OK kids know more about evolution

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by 3Sons, Apr 20, 2014.

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  1. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Apr 22, 2014

    One of the reasons I declined an offer to teach at a religious school was because of evolution. I would never teach anything in my science class except evolution. And if someone had a problem with that, I'd leave.
     
  2. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Apr 22, 2014

    It's sad that science seems to be increasingly met with suspicion in the U.S. Ironic that I read this right after reading this article on cbsnews.com:

    Americans not confident Big Bang or evolution is real, poll shows


    Americans have little doubt about the scientific evidence that smoking can cause cancer. However, a bigger portion of Americans still question some of the basic concepts of modern science, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

    In the survey, with a representative sample of 1,012 U.S. adults age 18 or older, respondents were asked to rate their confidence in several statements about science and medicine.

    What the survey revealed was surprising. Overall, Americans show more skepticism than confidence in the scientific concept that a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago.

    There was also considerable doubt about the science behind global warming and the age of the Earth.


    The most broadly accepted scientific statement was that smoking causes cancer, with a whopping 82 percent of respondents saying they were extremely or very confident that it did....

    This is the link to the entire article. Note that only 31% are "extremely confident" in the existence of evolution.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-big-bang-evolution-ap-poll/
     
  3. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Apr 22, 2014

    Ok if you don't like 'mythology' what about 'superstition'?

    There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of creation myths. Someone earlier in this thread mentioned native American creation myths. If you are happy to write the beliefs of Native Americans as myths why is is so offensive to describe other religions as mythology?
     
  4. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Apr 22, 2014

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Apr 22, 2014

    I teach at a religious (Christian) school and we teach evolution. I was taught at a Catholic school in the 70's and we were taught evolution. I don't agree with the stereotype that religious schools don't teach evolution. There are public and religious schools that do teach evolution, and religious and public schools that don't teach it.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 22, 2014

    I live and teach in a very religious area. Example: every teacher got a notepad last week that had the three crosses washed out as the background and a verse from the Holy Bible. Still, I was taught evolution in eighth grade (which is the last I heard of it I guess because of my choice of science classes in high school). I recall arguing against it with my science teacher...haha. I now understand it better and absolutely recognize that evolution exists.

    I'm spiritual but not religious, but I still feel bothered by the attitude demonstrated by some who disagree with Christians who support ID. The harshness doesn't really help anything... In fact, it just creates greater distance between the two groups. If you'd like to "enlighten" others, I kindly suggest a less abrasive approach.
     
  7. Nate

    Nate Companion

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    Apr 23, 2014

    When you let the opponents set the terms of the argument, you're starting at a disadvantage. Instead of framing it as, "THAT'S not how the world was created, THIS is!", how about, "You can believe anything you want, but when you look at the world through this possibly-flawed, sure-to-be-refined-in-the-future lens, you can not only understand how things came to be today, but also predict how they will be in the future".
     
  8. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Apr 23, 2014

    I know not all religious schools teach creationism.
     
  9. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Apr 23, 2014

    It's kind of baffling that so many continue to hang onto the "young earth" theory and push back against evolution. I think it's become more of a symbolic rallying cry than a deeply held belief at this point. The sad part is that we're creating needless confusion and controversy in science classrooms.
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Apr 23, 2014

    The young earth museum is entertaining from the pictures i've seen
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 24, 2014

    I've been reading a book by Carl Sagan called "A Demon Haunted World" that diagnoses the causes for the general public's aversion to scientific literacy. It's very interesting.

    One of the main causes is that the Big Bang and Evolution are both VERY complex topics and it requires the knowledge and evidence from a lot of different fields to aptly support it's case (i.e. fossil records, genetics, artificial selection, historical accounts, etc.)

    It is unlikely that a student will remember all of these the first time around.

    It's also a major cause of what keeps many teachers uneducated about the concept. If the teacher cannot provide all of the evidence or explain it in a very clear way, it is not likely to convince the students who have preconceived ideas against it. It doesn't help if the teacher ALSO has a prejudice against it keeping them from learning it fully. These factors intermingle to make it very difficult for many parts of the country to learn about evolution.

    I didn't have a fully clear understanding of it and wasn't FULLY convinced until I got what was essentially an evolutionary anthropology degree from college! And let's face it, most students aren't going to continue with evolution past High School Biology if that.

    I also found it slightly amusing that many of you state to keep mythology out of the science classroom, but in fact, I LOVE integrating the mythology, both biblical and pagan, into my science lessons because it gives students a fantastic launching point. Many of them are interested in history or have learned some of these historical stories and it whets their appetite for learning how our conceptual understanding of these basic questions have changed throughout human history. I myself actually became very interested in science through the pathway of archaeology.
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Apr 24, 2014

    You could tie some mythology into a science classroom, the Egyptians worshiped the sun, the Lenni Lenape believed that there was a giant in the sky who made lightning
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I just assigned a student who was visiting Peru for a week while missing class a paper in which she should research Incan sun worship and astronomy, and precisely how it was reflected in their architecture and art. I told her to specifically talk to her relatives who are descendants of the Inca. It felt so cool to give that assignment especially because she was missing the week we were learning about the sun.
     
  14. bros

    bros Phenom

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    That is a cool assignment, and it's cross-curricular, so it is even better
     
  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Apr 24, 2014

    There's a difference between "this is what some people used to believe..." and "some people believe evolution, but here's what I personally believe..."
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Apr 24, 2014

    This entire conversation is just ridiculous!

    We all know it was the ancient aliens! :lol:
     
  17. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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  18. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2014

    I'm always amused that those who insist they only teach proven facts are so quick to jump to bre-conceived conclusions and "attack" other schools or teachers based on what they THINK the "facts" are.

