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Teaching Evolution in Science Classrooms

Ice104
Posts: 8
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5/9/2014 6:55:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I am about to start my Secondary Teacher Training in the UK and I have a degree in Biochemistry.

I have come across some opposition to Evolution, primarily from the religious and I was wondering whether anybody has any suggestions about how to tackle these issues.

I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have!
OpinionsMayVary
Posts: 2
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6/4/2014 3:46:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Maybe I can help a little. Now I'm not a religious person at all, even though alot of my ideas may be reminiscent of a religious philosophy. I also regard much of modern science to be mislead, due to a widespread acceptance of ideas that strangle imagination and cripple creativity; Lessening the amount of possible realities that could exist.
So with that in mind, teaching evolution can be a challenging subject for many teachers. Especially now when there is so much factual evidence that evolutionary theories have been taught with many flaws and pieces missing. If you don't know what I mean then I recommend watching a lecture from Lloyd Pye which points out many inconsistency's with the fossil record and the astounding assumptions and illogical leaps made by the founding evolutionary scientists.
My only problem with the educational institutes of today is that they teach as if they know for sure. We assume so often that what we were taught in school is fact, when so much of that information has been proven false. A good teacher will inform his students that what he is teaching is only theoretical. Of course the rhetoric of a teacher is often decided by the institutional faculties that employ them, so it's not as if you can just teach your beliefs to your students. But in my opinion, if you can detach from the material they give you to teach, and look at it objectively, then you can simply share that information with your students as theory and compel them to discover the facts for themselves.
HumbleThinker1
Posts: 144
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6/4/2014 4:27:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/9/2014 6:55:42 AM, Ice104 wrote:
I am about to start my Secondary Teacher Training in the UK and I have a degree in Biochemistry.

I have come across some opposition to Evolution, primarily from the religious and I was wondering whether anybody has any suggestions about how to tackle these issues.

I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have!

Are you talking about tackling it with the students or their parents? If the students don't bring it up, I wouldn't. But if they do bring it up, simply say that some people believe this but there is far more scientific reasons to accept whatever the alternative is to whatever specific aspect of creationism the students bring up. I'm not sure what the UK curriculum is, but I'd assume your students would have had at least some exposure to the scientific method at that point. If you felt it wise, you can segue this discussion into an application of the scientific method and how it can be used to weigh the merits of both. But given that creationism has zero science behind it and is far from the scientific consensus, it really has no place in a science classroom if students do not bring it up. It would make about as much since as bringing up calculus in an art history class.

As far as parents, I'm not sure. Adults have learned to be closed minded whereas children are usually at least slightly more receptive.
HumbleThinker1
Posts: 144
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6/4/2014 4:39:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/4/2014 3:46:17 PM, OpinionsMayVary wrote:
I also regard much of modern science to be mislead, due to a widespread acceptance of ideas that strangle imagination and cripple creativity; Lessening the amount of possible realities that could exist.:

To quote Maria Montessori, "The true basis of the imagination is reality." "Lessening the amount of possible realities that could exist" is not inherently a bad thing.

So with that in mind, teaching evolution can be a challenging subject for many teachers. Especially now when there is so much factual evidence that evolutionary theories have been taught with many flaws and pieces missing. If you don't know what I mean then I recommend watching a lecture from Lloyd Pye which points out many inconsistency's with the fossil record and the astounding assumptions and illogical leaps made by the founding evolutionary scientists.
My only problem with the educational institutes of today is that they teach as if they know for sure. We assume so often that what we were taught in school is fact, when so much of that information has been proven false. A good teacher will inform his students that what he is teaching is only theoretical. Of course the rhetoric of a teacher is often decided by the institutional faculties that employ them, so it's not as if you can just teach your beliefs to your students. But in my opinion, if you can detach from the material they give you to teach, and look at it objectively, then you can simply share that information with your students as theory and compel them to discover the facts for themselves.:

That's the nature of knowledge, though. We hold onto it just hard enough to get something useful out of it, but fully prepared to let it when evidence shows that our knowledge is in error. Our knowledge is only as good as the current body of evidence. Those that hold onto knowledge after it has been shown to be wrong are the ones at fault, not the ones who originally stated that the knowledge was true and have now rightly changed their position. By your logic, we couldn't teach anything. Perhaps if the human mind could be taught pure analytical skills without reference to a base of knowledge that may become wrong in the future, then you would have a point. But that simply is not how the human mind is structured. And perhaps if ALL children were taught was a dry set of facts and not analytical skills, then you would have a point, but only the most ineffective classrooms do this.

