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Author Topic:   Help in teaching 11-12 Year olds (RE (Religious Education) in the UK)
RAZD
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From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
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(2)
Message 16 of 126 (531847)
10-20-2009 8:26 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by JJtheJester
10-19-2009 3:32 PM


False Dichotomies and Narrow Focus
Hi JJtheJester, and welcome to the fray.

I would like to make a list of the *three* strongest arguments from a evolutionist and the same for a creationist as to why each thinks his/her point of view is correct about how life forms came into being and are the variety we see now.

Please note that each of the three points needs to be simple to understand and expressed in just a couple of sentences. I will give further explanation during class time if I think it is needed.

There are many versions of creation, and I hope you cover each one of them as well, if your goal is to present the subject with an open minded approach. Some versions of creation are quite interesting and markedly different from the Judeo-Christian matrix.

This means that your question is not properly formed if you only consider one version of creation.

Personally I am a Deist, and a simple version of creation according to deism is that god/s created the universe at the beginning of time, complete with the natural laws that make stars and planets behave as they do, and forming a universe with elements of chaos to ensure the most diverse environments are provided, salting that mixture with pre-biotic molecules that then find root in the soils of planets where the development of life is possible.

There is no conflict between this type of creation and the scientific view of things progressing alonge natural means, as the natural means are the tools of creation.

This means that your question is not properly formed if you consider that it is either creation OR evolution.

Now let's look at what evolution means: evolution is the change in hereditary traits in populations from generation to generation.

There is nothing there about origins.

The best argument for evolution is the evidence: evolution is all around us, populations are constantly changing the mixtures of hereditary traits from generation to generation. The process of evolution is an observed fact. In addition, such evolutionary processes have been observed to operate in isolated populations in different ways: evolution is a response mechanism to select variations within a population for the ecology they live in, so different ecologies will result in different selections. This differential evolution in isolated populations has been observed to result in speciation events - where a parent population gives birth to daughter populations that are reproductively isolated and thus are no longer in the same species. This shows that diversity of life forms can be developed by evolutionary processes in an ongoing manner, and that species can be linked by common ancestors, some recent.

The second best argument for evolution is that there is no evidence that contradicts it: there is no evidence of changes in populations that are not related to changes in hereditary traits.

The third best argument for evolution is that it is sufficient to explain the evidence of the past life of this planet. Here we see the process of common ancestry forms a tree of heredity from parent populations, such that all related species share common traits while still having traits that identify them as distinct species, with the non-shared traits being developed after the shared traits.

Again, you will note that there is no mention of origins here.

Rather what science is doing is working backwards from what we know - the life around us, and the fossil evidence of past life - to determine what happened in the past.

There currently is no evidence of the development of life on earth, and thus the mystery of origins is shrouded, hidden, unknown at this time. What we know is that the earliest known fossil bearing rocks show life fully formed. What we know is that when the earth formed it was not hospitable to life as we know it. What happened in between is not known.

I hope this helps you.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by JJtheJester, posted 10-19-2009 3:32 PM JJtheJester has not yet responded

Michamus
Member (Idle past 3502 days)
Posts: 230
From: Ft Hood, TX
Joined: 03-16-2009


(2)
Message 17 of 126 (531865)
10-20-2009 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by JJtheJester
10-20-2009 7:04 AM


False Dichotomies and the Like
JJtheJester writes:

...adversarial techniques are a very good way of looking at issues-


I'm sorry, but I would have to disagree. My main reason would have to be that "adversarial techniques" typically create a false dichotomy. Without surprise, it seems this is what your OP creates, in it's omission of other options.

The very fact that you stated to have taught "THE Creation Story" belies this omission of other options, in that there are countless Creation Stories throughout all the cultures in this world.

JJtheJester writes:


I have used it for class discussions and it is certainly a better way of teaching than telling children what to think.


The issue here though is you really are telling them what to think in your very omission of alternatives. This is a common strategy in diplomacy, war, and various board games. You limit your opponents options so you can more effectively control him/her.

When you do that with children, it is the same effect. How many of your students are aware of the Annunaki, and Sumerian belief structures? How many are aware of the Code of Hammurabi which predates the possibly plagiarized "Commandments".

JJtheJester writes:


I am surprised by the negative feedback I have had to get pupils to look at all sides of a debate before coming to their own conclusion.


Your surprise is unwarranted. Two sides is not all sides, and to pretend it to be is downright silly or misinformed on your part.

JJtheJester writes:


Using this type of technique forces us to look at the evidence, and not just simply take what someone else tells us.


