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Author Topic:   Should we teach both evolution and religion in school?
extent
Junior Member (Idle past 1990 days)
Posts: 1
Joined: 05-04-2010


Message 1 of 984 (558823)
05-04-2010 7:22 PM


How can we teach both evolution and religion in school when they seemingly conflict so much
with one another? I found the video below on Derren Browns website today, and it pretty much
shows the incorrect way to go about it, ie showing only only side of the spectrum. Should there
be an age limit for the listener to logically and intelligently be given the 'facts' on both sides,
before they choose in what to believe? You can argue that 'getting them early' is one of the
biggest ways all religions are able to gain followers.. but the video below is a very sad thing
indeed! I believe religion should not be taught until a much older age than what is shown
above, although im sure many may disagree. Surely this should not be even legal...

Edited by Admin, : Improve formatting.

Edited by extent, : original link from derren brown website no longer working


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Admin
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Posts: 12536
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
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Message 2 of 984 (559010)
05-06-2010 5:39 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Should we teach both evolution and religion in school? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1074 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 3 of 984 (559016)
05-06-2010 6:54 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by extent
05-04-2010 7:22 PM


School or Seminar
quote:
How can we teach both evolution and religion in school when they seemingly conflict so much with one another? I found the video below on Derren Browns website today, and it pretty much shows the incorrect way to go about it, ie showing only only side of the spectrum. Should there be an age limit for the listener to logically and intelligently be given the 'facts' on both sides, before they choose in what to believe? You can argue that 'getting them early' is one of the biggest ways all religions are able to gain followers.. but the video below is a very sad thing indeed! Surely this should not be even legal.
This looks like a Christian seminar. Something that parents have purposely sent their kids to see.

IMO, religion should not be taught in public schools as part of the required curriculum. I don't have a problem with an elective religious studies class for high school age kids.

There is no reason to teach religion in the school system. Religions already have their own "schools". They teach every sabbath and sometimes in between. There and in the home is where they learn their religion.

If a child hasn't been introduced to a religion via his parents, there isn't really a need for them to be introduced to one in the school system without parent approval.


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3952
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


(2)
Message 4 of 984 (559026)
05-06-2010 8:26 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by extent
05-04-2010 7:22 PM


It's a good idea to teach comparative religion in school. This lets all sides of the theological world get a fair hearing (rather than just xianty, for example).

People only exposed to one faith are more closed minded about other faiths and therefor cannot really make an informed decision as to what to beleive in.

Once they make that choice (say Hinduism over Islam, for example) they are free to go to the relevant holy place to learn and worship freely.

Teaching religion as it is done in such a place should never take place at school: I for one remember being in primary school and have to say the 'lords prayer' with little choice in the matter.

When you talk about the 'facts' are you talking about the 'facts' of reality or the 'facts' of any of the religions we have to choose from?


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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 984 (559034)
05-06-2010 9:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by extent
05-04-2010 7:22 PM


Our Own Fault
We let it happen. Be not surprised.


"Can we say the chair on the cat, for example? Or the basket in the person? No, we can't..." - Harriet J. Ottenheimer
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Hyroglyphx
Member (Idle past 107 days)
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 6 of 984 (559037)
05-06-2010 9:35 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by extent
05-04-2010 7:22 PM


I believe religion should not be taught until a much older age than what is shown above, although im sure many may disagree.

I understand why you feel this way, but a more important precedent is at stake if it's illegal to teach kids about religion. The freedom of religion is protected and should be protected.

However, there is also a provision that says that government cannot give respect to any religion. Obviously creation and religion are inextricably linked, so if one wants to teach about creation it must be done at privately held seminars and not in public schools.


"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." -- Charlton Heston
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Modulous
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Posts: 7537
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 7 of 984 (559042)
05-06-2010 9:58 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by extent
05-04-2010 7:22 PM


Evolution and religion are both secular subjects
How can we teach both evolution and religion in school when they seemingly conflict so much with one another?

Yup. I was taught evolution and religion. I would have preferred better teaching of both, but it wasn't the end of the world.

