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Friday, August 21, 2009

Creationists Made Him Do It!

A reader1 alerted me to a letter by Patrick J. Keeling in the latest issue of Science: Creationists Made Me Do It.

He tells a story about hearing creationists speak in his high school biology class. What was the effect of this indoctrination? ...
For at least one sulky teenager in the small town of Owen Sound, Ontario, it took a creationist to make him into an evolutionary biologist.
This is one of the reasons why exposing high school students to the IDiots should be encouraged, not banned. They are their own worst enemy.

1. Thank-you Grace.


  1. This sort of thing happens in Canada?

  2. This is one of the reasons why exposing high school students to the IDiots should be encouraged, not banned. They are their own worst enemy.

    I agree with you Larry.

    Personally, I would also like to thank the ID\Creationist movement for an imminent career change. Even though here in the U.K. they are far less prevalent it was hearing about the ID\Creationist attempts to get their religiously motivated lies and misrepresentations taught in U.K. schools that re-awakened my interest in science.

    The result is that I now have far more knowledge and understanding of biological evolution and have also decided to put my physics degree to some use (after working in software development for 15 years) and will be teaching physics and biology from September.

  3. IMO, in the US one reason to keep IDiots out of the classroom is because the creationists don't want equal time. They want all the time that there is and if given a wedge will drive it right through the heart of all science education.

    A second reason is not so much to prevent students from hearing creationist ideas, which as you pointed out might be useful, but rather because any teacher that debunked such drivel would face a legal battle. As an agent of the state, a public school teacher cannot take a stance on the validity of any religion or religious idea, no matter how ludicrous, in the classroom. Without the teacher providing counter arguments, the students would be left to sort it out on their own. I suspect only a small fraction of students would work it out in favor of science.

    I am unfamiliar with Canada's policies about how to treat religion in public education, but this is the way it appears to be in the US.

  4. I read (as a Christian) I Don't Have Enough Faith as an Atheist inan attempt to defend my faith. Despite not knowing terribly much about evolution, I had, nonetheless, the feeling that the description of it they attacked (the better to promote ID) was disingenous or worse. It motivated me to start reading science-based books about evolution.

    Long story short, I'm now not only an atheist, but also doing an honour's in genetic algorithms, hopefully starting a PhD next year.

  5. I can't believe there's creationists only a couple hours from where I've spent six years of my life... (in the -civilised- part of southern Ontario, y'know). I've been through the area before, didn't strike me as anything out of the ordinary. Who knew...

    I'm gonna start keeping a running score:
    Patrick - 2*; Creationists - 0 Pwned!

    *victims include Mormons. IMO, that's pretty epic!

  6. I'm a high school student, and I lived in Oklahoma last year. And let me tell you, I must have been the only one in my bio class who believed in evolution. I had to endure a year of incessant snickering/unwarranted skepticism whenever evolution was mentioned.

    And although my teacher had a good biology background and sure wasn't a creationist, I fault her for not explaining evolution well or the evidence for it and silencing them.

    So it's not just about not teaching ID. It's also about actively promoting the evolutionary view and incorporating it into all aspects of biology class. That, in my opinion, is the more crucial problem facing biology education.

  7. I keep saying - the creationists have done more to make evolution sexy than all the science curricula in the world.

  8. I know a fellow at Waterloo who started off as a Mennonite (for those who don't know, the Mennonites founded the town and are very numerous there) and learned biology so he could disprove evolution.

    Of course, after completing phase 1, he developed a whole new outlook on phase 2...