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← Alberta: where the word "evolution" and the name "Darwin" does not appear in a "science" textbook

Alberta: where the word "evolution" and the name "Darwin" does not appear in a "science" textbook - Comments

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 1 by crookedshoes

At first I thought that this was a physical science text and was thinking that it was omitted because physical science traditionally does not cover evolution. Then I read the linked page and got pissed off. Does this school district teach Biology in the second year? MAybe they teach the basic stuff in grade 9 and then teach evolution in 10th????? Dammit i hope so.

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 17:56:06 UTC | #884611

G*O*D's Avatar Comment 2 by G*O*D

Can it be that the textbook is trying to fly under the radar?

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 18:56:45 UTC | #884628

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 3 by Neodarwinian

@ crookedshoes

That may be all the biology someone would see in their entire life. Not uncommon for people to take freshman HS biology then no more in HS and then take some mickey mouse course work in university.

Another front in the never ending war against mindless superstition and those who would kow tow to it.

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 20:15:04 UTC | #884665

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 4 by Stevehill

I spent a few hours of my life in Alberta, on a driving holiday in 1989. After a couple of weeks enjoying the many delights of British Columbia we crossed into Alberta on a Sunday evening, checked into a hotel, and asked where we could get a drink.

Big mistake. Jesus may turn water into wine, but in Alberta on a Sunday Jesus doesn't want you to drink it.

Monday morning we were back in BC and civilization.

Thu, 27 Oct 2011 21:42:32 UTC | #884700

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 5 by crookedshoes

Neodarwinian, Sadly, you are dead on right. That students can side step science and "skate" through without truly being challenged to think is one of the many failings of our education systems worldwide.

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 02:30:26 UTC | #884768

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 6 by alaskansee

It's sad to hear that there is some kind of effort to not discuss evolution but not in either of my kids schools. They've both come home with books on and that mention evolution? The oldest, 10, seems to have a good grasp and I'm gonna make it stick with that Dawkins' book. Perhaps you are in the wilder parts of the province Helga, seems okay here in the mountains. We do have a catholic school here but if that what takes your parents fancy then hard luck. Wish we didn't have to prop them up though.

Are you closer to the school district that still says the lords prayer?

Don't worry Steve, you old man, it's been a long time since that was true although they do have some crazy laws. The only places you can drink in Alberta are; restaurant/pub, your home and your camp site. Here's a new brewery we've designed, construction starts tomorrow and it's just over the border the next time you're in BC.

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 02:57:37 UTC | #884775

kraut's Avatar Comment 7 by kraut

The really irony is that one of the best paleontological museums is situated in Alberta, and some of the best dinosaur research is done at this place. I encourage everyone to visit the Tyrell museum.despite the religious nuttery of some of the inhabitants.

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 05:13:22 UTC | #884793

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 8 by alaskansee

@ Kraut

Don't forget Drumheller, the city in a hole. Everyone has a dinosaur in their frontyard. I think they've found 10% of the worlds fossils found so far. Looks like we're doing pretty good.

And also Dinosaur Provincial Park in the summer, the bugs are as bad as the Cretaceous so bring some spray!

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 05:22:49 UTC | #884795

Random Jerk's Avatar Comment 9 by Random Jerk

Hmm I thought Canada was way better 'religiously' than the US. But seriously, a Canadian province like Alberta ? You gotta be kidding me. Do you think the situation is improving ?

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 06:28:25 UTC | #884803

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 10 by susanlatimer

comment 9 by Srikar_NBK

Hmm I thought Canada was way better 'religiously' than the US

It is, in many ways. But we're still hammering things out in the law. Secular law and religious tolerance are still locked in a legistlative arm wrestle. We've only had our own constitution for a few decades, now (since 1982). And Alberta is known as the Texas of Canada. We're a strange hybrid. Our nation is the territory that the Americans couldn't and/or wouldn't wrestle from the British. It's very difficult to explain. Culturally, we're less religious but legally, we have less of a leg to stand on than Americans have when it comes to the separation of church and state.

The Catholics were given a right to their own partially government-funded school system from the beginnning. That's because it was all about the protestants and the catholics historically (except for the indigenous peoples who were either absorbed or destroyed or an ongoing version of both). Because the catholics (the French and the Metis) were politically oppressed, there was eventually a compromise to publicly fund their own school system. Of course, now it's 2011 and everything's weird. Canadians are less religious but have less legal resistance to the Canadians that are religious. Try to undo that little bit of history.

That's my best take on it. Any Canadians who know better, please straighten me out or even non-Canadians who understand the issues better than I do.

