Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Creationists Should be Banned from Teaching Biology

Despite a court-ordered ban on the teaching of creationism in US schools, about one in eight high-school biology teachers still teach it as valid science, a survey reveals. And, although almost all teachers also taught evolution, those with less training in science – and especially evolutionary biology – tend to devote less class time to Darwinian principles.

Science classes must teach the science. For biology that means evolution. Anything less robs students of an education.

Allowing a creationist to teach biology is akin to allowing an atheist to teach divinity studies at a religious school.


Ceroill said...

Sigh. Only in America. Or maybe Turkey, the only other country where Creationism is given any widespread credence.

Anonymous said...

Religous schools are private. Public schools are just that, public. You canniot ban a creationist brom teaching Biology anymore than you can ban an atheist from teaching dedutive logic.
The law states in a vast majority of states that if a student inquires on other viewpoints, the teacher is then aloud to elaborate and to share. I imagine that is happening quite a bit. Kudos to America from freedom of thought and expression.

coreydbarbarian said...

the obvious solution is mandatory courses in evolutionary biology for all u.s. science teachers.

honestly, i'm surprised it's not mandatory already. kinda like mandatory algebra classes for all math teachers??

better still, let's mandate a course called "creationism and the war on science" and lay it all out on the table.

just make sure the instructors were actually qualified to compare evolution and creationism objectively. we don't want 16% of those instructors to end up creationists, too. ;)

coreydbarbarian said...

hey anonymous, since you mentioned the possibility of students inquiring about intelligent design, i thought i'd let you know that the actual study deals with that possibility.

"We also asked teachers whether they spent classroom time on creationism or intelligent design. We found that 25% of teachers indicated that they devoted at least one or two classroom hours to creationism or intelligent design (see Table 1). However, these numbers can be misleading because while some teachers may cover creationism to expose students to an alternative to evolutionary theory, others may bring up creationism in order to criticize it or in response to student inquiries. Questions that simply ask about time devoted to creationism, therefore, will overstate support for creationism or intelligent design by counting both those who teach creationism as a serious subject and those holding it up for criticism or ridicule. We asked a series of supplemental questions that provided some additional insight into the character of creationism in the classroom. Of the 25% of teachers who devoted time to creationism or intelligent design, nearly half agreed or strongly agreed that they teach creationism as a "valid scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species." Nearly the same number agreed or strongly agreed that when they teach creationism or intelligent design they emphasize that "many reputable scientists view these as valid alternatives to Darwinian Theory" (see Table S3)."

csm said...

Hey there anonymous (same one as earlier? new one? who the fuck knows? who the fuck cares?)!

Anyway, if a student asks about other viewpoints s/he should be told that there are religious views on this but they are not pertinent to a science class. Furthermore, they should be told that in order to pass biology a fundamental knowledge of evolution and Darwinism is required. Failure to grasp it will result in failing the class.

And that is a good reason to forbid a creationist from teaching biology.

Anonymous said...

"student asks about other viewpoints s/he should be told that there are religious views on this but they are not pertinent to a science class"

They should be told that many real scientist actually view ID as an scientific alternative to evolution (or addition to) while there are many atheist who fear ID and don't want students to know about it. But who cares, as a group they are quite irrelvant.

csm said...

Well, anonymous, then they'd be lying. A biologist who rebukes evolution is not a biologist because evolution is the foundation of biological science.



Ever get the feeling your talking to a brick wall?

If people want to believe in ID or believe the Bible in all it says as the embodiment of absolute truth, there are places to congregate and discuss these topics, they are called houses of worship. If you want that kind of education for your children there are plenty of private schools willing to provide this service. To force all kids in a public school to get this kind of information(ID)is contrary to the Founding Principles of this country. And it is a lessening of the parental rights of children of all other faiths or the lack of any faith. If there wasn't already a vast bounty of opportunity to learn and discuss the ideas of Christianity and ID, even for children, I might be a little more sympathetic(I said might)to these people, but since they are a majority(and much of the Constitution was written to contain the power of majorities)and they do have these outlets, I am suspicious of the motives of the main movers of these ideas.

csm said...

Brick wall? Yes... that is an apt metaphor.

I go a bit further than you, I'm sure. I don't think even a private school - or a home schooled kid - should be able to get a high school diploma without a working knowledge of basic biology concepts including evolution. If these non-publically financed venues wish to also teach absurdities like ID, so be it, but they should not be allowed to teach against a firmly established scientific principle such as evolution and still dispense diplomas.


Here is another "brick" in the wall. I got this today from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Louisiana Bill Sneaks Religion Into Science Classes, Says Americans United
Thursday, May 22, 2008

Measure Would Harm Children's Education, Undercut Constitution And Lead To Lawsuit, Says AU's Lynn

A bill approved yesterday by a Louisiana legislative panel brings religion into science classrooms and undercuts fundamental constitutional principles, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The House Education Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 733, a measure that allows public school teachers to use supplementary materials when teaching about evolution.

The Louisiana Science Education Act has the backing of Religious Right groups such as the Louisiana Family Forum and the Discovery Institute and is clearly intended, critics say, to bring religious concepts into the science classroom. The bill is ardently opposed by teachers’ groups, scientists and advocates of church-state separation.

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “This bill isn’t about improving education in Louisiana; it’s about sneaking religion into the science classroom.

“If this passes, Louisiana legislators will be harming children’s education, undercutting the Constitution and holding the state up to national ridicule, “ Lynn continued “People will be asking whether Flintstones cartoons are going to be introduced as documentaries in Louisiana science classes.”

The Louisiana bill is one of several so-called “academic freedom” measures introduced in legislatures around the country this year at the behest of Religious Right forces. Bills were also introduced in Florida, Alabama, Missouri and other states.

Said Lynn, “The federal courts have repeatedly struck down every scheme designed to inject religious doctrines into public school science classes. These so-called ‘academic freedom’ bills are just the latest maneuver to try to get around those rulings.

“If this bill passes, and religious materials are brought into Louisiana public schools as a result, we will go to court to seek justice for the state’s children,” Lynn concluded.

csm said...

Barry Lynn rocks!

VJ said...

Hmm, well a biologist who rejects God is just a simpleton. There ya go. Fortunately few are actually athesit. How can atheist be taken seriously anyhow? I mean really?

csm said...

Y'see, VJ, any reference to, or mention of, god, is irrelevant in a science class. God has nothing to do with science. If you can't figure that out, just go back to your church and pray for intelligence.


The Brick Wall.

VJ said...

I teach high school physics and physical sciences and I NEVER mention God unless asked. That would be inapproprpriate. There is no need since by the end of the semester the obvious makes itself quite apparent as my students discover this fact for themselves. I must admit I do insure that the many facts & principles are discussed in detail.

coreydbarbarian said...

okay vj, i'll bite.

what "many facts & principles" lead your students to conclude that god exists, if that is indeed what you were implying?

also, i would seriously hope you did not mention god in a physics course, or a chemistry course, or astronomy, or soil science, or...

sometimes i wonder if i'm misreading you. do you believe it is possible for a college-educated biologist to reject evolutionary theory?

to my knowledge, the only one who ever made the argument was laughed out of court (dover trial).

csm said...

Prediction: VJ will not answer your question Corey because anything he says will be ripped to shreds by those possessing more reason and understanding than he.