Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Should Intelligent Design Creationism Be Taught in Schools?

 
PZ Myers and someone named Jerry Bergman debated the question; "Should Intelligent Design be Taught in The Schools?." Bergman said "yes" and PZ said "no."

You can read summaries of the debate on Greg Laden's Blog [Bergman vs. Myers Debate: Should Intelligent Design be Taught in The Schools?] and on Kittywhumpus [I thought it went really well, until he brought up Hitler]. PZ has posted a summary on Pharyngula [That Bergman-Myers debate].

By all accounts it was a rout. PZ won the day for keeping Intelligent Design Creationism out of the classroom. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

I'd like to debate PZ on this topic. I think Intelligent Design Creationism has to be brought up in the classroom. It's the major misconception that students have and to ignore it is stupid. You have to address the issues that students are confused about or you aren't educating. It's one thing to say that Intelligent Design Creationism isn't science when you are outside of the classroom but unless the students hear it in the classroom you are wasting your time.

We are never going to make progress against scientific illiteracy unless we recognize the elephant in the room and deal with it. Study after study has shown that the misconceptions of students aren't changed when you just present them with facts. They will readily incorporate those facts into their distorted worldview and that's exactly what happens when we teach evolution to creationists.

They need to be shown why their worldview is wrong and this means bringing up in class all the problems with Intelligent Design Creationism. Like it or not, that means teaching Intelligent Design Creationism in the science classroom even if the goal is to refute it.

Astrology is a good analogy. One way to teach critical thinking is to have a lesson on astrology where you explain what's wrong with it and why it doesn't work. You don't ban it from the classroom because it's bad science—you bring it into the classroom because it's bad science and students need to hear why.

If you don't do that, many students will continue to think that astrology is real and before you know it you've created another generation of citizens who don't understand science.

The thing that Intelligent Design Creationists should fear the most is that we actually will confront it in the classroom and expose it for the nonsense it is. They're safe as long as we tip-toe around it. That leaves them free to teach their nonsense in Sunday school without fear of ever being contradicted.

(I'm well aware of the Constitutional arguments in America. If someone like PZ wants to argue that Intelligent Design Creationism should be taught in US schools but the Constitution forbids it, then I'm prepared to agree with him. The debate I want is whether it should be taught in schools that don't have such a silly law. Should it be taught in Canadian schools? I say yes.)


50 comments :

  1. I agree, Larry. ID wouldn't take an inordinate amount of time to explain and/or dismantle.

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  2. Larry: "If someone like PZ wants to argue that Intelligent Design Creationism should be taught in US schools but the Constitution forbids it, then I'm prepared to agree with him.

    Whether it would be unconstitutional or not depends on what you mean by "teaching it" in the schools. It is only unconstitutional if the primary purpose is to promote or favor a religious belief; merely the fact that it is a religious belief (for some people) is not sufficient to make it unconstitutional. For example, if our best science leads us to quite confidently conclude that Jesus rose from the dead, it would not be unconstitutional to teach that.

    And it certainly would be constitutional to use ID to illustrate what is a rejected theory. I'm in favor of teaching ID this way, although I would be concerned that it would be an excuse that some teachers would use to actually promote it. (And as a practical matter, I think it would be very controversial no matter how it is taught.) But teaching Astrology this way is a good example of a theory that, by analogy, would make the same points.

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  3. Yes, Dave Wisker is right - it wouldn't take long to "teach" ID. An hour-long lesson ought to do it. When I first read about ID, my initial reaction was "is that all they've got?". Perhaps one approach is not to single ID out but teach it in a 'history of biology' module - as one of several failed hypotheses (e.g., along with Lamarckism). Might be good to teach it along side the history of creationism to clearly show how ID is just an off-shoot of biblical creationism.

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  4. "...For example, if our best science leads us to quite confidently conclude that Jesus rose from the dead, it would not be unconstitutional to teach that."

    What if our best science leads us to quite confidently conclude that Jesus or Moses never existed? Think that would pass muster? It won't in the US. Canada may be different.

