The Instigator
blownwish
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
randolph7
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Creationism should not be taught in biology class

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/5/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,235 times Debate No: 17782
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (5)

 

blownwish

Pro

"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out." -Richard Dawkins

Biology is an important part of basic high school curriculum, not only for students who chose career paths in this direction, but for everyone else as well. A well informed population is a boon. We do our students and our communities a disservice when we take time away from the study of life to "teach controversies" which do not exist within the scientific community. These issues can be dealt with in debate class, or the churches. Creationism, Intelligent Design and the like are not science and should not be taught in a science class. To do so would confuse students who are not yet versed on the basics of biology and yet expected to argue for or against it's merits.

Definitions of Terms

Creationism: Usually a term used to describe the Christian creation story. This can also be applied to any religious creation story in this debate.

Taught (teach): To instruct a student

Biology: The study of life

(1) "Teach the Controversy"

The Discovery Institute claimed that it was important for all students to be taught varying points of view in regard to evolution. One must consider that the scientific community is at a resounding consensus when it comes to evolution. Their main concern was not the actual teaching of science but to counteract what they saw as a "materialist world view" which, in their opinion, subverted traditional JudeoChristian ethics. (Wedge Document) The controversy was between the scientific community and a particular group of Christians, not within the scientific community. This was played out in the Dover Trial. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) Because this was not a political debate, not a scientific controversy, there is no reason to teach it in biology classes, where students are expected to learn biology, not the highlights of a debate.

(2) "Church and State"

Because we do encourage freedom of speech in our country, there is nothing stopping local church from addressing their concerns on the pulpit. If parents would like their children to hear "both sides," then let them do so within their proper contexts. Biology class deals in science. Religion deals in belief. Let the other sides make their case in private religious institutions where they are free to make whatever claim they want without legislative restriction.

There must be, however, restrictions in public schools given that one religion can not be favored over another, or given any official mandate at all because of the First Amendment. These are public institutions running on taxes levied on all citizens in the interest of providing a good education for all students in the community. If the "controversy" must be addressed in public schools then let it be addressed in a debate class where it belongs. After all, this is what a controversy is.

(3) Chaos Theory

If the "controversy" is taught, biology class will degenerate into an uninformed debate session without the benefit of formal debates' structure. How in the world is a student who has not even passed the course supposed to understand the underpinnings of the subject enough to decide whether s/he is for or against evolution? It speaks to the paranoia of Creationist parents when they will not even let the child learn opposing points of view. Why not let the child learn what science has to say without pretending there is a major controversy where there is not one? This would only result in lost study time and confusion.

In conclusion, you can see that my three fold objections are clearly tethered to a non-controversy assertion. I will accept any counter claims from the negation in regard to social impacts of evolution etc., with the understanding that wen they make a claim they will hold burden of proof for that claim regardless of their negation status.

Thank you! I look forward to a good debate.
randolph7

Con

Thank you for this interesting debate. You certainly raise some interesting points.

(1) "Teach the Controversy"

The Discovery Institute claimed that it was important for all students to be taught varying points of view in regard to evolution. One must consider that the scientific community is at a resounding consensus when it comes to evolution. Their main concern was not the actual teaching of science but to counteract what they saw as a "materialist world view" which, in their opinion, subverted traditional JudeoChristian ethics. (Wedge Document) The controversy was between the scientific community and a particular group of Christians, not within the scientific community. This was played out in the Dover Trial. (http://en.wikipedia.org......) Because this was not a political debate, not a scientific controversy, there is no reason to teach it in biology classes, where students are expected to learn biology, not the highlights of a debate.


I don't find the Discovery Institute's claims and views particularly important to this debate nor necessary to refute the resolution. Therefore, I won't respond to its views unless it ties in to this debate at a later time. More about the Wedge Document here[2].


(2) "Church and State"

Because we do encourage freedom of speech in our country, there is nothing stopping local church from addressing their concerns on the pulpit. If parents would like their children to hear "both sides," then let them do so within their proper contexts. Biology class deals in science. Religion deals in belief. Let the other sides make their case in private religious institutions where they are free to make whatever claim they want without legislative restriction.

In fact, both freedom of speech and religion are found in the First Amendment. It would seem to be a cross-purposes for the authors of the Constitution to give the right to free speech and yet eliminate religious free speech in the same amendment. The Supreme Court agrees that if there is a secular purpose the instruction could be allowed even if it derived from religious teaching.

Justice Brennan stated in Edwards v. Aguillard, "In a similar way, teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.[3]" This was the only point in which all of the Justices on the Supreme Court concurred.

There must be, however, restrictions in public schools given that one religion can not be favored over another, or given any official mandate at all because of the First Amendment. These are public institutions running on taxes levied on all citizens in the interest of providing a good education for all students in the community. If the "controversy" must be addressed in public schools then let it be addressed in a debate class where it belongs. After all, this is what a controversy is.

