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Thread: State frees teachers to criticize evolution

  1. #11
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    For the record, I believe that the present theory of evolution is the most plausible explanation for Homo sapiens. Not all Christian based religions believe that intelligent design means no evolution. Many don’t believe in the 6000 year old Earth.

    I believe the process of evolution is continuing as we speak and will continue to change us, perhaps better us, in the future. We may in time evolve into something unrecognizable by those of our present form. That does not mean that God isn’t the ultimate designer of this process nor does it mean that he doesn’t, even now, have a hand in guiding that process.

    I wonder how wrong it is for teachers to teach other explanations for why we are here. After all, there are many works of literature that give alternate explanations for why we are here and where we are going. Some of them (really good ones) include a deity. Should we ban those works?

    Wise said that he thinks that most teachers probably aren’t qualified to teach these other explanations. Funny, but I don’t think he had problem with the qualifications of teachers when they were teaching from the perspective sanctioned by scientists and academics. You know Wise…the perspective YOU believe in.

    If the debate doesn’t belong in schools, where does it belong? Children must be taught critical thinking and abstract concepts at some point. They also must be taught to do this thinking independently. Don’t we agree? So I would say that this important debate is not only desirable at some point in schools; it is necessary. I just don’t believe that waving off this debate as irrelevant is in the best interest of our future selves.

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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ala
    I wonder how wrong it is for teachers to teach other explanations for why we are here. After all, there are many works of literature that give alternate explanations for why we are here and where we are going. Some of them (really good ones) include a deity. Should we ban those works?

    Wise said that he thinks that most teachers probably aren’t qualified to teach these other explanations. Funny, but I don’t think he had problem with the qualifications of teachers when they were teaching from the perspective sanctioned by scientists and academics. You know Wise…the perspective YOU believe in.

    If the debate doesn’t belong in schools, where does it belong? Children must be taught critical thinking and abstract concepts at some point. They also must be taught to do this thinking independently. Don’t we agree? So I would say that this important debate is not only desirable at some point in schools; it is necessary. I just don’t believe that waving off this debate as irrelevant is in the best interest of our future selves.
    Critical thinking? You learn them to toss, not use? Howabout embryonic stem cell research, -toss and not use? Why not use to find out, how you support that? And how you support similar science with other stem cells without paying attention and to be willing to fund? How will you support the cure?

  5. #15
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    As for state frees teacher to criticise evolution, only in america. Man, let any criticise what ever.

    One time a timeago, I was at a beach, signs where put up, be aware to amerian males, there could be nudes in sight (boobs).

  6. #16
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    ala, post #3 answers all your questions in post #11.


    Quote Originally Posted by ala
    For the record, I believe that the present theory of evolution is the most plausible explanation for Homo sapiens.

    I don't know if "believe" is the right word but that is what scientists in the field are thinking too.

    Not all Christian based religions believe that intelligent design means no evolution. Many don’t believe in the 6000 year old Earth.

    I think most people know that.

    I believe the process of evolution is continuing as we speak and will continue to change us, perhaps better us, in the future. We may in time evolve into something unrecognizable by those of our present form. That does not mean that God isn’t the ultimate designer of this process nor does it mean that he doesn’t, even now, have a hand in guiding that process.

    That doesn't mean that Raël, Scientology or any kind of supposition is not true either. Science is progressing with evidence not with what we believe in or wish for.

    I wonder how wrong it is for teachers to teach other explanations for why we are here. After all, there are many works of literature that give alternate explanations for why we are here and where we are going. Some of them (really good ones) include a deity. Should we ban those works?

    You know very well that no one here wants any works to be banned. Science and nothing else should be taught in "science class". Do you think that raeliens teachers should be allowed to present their beliefs as an alternative to their students in science class? The day the intelligent design crowd, if ever, comes out with a real body of scientific work then maybe it will be something to discuss in science class. Until then ... no.

    Wise said that he thinks that most teachers probably aren’t qualified to teach these other explanations. Funny, but I don’t think he had problem with the qualifications of teachers when they were teaching from the perspective sanctioned by scientists and academics. You know Wise…the perspective YOU believe in.

    What kind of an argument is that? The decision as to what should be included as material to be taught in science class has been taken by people that are qualified to make that choice no matter who is teaching it.

    If the debate doesn’t belong in schools, where does it belong? Children must be taught critical thinking and abstract concepts at some point. They also must be taught to do this thinking independently. Don’t we agree? So I would say that this important debate is not only desirable at some point in schools; it is necessary. I just don’t believe that waving off this debate as irrelevant is in the best interest of our future selves.

    I don't see how teaching real science prevents children to develop critical thinking or to learn how to think independently. I was not taught ID in school (were you?) and I think I can think critically and independently.
    Pharmacist, C4-5 injury but functional C6 (no triceps/flexors)

  7. #17

    grade school years

    debating evolution in an under funded system.
    darwin, religion, physics.
    who really developed their opinion on this based on what they were taught in grade school? it is almost laughable that the argument exists. people are smarter than this debate notes. feeding children a right or wrong mindset is the misstep. admitting that the best you have as an adult is still conjecture is a true gift to the youth. all ideas are welcome as long as an open mind is in place. railroading people into any train of thought confounds progress.
    Last edited by Darren; 06-28-2008 at 11:57 PM.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ala
    You have earned a reputation for yourself here as a thoughtful, reverential man, perhaps a well earned reputation; and yet, you just dismiss a colleague’s opinion as irrelevant? That doesn’t sound very open-mined or respectful.