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  5. I'm not convinced that a science class that covers material that happens to show that a religious doctrine is false would have any problem with the First Amendment. I cannot see how it would be a violation of either the establishment or free exercise clauses. The First Amendment does not give you the right to stop other people from telling you about reality.

    Intelligent design creationism is wrongheaded science. It can be taught in the United States for the purposes of showing that it is objectively false.

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  6. We wouldn't have much to debate about, because I do bring it up in the classroom. The thing is that both you and I would use it in the same way: to show why it is invalid and not good science.

    The creationists want to teach it in the sense of presenting it as an idea equivalent to evolution. That's what I reject.

    Their track record isn't good. All the teachers who have been slapped down for teaching ID were doing an absolutely awful job -- "teaching ID" is usually a synonym for "botching up the teaching of evolution".

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  7. "You don't ban it from the classroom because it's bad science—you bring it into the classroom because it's bad science and students need to hear why."

    You mean astrology is actually taught in American schools?

    So what about homeopathy, mesmerism, tarot, reiki. Every pseudoscience should be taught in order to show why they're wrong? I think a better way to address this issue is to teach what all pseudosciences have in common and why they're not true knowledge, so students can judge by themselves every particular instance, like ID.

    But that's not science but philosophy. That's where you teach critical thinking, science's philosophy principles, naturalism and all that. Philosophy students are taught what science's based on, and science students are taught actual contents.

    Science is imbued into a certain worldview, so it doesn't discuss different worldviews- philosophy does. Let's just teach science in science class.

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  8. Dan Dennett believes we should teach (comparative) religion in schools for what I infer from you are similar reasons.

    FWIW, your approach is a little to close to the 'teach the controversy' meme and I'd rather we avoided that strategy at present.

    Enjoy.

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  9. I teach undergraduate Biology and Genetics courses, and we talk about creationism. It is the perfect way to discuss what science is, what makes science unique, and why science is the way it is. We currently have a PETA group active on campus, pushing for a 'no use of animals or animal products' approach that seems to be based on computer models and simulated reality programs. I think this is going to be a great opportunity to talk about the empirical generation of knowledge. Of course, I'm in California not Alabama.

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  10. I certainly agree this should be done if it can be done constitutionally in the US, but I think the religious want to use ID in order to get Jesus and prayer back into our public schools.

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  11. For my understanding of Intelligent design, one would need to both understand the theory of Evolution and a knowledge of the world religions, alongside history and modern science.So I would argue that it should be taught in schools.

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  12. Tim says,

    FWIW, your approach is a little to close to the 'teach the controversy' meme and I'd rather we avoided that strategy at present.


    You're right. I advocate teaching the controversy.

    What's the alternative? Do you really think that "ignore the controversy" is a reasonable strategy?

    That's what's been happening in American schools for the past few decades. Has it worked?

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  13. I agree that we should teach the controversy, not the scientific controversy which does not exist, but the political controversy.

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  14. I am going to have to disagree with Prof. Moran here. As Judge Jones put it in his decision on the Dover case, ID is something that belongs in classes on philosophy or comparative religion. It doesn't belong in science classes, any more then the geocentric universe or flat earth theories belong in science classes. As it is, there is insufficient time in science classes at the high school level to provide the students with a good background in science so wasting time teaching crap appears to me to be counterproductive.

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  15. Hi

    I don't suppose anyone has actually considered that creationism may actually be true. Many evolutionists I hear state that creationism has no scientific grounding. I would beg to differ and suggest that it is evolution that has little to go on. For example I am yet to hear how the first living cell came to life all by itself. How all the molecules needed suddenly formed, came together and then came to life. How processes formed through evolution has never been explained to me. How did photosynthesis come about gradually by mutations each adding its own benefit to the organism. It would seem to me that many mutations would be needed at once. Single mutations on there own wouldn't add value. Its the same for the formation of organs. Without vital parts they're useless. So how did the organ work before vital parts evolved?

