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Author Topic:   Creationism in science classrooms (an argument for)
Modulous
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Posts: 7449
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 1 of 609 (481570)
09-11-2008 5:37 PM


There is a similar style of thread proposed by Syamsu, but the core argument is different.

It was originally going to be a 'In the News' piece, but I think it might lead to a debate anyway. The article in question is from the Grauniad.

quote:
The Rev Prof Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society, said that excluding alternatives to scientific explanations for the origin of life and the universe from science lessons was counterproductive and would alienate some children from science altogether.

He said that around one in 10 children comes from a family with creationist beliefs. "My experience after having tried to teach biology for 20 years is if one simply gives the impression that such children are wrong, then they are not likely to learn much about the science," he said


And essentially I agree, though tackling the problems will not be easy. The science classrooms should not evolve into origins debates, but learning the history of ideas behind every concept in science helps understand how the reasoning works, and why it has come to supplant previous ideas.

The broken system

More to the point: the discussion should start at least by 11 years old (UK education). The idea of spending only a few weeks on evolutionary biology in the five years of high school (now six or even seven years), almost entirely focussed on the final two years seems as sane as spending a comparable amount of time on Newton's laws of motion in Physics (spending all the rest of the time learning the names of experimental aparatus, different types of lever, pulley, fulcrum...essentially the 'anatomy' of physics).

I see no harm in starting science by saying that there are many things people have thought to explain using magic or religious ideas, which have fallen into disfavour as scientific knowledge has increased. The origins of life is one such arena, which has caused significant controversy because it cuts to the heart of many religious beliefs.

Neither do I see any harm in warning school children that it is easy to let preconceptions, and traditional/cultural ideas colour our understanding of how the universe should work which in turn can lead to errors when using the scientific methodology to try and figure out alternative possibilities.

Finally, advising pupils that it is entirely possible to be religious and accept evolution - though it may require changing some very deeply personal beliefs about our place in the universe (I work with several people who were surprised to learn that this is the case despite being in their mid-twenties!). If a pupil doesn't want to do this, they should try to put aside their religious convictions as best they can to try and understand the science independent of their own beliefs.

Reiss' exact plan is unclear, but another science educator is quoted:

quote:
Prof John Bryant, professor emeritus of cell and molecular biology at the University of Exeter, agreed that alternative viewpoints should be discussed in science classes. "If the class is mature enough and time permits, one might have a discussion on the alternative viewpoints. However, I think we should not present creationism (or intelligent design) as having the same status as evolution."

Which I think is a good starting place, with possible overhauls later on down the line.


Dawkinsian tangent:

Finally, since it is in the article (though not entirely on my own topic), Reiss criticizes Dawkins:

quote:
Reiss also criticised Prof Richard Dawkins' argument that labelling children as belonging to a particular religion amounted to child abuse...
Reiss said he understood Dawkins' point, but said: "This is an inappropriate and insulting use of the phrase child abuse as anybody who has ever worked – as incidentally I have over many years with children who have been either sexually or physically abused – knows

I think this might say something about Reiss, since this neglects the fact that Dawkins was (mildly) sexually abused as a boy and also neglects that Dawkins stresses that the abuse was 'mental child abuse' and that finally, Dawkins is of the opinion that some mental abuse can be worse than some sexual abuse.

I include this in my OP because it is attached to the article cited, and will probably come up anyway.


For Debate:

Ultimately, the topic of debate then is, whether abject refusal to discuss that other people have other ideas is ultimately worse than accepting that other ideas exist, acknowledging them, and then explaining the scientific ideas. What are people's opinions on mentioning teleology as a way of leading to explaining natural selection as a design-argument-buster? On providing historical context on the various beliefs and ideas that preceded Darwinism (not just the religious ones)? And how some of those ideas remain in popular belief?

Each way of handling the situation has its own pitfalls, so which is ultimately better?

Forum Education and Creation/Evolution, please.


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AdminNosy
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From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Message 2 of 609 (481573)
09-11-2008 6:01 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
Syamsu 
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Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 3 of 609 (481579)
09-11-2008 6:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Modulous
09-11-2008 5:37 PM


Okay now lets immediately get down to specifics of what should be taught.

Age 4-5, just teach about creativity of people, and pupils being creative themselves a lot

age 6-12 teach about creativity of people in comparison to creations in nature

age 12-16 teach formalized logic of creation the general principles, emphasis on practical skills such as tracing back origins to decisions, distinguishing free behaviour from forced behaviour. Explain subjectivity and objectivity, that science cant speak about what is evil or good about what is loving or hateful. Teach universal creationism, that the universe is created by a free act, and that the universe will end by a free act, final judgement.

