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The 7 - Current Events & Politics - Kansas moves to stem role of evolution in teaching
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Leroy
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#1 Posted on 10.8.05 1747.51
Reposted on: 10.8.12 1747.54
Kansas moves to stem role of evolution in teaching

    Originally posted by Reuters

    The 10-member board must still take a final vote, expected in either September or October, but a 6-4 vote on Tuesday that approved a draft of the standards essentially cemented a victory for conservative Christian board members who say evolution is largely unproven and can undermine religious teachings about the origins of life on earth.

    "We think this is a great development ... for the academic freedom of students," said John West, senior fellow of the Discovery Institute, which supports intelligent design theory.


I don't really have words to express my dismay over this madness. I've followed the Discovery Institute and their insanity for a few months now, and I it's just amazing that they've made it this far - although they have had significant financial support from the right people.
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Stilton
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#2 Posted on 10.8.05 1832.43
Reposted on: 10.8.12 1838.36
Well, I guess that answers this question. (amazon.com)

I share your dismay, Leroy, but this kind of news fills me with something far beyond dismay.... I suppose I'd call it dread. The appropriation of public education by any religious group in any society is a clear step backward for any nation founded on the values of enlightenment. Think of the madrasas in Iran.

I'm surprised that this kind of anti-intellectual fundamentalism could get so far in a developed nation. It's really quite frightening. At this rate, just imagine what kind of neo-medieval society we can look forward to in 30 years or so.
ges7184
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#3 Posted on 10.8.05 1935.38
Reposted on: 10.8.12 1939.14
The bill as written is not THAT bad. It simply "encourages" critical discussion to be introduce into the teaching of evolution. Nothing wrong with that, evolution is a theory, and as such is not beyond criticism or critical thought.

The only problems I see is that while it would not require creationism to be taught, the article does imply that it would be an option. And regardless of ones views about that, it really doesn't have anything to do with science. Also, it says that evolution theory would not be "required" curriculum, which implies that a teacher could choose to skip it entirely. And I feel no matter what your views are on evolution, it IS an important theory to know, and no biology curriculum would be complete without it.
BigSteve
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#4 Posted on 10.8.05 2047.29
Reposted on: 10.8.12 2048.28
    Originally posted by Stilton
    Well, I guess that answers this question. (amazon.com)

    I share your dismay, Leroy, but this kind of news fills me with something far beyond dismay.... I suppose I'd call it dread. The appropriation of public education by any religious group in any society is a clear step backward for any nation founded on the values of enlightenment. Think of the madrasas in Iran.

    I'm surprised that this kind of anti-intellectual fundamentalism could get so far in a developed nation. It's really quite frightening. At this rate, just imagine what kind of neo-medieval society we can look forward to in 30 years or so.


You don't really believe that do you? Do you think that having this taught during one or two days of class (alongside, not instead of, evolution) is going to lead to a renewed dark age? There are already thousands of schools in this country that actually have religion classes, and I don't think that has done a great deal to hinder scientific inquiry.

That being said, from my knowledge of the issue, it probably doesn't belong in science classes. I just don't think that having it presented in probably one or two classes a year signals a return to alchemy and the use of leaches in medicine, and I really think that it's hyperbole to compare this situation to a madrasa.
Thecanadianone
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#5 Posted on 11.8.05 0043.39
Reposted on: 11.8.12 0043.56
Stilton wrote: "I share your dismay, Leroy, but this kind of news fills me with something far beyond dismay.... I suppose I'd call it dread. The appropriation of public education by any religious group in any society is a clear step backward for any nation founded on the values of enlightenment. Think of the madrasas in Iran.

I'm surprised that this kind of anti-intellectual fundamentalism could get so far in a developed nation. It's really quite frightening. At this rate, just imagine what kind of neo-medieval society we can look forward to in 30 years or so. "

Couldn't have said it better myself!! There has always been a nasty streak of suspicion of anyone openly using relatively unbiased thought processes in the good old US of A, but when combined with this particularly virulent brand of pseudo-Christianity - which is highly organized, militaristic (in more ways than one.....), alarmingly intolerant to competing ideologies and worldviews, aggressively proselytizing (sp?), extremely politically active, tolerant and even supportive to an impressive degree, of the aims and activities of the Military-Industrial Complex, and inclined to vote en-mass for anyone who at least gives lip service to their extremist viewpoints - is producing some amazingly "medieval" and chilling results. The Bushites are busily turning the supposed "Home of Democracy" into a close-minded theocracy where dissidents are persecuted and likely to end up, even in this early phase of the process, on various "enemies of the State" lists such as the notorious "No Fly" list whose main purpose seems to be harassment of people who disagree with the official dogmas of the regime in power at the moment (and ironically, Orwellianly determined to retain that power by increasingly immoral or at least "amoral" methods, i might add......).