    At school when evolution was taught we were simply told that things evolved. We were never told how or given any real examples.

    You want to teach creationism in the classroom so you can show how bad it is. But your already coming from a biased viewpoint. Other people can easily stand up and do the same evolution. There are far too many problems that it has. Having evolutionists teach creationism to kids is not fair. I'm sure you would not be happy with creationists teaching evolution.

    For those of you who think creationism has limited science, and I stress the word science, to back it up then look at this creation organisation, Creation Ministries International (CMI). It has thousands of proper articles on virtually any field of science you want relating to creationism such as biology, geology, physics or whatever.
    http://creation.com

    All I ask is that people actually read creation science from creation scientists before they criticise it. Most people do not.

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  16. Re Bentley

    Mr. Bentley, like all creationists, likes to spread the big lie that evolution must be wrong because it doesn't explain the origin of life. I have a flash for Mr. Bentley; the theory of evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, defined as the appearance of the first replicators. Evolution provides an explanation of what happened after the first appearance of life. This is as moronic as criticizing evolution because it doesn't explain the big bang. To put it simply, the big bang is a problem in physics, the origin of life is a problem in chemistry, and the evolution of life is a problem in biology.

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  17. Bently says,

    How processes formed through evolution has never been explained to me. How did photosynthesis come about gradually by mutations each adding its own benefit to the organism. It would seem to me that many mutations would be needed at once. Single mutations on there own wouldn't add value.

    This is a typical argument from ignorance. You don't know how photosynthesis could have evolved so you assume nobody does and then go on to assume that God must exist.

    The are plenty of descriptions of how modern plant photosynthetic systems evolved from much simpler bacterial ones. Check out any of the textbooks—including my own.

    I stongly suspect you haven't got a clue about photosynthesis and how it works and are just parroting some other IDiots who are as ignorant as you.

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  18. SLC says,

    As Judge Jones put it in his decision on the Dover case, ID is something that belongs in classes on philosophy or comparative religion.

    When it comes to deciding how to teach science and critical thinking I don't usually consult judges in Pennsylvania.

    That was a trial about American Constitutional law. It was not about science or pedagogy, it was about whether intelligent design creationism is religious.

    Of course it's religious. But it's also an attack on science and evolution and ignoring such attacks is not going to make then go away.

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  19. I don't suppose anyone has actually considered that creationism may actually be true.

    Yes, the finest scientific minds in the world considered that very thing. They decided against it.

    At school when evolution was taught we were simply told that things evolved. We were never told how or given any real examples.

    This helps to explain why you are so profoundly ignorant on the topic.

    All I ask is that people actually read creation science from creation scientists before they criticise it. Most people do not.

    And some do. They are the ones who are laughing.

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  20. Again, "teach the controversy" is a fine idea. Unfortunately, it means something different to the creationists: to them, it means "teach controversial speculation with the same respect given to well-supported ideas."

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  21. You don't have to trust the judge on science since his opinion was based on expert scientific witnesses like Ken Miller and Donald Prothero.

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  22. EGene says,

    You don't have to trust the judge on science since his opinion was based on expert scientific witnesses like Ken Miller and Donald Prothero.


    Fine. Then please let's stop quoting a Pennsylvania judge as though he were an expert on science, evolution, and pedagogy.

    As for Ken Miller, I don't necessarily take his word either when it comes to questions of evolution, religion, and what should be taught in the schools.

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  23. PZ says,

    Unfortunately, it means something different to the creationists


    I know what it means to them. They think that if evolution and creationism were taught as conflicting ideas in the schools then creationism would win hands down.

    I say we accept that challenge. My version of science has nothing to fear from creationism and critical thinking.

    The only reason to avoid teaching the controversy is if you're afraid of losing.

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  24. Who is quoting the judge as an expert on science? We are all saying that his judgement represented the opinions of real scientific experts. It's quoting an indirect source, that's about all.

