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Posted at 1:07 PM ET, 01/29/2011

Study: Most high school biology teachers don’t endorse evolution

By Valerie Strauss

The central theory of biology is evolution, yet a new study shows that most high school biology teachers are reluctant to endorse it in class.

In the same week we learned that most American students did not do well in science on a test known as “the nation’s report card,” a study about biology teachers in public high schools was published that said:

* About 28 percent consistently implement National Research Council recommendations calling for introduction of evidence that evolution occurred, and craft lesson plans with evolution as a unifying theme linking disparate topics in biology.

* About 13 percent of biology teachers "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light." Creationists do not believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

* The rest, about 60 percent, “fail to explain the nature of scientific inquiry, undermine the authority of established experts, and legitimize creationist arguments.”

These teachers, the researchers said, try to avoid controversy by using one of several different strategies that include :

* Teaching evolutionary biology as if it applies only to molecular biology and failing to to explain evidence that one species gives rise to other species.

* Telling students they don't have to "believe" in evolution but they have to know it for tests.

* Telling students to make up their own minds -- even though scientists say that they are as certain of the validity of evolution as they are of other scientific principles taken as fact.

The research was conducted by Penn State political science professors Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer and published in the newest issue of Science magazine. They examined data from the National Survey of High School Biology Teachers, a representative sample of 926 public high school biology instructors, to reach their conclusions.

More high school students take biology than any other science course, the researchers said. They also said that for as many as 25 percent of them, biology is the only science course they will ever take,

In related news, the details released this week about student performance on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress was not stellar: 34 percent of 4th graders and 30 percent of 8th graders were deemed proficient or better in science.

Here’s the position of the National Science Teachers Association on evolution:

"The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) strongly supports the position that evolution is a major unifying concept in science and should be included in the K–12 science education frameworks and curricula. Furthermore, if evolution is not taught, students will not achieve the level of scientific literacy they need. This position is consistent with that of the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and many other scientific and educational organizations.

"NSTA also recognizes that evolution has not been emphasized in science curricula in a manner commensurate to its importance because of official policies, intimidation of science teachers, the general public's misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, and a century of controversy. In addition, teachers are being pressured to introduce creationism, “creation science,” and other nonscientific views, which are intended to weaken or eliminate the teaching of evolution."

-0-

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By Valerie Strauss  | January 29, 2011; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  Research, Science  | Tags:  biology, biology teachers, charles darwin, creationism, darwin, evolution, evolutionary biology, high school biology, high school science, intelligent design, study on evolution  
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Comments

"In related news, the details released this week about student performance on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress was not stellar: 34 percent of 4th graders and 30 percent of 8th graders were deemed proficient or better in science."

On PISA's science section, we outscored a good number of other first world countries (http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/54/12/46643496.pdf) that don't give a lick about creationism (including France, Sweden, and Denmark). Moreover, America has managed to retain its stature as one of the leading science research locations in the world despite an antipathy toward evolution that has lasted... well, forever.

The report does a hazy job of lumping 60% of science teachers into some sort of inadquate category, but it's probably safe to assume that a good number of them expose students to the fundamentals of evolutionary science, even if they don't do it with the ardor that the purists would like. These purists have never had to deal with a group of evangelical students who shut down because the teacher tried to read them the riot act. I don't have a problem with a teacher saying to students: "I'm not going to ask you to accept evolution as it is presented here, but I do expect you to understand it and be able to articulate it."

Posted by: joshofstl1 | January 29, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

This isn't an issue of evolution vs. creationism, this is an issue of doing the job you are being paid to do. No one is paying K-12 teachers to determine the validity of the scientific method nor to pass judgement on what the scientific community determines to be the best information that we have on the subjects in question.

Their job is to teach to our children what the scientific community has to offer in terms of knowledge about our world and to prepare them for success as they move on to higher levels of education or the work place.

If science says things that conflict with your religious, philosophical or personal beliefs and you can't get past that issue and simply do the job you are being paid to do, then find a new profession.

Posted by: kkemerait | January 29, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

It is fear or love (depending on your point of view) for religion over science. Given the choice, teachers will normally respect their religion over science because not believing in science won't send you to hell. As rude as that sounds, that is the bottom line.

Posted by: jbeeler | January 29, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Thankfully Darwin's discovery of evolution completely rules out the possibility that man came from some dirt that a God used to make an image of Himself out of, and that woman came from a rib of this dirt-man.