Of course, we shouldn't teach evolution and pick an arbitrary unsupported set of religious creation stories and present them uncritically as if they had the same level of support as evolution...as in the video you showed.

The best way to teach religion is to simply teach people what different groups say they believe and what they do to express their beliefs. Instead of "God created the world in 6 days" you could start with "The Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christrianity and Islam believe that God created the world. Their creation story takes place over the course of 6 days although not all followers accept that this is a literal truth...tomorrow we will talk about the Sikhs beliefs about..."

I have no objection to that. Indeed: I insist it be a mandatory part of any reasonable education.

There should not be any proselytizing: just statements of observable facts and possible discussion of how those statements might relate to the student's own views. The ultimate goal of UK religious education is to get pupils to the standard that they can

quote:
use a complex religious, moral and philosophical vocabulary to provide a consistent and detailed analysis of religions and beliefs. They evaluate in depth the importance of religious diversity in a pluralistic society. They clearly recognise the extent to which the impact of religion and beliefs on different communities and societies has changed over time. They provide a detailed analysis of how religious, spiritual and moral sources are interpreted in different ways, evaluating the principal methods by which religion and spirituality are studied. They synthesise effectively their accounts of the varied forms of religious, spiritual and moral expression...

Pupils analyse in depth a wide range of perspectives on questions of identity and belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, and values and commitments. They give independent, well-informed and highly reasoned insights into their own and others' perspectives on religious and spiritual issues, providing well-substantiated and balanced conclusions.


And I'm more or less cool with that. (Source).

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 7282
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 8 of 984 (559192)
05-07-2010 10:54 AM


We should teach science. I don't think anyone really disagrees. The theory of evolution is the most important theory in the field of biology, so it is important that it be taught. If students do want to pursue a career in the life sciences then they must have a basic understanding of the theory before going on to university.

For religion, I think there is a way to approach the material that will benefit students. The best way to do this, IMHO, is to teach kids about other cultures and how religion plays a role in those cultures. Students could discuss how religion has helped to mold the political views of each culture, and how it relates to international relations. In today's world students should know the difference between Sunni's and Shi'a and how the friction between these sects has shaped the politics of the Middle East. I know from my college years that it is impossible to discuss the development of Western Civilization without discussing the emergence of Protestantism, Calvinism, etc. By incorporating religious education with history/civics I believe the material can be covered in an objective and informative manner.


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Coyote
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Posts: 6037
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 9 of 984 (559196)
05-07-2010 11:09 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Taq
05-07-2010 10:54 AM


Comparative religion
The best way to do this, IMHO, is to teach kids about other cultures and how religion plays a role in those cultures. Students could discuss how religion has helped to mold the political views of each culture, and how it relates to international relations. In today's world students should know the difference between Sunni's and Shi'a and how the friction between these sects has shaped the politics of the Middle East. I know from my college years that it is impossible to discuss the development of Western Civilization without discussing the emergence of Protestantism, Calvinism, etc. By incorporating religious education with history/civics I believe the material can be covered in an objective and informative manner.

What you are advocating is actually a course in comparative religion taught within the discipline of anthropology.

If you teach it within the discipline of theology you are more liable to get a whole different approach, and one that is neither based on empirical evidence nor impartial.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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Flyer75
Member (Idle past 39 days)
Posts: 242
From: Dayton, OH
Joined: 02-15-2010


Message 10 of 984 (559200)
05-07-2010 11:41 AM


Mod's last post is a pretty good. I think creation should be taught in school but not right beside evolution. There are ways to do it even without bringing the religious aspect into such as the cross and the resurrection.

Make it elective or something if kids want to take a class on creation. Also, it could be taught (here in America) as a Biblical/Western culture history class or something like that.

But I think somebody else mentioned it...the class is only as good as the teacher and for the most part, these HS teachers blow. I still remember my sophomore high school biology teacher. Good grief, this guy had no clue, none, nada, about science or evolution or biology, ect. He literally just read from the text book...no discussion, experiments, ect. Just awful. Conversely, in that same school, I had a tremendous English literature teacher who went above and beyond the call of duty.