So an aptitude test might involve such things like a student determining in how far a suspect acted of their own free will, or they were forced. And then determining for the creation of a specie how much freedom there is in an ecological system and how much it was forced. Determining when something becomes more likely to happen etc.


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AdminNosy
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Message 4 of 609 (481580)
09-11-2008 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Syamsu
09-11-2008 6:33 PM


Topic!
"Free will" and other "free for all" ideas of yours are NOT the topic here. Keep it where it belongs.
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Syamsu 
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Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 5 of 609 (481602)
09-11-2008 8:08 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Modulous
09-11-2008 5:37 PM


That would be a violation of personal integrity of creationists, to first set up their beliefs as magic, and then to bust their beliefs with natural selection. And every student will be left wondering what they are allowed to believe to pass the test. And then the sciencefans would also be mortified by such indoctrination. You should be more generous from your luxurious position of having mountains of evidence for evolution. So simply present the best possible evidence for creation you can think of. That way evolution would win out in comparison that the students can make themselves independently. But you would be hardpressed to find an evolutionist teacher to try to make the best possible case for creation.
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Deftil
Member (Idle past 2016 days)
Posts: 128
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 04-19-2008


Message 6 of 609 (481610)
09-11-2008 8:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Modulous
09-11-2008 5:37 PM


Modulous writes:

Ultimately, the topic of debate then is, whether abject refusal to discuss that other people have other ideas is ultimately worse than accepting that other ideas exist, acknowledging them, and then explaining the scientific ideas.


I think this is a false dilemma. You can accept that other non-scientific ideas exist without feeling that it's appropriate to discuss them in a science class.

Modulous writes:

What are people's opinions on mentioning teleology as a way of leading to explaining natural selection as a design-argument-buster? On providing historical context on the various beliefs and ideas that preceded Darwinism (not just the religious ones)? And how some of those ideas remain in popular belief?


Ok, so the way I see it, what is suggested here is that "science class" could be expanded into "science and philosophy class" because most of what is discussed in the above paragraph is philosophy. I think philosophy is awesome, but do we want to mix it with our science class?

Modulous writes:

Each way of handling the situation has its own pitfalls, so which is ultimately better?


I'm somewhat open to the idea that explaining things in a child-and-religion-friendly manner might be wise, but my concern is that this could serve to dilute the actual scientific information in the education, and that it may be a slippery slope that eventually allows for strictly religious ideas to be taught as if they are as scientifically viable as the actual scientific theories.

quote:
The Rev Prof Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society, said that excluding alternatives to scientific explanations for the origin of life and the universe from science lessons was counterproductive and would alienate some children from science altogether.

Isn't it really correct to exclude non-scientific explanations from science classes? Isn't getting away from these ideas what science was ultimately founded upon, and what has resulted in so much of its success? Wouldn't allowing these things into science class be a step backward?
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Coyote
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Posts: 6014
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 7 of 609 (481621)
09-11-2008 9:29 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Syamsu
09-11-2008 8:08 PM


Creation "science" in classrooms
So simply present the best possible evidence for creation you can think of.

Creation is a religious belief, not something that can be addressed through science. It is based on belief, not on evidence.

What you are advocating is that science kowtow to your religious beliefs; kind of like an affirmative action program, eh?

That brings up the question: just what religious beliefs qualify for this affirmative action program? Just yours? Or all of the approximately 4,300 extant world religions? Or if we limit it to Christianity, you do realize that there are some 43,000 different branches of Christianity, don't you? Do you want to teach them all, or just yours?

I think it would be a better idea for you to deal with religion in churches and the like, and let science deal with scientific matters in other venues.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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johnfolton 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3152 days)
Posts: 2024
Joined: 12-04-2005


Message 8 of 609 (481630)
09-11-2008 11:22 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Deftil
09-11-2008 8:45 PM


Isn't it really correct to exclude non-scientific explanations from science classes?

I think it would be good to discuss why creationists believe evolution is a pagan religion!

Wouldn't allowing these things into science class be a step backward?

It would be a step forward stimulating the childs mind about the sciences.

