Discussing
On the frontlines of the creation/evolution wars: one teacher's story

Andy Rau

Bobxxxx
August 26, 2008

"And with all the controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution, do you see any good ways for teachers and students to meet in the middle?"<br><br>Wouldn't it be nice if biology teachers could throw all the creationists out the window on the first day. Then the rest of the students could learn something without the teacher having to waste time undoing religious brainwashing.<br><br>My idea is not practical in a public high school. Students can't be thrown out just because they're god-soaked idiots. Perhaps when students write on their tests "I don't accept this because it conflicts with my religious beliefs", the teacher should give them an F grade. Let them fail the class, which is what they deserve.<br><br>In a perfect world there would be no moron parents and worthless preachers teaching young children about religious insanity before their first science class.<br><br>This quote explains the problem perfectly:<br><br>"Scientific education and religious education are incompatible. The clergy have ceased to interfere with education at the advanced state, with which I am directly concerned, but they have still got control of that of children. This means that the children have to learn about Adam and Noah instead of about Evolution; about David who killed Goliath, instead of Koch who killed cholera; about Christ's ascent into heaven instead of Montgolfier's and Wright's. Worse than that, they are taught that it is a virtue to accept statements without adequate evidence, which leaves them a prey to quacks of every kind in later life, and makes it very difficult for them to accept the methods of thought which are successful in science."<br><br>-- J.B.S. Haldane<br>

PMDubuc
August 26, 2008

I can still remember one of my high school biology teachers giving us a lecture on abiogenesis and concluding with a statement like, "so we don't really know how the first life forms came into existence, but we know it must have happened. How else could life have come about." I wasn't much of a Christian at the time, but I remember the response "God", coming up from somewhere deep in my bored mind and forcing itself out under my breath. Darwinism was less controversial then and in my school, at least. I wouldn't want to be a biology teacher today either. They get caught in the middle between creationists who take the Genesis account of creation literally and the ACLU supporters who want everything that hints at religion banished from the schools as a danger to society. Both sides need to learn to pursue science for its own sake. I think its possible to challenge the materialist philosophy of Darwinism without making it into a religious war. Intelligent Design advocates like Michael Behe and others have done a good job. You can also find very good material on the issues surrounding origins at the <a href="http://arn.org/" rel="nofollow">Access Research Network</a>.

Marc
August 27, 2008

If more Christians knew what Darwinian evolution can and cannot do the world would be a much simpler place. Trouble is, most secular people think it can plausibly produce new species and many Christians seem to think it can produce nothing but minor variations. Michael Behe does an excellent job of showing that the truth lies somewhere in the middle (minor destructive variation with short-term survival benefit) in his "The Edge of Evolution" which I recommend all Christians read.<br><br>If Christian's were better read they would be able to better see the flaws in such statements as "well, the fossil record is incomplete which is why we don't see intermediate species". The fact is that <b>while the ratio of fossils to actual individual animals is small the ratio of fossils to species is quite large</b>. We have a whole bunch of fossils of species A and a whole bunch of species B (supposedly descended from A) and nothing, nada, zip in between but speculation. Sometimes the time ranges overlap so that species A and B co-existed and no big gap in between for evolution to occur. This does not prove that species A did not evolve into species B but it does make it probable that if it did occur, evolution was fast. We're basically seeing God's creative act.<br><br>Evolution and Creationism both say we're made from dust but science is revealing more of the details of how God actually did that.

YT
August 27, 2008

I was not born in USA. Can anyone here help me to explain these following questions about "separation between state and church?<br>What are the differences between theist and a-theist? Can't we view a-theist as another religion but with opposite view?<br>If that is true then by favoring on evolution over creation, or preventing prayer in school and etc, already violating the constitution of "separation state and church".<br>What I see the constitution here just like "separation between the state and Christianity" ...<br><br>Help me to understand please ...

Andyrau
August 27, 2008

Bob, first a quick note before I respond: we're glad to have you participating in the discussion here, but in the future please keep your comments more civil. Our discussion guidelines are linked below each post and we take them seriously.<br><br>Setting aside your obvious dislike of creationism and religious education, you're still left asking the same question I asked in my post: is there a middle ground where the two perspectives can meet? Obviously it's not realistic to fail every creationist student for sticking to his/her views, and the only way to stop parents from teaching religion to their kids would be to require a level of state control over family life that absolutely nobody would find acceptable. So... where does that leave us? Surely there's a better response than just to wish things were otherwise?<br><br>Let me shift the scenario a bit to see if that sheds any light. If your child was a student in the classroom of a teacher with strong religious beliefs, how would you want that teacher to interact with your child? As a parent, you'd have an obvious interest in educating your child about other worldviews but you wouldn't want your child "indoctrinated" by a teacher with a worldview you opposed. And I'm guessing you wouldn't want your kid to be failed or booted out of class for sticking up for their beliefs. How would you want that situation to be handled? Have you ever been in a situation like that?

Kevin
August 27, 2008

We need to stop teaching our kids *what* to think, and start teaching them *how* to think. Why are they so scared to teach creation? Why's it so threatening? You wanna teach evolotion, great! Teach away... but why can't you teach that there are other possibilities? You can't prove evolution just like you can't prove creation, but yet only one gets touted as "fact", when all it is a theory. So if they're both theories, and both have evidence supporting them, why not teach both?<br><br>And while there are many, many holes in evolution, the biggest is not that they don't have *a* missing link, it's that have trillions and trillions of missing links to account for... and they can't account for one.<br><br>Teach both equally well since they both have the same amount of evidence supporting them (though creation has more, but I may be a little biased).