While I agree that religious teaching should not be taught in place of evolution in public school or even taught as a rival scientific theory. But I do believe it has its place in the science classroom to give the teaching of Evolution context. I'm not arguing for it to be taught in depth merely that the basics are covered to show the evolution of scientific thought over time (no pun intended). Science textbooks already cover brief biographies of key people in science and other contextual material to generate interest in the topic and promote critical thinking.

Even the National Science Teachers Association, states, "Regarding how science instruction should occur within the context of societal and personal issues, NSTA recommends that science instruction ... incorporate scientific issues that are personally and socially relevant, and developmentally appropriate, as a way to generate interest in and motivation to engage in relating science to personal and societal issues.[4]"

Popular science writer Brian Clegg, puts it this way, "By putting creation myths into context in this way, we are much more likely to defuse the issue than by rigidly insisting that they should never appear in science lessons.[1]"


(3) Chaos Theory

If the "controversy" is taught, biology class will degenerate into an uninformed debate session without the benefit of formal debates' structure. How in the world is a student who has not even passed the course supposed to understand the underpinnings of the subject enough to decide whether s/he is for or against evolution? It speaks to the paranoia of Creationist parents when they will not even let the child learn opposing points of view. Why not let the child learn what science has to say without pretending there is a major controversy where there is not one? This would only result in lost study time and confusion.

In conclusion, you can see that my three fold objections are clearly tethered to a non-controversy assertion. I will accept any counter claims from the negation in regard to social impacts of evolution etc., with the understanding that when they make a claim they will hold burden of proof for that claim regardless of their negation status.

You seem to be arguing here that there is not a major controversy while your first two contentions you were arguing that there was. If the controversy is minor or there's no controversy at all then why shouldn't Creationism be taught?


Conclusion:

When teaching science in public schools it's important to show alternate theories in order to help the students understand and better associate with the topics at hand. For example, in teaching that the world is round it is often also taught that people thought the Earth was flat. The NSTA agrees with showing context as well. This shows that science teachers feel context is important in their teachings. The teaching of creation myths helps to show the context as well as the societal impact of science, therefore it should be taught in biology class.

This is a very important issue today in education. I thank you for this opportunity and look forward to your reply.




Sources:
[1] http://blogs.nature.com...
[2] http://www.churchofvirus.org...
[3] http://supreme.justia.com...
[4] http://www.nsta.org...
Debate Round No. 1
blownwish

Pro

blownwish forfeited this round.
randolph7

Con

I extend all arguments to the next round.
Debate Round No. 2
blownwish

Pro

blownwish forfeited this round.
randolph7

Con

I extend all arguments to the next round.
Debate Round No. 3
blownwish

Pro

blownwish forfeited this round.
randolph7

Con

I extend all arguments to the next round.
Debate Round No. 4
blownwish

Pro

blownwish forfeited this round.
randolph7

Con

I wish to thank my opponent for bringing this topic up for debate. She has not responded to my rebuttals so I'll take it that all her contentions have been dropped.

Therefore, I'll summarize my case once more:
When teaching science in public schools it's important to show alternate theories in order to help the students understand and better associate with the topics at hand. For example, in teaching that the world is round it is often also taught that people thought the Earth was flat. The NSTA agrees with showing context as well. This shows that science teachers feel context is important in their teachings. The teaching of creation myths helps to show the context as well as the societal impact of science, therefore it should be taught in biology class.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
The suspense is killing me.
Posted by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
Yeah sure, no problem.
Posted by blownwish 5 years ago
blownwish
My bad. Is it ok to use new evidence in the next responses?
Posted by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
Thank you. I'm sorry, but what do you mean by "Can we agree on offering evidence in rebuttal?" I'm pretty easy going I just want to be sure I understand your question correctly :)
Posted by blownwish 5 years ago
blownwish
Fantastic counterargument. Question: Can we agree on offering evidence in rebuttal?
Posted by blownwish 5 years ago
blownwish
Hi Randolph7-

Thank you so much for choosing my topic.

I am the mother of a high school student and a former high school debater. The state legislator tried to pass a bill allowing teachers to (basically) teach whatever their personal religious beliefs were in conjunction with Evolution.

tl;dr: Concerned parent.
Posted by randolph7 5 years ago
randolph7
Just curious but what's your interest in the topic? Are you a teacher?
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
blownwishrandolph7Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit and Pro's arguments were well refuted.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
blownwishrandolph7Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter to massvotebomber
Vote Placed by MassDebator255 5 years ago
MassDebator255
blownwishrandolph7Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: OBAMA IS GOD!
Vote Placed by CD-Host 5 years ago
CD-Host
blownwishrandolph7Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: 4x forfeit
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
blownwishrandolph7Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: blownish forfeited most of the debate, costing her the conduct point. Despite her strong argument in the first round, blownish is ultimately unable to address randolph7's effective rebuttal about the importance of 'context' and of flexibility in teaching the 'biology class'.