Compare the amount of interlocking data from every applicable scientific field including geology, physics, and even molecular biology, all having observational experiments done, that test and prove the hypotheses of evolution occurring, with the DISCREDITED FAIRY TALE - a big invisible monster that nobody has ever seen or heard did it.

It is frightening that mass delusions of supernatural beings still exist today. It is the same thing as saying that my invisible fire breathing dragon is more powerful than your multi-headed fire spewing sea monster. So, come around to my way of thinking or I will commit atrocities for it.

How could anybody worship a fictional being whose story is outlandishly absurd. Everything from the murderous blood stained Sky Daddy who drowned virtually all humanity and other life, sentenced everyone to leave Utopia after Eve (persuaded by a talking snake) ate a magical apple, had Jonah take a ride in the belly of a whale, ruined the life of Job, told Abraham to murder his own kid, killed all the first born of Egypt, had his chosen people commit genocide on the original inhabitants of Palestine, to letting his own son be nailed to some wood so mankind could party with a ghost - is a FAIRY TALE that humanity needs to reject if we are to see many more generations.

With the coming proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, religion must be ended or we will be.

By the way if you are dumb enough to believe that this fable is real; in the Bible, the murder count is God -millions / Devil -zero. Whom would you rather spend time with - a vengeful monster or a fallen angel who thought he had a better way? I am NOT promoting the Devil, just illustrating the craziness in this stupidity.

Hopefully if you were previously deluded, after reading this you will see how foolish you have been.

There is no middle ground.

Posted by: FizzmickPaChee | January 29, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"About 13 percent of biology tea13%chers "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light." Creationists do not believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution."

Those teachers who advocated creationism in science classes shall be identified and fired as they have violated the US Constitution.

I would encourage the students to name those irresponsible teachers.

Posted by: nogod | January 29, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I can understand why teachers are reluctant to teach it how they want it to be tough. I have no problem if people want to believe in the theory of evolution, but the problem that I have is that they want teachers to teach it as fact. They want the teachers to teach it as proof and not theory. If a teacher does not believe in evolution then would it be wrong for them to emphasize that it is a theory and to not teach it as fact and people want them to do?

Posted by: sp90378 | January 29, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

From the side of the religious fundamentalists, this question might be "who is winning" in the promotion of their beliefs. But that's not the case from the perspective of science education advocates. It's about access to quality education!

As stated in the article, one of the "mistakes" made by teachers is "Teaching evolutionary biology as if it applies only to molecular biology and failing to to explain evidence that one species gives rise to other species." But this is a positive sign! It means that as we move into a world of biotechnology and genetics, students are not being completely short-changed in the area most vital to their competitiveness in the 21st century, but of course this is not enough. After all, it is supposed to be basic science, not training for a job in biotechnology.

Consider people who work in gasoline-powered motors. If you read the right manuals and specifications and get the right training, you can do an amazing array of important things without actually "believing" that the heart of the system is a combustion reaction between gasoline and oxygen. But you can never be a leader or innovator in the field. So, indoctrinating potential engineers and mechanics in some alternative non-physical explanation and denying the internal combustion reaction does them a huge disservice and limits their potential!

The same is true for the teaching of evolution. Most people will in fact never really need a rich understanding of evolution, but for those who are short-changed, failing to develop an adequate understanding of evolutionary theory blocks off many avenues of _potential_ leadership/innovation in biology, biotechnology, and increasingly more and more other fields of interdisciplinary science and engineering.

Posted by: BoringOrange | January 29, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

This is shameful. The avoidance of such a fundamentally important topic because it is "uncomfortable" for teachers to present is part of the reason why the US is so behind other countries when it comes to science education.

The religious right can object to evolution from the pulpit, in bible school, and in religious schools. In public schools, it is the responsibility of teachers to present science as it is and not the way that wish it would be.

The only controversies around evolution are those invented outside of the scientific community.

Posted by: weisschr | January 29, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

sp90378 says,

"I have no problem if people want to believe in the theory of evolution, but the problem that I have is that they want teachers to teach it as fact."

The fact of evolution is as solidly grounded on a lot of evidence. I wonder if sp90378 have read Professor Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show On Earth. If not, I would encourage him/her to read it.

Posted by: nogod | January 29, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Evolution is controversial primarily because most people think it precludes belief in God. This tends to quickly move any debate on the legitimacy of evolution from science to religion. However, there are some people (myself included) who question evolution primarily on scientific grounds.