    And it's disappointing to hear you say that you don't think Miller to be an expert on evolution, considering that he wrote "Finding Darwin's God" which is probably the best defense of evolution and refutation of ID for the general public, notwithstanding his foggy religious thoughts in the latter half. And Miller clearly says that ID is not science and should not be taught in schools.

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  25. Wouldn't it be more efficient to do a multi-discipline, semester series of lectures at a higher level [for instance, the College level (Arts and Sciences) at the University] rather than each department (biology, geology, anthropology, astronomy, etc.) having to deal with it separately?

    Colleges of Arts and Science generally also include religious and political studies, as well as mathematics, history, and philosophy departments.

    Confer science credits and don't do tests. Let this satisfy a science requirement for non-majors and make it a requirement within science majors.

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  26. SLC says,
    "I have a flash for Mr. Bentley; the theory of evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, defined as the appearance of the first replicators."

    If life could not originate by itself then evolution would not be able to start. Therefore it needs to be explain before Evolution can start. If this is impossible, then there is no evolution. Also its more than just the origin of life. The evolution of complex organs seems impossible coming from random mutations. Surely one of you must realise this.


    Larry says,
    "This is a typical argument from ignorance. You don't know how photosynthesis could have evolved so you assume nobody does and then go on to assume that God must exist."

    If you can point me to an article that shows how photosynthesis evolved gradually through mutations then please point it out to me and I will gladly ready through it.

    I would like to know though. Who actually went to the site I showed them and actually read articles. You are all set in your evolutionary beliefs, based on what you grew up with that you won't even considered looking at anything else. That's all I ask from you all.

    Go to www.creation.com

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  27. All I ask is that people actually read creation science from creation scientists before they criticise it.

    Bentley,

    Would it be fair to say that you are scientifically illiterate as well as ignorant of the vast catalogue of scientific responses to the creationist literature/arguments? Do you realize that what you are asking has been and is done all the time and that quite detailed scientific analyses are available on the internets, in bookstores and libraries? Would you care to look into it?

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  28. "All I ask is that people actually read creation science from creation scientists before they criticise it."

    There is, at present, no 'creation science' and there are no 'creation scientists'. If the creation they are promoting depends upon supernatural influences then it cannot be science, therefore anyone using that basis cannot be a scientist.

    Case closed.

    NEXT!

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  29. I would be hesitant to discuss creationism without making sure that we are not simply discussing one tiny minority view of creationism. In the US context wen people talk about creationism versus evolution they mean specifically protestant fundamentalist creationism rather than the multitude of alternative creationism stories that could easily fit into this category. It would be conceding far too much to ignore this point.
    As for Bentley, bring us one peer reviewed piece of evidence in favor of your version of creationism and then we'll discuss the matter further.

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  30. Sigmond says,

    I would be hesitant to discuss creationism without making sure that we are not simply discussing one tiny minority view of creationism.

    I define "creationism" as the belief in a creator who created some aspect of the universe by non-naturalistic means.

    I don't limit my criticism of this viewpoint to one particular version of creationism. I'm equally critical of all of them—including the creationism of theistic evolutionists.

    There's no evidence for any form of creationism. Just because some of them are far more stupid than others doesn't mean that that the others are any more valid.

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  31. Here is a lesson plan to teach Creationism without teaching any particular dogma based on it.

    Creationism is the faith-based science that there is a being called 'God' who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omniperfect. God created the entire universe and controls every detail of it every second of every day.

    God is supernatural. We cannot detect him directly, and we only know he exists from oral traditions passed down to us by ancient nomadic tribes who lived in the Middle East.

    If there are any questions, please direct them to God, who can explain everything.

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  32. Bentley says,

    If you can point me to an article that shows how photosynthesis evolved gradually through mutations then please point it out to me and I will gladly ready through it.


    I detect a typical creationist ploy. What you're now going to demand is a detailed blow-by-blow description of every single step from the origin of the first molecules to the modern photosynthesis system in some particular organism.

    Since we can't do that, you declare victory. It's proof that God exists.

    This is a combination of two different fallacies: (1) the argument from ignorance, and (2) false dichotomy.

