Skip to comments.Are We Sliding Backward on Teaching Evolution?
Posted on 04/24/2012 4:21:57 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Tennessee was the center of the national debate when it prosecuted John Thomas Scopes for the crime of teaching evolution. Now, 87 years after the Scopes monkey trial, Tennessee is once again a battleground over the origins of man. This month, it enacted a controversial new law dubbed the monkey bill giving schoolteachers broad new rights to question the validity of evolution and to teach students creationism.
The Tennessee legislature has been on a determined campaign to impose an ideological agenda on the states schools. Last week, the house education committee passed the so-called Dont say gay bill, which would make it illegal to teach about homosexuality. The state senate just passed a bill to update the abstinence-based sex-education curriculum to define hand holding as a gateway sexual activity.
Unlike those bills, Tennessees monkey bill is now law. School boards and education administrators are now required to give support to teachers who want to present the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of various scientific theories, including biological evolution and the chemical origins of life. The new law also supports teachers who want to question accepted scientific thinking on two other hobgoblins of the far right: global warming and human cloning.
Backers of the monkey bill argued that it is intended to defend academic freedom. But the law encourages teachers to inject dubious ideas into their instruction. As the National Association of Biology Teachers said in a letter to the governor of Tennessee, evolution should not be misrepresented as controversial or needing of special evaluation. It should be presented as a scientific explanation for events and processes that are supported by experimentation, logic analysis, and evidence-based revision based on detectable and measurable data.
(Excerpt) Read more at ideas.time.com ...
Evolution is, in truth, nothing more than an incomplete theory. But in terms of academia in general, it is a religion.
geez sometimes I'm ashamed of how stupid the human race allows itself to be.
Evolution is a brain-dead ideological doctrine which teaches that ones neighbor is a meat byproduct of random events and which has been overwhelmingly refuted over a very long period of time via a sizable number of unrelated avenues of research. No normal science theory would survive such a history of disproof; you’re dealing with a false pseudo-religion for yuppies here, not a science theory.
The left constantly tries to paint anyone who doesn't share their failed ideological beliefs as ‘bigots’ and ‘hicks’ and ‘throwbacks’ and ‘neanderthals’ who are ‘anti-modern’. It is imperative that we not let them do this.
It is political suicide to let the left claim the territory of intellectual superiority. As far as the evolution issue goes, those of us on the ‘non-left’ (which is what we should be calling ourselves - instead of letting them pigeonhole us as ‘the right wing’ etc.) should not let this kind of ‘God vs. science’, ‘religion vs. evolution’ theme go forward. In my view the proper stance should be to demonstrate superior scientific understanding - nail them on their insufficient knowledge, and then nail them on their closed minded arrogance.
For example, remind them that the Earth, by radiometric dating, is probably at least 4.5 billion years old, and that the known universe is probably at least 3 times older than that. Then remind them that dinosaurs didn't appear until probably 260 million years ago.
Finally, remind them that the average human lifespan on the planet is ~67-68 years, but that in that incredibly short period of time some people become so arrogantly convinced that they know everything there is to know about who we are and how we got here that they have convinced themselves that creation is impossible and that there is no such thing as God. Then ask them whether they think it makes more logical sense that all of existence has a reason for being, or whether it makes more sense that the entirety of this vast universe ‘just happened’. Paint them as the close-minded ideologues that they are. Don't cede this ground to them, ever.
——The left constantly tries to paint anyone who doesn’t share their failed ideological beliefs as bigots and hicks and throwbacks and neanderthals who are anti-modern. It is imperative that we not let them do this.——
The evolution critique is simple. Punk eek or micro?
If micro, where are the billions of transitional fossils? After 150 years, the fossil record is clear. Overwhelmingly, almost without exception, species disappear from the fossil record the same way they appeared, millions of years prior.
If punk eek, what’s the mechanism?
That’s it. Evolutionary theory is dogma, not science.