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 06:52:24 UTC | #884809

champak5501@yahoo.com's Avatar Comment 11 by champak5501@yahoo.com

Real Weirdos, maybe they were really created by YAHWEH

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 08:26:15 UTC | #884825

champak5501@yahoo.com's Avatar Comment 12 by champak5501@yahoo.com

Real Weirdos, I am sure they we're personally designed by YAHWEH

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 08:30:25 UTC | #884826

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 13 by alaskansee

@ 9 yes, perhaps read all the 8 previous comments for some cheer

@ 10, yes we're the same size as Texas without the "we're so big" attitude but "sadly" our laws are closer to the UK than the US? I think I want to keep it that way.

@ 11 no - are you a troll or just incapable of construction a

@ 12 no

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 20:53:53 UTC | #885084

ShesTheBeth's Avatar Comment 14 by ShesTheBeth

The text in this science book reads very much like the books we used in the 70s when I studied high school biology in New Brunswick, Canada. I seem to recall the word 'evolution' being mentioned once in the entire book, which I thought was odd, even then. I found it shocking that, 30 years later, my son would be studying from basically the same kinds of books, lacking concise information and skirting around the use of any of the appropriate terminology.

But there has been a little bit of progress. At least my son's class didn't have to invite in the resident Bible-thumper (in my case, it was our PhysEd teacher) at the beginning of the semester to offer the creationist's POV before we began our study in Biology. I thought at the time, this too was odd. I often think of what I would have said to that PhysEd teacher, when he asked for a show of hands for those who believed God created everything, if I had only known then what I know now. It's very intimidating to be only 1 of 2 in a group of 30 students to hold contradictory beliefs to the authority figure in the room.

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 00:27:06 UTC | #885131

corax niveus's Avatar Comment 15 by corax niveus

Wow, don't know what school that is but we lived in AB 16 years, had 4 kids in schools there and never saw that as an issue in the Catholic schools they were in. Darwin and evolution was taught, there were no issues with that and all religions and the lack of them was discussed. My children were taught Catholicism and taught to ask questions and encouraged to think and make up their own minds. Now of course the school system was very confident the children would remain sold on the Catholic thing but at least my children were free to think and question freely.

Sorry but I can't relate to the AB you described. As for drinking bars, they likely closed a bit early on Sunday's but the bible thumping your describe sounds way more like Saskatchewan to me. :)

As it was mentioned, with The Royal Tyrell Museum in southern AB, I found AB very open to science, especially with oil industry throughout AB and on campuses of University of AB and U of Calgary. I gotta stick up for AB on this one.

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 00:49:20 UTC | #885132

brighterstill's Avatar Comment 16 by brighterstill

Three words: National standard curriculum.

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 05:01:24 UTC | #885149

wilted's Avatar Comment 17 by wilted

What do you expect when the federal government is in the hands of the creationists from Alberta? The prime minister and science minister don't believe in evolution either. Wake up Canada - we make the southern US states look like liberals.

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 21:25:25 UTC | #885276

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 18 by alaskansee

@ 17, thanks for the update wilted, any idea what's happened in the last 3 years? Has he done anything creationisty?

Sat, 29 Oct 2011 22:49:22 UTC | #885297

LeoPolishchuk's Avatar Comment 19 by LeoPolishchuk

I live in a country where more than 90 years in the schools teach Darwin's theory and the theory of evolution. And what's the result? The ruling elite has learned well what is natural selection. The country is now ruled by gangsters. The country has been through a terrible period of negative selection. The most educated part of the population in the last century exterminated; exterminated millions. Engineer is always - the poorest of the population. Rural population catastrophically disappearing - the family refused to have many children. Parents send their children from the villages to the cities to save them from the slave of fate. All the best people want to leave the country. I wonder how many Ukrainians now live, for example, in Alberta?

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 12:35:45 UTC | #885698

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 20 by susanlatimer

Comment 19 by LeoPolishchuk

Are you suggesting that the teaching of evolution is responsible for these things?

Mon, 31 Oct 2011 16:55:37 UTC | #885768

LeoPolishchuk's Avatar Comment 21 by LeoPolishchuk

Darwin’s theory of “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” - this is quite normal theory. But it’s not in this theory. The point is the idea of ​​evolution from simple replicators to Homo sapiens. This idea seems to us, as a scientific theory. Its combined with Darwin’s theory. But it is - a handy tool manipulation. We announce that the next generation, each person - a more advanced population - consumes the previous “backward” population and becomes the new humanity. Zoological Darwinism - the result of combining this artificial idea with Darwin’s theory - lies at the heart of Social-Darwinism, Nazism, Racism.

