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← Evolution's Critics Shift Tactics With Schools

Evolution's Critics Shift Tactics With Schools - Comments

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 1 by Lisa Bauer

Doug Cowan, a public-school biology teacher, said his colleagues are often afraid to speak out.

Mr. Cowan said he tells students: "I'm going to give you the evidence for evolution and the evidence against, and let you decide." For instance, he'll mention Darwin's observation that finches evolve different-shaped beaks to suit different ecosystems. Then he'll add that you don't see a finch changing into another species.

And they allow these people to teach in schools?!?

Sat, 03 May 2008 11:25:00 UTC | #165843

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 2 by moderndaythomas

the state Senate this week unanimously approved a bill ensuring that teachers can go beyond the biology textbook to raise criticisms of evolution

Lets just start teaching our kids from the new age section of the library while we're at it.
When they go beyond the textbooks they can tell them what ever they damn well please.

And that scares the shit out of me!

Sat, 03 May 2008 11:26:00 UTC | #165844

rotaTOR's Avatar Comment 3 by rotaTOR

This idiocy will never end.

Asked what evidence he presents to bolster evolution, Mr. Cowan paused. "I don't have any," he said


Sat, 03 May 2008 11:30:00 UTC | #165846

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 4 by moderndaythomas

a small group of scientists who find it implausible.

implausible compared to what? Spontaneous generation?

What kind of money are these "scientists" (my ass) getting payed to say this?
Has their minds been twisted into the very thing that science cautions us about?

"This is America," Mr. Cowan said.

Sat, 03 May 2008 11:33:00 UTC | #165848

akado's Avatar Comment 5 by akado

...everyday we have to deal with these creationist morons interupting our life......
it sickens me to no end -________-

Sat, 03 May 2008 11:36:00 UTC | #165851

jmrunning3's Avatar Comment 6 by jmrunning3

"Several states have passed science standards requiring students to think critically about evolution."

Why can't we require (legally or academically) people to think critically about religions and their tenets and teachings as well? Why are we chastised when we do actually criticize and critique religons and their practices?

The unquestioned privilege afforded religion is utterly baffling to me. Religions say they want to have "open dialog" with those that disagree with them, yet they strive to tilt the playing field strictly in their favor. They continue to court (in fact, manufacture) controversy and play the poor-little-me victim to garner support. Lying for Jesus. Indeed.

Sat, 03 May 2008 11:44:00 UTC | #165853

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 7 by Border Collie

This is why I no longer teach. A teacher is just supposed to teach the dogma of the state and stick exactly to the text? Why even have teachers? Let the kids stay at home and do it all over the Internet. And, a whole bunch of idiots agree on something and decide what is scientifically true? Since when is truth a result of a democratic voting process? OK, let's all vote that the Earth is flat. Does that make it flat? I reiterate for the zillionth time ... If you want to learn about ID/cretinism (short for creationism), GO TO CHURCH! There is already enough idiocy and backward thrust in the schools; they don't need ID, creationism, voodoo, animal sacrifices, flat Earth "science", Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and or alien abduction! Or, I guess we could lobby the legislators to pass laws so that Darwinists can go into the churches and teach evolution every Sunday morning. This crap makes me so tired.

Sat, 03 May 2008 11:46:00 UTC | #165854

Mango's Avatar Comment 8 by Mango

My Louisiana state representative is on the education committee and I sent her an email to let her know that I oppose the "academic freedom" bill.

Sat, 03 May 2008 11:48:00 UTC | #165856

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 9 by moderndaythomas

I guess we could lobby the legislators to pass laws so that Darwinists can go into the churches and teach evolution every Sunday morning.

This is a good idea!

I like it, i'm going to use it I think.

Sat, 03 May 2008 11:58:00 UTC | #165860

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 10 by phil rimmer

Mr. Cowan would like a legal guarantee he can teach as he sees fit.

But sadly, Mr Cowan is not fit to teach. He should be sent to learn about evolution if he is required to teach it and is not appropriately qualified.

I would like to see a pro-active program of teacher training in these matters. Get enlightened religious leaders to endorse the program if necessary. Or Francis Collins or that other religious biologist.

America will go down the toilet because of this. Its main commercial competitors are pulling ahead in the education race. Much as I have a fondness for the Amish (OK, Kelly McGillis looking over her shoulder) I would hate to see the entire country slip into quaint irrelevancy.

