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← Would you Adam and Eve it? Quarter of science teachers would teach creationism (Response by Dawkins and Jones)

Would you Adam and Eve it? Quarter of science teachers would teach creationism (Response by Dawkins and Jones) - Comments

TheReason's Avatar Comment 1 by TheReason

Wow?! I'm the first to post on this story? Cool. Never done that before!

Anyways... Fair enough. If a kid says-

'My Mummy says God created everything as it is right now in 7 days.'

Then it should be treated with the contempt it deserves. Briefly tell the child that it isn't Scientific and has no basis in provable fact and move on. That isn't the same as teaching the controversy.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 11:33:00 UTC | #291139

Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 2 by Caudimordax

29%? That really is depressing, especially becuase it's the UK not the US.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 11:43:00 UTC | #291146

AllanW's Avatar Comment 3 by AllanW

When people as mild and erudite as Steve Jones and Richard Dawkins use words like 'national disgrace' I would hope that the Government and the Teaching Unions take a lot of notice. In the likely event that they don't want to, what is the most effective way to make damn sure that they take action? Any ideas? Because although my kids have effectively finished school now I want to ensure that this disgrace is stopped and stopped quickly.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 11:50:00 UTC | #291152

Daedalus5's Avatar Comment 4 by Daedalus5

Im afraid of what that number would be here in the US. 30% is about the number of people who believe in evolution here, and some of those might even allow for pluralism.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 11:56:00 UTC | #291155

mdowe's Avatar Comment 5 by mdowe

Childhood indoctrination is terribly powerful. Even so, it still amazes me that so many people can come through a basic science education (i.e. a B.Sc.) and still believe in the supernatural. But for people to come through a science education and still not even be able to distinguish between what is and what is not science, just makes my jaw drop.

I've been thinking of putting in my application for a teaching degree, and an even more disturbing thought has occurred to me as of late. If I were asked this question during an admission interview, and I don't give a weaselling, politically correct, religion-friendly answer; do I then risk being rejected from admission for exhibiting religious intolerance? I have a sneaking suspicion that I do take such a risk.

Anyone out there with experience on such an admission committee care to comment?

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 11:58:00 UTC | #291156

ThoughtsonCommonToad's Avatar Comment 6 by ThoughtsonCommonToad

phlogiston theory

Aether theories

Alchemy

Corpuscular theory of light

geocentrism etc ...

Come on it's important. While teaching evolution tell them about creationism for god's sake, but tell them in scientific terms.

Creationism should be taught as part of any course on evolution. We teach the Plum pudding model of J. J. Thomson for the same reasons we should teach creationism.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:03:00 UTC | #291161

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 7 by phil rimmer

The poll needs to be re-run with much clearer questions. Richard's point-

if 29% of science teachers really think creationism should be taught as a valid alternative to evolution, we have a national disgrace on our hands...


What do these 29% actually think? Until this is cleared up the poll does potentially far more harm than possibly it need. Do they think Creationism valid, potentially valid or an interesting non-starter?

Creationism is a great example of a technically unscientific and therefore valueless theory. Certainly worth a mention en passant.

This poll is shoddy work.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:12:00 UTC | #291164

Duff's Avatar Comment 8 by Duff

I've always thought a short lesson on the various proofs of both would be elucidating. One one side of the black board list the sciences (nearly every science known to man) and a brief review of the evidence from each science, and then on the other side list the proofs of creationism as provided by science or any other source which could be considered proper evidence. Even the students could suggest their own proofs.

It would be a good way to talk about what constitutes evidence and it would be a pretty shocking lesson to any young creationist and one no "thinking"(the key work here) person could argue with.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:20:00 UTC | #291170

mdowe's Avatar Comment 9 by mdowe

Re: Comment #305661 by Duff

See the Penn and Teller "Bullshit!" episode on creationism =)

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:23:00 UTC | #291171

dead Yeti's Avatar Comment 10 by dead Yeti

"Just because something lacks scientific support doesn't seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from a science lesson," - Professor Michael Reiss

I had to reread that line a couple of times to make sure i wasn't imagining it in my man flu addled state

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:31:00 UTC | #291174

Inside centre's Avatar Comment 11 by Inside centre

Agree with PR. Not sure we can read much into this survey other than that the message of 'teach the controversy' is not being dissmissed out of hand by our esteemed teaching fraternity.

That being said, a close chum of mine told me how his A-level biology teacher would tell them during lessons which had anything to do with evolution that it was 'all bollocks' and that 'God did it'. Surely, using this teacher's position, that would make most if not all of his subject bollocks. Raising the question, why chose to teach it in the first place?