Meanwhile, the idea - "of ​​evolution from simple replicators to Homo sapiens" - is not true! Extremely fanatical anthropocentrism, which lies at its core - this is a mistake! Homo Sapiens - no crown “eolyutsionnogo creation”, and the intermediate element.

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 09:27:28 UTC | #885898

LeoPolishchuk's Avatar Comment 22 by LeoPolishchuk

Sorry, '"Homo Sapiens - no crown "evolutionary creation", but the intermediate element.'". It has already been discussed:

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643321-the-eyes-of-richard-dawkins?page=2#page4

http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/643443-what-do-intelligent-design-advocates-say-about-human-toenails?page=1

Another manipulation - a constant dosage permanent criticism of this idea to prove the religious arguments. This is certainly convenient for the sermon, but this is very harmful to science.

In reality, the ruling elite in this country have long been considered a population of super-humans, and all the other primitive population of slaves.

Tue, 01 Nov 2011 10:47:46 UTC | #885911

wilted's Avatar Comment 23 by wilted

Comment 18 by alaskansee @ 17, thanks for the update wilted, any idea what's happened in the last 3 years? Has he done anything creationisty?

Yes.

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 03:33:51 UTC | #886697

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 24 by Helga Vieirch

I agree that social "Darwinism" is particularly awful, and I can certainly attest to the huge numbers of Ukrainian immigrants - and their descendants, among my fellow Canadians.

However, I must object to the idea that evolution was actually taught in the former Soviet Union or its satellite states. Communist doctrine under Stalin specifically rejected Darwinian models of natural selection on variations of a genetic kind (which Darwin posited even before genetic work by Mendel and the discovery of DNA) in favour of Lamarck's theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. In other words, the giraffe got its long neck because of years of stretching to reach the highest branches.

The idea of human improvement through social doctrine - consistent with the idea that all social behaviour is constructed by the socio-economic system - is somewhat hostile to the notion that certain behavioural proclivities are in fact biological in nature.

You see this particularly in the blending of feminist and Marxist ideas about the division of labour. If men and women are socially equal, then they should be equally good at all jobs. Women's oppression is then the sole cause of their gendered "roles". The suggestion that certain tasks are better left to men due to their averaging 20% bigger and stronger than women is rejected on the basis of the fact that some women are bigger and taller than some men, which is empirically true. that does not, however obliterate the biological logic of sexual dimorphism in our species, nor its cultural consequences.

It is, perhaps, not such an odd thing that the idea of social Darwinism is also used to justify socio-economic stratification even under socialism. It seems to escape the notice of most observers that higher levels of stratification and resulting oppression and injustice are outcomes of industrialization, not of capitalism per se. These "class" differences develop under communism just as they do under capitalism, in parallel with the degree of industrialization, a fact that Marx was not in a position to observe, of course.

Insofar as philosophical musings on human nature have been used to justify social stratification and the "benefits" of civilization (city or nation-states) since the days of Plato, it is of no surprise to see even the idea of evolution subverted to this cause.

I can think of a few more important issues currently confronting humanity, such as overshoot and the consequences of messing with the planetary thermometer, but the dealing with ideological and philosophical superstitions about the nature of human kind is still right up there with the most pressing ones that will affect our long term prospects of survival.

Thu, 03 Nov 2011 17:43:40 UTC | #886997

LeoPolishchuk's Avatar Comment 25 by LeoPolishchuk

Yes, the USSR Darwinism temporarily replaced Lamarckism - while German Nazism was actually using the national-Darwinism as the basis of ideology. But the idea of ​​evolution "from simple replicators to Homo Sapiens" live together and there and here.

Now we are going through a historic checkpoint where our future is the prospect of radically alternative development paths. And everything depends on the basic ideas in our heads. We now can not go wrong.

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 13:32:36 UTC | #887343

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

I suppose the teachers could buy English text books, or for that matter, just show the kids the money - as in this on-screen image! Originals available from tourist exchange for about $16.00.

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 13:55:35 UTC | #887586

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 27 by Helga Vieirch

Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

If you are referring to the teachers in the Ukraine or elsewhere in former soviet satellites, I doubt they could find many English books concerning evolution even if they had been so intrepid as to dare to search for and use them, however if you mean the teachers here in Alberta, I must make it clear that instruction in Alberta is in English or French (or both, in certain schools) and that Darwin's works are available in both languages at any public library. The money is very pretty, but does not, as far as I can see, contain much of the detail behind or about how natural selection is hypothesized to work, either by Darwin in his original formulation, or by subsequent authors.

