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


Message 16 of 68 (292915)
03-07-2006 8:38 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by The Chister
03-06-2006 7:13 PM


As I suggested before (before my additions to a previous post were overwritten by admin comments), I think another tact to take in the debate would be one of fairness.
Some people do not accept the theory of evolution because it contradicts their religious beliefs. In fact, their religious beliefs are so strong that they find the theory of evolution to be offensive. Some of these people are so convinced that anything contrary to their religious tenets are the work of Satan that the theory of evolution frightens them.
So, you might be able to make an argument that teaching the theory of evolution takes tax dollars from some people to teach something contrary to their religious beliefs; but I think this should be only a minor point -- a more important point is that one function of the public schools to promote social unity and to foster an evironment where everyone is respected and can feel comfortable.

"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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Replies to this message:
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JustinC
Member (Idle past 4932 days)
Posts: 624
From: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Joined: 07-21-2003


Message 17 of 68 (292919)
03-07-2006 9:10 AM


Also you might want to check out the Discovery Institute's Wedge Document. It lays out their perspective as to why evolution shouldn't be taught in school. Basically, it talks about how materialism is harming our nation and how scientific materialism is the heart of the problem.

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 34065
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 18 of 68 (292931)
03-07-2006 10:17 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by The Chister
03-06-2006 7:13 PM


Just a comment
I find it interesting that all of the responses but one have come from people who are actually supporters of teaching the TOE.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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Mallon
Inactive Member


Message 19 of 68 (292981)
03-07-2006 1:32 PM


If you're FOR evolution on the inside, probably the best thing you can do is to use all the tired old creationist arguments and tactics that are so easily disprovable and let the other side of the debate knock those softies out of the park. Show that, on scientific grounds, there's really only one side to the debate.
Hopefully your grade won't be based on how well you defend yourself. It's like debating the pros and cons of beating your wife.

Replies to this message:
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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 68 (292985)
03-07-2006 1:37 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Mallon
03-07-2006 1:32 PM


I don't quite agree, Mallon. I think that he should take this assignment seriously and do the best that he can. It is often very enlightening (and helpful to your own side) to be able to debate an issue from the other side.
Of course the facts are on the side of evolution, but even if Chister doesn't want to go into a goopy argument involving epistemology, he might still be able to make an argument based on social values and "fairness".
I think that this is a good assignment. I hope that a creationist got the pro-evolution side of the debate, and that the teacher has warned both sides that if either side doesn't take their arguments seriously then she will grade them accordingly.
Edited to correct Chister's name.
Edited again to correct a typo.
This message has been edited by Chiroptera, 07-Mar-2006 07:34 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

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2ice_baked_taters
Member (Idle past 5940 days)
Posts: 566
From: Boulder Junction WI.
Joined: 02-16-2006


Message 21 of 68 (293014)
03-07-2006 2:39 PM


See Message 23 for a cautionary note regarding topic.
Ever have one of those days?
This message has been edited by AdminNosy, 03-07-2006 03:01 PM
This message has been edited by 2ice_baked_taters, 03-07-2006 10:03 PM

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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 68 (293015)
03-07-2006 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by 2ice_baked_taters
03-07-2006 2:39 PM


See Message 23 for a cautionary note regarding topic.
One can use countless examples of various inteligent peoples attitudes on this sight who treat the theory much more as fact than a theory.
It is true than in its popular meaning, "theory" means somebody's uncertain opinion. But this is not how the term "theory" is used when it is meant scientifically. A theory is an explanation of a large amount of data. It doesn't mean somebody's guess.
A theory might also be a fact and yet remain a theory.
This message has been edited by AdminNosy, 03-07-2006 03:02 PM

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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 23 of 68 (293020)
03-07-2006 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by robinrohan
03-07-2006 2:47 PM


T o p i c !
This is a cautionary note that the topic may slip badly if too much time is spent on this.
The former of these last two posts suggest that a "theory" shouldn't be taught if it isn't sure.
The second suggests that it is sure enough and thus the "only a theory" argument will be easily shown to be weak in the actual debate.
I don't think too much more time should be spent on either side of that.