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hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3181
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 11 of 984 (559201)
05-07-2010 12:10 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Flyer75
05-07-2010 11:41 AM


There are ways to do it even without bringing the religious aspect into such as the cross and the resurrection.

Like? Without religion, all you have is a magical being that poofed everything into existence. End of discussion. Not much for a class. Since there is no evidence to support said hypothesis, you have no discussion unless you detail all stories of creation, past and present. Then, you have quite the task at hand because there are millions of different gods with millions of different creation stories.

IF you wish to teach any creation stories, it should be in the same class they teach Greek mythology. It should also NOT be taught as any sort of fact the way that the evangelicals want it taught. Having said that, it won't fly because they don't really want to give it equal time, they want to indoctrinate.

Edited by hooah212002, : No reason given.


"The Bible was written to show us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go" -Galileao
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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 803 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 12 of 984 (559206)
05-07-2010 12:35 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Flyer75
05-07-2010 11:41 AM


Mod's last post is a pretty good. I think creation should be taught in school but not right beside evolution.

That's easily done. There should be no real objection to a COmparative Religions class, where students are taught about various religious beliefs. I don't think it's harmful to expose students to different cultures and beliefs - rather, I think it benefits them in the long run. I'd much rather have kids know what Muslims and Atheists and Hindus and Buddhists and Christians and Jews etc. actually believe instead of the stereotypes that inevitably form in the absence of real education.

Obviously, as Comparative Religion is not related to Biology, there should be no case of evolution being taught in the same classroom as religion.

There are ways to do it even without bringing the religious aspect into such as the cross and the resurrection.

Creationism is the religious aspect, and is no more or less religious or scientific than the resurrection.

That said, in a Comparative Religions class, learning about the beliefs of Christians (along with other major religions) would be the point of the class, and I see no reason either Creationism or the resurrection should be excluded.

Make it elective or something if kids want to take a class on creation. Also, it could be taught (here in America) as a Biblical/Western culture history class or something like that.

I'd much rather see an actual Comparative Religions class, not limit the class to only Christianity (which would violate the Constitutional mandate that government not specifically endorse one religion over another, and offering a Bible studies course but not an equivalent for all other religions would be exactly that). We live in an ever-globalizing society, and I think it's helpful to learn about the beliefs and cultures of those around us, rather than working from popular conceptions. After all, the average Christian's understanding of the beliefs of a Muslim or a Hindu, for example, is starkly inaccurate and incomplete.

But I think somebody else mentioned it...the class is only as good as the teacher and for the most part, these HS teachers blow. I still remember my sophomore high school biology teacher. Good grief, this guy had no clue, none, nada, about science or evolution or biology, ect. He literally just read from the text book...no discussion, experiments, ect. Just awful. Conversely, in that same school, I had a tremendous English literature teacher who went above and beyond the call of duty.

I think that comment can apply to the entirety of our educational system. In our society, all too often the teachers are under-qualified and/or unmotivated, while the students are even worse. NYC has a disgusting 50% graduation rate from their High Schools.


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Hyroglyphx
Member (Idle past 107 days)
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 13 of 984 (559207)
05-07-2010 12:49 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Flyer75
05-07-2010 11:41 AM


I think creation should be taught in school but not right beside evolution. There are ways to do it even without bringing the religious aspect into such as the cross and the resurrection.

I don't see how since creationism and the cross are inextricably linked. That has always been the fundamental problem with creationisms' lack of acceptance in the classroom. It violates the Bill of Rights. It hasn't gottet in to the classroom because it can't get passed the courtroom.

Make it elective or something if kids want to take a class on creation. Also, it could be taught (here in America) as a Biblical/Western culture history class or something like that.

It would have to be a theology class. It couldn't be an elective within a hard science course because it has no scientific backing.


