f The Wittenberg Door: Through the Looking Glass: Teaching Evolution

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
My Photo
Name:

Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Through the Looking Glass: Teaching Evolution

From the Dallas Morning News: 95% of Professors Back Teaching Only Evolution in Texas Schools . . .

AUSTIN – An overwhelming majority of science professors at Texas' public and private universities say they're against a state policy requiring that weaknesses in the theory of evolution be covered in public school science classes, according to a new study released Monday . . .

”Many of these science faculty members help determine who gets into our state colleges and universities," said the study's author, Raymond A. Eve. "Their responses should send parents a clear message that those who want to play politics with science education are putting our kids at risk."

Most study respondents said they believe any focus on the weaknesses of evolution theory and on alternative theories would harm students' college readiness and their ability to compete for jobs . . .

"This survey leaves no doubt that the political crusade against evolution and other attempts to dumb down our public school science curriculum are deeply misguided," Ms. Miller said.

Just to be sure that I'm clear: If our schools provide both sides of this scientific theory (i.e., its strengths and weaknesses), so that students can deliberate, investigate, and draw well-informed conclusions, our kids will have their "college readiness" harmed and be less able "to compete for jobs." Moreover, revealing Macro-Evolution's problems "would harm students."

Conversely, if we teach this theory as fact and hide its weaknesses from them, not only will we not be "dumb[ing] down" nor "play[ing] politics with science education," but we'll be putting children on a fast-track to educational and economic success.

"No need to think, little ones; that's all been done for you."

Welcome to academia.


7 Comments:

Blogger Jay Mumper said...

The struggle I have always had with creationism in schools is that it's rarely posed in a scientific way. Science follows a method - propose a theory to the observations, publish and let others either duplicate your findings or find alternative results or new evidence. Creationism starts with a theory and tries to maintain the conclusions of that theory by finding evidence to explain it. The methods are at odds and this kills the credibility of creationist arguments.

I have always preferred a different approach - long ago I decided that my beliefs are based on faith. I cannot explain Genesis 1 scientifically. Neither can anyone else. Stop trying. Have faith. Enjoy the mystery. I believe our God is faithful, omnipotent and in the end, all will be clear.

4:42 AM  
Blogger a helmet said...

Jay Mumper,

I agree. You cannot fix a certain goal which you want to reach, then only focus on that point and try to find a way how to get there. That's what allahistic science has been doing throughtout history, they have been doing science with the qur'an in the hand, always knowing what their research results would have to be like -- the results are known. Allahistic countries are scientifically retarded, an make no progress. You cannot do science with the qur'an as your guide, and I think you shouldn't do it with the bible either. That doesn't mean that the bible isn't true, for I surely believe it is, but I think the seperation of scientific methods from religion has proven to be helpful. I don't think the bible was written as a science book.

-a helmet

10:57 AM  
Blogger The Wittenberg Door said...

Greetings, Jay and a helmet.

First to Jay’s comment: As the Scriptures make clear, God has clearly revealed Himself to us in His Creation. Creation, as the Belgic Confession puts it, “is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God, even his everlasting power and divinity, as the apostle Paul says (Rom. 1:20).”

Not only does creation show God’s handy work, but God upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:1 3). It is because of this that we see regularity in nature, and it is because of this that we can extrapolate future events from the past. This provides the needed foundation for science. All this without making incredulous claims like everything came from nothing; order came from disorder; life came from non-life; consciousness came from non-consciousness, etc (things taught to our children in public schools).

Because of this I don’t think we should retreat into Fideism. Instead we should engage the culture with well-reasoned arguments and a sound presentation of the facts. Since you are interested in a scientific model for God creating all things, I recommend you check out Reasons to Believe (www.reasons.org). They have developed the RTB model, which is a testable model for creation.

A helmet, I agree with you that the Bible is not a science book, but it is the sure foundation upon which we stand. When discussing this topic—or for that matter, whatever we do—we must never surrender our commitment to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). That means our arguments, as well as the manor in which we make them, must be based solidly on Scripture (1 Cor. 1:18–25).

Thank you both for weighing in.

PS. A Helmet, I apologize for the delay in responding to your questions. I’ve been traveling for work and have had little time to start working on something new. I will have a response shortly, and will let you know once I do.

4:48 PM  
Blogger B.R. said...