That's just the problem though, isn't it? The children have to take the two scenarios (out of many) that you are telling them, and make a decision off those TWO SCENARIOS. So essentially, they aren't really choosing at all.

It's like a reply I made to one of my buddies statements. He said one day when things got really bad: "We're either going to die cowards, or men!" to which I replied "I choose cake!".

___________________________________

In all seriousness, teaching children is one of the most important tasks one can have, as it directly influences a child for the rest of their life.

I would highly recommend that you stick to religious explanations within your classroom, and go over each and every creation story of each major (historical and present) culture. Take those stories and have your students correlate what similarities and differences each story has. Then allow the class to discuss why they think these differences and similarities exist.

They will learn plenty about the facts of evolution in biology class.

Edited by Michamus, : typo


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by JJtheJester, posted 10-20-2009 7:04 AM JJtheJester has not yet responded

Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 1041 days)
Posts: 2191
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 18 of 126 (531866)
10-20-2009 9:45 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by JJtheJester
10-20-2009 6:48 AM


Re: Do not mix science and religion
JJtheJester writes:

Thanks for telling me how to do my job!

I am sorry if I gave that impression, it was not my intention. I was only expressing my personal opinion that religious education should restrict itself to religious topics.

To push this issue out of lessons because it 'reduces to the oxymononic level' and therefore not teach it is to pander to censorship.

I am not arguing for censorship. By all means, teach your pupils religious education, teach them evolution, and teach them about the debate. But don't teach them about the debate in science class, or in religious education class. By doing so you run the risk of making them think that religious opinions are scientific topics, or that evolution is a religion. Best to avoid the confusion and teach them about the debate in a neutral setting.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 449 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(1)
Message 19 of 126 (531889)
10-20-2009 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by JJtheJester
10-20-2009 7:04 AM


Hey, I'm getting the hang of this forum, now I can properly box and shade quotes ... thanks for the advice bluegenes

Glad to see it!

Modulous, adversarial techniques are a very good way of looking at issues- I have used it for class discussions and it is certainly a better way of teaching than telling children what to think

I'm not disputing the utility of adversarial techniques, but I think it isn't entirely appropriate for an introduction to this topic.

Using this type of technique forces us to look at the evidence, and not just simply take what someone else tells us.

Agreed. And if creationism had evidence then this might be worthwhile. Instead what is being done is presenting arguments which goes along the lines of:

Science: The evidence suggests that life evolved.
creationism: No it doesn't.

That isn't really useful. Instead of doing all of this you could do something much more useful.

You could say: Here is the Genesis account which is largely agreed upon by the Abrahamic faiths.
Taking it literally brings it into conflict with science, since the evidence points to a gradual emergence of life.
So how do the religious handle this conflict?

Some claim evolution is wrong, that the science is somehow faulty. That the word of God is more trustworthy than mankinds attempts to uncover truths.
Some claim that the evidence is conclusive, and that evolution happened and that this is how god did it and the genesis account is metaphorical or is itself a manmade story inspired by the fact that god created the universe and is told in a way that people of the time could understand. Or the like.

Then you could adversarily discuss the merits and problems of these approaches for religions to adopt when it comes into conflict with scientific ideas.

That way - you don't have to worry about teaching wrong things about the science or the religion. The kids get to be exposed to the idea that religious ideas and scientific ones may be seen to be in tension with one another and some of the various ways that religions deal with this tension. They remain free to decide which strategy they prefer so that when it comes time for them to study evolution for about a week in a few years time if they find a conflict with their religious beliefs they'll have some tools at their disposal for handling it themselves.

The only other fair way of dealing with it is to teach them the totality of the evidence for evolution and let them decide for themselves if it is compelling enough. And that's the role of the biology class. And that won't really get covered at GCSE level anyway.

So unless you feel up to the task of explaining phylogeny, cladistics, comparative genomics, comparative morphology, nested hierarchies, biogeography, atavisms, developmental biology as well as geology, paleontology and so on - you are not going to be doing justice to evolution and you are going to give a skewed view of things.

Since the evolution vs creation debate is ultimately a question about whether the evidence for evolution is compelling enough to account for all life and is not really about the evidence for special creation you might as well leave that aside, try not to make it a science vs religion issue and try and impress upon the kids that while some people feel there is a definite conflict and one or the other must be true, many others feel the two views can be harmonized.

No matter how I try and answer your call for three evidences it comes down to this:

The creation view is that the apparent design of life cannot be explained by evolution or any other natural process.