Sat, 03 May 2008 12:00:00 UTC | #165861

lozzer's Avatar Comment 11 by lozzer

If the United states of Jesus want to reject science then let them.Lets just hope every scientist bloody leaves and see how America survives without those that they have ridiculed and bullied for so long.

Sat, 03 May 2008 12:33:00 UTC | #165866

busterbrook's Avatar Comment 12 by busterbrook

I do not live in the USA.

But never the less it is of great concern to me that the only super power should be turning bit by bit into a theocratic country with over half the population rejecting science and reason to blindly adhear to a faith.

Sat, 03 May 2008 12:50:00 UTC | #165869

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 13 by robotaholic

There is no end to this is there? *sighs* Every possible angle of hyjacking science is being pursued. You have to be a Pro-Science ACTIVIST just to keep science in this country.

Sat, 03 May 2008 12:55:00 UTC | #165870

Dinah's Avatar Comment 14 by Dinah

The Catholic Church placed Galileo under house arrest because his discoveries conflicted with passages from the Bible which stated the sun orbited the earth and not the other way around. Four hundred years later, a sizeable number of Christians still believe that myths contained in ancient texts written by people who knew nothing about science carry more weight and should override observable facts about evolution and the origins of life. Worse still, they believe these myths should be taught in classrooms, not as part of RE lessons, but as serious science. It is the equivalent of today's students of medicine being taught that blood-letting is an effective way to cure disease, and no doubt if this practice was endorsed by the Bible, some crackpot Christians would be lobbying for its inclusion in the curricula of medical schools.

Sat, 03 May 2008 13:11:00 UTC | #165871

Wosret's Avatar Comment 15 by Wosret

Oh the humanity!! Won't someone please think of the childred?

Sat, 03 May 2008 13:17:00 UTC | #165875

ivellios's Avatar Comment 16 by ivellios

FUCK!!! I live in Missouri!

I'm definitely going to have to give a call to my friend. He's my Senator.

Sat, 03 May 2008 13:41:00 UTC | #165879

Partisan's Avatar Comment 17 by Partisan

The bills typically restrict lessons to "scientific" criticism of evolution...

I'm fine with that, as there are no scientific criticisms.

Sat, 03 May 2008 13:45:00 UTC | #165880

jhm's Avatar Comment 18 by jhm

Could these academic freedoms be used to teach archaeological evidence that very little of the "history" found in the bible is even remotely accurate? If it can't even get the things that were happening in and around the original writing of the the books, why is it that anyone should credit their more wildly implausible claims?

Sat, 03 May 2008 13:46:00 UTC | #165881

Pattern Seeker's Avatar Comment 19 by Pattern Seeker

It is exactly because of IDiots like Doug Cowan that my child will not, I repeat, not be educated in the American public school system. As a forty-year old, I saw standards crumbling back when I attended high school in the early 80's. I have watched those standards slowly, but surely, fall to new lows. I won't let my child be taught by a moron. In fact, he probably won't encounter a formal education until, or even if, he attends college. I want my kid to 'think critically,' and not to 'think biblically.'

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:20:00 UTC | #165893

MPhil's Avatar Comment 20 by MPhil

Just because I want to get everyone's attention - I'm posting this on every active thread (I hope you'll forgive me)

Guys - take a look at this...

The Vatican has joined forces with Shiite Muslims.
Ridiculous statements, and a direct attack on negative religious freedom:

(be warned - you may throw up in your mouths)

If any local newspaper of yours runs this story - send a letter to the editor for publishment. Put it on your blogs and tear it to shreads... raise awareness that this is a dangerous alliance, and a large-scale attack on negative religious freedom, freedom of speech - and it is ludicoursly revisionist history!

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:24:00 UTC | #165896

Logicel's Avatar Comment 21 by Logicel

Both houses of the Florida legislature passed academic freedom bills this month, but it is unclear whether backers can reconcile the two versions before the spring session closes Friday.

The Florida bill did not make it, it has been successfully squashed:

IDiots are so full of hubris and self-importance that they will not let go of their dangerous meddling (if scientists and science teachers leave America for the many excellent countries that have no problem with keeping religion out of science classes, then these IDiots' standard of living will lessen). They can't just practice their religious beliefs in church, they are so full of pride and so insecure in their beliefs that they have to cast totally unfounded doubts upon the fact of evolution.