Panic in the streets!
It’s the failure to teach reading and math that’s the real problem ... why it seems that’s even impacting their religious indoctrination efforts! Maybe they’ll care, now.
Teaching THEORY is fine. It’s just that facts keep getting it’s way!
Last week, the house education committee passed the so-called Dont say gay bill, which would make it illegal to teach about homosexuality.
WOW..A State that is actually doing the right thing and looking out for our children’s future!
Oh and it was not about “teaching about homo sex” they were against it was the homofacist agenda of indoctrination of children that this is meant to stop..........
I wonder WHICH version of Creation will be taught?
No doubt WASP teachers will teach the Judeo-Christian version, but what version of Creation will Afrocentric or islamist teachers cover?
How will diversity & multiculturalism affect the curriculum? If your child has a Buddhist biology teacher, who favors the Buddhist version of creation, are you satisfied this is the best Creation education for YOUR child? Given the gov’t penchant for dictating school curriculum, what will the “official” gov’t version of creation be? Will feminist teachers “sanitize” Eve's role in the loss of Paradise on Earth? Will islamic biology teachers (oxymoron?) teach about the moon goddess & the jinns?
Finally, are you comfortable with ceding the basic religious education of your children to the ultra-liberal education monopoly in the USA? Given the terrific job they are doing teaching reading, writing, & arithmetic, surely they will teach Creationism to your complete religious satisfaction, right? If a teacher has "broad new rights to question the validity of evolution", then doesn't that same teacher have broad new rights to question the validity of YOUR version of Creation?
Old saying: Be careful what you wish for!
I am astounded that conservatives would cede their child's basic religious education to a system that teaches elementary school kids how to use a condom, & that little Johnny has 2 mommies, & a dad who is intimate with his German Shepard.
Simple people produce simpleton ideas.
“If micro, where are the billions of transitional fossils? After 150 years, the fossil record is clear. Overwhelmingly, almost without exception, species disappear from the fossil record the same way they appeared, millions of years prior.”
You are arguing your point from a position of scientific strength, which is part of what I was trying to say.
-—You are arguing your point from a position of scientific strength, which is part of what I was trying to say.——
I guess I wasn’t clear. I was trying to reinforce your point by presenting the scientific argument in a memorable nutshell.
I know. You did a much better job at being succinct than me. I’m definitely not a very good soundbite guy. If I had to pay a dollar per word, I’d be broke in no time.
Evolution is, in truth, nothing more than a scientific theory.
But in terms of academia in general, they defend evolution theory the same way they defend every other scientific theory.
So, if you wish to posit a "religion" for those academicians who claim to be irreligious, then their "religion" would not be "evolution".
Their "religion" -- that is to say, their core value -- is science (aka Methodological Naturalism), and evolution is just one branch of their science.
As for "Creationism" it is not science at all, since Creationism begins with somebody's interpretation of scriptures, then goes looking for supporting evidence, ignoring everything that contradicts it.
Evolution should be taught in science classes.
Creationism can be taught in religion classes.
And ideas like: God created the Universe, with all its Methodological Naturalism, and God endowed humans with certain inalienable rights... those ideas are appropriate for any classroom, whether scientific, religious, political or otherwise.
As for evolution's alleged "holes" or "incompleteness", let me suggest an analogy:
You could just as well say the science of medicine is "incomplete" and has "holes" because it did not yet cure _____________ (pick some incurable disease).
But science has cured or improved many diseases, and the average person today lives nearly twice as long as people a hundred years ago.
So medical science is not necessarily rendered invalid by what it does not cure.
Likewise, evolution theory is not necessarily rendered invalid by what it does not explain.
And much of medical science (like many other sciences) is built on our understandings of the long-term processes and workings of evolution.
“Are We Sliding Backward on Teaching Evolution?”
just remove the last word and you have a truer title
I agree with your post, except for the following.