The evolution view is that it can.

And the only way to settle this is by exploring whether evolution can explain the apparent design of life or not. So it turns into a pure evolution lesson.

So here are the arguments for creation I've come across:

1. The argument from design (and that evolution can't account for it) therefore an intelligent being did it.
2. The argument from bible (the Holy Bible is true, therefore Genesis is a true account, therefore Yahweh did it)
3. The argument from consequences (if evolution did do it - we'd be immoral monsters and there'd be no ultimate court of appeal and that would be bad so therefore it isn't true and it must have been god (invoking of a shaky dichotomy)).

Evolution simply points at genetics, anatomy, biogeography, geology, paleontology, the patterns in the fossil record, the way in which embryonic development occurs - everything piece of physical evidence imagined and studied so far is entirely consistent with evolution having occurred. Multiple independent lines of evidence that all point to a specific conclusion.

I think the adversarial method is a great teaching tool at times, but there are other times where it isn't practically workable and, excuse me for a moment, is just a way to make things easy for the teacher who supplies the students with a small bunch of arguments and asks them to decide which they prefer. All they learn are what some arguments are.

That's why I think there is much more value in teaching them that there is a tension between some religious ideas and some scientific ideas and give them some ideas on how to tackle them. Tell them that Creation is one, and that scientists are overwhelmingly of the opinion that evolution occurred based on the mountain of evidence in its favour. If this is so, how to reconcile this with Genesis? You might raise some other famous controversies: The Germ Theory of disease vs demon theory. The heliocentric solar system vs the geocentric.

Tell them it is possible to reconcile some of these religious ideas with scientific ones but it requires changing one or the other or both. Let them decide whether they accept evolution when they hear it presented by someone trained in doing so (which will sadly have to wait principally until A-level), and let them use your valuable lesson in reconciliation guide them on how to square the acceptance of evolution with their religion. Do they completely reject one, or do they somewhat modify one or two?

If you really want to present the evidence for both cases in a tight little package my best advice is to teach it historically as I said earlier. That was how I learned it in RE, and it was fab. I learned about the argument from design and how compelling it was and how science started wondering about things when they noticed the patterns in the fossil record. Darwin came along and presented a scientific account for how things could gain the appearance of having been designed without the need for a designer. You can even go into the social issues that this brought up - how it upset people, and the birth of Scientific Creationism which was an attempt to find scientific flaws in evolution or to try and prove various stories in the bible were true, and that it is a field that has so far not gained any real support in scientific circles while evolution continues to acquire new pieces of evidence every day.

But no doubt that will cause upset by the creationists. Just about anything you do will be considered controversial by one side of the debate or another no doubt - hence why my prime advice is to not go down that route at all and just teach the evolution exists, is in conflict with a literal interpretation of Genesis and you can debate some of the ways to handle this conflict.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by JJtheJester, posted 10-20-2009 7:04 AM JJtheJester has not yet responded

Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 449 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 20 of 126 (531907)
10-20-2009 12:51 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by JJtheJester
10-19-2009 3:32 PM


There is one, and only one, reason to think that Creationism is true: and that is the idea that the Bible is the "literal" and infallible word of God.

There is one principle reason to believe Evolutionism is true: the idea that reality can be determined and described by rational investigation.

To teach your pupils anything else is to lie to them. Evolution and Creation aren't competing ideas; one is a simple faith statement backed up by FUD and lies, the other is a scientific theory backed by a wealth of empirical investigation. And, frankly, I'm kinda disappointed that our country has sunk enough that this Creationism is even considered an idea worth discussing.

I suppose if you did want to discuss it in a Religious Education class you could start by discussing other science Christianity has been historically wrong about like sun going round the earth. That could put Creationism in it's proper context.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by JJtheJester, posted 10-19-2009 3:32 PM JJtheJester has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by JJtheJester, posted 10-20-2009 6:26 PM Dr Jack has responded

JJtheJester
Junior Member (Idle past 3617 days)
Posts: 7
Joined: 10-19-2009


Message 21 of 126 (531981)
10-20-2009 6:26 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Dr Jack
10-20-2009 12:51 PM


Last post...
Hmmm, it seems that I have opened a can of worms by simply suggesting that a topic is discussed at school. I must say that I am surprised by the comments posted here. I came sincerely looking for opinions on a topic which I admittedly have sparse knowledge of ... in reply I get a couple of members who can answer my request (thanks phage0070 and bluegenes) and numerous other comments calling into question my ability to teach effectively.

