Skip to comments.Faith and science: UAB professor's book helps teachers present evolution without offense
Posted on 11/28/2009 10:53:49 AM PST by Bodleian_Girl
Faith and science: UAB professor's book helps teachers present evolution without offense
UAB education professor Lee Meadows grew up in love with science, but his conservative Southern Baptist upbringing left him somewhat conflicted.
Meadows has written "Missing Link," a textbook on how to teach evolution without offending religious beliefs. "It's a book for teachers to help them deal with the issue of evolution with middle and high school students," he said.
Meadows said he knows the student's perspective from experience.
"Biology is my favorite subject," he said. "But evolution scared me off as a student. I was afraid of evolution from the first I heard of it. I don't know that I've reconciled it, but I've realized science has its own set of rules."
Meadows, now a member of a conservative Presbyterian Church in America congregation, remains an evangelical. But he's forged a way to study evolution on the terms of science without compromising faith.
"My faith is still important to me," he said.
Now he looks at the issue through the eyes of a teacher.
The key for Meadows, a former high school science teacher, has been "teaching by inquiry," a method he said encourages students to study the fossil record, tracing animals back through time and understanding scientific explanations of changes and apparent adaptations.
"Teaching by inquiry is hands-on science on speed," Meadows said. "It's giving them the evidence, then seeing how scientists interpret the evidence. Inquiry always says start with the evidence."
Meadows offers one cardinal rule for teachers: "Never challenge a kid's religious beliefs," he said. "I want teachers to say, 'What you believe the Bible says is really important.'"
Students should learn science on its own terms, not as a competing explanation to religion, Meadows said. "Science limits itself to natural evidence."
It's not necessary to mock anyone's beliefs to teach evolution, Meadows said.
"Science teachers in public schools have two legal duties: they have to teach science, but they also have to care for the kids, as if they were parents for that hour," Meadows said.
Public school science teachers are bound to teach the theory of evolution and the evidence that leads scientists to embrace it, he said.
"Their duty is to teach evolution," Meadows said. "In a public school, they are barred from teaching creationism, which courts have ruled is inherently religious."
Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was explained in his book "On the Origin of Species," published in 1859. Because of the 150th anniversary of the book's publication and the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth in 1809, there have been many commemorations of Darwin and his life and theories this year.
*There has also been backlash by those opposed to Darwin's theories. Filmmakers Jon and Andy Erwin, [sons of Senator Hank Erwin] of Birmingham-based Erwin Brothers Motion Pictures premiered their anti-evolution documentary, "The Mysterious Islands," on Tuesday at the Alabama Theater. They did their filming in the Galapagos Islands, reviewing Darwin's conclusions and siding with another member of Darwin's ship, Captain Robert Fitzroy of the HMS Beagle, who disputed many of Darwin's conclusions.
Meadows said that while many may object to Darwinian theories on theological grounds, it's important that students be given a solid science education.
In his book for teachers, he recommends lesson plans that go to source material on fossils.
Meadows recommends studying the work of J.G.M. "Hans" Thewissen, professor of anatomy at the Northeastern Ohio Universities, who has documented the evolution of whales. He directs teachers to the Web site www.neoucom.edu/DEPTS/ANAT/whaleorigins.htm.
"There is piles and piles of evidence for evolution, and scientists can explain that," Meadows said. "What the kids believe at the end of the day -- that's their choice."
In regards to the premier of the movie "The Mysterious Islands" (which was attended by over 1300 people on a Tuesday night in downtown Birmingham, which in and of itself is very newsworthy,) The Birmingham News did not cover this event. Nor did any other local media, except one blog writer.
I find that strange especially in light of the fact that it was produced and filmed by local filmmakers Jon & Andy Erwin. Also, The Birmingham News has long been very proactive in promoting indy films, and especially the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. It seems strange for them to go completely dark on this film premier.
More than a few state dignitaries were there, including longtime conservative activist and now senator, Hank Erwin, Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell, and one of my personal heroes, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker.
A good question to start asking is how much so-called “settled science” of the past, even the distant past, was contrived by grifters and charlatans like Gore and his buddies at the CRU, Penn St. etc? I’m gonna stop believing ALL of it for the time being, pending some clarification and the defrocking of the scamsters.
So you no long believe in physics, astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry...?
To me it is just plain silly to think that all of this came about by chance. The probability of that is beyond impossible.
Incidentally, nobody has ever shown that one species can change into another species. That is scientifically observable evidence of something.
Science needs to get its house in order. Global warming is not likely the first flim flam sold as “settled science.” I’d love to say I know the other flim flams—but not knowing which or what, I’ll reserve judgment on all of it.
I take God on faith. With everything else, I verify.
I’ll take science over faith any day, but to each their own.
Who says they're mutually exclusive?
Who says they're mutually exclusive?
Conflicted Evolutionist Ping... in my neck of the woods, no less.
I was speaking in regards to the examination of the universe; when you're trying to figure out stellar nucleosynthesis (just as a for instance), there's simply no place for faith. The scientific method is the only model that produces reliable results.
