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Tags education , evolution , science , teachers

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Old 8th February 2011, 04:41 PM   #1
themusicteacher
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Biology teachers don't support evolution...

This ought to ruffle some feathers around here:

http://slatest.slate.com/id/2284422/...6/#add-comment

What sort of biology teacher rejects evolution? Can they even be good at their job? That's sort of the equivalent of me rejecting the foundations of tonal harmony. What about the 60% that just avoids the whole thing for fear of controversy? Are they spineless or just being politically savvy?

Looking forward to the discussion on this one...
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Old 8th February 2011, 04:46 PM   #2
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Being spineless and politically savvy are not mutually exclusive.
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Old 8th February 2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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Here is a more detailed article. I don't think biology teachers are against evolution, they just fear conflict. That's still pretty lame but at least it is lame in a more understandable way.

Edit: Are these precentages based on public schools only?
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Old 8th February 2011, 07:27 PM   #4
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I went to a charter high school a few years ago (for the arts, nothing woo-y), and when we got to the evolution unit, our biology teacher started giving a speech about how people can have their own beliefs and how you can believe in a religion and still understand that evolution is a good explanation for the world (her little spiel wasn't really bad or anything, and I don't recall the words "intelligent design" coming up, but I rolled my eyes at how she got nervous, mainly for living in a place where she would get nervous, and ended up interrupting about the weight of the evidence, that it isn't like there's some sort of Darwinist cult and I'm ashamed that this is even an issue). That class was exceedingly dull, mainly because the year was mostly stuff I had learned already as opposed to any kind of evolution-vacillation. I should have expected as much, though, given that my home district is full of conservative Republicans of the "Prop 8? Yeah, don't want the schools teaching our kids about those filthy sick, ******* ****!" variety.

I wonder how to handle the repercussions in the cases where there is major opposition in the community. Of course it's a good idea to first get rid of the teachers who teach Creationism in the science classroom. I get the impression that whatever ideas I come up with would be too blunt for the culture, at least in their first incarnation, since I grew up in a household where I was encouraged to choose my religious beliefs, remaining agnostic most of my life and, although I had heard of these absurdities occurring from a fairly young age, it wasn't until I had reached adulthood that I began to fully grasp the extent of the problem. However, I am unaware of what practical ideas have been generated, or perhaps are already being implemented, to make the transition to more evidence/logic/reality-based biology education.
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Old 8th February 2011, 08:29 PM   #5
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I was never taught evolution. I was given a very thorough and basic understanding of biology. Once the prof got through with training me in taxonomy, the conclusion that organisms evolve is inescapable. Unless, of course, you're in denial.

Perhaps that's the way to go about this. Don't even mention evolution. Merely teach the facts of biology. Those who get it will realize that evolution can and does occur. Those who can't...well, someone's got to clean the fish.
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Old 8th February 2011, 08:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Slimething View Post
I was never taught evolution. I was given a very thorough and basic understanding of biology. Once the prof got through with training me in taxonomy, the conclusion that organisms evolve is inescapable. Unless, of course, you're in denial.

Perhaps that's the way to go about this. Don't even mention evolution. Merely teach the facts of biology. Those who get it will realize that evolution can and does occur. Those who can't...well, someone's got to clean the fish.
Expecting someone to just "get it" is slipshod from an educational standpoint. There is no other way to explain certain things in biology other than using "evolve" and "evolution."
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Old 8th February 2011, 08:37 PM   #7
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Even if the courts have consistently ruled in favour of evolution and against creationism in teaching, it's difficult to be too upset at high school biology teachers wanting to keep their jobs and avoid long drawn out court fights with fools.

It's a sad truth that even if something is right, it's not always the best way to go from a personal survival pov. It's not like teachers are typically independently wealthy.
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Old 8th February 2011, 10:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by themusicteacher View Post
Expecting someone to just "get it" is slipshod from an educational standpoint. There is no other way to explain certain things in biology other than using "evolve" and "evolution."
No, it's quite possible. My own school did that. We had a great biology teacher who taught us all about how cells work and DNA. Never once in class did he bring up Darwin or the word "evolution" and it wasn't until I was in college that the subject was covered in detail. Even though it was college I remember at least one girl in class being upset over being taught evolution.
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Old 8th February 2011, 10:25 PM   #9
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Sad. There might be 100 schools tops in our whole country which don't teach evolution. Hell, I got a great education in biology and I was at a catholic school, where the teachers weren't required to be secular in their teachings (though in practical terms they all were, even our religion teachers)
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Old 9th February 2011, 03:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by themusicteacher View Post
Expecting someone to just "get it" is slipshod from an educational standpoint. There is no other way to explain certain things in biology other than using "evolve" and "evolution."
That is a nice thing to say but it is not true, public schools have to get along with the parents and school boards, so what do they do?