This will be my last post in this thread, I don't have time to justify my school policy or teaching methods- it was not the intention of the posting.

Due to limitations of my time I will only answer a few of the objections raised.

RAZD writes:


There is no conflict between this type of creation and the scientific view of things progressing alonge natural means, as the natural means are the tools of creation.

This means that your question is not properly formed if you consider that it is either creation OR evolution.

I understand your point, and I agree that there are people like yourself who believe in 'theistic evolution'- a point which I also cover.

Your comment that my question is not properly formed ... look at the name of this website: EVOLUTION VERSES CREATION forum- are you of the opinion that the website name itself is not properly formed either? Doesn't the name itself IMPLY that it is either creation or evolution? Nevertheless your point is taken, even if it is a bit pedantic.

michamus writes:


The very fact that you stated to have taught "THE Creation Story" belies this omission of other options, in that there are countless Creation Stories throughout all the cultures in this world.

Thanks for your moral indignation that other faiths might be left-out, they are not!

michamus writes:


The issue here though is you really are telling them what to think in your very omission of alternatives. This is a common strategy in diplomacy, war, and various board games. You limit your opponents options so you can more effectively control him/her.

It seems that you are reading into my actions your own thoughts and intentions, what you suggest is far from what I intended. You may be into mind control but I am not. I agree that there are more than two points of view, but it is a common technique to start with two, then show that the situation is more complex. To *not* discuss this issue is to omit alternatives. The very fact that I am willing to discuss alternatives shows that I prefer education to indoctrination- your implication (if I have understood it) is unwarranted.

michamus writes:


I would highly recommend that you stick to religious explanations within your classroom, and go over each and every creation story of each major (historical and present) culture. Take those stories and have your students correlate what similarities and differences each story has. Then allow the class to discuss why they think these differences and similarities exist.

Er, excuse me, didn't you just say that omitting the alternatives is an effective way of exerting control? In which case why shouldn't evolution be discussed alongside the other issues- your arguments are inconsistent.

parasomnium writes:


I am not arguing for censorship. By all means, teach your pupils religious education, teach them evolution, and teach them about the debate. But don't teach them about the debate in science class, or in religious education class. By doing so you run the risk of making them think that religious opinions are scientific topics, or that evolution is a religion. Best to avoid the confusion and teach them about the debate in a neutral setting.

You have not suggested *which* subject the issue should be discussed in- by all accounts you are advocating censorship by limiting options.

modulous writes:


And if creationism had evidence then this might be worthwhile.

Erm, *WHO* decides if creationism has the evidence? *That* is the whole point of the discussion! This is the reason why I have come to the forum- the evidence should stand for itself. I have had discussion on the existence of fairies- and I have not experienced this much apparent paranoia and insecurity. What you are advocating is sponsorship- why shouldn't we decide ourselves if the evidence is enough?

modulous writes:


That isn't really useful. Instead of doing all of this you could do something much more useful.

What would be *useful* is to take an issue which was raised in class and to discuss it. The issues which you have raised have no interest in the class- it appears that you want to impose your world-view on others by *not* discussing alternatives.

Mr Jack writes:


There is one principle reason to believe Evolutionism is true: the idea that reality can be determined and described by rational investigation.

To teach your pupils anything else is to lie to them.

... and to teach them that this is no other point of view is a lie by omission. Your paranoia and insecurity is a testament to your fear of discussion, as is your use of emotive language.

Mr Jack writes:


And, frankly, I'm kinda disappointed that our country has sunk enough that this Creationism is even considered an idea worth discussing.

The evidence will speak for itself, one way or another- *Who* should decide if anything is worth discussing? Why shouldn't it be discussed? I again quote michamus- limiting options (and discussions) is a type of control. By implication you seem to prefer indoctrination by omitting discussion, I prefer education.

This is my last post, with thanks to phage0070 and bluegenes I have the information which I need- I will seek other information elsewhere. If I had more time I would have liked to have discussed some of these issues more ... but alas we teachers have limited time, and this lesson has taken longer to plan than I first intended.

I hope to increase my knowledge of the issue of evolution/creation over time. Maybe I will return to this forum if I have further questions.

I had no idea that raising this issue would cause such negative feedback- if I have offended anyone in my answers I give my sincere apologies, I did not come here to debate but to get opinions, but I felt that I should give some justification to what I am doing, and I cannot help but point out inconsistencies when I see them. I wish there was a creationist point of view too which I could use.

