In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

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Ryan Offline
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In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:50 am




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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:10 am



Disappointing, but not terribly surprising. Every year presents a new set of students (read: challenges) to try to teach evolution and natural selection. Every year I think I get a little better at it but every year I see the same crap coming up from earlier grades where they've been told incorrect information, or I heard anecdotes of their churches bringing in guest speakers to discredit evolution. These are very difficult things to overcome.


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Re:

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:05 pm



Chance, for the life of me, I can't imagine why those challenges would be hard to overcome. You have the luxury of SO MUCH evidence on your side that those anecdotes should fall 100% of the time. In fact, between the four walls of a biology class room, and with a teacher as bright and honest as yourself, I imagine that those corny one-liners would fly about as well as one-liners about the stork theory of child rearing.


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Re: Re:

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:22 pm



Ryan wrote:Chance, for the life of me, I can't imagine why those challenges would be hard to overcome. You have the luxury of SO MUCH evidence on your side that those anecdotes should fall 100% of the time. In fact, between the four walls of a biology class room, and with a teacher as bright and honest as yourself, I imagine that those corny one-liners would fly about as well as one-liners about the stork theory of child rearing.
We have evidence on our side too haha. THE BIBLE!
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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:58 pm



Ryan, it may have been a while since you've interacted with 15-16 year olds, but they can be incredibly stubborn. If they've been told something over and over...and over...again...by their parents, or their church, or their friends....they're going to stick with the status quo most of the time. For the most part, people don't tend to question things they've been taught until late high school and college.

As evidenced by the poster above me, some people think that there's a definite dichotomy between science and religion, that you can only have one or the other. Just yesterday I had a student ask me if I thought the world was going to end on Dec 21, 2012 and I replied "No, but it will end in about 4 or 5 billion years when our star begins to die and grows into a red giant, consuming the four inner terrestrial planets." Someone sitting by him scoffed and said "No, the Bible says when the earth is going to end. I don't believe in that science crap." (Yes, this is what I get to teach....) He happened to have some ear phones sticking out of his shirt and I asked him what they were connected to. He said "a music player" and I, looking astonished, said "Wow, well you can thank that science crap for your music player." He mumbled some nonsensical response and then proceeded to try his best to ignore me for the rest of the period while we discussed genetic transcription and translation.

This is the first hurdle to get past with Bible-believing students when trying to teach them evolution. Sure, I myself may not be religious but I know many scientists who are and they reconcile their beliefs with reality pretty well. When I teach my students evolution, I don't in any way try to phrase it so that students think they have to abandon their faith if they accept it. If they do later then whatever, that's up to them, but my job is to teach them about our scientific understanding of reality and that includes biological evolution. What I absolutely cannot reconcile that with, and I have these kinds of students, is the view that earth and the entire universe is only 6-10k years old. This flies in the face of everything we understand about geology, cosmology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, etc. There's no way to teach science from a young earth perspective. That's insane nonsense. So where I will willingly step on the toes of my students is if they try to challenge biological evolution based on young earth creationism.

Let me say, I *want* my students to be skeptical and critical thinkers. I *don't* want them to take everything I or anyone else for that matter says at face value and accept it as true. I think if, as a society, we valued that kind of mentality we'd be much better off. But when you see proponents of intelligent design or creationism trying to say that keeping it out of the science classroom is stifling free inquiry, what they're failing to understand is that you cannot be a skeptic if you abandon reason for your skepticism. I would not, for instance, be skeptical that adding the squares of a right-angled triangle would add up to any more or any less than the squared hypotenuse. I would though be skeptical that some eye cream you buy at the store "repairs DNA" (actually saw this crap not too long ago) and that those "balance" bracelets and necklaces are anything but placebo effect.

So, if you truly think that challenges to evolution would be difficult to overcome, I welcome you to come teach science in the south. There are apparently no end of challenges we have to deal with here.


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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:27 pm



Chance wrote:Ryan, it may have been a while since you've interacted with 15-16 year olds, but they can be incredibly stubborn. If they've been told something over and over...and over...again...by their parents, or their church, or their friends....they're going to stick with the status quo most of the time. For the most part, people don't tend to question things they've been taught until late high school and college.