-—Likewise, evolution theory is not necessarily rendered invalid by what it does not explain.-—
The theory of evolution is diametrically opposed to the empirical evidence.
Fossils have been collected for 150 years. They paint a uniform picture. Species remain static over time. Species exit the fossil record the same way they enter. Period.
The evidence directly contradicts Darwin’s theory.
The remaining, minority position is that evolution occurs in great leaps. But no remotely plausible mechanism has ever been proposed.
The question of human origins touches all sciences, since man is a unity of body and soul. No complete theory regarding human origins can ignore either aspect of human nature.
What then should be taught to children? This is more a question of authority. Since parents are children’s primary educators, they should have the power to decide.
Lack of humility and a penchant for dogma are enemies of truth and fact, and all of us are susceptible to these human flaws, including scientists. When scientists hold fast to theories that are either not definitively testable, or that are not entirely consistent with observations or experimental results, then they are making a decision to ‘believe’ in their theory - irrespective of proof. This is, in fact, not different than religion. That's not the way science is supposed to work, but it often does.
The scientific method is not, unfortunately, applied nearly as frequently as it should be in experimental science. There are a lot of reasons for this, including conscious or unconscious bias in data interpretation in order to ensure publication. Recently a scientist who had been the head of cancer research at Amgen published a letter to Nature in which he described the efforts of a team of scientists from Amgen to replicate/confirm the results from 53 landmark scientific publications on cancer biology/research. They were only able to replicate 6 of the 53. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7391/full/483531a.htm
This doesn't mean that science can't be trusted. Science has been a big part of my life for a long time. It's a very important part of who I am. However, like any other endeavor that involves human beings, it is both fallible and corruptible.
The bottom line is that science doesn't ‘disprove’ God, although there are those who try to ascribe this function to science. I wholeheartedly stand by my assertion that belief in God and in the scientific method are in no way mutually exclusive, and that in searching for scientific truth one is often spiritually moved by what one finds.
Ping for later...
"Fossils have been collected for 150 years.
They paint a uniform picture.
Species remain static over time.
Species exit the fossil record the same way they enter...
"The evidence directly contradicts Darwins theory.
The remaining, minority position is that evolution occurs in great leaps.
But no remotely plausible mechanism has ever been proposed."
Hmmmmm... where to start?...
Yes, it's true that species come and go over relatively short intervals -- typically a few million years.
But remember that the word "species" is just a scientific construct, one of many describing biological classifications, including such terms as "sub-species", "breed", and "race" which come and go on even shorter time scales.
Indeed, we've seen "breeds" of domesticated animals developed over the short span of human history:
So every fossil, without exception, belongs to some longer-lived higher order or class, which scientists can determine by examining common characteristics.
It's a fact, for example, that human bones share certain characteristics in common with every other mammal, including the earliest proto-mammals from over 300 million years ago:
"Mammalian and non-mammalian jaws. In the mammal configuration, the quadrate and articular bones are much smaller and form part of the middle ear.
Note that in mammals the lower jaw consists of only the dentary bone."
So, yes, "species", "sub-species" & "breeds" come and go, but fossil records show that larger related families, orders and classes have survived for tens and hundreds of millions of years.
And the important point here is: DNA analyses of existing (or recently extinct) species confirms what the fossil record suggested -- that those with very similar characteristics also have closely matching DNA.
And DNA has a rate of mutations which can be measured in living species and calculated back to geological time-frames.
Certain DNA mutation (roughly one per generation) go on regardless of any outward modifications to a "species", and can be used, for example, to estimate when, say, St_Thomas_Aquinas and BroJoeK last shared a common ancestor. ;-)
And if, for example, that last common ancestor was several million years ago, and if our sub-species had lived all those years in radically different environments, then we might well expect that today our families could no longer interbreed -- hence by definition, we'd be different "species", regardless of how similar we looked.
No, not "period", but rather "comma", followed by a more detailed explanation. ;-)