Natural selection is a well established scientific principle. However, natural selection doesn't create new organisms, it just changes the composition of an existing population. Evolution is the process of an organism changing into another similar organism over many generations. The alleged mechanism for this process is random mutation in the DNA.

Until someone can design an experiment that conclusively demonstrates one organism evolving into another, evolution will remain controversial. It would seem that with the advances in biotechnology and DNA manipulation that it should soon be possible to prove/disprove random mutation as the mechanism for evolutionary change. If this has already been done at some level I'd appreciate a link to the article.

At the very least it would be important to show a likely mutation sequence between two closely related single celled organisms. If such a sequence is identified and all intermediate forms are determined to be viable, this would provide strong evidence for evolution as currently conceived.

I found the book "The Edge of Evolution" to be an interesting read. The author argues that random mutation isn't a sufficient mechanism for evolution to occur. While this could indicate the existence of a Creator (who in the author's view is continuously tinkering with his creation to allow it evolve), it could also indicate that the mechanism of evolution is simply more complex than random mutation would allow for.

Perhaps, like an adaptive computer program, DNA can "reprogram" itself under certain circumstances. It begs the question of where the first eukaryotic cell came from, but could explain a large degree of the diversity we see in biology.

Posted by: isomorphism | January 29, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

nogod,

Unless, or until, teachers become "Congress making laws," they cannot be in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, to wit: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" a teacher is not Congress making laws, wishing someone "Merry Christmas" is not Congress making laws, a Nativity displayed in a public place, even in a classroom, is not Congress making laws.

You may not like it, but that is the way it is.

FizzmickPaChee

I am unpersuaded by your rantings. What if you're wrong?

Posted by: demathis | January 29, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Teachers don't necessarily avoid teaching evolution because they're "uncomfortable", as someone suggested, but because in some cases they could get themselves into some very deep doodoo depending on the community they're in. When I was taking education classes people warned us about teaching evolution in some suburbs. This wasn't the bible belt, either.

Posted by: physicsteacher | January 29, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

ive got a real problem with grouping teachers that dont want to argue with the 3 evangelicals in the class for 5 class days in with biology teachers that dont seem to understand that the theory of evolution is as widely accepted in the scientific community as germ theory and the theory of relativity.

Posted by: someguy100 | January 29, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

ive got a real problem with grouping teachers that dont want to argue with the 3 evangelicals in the class for 5 class days in with biology teachers that dont seem to understand that the theory of evolution is as widely accepted in the scientific community as germ theory and the theory of relativity.

Posted by: someguy100 | January 29, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

@isomorphism

You are obviously not a scientist, nor are you trained in molecular biology or evolutionary biology.

Google "horizontal gene transfer in bacteria." You are spouting the common misunderstanding of what it means for a bacteria to become drug resistant through "natural selection." These bacteria mutate constantly through a variety of mechanisms. The resulting drug resistant strains are genetically new species.

We have evidence in our DNA of how we evolved from different ancestor species. Look at the chromosomal merging that occurred in human chromosome 2. Why do you think we have vestigial tails (the coccyx)? Why do we carry inactive genes for gills?

All species carry evidence from their ancestors. For example, whales have genes for fully formed legs and chickens have genes for teeth. We have retroviral gene insertions in our chromosomes that match at 60% or more with other great apes (we are a great ape too), which can only occur with a common genetic ancestor.

Again... the only controversies around evolution as a general theory to explain biological change are outside of the scientific community. Within the scientific community, the controversies are around sequences of changes, specific cases, geologic events, but no scientist has ever legitimately refuted evolution by providing either counter examples or an alternate theory that better explains the evidence.

This myth purported by creationists that no new species have ever been observed and that evolution is a collection of unproven hypotheses is just that -a myth. Read more and then come back and argue.

Posted by: weisschr | January 29, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

There are many other common misunderstandings of evolution:

1. Evolution does not establish how life began. It explains how it changes. Abiogensis is not required for evolution to be true. This is the wiggle room that allows for theistic evolution.

2. Evolution does not hinge only on the fossil record. The introduction of molecular genetics is what cemented evolution as the foundation of modern biology. This eliminated Lamarckian elements from Darwinian evolution. The constant change in microorganisms exemplifies macro-evolution at a very rapid pace.