JJ :-)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Dr Jack, posted 10-20-2009 12:51 PM Dr Jack has responded

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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2534 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 22 of 126 (531989)
10-20-2009 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Larni
10-20-2009 7:08 AM


I would like to make a list of the *three* strongest arguments from a evolutionist and the same for a creationist as to why each thinks his/her point of view is correct about how life forms came into being and are the variety we see now.

I am going to go against the grain of my fellow evolutionists and say I disagree with many of the points. To start with in an attempt to give 3
points to each you would need to start with the topic of how life stated prior to the debate between evolution and creation of different forms of life. The point on the scientific side would entail a discussion of hypotheses of abiogenesis (life from non life chemicals) and panspermia (life from other places in the universe) and compare this with your creation story of the same issue. then you could show 3 things from Evolution & Creation and compare them.

PS I hope you come back whenever you have the time. I was never a teacher in the traditional sense but I was an instructor in the Army and know where you are coming from in regards to time

Edited by bluescat48, : type what else (DUHHHHHHH)


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by Larni, posted 10-20-2009 7:08 AM Larni has not yet responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 449 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 23 of 126 (532000)
10-20-2009 7:56 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by JJtheJester
10-20-2009 6:26 PM


Re: Last post...
I came sincerely looking for opinions on a topic which I admittedly have sparse knowledge of ... in reply I get a couple of members who can answer my request (thanks phage0070 and bluegenes) and numerous other comments calling into question my ability to teach effectively.

I don't know if anyone called your ability to teach effectively into question. We did call into question the wisdom of setting this topic up in the way that you are thinking of.

And if creationism had evidence then this might be worthwhile.

Erm, *WHO* decides if creationism has the evidence?

When we are talking science, the community of science is a good place to start. But you have only a sparse knowledge of this area so I was giving you what knowledge I have acquired: Turns out that there isn't any evidence for creationism...creationists spend almost all of their energy arguing against evolution.

If you don't believe me, go right ahead and spend a few years reading creationist words and the words of those that disagree with them. That didn't seem like a practical thing for you to do so I thought you might appreciate my condensing my own experience for you.

You asked us for evidence for and against. I mean - you could stand up and say 'the fact that the grass is green and this makes us happy is evidence for creationism' - but I think you'd simply be misleading your students.

That isn't really useful. Instead of doing all of this you could do something much more useful.

What would be *useful* is to take an issue which was raised in class and to discuss it.

And I was giving you my opinion on a method for discussing it which I thought might interest you. Clearly you would rather become indignant that I had the audacity to tell you how you should teach or something.

The issues which you have raised have no interest in the class

I was talking about evolution and creationism controversy. This is exactly the issue under question.

If you want to teach your pupils about the controversy then do that.

If you want to teach them a handful of arguments that evolutionary biologists use to succinctly support evolution and a handful of religious apologetics use to support creationism then let me give you want you want.

Evolution:

1. The fossil record shows a history of change in the kinds of life that has existed over time.

2. Genetics can be used to calculate the relatedness of families and this can be extended to species and beyond.

3. The genetic family tree matches up with the family tree made by examining anatomy.

There three fairly decent arguments for evolution that are somewhat interrelated and show multiple lines of evidence converging towards a single explanation.

Creationism:

1. The second law of thermodynamics says things get worse, not better. Evolution says things get better. The second law cannot be broken. Evolution is false therefore god did it.

2. The fossil record has gaps, and is consistent with a global flood rapidly burying all life within a single year.

3. Evolution has never been observed - but witnesses have recorded speaking with god and they wrote down what he said and since god never lies evolution didn't happen and creation did.

If you simply give those arguments out to your pupils and tell them to repeat them at each other for a while, plus any information they happen to know independently of those arguments you can sit back and watch, occasionally moderating and I'm sure everyone will have a nice 50 minutes and everyone will be interested.

You know my opinion of doing that. If you don't like the creationist arguments, if you think they are too 'weak' because I

want to impose your world-view on others by *not* discussing alternatives.

then by all means - go look up some better ones. There are plenty of creationist websites you can look through. Or try www.evolutionfairytale.com - Fred Williams will be more than happy I'm sure to give you three of the best bits of evidence for creation.

However - you would be misleading your pupils if you used these kinds of arguments since the creationist ones have been shown to be false. That's why I suggest you focus on the philosophical and theological arguments like the argument from design and how evolution is a proposed explanation that scientists say gets around this argument.

If I seem to want to impose my world-view on others by *not* discussing alternatives to you - after my long post detailing what I think is a fair and balanced method for discussing the alternatives without upsetting either 'faction' then you have serious reading comprehension problems.

