Anti-Evolution bill in Tennessee education

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by EpicBacon, Apr 9, 2012.

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  1. EpicBacon

    EpicBacon Rookie

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  3. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    I thought they settled this in 1925 in the The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes trial.

    :huh:
     
  4. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    I hope they know what they are doing by revoking the Theory of Evolution. They do realise that Gravity is also 'only' a theory don't they!
     
  5. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Giving the teacher the freedom to teach what they believe over a set curriculum in any subject area is just not smart.
     
  6. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    There is more scientific evidence to support "intelligent design" than evolution. Why not teach both and let the students use their critical thinking skills to make an informed decision for themselves?
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Which scientific evidence supports intelligent design? I'm asking because I honestly am not aware of any.
     
  8. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    It is not, of course, and "Anti-Evolution bill," but why bother with honesty when ideology is so much more stimulating?

    It seem to me quite reasonable to present Intelligent Design as an alternative hypothesis. It is a theory in which there is a great deal of informed interest, after all. Those who get their intellectual history from Jon Stewart may be surprised to know that it is quite an ancient idea, one importantly embedded in the history of ideas, which goes back through Aquinas' Argument from Design at least to Aristotle.

    Of course, some will be more motivated by an impulse to insult conservatives than by any interest in ideas, and then may well wonder, having dismissed a significant minority of voters, why our education system is held in growing contempt.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I think the problem is that many people are uninformed about what exactly the theory of intelligent design encompasses, and what it does not. Many of my friends, and some of my colleagues, are under the impression that "intelligent design" means that the universe was created by God like it says in the Bible. Some people simply cannot imagine that there could be another option, or that we should teach anything else. It would require a tremendous amount of training for teachers to be able to teach it, and would leave the curriculum open for outright creationism to be taught by people who mean well but don't know any better. For that reason, I think that creation myths belong in history and literature courses, and science belongs in science courses. Now, if there is scientific evidence of a creator, then by all means present it.
     
  10. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    That's fine. But intelligent design is not science. And has no place in science classes.

    When somebody is stricken with cancer, we pray for them. And the prayers often work. But no reputable medical school that I know of teaches doctors that a protocol for treating cancer is prayer. That is because the role of doctors is to use only scientific knowledge to treat disease.

    Nobody is saying that intelligent design should never be taught in schools. But it should not be taught in science classes because it is not science. Aristotle and Aquinas were philosophers, and their ideas should remain in philosophy classes.

    Our education system will be held in greater contempt when a student in a science class is allowed to answer an essay question on a scientific topic with ideas that come from religious beliefs. Science is a subject that deals with strictly earthly matters. Everything taught in science classes must be based on evidence that comes from that which has been actually observed in nature or in a laboratory.
     
  11. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I never thought I would see the day in the 21st century when actual science would become political. It boggles my mind.
    When preachers and politicians are allowed to dictate curriculum the "slippery slope" now becomes a greased highway to
    Lord knows where. No irony intended.
     
  12. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    And those who get their intellectual history from Glenn Beck may be surprised to know that those ideas ARE taught in school - in their rightful place - in history and literature. I DO teach creationism in literature. I even have student write their own creation stories. It is impossible to avoid this subject when teaching history and literature. It is not science.
     
  13. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    MissCeliaB--The answers above cover it well! Carbon dating has proved to be inaccurate, and science itself says that scientific theories must be provable and able to be replicated in order to be fact. So "intelligent design"--or creation, if you will--and evolution would be at least on equal ground. And since we know nothing happens without a cause--something or someone making it happen--that puts creation one up on evolution. Plus--if evoloution is true, why are things deteriorating instead of improving through evolution? It's not happening.
     
  14. TeachOn

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    "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design" are not interchangeable terms, except of course for purposes of anti-religious screed, which is indeed well-served by this bit of sloppy thinking.

    As to the relevance of these ideas to a science class, I am not surprised that the history of ideas in science is now regarded as irrelevant to the study of ideas in science in a country which ranks 25th in the world in this subject matter. This is particularly the case in a discipline in which, according to its own methodology, all conclusions are to be regarded as in some degree hypothetical. The history of science is strewn with abandoned "certainties" of former days. Consider phrenology, the phlogiston theory, global warming, etc., etc. Our 25th ranking ought at least to teach us a lesson in intellectual humility.
     