We used to teach that there were nine planets. Now we teach that there are eight. What harm has been done by this correction in knowledge?
docstop
Posts: 6
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6/12/2014 8:57:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/9/2014 6:55:42 AM, Ice104 wrote:
I am about to start my Secondary Teacher Training in the UK and I have a degree in Biochemistry.

I have come across some opposition to Evolution, primarily from the religious and I was wondering whether anybody has any suggestions about how to tackle these issues.

I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have!

Not sure if my opinion is in line with what you were hoping to get from your original question but here goes... I think there has been this incredible, us vs. them, mentality, an evolution vs creationism, that there can be absolutely nothing in between. I am Catholic and believe in Creationism and certain aspects of Evolution. To make it short and sweet, God set things in motion and then as nature etc, progressed it only makes sense that animals that have inherent traits to survive longer would do so, thus passing on such heritable and beneficial, traits to their offspring. The thing that does not make sense to me and I believe evolutionists really have no proof to support, is that macro-evolution can occur ie. the spontaneous creation of a brand new species. I would have to brush up on my evolutionary theory but I think macro-evolution is defined as micro-evolution to the point of the animal, plant, etc., technically being classified as a new species. The decision to go from micro-evolution, ie where an animal could become faster, stronger, etc., and then become a new species is subjective.

Based on my very general comments, I think there is certainly ample room for a healthy discussion to occur in a classroom that would make it possible for both creationism (those who ardently support it) and evolutionary theory to meet in the middle instead of potentially conflicted and unhelpful judgments being passed as to who is right and who is wrong.
Never deprive anyone of hope... it may be all they have.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/13/2014 11:51:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
From my entirely student perspective, I think the best policy is to stick to the curriculum, nothing more, nothing less. and when asked about it, simply state that you're teaching what the curriculum requires.

To use an analogy: In economics, some economists think government intervention is evil; others don't. In Hong Kong, Steven NS Cheung used to control the A-Levels, so government intervention was evil (i.e. inefficient). Now, Cheung is away, so government intervention is now an angel that moves your PMC curve to overlap the SMC curve, or your PMB curve to overlap the SMB curve. Which side is correct? It doesn't matter: what matters is which one the exam board thinks is correct.

I think you should treat evolution the same way. Looking at past papers, is evolution considered fact? If so, then teach it as fact. Is evolution considered a theory? If so, then teach it as a theory.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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Sfaulkner
Posts: 2
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7/7/2014 3:59:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Science belongs in science class. Evolution is a scientific theory that can probably be considered a fact like gravity. Evolution is and always will be taught in science class.
swagwhale
Posts: 45
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7/16/2014 6:02:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
For a theory to be considered scientific, it must be able to explain the evidence better than other theories. Dinosaur DNA, blood cells, blood vessels and proteins have all been discovered. Laboratory testing rates of decay have indicated that DNA should not last over around 10,000 years. This result seems incompatible with evolutions millions of years. Creationists would only need it to last the 2,000 years since the flood. Conclusion: Creationism has a stronger scientific base and should therefore be what is taught in schools.
Otokage
Posts: 2,347
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7/30/2014 9:02:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/9/2014 6:55:42 AM, Ice104 wrote:
I am about to start my Secondary Teacher Training in the UK and I have a degree in Biochemistry.

I have come across some opposition to Evolution, primarily from the religious and I was wondering whether anybody has any suggestions about how to tackle these issues.

I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have!