If you want to teach radiometric decay teach why Gentries primordial polonium halo's support a young earth. This would be a great way to teach radioactive decay happening within the earth and explain how a mobile radon polonium would support an old earth but the creationists have evidence of primordial polonium and how it scientifically supports the creationists model.

What you see happening is evolutionists making fun of young earthers when the creationists really have the science to support a young earth. If you have scientific evidence to the contrary use the same easy to understand scientific terminologies to support the evolution theory.

They should explain to the children why it concerns creationists that no transistional fossils in the known fossil record. Then explain how the evolutionists can date a rock to date a fossil indirectly and the creationists can date the fossil directly due advances in science that the ratio is still present that supports the creationists young earth. Then explain evolutionists believe no ratio is left after millions of years why they don't date the fossil by C14 and the RATE boys proving time and time again the fossil do have a ratio of carbon that gives an young age by directly dating the fossil.

Then show them all the evidence of fossils still frozen in the artic circle and how they too all date thousands of years old supporting the creationists young earth. Just teach the science not the theology and you have a young earth. It should never be a child is ridiculed for believing in an young earth especially when the sciences support more an young earth than an old earth!!!!!!!

To say a young earth is not supported by primorial polonium halo's., C14 dating, and the fossils still frozen in the Artic is one of the problems with teaching evolution in the public schools and one of the prime reasons evolution is believed to be a religion not based on true science. Kind of like how evolutionists here only quote pseudo science sites like talkorigins, as evidence withoout ever answering questions. It should not be that way in schools the teacher should be allowed latitude to question an old earth, young earth, age of fossil, without the teacher being threatened on losing tenure, etc...

Edited by johnfolton, : No reason given.


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AdminNosy
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Posts: 4753
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 9 of 609 (481634)
09-11-2008 11:50 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by johnfolton
09-11-2008 11:22 PM


Specific Topics
To John and anyone tempted to reply to the details.

Let's not have this become a catch all topic. Pointing out any possible errors in John's post should be done in separate topics for each item.

Thanks.


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Coyote
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Posts: 6014
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Message 10 of 609 (481635)
09-11-2008 11:53 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by johnfolton
09-11-2008 11:22 PM


Teaching lies creation "science"
What you are advocating teaching is a pack of creationist misinformation, distortion, omission, quote mining and outright lies.

Every point you make has been refuted by science, and the evidence is overwhelmingly against a young earth. Your carbon 14 dating claims are of particular interest to me as I deal with that field a lot. Your claims are outright distortions and deliberate misrepresentations of the data. Every one has been refuted, but YECers of course refuse to believe the evidence because YEC beliefs are not evidence based!

Why should such distortions and lies be taught in science class just because some fringe group believes them?

It would seem to be a more suitable subject for an abnormal psychology class.

(The Enlightenment happened; get used to it!)


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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johnfolton 
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Posts: 2024
Joined: 12-04-2005


Message 11 of 609 (481642)
09-12-2008 12:14 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Coyote
09-11-2008 11:53 PM


Re: Teaching the Truth !!!!!!!!!
Every point you make has been refuted by science, and the evidence is overwhelmingly against a young earth.

Thats not true Gentry is still waiting to be refuted by the national academy of Science. Just teach the science of both sides of the young earth and the old earth. What I see is kids being ridicules for their belief in a young earth when Gentry is still waiting to be refuted by the academy of sciences. If the acadamy of sciences can not refute the young earth should be no reason teachers should not at least be allowed to teach the earth is a young earth. Maybe its time to push outdated science like an old earth out of the classrooms? continue to teach evolution but not the old earth part, etc...Creationists believe in micro evolution, mendel was a creationists, mutations, its science but to say the earth is an old earth when you have proof to the contrary that your scientists at the academy of sciences has not refuted. They have been continually been asked for the last 15 years to back that what they say and they can't. Its the fact the earth is a young earth. Move on teach evolution minus the old earth. Teach our kids the truth!!!!!!!!

Edited by johnfolton, : No reason given.

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XX
Junior Member (Idle past 3236 days)
Posts: 12
Joined: 09-11-2008


Message 12 of 609 (481645)
09-12-2008 12:19 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Coyote
09-11-2008 11:53 PM


Re: Teaching lies creation "science"
Enlightenment Happened

And before Darwin was taught in public schools

Science Happened

I was in the transitional period in public schools. I personally hated being forced to accept without question the "scientific" theory of evolution. If Dawkin wants to discuss child abuse, let him address the common practice of allowing children to belittle class members with epitaphs like "neanderthal." When the theory was first taught, I saw boys in tears, in an era when men didn't cry..because the teacher was preaching and enforcing (by belittling any other opinions expressed, refusing questions or by lowering grades of the heretics who dared question) the belief that their ancestors, their ggGrandmothers were apes or mated with apes. A man did not have the right to decide for himself how he was created or by whom..