These IDiots only increase the drive and motivation of the rationality based people to keep fighting until the IDiots are so weakened in base support that they eventually will cease their wasting everybody's else precious time.

Pharyngula is keeping on top of all the state bills so check there to keep on top of this fight. And don't get discouraged--the IDiots persistance is only a sign of their desperation--the tide will turn in America.

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:25:00 UTC | #165898

Hostile2012's Avatar Comment 22 by Hostile2012

When will this bologna end? Next, creationists will be forcing the theories dealing with chemistry and physics out of the class rooms. Then forcing our doctors to put spells on patients and finally we'll be back in the dark ages.

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:31:00 UTC | #165901

MelM's Avatar Comment 23 by MelM

The Florida legislative session ended yesterday with NO ACADEMIC FREEDOM BILL. There's a good deal of talk about Florida and the problem in Louisiana (including a post by PZ of a message from Barbara Forrest) today on Panda's Thumb:

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:34:00 UTC | #165902

SteveO's Avatar Comment 24 by SteveO

A teacher's stance on evolution ought to be enough to disqualify them from being allowed to teach. No matter what the courts tell them they must present, creationist teachers will always slant their presentation of evolution.

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:36:00 UTC | #165903

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 25 by moderndaythomas

From MPhil.

A tag team of fools. The Vatican and Iranian delegations condemning "deversion of religious beliefs"

They are sacred and should not be questioned or ridiculed?

What do they say about absolute power?

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:37:00 UTC | #165904

History_Junky's Avatar Comment 26 by History_Junky

"So activists regrouped. Their new tactic: Embrace lessons on evolution. In fact, insist students deserve to learn more -- including classes that probe the theory for weakness. They believe -- and their opponents agree -- that this approach will prove more acceptable to the public and harder to challenge in court."

If high school kids had the knowledge to probe something as concrete as evolution for holes then they wouldn't be taking a senior class on biology.

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:40:00 UTC | #165905

History_Junky's Avatar Comment 27 by History_Junky

Do you know what the most horrifying thing is? These nutjobs have more zeal then the defenders of evolution, thier is more of them and they are driven by an insatiable thirst to serve thier master. I can honestly say that I see this "controversy" being introduced into classes within the next 30 years. Yes its against the constitution but the constitution has been overlooked before. Also too many of Americas politicians are christian nutbags.

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:44:00 UTC | #165907

moderndaythomas's Avatar Comment 28 by moderndaythomas

"So activists regrouped. Their new tactic: Embrace lessons on evolution. In fact, insist students deserve to learn more -- including classes that probe the theory for weakness. They believe -- and their opponents agree -- that this approach will prove more acceptable to the public and harder to challenge in court."

If creationists feel the need to probe established scientific theories, they should begin with gravity and jump off a ten story building.

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:45:00 UTC | #165908

BW022's Avatar Comment 29 by BW022

So what... I know it is a massive waste of time, but why not let them? This can't go far.

If individual teachers are shielded from teaching nonsense oppositions to theories, then

a) Teachers "protest" by sending students home with sylabuses informing them of their intent to teach stork theory to oppose sex education, ether theory instead of electomagnatism, flat-earth theory in geography, etc. Parents and school boards can't do anything. About 2 weeks of that an the laws will be overtuned.

b) Parents start demanding to know the views of their children's teachers and demand transfers when their teacher starts teaching nonsense. You'll have either a two-tier'd public education system or folks with sense will move to private schools or to states which don't have such laws.

c) Universities, other schools, businesses, etc. will stop accepting course credits from such schools. Teachers will leave to other states or private schools. Businesses will start highering out of state folks or relocating.

d) The legal fall out of a), b), and c) will kill such laws.

Ultimately, even if they get their little "religious utopias" it won't help. Even if parents allow it, folks else where will just stop accepting accidemic credentials.

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:51:00 UTC | #165911

~manic-depressive's Avatar Comment 30 by ~manic-depressive

History_Junky -- as Bertrand Russell pointed out, the whole problem with the world is that fools are so certain while the wise are full of doubts.

On a different note, we could really do with the help of theists like Ken Miller.

And all the moderates who criticize "the new atheists" by saying that we only look at "extremist religion" (as though "faith" were not extremist enough) -- why are they not cleaning up their own house? Are they defending scientific inquiry alongside us? Or are they, as they so-often-do turning a blind eye to the actions of "extremists"?

Sat, 03 May 2008 14:55:00 UTC | #165912