    Maybe instead of reading some biology textbooks you should take a kindergarten course on logic.

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  33. EGene says,

    And Miller clearly says that ID is not science and should not be taught in schools.

    Well, that settles it then, doesn't it?

    Let's all bow down and worship Ken Miller, the expert on science, religion, and pedagogy. Whatever he says must be right. All you have to do is reveal his opinion and that's the end of the debate.

    For the record, creationism is not legitimate science. But it's the main opponent of evolution and for that reason alone it has to be addressed in science class. If you don't confront students' misconceptions and correct them then you are wasting your time in the biology classroom.

    If Ken Miller doesn't understand this simple concept then he's wrong.

    Sorry to disillusion you about your hero.

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  34. Larry,

    Why not agreee that creationism is ancient, simplistic science as early nomadic tribes might have practiced it? They found sea shells on mountain tops, and hypothesized a big flood. They found petrified dinosaur bones sticking out of hillsides, and theorized that "there were giants in the Earth in those days". They saw how plants and animals fed them, and so they posited a loving parent figure who provided for them. They saw volcanic eruptions and floods, wars and plagues, pain and crime, and created stories of sin and punishment to fit these observations.

    Anyone can imagine wild and crazy stories about Natural Selection, Cold Fusion, Continental Drift, Black Holes, Dark Energy, Flying Dinosaurs, Planet X, 11 Dimensions, the Big Bang, and Intelligent Design. The lesson of Creationism is that the job of science is to sift through our imagination and separate fact from fiction.

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  35. Sorry to burst your bubble Larry, but sarcasm is not a substitute for argument and never will be.

    Maybe you hero-worship Ken Miller, I don't. The question is not who is making the argument but why he is doing so. Attention should be paid to the substance of Miller's arguments against ID not being science. I could care less if Hilary Clinton were making those arguments. I would only care about the facts supporting them.

    I hope you did that. Do you agree that ID is not science, and not because Miller says it?

    The point is, could you come up with a cogent plan in which you shoot down every argument against ID in science class and still leave enough time for teaching all the important details about evolution?

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  36. I think it is useless to prop something up just to shoot it down. ID is not an important topic.
    I would find it extremely suspicious if I were taugth Id only to have it demonized along with some kind of antireligious message. It menas creationsist are right: evolution is ALL about whether god exists or not.
    Bullshit. NEVER teach ID in school. Do not let school be corrupted by creationists, nor their pathetic reflection, the pseudorationalists. Much less both!
    Bad idea, larry. let's keep things that are separate separate.
    I you teach ID in school, do it in philosophy or religion clas, not in biology.

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  37. Dr. Moran -

    From the point of view of effective rhetoric and teaching, it seems a better strategy to me to teach the theory of evolution well, rather than why various alternative "explanations" are nonsense.

    What strategy do you use in your textbook when introducing new concepts? Do you exclusively or dominantly use the strategy of explaining the new concept clearly, or do you devote a great deal of time to discussing why alternative explanations are incorrect?

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  38. The only reason to avoid teaching the controversy is if you're afraid of losing.

    But maybe that's not the only reason. What if you just don't have time in your jam-packed syllabus to be teaching it? I would guess that's why PZ isn't interested in "teaching the controversy". He'd probably rather see it done in a philosophy or politics course.

    (Larry, can you enable the "blockquote" tag in comments?)

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  39. Vargas is spot on. ID is a trivial topic. Dealing with it on these so-called science blogs creates the impression that practicing evolutionary biologists (i.e., scientists actually busy collecting data and not just spewing forth uninformed opinions) think about ID, but they don't.

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  40. Jud says,

    From the point of view of effective rhetoric and teaching, it seems a better strategy to me to teach the theory of evolution well, rather than why various alternative "explanations" are nonsense.


    There's a great deal of literature on this subject and the consensus of the experts is that you are wrong.

    When students come into a class with major misconceptions they will either incorporate your teaching into their false worldview or dismiss it because it's wrong (from their perspective).