As evidenced by the poster above me, some people think that there's a definite dichotomy between science and religion, that you can only have one or the other. Just yesterday I had a student ask me if I thought the world was going to end on Dec 21, 2012 and I replied "No, but it will end in about 4 or 5 billion years when our star begins to die and grows into a red giant, consuming the four inner terrestrial planets." Someone sitting by him scoffed and said "No, the Bible says when the earth is going to end. I don't believe in that science crap." (Yes, this is what I get to teach....) He happened to have some ear phones sticking out of his shirt and I asked him what they were connected to. He said "a music player" and I, looking astonished, said "Wow, well you can thank that science crap for your music player." He mumbled some nonsensical response and then proceeded to try his best to ignore me for the rest of the period while we discussed genetic transcription and translation.

This is the first hurdle to get past with Bible-believing students when trying to teach them evolution. Sure, I myself may not be religious but I know many scientists who are and they reconcile their beliefs with reality pretty well. When I teach my students evolution, I don't in any way try to phrase it so that students think they have to abandon their faith if they accept it. If they do later then whatever, that's up to them, but my job is to teach them about our scientific understanding of reality and that includes biological evolution. What I absolutely cannot reconcile that with, and I have these kinds of students, is the view that earth and the entire universe is only 6-10k years old. This flies in the face of everything we understand about geology, cosmology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, etc. There's no way to teach science from a young earth perspective. That's insane nonsense. So where I will willingly step on the toes of my students is if they try to challenge biological evolution based on young earth creationism.

Let me say, I *want* my students to be skeptical and critical thinkers. I *don't* want them to take everything I or anyone else for that matter says at face value and accept it as true. I think if, as a society, we valued that kind of mentality we'd be much better off. But when you see proponents of intelligent design or creationism trying to say that keeping it out of the science classroom is stifling free inquiry, what they're failing to understand is that you cannot be a skeptic if you abandon reason for your skepticism. I would not, for instance, be skeptical that adding the squares of a right-angled triangle would add up to any more or any less than the squared hypotenuse. I would though be skeptical that some eye cream you buy at the store "repairs DNA" (actually saw this crap not too long ago) and that those "balance" bracelets and necklaces are anything but placebo effect.

So, if you truly think that challenges to evolution would be difficult to overcome, I welcome you to come teach science in the south. There are apparently no end of challenges we have to deal with here.
Dude I don't understand why you would want to question the bible. It's like the answer book to life. You don't read a question on a practice test and then immidiatly just say the answer in the key is wrong, you look at the key and then figure out what you need to do to get to that answer

The bible already has all the answers, it was written BY GOD. Duh
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Chance Offline
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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:04 pm



MPolarinakis wrote:
Dude I don't understand why you would want to question the bible. It's like the answer book to life. You don't read a question on a practice test and then immidiatly just say the answer in the key is wrong, you look at the key and then figure out what you need to do to get to that answer

The bible already has all the answers, it was written BY GOD. Duh
This is why I, as a science teacher, should have job security for quite a while. Thanks for further validating my career.


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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:45 pm



Chance wrote:
MPolarinakis wrote:
Dude I don't understand why you would want to question the bible. It's like the answer book to life. You don't read a question on a practice test and then immidiatly just say the answer in the key is wrong, you look at the key and then figure out what you need to do to get to that answer

The bible already has all the answers, it was written BY GOD. Duh
This is why I, as a science teacher, should have job security for quite a while. Thanks for further validating my career.
That's up to god. Ill pray for your job security!
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TVOham Offline
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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:12 am



Chance, stop getting trolled man. lol
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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:02 am



TVOham wrote:Chance, stop getting trolled man. lol
God will smite thee
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Ryan Offline
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Re:

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:28 pm



Chance,

I saw a graphic recently that showed the science standards in public schools for all 50 of the states, and I was blown away to see that the South, while it did fare about as well as most of the rest of the nation, wasn't doing any worse than the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest and a couple of other places. Still, my suspicion is that, while kids in the South are at least getting a "D"-level understanding of physics and chemistry, their understandings of biology are probably downright third-world.

