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Author Topic:   How to debate the "Evolution Should NOT be taught in public schools" perspective?
The Chister
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 68 (292805)
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


I was assigned into a debate in my American History class about Evolution and if it should or should not be taught in public schools. I, unfortunately got assigned to the side that Evolution should not be taught in public schools and I need some points to discuss on why it shouldn't. If anyone has any good reasons why Evolution should not be taught in public schools, please feel free to contribute.
Thanks
{Changed title from "Reasons Evolution Should NOT be taught in public schools" to "How to debate the "Evolution Should NOT be taught in public schools" perspective?" - Adminnemooseus}
This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 03-06-2006 05:35 PM

Replies to this message:
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Adminnemooseus
Administrator
Posts: 3977
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 68 (292814)
03-06-2006 5:38 PM


Notice about the intent of this topic!!!
Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
NOTE THAT THIS TOPIC IS IN THE "COFFEE HOUSE" FORUM. THIS IS A "HOW TO DEBATE" TOPIC, NOT A TOPIC TO DO THE DEBATE.
WE ARE LOOKING FOR SUGGESTIONS FOR "CON-EVOLUTION" POINTS. WE ARE NOT LOOKING TO DISPUTE THOSE "CON-EVOLUTION" POINTS.
Well, this ought to be a fine mess.
Adminnemooseus
This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 03-06-2006 05:45 PM

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 9006
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 3 of 68 (292818)
03-06-2006 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by The Chister
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


A struggle
This is a heck of a struggle but let me toss some wild-eyed ideas out there.
1) Given how poorly it seems to be being taught maybe instead of allowing people to think they know anything about it we should just skip it until some "higher" education. There are frequent drop ins who show what we get when someone thinks they know something about it but actually know squat.
2) It may be better, pedegologically, to teach all the underpinings; geology, biology, paleontology but not attempt to create resistance in some students by offering the explanation for the things that they see in those subject. Rather leave that for later or for some to draw some conclusions on their own. This might make it seem to be less forced.
3) Just drop it! Let the fundies have their way. Let the science teaching continue to erode until the US sees another "sputnik" day and then panics when they realize that things like biological engineering have slipped out of their grasp and it is India, the EU, China etc that are the world leaders. It might actually hasten the demise of the US as the world superpower. There are some who think that isn't all bad.
I'll stick some more nonsense up if I can think of any.

This message is a reply to:
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5905 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 4 of 68 (292819)
03-06-2006 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by The Chister
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


First for clarification... is it that evo should not be taught at all, or just not alone?

holmes
"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority." (M.Ivins)

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 68 (292822)
03-06-2006 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by The Chister
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


Adminnemooseus declares this message to be "bad"
The first thing to do is to do a little research and find out that the overwhelming majority of biologists accept the theory of evolution as the central organizing theory for the biological sciences. (You probably should familiarize yourself with the overwhelming amount of data that supports the theory of evolution just in case that issue comes up.)
Then note that most of the people who are against the theory of evolution are against it because it conficts with their religious beliefs; only very rarely will you find someone who rejects the theory of evolution after they have carefully examined the scientific issues (unless they have examined the issues through a previously acquired religious filter).
Therefore, the only reason to avoid teaching the theory of evolution is because it conflicts with a certain religious sect's religious beliefs (and a religious sect that comprises a minority of Christians, it might be added).
So, by avoiding the teaching of evolution the public school district would in effect be promoting the establishment of a religion, in contradiction to the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I don't believe that I am making this up; the courts have actually ruled on this, if I recall correctly.
Of course, the Constitutional issue would only apply to U.S. public schools, but the argument could be modified for other countries if one would also add an argument about the desirability of neutrality of education in regards to religion.
Added by edit:
By the way, here is a more emotional screed that I wrote against giving in the the Religious Right one even a minor matter like evolution in the public schools, although it might be, er, out of place in a high school debate.
This message has been edited by Chiroptera, 06-Mar-2006 11:36 PM
{I think I have to declare this message to be off-topic and/or contrary to the intent of the topic. I point out and stress that This Chister is being called upon to debate a side of the issue that apparently isn't actually The Chister's personal perspective. See message 2. - Adminnemooseus}
This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 03-06-2006 06:48 PM
Added by edit:
Interesting. Moose's comments seem to have overwritten an addition that I wrote when I recognized my error here.
At any rate, I will try to add, again, my advice to check out Answers in Genesis for material that may be helpful.
-- Chiroptera
This message has been edited by Chiroptera, 06-Mar-2006 11:52 PM