From the cool mists of the New Scotland wilderness,
Thecanadianone.
Stilton
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#6 Posted on 11.8.05 0938.46
Reposted on: 11.8.12 0938.49
    Originally posted by BigSteve
    You don't really believe that do you? Do you think that having this taught during one or two days of class (alongside, not instead of, evolution) is going to lead to a renewed dark age?


Yes, Big Steve. Yes I do. Because that is what happens when, either bit by bit, or in one big disastrous revolution, a group of people attempt to impose their own faith on a nation, be their own or someone else's.

Think of the Crusades. Think of the Inquisition.

Or, more recently, think of Iran. Before the Shah fell and the Ayatollah imposed his influence on Iran, it was the most free and progressive society in the Middle East. Now look at it.

Or think of Afghanistan. The fundamentalism of the Taliban, and specifically their insistence on religious education, never did much for freedom in that country except create more fundamentalists.

And no. I don't think we have apples and oranges here. It's exactly the same way of thinking that is seeking to suppress scientific thought in Kansas while at the same time trying to advance one particular faith. Exactly the same way of thinking. And it's frightening.

It not only has no place in a science class, it has no place in a public school. I support the freedom of any person to choose their own religion, but TEACHING religion in a public school in utterly unethical. Why should a Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist student be made to waste his or her valuable time listening to an argument for someone else's religion as a teachable fact? It's ridiculous, and it's offensive.
Roy.
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#7 Posted on 11.8.05 0946.27
Reposted on: 11.8.12 0946.38
I taught 7th graders evolution in an ultra-conservative school distrcit this past year. I was warned by just about every science teacher in the school that there would be some resistance from both parents and students, and everybody was right. We got through the material after having a few talks about beliefs and the conflicts between religion and science, and things went relatively smoothly. My one student insisted that Darwin made the whole thing up to make his very religious father mad (his parents told him this). It wasn't my place to tell him his parents were wrong (as a student teacher), but my mentor teacher sure did.

    Originally posted by ges7184
    The bill as written is not THAT bad. It simply "encourages" critical discussion to be introduce into the teaching of evolution.


I talked about huge gaps in the fossil record, and other problems with evolution. I didn't mention intelligent design or creationism. Is that acceptable to the law? Any intelligent teacher is going to talk about the strongest AND weakest evidence for evolution. I hate the slippery slope argument, but I don't want to see this go from "criticial discussion" to "evolution is a crackpot theory", like I've heard some people claim.

I also think that getting rid of evolution as a core science topic, which the law could do, is very foolish. That means that a student could come out of high school not knowing something that's a pretty basic science topic. I went into the sciences in college, and I've studied evolution multiple times. It was assumed we knew the basics. What happens to a student who doesn't know the basics? Ignoring evolution won't make it go away, and ignorance to the topic isn't going to help you in life. The whole "knowledge is power" saying is true, and are we doing kids right if we sweep a topic under the rug simply because it makes people feel uncomfortable?

    Originally posted by ges7184
    Nothing wrong with that, evolution is a theory, and as such is not beyond criticism or critical thought.


I hate the "just a theory" argument. Evolution is not a guess or a stab in the dark. It's a scientific theory, which, as a whole, are based on broad and specific pieces of evidence, experiments with valid outcomes, and rational lines of thought. Please don't confuse the everyday definition of theory with the defintion of a scientific theory.

I've always thought creationism and intelligent design are topics for a religion class. If they can get a religion class in a public school, go ahead and teach intelligent design. I can't think of a way to teach it as a science teacher in a public school. As others have said, it's not science! In all of my classes, we (the students and I) did more lab exercises than anything else. I can't think of a lab to prove or disprove that there is a higher being guiding the whole process. How can it be taught in a SCIENCE classroom?