3. Speciation is not a dramatic genetic cut off from one parent to its offspring. This is a false requirement for evolution and has never been a central tenet. Horses can mate with donkeys to produce mules. Lions and tigers can mate to produce the much larger liger. There is no clear cut off when the ability to mate defines a species.

People making absurdist arguments about evolution are demonstrating their misunderstanding.

What scientist wouldn't want to have a new supportable scientific theory? Isn't that every researcher's dream? Relativity did not replace Newtonian mechanics, but contained it and explained extreme situations like near light travel where newtonian mechanics breaks down. Similarly, quantum theory deals with the other extreme. Neither disproved basic mechanics. Similarly for evolution. Darwin's original theories were extended and expanded with the introduction of genetics. However, no theory has emerged to explain things better than evolution.

The "logic traps" people try to pin to evolution are false analogies and misunderstandings.

Posted by: weisschr | January 29, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Well said FizzmickPaChee!

Posted by: ram1231 | January 29, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Well said FizzmickPaChee!

Posted by: ram1231 | January 29, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

This issue underscores YET ANOTHER WAY in which our present school system is failing us.

It is strange to me that we presume that all parents want their children to learn the same Creation narrative. After all, that's what we're arguing over, right?

Every society that has ever existed has had a story for how the world and that society came to be. At one time in this nation most people believed the Biblical account of Creation. Today, we're split between some who continue to believe that story, and so called rationalists who believe in a creation story that they claim can be substantiated by an unending chain of facts. Neither of these belief systems is irrefutably true however. There are many things that cannot be explained in the various fields of science (biology included), and there are many philosophical questions that plague traditionalists as well.

At issue however is what does a parent have the right to teach his/her children? Rather than endlessly arguing with one another, what we need to do is to establish some means by which parents may choose the creation narrative that they want their children to learn (perhaps a parent wants his/her child to become a doctor or scientist, perhaps he/she doesn't... why debate over it?) Once parents can choose a direction, the debate ends, and we become a more diverse society, which is actually a good thing.

Asserting something to be a fact doesn't give anyone the right to mentally rape someone into believing it. That's ghoulishly like Orwell's 1984, not the way a free society works. In a free society, upbringing of children is the responsibility and right and of parents, not the State, regardless of the State's intentions.

Posted by: greevous | January 29, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Why are scientists so worried about teaching evolution anyway? Students should be learning practical, real-world science(solving today's problems). Trying to push Darwin theories is a waste of time. Who wants to hear they came from apes anyway? I don't believe I did.

Here we are in 2011 still polluting the earth by burning oil and coal for fuel. Yet we want to waste money exploring space as if it could benefit us. Scientist need to get their priorities straight.

Personally though, for those of you who believe in evolution only, God forgive you. If you believe we came from nothing you had better hope your right. If you believe something greater created us you're on the right path. If I have offended any evolutionists then you should be questioning your Darwinian beliefs.

God Bless You
-Shannon

Posted by: shannon1976 | January 29, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I propose we start teaching Intelligent Orbiting in addition to celestial mechanics. We keep teaching kids that gravity is what keeps the moon in orbit around the earth, but this "theory" doesn't give credit to the Almighty and he's mighty heartbroken over it since he's busting his butt day and night with one hand on the moon and the other on the earth to keep the two from just flying away and screwing stuff up. I don't know about you, but it sure ain't gravity that keeps my dogs planted on terra firma, but the loving hand of the Big Guy himself.

Posted by: physicsteacher | January 29, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

This artical should be called "The Stupifying of America", or "One Step Foreward, and Two Steps Back".

Posted by: whatsaduckfor | January 29, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I was gonna say something, but nah. People are insecure, the very reason for religions. (It is amazing that people are still so insecure and scared given Google and Wikipedia) People desire certainties. Science is full of mysteries still and cannot explain everything.....yet. We are only limited by technology and methods of detection, not our ability to observe and hypothesize. Many scientists have precociously predicted things but didn't have the supporting analytical technology to fully prove them. If there was one field of science I'd like to distance from the others in meteorology. Those weathermen and women taint the rest of science in doubt with their "Its certain to rain"

Posted by: puddingPontiff | January 29, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

@Shannon

It is important that students learn about evolution because researchers in a variety of fields, from biotech to computer sciences, rely on it to help them solve "real world" problems. Among other things, scientists use tenets from the theory of evolution to help them understand diseases (ie. disease progression/spread) and to predict the rate at which bacteria will develop immunity to antibiotics. Computer scientists and engineers use evolutionary theory (or a variation of it) to help them create better machines and buildings. In these and in other ways, many people depend upon the theory of evolution to aid their search for "real world" solutions to today's problems.