Mind you, I person who understood the theory of evolution and the scientific method ought to be able to pass these concepts on even without a text book. The real question is: if they did that, would there be a fuss once parents (and the members of school boards) found out?

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 06:10:41 UTC | #888049

LeoPolishchuk's Avatar Comment 28 by LeoPolishchuk

Richard Dawkins books translated into Russian, in runet lying loose and free. http://lib.aldebaran.ru/author/dokinz_richard/dokinz_richard_yegoistichnyi_gen

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 08:50:45 UTC | #888063

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 29 by Helga Vieirch

Comment 28 by LeoPolishchuk Richard Dawkins books translated into Russian, in runet lying loose and free. http://lib.aldebaran.ru/author/dokinz_richard/dokinz_richard_yegoistichnyi_gen

Well and good. (assuming it is a good translation) - but what about DARWIN's book? Another matter, however, is the problem of getting teachers to a) care enough to go get the books and b) understand the science well enough to actually teach it. Finally, there is the possibility that parents, and even the students, will resent and complain about anyone teaching "that people are descended from apes, or fish, or microbes, or whatever".

If even I can run into students who start arguing with me, citing the Bible, when I am teaching an introductory course in human evolution, at a major university in Canada, then our education system leading to so-called "higher education" is laughable. It might be even more so in a country with a long history of state resistance to any real evolutionary theory.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 16:41:40 UTC | #888255

Helga Vieirch's Avatar Comment 30 by Helga Vieirch

ref:

Comment 15 by corax niveus Wow, don't know what school that is but we lived in AB 16 years, had 4 kids in schools there and never saw that as an issue in the Catholic schools they were in. Darwin and evolution was taught, there were no issues with that and all religions and the lack of them was discussed. My children were taught Catholicism and taught to ask questions and encouraged to think and make up their own minds. Now of course the school system was very confident the children would remain sold on the Catholic thing but at least my children were free to think and question freely.

Sorry but I can't relate to the AB you described. As for drinking bars, they likely closed a bit early on Sunday's but the bible thumping your describe sounds way more like Saskatchewan to me. :)

As it was mentioned, with The Royal Tyrell Museum in southern AB, I found AB very open to science, especially with oil industry throughout AB and on campuses of University of AB and U of Calgary. I gotta stick up for AB on this one.

The Alberta Government is very open to science, yes, as long as it relates to making money and preparing people for careers, especially careers in useful fields like petroleum geology, medicine, etc. The funding for fields seen as less useful for furthering business, things like Philosophy, Literature and Languages, History and many of the Social Sciences (save economics) have seen their budgets slashed again and again.

The Tyrell Musuem is a national treasure, (in my opinion) and I go there often. Though you would think it deals specifically with evolution, somehow there is a funny mental trick going on here where it is alright to talk about dinosaurs and the earlier "geologic ages" and the creatures typical of them, but if you start on human evolution people often turn off. Humans, are off-limits, since, for a lot of people in this province, humans are strictly the business of the Almighty.

Oddly enough, I have found that the quality of teaching in the Catholic school system seems to be better in some subjects than it is in the public system. I don't know whether this is because the teacher training here (at least public schools) is based on having a degree in Education, rather than in the subject you are actually teaching, or what the problem is. I recall being taught by people with Master's degrees in English, Math, Biology, Physics, History etc for all those respective subjects when I was between 12 and 17 in Ontario. It was my biology teacher in Grade 9 who suggested I look up Darwin's book in the library. Public schools in Alberta do not seem to practice this system these days.

In my recent experience, it seems that the "christian right" has caught on in parts of Alberta and that this is an influence from the American Midwest. We have a lot of Americans here working in the oil industry. In fact we have people from everywhere on the planet here doing this right now. It may be that the school boards are getting very timid about facing down parent who do not want anything taught that contradicts their own beliefs.

This would mean that, despite the national standard curriculum, certain school boards are using books like the one I was so appalled by, to avoid making anyone mad, as long as these books appear to discuss real science. I suspect these books actually come from the USA.

In the Edmonton area we also have a few actual religious universities, which I have generally ignored, and I understand there are bible collegeselsewhere in the province. I never heard about this kind of "higher" education before I came here. There is also a lot of "home schooling" permitted, and it is my impression that much of this is due to parents wanting greater control over their children's education than a secular public school would permit. The kids still have to pass standard tests, but you have to ask yourself - to what standard are they being held?

I am going to, very gently, begin to ask people about this. Don't worry, I am a well-trained social scientist, and this will qualify as fieldwork : ) so I will not likely stir anything up until I know what ingredients are actually in the pot.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 17:20:54 UTC | #888270