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Creationism in Private Schools

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Posted

When I was introduced to a bit of depth on evolution in high school, it was definitely preceded with, "There are many religious stories about how life came into being. We aren't going to discuss those, because this is a science class. We're going to be learning about observed explanations for life and how it has evolved on this planet."

If you look back at my posts on this topic, what you describe is pretty much what I advocate (though perhaps worded a bit differently).

I've yet to hear anyone give a good response as to why that's unacceptable, though admittedly it's clear from some responses that they're not actually responding to what I'm saying so much as to what they see as the general idea.

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Posted

Quite a few introductory biology courses at the college level actually DO go into the history of biology and evolution, which includes references to the fact people believe, you know, in creationism. I currently teach one intro class, I have text books from three others, I took one myself, and all have covered the history of biology at some level such that it was clear that at some point in history and even today, there are people who sought spiritual answers to the origins of life. Hard to believe, I know - I mean, it's not like it is fuging OBVIOUS to anyone not living under a rock that some people believe God started it all, but yeah.

In high school, when we were talking about the scientific method, we also talked about why science doesn't try to deal with things like "Does God exist?" because of the idea of if something can be falsified.

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Posted

If you look back at my posts on this topic, what you describe is pretty much what I advocate (though perhaps worded a bit differently).

so if you advocate what is already the case - what's the big deal?

the reason things like ID/creationism don't get any actual time in science classes is really quite simple. there is no science behind them. since we do not have a national religion, we'd have to cover all kinds of creation stories if we covered them, and that's not what science class is for... that is far more for a religion/philosophy course.

I've never heard an educator in a class say "God doesn't exist." to students. I'm sure some have, but very few science teachers are stupid enough to say something like that. I have heard many say that they may not believe but others can, or that they believe but people don't need to, but most science teachers I know actively avoid the topic.

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Posted

Quite a few introductory biology courses at the college level actually DO go into the history of biology and evolution, which includes references to the fact people believe, you know, in creationism. I currently teach one intro class, I have text books from three others, I took one myself, and all have covered the history of biology at some level such that it was clear that at some point in history and even today, there are people who sought spiritual answers to the origins of life. Hard to believe, I know - I mean, it's not like it is fuging OBVIOUS to anyone not living under a rock that some people believe God started it all, but yeah.

In high school, when we were talking about the scientific method, we also talked about why science doesn't try to deal with things like "Does God exist?" because of the idea of if something can be falsified.

Something like that, along with an acknowledgement that science cannot "disprove the existence of a higher power" is pretty much fine with me.

Again, read my posts. I'd say it was pretty obvious (despite the reactionary responses of some).

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Posted

so if you advocate what is already the case - what's the big deal?

the reason things like ID/creationism don't get any actual time in science classes is really quite simple. there is no science behind them. since we do not have a national religion, we'd have to cover all kinds of creation stories if we covered them, and that's not what science class is for... that is far more for a religion/philosophy course.

I've never heard an educator in a class say "God doesn't exist." to students. I'm sure some have, but very few science teachers are stupid enough to say something like that. I have heard many say that they may not believe but others can, or that they believe but people don't need to, but most science teachers I know actively avoid the topic.

Because you've got many who would advocate not even allowing for the mention of such things, calling it an "establishment of religion".

The only other thing that bugs me is the teaching that evolution is proven fact, when in reality it's just a theory and the evidence is open to interpretation.

But again, if people say "you can't look at this in any way except this way" what's the difference between that and orthodoxy?

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Posted

Something like that, along with an acknowledgement that science cannot "disprove the existence of a higher power" is pretty much fine with me.

Again, read my posts. I'd say it was pretty obvious (despite the reactionary responses of some).

I've only been to one high school - but multiple colleges. I was exposed to evolution in three places in an educational setting before college: a church setting (yes really), a middle school, and a high school. In none of these places was I told that science sought to disprove the existence of God. Quite the opposite, actually. In fact, the VAST majority of introductions to the history of evolution I have had come with the explanation that naturalism came from the devout individuals who hoped to better understand God/Gods through understanding the natural world etc.

I guess you went to a school where they denied God, science teachers told you that if you didn't believe them you were an idiot etc, but that just wasn't my experience.

Bottom line for me: Denying that alternate theories exist and saying that "it's not science unless you interpret it the way we say to interpret it" is a mark of intellectual cowardice.

Alternative explanations you mean? Remember that "scientific theory" is quite different from "hypothesis" or explanation. Science classes do not teach every hypothesis, that would be a bit ridiculous. Instead, they focus on those hypotheses that have been widely supported with verifiable observation/calculations etc.

