Teachin of Evolution in Schools

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Main Question or Discussion Point

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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  • #2
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So what do you think ?
 
  • #3
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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.
 
  • #4
cobalt124
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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.
 
  • #5
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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.
 
  • #6
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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.
 
  • #7
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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.
 
  • #8
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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.
 
  • #9
cobalt124
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See, this hurts my head
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.
 
  • #10
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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.

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.”
______________________________________________________

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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  • #11
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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.
 
  • #12
cobalt124
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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.
 
  • #13
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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."
 
  • #15
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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.
 
  • #16
i like that comment 2. :)
 
  • #17
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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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  • #18
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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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  • #19
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.
 
  • #20
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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.
 
  • #21
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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.
 
  • #22
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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.
 
  • #23
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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.
 
  • #24
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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.
 
  • #25
Gokul43201
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...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.
 

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