it is irrelevant.

Creation has absolutely nothing to do with science and shouldn't even be entered into the equation. At best it's a religious studies topic.

mugaliens
This to me is severely bias in that it means a religious person can choose to 'remain ignorant' and not bother with the other religions, but an atheist must/I] attend.

Perhaps we as a society need to drop the use of the word "religion" and substitute it with "system of belief or faith." That way, both atheism and agnosticism would fit, as well as all current religions.

ebits21
I don't think these matters should be introduced in highschool, leaving it up to individuals to choose, without bias, evolution or creation.

Call me a git or whatever but I did, with my complete mind, choose the creation side.

Hence, it equally annoyed me when I had to listen to my secondary school instructors teach evolution.

Evolution isn't a choice, it's how biology works. You learn how math works in school, how gravity works, how chemistry works, and you most definitely should learn evolution so you know how biology works.

And to make an informed decision you need to know the evidence. Going home, sitting on your couch, and deciding isn't going to lead to any good conclusions.

JaredJames
Perhaps we as a society need to drop the use of the word "religion" and substitute it with "system of belief or faith." That way, both atheism and agnosticism would fit, as well as all current religions.

Atheism is not a belief system or faith - particularly in the way religion is.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
...DOE's 2011 \$94 Billion budget+ARRA funding, if cut completely, could potentially result in ...
...crippling the state of scientific research in the US, but I'm guessing that's not a biggie for you.

╔(σ_σ)╝
Evolution is an established scientific fact and as such holds as much weight as gravity. This isn't about allowing someone choose to 'believe' in evolution. Evolution is here, it's observable and as such there is no valid reason it shouldn't be taught in schools. The fact people don't like it is irrelevant.

Creation has absolutely nothing to do with science and shouldn't even be entered into the equation. At best it's a religious studies topic.

I do not wish to engage you in any debate over this matter but how exactly is evolution observable ?

╔(σ_σ)╝
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/misconceptions_faq.php#b6

That answers your specific question, but that site goes into a lot more detail if you have a look around.
The answer given is not really an answer to me. The examples given are examples of adaptation not "evolution" as I think it to be.

You cannot possibly fault my definition/ notion of the idea of evolution since even mainstream evolutionist are divided on the matter.

I rest my case since it would be meaningless to further discuss this issue and for fear that your fair lady evo might lock this discussion up.

I consider evolution to be a theory and not a fact. I have not seen evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, to convience me otherwise. It is a theory that is contiuously refined to fix any holes and gaps.

I believe it would be wise to let the sleeping dog lie as it were.

JaredJames
The examples given are examples of adaptation not "evolution" as I think it to be.

Natural selection and adapting is evolution.

If you didn't read the main one I was hoping you would: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/artificial_01"

What 'you' consider to be evolution is irrelevant. Evolution as per it's accepted definition can be found below:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/evolution
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evolution

The fact that we can demonstrate it and have evidence pointing to it means evolution holds water and as such is a perfectly acceptable topic in school science. Creationism has zero evidence and as such isn't acceptable for school science - it would be like allowing someone to lecture a class on how perpetual motion machines work and can be built. The arguments against teaching evolution are halted by this fact. To say something without evidence should be given equal standing as something with evidence is completely ridiculous.
I consider evolution to be a theory and not a fact. I have not seen evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, to convience me otherwise. It is a theory that is contiuously refined to fix any holes and gaps.

I also find that line interesting. You admit to seeing evidence for evolution but cannot accept evolution - yet there is no evidence for creationism and you accept it.

I'm not knocking your beliefs, they are your own personal choice. But you can't debate whether or not evolution should be taught in school with that kind of logic.

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╔(σ_σ)╝
Natural selection and adapting is evolution.

If you didn't read the main one I was hoping you would: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/artificial_01"

What 'you' consider to be evolution is irrelevant. Evolution as per it's accepted definition can be found below:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/evolution
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evolution

The fact that we can demonstrate it and have evidence pointing to it means evolution holds water and as such is a perfectly acceptable topic in school science. Creationism has zero evidence and as such isn't acceptable for school science - it would be like allowing someone to lecture a class on how perpetual motion machines work and can be built.
Perhaps, you shouldn't be so hasty in your conclusions. I did, in fact, read about the "microevolution" in guppies. Their adapting their spots based on their prey is not evolution. Following your line of reasoning, black people have black skin because they evolved. This is simply adaption the way I see it.

What evolution claims is possible is the change from one species to another. This I have not seen proof of. The guppies or fruit fly after undergoing "evolution", as you call it, in both case they still guppies and fruit flies, respectively. I certainly have not seen any real evidence showing me the exact process of transformation from one species to another. Neither have I seen any modern day proof of this. This were the typical evolutionary excuse comes into play... evolution occurs over millions of year blah blah. Well I can use the same line of reasoning too....

I conjecture that this pasta in front of me is going to turn into a young female 6 million years from now. Surely, you believe this!