Creationism was not being taught..because of separation of Church and State..

Before the schools were forced into teaching evolution, Science was a presentation of Facts.."This is a skeleton found at such and such a site, carbon dating suggests it may be X old"..Next Fact without the cramming any theory or explanation down the child's throat.

Evolution is a religion..not a science. The Christian story of Creation was not stressed because it is not the point of Christianity.

The new insult for people who question evolution is "stupid" or "creationist" now that the Ape, Neanderthal, is not an ancestor and Dawkins openly teaches that this is proper behavior.

I don't believe in evolution because I have studied it..not because I am creationist

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AdminNosy
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Message 13 of 609 (481646)
09-12-2008 12:20 AM


Separate Threads
Take each one to a separate thread.

Next one heading down a rabbit hole here is suspended for awhile.

Edited by AdminNosy, : No reason given.


Coyote
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Posts: 6014
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 14 of 609 (481653)
09-12-2008 1:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Modulous
09-11-2008 5:37 PM


On teaching creationism in science class
Ultimately, the topic of debate then is, whether abject refusal to discuss that other people have other ideas is ultimately worse than accepting that other ideas exist, acknowledging them, and then explaining the scientific ideas. What are people's opinions on mentioning teleology as a way of leading to explaining natural selection as a design-argument-buster? On providing historical context on the various beliefs and ideas that preceded Darwinism (not just the religious ones)? And how some of those ideas remain in popular belief?

Each way of handling the situation has its own pitfalls, so which is ultimately better?

In spite of some of the comments on this thread, creationism is a religious belief, and it, along with associated ideas such as a young earth, have no scientific evidence to support them.

Creationists apparently want their beliefs considered, respected, and, most importantly, not refuted in science classes so that those students who hold those beliefs are not made to feel bad or to doubt their religious beliefs.

Sorry, science is not in the "feel good" game. Science can't teach students that those religious beliefs are supported by scientific evidence because they are not. Science can't avoid confronting the subject because to avoid the evolutionary sciences, biology, genetics, geology, paleontology, and all methods of dating would essentially gut the scientific curriculum.

And science can't avoid drawing conclusions from data. Someone on this thread suggested teaching just the data and avoiding the conclusions. That won't work. Science is facts and theories. As Heinlein has noted, "Facts alone have limited use and lack meaning: a valid theory organizes them into far greater usefulness. A powerful theory not only embraces old facts and new but also discloses unsuspected facts."

So the problem comes down to whether you teach science in science classes and let feelings be hurt on occasion, or whether you censor science for all students in order to protect a small number of students from learning what has been discovered by mainstream science.

Since the Enlightenment, we no longer have to kowtow to religious authority and science is free to go where the data leads. The answer then is obvious--teach science in science classes.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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XX
Junior Member (Idle past 3236 days)
Posts: 12
Joined: 09-11-2008


Message 15 of 609 (481657)
09-12-2008 1:39 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Coyote
09-12-2008 1:20 AM


Re: On teaching creationism in science class
The Enlightenment:

The Enlightenment is the Freedom of Conscience. That means the freedom of speech and free exchange of ideas including the right to question and reject any system of belief, including Darwinism and evolution, is an Inalienable Right.

Madison proposed that if Man were free to learn, to discuss, to research without interference from any organized group of proseletizers..that most men would volutarily choose Christianity.
He was right..Americans believe in God, 91% without teaching religion in the class room.

Darwinism was Enforced into the class room by the Courts because people were not "learning" the theory but even now, with the absence of Christianity in the classroom, forced teaching of Evolution the battering of Heretics who refuse to "believe" with epitaphs like "neanderthal" ..Chistians still comprise some 91% of the population and 78% of Americans reject Darwinism in whole or part ..

According to the ideas of the Enlightenment..that Men will choose Truth for themselves..will seek it out and embrace truth on their own without any interference from anyone..especially the State..Darwinism and Evolution seem to have some credibility problems that browbeating and belittling school children are not going to solve.

It may be that Darwinism and evolution has serious credibility problems not related to Christianity..

I reject it because I have studied it and it isn't true..and it smells of racism..

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