You should first know that some religious people won't believe evolution happens no matter what you say, since it is according to them, a key attack on religion, and they will always choose religion over evidence ANY TIME.

This said, you should start by explaining that evolution has never been really questioned by any scientist. Evolution happens, that's why we have several fossils, numerous dog-races, different farm vegetables that do not exist in nature, domestic animals, ring-species, and so on. No one really questions that evolution happens as no one really questions children inherit traits from their parents. What has been questioned through history is not evolution, but the mechanism by which evolution occurs. To Darwin, it was natural selection, to Lamarck, it was the inheritance of acquired characteristics.

Maybe this way they can start to realize that they are the only ones questioning evolution itself, while they should be questioning the mechanism that drives evolution (if anything).
mayfieldga
Posts: 7
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12/7/2014 6:11:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I would love to have evolution be taught as it actually is, just a theory. Anyone who has seen the many facets of creation and biological functioning cannot help but be amazed by the many many similarities of structure organs, mating, and maintenance of those structures of most all creation, from bird to fish, to animals, to plants, to insects, and humans.
Anyone who has taken biology and has seen the workings of a cell (mind you in all creatures) cannot help but be astonished by the very very complex interaction of the many cellular parts that must be functioning simultaneously for a cell to function, not to mention have the proper DNA sequencing for each protein needed and stamped out for every part of the cell both for maintenance and also for cellular division.
So anyone not teaching both sides is truly missing out on a very logical and scientific area by not teaching the possibility of creation.
adward021
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12/8/2014 4:31:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
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Accipiter
Posts: 1,160
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12/24/2014 1:23:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 6:11:36 PM, mayfieldga wrote:
I would love to have evolution be taught as it actually is, just a theory. Anyone who has seen the many facets of creation and biological functioning cannot help but be amazed by the many many similarities of structure organs, mating, and maintenance of those structures of most all creation, from bird to fish, to animals, to plants, to insects, and humans.
Anyone who has taken biology and has seen the workings of a cell (mind you in all creatures) cannot help but be astonished by the very very complex interaction of the many cellular parts that must be functioning simultaneously for a cell to function, not to mention have the proper DNA sequencing for each protein needed and stamped out for every part of the cell both for maintenance and also for cellular division.
So anyone not teaching both sides is truly missing out on a very logical and scientific area by not teaching the possibility of creation.

Gravity is just a theory. Do you believe that because it's a theory it's debatable?
H_o_u_s_e
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1/2/2015 6:29:02 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Tell them the difference between fiction and reality. That's how you counter religion while teaching evolution.
phiLockeraptor
Posts: 233
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1/10/2015 4:42:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/9/2014 6:55:42 AM, Ice104 wrote:
I am about to start my Secondary Teacher Training in the UK and I have a degree in Biochemistry.

I have come across some opposition to Evolution, primarily from the religious and I was wondering whether anybody has any suggestions about how to tackle these issues.

I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have!

Don't call it Evolution. It's literally just "teaching Science in Science classrooms". If they have a problem with that, then there's no hope for them.
"Philosophy is a great conversation that never ends"

Writing for this website ----> www.dailyfreethinker.com
alicejohn
Posts: 3
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1/24/2015 12:40:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/9/2014 6:55:42 AM, Ice104 wrote:
I am about to start my Secondary Teacher Training in the UK and I have a degree in Biochemistry.

I have come across some opposition to Evolution, primarily from the religious and I was wondering whether anybody has any suggestions about how to tackle these issues.

I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have!
mayfieldga
Posts: 7
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1/24/2015 8:45:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/24/2015 12:40:19 AM, alicejohn wrote:
At 5/9/2014 6:55:42 AM, Ice104 wrote:
I am about to start my Secondary Teacher Training in the UK and I have a degree in Biochemistry.

I have come across some opposition to Evolution, primarily from the religious and I was wondering whether anybody has any suggestions about how to tackle these issues.

I would appreciate any suggestions anyone may have!