  15. KateL

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    We're not really going to argue this again, are we? It seems like this topic comes up on these forums every 6 months or so. The argument gets heated, posts get deleted, and nobody changes their minds. Intelligent design is not science and should not be taught in science class, but am I really going to convince posters like scholarteacher and TeachOn of that?

    Edited to add: We rank so low in science standings in part because we're the only Western country that has a significant number of people not accept evolution as fact. They don't have to deal with this in science classes in Europe...
     
  16. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    1) So any discussion in which every post does not agree with your views is not worth having? How was it getting your college degree in North Korea?

    2) Your argument that our low standing in science is due to creationist interlopers is so remarkably absurd that your coy "in part" doesn't come even close to covering your indiscretion.
     
  17. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    We'll agree to disagree. I don't believe evolution should be taught in science class, and it is not in keeping with what our founding fathers intended. One day we'll know for sure. No, you won't convince me any more than I could convince you. :)
     
  18. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Intelligent design is just a way to try to resolve creationism with science after trials like Scopes, and it was labeled creationism and deemed just as illegal in the Dover trial.

    I would be curious to know how those 24 countries teach science - while many other countries teach religion, it is kept separate from science. I don't find the claim so absurd - what I find absurd is how religion continually has hindered our understanding and advancement of science in many areas - not just when it comes to evolution.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

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    I do not equate intelligent design with creationism, but the problem is that many people do. Creationism would belong in a philosophy course. Much of the "science" that I have seen presented by proponents of teaching intelligent design would also belong in a philosophy or history course. I am aware that there is some scientific evidence for intelligent design, though I have not had an opportunity to do much investigation into its validity. However, the lobbyists and major organizations who are pushing for ID in classrooms are not presenting this evidence as part of the curriculum they are proposing.

    I am only an "armchair" scientist, but I do know that for every study you show, you can show two studies that show the opposite. While carbon dating is perhaps less accurate than originally thought, there are other methods of dating things, and I'm going to go with what the prevailing experts agree as having the most evidence to support it. As to why things are deteriorating, I can only speculate, but I would think that humanity's footprint and rapid consumption of resources may have something to do with it. I do not see how that is related to the idea of Darwinian evolution, which I assume is what we are discussing.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    For a calm and thoughtful discussion of the proper meaning of "theory" in science and of the appropriateness of teaching the theory of evolution in science classes - written by a scholar with a Ph.D. in the history of science, several decades of experience homeschooling and supporting homeschooling, and a profound Christian faith - see http://www.dorthonion.com/drcmcm/BIOLOGY/CourseInfo/Evolution.php. scholarteacher, please read it: as Dr. McMenomy points out, those who intend to argue against evolution need to understand how science really works and what the theory does and doesn't claim.

    Warning: Dr. McMenomy's article may be less than appealing to those who are given to polemic for polemic's sake.
     
  21. TeachOn

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    No one of good faith who has actually read my posts would assert that I "intend to argue against evolution." I support the inclusion in the curriculum of alternative views in the interest of placing evolutionary theory in the context of the history of ideas and in the interest - at a tactical-pedagogical level - of perhaps inciting a lively exchange of ideas in the classroom.

    It is hard though, I understand, for those of very firm ideological conviction, to pay attention to the clear expressive intent, let alone the nuances, of those who disagree with them. Such persons are likely as well, as another effect of their inability to see beyond their dogma - in addition to the reading comprehension and thinking problems - to ascribe polemicism to anyone who might commit the unforgivable indiscretion of disagreeing with them.

    One expects this, of course, and is undaunted.

    As for your article, I will read it if I have the time. I will provide no link for alternative views, Google sufficing entirely for the task of finding them as well.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

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    Of course you weren't arguing against evolution: you're merely preening, as I believe you've put it elsewhere.
     
  23. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    1. No, I'm saying that I've already had this discussion several times on these forums, and it never ends well.

    2. I'm not going to get sucked into the "games" that you attempt to play with people who don't agree with you.
     
  24. Tyler B.

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    Right on, Sarge! Go ahead and teach philosophy in a philosophy class. Most science teachers are not qualified to teach philosophy.
     
  25. Cerek

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    Thanks for the link, TeacherGroupie.

    I have no problem teaching evolution in the manner described in the paper.
     
  26. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    I teach science and teach evolution. If a child in one of my classes brings up creationism as a thory I have about a dozen different creration stories ready to hand out. These come from cultures all around the world and are as different from each other as Evolution is from Genesis. I then ask them which one they would like to choose as they are all equally valid (or invalid).
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

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    You're most welcome, Cerek.
     