They don't use the terms 'evolution' , it is that simple.

In 3rd grade science they use the term 'adapatation' and leave it at that. It is better to teach the material than to have endless witnessing by student. There are plenty of ways to teach the material and avoid the key trigger words. It is sad but the fact exists none the less. That and that Texas determines a lot of text book content.

So while Illinois specifically has Darwin and natural selection in the ISBE standards, the text books have a minor mention of it. Then they plow ahead and teach it while avoiding the terms that get 15% of parents upset. (15% here in Illinois.)
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Old 9th February 2011, 03:44 AM   #11
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and the usains get gnarly about ignorance in the muslim world......a POX on them all.
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Old 9th February 2011, 04:00 AM   #12
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My buddy teaches high school biology.

Every year before the section on Evolution, he asks the kids if they have religious beliefs which don't accept the T of E, and every year a few hands shoot up.

At which point, he tells them, "You're not required to believe this, but it is required that you know it."
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Old 9th February 2011, 04:20 AM   #13
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From the "NYT article".
Quote:
At the other extreme, 13 percent explicitly advocate creationism, and spend at least an hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.
How do you stretch the scientific basis of creationism to an hour. "Ooooooo all this evidence is too difficult to understand. God must have done it." 7-8 seconds at most.
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Old 9th February 2011, 04:37 AM   #14
Jeff Corey
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
That is a nice thing to say but it is not true, public schools have to get along with the parents and school boards, so what do they do?

They don't use the terms 'evolution' , it is that simple.

In 3rd grade science they use the term 'adapatation' and leave it at that. It is better to teach the material than to have endless witnessing by student. There are plenty of ways to teach the material and avoid the key trigger words. It is sad but the fact exists none the less. That and that Texas determines a lot of text book content.

So while Illinois specifically has Darwin and natural selection in the ISBE standards, the text books have a minor mention of it. Then they plow ahead and teach it while avoiding the terms that get 15% of parents upset. (15% here in Illinois.)
I recall S. J. Gould making the point about the influence of Texas on HS textbooks and that evolution was tucked into the last chapter of most texts and a lot of classes never got that far.
Another point is that HS biology teachers usually take a lot more education courses than biology courses.
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Old 9th February 2011, 05:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by themusicteacher View Post
This ought to ruffle some feathers around here:
no it wont.

this place is full of idiots who themselve do not comprehend evolution.

ie... not a one on this site can convey an evolution in any physics (of walking the planck).

it is like a religious wingnut taking a creed; this site is full of people who would follow a phd off a bridge.

Quote:

http://slatest.slate.com/id/2284422/...6/#add-comment

What sort of biology teacher rejects evolution?
many because there is no math within a reductionary paradigm to describe a single evolution of even the simpliest living species.

Quote:
Can they even be good at their job?
sure........... they, like many here, can teach the children how to be liars.


Quote:
That's sort of the equivalent of me rejecting the foundations of tonal harmony. What about the 60% that just avoids the whole thing for fear of controversy?
kind of like what happens on this forum, within this very science section; the spineless do not have the integrity to sustain fact over beliefs.

Quote:
Are they spineless or just being politically savvy?
i call em liars, bigots, pigs, self centered blanks.................... and the fools will be extinct, eventually. ie.... the species incapable of evolving, eventually WILL go extinct.............. it's a natural fact of evolution!
Quote:
Looking forward to the discussion on this one...
wrong forum for such a discussion.

but if you like fun, consider the automotive developments as a perfect example of an evolution of cars; no uncertainty there!
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:06 AM   #16
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Since the subject is sort of up... I was going to start another topic on this but see as it might be more relavent I'll risk a possible derail.

I've recently learned that in a university here during bilogy class, when the subject of evolution came up, several students walked out of the classroom making a fuss of "it's against their religion" and such (orthodox jews btw)

From what I understood, the students were allowed to drop the class and take another class instead.