I feel we need to see that dogma can come religion and from science. The problem with teaching evolution as a science is that very very much of it is has not been researched but simply assumed. There are many scientists who believe creation. The teaching of evolution came from persons who may have been scientists but mostly from persons like Galton and Darwin who came with their on motivations. Such persons perhaps had a value system they carried and simply assumed that belief in creation and science were incompatible. This belief gained acceptance mostly with assertions and conjecture, not evidence. Now we are faced with evidence on creation, and we are dumbfounded as to how to respond.
I feel we must look at "both points of evidence" to come to the truth. Try to at least understand and acknowledge when the "science presented for creation comes up and say, "This is a point for those believing in creation." I know the Jehovah's Witnesses have put out a wonderful book on evolution, many of the writers are still scientist and understand many of the nuances of theory. You can request one from any Witness.
I feel the big drive for evolution is the rebellion against the evils of religion;the lack of any evidence of any present day supernatural occurrences; and a value system that would be held back if a person had religious values.
We should understand that false teachings such as creation in seven days, which the Bible never stated; hell fire, and other false teachings should not be used as evidence against creation.
There are some very good points for creation like written history only goes back for about 5000 years. Darwin stated -
"The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations has been urged by several paleontologists .".". as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species." He added: "There is another and allied difficulty, which is much more serious. I allude to the manner in which species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks. .".". The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the [evolutionary] views here entertained." Swedish botanist Heribert Nilsson described the situation this way, after 40 years of his own research: "It is not even possible to make a caricature of an evolution out of palaeobiological facts. The fossil material is now so complete that .".". the lack of transitional series cannot be explained as due to the scarcity of material. The deficiencies are real, they will never be filled.
This material came from one book by the Witnesses on creation. It is filled with many very valid points. I feel unless we understand the dogma of some scientists and the dogma of some religonists, we will not have the truth as should be spoken from a truly scientific point of view. Note, the true scientists above have their own very honest doubts and are maintaining their integrity in this area. This is the model true scientists need to maintain. I love the book the Witnesses offer on this. It has much information on all facets of the evolution theory with much yes, very scientific answers to beliefs regarding evolution, from need for twenty only and only left hand amino acids from a hundred left and right hand amino acids that exists.
The cell itself is some complicated. You need all the "very many parts of the cell functioning all at once" to have a living cell and mind you, also reproduce. Then you need a way to take in the right needed nourishment to maintain the cell along with defenses to protect the cell. There are so many complexities that the originators of evolution could not allow to be understood to maintain a strong belief in evolution. So yes, there is dogma form both sides. We need to examine both sides to come to the truth. Science is wonderful. We need to protect science from dogma just as we need to protect our religious beliefs from dogma also. The Witnesses have a wonderful book on creation and it is given "free to all who wish to have one".
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,150
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1/24/2015 10:04:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Mayfieldga

Here is an example of scientific dogma:
The scientific method is superior to sacred texts when trying to understand the material world.
Other than that, I would need help.

Do you have any objection to this dogma?
If so, which sacred texts would you consider superior to the Scientific Method?
I will agree that some scientists may say things that are not agreed upon in the scientific community, and really not worth considering.

Please provide an example of scientific dogma.
Before you answer. please consider this:

In science there is no "proof" for any thing.
Scientific proof does not exist. We are told this by professional scientists, and there is virtually no disagreement among them. Some few philosopher scientists may argue that proof is possible, but they are an unnoticeable minority.
Science can provide evidence that will convince a reasonable and informed person that this or that is true, and we call this "scientific convincing evidence". Things or events identified in this way will often be identified as "scientific facts".
There are many who say there is "proof" in mathematics, but that is a different issue.
I mentioned this in another thread, and it was doubted.
Now is the time for those who disagree with me on this, to speak up.
I have provided some documentation to support my position.
~ ~ ~
Misconceptions about the nature and practice of science abound, and are sometimes even held by otherwise respectable practicing scientists themselves. I have dispelled some of them (misconceptions, not scientists) in earlier posts (for example, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, beauty is only skin-deep, and you can"t judge a book by its cover). Unfortunately, there are many other misconceptions about science. One of the most common misconceptions concerns the so-called "scientific proofs." Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a scientific proof.
Proofs exist only in mathematics and logic, not in science. Mathematics and logic are both closed, self-contained systems of propositions, whereas science is empirical and deals with nature as it exists. The primary criterion and standard of evaluation of scientific theory is evidence, not proof. All else equal (such as internal logical consistency and parsimony), scientists prefer theories for which there is more and better evidence to theories for which there is less and worse evidence. Proofs are not the currency of science.
Proofs have two features that do not exist in science: They are final, and they are binary. Once a theorem is proven, it will forever be true and there will be nothing in the future that will threaten its status as a proven theorem (unless a flaw is discovered in the proof). Apart from a discovery of an error, a proven theorem will forever and always be a proven theorem