“To me it is just plain silly to think that all of this came about by chance”
Randomness if used for statistical purposes but very few belief in chance as an actual force in the universe.
“Incidentally, nobody has ever shown that one species can change into another species.”
It happens so slowly that by the time it happens again with large organisms our civilization will likely cease to exist. Human science hasn’t existed long enough to record previous population changes of that magnitude.
Howdy! I clicked on your link since you said this was in your neck of the woods. Tell me about your book.
Also, is that covered bridge in Blount County?
Science is an activity of the mind, which is immaterial and unprovable. Science’s must basic assumption — that the mind exists and that its perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy — is a leap of faith. So right off the bat science has got big problems if it wants to diss faith.
I've been asking that for ages and no one every answers.
This looks like one that won't turn into a burning man o' war, the deck slippery with blood.Meadows has written "Missing Link," a textbook on how to teach evolution without offending religious beliefs. "It's a book for teachers to help them deal with the issue of evolution with middle and high school students," he said... "Biology is my favorite subject," he said. "But evolution scared me off as a student. I was afraid of evolution from the first I heard of it. I don't know that I've reconciled it, but I've realized science has its own set of rules." ...he's forged a way to study evolution on the terms of science without compromising faith... "Never challenge a kid's religious beliefs," he said. "I want teachers to say, 'What you believe the Bible says is really important.'" ...It's not necessary to mock anyone's beliefs to teach evolution, Meadows said.To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
The Missing Link:
An Inquiry Approach
for Teaching All Students
author page on Amazon
whoops, and the author’s weblog:
A good question to start asking is how much so-called settled religion of the past, even the distant past, was contrived by grifters and charlatans.
Frankly, the past of religion (and Christianity) if full of grifters, charlatans, and false prophets.
That is one of the most bogus arguments raised against evolution and natural selection. Since no two generations of anything are identical every species and member of every species is by definition transitional in the evolutionary process. If changes are gradual they are not recognized as evolution by creationist. If changes are major the relationship is denied.
Well the same can be said about some denominations that send out the prescribed acceptable organizational doctrines for Sunday worship. See now there is the pension to consider.
Evolution in the sense that all of life resulted from a hot steamy pot of primordial pond scum is beyond fantasy, it is just as big a hoax as the climate scientists 'cooking' the numbers to make it appear we are about to cook ourselves.
Anyone ignorant enough to refer to science as a singular entity isn't to be taken seriously. "Science" is comprised of many thousands of individual pursuing nothing more altruistic than self interest. There is no "agenda", no "evo-religion", no "Temple of Darwin". There is no scientific conspiracy to deny God. Most scientists are just highly intelligent, highly educated working slobs punching a time clock and looking forward to the weekend, vacation, and retirement like every other working slob.
Evolution is not about the origin of life, it is about the origin of the variety of life.
I believe - and I'm not a specialist here - that the accepted theory is that the mind and its perceptions are based on electrochemical reactions that will eventually be explained/clarified. There is a contrarian school that there is something more to the mind but it isn't mainstream among brain scientists. Yet.
My point: mainstream brain science does not accept that the mind is anything more than a poorly understood MacBook.
Excuse me. I know that hidden behind the evolutionary curtain is the HOT steamy pot of pond scum of primordial soup wherein one single cell got all hot and bothered and reproduced itself. Then over the eons of time walla here I am.
Just about anything dealing with stellar nucleosynthesis is based on faith and that faith is placed for the most part in crude models of man's imagination alone.
And models are used, because the farthest a man made (though still unmanned) object intended for study has traveled any distance in space is a mere ~.016 light years (Voyager 2). And you think you can tell us anything substantive about objects presumeably millions of light years away? Quite an extrapolation there.
Telescopes are vieweing light through "dark matter" and under influence of gravitational "black holes" whose influence man can't even begin to measure and you think you've got some scientific method to make sense out of things no credible astrophysicist can yet?
One cannot subject the theories one posits about stellar nuclearsynthesis to anything the scientific method can actually study.
Forget stellar nuleosynthesis -- terrestrial nuclear synthesis itself has only been modelled. No atom has been physically viewed, nor have theoretical quarks, nor subatomic particles, nor even the more theoretical "strings" themselves. Evidence for atomic and molecular structure is determined through an assortment of surrogate measures, but not one single atom has been humanly observed. It is still theory.
You clearly have no understanding of exactly how much faith scientists place in fallible human models, because you are too busy placing your FAITH in what somebody told you is the "approved" science.
Of course this is just like every other sucker does who believes what "approved science" says based on the fraud riddled "evidence" they have been passing off in the climate change debate for years. And when it comes to darwinist materialism, they've just been doing it for 150 years longer.
The fact that scientists are willing to assert anything at all about the mind (or anything else for that matter) is proof in itself that they believe in the mind and believe that its perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy. After all, a scientist relies on his mind to formulate his theories about the mind. If he didn’t have faith in his own mind — in his own thoughts and reasoning — then he would have no basis to assert anything. And his faith is precisely that: faith. In order for it to be anything more, he would have to get outside of his own mind and view it from an objective vantage point, which is of course impossible.