I have fallen into the temptation of derailing this thread off it original course. XD

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humanino
I completely agree with you jarednjames. However I think we should concede that ╔(σ_σ)╝ made one very important contribution to this discussion, in a certain sense maybe the most important one actually And after reflecting on that, I also agree with ╔(σ_σ)╝ that there might not be much more to say, unless we want to derail and lock the thread. One cannot argue with logics against irrational beliefs, just as one cannot justify science using scientific arguments. It is a moral choice.

JaredJames
Perhaps, you shouldn't be so hasty in your conclusions. I did, in fact, read about the "microevolution" in guppies. Their adapting their spots based on their prey is not evolution. Following your line of reasoning, black people have black skin because they evolved. This is simply adaption the way I see it.

What evolution claims is possible is the change from one species to another.

Then you do not understand evolution and your flawed understanding does not make evolution wrong.

re the bolded part: Yes, that is evolution. Adapting is part of evolution.

Read the definitions I posted of it:
1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.
2.a. The process of developing.
3. Biology
a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.

Nothing in there about being required to change species. Although once changed enough, something could be considered a new species.

Like I said, what you consider to be evolution is irrelevant. That above, is the scientifically accepted definition and so far as that goes there is ample evidence for it - therefore it is correct to be on the school curriculum.
Well I can use the same line of reasoning too....

But you're not.

I also note you ignored my last point.

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JaredJames
I completely agree with you jarednjames. However I think we should concede that ╔(σ_σ)╝ made one very important contribution to this discussion, in a certain sense maybe the most important one actually And after reflecting on that, I also agree with ╔(σ_σ)╝ that there might not be much more to say, unless we want to derail and lock the thread. One cannot argue with logics against irrational beliefs, just as one cannot justify science using scientific arguments. It is a moral choice.

The OP is about teaching evolution.

I think a very important point here is what I've just made - that just because you don't agree with or accept the scientific definition (making up your own definition) - does not make evolution a subject that shouldn't be taught.

Based on the correct definition of evolution, there is plenty of evidence to support it and as such is a valid subject for biology in schools.

The argument against teaching evolution so far has amounted to:
"I see some evidence for evolution, but not enough for me to accept it. So instead I'm going to agree with the solution that has no evidence to back it up what-so-ever and advocate that it should be given equal measure." - that is extremely poor logic and reasoning.

humanino
I completely agree with you jarednjames. Unfortunately, I do not expect any such logical argumentation to ever convince ╔(σ_σ)╝ Because there is a premise, which I share, that we discuss in a rational, scientific framework. I think it is quite obvious that ╔(σ_σ)╝ does not agree on this premise, and I even expect him to deny this.

For instance, the usual "argument"
I certainly have not seen any real evidence [...]
I found an "exception" to your "theory", therefore the entire thing is false. This is not how science works. It would have been extremely easy to find seemingly counterexamples to even Newton's principia. For instance, thermodynamics was not known, so it was not understood why there should be an arrow of time. Since Newton does not explain why pieces of glass never jump from the floor to form glasses on the table, his "explanation" for planetary orbits and projectiles is invalid.

You still believe you can convince them otherwise ?

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╔(σ_σ)╝
Then you do not understand evolution and your flawed understanding does not make evolution wrong.

Read the definitions I posted of it:

Nothing in there about being required to change species. Although once changed enough, something could be considered a new species.

Like I said, what you consider to be evolution is irrelevant. That above, is the scientifically accepted definition and so far as that goes there is ample evidence for it - therefore it is correct to be on the school curriculum.

But you're not.

I also note you ignored my last point.

Please excuse my inability to quote certain parts of your post. It is no very convinent to do so on my phone.

Interesting point you make there- "no change in species is required" . But then you said that once something has changed completely it can be called a new species. So which is it ? This statement doesn't posess much substance.

It is also amusing how the definition provided seems insufficient in explaining how possible it is for complex life forms to come from extremely basics ones. I find that the definitions I read of evolution are so vague that one cannot even discern the implications of the word. Of course, the so called scientist are happy with such a definition since it allows them to make changes to their "fact", as you expressed, whenever they are pushed to a tight corner.

I still do not see the ample evidence you are referring to. I believe in adaption and that is what you have shown me.

Whatever evidence you have shown me does not explain how the snake slowly evolved or changed into a lizard, for example. And yet you call it ample evidence. What have you yourself observed that can prove evolution , in the full sense of the word, as the fact you say it is ?

As regards your last point, I am not saying creation should be taught in schools and I do have "proof" for my believe in creation.

When I observe the variety of things that exist and the complexity of the human construct I am left with no doubt that an intelligent designer is behind all this. To put this into perspective, if you were walking in the woods and suddenly come upon a house fully furnished and maintained would you conclude that it came by chance or that someone put it there ? Likely the latter! The way I see it this is exactly the situation I find myself. Humans are on earth with everything fully prepared for our survival and many things that are not necessary for are survival but enable us to enjoy ourselves.
Dare I say this all occured my some random processes ?!

I followed the exact same reasoning you used. Please point out exactly how I did not.