I'm afraid you're displaying a very basic ignorance of evolution. There is no difference between macro-evolution and micro-evolution. The distinction is made solely by fringe creationist spin doctors. When new species split off from each other, as has been witnessed in mice and bacterial strains, it is simply beneficial mutations (micro evolution) stacking up over time until the population is observably different from ancestor stock. I'd advise you to read up on the subject, and from reputable biologists, not cult leaders and witch-doctors. For more, visit Talk Origins to see some basic questions about evolution answered.

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-qa.html

11:03 AM  
Blogger The Catechizer said...

B.R., you should have read your source a little closer. Limited speciation, such as wolfs to dogs, is a subset of micro-evolution. What isn’t, what I refer to as macro, and your link refers to as Supermacroevolution, is a variation from one kind to another: fish to snake to monkey to man. The first, micro, is observable, the second, macro or supermacro, hasn’t been observed, despite the faith of the site you espouse:

Supermacroevolution is harder to observe directly. However, there is not the slightest bit of evidence that it requires anything but microevolution. Sudden large changes probably do occur rarely, but they are not the only source of large change. There is no reason to think that small changes over time cannot add up to large changes, and every reason to believe they can. Creationists claim that microevolution and supermacroevolution are distinct, but they have never provided an iota of evidence to support their claim.

What evidence do they offer? None. They accept it on faith. Why would I believe that small enough changes to a fish, the type we have observed in microeveolution, would add up to a man? Where have we seen such a thing? They offer us a fantastic tale that microbes can morph into men if only enough time is given. The want us to believe that everything came from nothing; that life comes from non-life; that intelligence comes from non-intelligence, etc. And they want us to provide evidence that it didn’t happen? Very amusing.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB902.html

12:21 PM  
Blogger B.R. said...

You're still missing the point. Evolution has been observed. New species have split off in modern times, in labs and in nature, and the fossil record contains many transitional fossils where organisms are adapting to different environments. Meanwhile, we have yet to observe a single instance where a life-form has been created by a divine being out of nothing. Even once.

"They offer us a fantastic tale that microbes can morph into men if only enough time is given. The want us to believe that everything came from nothing; that life comes from non-life; that intelligence comes from non-intelligence, etc."

I hate to burst your bubble, but that is how natural selection works. Biological diversity increases over time. This mechanism has been substantiated by massive quantities of evidence. Meanwhile, we're still waiting for the I.D. crowd to give a falsifiable mechanism for god. Also, how exactly does accepting the fact of evolution equate to "everything came from nothing"? To "Life Coming from non-life"? Obviously, you are very confused. Evolution doesn't deal with "everything"(by which I assume you're referring to the universe, matter, energy, etc.). Physics address those questions. Furthermore, no where does evolution claim that life originated from non-life. The only theory that does so is abiogenesis, which, as you may have gathered, is not evolution. And by the way, going with the probabilities--i.e., assuming that mankind evolved via natural selection when every other life-form we've ever observed has--is not "accepting it on faith". That would be "Intelligent Design", which posits that an immaterial, invisible, unprovable divine agent magically poofed everything into existence for his own amusement. Evolution has been built upon the scientific method where conclusions are found that fit the evidence, but are open for later revision if more evidence comes out. I.D. is based upon the religious method, where a conclusion is assumed from the get-go, and only evidence that fits said conclusion is accepted. One method is honest and has led to great progress; one is not, and has led to endless speculation and dogmatism.

2:11 PM  
Blogger The Catechizer and The Deacon said...

Greetings, B.R.

Evolution has been observed. New species have split off in modern times, in labs and in nature, and the fossil record contains many transitional fossils where organisms are adapting to different environments.

You’re still conflating two different things. Micro-evolution, variation within a kind (adaptation), has been observed; macro-evolution (or Supermacroevolution as your source sites it), variation from one kind to another, has not been observed (including in the. Micro-evolution shows in the fossil record, macro-evolution does not.

I hate to burst your bubble, but that is how natural selection works. Biological diversity increases over time. This mechanism has been substantiated by massive quantities of evidence.

This was in response to my comment, "They offer us a fantastic tale that microbes can morph into men if only enough time is given.” You claim massive evidence but don’t provide any; and your “biological diversity increases over time” sounds like another reference to micro-evolution, which is not in dispute unless you confuse it with macro-evolution.

Regarding origins, things must exist prior to them evolving. My question to you is where did everything (all that exists) come from? Unless you hold to the Steady State theory, you must believe in some type of big bang. What exploded? In other words, if nothing existed prior to the explosion, what exploded? After which, there was no life and then there was life. How did life come from non-life? No intelligence and then intelligence? How did intelligence come from non-intelligence? These are just a few of the questions for which I’m still waiting for answers.

6:58 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home