In contrast, all scientific knowledge is tentative and provisional, and nothing is final. There is no such thing as final proven knowledge in science. The currently accepted theory of a phenomenon is simply the best explanation for it among all available alternatives. Its status as the accepted theory is contingent on what other theories are available and might suddenly change tomorrow if there appears a better theory or new evidence that might challenge the accepted theory. No knowledge or theory (which embodies scientific knowledge) is final. That, by the way, is why science is so much fun.
http://www.psychologytoday.com...
~~ ~ ~
As you can see, there is no 'proof' or absolute 'truth' in science. The closest we get are facts, which are indisputable observations. Note, however, if you define proof as arriving at a logical conclusion, based on the evidence, then there is 'proof' in science. I work under the definition that to prove something implies it can never be wrong, which is different. If you're asked to define hypothesis, theory, and law, keep in mind the definitions of proof and of these words can vary slightly depending on the scientific discipline. What is important is to realize they don't all mean the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably.
http://chemistry.about.com...
~ ~
While we might use the word "proof" in science, it is not a scientific idea. Proving is an exercise in logic.
http://www.digipac.ca...
~ ~ ~
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,150
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1/24/2015 10:39:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Mayfieldga

~ ~ quote: "There are many scientists who believe creation."
Reply: Like 100? Maybe 1000? Can you approximate a percentage? More than 1%? More than 10%?

~ ~ quote "Now we are faced with evidence on creation, and we are dumbfounded as to how to respond."
Reply: Evidence of what belief system of creation? There are many sacred texts versions of creation, many oral traditions of creation, and they vary.
Which version does this "evidence" support?

~ ~quote "There are some very good points for creation like written history only goes back for about 5000 years."
Reply: Am I to take this to mean you favor the Christian young earth version of Creation?"
I never considered this to be a point (good or bad) supporting creation. Can you explain your line of thinking.
I know of no sacred texts that give an account of god(s) giving mankind written language. To my knowledge there is no reason to assume god provided written language, fire, the wheel, bronze, iron, the printing press, more.

Concerning Nilsson, I found this, saying he was an evolutionist, not a creationist:

"According to Conservapedia, Nilsson was "not a creation scientist but was a founder of an evolutionary hypothesis called emication". At Conservapedia, emication is defined as follows:
Emication was an evolutionary theory which was described by a review in the Quarterly Review of Biology as stating that 'at various periods in geological time, violent revolutions have destroyed all the earth's biota, only to have living forms reconstituted by a sudden coming together of organic molecules to form gametes possessing the capability of developing into some highly complex form such as a pine tree, and elephant, or a man.' The evolutionary theory of emication was developed by Dr. Heribert Nilsson who was a well known Swedish geneticist and Professor of Botany at the University of Lund in Sweden.["
UndeniableReality
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2/1/2015 9:31:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/7/2014 6:11:36 PM, mayfieldga wrote:
I would love to have evolution be taught as it actually is, just a theory. Anyone who has seen the many facets of creation and biological functioning cannot help but be amazed by the many many similarities of structure organs, mating, and maintenance of those structures of most all creation, from bird to fish, to animals, to plants, to insects, and humans.

Strange then that biologists are the most likely to be atheists, even compared to most other scientists.