All I read here is that if you believe in creationism, you can't be a scientist.

hmm... I'm sorry you feel that way... but I would say that there are very few, perhaps no true evolutionary biologists that believe in creationism as it commonly advocated in the popular media. There are some who think that God could have started it all, but creationism typically forgoes a common ancestor, ID typically ditches natural selection, and I don't think there are any serious evolutionary biologists who would agree with that.

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Posted

no... you... just... didn't...

Don't fall for the "evolution is a theory" tagline...

Evolution is FACT. Things evolve. We have transitional fossil records to prove this.

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Posted

I've only been to one high school - but multiple colleges. I was exposed to evolution in three places in an educational setting before college: a church setting (yes really), a middle school, and a high school. In none of these places was I told that science sought to disprove the existence of God. Quite the opposite, actually. In fact, the VAST majority of introductions to the history of evolution I have had come with the explanation that naturalism came from the devout individuals who hoped to better understand God/Gods through understanding the natural world etc.

I guess you went to a school where they denied God, science teachers told you that if you didn't believe them you were an idiot etc, but that just wasn't my experience.

Me? No, but there are a lot of folks out there these days that want anything questioning the orthodoxy or even acknowledging the possibility of other theories (especially religious ones) kept out of even being mentioned in the schools.

That's the kind of thing I think is ridiculous.

Alternative explanations you mean? Remember that "scientific theory" is quite different from "hypothesis" or explanation. Science classes do not teach every hypothesis, that would be a bit ridiculous. Instead, they focus on those hypotheses that have been widely supported with verifiable observation/calculations etc.

Would you deny that intelligent design has a pretty broad base of support?

And again, what some interpret one way, others may see differently.

Why is that a difficult thing to acknowledge unless you fear allowing people to question the orthodoxy?

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Posted

Me? No, but there are a lot of folks out there these days that want anything questioning the orthodoxy or even acknowledging the possibility of other theories (especially religious ones) kept out of even being mentioned in the schools.

Remember, scientific theories are not the same as "possible explanations" - those are hypotheses, really. Scientific theories are repeatedly confirmed through empirical observation and/or experimentation. They are not speculative at ALL. Hypotheses are general ideas that offer one possible explanation for some observed phenomenon.

There is little point in mentioning things like ID/creationism in a science class IMO unless it is specifically designed at spending time examining the philosophy behind science etc. Else, you're just wasting time from science on non-science stuff.

And there is no science behind creationism. Yes, google will tell you there is. That means nothing. The actual "science" is NOT science, it is speculation and distortion.

Would you deny that intelligent design has a pretty broad base of support?

And again, what some interpret one way, others may see differently.

Why is that a difficult thing to acknowledge unless you fear allowing people to question the orthodoxy?

What does a broad base of support mean? I'd argue that there is a broad base of total lack of understanding of science in a general sense, as well as many specific theories in science. What does that have to do with *science*?

I don't even... what are you even talking about with interpretation here? What about evolution do you want interpreted differently?

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Posted

no... you... just... didn't...

Don't fall for the "evolution is a theory" tagline...

Evolution is FACT. Things evolve. We have transitional fossil records to prove this.

Riiight.

As I recall, Piltdown Man was presented as proof of evolution in the Scopes Trial before it was discredited.

Remember, scientific theories are not the same as "possible explanations" - those are hypotheses, really. Scientific theories are repeatedly confirmed through empirical observation and/or experimentation. They are not speculative at ALL. Hypotheses are general ideas that offer one possible explanation for some observed phenomenon.

So is the Big Bang proven, or for that matter even provable?

If not, then should it be taught in science classes?

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Posted

So is the Big Bang proven, or for that matter even provable?

If not, then should it be taught in science classes?

Proven? Depends who you ask I suppose but I am not a physicist so this is not my area. Probable? Hell yes. There are mountains of evidence of the Big Bang, from Hubble's law to primordial gas clouds to accurate age estimates from a variety of sources. There are many, many lines of evidence of the Big Bang. Scientific theories, however, are not immutable - that's the brilliance of science. That doesn't mean they are speculative. They're not. They are the best possible explanation we have right now based on our accumulated evidence, and have received rigorous testing and experimentation.

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Posted

Riiight.

As I recall, Piltdown Man was presented as proof of evolution in the Scopes Trial before it was discredited.

You're lumping human evolution with evolution.

Evolution exists... Maybe there isn't so much evidence with the human species right now, but there is plenty of supporting evidence elsewhere.

No matter how much you do this:

noise-fingers-in-ears-001.jpg

...it doesn't change the fact that species adapt and evolve.

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