  28. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Creation stories are all part of social studies and humanities lessons. I don't know of anyone - liberal, conservative, athiest or otherwise who would object to that.
     
  29. scholarteacher

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    From Sarge--"That's fine. But intelligent design is not science. And has no place in science classes."

    And I would say--Evolution is not science either!
     
  30. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Good job you don't teach science then!
     
  31. TeacherGroupie

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    What is science, then, scholarteacher, and how do you know?

    I'm asking this sincerely. ("How do I know?" may be the single most important question in education.)
     
  32. lucybelle

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    When I go abroad and tell people that I teach science they all go "and do people get mad about evolution?" Because the only place this is even a problem is in the USA! Evolution should be taught because it is the accepted theory in the scientific community right now. Science is a dynamic subject that constantly changes, so teachers change with it. But, for now, evolution is what is accepted. So it is what is taught.

    I don't go banging on churches doors telling them they have to teach evolution as an alternative. Why are you allowed to tell me I have to teach creationism in science class?
     
  33. novalyne

    novalyne Rookie

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    With all due respect, this simply isn't true. Scientific theory CANNOT be proven - only disproven. There is no such thing as a "proven" theory, because there is always the possibility that new evidence can be found that disproves the theory.

    The common misconception is that a theory in science is something that is proven and a "fact". But in actuality, a theory is simply something that is currently supported by a large body of evidence.

    The reason that intelligent design is not regarded as a scientific theory is that there is not a large body of EMPIRICAL evidence that supports it. There are plenty of "what if's" and "maybe's"...but that is not science. Philosophy, maybe - but not science.
     
  34. Tyler B.

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    In the '70's, I was teaching in a state that required that I teach creationism when I taught evolution. So I did just what you did: laid out three different creationist myths from different religions.



    _______________________________________________
    favorite blogs: http://ed-is-life.blogspot.com/ and http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/
     
  35. JustMe

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    Oh boy...
     
  36. Cerek

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    I really like the teacher's approach because it addresses my primary concern with Evolution vs Creation/Intelligent Design; that some supporters (and teachers) appear to have the mindset that evolution may not necessarily be the right answer, but Creation is absolutely the WRONG answer.

    My understanding of science is that, unless a hypothesis can be proven irrefutably, then NO answer can be arbitrarily excluded regardless of how remote the likelihood may be of that solution.

    The teacher acknowledges the validity of Creation and ID, but points out she will deliberately ignore these in her Biology class because it will focus ONLY on that which can be scientifically observed, tested and proven and Evolution is the only theory that meets this strict criteria. She agrees Creation and ID should be taught in classes other than science, but also reminds her potential students that this does not diminish the validity of either theory. She also seems to encourage her students to study the other theories for themselves and then decide which explanation they feel is the best.

    That is what I would want to do if I were teaching science; focus on that which can be proven scientifically, mention (but not teach) other theories that exist (but cannot be proven scientifically), and encourage the kids to research all the possibilities and decide for themselves which one works best.
     
  37. EpicBacon

    EpicBacon Rookie

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    Hmm, I think people have forgotten Biology class already.

    You don't remember the old question? What's the difference between a scientific theory and law? A scientific law is what happens in a natural event and a theory explains how it happens.

    In scientific terms, a theory isn't an educated guess; it's a fact. So it's kind of funny seeing people saying, "Oh evolution isn't real. It's just a theory!" They don't realize that they just said it was fact.
     
  38. Cerek

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    It's true the term "theory" means much in scientific terms than it does in normal usage and that can be very misleading for those unfamiliar with the difference.
     
  39. MissCeliaB

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    I will never understand why so many people object to the term "myth." I remember watching a kid with an "aha" moment a few years ago. We defined a myth, and then she asked, "wait, what makes the story in Genesis any different from these other stories?" I replied that according to this definition, nothing did, but that the difference is in the believer. She was shocked to discover that what we in modern times consider myth people once felt as strongly about as she does about her own faith. She had always thought that in ancient times they were like, "Let's make a myth about how this all happened!" It made for a much more respectful classroom environment from there out.

    Also, note that I teach literature, not science.
     
  40. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    I do teach science. Fortunately, I don't have to incorporate the unfounded theory of evolution in my lessons.
     
  41. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    It has to be proven and able to be replicated. When it comes to origins, none of us can do either of these. It takes faith in something we didn't experience and can't prove to believe creationism or evolution.
     
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