    No matter how well you teach evolution if you don't confront their misconceptions you will fail.

    Let's take a simple example. Suppose that a student learns in Sunday school that irreducible complexity is proof that evolution can't happen. Suppose they are given some key examples like the bacterial flagella and blood clotting. Suppose they are told that many scientists know about irreducible complexity but they are being suppressed by the materialist majority.

    You aren't going to have any impact on those students unless you confront the lies head-on and show why they are wrong. Otherwise, you're just part of the conspiracy.

    What strategy do you use in your textbook when introducing new concepts? Do you exclusively or dominantly use the strategy of explaining the new concept clearly, or do you devote a great deal of time to discussing why alternative explanations are incorrect?

    I explain why the alternative explanations are incorrect. For example, many people have an incorrect view of glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. I explain what that incorrect view is—knowing full well that some instructors hold that view—then I explain the correct view. Same for chemiosmotic theory.

    I just finished re-writing the section on evolution and rather than just show a web of life at the root of the tree, I explain why some people still think of a tree with three domains.

    When I describe the correct view of the Central Dogma, I also show the standard pathway of information flow and explain why this isn't the Central Dogma in spite of what many people think.

    When I teach evolution, I try to explain the false notions of adaptationism rather than just teach the correct view and hope that students will abandon their adaptionist ways as soon as they learn the truth. :-)

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  41. EGene says,

    The question is not who is making the argument but why he is doing so. Attention should be paid to the substance of Miller's arguments against ID not being science.

    It wasn't me who brought up Ken Miller as the expert. I don't think he's the expert.

    I hope you did that. Do you agree that ID is not science, and not because Miller says it?

    Yes.

    The point is, could you come up with a cogent plan in which you shoot down every argument against ID in science class and still leave enough time for teaching all the important details about evolution?

    No. There's not enough time to shoot down every single argument of the creationists. You need to pick out the most important ones and address them. That should leave plenty of time to teach the fundamental concepts of evolution.

    Your use of the term "important details" troubles me. It seems like an oxymoron. If they are details then they can't be important.

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  42. Yes,

    ID should be taught right along with the other religious/social subjects.

    An honest and coherent description of the subject and the personalities involved is important. If students do not know how it came to be they are missing and important 19th-21st Century phenomenon in America.

    Scopes Monkey Trial, Creationism Museum, Dinosaurs walked with man, all those issues/events need to be understood. Religion and superstition are legitimate fields of study. They just belong in the social science courses.

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  43. I have one major reservation about teaching about Intelligent Design Creationism in schools.

    It seems to me that it would work satisfactorily with most students. Most students are either non-believers in god or hold only a cultural belief. The cultural believers might go to religious services and even claim a particular religion on offical forms, but their belief is conscious, vague and doesn't shape their ordinary life. All of these can cope with rational teaching, one way or another.

    And then there are (for want of a politer term) the 'godstruck'. Their belief is primarily unconscious and emotional and forms a fundamental (no pun intended) part of their world. The unconscious belief continuously primes their brains to look for and find supernatural agency and events in their day to day lives. Arguably this type of religious belief is a true meme.

    These people cannot be reached by rational thought (within the time available in class) because it is in the nature of their religious meme to reject contrary evidence at an unconscious emotional level well before their conscious brain and feelings are engaged.

    Trying to reach these people by rational debate is both futile and almost certain to generate huge resistance to further teaching around the subject.

    There might only be 2 or 3 out of 30 students whose brain is parasitised by a religious meme in this way - but can you come up with a way of positively shortcircuiting a fundamental part of their personality?

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  44. Dr Moran-

    I absolutely agree that hiding from the controversy is bad pedagogy as well as bad science. However, the political reality, down here, is that 'teaching the controversy' would just mean giving license, not to proper science teachers like yourself or PZ, but rather the Mr Billy Joe Dumflucks, or the Miss Ellie Mae Rhubarbs of the world. In short, people just like Bentley.