(edited by Roy. on 11.8.05 1046)
vsp
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#8 Posted on 11.8.05 1029.35
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1029.39
    Originally posted by Stilton
    It not only has no place in a science class, it has no place in a public school. I support the freedom of any person to choose their own religion, but TEACHING religion in a public school in utterly unethical. Why should a Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist student be made to waste his or her valuable time listening to an argument for someone else's religion as a teachable fact? It's ridiculous, and it's offensive.


See, I'd go in the complete opposite direction on this. I'd support the addition of a Comparative Religions class to _all_ public school curriculums. I'd find it to be fascinating, and to be a valuable tool for understanding what makes other people tick. What are common traits and differences between the various deities and panthenons worshipped over the millennia? Which currently-observed holidays and rituals have roots in other religions? What are the major differences that separate (let's say) Episcopalians from Lutherans from Methodists from Catholics? What _do_ various forms of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and other religions actually teach, and how have those teachings influenced world history? What about the agnostics and atheists?

All right, so it's not the COMPLETE opposite direction, as there's a difference between teaching _a_ religion (as fact) and teaching _about_ religion.

Of course, finding teachers with sufficient knowledge, skill and lack of bias to teach the course evenhandedly would be a huge task. Avoiding presenting _any_ of the religions as "correct" would be just as huge. And dealing with parents who _are_ convinced that their religious beliefs are Absolute Truth and want them presented as such, not as one among many? Hoo boy.

Anything that can suggest to kids at an impressionable age that (a) there are lots of religions in the world and (b) different from their religion != "inherently wrong" is a good thing, IMHO. But any public school district that would dare present religion from that kind of perspective would be burned to the ground within days.

(edited by vsp on 11.8.05 1134)
DrDirt
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#9 Posted on 11.8.05 1049.59
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1052.38
As a Kansan I am quite unhappy about this. Two things.

While the standard isn't bad, this appears to be a slippery slope. The creationists are becoming much smarter in their approach.

And as to the educated nation comment. We have the luxury and time to be concerned about such matters.

Finally, please don't lump all Kansans with this fringe element. I accept the theory of evolution while being a strong Christian. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

And please, please read the book "What's the Matter With Kansas." It is now out in paperback for about $15 and both ends of the spectrum should read it.
wmatistic
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#10 Posted on 11.8.05 1322.54
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1324.09
    Originally posted by Roy.
    I hate the "just a theory" argument. Evolution is not a guess or a stab in the dark. It's a scientific theory, which, as a whole, are based on broad and specific pieces of evidence, experiments with valid outcomes, and rational lines of thought. Please don't confuse the everyday definition of theory with the defintion of a scientific theory.




Alright this is always my biggest complaint. Evolution is not a theory at all! We know that evolution happens, we've seen it with our own eyes! It is a bold and distinct fact of our world. How and why it occurs is the theory part. Creationists always talk about Darwin disproving his own theory of evolution. No, he didn't. He went against his theory of natural selection, which again is how evolution takes place. Much different from going against evolution as a whole.

I wish to hell that people would stop confusing this matter. It's fact, not theory.
BigSteve
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#11 Posted on 11.8.05 1337.21
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1337.28
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    I accept the theory of evolution while being a strong Christian. The two aren't mutually exclusive.


Absolutely. That's what gets me about this whole debate. People hear that evolution (or more to the point, genetic mutations) is "random" and they think that means "there was no entity guiding the process" rather than what it does mean, that we don't know (as a matter of science) how or if this process was guided. I went to a Catholic School all my life and learned about evolution in Biology so the whole debate has long baffled me.

    Originally posted by Stilton
    Think of the Crusades. Think of the Inquisition.


You're right. I'm sure that rogue teachers who continue to talk about evolution in Kansas will soon start to be burned at the stake.


    , but TEACHING religion in a public school in utterly unethical. Why should a Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist student be made to waste his or her valuable time listening to an argument for someone else's religion as a teachable fact? It's ridiculous, and it's offensive.