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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1556 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 24 of 68 (293046)
03-07-2006 4:00 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by JustinC
03-07-2006 9:10 AM


I think this is the more successful approach. Rather than grapple with the scientific basis for concluding evolution - which really can't be debated - shift the discussion to whether or not it's appropriate to teach things - albiet true things - if they might conflict with the free excercise of religion, or cause psychological harm to students, or both.
I mean, the idea that school is a place for the dissemination of accurate knowledge is just an assumption, right? Maybe school is a place for the construction of law-abiding citizens. Maybe school is a substitute for parents who fail to inculcate appropriate moral values into their children. It really all depends on what you see - or what you can argue - is the purpose of school. Hell maybe it's just a concentration camp to put children while their parents are at work.

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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3947
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 25 of 68 (293047)
03-07-2006 4:00 PM


There are two perspective that can be taken
I think there are two distinct ways the "anti-evolution" side can be argued.
1) Evolution and the theory of evolution is bad science, and thus shouldn't be taught in the public schools.
I think this is the argument the "pro-evolution" side is going to expect and is going to prepare for.
The alterative (and this has been touched upon upthread) is:
2) Concede that evolution and the theory of evolution is valid science, but then go on to argue why it still shouldn't be taught in the public schools (per upthread suggestions).
I think this will be "throwing a big curve" to the pro-evo side, and I suspect they will not be prepared to handle it.
After all, your debate isn't "Is evolution valid science?" It's "Should it be taught?"
Moose

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The Chister
Inactive Member


Message 26 of 68 (293050)
03-07-2006 4:11 PM


thanks
Thanks to everyone that contributed, my debate went fine and I did the best in arguing something that I don't believe in.

Replies to this message:
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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 27 of 68 (293052)
03-07-2006 4:13 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Minnemooseus
03-07-2006 4:00 PM


Re: There are two perspective that can be taken
quote:
I think there are two distinct ways the "anti-evolution" side can be argued.
1) Evolution and the theory of evolution is bad science, and thus shouldn't be taught in the public schools.
I think this is the argument the "pro-evolution" side is going to expect and is going to prepare for.
I would have another reason for not going on this route, and that is that evolution is actually pretty good science. I got the impression that the Chister is familiar with this fact, and so if he were to try to present evolution as bad science then he would be presenting things he knew were untrue as facts. I suspect that this is not the intention of the debate. (Of course, the Chister may be unfamiliar enough with the theory of evolution so that the pseudo-scientific ramblings of AiG look plausible, in which case he could in good conscience present this case). I think that the Chister should not present any "facts" that he knows to be be untrue. That is very different, of course, from arguing a subjective opinion with which he doesn't agree, which is what I and several others are suggesting.
The strategic point, that the pro-evolution side may not be expecting this, would be an added bonus.

"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:
 Message 25 by Minnemooseus, posted 03-07-2006 4:00 PM Minnemooseus has not replied

  
Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 68 (293053)
03-07-2006 4:13 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by The Chister
03-07-2006 4:11 PM


Re: thanks
Congratulations.

"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:
 Message 26 by The Chister, posted 03-07-2006 4:11 PM The Chister has not replied

  
Adminnemooseus
Administrator
Posts: 3977
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 29 of 68 (293061)
03-07-2006 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Chiroptera
03-07-2006 8:38 AM


Sorry about the "overwrite"
As I suggested before (before my additions to a previous post were overwritten by admin comments), ...
Not really an "overwrite" - I never saw your more recent edit. I do not delete others content, except in very rare exceptions such as spam messages. What happened is what happens if two people are editing a message at the same time. The one who submits last gets their version posted. The situation isn't helped if I had your message open for quite a while (which I may have done) before I actually did the edit. You may actually have submitted you edit long before I did mine. Again, sorry about that.
In hindsight, my reaction may have been an overreaction. But I saw much of the message as being of and heading towards turning the topic into a "why evolution should be taught" topic, or perhaps getting into the "pro-evolution" sides arguments. Or something like that.
Any replies to this message should go to the "General..." topic, link below.
Adminnemooseus
Added by edit: The message in question. Also tweeked the above a bit.
This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 03-07-2006 04:41 PM

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


Message 30 of 68 (293062)
03-07-2006 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Adminnemooseus
03-07-2006 4:33 PM


Re: Sorry about the "overwrite"
quote:
What happened is what happens if two people are editing a message at the same time. The one who submits last gets their version posted.
That's what I figured must have happened.

This message is a reply to:
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