What about Arkansas? Do you ever get a chance to just draw a punnett square and say, "Look, #ucktard, here's the math of evolution. Love it or hate it, it's a mathematical certainty. We can control the distribution of alleles in daughter generations. It's not a mystery and hasn't been since the 1600's."

Or is that strictly for high school?


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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:30 am



Last edited by Ryan on Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:07 am



Ryan I saw a map like that recently but interestingly enough Arkansas didn't fare anywhere near as well. That one seemed to suggest that our frameworks don't even mention the word "evolution" but they actually do. For a 10th grade level biology class, I would say our frameworks cover evolution fairly well, especially considering how contentious the topic has been here in Arkansas and the fact that we've had 3 different state supreme court cases over it.

In fact, here are our frameworks over evolution:

Strand: Heredity and Evolution Standard 6: Students shall examine the development of the theory of biological evolution.
1. Compare and contrast Lamarck’s explanation of evolution with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection
2. Recognize that evolution involves a change in allele frequencies in a population across successive generations
3. Analyze the effects of mutations and the resulting variations within a population in terms of natural selection
4. Illustrate mass extinction events using a time line
5. Evaluate evolution in terms of evidence as found in the following:
• fossil record
• DNA analysis
• artificial selection
• morphology
• embryology
• viral evolution
• geographic distribution of related species
• antibiotic and pesticide resistance in various organisms
6. Compare the processes of relative dating and radioactive dating to determine the age of fossils
7. Interpret a Cladogram

They certainly aren't the best framework in the world for covering evolution, and they include nothing about human evolution (I cover it anyway), but I do think they do a fairly sufficient job of covering it for a typical 10th grade level bio class. Students who go on to take AP bio as juniors or seniors cover it far more in depth include X^2 Analysis and Hardy-Weinberd Equilibrium. We do cover the math of genetics in 10th grade bio and I make sure to associate it with evolution as much as possible - in fact just about everything I teach in my bio classes is underscored with evolution - but the unfortunate thing is I am probably a rarity when it comes to bio teachers in my state. There was a poll conducted not long ago of science teachers in Arkansas and it was a little disturbing how many didn't teach evolution and/or would teach creationism alongside it or in place of it, totally in violation of the law and robbing our students of real scientific literacy. At the very least, I can say that none of that crap occurs at my high school - though I can't say so about the middle and elementary schools - and as a member of the Board of the Arkansas Science Teachers Association I try to ensure that good science education is being conducted all around my state.

In the next two years we and over 40 other states (but not Texas!) will be adopting the Next Generation Science Standards, and I'm hopeful that they'll help move us toward further developing our students scientific literacy. The new standards are far more process-based rather than fact-based, and the assessments for them require the students to think through an experiment or process rather than just regurge whatever they can remember. To me, this is a far better illustration of what science is actually like rather than asking students to memorize tons of seemingly disparate facts that seem to have no bearing on their lives. I guess we'll see how it goes though by 2015 when all schools in participating states will have to have adopted the new Common Core State Standards for Math and Literacy and the NGSS.


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Re:

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:33 pm



Holy s#it!

Bravo!

I see that you're not as fond of the current frameworks as you might be, but I can't imagine for the life of me how, if you REALLY, DEEPLY covered even just a few of the frameworks, any child could leave a desk in your classroom with any doubts about Darwinian evolution. Heck, even just comparing Lamarck's theory to Darwin's -- the very first framework -- should open some eyes. And when you get in to "Recogniz[ing] that evolution involves a change in allele frequency over successive generations," it seems to me that you almost wouldn't need the fossil record; the students should permanently understand that, if you can walk a mile, you can walk 200 miles, so to speak -- that if you can change a few alleles, you can change lots of alleles.

And as an aside, mass extinctions looks particularly interesting. I wish I could study that topic alone for awhile. In fact, some intimate time with wikipedia might be on tap for tonight :) And really, when I look at the sheer "firepower" of the rest of the topics on that list -- fossil record, DNA analysis, artificial selection, morphology, embryology, viral evolution, etc. -- I still just can't fathom leaving class without understanding evolution. It's just far, FAR beyond bizarre to me that that happens. I seriously have no idea how this creationism s#it survives down there.