Why is it offensive? Assuming it's not a class teaching dogma and doctrine as fact, but more a Comparitive Religion class like vsp suggested, I don't see the problem with having various religious beliefs explored. After all, there are any number of social studies classes that talk about cultural differences between various groups of people. Do you think that it should have offended me, a white American, that I learned about the culture of China in seventh grade?
DrDirt
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#12 Posted on 11.8.05 1356.46
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1356.46
BigSteve, I realize the word random is used alot but really evolution isn't random. Selections (genetic changes) that provide an advantage for the organism are kept. Changes or lack of change that doesn't help and in fact may hurt leads to extinction. I suppose the random comes from the formation of the universe more than anything and evolutionary biology doesn't really concern itself with the formation of the universe. Maybe the primordial soup thing?

I think that many bothered by evolution are disturbed because they feel it makes humanity less special.

And finally, You accept or reject the theory of evolution, you don't "believe" in it. Belief comes with faith not science.
spf
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#13 Posted on 11.8.05 1420.02
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1420.34
The problem with the idea of comprative religion and things like that is the folks who are pushing for more religion in schools are not pushing for more religion in general, but more of THEIR religion in the public schools. No one is suggesting that prayer in schools should involve Quranic verses or readings from the Vedas. And those who are trying to get evolution seen as a critically flawed theory are not doing so because they are desperate for their children to be taught the best possible science, but because evolution, if accepted, goes against Fundamentalist readings of the Bible. Not against the idea of a Supreme Being, but against the literal reading of the universe being created in 6 days. And now, look at who are the driving forces against the teaching of evolution as an accepted scientific theory...Fundamentalist Christian groups. And that distinction is critical. There are lots of Christians who are able to work with the idea of evolution existing in a universe that is guided by a Supreme Being. But the activists, the people who are pushing for this, are the sort of people who are much more akin to the fanatics of other religions. And that is why this sort of thing disturbs me.
Hogan's My Dad
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#14 Posted on 11.8.05 1457.00
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1457.02
I would like someone to tell me how creationsists explain dinosaurs. I have seen no evidence of a four thousand year old dinosaur fossil, so please explain that to me.

(edited by Hogan's My Dad on 11.8.05 1257)
vsp
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#15 Posted on 11.8.05 1525.23
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1525.29
    Originally posted by Hogan's My Dad
    I would like someone to tell me how creationsists explain dinosaurs. I have seen no evidence of a four thousand year old dinosaur fossil, so please explain that to me.


By questioning the authenticity and accuracy of carbon dating, among other ways.

Here ya go!


(edited by vsp on 11.8.05 1626)
Leroy
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#16 Posted on 11.8.05 1534.56
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1535.00
    Originally posted by Hogan's My Dad
    I would like someone to tell me how creationists explain dinosaurs. I have seen no evidence of a four thousand year old dinosaur fossil, so please explain that to me.


Here's one "explanation":

Evidence that Humans and Dinosaurs lived together, at the same time

But this is entirely separate from Intelligent Design, so I wouldn't confuse the two. In fact, the Creationists aren't all that happy with Intelligent Design, and Intelligent Design advocates go to great lengths to distance themselves from religion, even if most of its proponents admit a religious bias.

I'm not sure I would agree with putting Intelligent Design in a religious theory class. It doesn't really define the "Designer" as God, and while it's directly implied, they don't specifically go that route. And they state that you cannot tell who "designed" or how, merely that there was "higher" influence (e.g. specified complexity).

Anyway, I sure don't want to sound like I'm endorsing this in any way. But I think it's important to understand just what they are saying.

(edited by Leroy on 11.8.05 1335)
BigSteve
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#17 Posted on 11.8.05 1558.30
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1558.34
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    BigSteve, I realize the word random is used alot but really evolution isn't random. Selections (genetic changes) that provide an advantage for the organism are kept. Changes or lack of change that doesn't help and in fact may hurt leads to extinction. I suppose the random comes from the formation of the universe more than anything and evolutionary biology doesn't really concern itself with the formation of the universe. Maybe the primordial soup thing?

    I think that many bothered by evolution are disturbed because they feel it makes humanity less special.

    And finally, You accept or reject the theory of evolution, you don't "believe" in it. Belief comes with faith not science.


Yeah, that was pretty much what I meant when I said "random". I was referring to the actual genetic mutations themselves which would be random occurences, and only those mutations that create a beneficial characteristic are then "selected".