"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." -- Charlton Heston
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archaeologist
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 984 (573290)
08-10-2010 7:03 PM


i hope this post belongs here, i had some computer trouble earlier so if this is a duplicate i am sorry. also,i am still trying to get used to this system it is different from the ones i normally use. look for the "".

in teaching creation or science in the science classroom, the following should be taken into consideration.

"Judge William Overton...in his 1982 decision striking down Ark. 'balanced treatment' legislation adopted as a first approximation the position that science is whatever is 'accepted by the scientific community'. If that is all there is to it, then the old objectivity aim of science is in rather serious jeopardy. A self-certified group of humans -not nature- becomes the final arbiter of science. Worse yet, from the perspective of those who oppose creationism, should some future sociological tidal wave, political swing, massive fundamentalist revival or selective natural disaster result in the bulk of the scientific community holding creationist positions, then on this definition creationism would be science."
{Battle of Beginnings by Dr. Del Ratzsch pg. 161}

Which provides a very big loophole for creationists to walk through and i do not know if this decision has been overturned or not in the last 30 years or not but if it is still on the books then it, by this decision, is okay to teach creationism as science (taking into account minor details).

But the author goes on about this decision:

"But Overton did accept and advance the following as 'essential characteristics of science':
1. science is guided by natural law
2. science is to be explanatory by reference to natural law
3. science is testable against the empirical world
4. science's conclusions are tentative, i.e., they are not necessarily the final word.
5. science is falsifiable
This definition does not look particularly promising {now he discusses points 3,4, & 5 in the next few sentences and shows the problems with this definition but i will quote parts of what he said about point 2}
Requirement 2 is worth brief examination. The content of this requirement, that science must be explanatory by reference to natural law, depends on what 'explanation' means, which is a philosophical issue-- and a disputed one at that...But if that is what explaining involves, then according to some scientists, such as Nobel physicist Richard Feynman, there just is no explanation of quantum-level phenomena, by reference to ntural law or to anything else...Overton's criteria would rule significant and crucial parts of present physics out of science..."
{pgs. 161-2}

given that decision, all creationists have to do is get enough people to agree with them and they woould be allowed to put creation back into the science classroom as science. that decision did not exclude it form the classroom but made admission dependent upon humans and who agrees with whom.

for me, evolution should not be in the science classroom for it is not really science but based upon assumption, conjecture and hypothesis. prediction does not help it for the caliber of scientific prediction does not give the theory of ev. exclusive rights to results. in other words, predictions do not exclude other sources from producing the same results.

since science has been desogned to omit the supernatural it has rendered itself blind and points itself off in the wrong direction looking for the wrong answers. Creation does not meet the present day scientific model and it can't for the latter is a human construct and the former is a one time supernatural act which will not be repeated.

in fact evolutionary origins cannot be repeated either for scientists do not know the original conditions that sparked life nor how or when the process 'took over' developement of that life form. They can't even prove the process actually exists, let alone responsible for their claimed changes in life over millions of years.

extrapolation backwards is not proof nor evidence of existence. the science classroom should not be discussing origins but topics that are scientifically proven--photosynthesis, tectonics, silt movement in rivers and so on. origins, both creationism and evolution require faith and last i heard faith is not wanted in the science lab. yet the former has more proof than the latter and we can see that proof everyday and do not have to wait millions of years to see results.

Edited by archaeologist, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15987
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 15 of 984 (573309)
08-10-2010 7:53 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by archaeologist
08-10-2010 7:03 PM


given that decision, all creationists have to do is get enough people to agree with them ...

Specifically, scientists.

Sure. If creationists could show that they were right, their position should be taught and evolution shouldn't. It would certainly pass the Lemon Test, since there would obviously be a secular purpose in teaching something which had been proved to be true.

for me, evolution should not be in the science classroom for it is not really science ...

Again, let's leave that one up to scientists, shall we?

in other words, predictions do not exclude other sources from producing the same results.

And if someone could produce another theory with the same predictions it would be worthy of consideration.

---

I shall overlook your mere errors of fact for now because the thousandth time one hears them they are not particularly interesting.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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