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Author Topic:   Creation DOES need to be taught with evolution
David Fitch
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 245 (65137)
11-08-2003 2:27 PM


As a university prof. who teaches and does experimental work in evolutionary biology, I am astounded that creationism is not taught alongside evolution in most schools. There are several arguments to support such "balanced" curriculum:

(1) Science should be taught in a manner consistent to how good science is done. Modern scientific method requires the proposition of alternative hypotheses that make predictions about observable phenomena. It is not enough to present ONE hypothesis because data that are consistent with this hypothesis could well be consistent with other hypotheses as well. (A good example is that natural selection predicts that functional features of organisms will conform to engineering design principles--but this is the same prediction of intelligent design! Thus, conformity to design principles cannot be used to discriminate between evolution and creation.) A major goal of our educational system should be to provide our students with the intellectual tools to solve real problems; the scientific method is just such a powerful tool. (Also, Darwin himself used this method in the Origin, presenting predictions from special creation and Lamarckian transformism that could be distinguished from predictions from descent with modification. Being true to Darwin's presentation thus requires that we talk about special creation as a hypothesis.)

(2) Kids are cyring out to understand what scientists think is wrong with creation and vice versa. Why can't we, as educators, help to satisfy this curiosity? Isn't that what education is all about? Or do we just stifle this natural curiosity and stuff our students with information? Unfortunately, most science classes (like those I suffered throughout school) are just dogmatic littanies of disconnected facts. When students get to graduate school, they are shocked to learn they have to think for themselves. Promoting active discussion and learning in the classroom should be a major goal of education.

(3) Creation is not just some kooky untestable hypothesis cooked up by some bible-thumping radical, it was the major scientific dogma until about 100 years ago. As long as creation is allowed to produce at least some testable hypotheses, it deserves treatment as a hypothesis that can be talked about in a science classroom. For some reason, we are free to bring up Lamarckian transformism as an alternative hypothesis to Darwinian evolution, but shy away from treating intelligent design or special creation as alternative hypotheses. We bring up spontaneous generation as an alternative to Mendelian heredity and terra-centric hypotheses as alternatives to heliocentric hypotheses. Just for the sake of completeness in the history of science that we present to students, we should emphasize the importance of creationist theory in biology. Otherwise it is a biased treatment.

(4) By advocating "balanced" presentation, I am NOT advocating "equal time". It would be silly to spend equal time on flat-earth hypotheses as on round-earth ones. But students are crying out for "some time" to be spent on creation, and this is completely OK, as long as we stick to creationist hypotheses that are testable. Creationist (as well as adaptationist) hypotheses that are not testable should be left out of the science classroom and perhaps discussed in other kinds of classes (e.g., theological philosophy?).

These are only a few arguments for balanced curricula. Does anyone have additional arguments?


Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 706 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 2 of 245 (65138)
11-08-2003 2:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by David Fitch
11-08-2003 2:27 PM


Creationist (as well as adaptationist) hypotheses that are not testable should be left out of the science classroom and perhaps discussed in other kinds of classes (e.g., theological philosophy?).

If you take out the untestable hypotheses of creationism, exactly what do you think is left?


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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 245 (65139)
11-08-2003 2:40 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by David Fitch
11-08-2003 2:27 PM


yes, teach it
I agree that current controversies connected with a topic should be discussed along with that topic. Creationism, being a hot political topic has a place in a biology class room. When presented against the theory of evolution, it will be seen as the pseudo-science that it is. Of course, that would require a biology teacher who knows her subject well, and can answer supposed "evidence" in favor of creationism given by the students. I'm assuming that this is your point.

One problem would be high school teachers teaching biology who believe in creationism and would present it as an equally valid, competing theory against evolution, and presenting evolution as having many, potentially fatal flaws. So, what about this potential problem?


This message is a reply to:
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Brian
Member (Idle past 4199 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 4 of 245 (65143)
11-08-2003 3:27 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by David Fitch
11-08-2003 2:27 PM


Hi David,

As a fellow educator who teaches in a High School and part time at a uni, I can inform you that, in Scotland at least, that creationism is taught in schools. It is taught in Religious Studies classes because that is where it belongs, and, more to the point, the vast majority of High School students KNOW that is where it belongs.

One of the problems with teaching creationism in a science class is which version of creation would you teach? I have students from four different faiths in my classes, and if a 'balanced' curriculum was ot be followed we would need to investigate every creation myth that has ever benn heard of, it is impossible and pointless.

Kids are cyring out to understand what scientists think is wrong with creation and vice versa.

I don't know what the schools are like in America, but in my experience of Scottish schools the majority of students know that the Bible stories are taken as a belief and NOT as an attempt to accurately describe real events.

Brian.


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sidelined
Member (Idle past 5147 days)
Posts: 3435
From: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Joined: 08-30-2003


Message 5 of 245 (65146)
11-08-2003 3:36 PM


One is also led to question if we teach creationism as an alternative to evolution then why not include all the other myths worldwide that have there own views of the origin of species?I think it would be better to place it in a different subject where it is seen for the historic value it has but we cannot teach it as a serious means of inquiry since it does not stand on its own without ignoring large amounts of evidence.You say kids are cyring out to understand what scientists think is wrong with creation,yet shouldn't we answer them by showing that it is not scientists but evidence that show creationism to be hollow?