(edited by BigSteve on 11.8.05 1659)
CHAPLOW
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#18 Posted on 11.8.05 1722.39
Reposted on: 11.8.12 1722.46
In my view, it all boils down to ignorance.

Have you ever talked to someone about evolution that didnt know anything about it but was taught by their church that its a lie? I have. Plenty of times.

This is their basic idea of evolution: "Monkeys turned into People? C'mon thats bull." Uh, evolution is a little more evidenced, detailed and expansive in its proof and developmental thought process than that and I think the first point to be made in creationism vs evolution is that evolution is taught by educated people trying to advance our knowledge and creationism is mostly pushed on us by people that cling to all the support they can garner from the masses they can hold in ignorance- an easier task than youd think.

This all coming from me, someone that strongly believes in God and is actually quite religious. (But knows that The Bible was written by man, not God)

I respect everyone's religion- and never question them unless they ask for a debate, but I believe that religion DOES NOT belong in schools as a class where it is taught as FACT- thats pretty ridiculous, because if you care to know about Christian creationism you can go to church every sunday yet evolution is taught for like, what- Two or three sessions of Biology class? Yes, yes it is. Im a student- I dont have to ask.

On top of that, they try to completely discredit evolution by basically saying that it is based on dumb "theories" and hunches that have no proof or basis on reality- but although in the Bible, Jesus strongly condemns Hypocrites, these same Christians can then turn around and teach that Noah actually got in a boat with every type of animal in the world.

I know its a lot of reading, but stick with me for a second-

The links that Leroy and vsp posted take you to pages where you can read typical Fundamentalist yammering, trying to justify their disapproval of evolution saying that it is trivially supported, but as counter-arguments to it, giving some of the STUPIDEST lines of "logic" I have ever heard.

-Dinosaurs existed even a few hundred years ago.

-We dont see them as much because they couldnt fit on Noah's ark. (those big-ass velociraptors, you know- Noah prefers more compact things... like an elephant or a mountain lion)

-And!... well, you get the idea. Do read those websites for a laugh, because theyre HILARIOUS. They probably werent intended to be though, hm...
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#19 Posted on 12.8.05 1218.44
Reposted on: 12.8.12 1218.49
    Originally posted by BigSteve
      Originally posted by Stilton
      ...but TEACHING religion in a public school in utterly unethical. Why should a Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist student be made to waste his or her valuable time listening to an argument for someone else's religion as a teachable fact? It's ridiculous, and it's offensive.


    Why is it offensive? Assuming it's not a class teaching dogma and doctrine as fact, but more a Comparative Religion class like VSP suggested, I don't see the problem with having various religious beliefs explored. After all, there are any number of social studies classes that talk about cultural differences between various groups of people. Do you think that it should have offended me, a white American, that I learned about the culture of China in seventh grade?


How do you teach religion? I don't see it. Religion is a belief, it's something for you to strive for in your life in hopes of making you a better person. (I suppose.) If you have a paid teacher of the state 'teaching' it in a classroom, it would become a 'fact' and not a 'belief'. Evolution, while still is considered a 'theory' IS based on scientific 'fact' and couldn't or shouldn't offend anyone because facts and figures can be seen to acknowledge it. There are no facts and figures to prove religious beliefs. Having someone's religious beliefs 'taught' in a classroom IS offensive because there isn't a way to 'learn' it. It has to come from within you and not pounded in to your head by someone else. (Jehovah's Witnesses for an example... well, pretty much EVERY religion tries to do this to you, I suppose, but from past dealings, they're the worst.)

Learning about other cultures shouldn't offend anyone because you need to understand other people before you learn to understand yourself really. (Yeah, that sounds weird.) Learning culture from parts of the world other then where we live, especially for America, is a must, seeing as there are not many people here who are actually 'native' to this continent.

(edited by Cerebus on 12.8.05 1423)
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#20 Posted on 12.8.05 1239.46
Reposted on: 12.8.12 1239.56
    Originally posted by Cerebus
    Learning about other cultures shouldn't offend anyone because you need to understand other people before you learn to understand yourself really. (Yeah, that sounds weird.) Learning culture from parts of the world other then where we live, especially for America, is a must, seeing as there are not many people here who are actually 'native' to this continent.

    (edited by Cerebus on 12.8.05 1423)


What then about learning about other cultures' religions?
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