Finally, can you describe this Next Generation Science Standards stuff to me? I don't know what that is.

And great work, btw! Keep fighting the good fight!


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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:17 am



Ryan, the only things I can cite that might explain your frustration (and it is one I vehemently share!) is just the sheer entrenchment creationist ideas have around here and how stubbornly people can hold on to their preconceived notions.

I have hope that eventually, society (even southern society) will eventually evolve past these things.


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Re:

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:40 am



I gave up on the south long ago.
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Re:

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:49 am



I'm just kinda curious here. Christians try to spread their religion as a way of "saving" people. Regardless whether they are right or wrong about it, it is a good intention in trying to spread their religion. My question to you guys is why does it matter what others think or believe? Would you really want the south all converted to atheism? What is the positive side of that? I mean, would it really affect you or anyone in a positive way? You guys talk about creationism like it is a plague, or something in need of being fixed. I just haven't really understood why people want to spread their beliefs when we probably are all going to end up being wrong in the end.

In asking this, I'm not challenging you, just trying to understand I guess.
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Re: Re:

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:04 am



lesterroyer wrote:I'm just kinda curious here. Christians try to spread their religion as a way of "saving" people. Regardless whether they are right or wrong about it, it is a good intention in trying to spread their religion. My question to you guys is why does it matter what others think or believe? Would you really want the south all converted to atheism? What is the positive side of that? I mean, would it really affect you or anyone in a positive way? You guys talk about creationism like it is a plague, or something in need of being fixed. I just haven't really understood why people want to spread their beliefs when we probably are all going to end up being wrong in the end.

In asking this, I'm not challenging you, just trying to understand I guess.
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Re: Re:

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:22 am



lesterroyer wrote:I'm just kinda curious here. Christians try to spread their religion as a way of "saving" people. Regardless whether they are right or wrong about it, it is a good intention in trying to spread their religion. My question to you guys is why does it matter what others think or believe? Would you really want the south all converted to atheism? What is the positive side of that? I mean, would it really affect you or anyone in a positive way? You guys talk about creationism like it is a plague, or something in need of being fixed. I just haven't really understood why people want to spread their beliefs when we probably are all going to end up being wrong in the end.

In asking this, I'm not challenging you, just trying to understand I guess.
I apologize if you have interpreted anything I've typed as meaning that I'm attempting to convert, or rather deconvert, people to atheism. I don't really care what people believe. My job, however, is to teach science, and that includes biological evolution while excluding creationism or any other supernatural explanation.

My students are free to believe whatever they want, both in and out of my classroom. It would be remarkably naive of me or anything else to think that I could control what someone believes. However, what I require of my students, regardless of their beliefs, is that they understand science better when they leave me than when they came to me.


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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:27 pm



Nobody is even talking about atheism here.
Creationism does not equal Christianity. Creationism equals some radical Christians attempting to infiltrate science as a way of pedaling their beliefs.

In the same way that Evolution does not equal atheism.



Read the conversation next time.
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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:04 pm



TVOham wrote: Creationism does not equal Christianity. Creationism equals some radical Christians attempting to infiltrate science as a way of pedaling their beliefs.

In the same way that Evolution does not equal atheism.
There we go. Most people aren't completely bent to one side or the other. There's no black and white line separating religion and science. That's just ignorant. In fact, I know a Christian who believes that humans did evolve from earlier species (such as apes). Religion, of course, does not have all of the answers, but science doesn't (and likely never will) either. People who say "Oh, because monkeys then no God" or "Science; checkmate Christians" should, IMHO, go back to /r/atheism and vent there. No one likes that kind of circlejerk.
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Re: In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:55 pm



VoteLobster wrote:
TVOham wrote: Creationism does not equal Christianity. Creationism equals some radical Christians attempting to infiltrate science as a way of pedaling their beliefs.