"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt

This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 68 (292823)
03-06-2006 6:29 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by NosyNed
03-06-2006 6:20 PM


Re: A struggle
quote:
Let the science teaching continue to erode until the US sees another "sputnik" day and then panics when they realize that things like biological engineering have slipped out of their grasp and it is India, the EU, China etc that are the world leaders.
And Canada, too, eh, Ned? I suspect ulterior motives here.

"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt

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The Chister
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 68 (292828)
03-06-2006 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Silent H
03-06-2006 6:20 PM


I clarified with my teacher that Evolution should not be taught at all, she says that in order to have a good solid debate, that I should debate completely against what the other side is debating, which is that Evolution should be taught in schools

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1552 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 8 of 68 (292850)
03-06-2006 9:43 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by The Chister
03-06-2006 7:13 PM


The tack I'd take
The theory of evolution represents contradictory information to certain religious beliefs. Teaching this information, as correct as it is, could be argued to be a prevention of a person's free excercise of religion - how can they freely excercise what they have been shown is wrong? - and is therefore unconstitutional.

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ReverendDG
Member (Idle past 4196 days)
Posts: 1119
From: Topeka,kansas
Joined: 06-06-2005


Message 9 of 68 (292870)
03-07-2006 12:15 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by The Chister
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


I supose you could bring up the creationists arguments or you could talk about how it detroys belief in god as some people claim it does. how it leads to athieism and immorality and other such things
there really arn't any scientific reasons. its all emotional based. thats really all i can think of

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rgb
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 68 (292878)
03-07-2006 1:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by The Chister
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


I personally don't think the theory of evolution should be taught at all in high school. And to make this post on-topic, here are the reasons.
Evolutionary theory as well as the evidence that support it are very complex and take a life time to learn and fully appreciate. More often than not, there isn't anywhere near enough time in a high school biology semester to adequately teach the students (a) the appropriate disciplined methodology to approach a scientific endeavor, (b) the skills to objectively and logically interpret the evidence and data, (c) the creativity required to connect all the evidence (or at least enough evidence) for a scientific theory, and (d) humility.
What happens is that more often than not the evidence for evolution are presented for students to swallow and regurgitate later on. In many cases, this would result in some students achieving a high grade on the subject without really understanding the how's and the why's about the evidence. Furthermore, it would result in high school graduates who think they know enough about evolutionary theory to speak authoritively on advance matters.
My belief on the matter is we should emphasize much more on the discipline of science than the actual theories themselves. Once the students adequately understand how to approach a problem in the correct scientific manner and have learnt enough to know that they know very little about the real world, THEN they can be taught the theory and the evidence and data.
In other words, I think that we are doing more harm than good by shoving evolution down high school students' throats.

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Replies to this message:
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redseal
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 68 (292885)
03-07-2006 3:51 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by The Chister
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


Teachers of evolution are false prophets! They spread an insidious doctrine of wickedness and illogic. A wise nation does not allow its children to suffer the counsel of such evildoers. If we desire to live in a nation blessed by God them we must not allow Satanic teachings to enter the public classroom. The choice is simple: public schools say no evolution and receive God's providance, or public schools say yes to evolution and receive God's wrath!