If they asked a more direct question about belief in creationism I wonder how much of a minority opinion the teacher at my friend's alma mater would have.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:33:00 UTC | #291176

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 12 by rod-the-farmer

I suppose the next question is, what to do with those 29 % of teachers ? Identify them, and send them for remedial training ? Drill down the statistics a bit to see if they were mostly from faith-based schools, and therefore a good reason to insist that science in those schools be taught by a NON-faith-based person ? If those schools refuse, close them down. We need a plan of action. Or at least, the UK does. I suspect in Canada the number is lower, but maybe not by much. I thought of myself as too old to go back to school to get a teaching certificate, but maybe I might have to, just to do my bit to help straighten this mess out. Gadzooks, and this is 2009, almost.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:39:00 UTC | #291179

Daedalus5's Avatar Comment 13 by Daedalus5

the penn and teller creationism episode is painful. These people are even dumber than the normal creationist i run into here in Louisiana.

At least the ones i know have a understanding of what theory means in science. they just cant face the truth and thus dismiss it out of hand, preferring their comfort in religion. Maybe that makes them ignorant by choice, or just stupid, but at least they are not trying to argue that science doesnt agree with evolution.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 12:49:00 UTC | #291185

F_A_F's Avatar Comment 14 by F_A_F

This could be a unique opportunity to redefine Science as a subject. It seems that far too many people, teachers included, fail to realise that Science concerns itself with observable facts rather than unprovable theory. Children need to learn that a scientfic theory needs to be distinguished from scientific fact, and that one becomes the other throuhg study and discussion. At least that way a teacher could include the creationist "theory" in class, and allow his pupils to discredit it themselves. If a child is in science class to learn, what better to way determine the scientific facts than debate and theorising. It could even provide a link between that subject and religious studies.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 13:18:00 UTC | #291192

LeroiJones's Avatar Comment 15 by LeroiJones

In response to mdowe

'I've been thinking of putting in my application for a teaching degree, and an even more disturbing thought has occurred to me as of late. If I were asked this question during an admission interview, and I don't give a weaselling, politically correct, religion-friendly answer; do I then risk being rejected from admission for exhibiting religious intolerance? I have a sneaking suspicion that I do take such a risk.'

I did a PGCE a few years ago when the creationism and religion in schools question wasn't quite such a hot topic but there is no way I would have said what I really thought at the interview or while was studying there- the thought police were always on the look out for anyone they thought might be anti- religion or as they put it 'racist'. They were obsessed with being PC. A friend of mine nearly got thrown off the course for questioning whether it was acceptable for a Sikh to carry a knife through an airport. My advice would be to not go into teaching unless you're happy to toe the line and keep your head down.

In relation to the article from what I saw when I was teaching the teaching community seems very split- there are the intelligent, rational minded pro science lot and there are the teachers who are at the other extreme. Both sides have their agendas! The other side seem to have more influence though and seem more determined. The teachers on our side don't seem to have the heart to change things.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 13:28:00 UTC | #291199

Valiant's Avatar Comment 16 by Valiant

Never underestimate the number of idiots in the world.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 13:41:00 UTC | #291203

mdowe's Avatar Comment 17 by mdowe

Re: Comment #305691 by LeroiJones

Thank you very much for your input/warning. I've never been terribly good at keeping my head down, so I'll have to think about that downside of the career. I'll certainly remember be much more circumspect during the application process!

This is scary news, but it certainly helps explain the results of the survey reported in this article. I wonder if RD is aware our potential science educators face this particular hurdle.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 13:52:00 UTC | #291212

Pilot22A's Avatar Comment 18 by Pilot22A

"The task of those who teach science is then to teach the science but to treat such students with respect."

So, if the youngster fervently believes in the "Easter Bunny," or the "Tooth Fairy," or "Santa Claus," the teacher should "respect" these viewpoints?

Hogwash!

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 13:53:00 UTC | #291213

xmd's Avatar Comment 20 by xmd

Which creation story?
The Australian Aborigin creation Story is very cool: We are the dreams of ants.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:12:00 UTC | #291224

Daniella's Avatar Comment 19 by Daniella

"Just because something lacks scientific support doesn't seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from a science lesson,"



*Head hurts*
*Need to lie down*

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:12:00 UTC | #291223

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 21 by Mr DArcy

I hope they mention evolution caused snakes to lose their tongues and legs after the Garden of Eden incident. God's punishment for the snake was for it to crawl on its belly for the rest of its life. I assume it had legs, but perhaps it had wings.