As an aside, some other theories are also vitally important in helping scientists and other researchers improve on today's technology and create innovative, new machines and medicines. They are:

1) The Big Bang theory
2) The belief that the earth (and by extension the universe) is more than 6000-9000 years old
3) The focus on natural explanations for phenomena as opposed to supernatural ones

Anthony

Posted by: elander24018 | January 29, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

If you'd get out of the horse-and-buggy era of teaching, there wouldn't be a problem. We don't need a degreed teacher in each class, teaching their particular mediocre version of whatever. We need the best instruction and best team of instructors teaching via high quality broadcasts, via the web or portable video, that can be reviewed again and again and again.

Learning isn't about hearing some lecturer who may not really know the material. It's about repetition until you get the key points. Get the profs and licensed teachers out of the class room. Take the best of them and broadcast them. Can the rest. Use more teaching assistants (higher level students) with better student to teaching assistant rations than you could ever pay the so called degreed and licensed professionals.

One boring teacher per class has gone the way of the dinosaur. Let darwinism weed out the less successful teaching methods. Those old monotone teachers that can't compete with action entertainment or games or multitasking students need a budgetary extinction event.

Posted by: nomemoleste | January 30, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

That's "better student to teaching assistant ratios" not "rations." Mea culpa.

Posted by: nomemoleste | January 30, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I think the comments indicate why teachers are reluctant to teach evolution. I know one teacher who had a sixth-grade student announce her mother told her not to listen to her teacher. If the teacher, the mother said, was stupid enough to say the world was round when the Bible clearly refers to "the four corners of the world," then that teacher's knowledge of anything was suspect. (This was in the 1070s.) The same school had an elementary science teacher who spent the summer going through the new science books with a Magic Marker, marking out in each copy any reference to fossils so the students wouldn't even be able to read the material on their own.

And by they way, demathis, it has been held for a century or more that the First Amendment restricts ALL government, not just Congress.

Posted by: sideswiththekids | January 30, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I think the comments indicate why teachers are reluctant to teach evolution. I know one teacher who had a sixth-grade student announce her mother told her not to listen to her teacher. If the teacher, the mother said, was stupid enough to say the world was round when the Bible clearly refers to "the four corners of the world," then that teacher's knowledge of anything was suspect. The same school had an elementary science teacher who spent the summer going through the new science books with a Magic Marker, marking out in each copy any reference to fossils so the students wouldn't even be able to read the material on their own. (This was in the 1070s.)

And by they way, demathis, it has been held for a century or more that the First Amendment restricts ALL government, not just Congress.

Posted by: sideswiththekids | January 30, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

demathis,

But what if you're wrong? Pascal's wager may not save your hide if the big cheese man can see into the corrupted soul of a betting man.

Posted by: DHume1 | January 30, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The reason there is controversy surrounding this topic is because there are scientists on both sides of this issue, with equivalent degrees, in equivalent fields, arguing over the varying conclusions arrived at from the same observable evidence (or lack thereof). The scientific community needs to have open debate and stop holding to the "no true Scottsman" defense (a logical fallacy) when ever one of their own make a statement that goes against their evolutionary dogma. Some scientists have the opinion that evolution is a faith based fairy tale, based upon mathematically impossible logic. Why not let these experts with varying opinions have a world wide, publicly visible, debate?

Posted by: thesis | January 31, 2011 12:08 AM | Report abuse

evolution is a myth and has been disproved:

http://thealteredpress.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/religion-evolution-disproved-monkeys-lower-expectations/

Posted by: TheAP | January 31, 2011 6:31 AM | Report abuse

This article is itself lacking in scientific data. There is no data sited linking the lack of teaching of evolution with the ranking of our children's science standing the world. There is only inflammatory conjecture. If one were to go back when our children and education system was ranked #1 in the world, you would find most didn't believe in evolution. This article actually represents very clearly what is wrong with our society and thereby our education system. We are told what to think by unamed scientists/experts through the media on a regular basis. We used to think for ourselves. We used to use the scientific method. Now everything is based on nothing more than speculation and opinion (BAD Science). Evolution itself is a THEORY NOT a scientific law. As a scientist, I view evolution as a faith, not science. Our children should not be told what to think when there is no proof. There have been many great named scientists who have shaped our world today and they did not have a knowledge of evolution or did not subscribe to it. They were scientists that had actual tested data! If you really want our children to be better scientists, teach them the scientifc method, teach them how to analyze data, but most importantly teach them to think for themselves. Think about it!