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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 245 (65152)
11-08-2003 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by David Fitch
11-08-2003 2:27 PM


quote:
(4) By advocating "balanced" presentation, I am NOT advocating "equal time". It would be silly to spend equal time on flat-earth hypotheses as on round-earth ones.

Good thread, David, especially you being an evolutionist. You think better and advocate a more fair and balanced education than most evos here in town.

Btw, the Bible is likely the oldest literature existing to describe a spherical earth and is not a flat earth religious book.

Isaiah 40:22
"It is he that sits above the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretches out the heavens as a curtian." Date -- the 7th century BC!

Yes, the Bible also speakes of the four corners of the earth, but that sort colloquial talk is still used today to depict things, in this case the four directional areas of the earth.

Any flat earth folks who taught a flat earth (certainly not all Christians of the day) were ignorant of Biblical truth in this matter.

[This message has been edited by buzsaw, 11-08-2003]


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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 245 (65155)
11-08-2003 4:13 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by sidelined
11-08-2003 3:36 PM


quote:
One is also led to question if we teach creationism as an alternative to evolution then why not include all the other myths worldwide......

Because as David said, creationist is the major other view, the one making sense, and the major view worldwide for centuries: in fact he could've said, for milleniums.


This message is a reply to:
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sidelined
Member (Idle past 5147 days)
Posts: 3435
From: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Joined: 08-30-2003


Message 8 of 245 (65161)
11-08-2003 4:40 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Buzsaw
11-08-2003 4:13 PM


buzsaw
Yes and at the time it was no longer in favour due to its lack of evidential support it,too,was relegated to the boneyard and even though it continues to surface for reasons other than evidence it is nonetheless no where near a science.All other myths are seen as such and even they to a degree are also purported to be true by other segments of society.We have flat earth proponents,astrology is huge worldwide,new age believers have all sorts of wonders that could be given equal time so wouldn't it be simpler to just place it where it belongs?
Until such time as they can devise a decent evidence based,peer reviewed,experimentally confirmed method of showing us how they can support their view and does not simply try to poke holes in the standard scientific realm then they too can take a back seat to real investigations of the world.

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PaulK
Member
Posts: 17167
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 9 of 245 (65176)
11-08-2003 5:23 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Buzsaw
11-08-2003 4:09 PM


If the Bible is so good then why do you keep twisting the text ? The verse you quote speaks of a circle, not a sphere. You even emphasise the word circle. If it is held to speak of the overall shape of the Earth at all it clearly refers to a flat disk.

This message is a reply to:
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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 245 (65178)
11-08-2003 5:34 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by sidelined
11-08-2003 4:40 PM


Sideline, people then were't that stupid. All Isaiah and other thinking fundamentalist folks of the Bible need do was observe the sun and moon to assume the earth also was a sphere. Please document otherwise.

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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 245 (65179)
11-08-2003 5:58 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Buzsaw
11-08-2003 5:34 PM


quote:
All Isaiah and other thinking fundamentalist folks of the Bible need do was observe the sun and moon to assume the earth also was a sphere.

That's assuming two things:

that Isaiah and the others at his time realized that the sun and moon were spheres and not disks themselves

and

that they also realized that these bodies were in some way analagous to the earth.


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Chiroptera
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 245 (65180)
11-08-2003 6:01 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by sidelined
11-08-2003 3:36 PM


quote:
You say kids are cyring out to understand what scientists think is wrong with creation,yet shouldn't we answer them by showing that it is not scientists but evidence that show creationism to be hollow?

I think that this is what David Fitch is saying. Or am I misinterpreting him?


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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 245 (65184)
11-08-2003 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by PaulK
11-08-2003 5:23 PM


quote:
If the Bible is so good then why do you keep twisting the text ? The verse you quote speaks of a circle, not a sphere. You even emphasise the word circle. If it is held to speak of the overall shape of the Earth at all it clearly refers to a flat disk.

1. It doesn't say disk either, does it. Both a disk and a sphere are circular, so here we are back at square one.

2. All people of the Bible, as well as many other cultures have believed in a world flood. This belief would require a sphere so as for the flood to occur, especially for people of the Bible who believed it was worldwide, killing all. Even if a world flood were somehow possible on a disk, Noah's ark would be in great danger of falling off the edge along with the overflowing water which would not be able to be confined to a disk.

3. Humans were able to observe that different parts of the moon were visible in different positions so as to know it was a sphere.

No,PaulK, imo it was likely the ejukated elite like some folks I know who think everything complex assembled itself by and of itself void of intelligent design, who insisted on prevalence of the flat earth myth.

[This message has been edited by buzsaw, 11-08-2003]


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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 4272 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 14 of 245 (65185)
11-08-2003 6:23 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Chiroptera
11-08-2003 6:01 PM


The actual scientists can indeed be shallow (Will Provine, Kraig Agler) where the philosophers are not (Richard Boyd or M. Greene) and I would think that is what the thread header meant but I obvisouly do not nor interpret nor represent for said poster. It is not a high schoolers response to distingish the differently populated philosopers nor all of the data available to any given scientist.

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sidelined
Member (Idle past 5147 days)
Posts: 3435
From: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Joined: 08-30-2003


Message 15 of 245 (65186)
11-08-2003 6:30 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Buzsaw
11-08-2003 5:34 PM


buzsaw

So you think it is a simple thing.Please explain to us how you can tell that the Earth is a sphere by observing the sun and the moon?


This message is a reply to:
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