As for humans, we are dooooooomed!

I suspect some rich Christians are behind the poll. Bring on the Sarah Palin geography course!

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:24:00 UTC | #291232

David A Robertson's Avatar Comment 22 by David A Robertson

I suppose the next question is, what to do with those 29 % of teachers ? Identify them, and send them for remedial training ? Drill down the statistics a bit to see if they were mostly from faith-based schools, and therefore a good reason to insist that science in those schools be taught by a NON-faith-based person ? If those schools refuse, close them down. We need a plan of action.t


If they refuse to receive 'remedial training' then they should be sent to the Gulag or other re-education centers. Close down all schools that do not accept the obvious truth. Its a national disgrace. As another poster puts it 'childhood indoctrination is terribly powerful' and all good atheists must ensure that children get the right kind of atheist indoctrination - especially as we need to reeducate the children from their natural prospensity to believe in God. How will they accept the truth if we do not indoctrinate them? Or if we allow them to hear any kind of alternative? There is only ONE truth. Don't let children think about it or question. That is far too dangerous.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:34:00 UTC | #291241

King of NH's Avatar Comment 23 by King of NH

"...and so the greater the mass of the object, the more gravity it exerts. Take the moo..."

"But my religion says that Grifnickle hold us down to the earth by blowing kisses"

"Oh, well, yes, that is certainly a possible explanation. But if we stay with Newtonian..."

"I think clouds use laser guns to keep everything in place"

"Er, how do lasers... Well, I mean, that is a wonderful idea, and I am sure it is true also. But this calculation can tell us how fast to shoot this..."

"Fairies can glue our feet with morning dew!"

"Yes, they can! And rockets can escape earth's gravity if they trav..."

"The clouds shot my ice cream into the morning dew and it splattered."

And so, Professor Dawkins II is forced to admit defeat in the above "Oxford of 2015" class dialogue. The good news is he was able to send the class off a cliff yelling "Catch me, fairies" while he watched, sipping a pina-colada and humming Jimmy Buffet songs.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:36:00 UTC | #291243

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

Comment #305736 by David A Robertson

I am truly fascinated. You support teachers who encourage knowledge of creationism in science lessons?

Yes or no?

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:37:00 UTC | #291244

gcujimmy's Avatar Comment 25 by gcujimmy

The sample includes teachers from all types of maintained schools including comprehensives, grammars, faith schools and academies. It does not include fee-paying schools.

how many of the teachers are from faith schools?

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:37:00 UTC | #291245

Librarian's Avatar Comment 26 by Librarian

We had a science teacher in our school district that published books on intelligent design. He has now, fortunately, retired. The science teachers in my building are all pro-evolution. I don't think creationism comes up during the interview process. At least I have never heard of it being an issue, one way or the other.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:41:00 UTC | #291247

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 27 by Quetzalcoatl

David A Robertson-

If they refuse to receive 'remedial training' then they should be sent to the Gulag or other re-education centers. Close down all schools that do not accept the obvious truth. Its a national disgrace. As another poster puts it 'childhood indoctrination is terribly powerful' and all good atheists must ensure that children get the right kind of atheist indoctrination - especially as we need to reeducate the children from their natural prospensity to believe in God. How will they accept the truth if we do not indoctrinate them? Or if we allow them to hear any kind of alternative? There is only ONE truth. Don't let children think about it or question. That is far too dangerous.


Sigh.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:43:00 UTC | #291249

AllanW's Avatar Comment 28 by AllanW

Comment #305736 by David A Robertson on December 23, 2008 at 2:34 pm

So Robertson, after your painful little snark are you ready to write reasonably? Answer Steve's question first then consider another;

'all good atheists must ensure that children get the right kind of atheist indoctrination - especially as we need to reeducate the children from their natural prospensity to believe in God. How will they accept the truth if we do not indoctrinate them? Or if we allow them to hear any kind of alternative?'

does this mean you support 'teaching the controversy' in British schools science classes? A simple yes or no answer will do.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:43:00 UTC | #291250

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 29 by Steve Zara

David Robertson is not really a preacher. He is a politician. He is trying to look as friendly as he can to his creationist allies as he can without looking like a total nutcase.

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:49:00 UTC | #291252

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 30 by phil rimmer

Comment #305736 by David A Robertson

If 29% of teachers promoted the view that we breathe dephlogisticated air, would you call for them to be re-trained? Or is that politically insensitive?

Tue, 23 Dec 2008 14:51:00 UTC | #291256