Posted by: microbio | January 31, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

As a non-religious person you would expect me to be aghast at this study. but I am not. Instead, I am aghast at the conclusions the authors of the study and this blog are making. Critical thinking means looking at all assumptions, including evolution. We do not advocate that students accept any scientific theory as FACT or that there is any certainty involved. That does not mean we are advocating intelligent design or creationism. It just means that we teach students to be critical...of everything. As for teaching one hour of creationism or intelligent design, big deal! Can we not look at these alternative world views from a cultural standpoint at least? Something like, "hey kids, by-the-way, many of your neighbors believe this theory. And it just happens to have flaws x,y, and z." Teaching one hour does not mean putting it on the same scientific plane as evolution theory but it treats students like serious thinkers and allows them to get perspective on the big picture. So let's not assume that because biology teachers don't teach evolution as fact that they are dumb, religious fanatics. They may be coming at this from a philosophical perspective the above authors are afraid our students can't handle.

Posted by: Kronosaurus | January 31, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

microbio clearly does not understand scientic theory or it relationship to the scientific method. A theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning (the scientific method), especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena. Two important aspects to a valid scientific theory are: 1. It has not been disproven through experimnetation and observation (merely identifying an alternative explanation is not sufficient), and 2. It has been subjected to peer-reviewed analysis to detect faults in its reasoning. The impoprtance of evolution in science education cannot be understated; if it is dismissed, then all of science is "just a theory."

Posted by: mcstowy | January 31, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Strong advocacy of censorship indicates the weak position in scientific terms.
Real science demands more than concensus. There is no say-so science. Required are examples and a plausible mechanism. Evillusionism is a body of creative writing merely, starting with Origin of Species. It is based in no-God atheism and religious. Its teaching violates the Constitution's establishment clause.

Posted by: queman | January 31, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

mcstowy,

Yep, I have to agree with you on this one. What makes the whole thing sound really unnerving and cringe-worthy is this statement from microbio: "Evolution itself is a THEORY NOT a scientific law. As a scientist, I view evolution as a faith, not science." It is one thing to claim that a person does not believe in evolution because it contradicts one's religious convictions; at least the person is being honest with him/herself and with others. However, it is entirely another area, indeed, to misrepresent and misunderstand the basic cornerstones of science, especially if one is a working scientist. The dude is obviously lying or grossly inept.

Posted by: DHume1 | January 31, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

queman,

Nice logic there. Your brain must be so proud. So I guess we should ditch astronomy for astrology. Those astronomy guys have been censoring those astrology guys for years.

Posted by: DHume1 | January 31, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Biblical literalists will never reconcile with evolution. The logical arguments I have read paint literal interpretations of the bible into the corner. For these folks, it is legitimate for them to argue evolution can't be true because it flies in the face of their core beliefs. However, other Christian faiths such Catholicism have made room for god and Darwin.

The question in the classroom is do we let a creation myth drive curriculum or do we force legitimate scientific inquiry to explain the facts? I have heard literalists argue that evolution requires faith, that it is hegemony, and that it is no more valid than any creation myth. Whenever I hear this I know I am reading someone who has never looked at the science behind evolution. This doesn't mean reading Darwin or Dawkins, but looking at the genetics, the morphology, the extensiveness of the fossil record, and the biological evidence we care around in our bodies to validate common descent.

People can start small. Read about drug resistance and rapid mutation in microorganisms. This is the most compelling introduction into macro-evolution because it is directly observable.

The battle condenses to simply do the literal words of Genesis rule the classroom or does verifiable scientific observation? I would prefer the latter.

Posted by: weisschr | February 2, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

So, ignoring mine all anti-evol questions condense to Bible literalist attacks. We should all sleep thru discussions of information content and dismiss as religious drivel.
I repeat my position; there is no say-so science. Darwin was no scientist and never knew, much less loved that lady. His forte: fanciful fiction, fairy tales for adults. Origins, he said, was like confessing murder (of God.) Science is carefully censored out in biology alone when the questions get too hard.

Posted by: queman | February 5, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

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