In the same way that Evolution does not equal atheism.
There we go. Most people aren't completely bent to one side or the other. There's no black and white line separating religion and science. That's just ignorant. In fact, I know a Christian who believes that humans did evolve from earlier species (such as apes). Religion, of course, does not have all of the answers, but science doesn't (and likely never will) either. People who say "Oh, because monkeys then no God" or "Science; checkmate Christians" should, IMHO, go back to /r/atheism and vent there. No one likes that kind of circlejerk.

I have to correct you there.
Humans did not evolve from apes. Humans ARE apes.
And monkeys did not evolve into humans. Both monkeys and humans share a common ape ancestor that lived in the past.
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Re: Re:

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:26 am



lesterroyer wrote:I'm just kinda curious here. Christians try to spread their religion as a way of "saving" people. Regardless whether they are right or wrong about it, it is a good intention in trying to spread their religion. My question to you guys is why does it matter what others think or believe? Would you really want the south all converted to atheism? What is the positive side of that? I mean, would it really affect you or anyone in a positive way? You guys talk about creationism like it is a plague, or something in need of being fixed. I just haven't really understood why people want to spread their beliefs when we probably are all going to end up being wrong in the end.
I would like to see more people convert to atheism simply because I feel like Christianity has too much influence in government in our country in general. It really bothers me that Christianity supposedly gives someone some sort of moral authority and that religion can be talked about like it's a great personal quality during a presidential debate. I don't try to convert anyone to atheism and when it comes to every day life I don't really care what sort of beliefs someone else holds. But laws, education, and research shouldn't be affected by anyone's religious views.
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Re: Re:

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:38 am



yoshikinto wrote:
lesterroyer wrote:I'm just kinda curious here. Christians try to spread their religion as a way of "saving" people. Regardless whether they are right or wrong about it, it is a good intention in trying to spread their religion. My question to you guys is why does it matter what others think or believe? Would you really want the south all converted to atheism? What is the positive side of that? I mean, would it really affect you or anyone in a positive way? You guys talk about creationism like it is a plague, or something in need of being fixed. I just haven't really understood why people want to spread their beliefs when we probably are all going to end up being wrong in the end.
I would like to see more people convert to atheism simply because I feel like Christianity has too much influence in government in our country in general. It really bothers me that Christianity supposedly gives someone some sort of moral authority and that religion can be talked about like it's a great personal quality during a presidential debate. I don't try to convert anyone to atheism and when it comes to every day life I don't really care what sort of beliefs someone else holds. But laws, education, and research shouldn't be affected by anyone's religious views.
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Re:

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:29 am



I teach at a Catholic school, and I think that it is funny that they have ALWAYS taught the scientific view point of Evolution as most important. They seem to have figured out that the Creation is a STORY, and Evolution is REALITY. This issue has never even come up, and if you even ask the 2 priests who work there, they would say you were crazy to think that the Creation STORY was legitimate fact....

our science teachers would get fired if they were teaching Creationism as legitimate science

it just seems to me that some people are afraid to go outside of their comfortable little box and say that maybe they have been wrong about things.
yoshikinto wrote: I would like to see more people convert to atheism simply because I feel like Christianity has too much influence in government in our country in general. It really bothers me that Christianity supposedly gives someone some sort of moral authority and that religion can be talked about like it's a great personal quality during a presidential debate. I don't try to convert anyone to atheism and when it comes to every day life I don't really care what sort of beliefs someone else holds. But laws, education, and research shouldn't be affected by anyone's religious views.
I very strongly agree with the point here about how religious ideology should NEVER cross into political/governmental issues, (even though from the start "Separation of Church and State" was sort of a blurry issue - even hypocritical, since most of the governmental rhetoric was always peppered with religious incantations) but I don't think that converting people to Atheism is the answer....having everyone follow one belief, no matter what it is, is detrimental to the mental/spiritual/moral growth of a society.

People need to realize that the set of beliefs and rituals that define their OWN morality (religion) might not work for everyone else...BUT, it could work WITH everyone else's if they would just shut up and listen to each other. EVERY religion in the world is saying the SAME THING!!! No one belief is better than the other, or right, and if people think their's is, they are just naive and under-educated.
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