    What do I mean? As Rockguy pointed out early in the conversation, there is actually NOTHING in the article stating teachers DID teach creation in their biology class. The authors speculated that the increased mis-conceptions could be due to the fact that 1/4 of OK teachers believe in creation, but the authors also said (in the next paragraph, for those who read that far) that the results also could be due to the fact that evolution theory is simply too complex for high school teens to fully grasp yet.

    As another poster pointed out, just because 1/4 of the teachers believe in Creation does NOT mean they are teaching creation as scientific fact in their biology class. It could mean they don't fully understand the theory themselves (whether due to unwillingness to explore it completely or simply an inability to also comprehend the many complexities involved). In other words, it very well could just be "bad teaching" that has nothing to do with personal religious beliefs.

    As for the horrible "harm" being done to the students, it seems a couple of other facts in the story was completely overlooked. While the number of total misconceptions about evolution did increase after the class, the total percentage increase of misconception was 5.4% (from 4,812 misconceptions before to 5,072 misconceptions after). The article doesn't clarify if these increased misconceptions occurred in all the students or only a few. What it DOES tell us is that, out of 475 students total, 216 actually had FEWER misconceptions after the class while 259 had more misconceptions after the class.

    I'll make it easy for you. That means that, after the class, roughly 54.5% had more misconceptions and 45.5% had fewer misconceptions. So the split on increased/decreased misconceptions is actually almost 50/50.

    Of course, I don't expect these facts or any others (such as the absence of a statement in the article itself stating this is what was happening) to actually deter those eager to condemn OK teachers for bringing religious beliefs into the classroom. :rolleyes:
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Apr 27, 2014

    Think about it another way. If 54% of students taking a geometry class had more misconceptions about the Pythagorean Theorem after taking that geometry class, you'd consider that a problem, correct? If 54% of students taking a class on US history had more misconceptions about the Civil War after taking the class, you'd probably raise your eyebrows a bit, right? Especially if, for example, 25% of the teachers acknowledged believing that the South should have won?
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2014

    As a matter of fact, the Pythagorean Theorem was the very first subject I ever "taught" on my own during my student teaching....and more than half of the class did NOT "get it" the first day, or the second or the third. I asked my mentor teacher if there was more I could do or something I could do differently and she said "No, not really. It's just one of those things that take a while before it finally 'clicks' with the students. By the end of the week, most of the students DID understand it - or at least understood how and when to apply it. But I'm sure there were some who never really grasped it.

    Their initial lack of understanding might have been due (in part) to my own lack of experience at the time or in the way I explained it. That coincides with the other speculations that the misconceptions of the students may be due to poor teaching that has nothing to do with personal beliefs of the teachers. In my case, I realized I needed to keep re-teaching the concept until the students DID understand it.

    As for the history lesson, I might think their needed to be some continued teaching done, but I would not arbitrarily assume the teachers who felt the South should have won were actually teaching that in their class unless (a) I knew for fact they WERE doing that and (b) the misconceptions the students had were directly related to the teaching of this incorrect version.

    Same in this case. We do NOT know that the teacher who believe in Creation were actually teaching that in the biology class, nor do we know that the misconceptions the students had were related or attributable to the teachers' personal beliefs in creation.

    Declaring or arguing otherwise is simply making assumptions which are not based in facts presented in the article.
     
  21. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Apr 28, 2014

    As a history teacher I'd be absolutely shocked if kids didn't come away from their history courses without very significant misconceptions about everything. There are myriad reasons why they do from incorrect textbooks, poor interpretations, politicization, and just plain ol' general misunderstanding.

    I don't blame any one thing since I've never seen a study actually look into the causes. You know, just like this one.
     
  22. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Apr 28, 2014

    We as teachers are tasked with passing the knowledge of our civilization onto the next generation. That's our job. You can argue we are supposed to teach only the facts, but that's not true, we are supposed to teach children as much about the world as we possibly can.
    How are we to do this if we refuse to acknowledge opposing viewpoints? Children, especially teenagers are going into a world where if they don't understand both viewpoints they're not going to really be able to think critically and understand two sides of an issue.
    Don't take this the wrong way, despite being a creationist myself, I don't think that it should be taught in science class, actually for a lot of reasons, none of which I'm going to get into here.
    However, a refusal to acknowledge the mere fact that creationism is very real to many people is a dumb idea. It polarizes people. It says, "I'm right and you're wrong, now STFU." It either teaches trust or distrust in teachers and in our civilization itself, depending upon what our personal beliefs are.
    Maybe a solution is to, along with science have students take a world religions class where they can learn about these different ideas and beliefs, somewhere where the kids aren't going to be told, "You're absolutely wrong because you believe in the bible."
    As for me, I never had a problem with it, because I was taught at home and at church that science and religion are not mutually exclusive, but they are one in the same to someone who has eyes to see and ears to hear. Some people are not so fortunate and to tell them that they're absolutely wrong about the bible (or Torah or Koran, or whatever other sacred writings of a particular faith) destroys whatever trust they did have in us.
     
  23. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Apr 29, 2014

    I was a child whose eighth grade biology teacher refused to teach the evolution unit. The reason she gave sticks out clearly in my mind: she had taught it the previous year to huge backlash from the school's parents. I remember verbatim what she said about their reactions.

    My non-religious family was a rarity in that conservative area, and I missed out. But the joke's on them, because I figured if it had to be hidden by the religious, then it had to be true. I went to the library and studied it on my own.

    Scientific theories and facts should be taught in school. Leave the religion at home.
     
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