I don't think there is merit in teaching them apologetics - but it's your class and your job and I'm in no position to stop you. I can only express my opinion: Teach them that some people are creationists. Teach them some people believe life came about through evolution - a scientific theory. Teach them some people believe that god created life via evolution. Teach them the facts! Don't omit truths - I'm not suggesting you do. Just don't teach them a bunch of lame arguments about thermodynamics and fossil records and and think you are being 'fair minded' about the subject.

By not teaching them several years of physics, chemistry, biology and maths you will be the one telling a "lie by omission" as you put it. You would be omitting vitally important information needed to come to an informed decision as to the validity of evolution to explain the physical evidence.

Creationist arguments are designed to appeal to people who lack the background and training in science. They work best in small soundbites that are easily memorised and repeated. Arguments for evolution, being a scientific discipline, are complex and difficult to fully understand without learning a lot first. If you present them in this fashion they may think that thermodynamics does present a challenge to evolution...because they haven't got a clue what thermodynamics is and why it is doesn't pose a problem for evolution. What are the pro-evolution side of your debate to do? Start talking about Enthalpy, heat engines and energy flow? Whose going to teach them this? And when?

I hope to increase my knowledge of the issue of evolution/creation over time. Maybe I will return to this forum if I have further questions.

Remember when I was talking about how the adversarial method isn't always the best? Here at EvC we're all about adversary and arguing. We post arguments and criticisms. That is what we do - its a hobby/obsession. That's why we know this debate requires a lot of background knowledge to really tackle in any meaningful way in an adversarial fashion without 'lying by omission' (in fairness you could get the main creationist talking points done in a few minutes. Evolution may take a few years).

The adversarial method is great for this debate if both sides have access to sources as they are arguing - where they can look up sources and spend several weeks and months reading through lots and lots of text (and a fair amount of maths). When they don't have such access - it kind of fails as a method I feel.

However - you are always welcome. We're mostly really nice around here - but teaching of evolution and creation is often focused on American schools - and their culture is quite different so you might expect a bit of interest when a UK RE teacher shows up.

Final piece of advice if you do return: We aren't for censoring information: its just that there is so much more information to discuss about evolution than there is about creation to give them equal time misrepresents evolution and bolsters creation right from the start. We're not trying to prevent children from being exposed to this information. I've said many times they should be. But, from a position of someone whose seen many evolution vs creation debates in written and video form: I think the way you are doing it would be unfair. And I think you can give them all the same information in a more fair fashion.

What you do with my opinion - is up to you


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by JJtheJester, posted 10-20-2009 6:26 PM JJtheJester has not yet responded

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8868
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 7.2


Message 24 of 126 (532008)
10-20-2009 8:19 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by JJtheJester
10-20-2009 6:26 PM


Teaching
The very fact that I am willing to discuss alternatives shows that I prefer education to indoctrination- your implication (if I have understood it) is unwarranted.

You are teaching 11-12 year olds. It is my opinion that a teacher's job is to carefully select material at an appropriate level.

Until university level is reached that involves a large amount of selecting what will be excluded as well as included. Children of this age are not going to have 1/10th the necessary time to make a reasonable analysis. Unfortunately that means they can't be given the entire picture to 'decide for themselves'.

It is your job as a teacher to understand the material well enough to make a professional selection of what will be presented.

There are hints here that you are not in a position to do that job for this subject.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by JJtheJester, posted 10-20-2009 6:26 PM JJtheJester has not yet responded

RAZD
Member
Posts: 20332
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 25 of 126 (532017)
10-20-2009 9:18 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by JJtheJester
10-20-2009 6:26 PM


Re: Last post...
Hi again JJtheJester,

Sorry to see you go when there is still so much to discuss. Perhaps you will learn from your students eh? I find this comment rather humorous:

(Message ): Thanks for telling me how to do my job!

Because you came here asking for help in doing your job. I also wonder what techniques you use in your classroom discussions:

(Message ): Modulous, adversarial techniques are a very good way of looking at issues- I have used it for class discussions and it is certainly a better way of teaching than telling children what to think. If the arguments are strong, they will hold up to scrutiny.

This sounds like the old Aristotelian method of debate, where the best argument wins irrespective of truth. What kind of scrutiny is used? Do you cover the basics of logic, so that AT LEAST properly formed arguements are learned?