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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5905 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 12 of 68 (292893)
03-07-2006 4:43 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by The Chister
03-06-2006 7:13 PM


Well you have a hard assignment. Saying it shouldn't be taught at all crosses legal as well as practical lines. Here's what I would do...
I'd argue that public education is a place for developing practical knowledge and skills for students. While science is important, including biology, there are subjects within biology that do not necessarily get mentioned or fleshed out in detail. Thus we can see that it is not "all biological theory" or none.
Given the contentious nature of evolutionary theory in the public, and its less immediate applicability to students, there is no necessity for its instruction. Indeed given the rising importance of environmental/conservation issues, as well as diseases, it is arguably more important to spend time discussing how living beings function right now. Classification, anatomy, virology, ecology, even genetics. We can discuss these issues without having to theorize where it all began, and have students ready to deal with present challenges to the lives they are going to lead today.
Someone else has mentioned methods, and that could definitely be taught more in depth as well. Learn skills of contemporary biologists fighting real world problems like cancer, or HIV.
The one problem I see with this is it doesn't take into account what teachers are supposed to do if the question is raised by a student. Its sort of hard to suggest that teachers can't say anything or must lie about it. I guess suggest that students be told that evo is not part of the scope of their biology instruction, that they can learn more about it themselves by visiting museums and the library, and that they can research that later when they reach college and move into more theoretical issues for biology.

holmes
"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority." (M.Ivins)

This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 13 of 68 (292906)
03-07-2006 7:23 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by The Chister
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


Depends what evolution is
If Evolution is taken to mean (near) universal common descent, then I can see a good case for not teaching it. The best is: its a specialized field and its not necessary to teach it. Its a massive subject and it is more value to learn about the workings of biological systems than natural history.
This means learning the basics of evolutionary theory. This can't really be avoided, the idea that populations can change over time due to certain mechanisms should not be ignored -it's an observed and important biological concept. Mendellian genetics, random mutation, natural selection should at least be given basic attention.
I'd much rather kids spend time learning what I learned at high school. The basics of genetics as above but leaving the concept of common descent. Perhaps one afternoon going over the basic ideas of common descent, for the benefit of those that wish to go into it as a career but saving the majority of that stuff for A-level (16years to 18 years old) and beyond. The stuff I learned was practical and boring (I wish we went into detail about evolution at high school biology, I might have cared about it). Stuff about Kidneys and convoluted tubules and Henle's loop and all that.
In fact, stuff like this.
Personally, I'm happy with a quick intro to the concepts, but no real depth, like we have now. I'm sure it would straightforward to emphasise other, more immediately practical elements of biology that should be discussed, at common descent's expense. Perhaps emphasis on health and diet could be seen as much more use to more school kids than the few that will go on to evolutionary biology.
I advise you get your biology course book and highlight all the practical stuff, and contrast that to the common descent part which is not immediately practical or some such thing.

This message is a reply to:
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nator
Member (Idle past 2255 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 14 of 68 (292907)
03-07-2006 7:30 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by rgb
03-07-2006 1:17 AM


rgb, I'd like to counter this statement of yours, but I won't here because it would be off topic.
Would you discuss it in a new topic?

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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 5118 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 15 of 68 (292911)
03-07-2006 7:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by The Chister
03-06-2006 5:19 PM


I also do not recommed not teaching the e-word
with that said...
The reason to not teach "evolution" as it is currently taught, is that it supports an elite intellectualism (predominately an empiricism over all coming rationalisms) much as the US political system is an elite system of who you know, not what you know. It should be that knowledge of nature counts for information on the pattern of evolutionary change but it is rather who one considers authority that matters more.
Evolution has this burden because of the connections of Malthus' analysis of comparing two measurements (food supply and human growth rate) to Darwins' specification of the independence of natural and artifical selection. As such evolution as it massively suggested upholds a particular economic reality that might not be the phase that translation in space and form making is materially except in a token sense.

This message is a reply to:
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