    Maybe we arrogant religious have more in common with you than you care to admit.
    ala,

    I am not dismissing a colleague's argument as being irrelevant, nor have I ever claimed that religious are "arrogant". I was saying that my colleague is wrong even though he is a great neurosurgeon, to make the point that debate is difficult even amongst well-educated academics. I am concerned that the "debate" will not be adequately presented by a biology teacher.

    Let's take another example that has not yet been brought up but is looming on the horizon. During the past two years, we have had significant stem cell debate at Rutgers, where we brought some of the most outspoken and eloquent defenders of the stem cell issue to talk about the ethics of stem cell research.

    The debate was great for our college students but I would suggest that it would not be an easy subject of a biology teacher to present to 10th grade students. My daughter is a biology teacher. I went down to her school in Philadelphia last month to teach her students. They are great students but I am not sure that they were ready for a debate on evolution or stem cell ethics.

    Wise.

  9. #19
    the problem is, it seems to me, to many ppl evolution simply means monkeys/apes to human, ignoring all the relatively clear cases of evolution in other life forms to adapt.

    teachers who ignore the latter, to me, clearly are biased by religion and humans. my son and i have discussed this many times in museums. i will not tell him what i think of human evolution, but it is clear to me evolution has and does occur in other species. he will have to make up his own mind regarding humans.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by ala
    For the record, I believe that the present theory of evolution is the most plausible explanation for Homo sapiens. Not all Christian based religions believe that intelligent design means no evolution. Many don’t believe in the 6000 year old Earth.

    I believe the process of evolution is continuing as we speak and will continue to change us, perhaps better us, in the future. We may in time evolve into something unrecognizable by those of our present form. That does not mean that God isn’t the ultimate designer of this process nor does it mean that he doesn’t, even now, have a hand in guiding that process.

    I wonder how wrong it is for teachers to teach other explanations for why we are here. After all, there are many works of literature that give alternate explanations for why we are here and where we are going. Some of them (really good ones) include a deity. Should we ban those works?

    Wise said that he thinks that most teachers probably aren’t qualified to teach these other explanations. Funny, but I don’t think he had problem with the qualifications of teachers when they were teaching from the perspective sanctioned by scientists and academics. You know Wise…the perspective YOU believe in.

    If the debate doesn’t belong in schools, where does it belong? Children must be taught critical thinking and abstract concepts at some point. They also must be taught to do this thinking independently. Don’t we agree? So I would say that this important debate is not only desirable at some point in schools; it is necessary. I just don’t believe that waving off this debate as irrelevant is in the best interest of our future selves.
    Ala, I am a strong proponent of exposing children to the cutting edge of science. As my children know, probably to their embarassment, I use to go to their schools and talk to their biology teachers about presenting primary source science material rather than the reader's digest version of science.

    If the goal is to teach the cutting edge of evolution research, teachers should be trained to do this properly. I doubt that most teachers are adequately trained to do so, in the same way that I am not sure that they are adequately trained to debate the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells, whether life begins with fertilization, whether the big bang theory is correct, and so on.

    The Big Bang Theory opposes the Biblical version of creation, probably in ways that are much more fundamental and glaring than evolution. It hasn't attracted much attention because most religious people have not had enough science to understand it. Three new theories are being proposed that may well replace the Big Bang Theory. I am not sure that high school physics teachers have the knowledge base to present the debate of this topic adequately to their students.

    At the present, I am not aware of any proposal by scientists to refute the existence of evolution. Contrary to claims by the Discovery Institute and anti-evolution groups, evolution is not a theory. Evolution is a phenomenon that has been observed and is strongly supported by a great deal of evidence. Living organisms evolved over a long period.

    There have of course been many theories of evolution, i.e. why evolution occurs. The creationist theory of evolution was one of the first and it is wrong. Particularly the young earth theory of evolution has been factually and scientifically disproven. Another theory of evolution was proposed by Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin's grandfather. Erasmus believed in acquired inheritance, i.e. if you cut the tail of a dog enough times, you will eventually have a dog without a tail. He was wrong. However, he proposed an idea that influenced his grandson, that most organisms strive to be fit for their environment (Source).

    Lamarck likewise proposed one of the earliest theories of evolution based on the concept of "inheritance of acquired characters" (Source) but Lamarck's theory was disproven although some data now suggest that individual cells can and do acquire traits that are passed onto progeny cells.

    Charles Darwin proposed one of the first theories of evolution, i.e. survival of the fittest, based on genetics. Although this theory only partly explains evolution, the strength of Darwin's theory is based on his understanding of genetics which had just been described, that traits are genetically passed on and that survival of the fittest to procreate resulted in the passage of the genes of the individual.

    Many scientists believe that there is a divine presence that guides evolution. Charles Darwin thought so. Louis Agassiz, for example, is considered to be the founding father of "natural history" at Harvard and strongly opposed Darwinism because it did not give enough credit to a divine influence (Source).

    The latest form of creationist theory, called Intelligent Design, proposes that current forms of species exist today as they were created by some intelligent designer, that they did not evolve. This is factually wrong. It is possible that there may be a version of an intelligent design theory that makes scientific sense but, to my knowledge, such a theory has not yet been proposed.

    There is of course much work going on concerning the mechanisms of creation. For example, much evidence supports the existence of punctuated equilibrium, cooperative evolution, and behavioral evolution that have greatly expanded our thinking concerning factors that influence evolution. These are legitimate areas of debate and there is nothing to stop teachers from presenting these, if they and their students have time.

    Finally, I disagree with you that science teachers should be discussing deities in biology classes. This belongs in religion or humanities classes. It is not science and should not be taught as such.

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 06-29-2008 at 04:40 AM.

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