Your comment that my question is not properly formed ... look at the name of this website: EVOLUTION VERSES CREATION forum- are you of the opinion that the website name itself is not properly formed either? Doesn't the name itself IMPLY that it is either creation or evolution? Nevertheless your point is taken, even if it is a bit pedantic.

Which is a logical fallacy, and it doesn't make your question any better formed.

Hmmm, it seems that I have opened a can of worms by simply suggesting that a topic is discussed at school. I must say that I am surprised by the comments posted here. I came sincerely looking for opinions on a topic which I admittedly have sparse knowledge of ...

So you readily admit to pretend to teach something you understand poorly, and then blast us for having a negative reaction to your proposed course of action?

The evidence will speak for itself, one way or another- *Who* should decide if anything is worth discussing? Why shouldn't it be discussed?

The evidence does speak for itself, but there are also people who misunderstand it or misrepresent it through ignorance, and as a teacher one should take extra precaution about that problem. This is normally done by learning the subjects one teaches, so that they do know how to do their job. One of the biggest problems in schools in the US today is having teachers that don't know their subjects, especially science topics.

Don't mistake a "balanced" approach for a "fair" approach.

I hope to increase my knowledge of the issue of evolution/creation over time. Maybe I will return to this forum if I have further questions.

Please do - then you can tell us the results from using the information provided.

If you do want to learn more (and assist others in learning) I can recommend the Berkeley Evolution Website Evolution 101: it is well laid out, uses simple language to explain the points, breaks things down into easy blocks of information, and provides a wealth of information about the basics of evolution as it is taught by biologists.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by JJtheJester, posted 10-20-2009 6:26 PM JJtheJester has not yet responded

Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 449 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 26 of 126 (532057)
10-21-2009 6:28 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by JJtheJester
10-20-2009 6:26 PM


Re: Last post...
... and to teach them that this is no other point of view is a lie by omission. Your paranoia and insecurity is a testament to your fear of discussion, as is your use of emotive language.

Of course there are other points of view. Just as there is a point of view that the Earth is flat, the Black people are inherently evil, that the the Holocaust was made up as part of a Jewish conspiracy - the list of "points of view" goes on and on and on. But I'd hope you'd not present these as valid alternatives to reality.

The evidence will speak for itself, one way or another-

The evidence does speak for itself, but 11-12 year olds - and Religious Education teachers for that matter - lack the scientific background to properly assess it.

*Who* should decide if anything is worth discussing? Why shouldn't it be discussed?

Because the role of schools is to educate pupils; not provide a platform for misinformation. Does your history department discuss whether the holocaust happened? Of course it doesn't; it just teaches children what actually happened. Why then do you want to take similar denialism and promote it as if it is an alternative and equally valid proposition to reality?

Edited by Mr Jack, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by JJtheJester, posted 10-20-2009 6:26 PM JJtheJester has not yet responded

Michamus
Member (Idle past 3502 days)
Posts: 230
From: Ft Hood, TX
Joined: 03-16-2009


Message 27 of 126 (532077)
10-21-2009 8:16 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by JJtheJester
10-20-2009 6:26 PM


Re: Last post...
JJtheJester writes:


and numerous other comments calling into question my ability to teach effectively.


I don't think I have read a single reply doing this.

The only thing I can think of as a cause for these feelings is our reply to your cry for help on the topic of religion and evolution. It appears you have taken some of the more critical of posts to heart (mine included) when really there was no personal attack at all.

JJtheJester writes:


This will be my last post in this thread, I don't have time to justify my school policy or teaching methods- it was not the intention of the posting.


Awww, gone so soon? We didn't even get a chance to really discuss anything. I hope this isn't a result of a defensive mechanism recoiling at the sight of adversity.

JJtheJester writes:


Thanks for your moral indignation that other faiths might be left-out, they are not!


Excellent to hear. So when you said you taught "THE creation story" what you really meant was "I taught all the various creation stories".

JJtheJester writes:


It seems that you are reading into my actions your own thoughts and intentions


And what intentions are those exactly?

JJtheJester writes:


You may be into mind control but I am not.


The why do you use adversarial tactics? Do you not realize the very control this creates? I can't really explain it much more than I already have, but here's another try.

Banker A says to Man B, you can either transfer your money to another account within our bank, leave the money in the bank account, or give us the money in the account.

Now assuming the man's ignorance to all other options (Much like a child) what options does he not know, that may benefit him more than the options provided him? I'd say Option D, withdraw his money from the account, and ditch the bank.