    Good junior and senior high school science educators in the United States walk a very fine line trying to teach their subjects while avoiding the nastiness of controversy that can overwhelm an entire year of work. Many just don't have the energy to fight. Many Americans live in communities where the opponents of science are very vocal, and, unfortunately, constitute a majority...

    How do you win something like this? I agree that talking about it is the ideal solution, but, seriously, it's not about being 'afraid of losing', it's knowing that, in many cases, you will.

    This, I think, is the reason that so many of us work so hard to keep creation science and ID out of our schools entirely.

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  45. I say we accept that challenge. My version of science has nothing to fear from creationism and critical thinking.

    Unfortunately, that assumes that teachers and school boards have no interest in other than straightforward and accurate teaching of the subject. They don't.

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  46. Oh, absolutely, let's teach ID starting in Kindergarten:

    Alright, children, put your toys away.
    Today we learn about god.
    How do we know god exists; how can we prove it?

    Well, let's look at the shapes of countries on a globe.
    Italy looks like a foot and Spain like a head and Florida like a penis.
    Shapes like that just cannot happen by coincidence,
    so they must have been made by someone intelligent.

    And, sure enough, when we study the
    2500 gods
    around the world, we find the god ORGELMIR.
    He was killed by another god ODIN, and his body parts became the world.

    This way of arguing, children, is called ID.
    First you see a country shaped like a penis, like Florida.
    Then you reason backwards that someone used a penis to make Florida.
    Then you invent a story about how a god was killed to make Florida.
    Then you believe that the story is true.
    And that way of proving something exists is called Intelligent Design.

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  47. It wasn't me who brought up Ken Miller as the expert. I don't think he's the expert.

    What's the evidence that Miller is insufficiently informed on evolution (Dawkins thinks he is adequately informed but lety's leave aside thwe argument from authority)? Have you read "Finding Darwin's God"? Can you point to page numbers where Miller says something incorrect about evolution?

    If they are details then they can't be important.

    Do you really mean that? So details don't really matter? I wonder why they say "the devil is in the details". I used to think details were important in scientific research.

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  48. On the whole, I agree with Dr Moran that ID could be profitably introduced in the science classroom, but only as part of the greater and ongoing educational strategy of teaching students how to think, how to judge between competing world-views, how to gracefully relinquish our best-loved biases and preconceptions when shown contrary evidence, and to stress that the ultimate point of science is not to provide us with an abundance of regurgitatable facts, but to provide us with the best known defense against our own in-built temptation to be most persuaded by that which we wish were true.

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  49. I think that most teachers are not ready to talk on the virtues of science without degenerating into some kind of pseudorationalist demand to place blind faith in science.
    In my experience with undergrads, discussing evolution itself with data in hand is sufficient that students with a strong religious background demanding they deny evolution lean backwards and never confront us on the issue. ID is not a part of the course: we may or may not mention it briefly in class in a historical sense, in reference to Paley's old natural theology (the arguments have not changed)

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  50. I completely understand the point that the writer is making and I completely agree. I personally believe that only science that should be taught in science classrooms and quite honestly, intelligent design is not a science. My reasoning for this is that since many people consider "astrology" a science, like what the writer here says, why not teach astrology too? There are many people who would agree that astrology is "science". I do agree that students should be able to be "decision makers" and choose what they think is best for themselves. Yet, I personally believe religious opinions should be taught in a personal setting, for example in Sunday schools. I feel that forcing children to learn evolution is simply a ploy meant to keep students away from evolution.

    In addition, since the Scopes Trial, the teaching of religious doctrine, whether is be creationism or intelligent design, is a violation of student' first amendment rights. If Christian doctrine is taught, why not also teach the Aboriginal story how origin that included "Dream Time". Why not also teach the Islamic, Hindu, or Jewish theories of origin alongside Christianity's Creationism. The first amendment clearly states that no one religion cannot be favored but naturally, not every religion can be taught in a classroom. Thus, like how only math is taught in a math class, only science should be allowed in a science class. It is something that carries much importance for the science education in the United States if the country wants to remain competitive academically.

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