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Switch to Forum Live View Why bother with evolution?
4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 6:21PM #1
solfeggio
Posts: 9,346
A recent national survey of American high school biology teachers found that only something like 28% of them actually teach evolution in their classes.  The findings were published in the January 28 issue of Science magazine:

www.themoneytimes.com/featured/20110131/...

www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/05-5

www.associatedcontent.com/article/769138...

In fact, at least 60% of the teachers tell their students that it doesn't matter if they learn about evolution or not, others might teach evolution along with creationism and let students make up their own minds about which is valid, and 13% present creationism in a positive light.

And this, after forty years of court cases ruling that the teaching of creationism/intelligent design violates the U.S. Constitution!

In other words, a shocking number of American high school biology teachers are ignorant of the basic tenets of biology.

However, maybe these figures are not so surprising, given that a Gallup poll taken two years ago showed that only 39% of Americans believed in the theory of evolution, 36% had no opinion one way or another, and 25% did not accept evolution as a fact:

www.gallup.com/poll/114544/darwin-birthd...

Other results of the poll showed that the more educated - and the less religious - you are, the more likely you are to believe Darwin was right.

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 7:00PM #2
mountain_man
Posts: 39,684

Feb 5, 2011 -- 6:21PM, solfeggio wrote:

A recent national survey of American high school biology teachers found that only something like 28% of them actually teach evolution in their classes.  The findings were published in the January 28 issue of Science magazine:....


It's too bad that this once great nation is going backwards. The way the economy is going and the way our education system is failing; we'll soon be a leader of the Third World.

Other results of the poll showed that the more educated - and the less religious - you are, the more likely you are to believe Darwin was right.


The FACT of evolution is the basis for modern biology and medicine. The honest science teachers are telling their students that the only objections to evolution are religious, not scientific.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 7:00PM #3
Pam34
Posts: 2,659
Could be because to be a 'high school biology teacher' one generally needs only ONE (general) science class in the colleges of 'education' of this country. Thank goodness most teachers who decide to teach science try to do a little better than that!

But there are far too many teachers who have been intimidated by the school boards, or the local communities, to the point of avoiding the subject of evolution in science classes. That's a tragedy.

By the way, there's a non-profit that assists such teachers - it's called the National Center for Science Education (www.ncseweb.org).  They could use our support!
Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 7:05PM #4
costrel
Posts: 6,226
Most of the high school science teachers that I have met over the years do not accept evolution. In addition (again based on my experience), local school boards, parents, and even local churches often determine whether or not a science teacher teaches evolution. Try living in a small town and teaching evolution and then daring to show your face at church on Sunday or at a ball game or at some other school or community function. Some science teachers do not teach evolution because they do not accept it, while others do not teach it because they bow to community pressure and desire to live peacefully among their neighbors.
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 7:12PM #5
jane2
Posts: 14,295
All the more reason parents need to keep monitoring what their children are learning. Of course, the more highly educated the parents are, the more they will do this.

I still remember Professor Sister Bobbi Jo (Roberta Joseph) in 1956 telling us in theology class, yet, that the RCC had no problem with the theory of evolution, just before studying the Penteteuch or Torah.
discuss catholicism
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 7:24PM #6
costrel
Posts: 6,226

Feb 5, 2011 -- 7:12PM, jane2 wrote:

All the more reason parents need to keep monitoring what their children are learning. Of course, the more highly educated the parents are, the more they will do this.

I still remember Professor Sister Bobbi Jo (Roberta Joseph) in 1956 telling us in theology class, yet, that the RCC had no problem with the theory of evolution, just before studying the Penteteuch or Torah.


Catholics, even in small town America, do not seem to have a problem with evolution. The Protestants -- including even Lutherans and Methodists in my experience -- and the Evangelicals, on the other hand, do often tend to have a problem with evolution. My Catholic childhood was so sheltered that I didn't realize that any American in the 20th century still accepted a literal interpretation of Genesis until I went to college and lived in the dorms among my non-Catholic peers. Was I ever shocked that first month of college... and my shock had nothing to do with drugs, sex, or alcohol, but rather, creationism.

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 7:56PM #7
REteach
Posts: 14,796
I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a town that valued education.  The town in which my children were educated values education as well.  

 
I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard was not what I meant...
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 7:59PM #8
TemplarS
Posts: 6,865
In addition to religion, I think there is a distinct geographical slant here.

Here in New Jersey, there might be a few Baptists or "free Evangelicals" who promote creationism, but  any public school  (or Catholic school, for that matter) teacher who tried to teach creationism would be laughed out of the classroom.  And I know plenty of Methodists and Lutherans (family members, in fact) who have no use for creationism.

Conversely, Jane, I suspect that down there in the South, you have plenty of pinhead Catholics who deny evolution.

People are idiots. 
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 8:36PM #9
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Feb 5, 2011 -- 7:00PM, Pam34 wrote:

Could be because to be a 'high school biology teacher' one generally needs only ONE (general) science class in the colleges of 'education' of this country.




That is complete malarkey. I had to take at least two science courses just to fulfill my general education requirements for a college degree, never mind that I was majoring in theatre and English. 

I grant you that "teachers" in these offshoot private Christian academies may have no more education in science than that if they have that much. However, I'd be very surprised indeed if you can link to one U.S. state that requires only a single general science course for a person to be licensed to teach in a high school. That wasn't so when I got my teacher training 40 years ago, and it certainly isn't these days what with the increased emphasis by the federal government upon improving math and science education.

Thank goodness most teachers who decide to teach science try to do a little better than that!




It's not a matter of "try[ing] to do a little better" since a licensed teacher must have around 30 or more hours of coursework in the subject simply to be licensed to teach it at the middle school or high school level. It's somewhat less than that for elementary teachers, since they must prepare to teach all subjects. 

To obtain minimal qualification, a teacher may sometimes have as few as 15-20 hours, although that would entail having taken at least 3-5 courses, depending upon the credit hours per course. Generally, someone with so little coursework in a subject will be assigned or hired on an emergency provisional basis contingent upon their agreeing to earn more credit hours in order to be re-hired. That would certainly be true for a teacher of math or science, although not necessarily so for someone teaching other subjects regarded as not so demanding.

But there are far too many teachers who have been intimidated by the school boards, or the local communities, to the point of avoiding the subject of evolution in science classes. That's a tragedy.




I'm not familiar with every state in the U.S. in this regard, but I can assure you that even in Kansas where the State Board of Education foolishly mandated the teaching of intelligent design, there was immediate uproar and the board members who pushed that through were summarily removed from their positions at the next election.

I taught in Kansas for nearly 20 years in largely Mennonite and fundamentalist Christian areas and never heard of a single public school that did not teach evolution.

As for the OP contention that shockingly few teachers are doing a decent job, if any, of teaching evolution, that's really not surprising given the immense pressure being brought to bear upon public education by rightwingers and fundamentalists. Elect enough of those to local school boards, and you'll soon find that evolution is out the door, or that science teachers are required to present intelligent design aka creationism as evolution's equivalent.
Teachers can be fired for countermanding a school board policy and few with families are courageous enough to jeopardize their livelihood by refusing to yield to such smallminded and ignorant mandates.

I'd say it's more that teachers are cowed by such political maneuverings even though they know full well that intelligent design is religion and not science.

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2011 - 9:15PM #10
Do_unto_others
Posts: 9,022
How many years since the Scopes 'Monkey' trial?

They want their country 'back', alright.
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