I know that sounds far out, but it’s the materialist/atheist/scientistic crowd that gets the ball rolling on this notion of stringent objectivity and rejection of faith. I’m just following their reasoning to its conclusion. In my opinion, if these guys were really consistent, their proper role would be as silent ascetics sitting on street corners, crushed and silenced by their own skepticism.
My belief is that God created our minds as reliable tools for perceiving and learning about and understanding the world around us. It is precisely my faith in God that gives me confidence in the possibility of science. I see atheism and materialism as an attack on the mind (for instance by likening it to an unthinking, unwillful, un-truth-knowing computer) and therefore, ultimately, an attack on science.
The book is a fictional book based on me and my two older brothers growing up in Alabama. It’s my first published book and, well... I like it but I’m biased.
I’m not sure about the bridge... where did you see the picture? There’s a picture of one in the book but it’s a steel bridge. It is in Blount County.
Do you write as well?
There was a picture on your FR user page. It reminded me of a covered bridge I saw once up in Blount County.
I only write in journals and blogs, but I love reading memoirs.
Congrats on your book being published!!!! What a great accomplishment.
Link... Gothcha... that link.
That is, indeed one of the covered bridges in Blount County, not far from where I live.
Sorry for being a bit dense.
Well, how about that!
I went to school in Pinson, so Blount County was just a hop and a skip up the road so to speak.
Have you ever heard of Turkey Creek?
“That is one of the most bogus arguments raised against evolution and natural selection. Since no two generations of anything are identical every species and member of every species is by definition transitional in the evolutionary process. If changes are gradual they are not recognized as evolution by creationist. If changes are major the relationship is denied. “
If you narrowly define evolution as change within species, then we are all evolutionists. Some of us do not believe that random mutation and natural selection can bridge the chasm from fins to feet, gills to lungs, cold blooded to warm blooded, to name some examples. Such change has certainly not been observed. The reply by the evolutionists is that such changes take too much time to be observed in a lifetime, or even in the time over which evolution has been theorized. Fair enough, I guess, but the fact remains that such drastic changes have not been observed. The argument is valid - it has not been demonstrated.
Hmmm...every candidate of integrity and honour turns into the same sellout when they're actually secure in the role...we've all witnessed that.
Me, I'll stay with evolution - it and Christianity are not mutually exclusive.
Absolutely. I moved from Pinson to Blount County about 3 years ago so my boys could grow up in the country. Small world, eh?
That is only because no level of evidence will satisfy those whose minds are already made up. You would demand thousands of intermediate generations to form a chain of evidence to prove anagenetic speciation (the gradual changes cumulativly significant enough over time that it is reasonable to conclude that the changed form was so different that it would not have been able to reproduce with the original ancestral form). Alternately, major successful mutational changes via polyploidy are denied as not related. There are a numerous of examples of transitional species if one only cares to look for them. To expect that scientists produce an example of a cow giving birth to a live whale as the only acceptable example is an exercise in self deception.
The ONLY thing the so called evidence demonstrates is commonality of substances used to 'form'/'create' life. There is NOT one shred of evidence of human flesh beings creeping, crawling, swinging or hanging from one species to another. IT is a fantasy modeled much like the modelers of global warming have created.
The scientific method is the only model that produces reliable results.
In 1861 the French Academy of Science published a list of some 51 so-called scientific facts which apparently disproved the Bible. Today, there is not one reputable scientist that would stand behind any one of these so-called facts.
The library of the Louvre has 3.5 miles of shelving containing obsolete science books.
400 years ago, a leading scientist numbered the stars at 1056. People then assumed the Bible was wrong when it compared the number of stars in heaven to the number of grains of sand of our seas.
Jeremiah 33:22 says, “The host of the stars of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea be measured.
I Corinthians 15:41 says stars differ in beauty and brilliance.
This was writen thousands of years before the telescope. The Bible was correct. The scientists were wrong. No error in The Bible. In fact, scientists proved the Bible correct.
We should not only consider scientific methods but also history. I don’t believe you could find many reputable historians that would deny that Jesus walked this earth. He has also had more impact on this planet than anyone.
Science has, in fact, strengthened my faith.
Heard a good analogy the other day..namely that evolution bringing “all this” about by chance is akin to a crane in a junkyard picking up random parts here and there and forming a fully built *working* PC.
“So you no long believe in physics, astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry...?”
- And how many of the above who have Ph.Ds actually buy into the scam that is global warming?
Step back from the bong. There is not one shred in anything I have posted to suggest that human flesh being anything other than human flesh. I have not addressed the creation of life either. I have only addressed the emergence of variety.
Hmmm...I think you meant to reply to the poster I replied to, not me. We’re on the same side on this one.
Alot of studies in science came from the bible, some found in the book of Job. I don’t think you can have the science without the faith...
I love Blount co. We lived in St.Clair, another nice area of Al. Now we are in Madison.... I would love to go back to St. Clair.
You are sounding like BJClinton on the matter of what the meaning of the word is, is. Variety of what?