Kevin
August 27, 2008

I always find it interesting how angry evolutionists / agnositics / atheists are. At least whenever "religion" is mentioned... they just erupt into name calling and put downs.<br><br>Could it be because they're using that to mask the fact that evolution is nothing but a thought... and one in which the creator of evolution didn't really believe in himself?<br><br>Afterall, Darwin's assistant left him, believing that they had proven all of Darwin's theories to be wrong. <br><br>Darwin himself said: "I have asked myself whether I may not have devoted my life to a fantasy. I am ready to cry with vexation at my blindness and presumption." (Day, E. Hermitage. 1906. On the Evidence for the Resurrection. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 51-53) <br><br>He also said, "To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree." (Darwin 1872)

Csalzman
August 27, 2008

That anger you're sensing is probably because for many people religion doesn't have a place in a scientific debate. <br><br>Also, in defense of bobxxxx and others statements like "Could it be because they're using that to mask the fact that evolution is nothing but a thought" are rather inflammatory.<br><br>Those are good quotations, but even if Darwin found them absurd later why have so many others continued the research he was involved in? I'm sure there are many instances where the creator of something has second thoughts of their creation later on, yet does that make their previous work false?

Kjml
August 27, 2008

There should be a middle ground.... Assuming that evolution is at least partially fact, faith helps fill in the "missing links". In other words the Being in charge of evolution knew what he was doing. The more gaps in our knowledge that are filled in, the clearer the Plan will be. I resent the implication that science and religion are incompatible. It was Isaiah-- not Columbus-- who first noted that the earth was a sphere. A truly educated person might be open minded enough to explore the Science to be found in the Bible.... that being said, I've always wondered about the die-hard literalists who demand that all of Creation have taken place in six, twenty-four hour, periods. I've always thought the point of Genesis was the order of creation, the logical mind behind it, and our place IN it. What is Time to God? Besides, there was no "day" as defined by the rhythmic rising and setting of the sun until the END of the first period of creation. <br><br>When I was taught evolution in school--Lo, these MANY years ago--I simply answered questions regarding evolution by stating, "According to the text....." This made it clear that I understood the material without advocating for it. Simple and non-combative.

Csalzman
August 28, 2008

Just a quick note: ThinkChristian does not stand for wholesale dismissals of entire people groups, religions, or worldviews. Try to place yourself in other people's shoes before commenting.

SiarlysJenkins
August 31, 2008

For someone who not only believes in Biblical Creation, but believes that this is incompatible with evolutionary biology, answering test questions "according to the text" is a perfectly appropriate way to proceed. Personally, I am quite convinced that evolutionary biology is all laid out in the first two chapters of Genesis, that this was not evident prior to Darwin because our ancestors were unable to see the depth and glory of meaning in the simple text, and made up plausible understandings to comfort themselves. Since Darwin, we have been too busy fighting over our ancestors' stories to recognize that Darwin simply stumbled onto the mechanism of one of God's greatest miracles. No, biology teachers don't have to teach that, you can believe evolution is factual without believing in God, but even the most detailed and plausible theories about the very first origin of the very first life still leave open, at the very very very beginning, that either God said "let the waters bring forth the living thing that hath life," or, it was a random accident.<br><br>There is, however, no basis for teaching "creationism" in science class. It is not, and never has been, science. It is wishful thinking. The fallacy of creationism is that, when some atheist speaks in the name of science (which science by its very nature does not and cannot authorize), there are some who feel they can only maintain their faith in God by arming themselves with some contrary pseudo-science. The facts are what they are. Disproving evolution is about as unlikely as disproving the existence of zinc (as a Christian professor of biology at Cambridge University, who fully accepts both the Incarnation and the Resurection, once observed). This neither proves nor disproves the existence of God, because we walk by faith, not by the sight of multi-media displays at a creation science museum.

Beersongs
September 4, 2008

Great sounding teacher wish I had him for science... I was glade to see that he corrected his students on that we do not come directly from apes always makes me cringe when people assault evolution by bring up a picture of an ape and of a human and going well we look nothing like an ape therefore evolution is wrong. Religion is religion, science is science, the two should never mix or else a bastard child will be born again like creationism. <br><br>There is nothing wrong with religion its just it should not be part of science to bring it into it just cause conflict one party refuses to see there own small leaps of faith and the other is blind in there faith. <br><br>Ow i guess i should also clarify that i am not saying that evolution is water tight its just don't bring creationism as the replacement.

SiarlysJenkins
September 4, 2008

One of the things the media get all confused is the notion that this, that, or the other early hominid skeleton is "one of our ancestors." That is not even close to how evolution works. Further, it is a very complex process, not one straight line. Most of the australopithecus went right on having australopithecus babies, until they all became extinct. Maybe, just maybe, a few of them had babies that were just a little different, and maybe a few of those were ancestors of a different hominid species, most of whom are also extinct. Genetic evidence is that we are descended from a very small group of hominids, what is called a genetic bottleneck, who were physically isolated from all others of their kind. One of the features of a genetic bottleneck is that it becomes impossible to trace the ancestry of those individuals further back. And this happened within the last 50,000 to 200,000 years. Those other hominids were millions of years old. No, we are not descended from monkeys. But we are much more wonderfully made than our ancestors up to 200 years ago ever dreamed.

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