JJtheJester writes:


but it is a common technique to start with two, then show that the situation is more complex


Maybe where you teach RE it is, but when I was in grade school RE class, I was taught all the abundance of religious views there are out there. Not once was I educated on scientific priniciples. I even recall one student asking about the contradiction between evolution and most religions. (I grew up in a more fundamentalist part of the country, and the student didn't put it so eloquently)

The teacher's response was excellent in hindsight, but horribly strayed to my young fundamentalist self. His response was "I'm sorry, but this is a religious class, you can get all the answers about evolution and it's validity in biology class." (He had to define validity for most of us youngsters)

JJtheJester writes:


Er, excuse me, didn't you just say that omitting the alternatives is an effective way of exerting control?


Not so fast there. I was explicit in qualifying my statements. Apparently that isn't working, so I will do a direct comparison.

You - Think that Religion A (Chrisitianity it seems) should be compared to Science B (Evolution) and they should be squared off in a battle royal for the young students to see.

I - Think you are teaching a religious education class and should be teaching about the various religions throughout the world, and how they compare to each other (imagine that).

Who is limiting the options beyond the already present limiting factors of the class topic? The answer is obvious.

JJtheJester writes:


I had no idea that raising this issue would cause such negative feedback- if I have offended anyone in my answers I give my sincere apologies


You shouldn't ask for criticism if you aren't ready/willing to receive it. I have seen no personal attacks on your character.

I have seen excellent recommendations from educated individuals (like yourself) on what teaching styles should be employed. These responses are a direct response to your request for help on the very subject they are responding to.

A word of advice. Next time you come for advice, check your ego at the door.

I'd imagine that is going to be read as another Personal attack, but oh well.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by JJtheJester, posted 10-20-2009 6:26 PM JJtheJester has not yet responded

Peg
Member (Idle past 3274 days)
Posts: 2703
From: melbourne, australia
Joined: 11-22-2008


Message 28 of 126 (538537)
12-07-2009 6:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by JJtheJester
10-19-2009 3:32 PM


Hi JJtheJester

JJtheJester writes:

how life forms came into being and are the variety we see now.

The apostles Paul said:
Acts 17:26 “He made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.”

In the human species, its genetics that created the great variety of traits seen in various nations. IMO, the animals, which were made according to their kinds, have the same genetic ability as we do.

We can easily see this in dogs, cats, horses etc. One species can produce a wide variety of different traits, colors, sizes...even shapes.

I dont think scientists know exactly where all the boundaries are which separates one species from another. There are probably some animals that are considered different species, but are actually not.

Also, kids need to know that evolution is a 'theory' not a 'fact'. Its always protrayed as a fact of science but its not a fact no matter how much people like Dawkins proclaim it to be.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by JJtheJester, posted 10-19-2009 3:32 PM JJtheJester has not yet responded

Peg
Member (Idle past 3274 days)
Posts: 2703
From: melbourne, australia
Joined: 11-22-2008


Message 29 of 126 (538539)
12-07-2009 6:40 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Parasomnium
10-20-2009 9:45 AM


Re: Do not mix science and religion
Parasomnium writes:

I am sorry if I gave that impression, it was not my intention. I was only expressing my personal opinion that religious education should restrict itself to religious topics.

the issue of creation IS a religious topic.

And for kids to be informed of the difference between the ToE and creation, then the only place they'll hear the difference is in their religious class because science refuses to present creation as an alternative. IOW in science, there is no choice.

why dont scientists present a Theory of Creation???

Is it because they refuse to believe that a God could exist???

Edited by Peg, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Parasomnium, posted 10-20-2009 9:45 AM Parasomnium has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Huntard, posted 12-07-2009 6:47 PM Peg has responded
 Message 33 by Dr Jack, posted 12-07-2009 7:03 PM Peg has responded
 Message 34 by Rahvin, posted 12-07-2009 7:05 PM Peg has not yet responded
 Message 36 by Coyote, posted 12-07-2009 10:10 PM Peg has not yet responded

Huntard
Member (Idle past 640 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 30 of 126 (538542)
12-07-2009 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Peg
12-07-2009 6:40 PM


Re: Do not mix science and religion
Peg writes:

why dont scientists present a Theory of Creation???


Because there is no theory of creation.

Is it because they refuse to believe that a God could exist???

Yes, all those religious scientists refuse to believe a god exists....


I hunt for the truth

I am the one Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand
My image is of agony, my servants rape the land
Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain
Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name
Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law
My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore.
-Lyrics by Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Peg, posted 12-07-2009 6:40 PM Peg has responded

Replies to this message:
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