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EVOLUTION, CREATIONISM, AND THE ‘CAUTIOUS 60 PERCENT’

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Posted by abeodbart February 25, 2011 at 9:21 am

“The recent headlines were disturbing:

13% of H.S. Biology Teachers Advocate Creationism in Class
Troubling: 13% of Biology Teachers Supporting Creationism
13% of US biology teachers advocate creationism: Welcome to 2011

These articles were responding to a commentary in Science by Penn State political scientists Michael B. Berkman and Eric Plutzer (“Defeating Creationism in the Courtroom, But Not in the Classroom”; 28 January 2011). Berkman and Plutzer’s research — detailed in several articles and a book–involves large surveys of science teachers. In this most recent study, 926 public high school biology teachers were surveyed, and 13 percent reported “explicitly advocat[ing] creationism or intelligent design.”

The 13 percent number is bad — 1 in 8 public school biology instructors teaches creationism. As the headlines above show, most reporting focused on this 13 percent. But Berkman and Plutzer identified an even greater problem: a “cautious 60 percent” of teachers who, while not preaching creationism, nevertheless fail to be “strong advocates for evolutionary biology.”

Berkman and Plutzer write,

The cautious 60 percent may play a far more important role in hindering scientific literacy in the United States than the smaller number of explicit creationists.

There are more of these cautious teachers, and their reluctance to present evolution forthrightly not only impedes their students in learning biology, but also undermines understanding of the nature of science. They fail to teach evolution in the way recommended by the nation’s leading scientific organizations, such as the National Research Council — as the central, unifying principle of the life sciences.

Why is “neutrality” toward evolution such a disaster for college-bound kids?

Evolution is the foundation of biology. Just as geologists cannot decipher the earth’s features without plate tectonics, and physicists cannot understand the interaction of light and matter without quantum electrodynamics, biologists cannot explain the diversity of life on earth without evolution. Trying to teach biology without evolution is like teaching auto mechanics without discussing engines. Teachers should not be neutral toward evolution because scientists are not neutral about evolution.”

Read more at Huffington Post (Thanks Annette M)

COMMENTS
February 25, 2011 at 9:44 am
Nicholas says:

The sad fact is that even if evolution is taught in schools it is far from comprehensive. Denying evolution is easier in an environment where the majority doesn’t know even the basic fundamentals. It’s a real shame, but I don’t think it is entirely by accident that evolution is misrepresented in the National Curriculum.


February 25, 2011 at 10:19 am

Curse all those cautious Carols and steady Eddies… curse them to that place that isn’t real!


February 25, 2011 at 11:55 am
NaylorMatthew says:

Those teaching science should certainly teach explicitly that the prevailing scientific theory is evolution even if they themselves are not convinced by it.

Unfortunately without knowing the cause of their scepticism I cannot comment in a fully informed manner, but it would seem that perhaps a theologically education person might like to point out to the teachers in question that it’s not a case of ‘either/or.’ The theory of evolution only excludes the possibility of creation in 6 days of 24 hours. It doesn’t exclude the possibility of the big bang and existence of the universe being the result of intelligent design or even of benevolent intent.


February 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm
roz says:

i think, considering the current situation, what they’re really cautious about may be the keeping of their jobs.


February 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm
Berber Anna says:

NaylorMatthew: It doesn’t even entirely discount the six-day theory, as long as the religious folks are willing to adapt it a bit. Evolution doesn’t say anything about geology or astronomy, so they can keep the days in which the earth was magicked into being (although in the original version, God only split the waters and the earth, he didn’t make them). All they need to do is change the idea that God made all the animals in their current shape. Just have him create early bacteria, and evolution can take it from there.


February 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm
Wilf says:

The earth being created in ‘days’ is symbolic from the Jewish Torah, not to be taken literally.
Creation has no beginning and no end, it’s ongoing or obviously nothing would exist.
Evolution is how Creation looks over a long period of time.


February 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm
Don says:

The theory of evolution only excludes the possibility of creation in 6 days of 24 hours.

It excludes quite a bit more than that. It excludes the special creation of humans, it excludes original sin and the need for a redeemer and a blood sacrifice and a guilt-ridden humility before a creator god. And all that goes with that.

It doesn’t exclude the possibility of the big bang Why would it? That’s physics, not biology.

and existence of the universe being the result of intelligent design or even of benevolent intent.

Doesn’t exclude the possibility, but makes it unnecessary. And unevidenced.


March 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm
Casper says:

Do any of you actually know what Evolution is?

Evolution is a collective. There are many types of evolution.

Please do some research, I think you’d be quiet surprised at what you find.

Start here http://www.drdino.com/


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