Here's my quesiton, I have no problem if they walk out on a class and take another course if that is something that is perfectly valid for any other student for any other reason. But isn't evolutionary studies mandatory for degrees in biology?
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:22 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
Since the subject is sort of up... I was going to start another topic on this but see as it might be more relavent I'll risk a possible derail.

I've recently learned that in a university here during bilogy class, when the subject of evolution came up, several students walked out of the classroom making a fuss of "it's against their religion" and such (orthodox jews btw)
just explain to them, in genesis..... when adam gave up a rib to make an eve is the perfect metaphor to cell division (of all living species).

then share how 'knowledge evolves' (are they equiped with more material information than even moses?)

Quote:
From what I understood, the students were allowed to drop the class and take another class instead.
and if they do, they dropped 'their' class!

Quote:

Here's my quesiton, I have no problem if they walk out on a class and take another course if that is something that is perfectly valid for any other student for any other reason. But isn't evolutionary studies mandatory for degrees in biology?
nope!

kind of like, there is no class on integrity, honesty and/or the 'evolution of knowledge'. These concepts can invoke a comprehensible fact; the next generations will be better equiped and capable of greater understanding than the previous generations (invoking a humility to each of us, equally, if honest)
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:27 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
I've recently learned that in a university here during bilogy class, when the subject of evolution came up, several students walked out of the classroom making a fuss of "it's against their religion" and such (orthodox jews btw)
I still don't understand those who say "it's against their religion". Evolution is not against creationism. It is only against it in the particular application of how we got here. That is from the creation of earth from basic lifeform trough trilobites, fish, reptiles, dinosaurs, apes up to us humans. You can still have God create earth five or six thousand years ago and still have evolution take on from there on. If in doubt look at how bacteria has gotten more resistant to medicine. Weeds to herbicides. And of course all your pedigree dogs that didn't exist four or five centuries ago. How do those people who deny evolution explain thorough breeds?? High yield crops??
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:31 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Lothian
How do you stretch the scientific basis of creationism to an hour. "Ooooooo all this evidence is too difficult to understand. God must have done it." 7-8 seconds at most.
You can spend the rest of the hour talking about the irreducible complexity of the flagellum, eye, clotting system, etc. Don't forget not to mention that each of those has been shown not to be irreducibly complex.

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Old 9th February 2011, 06:39 AM   #20
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Just one more reason to support the National Center for Science Education.
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bishadi View Post
kind of like, there is no class on integrity, honesty and/or the 'evolution of knowledge'. These concepts can invoke a comprehensible fact; the next generations will be better equiped and capable of greater understanding than the previous generations (invoking a humility to each of us, equally, if honest)
Any degree has classes that are mandatory and classes that are elective.
Which type do evolutionary studies go?

Originally Posted by Java Man View Post
I still don't understand those who say "it's against their religion". Evolution is not against creationism. It is only against it in the particular application of how we got here.
Does evolution imply that Adam came from clay?
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:50 AM   #22
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Here's an overview of how different Christian groups view evolution and the bible:

Quote:
BELIEFS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH GROUPS
ABOUT ORIGINS


http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_denom1.htm
ETA:

Quote:
BELIEFS OF WORLD RELIGIONS
ABOUT ORIGINS

http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_denom2.htm

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Old 9th February 2011, 06:52 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
Any degree has classes that are mandatory and classes that are elective.
Which type do evolutionary studies go?
biology and evolution should be a part of each other but there is no mathematics from physics to support an evolution.

Quote:


Does evolution imply that Adam came from clay?
personally, i see the beginning as atoms and energy within time (the beginning), versus adam and eve but the metaphors of man coming from dust/mud/dirt (elements) i can agree with. ie... mankind is from the belly of god (mother nature). (he is actually a she.. giggle giggle)
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Old 9th February 2011, 07:03 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
Does evolution imply that Adam came from clay?
I understand that is delegated to the hand of God. But I'm not a believer in that so don't take my word for it. It's a nice metaphor though for "from dust to dust"
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Old 9th February 2011, 12:08 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Java Man View Post
I understand that is delegated to the hand of God.
which hand?

Quote:
But I'm not a believer in that so don't take my word for it.
that sentence is cute. Kind of like, "i dont believe in what i dont believe"

Quote:

It's a nice metaphor though for "from dust to dust"
in a real sense, from base elements to base elements (dust to dust). Be certain, that is where you were and will end up, physically.

most any biology teacher can sustain the same thing
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Old 9th February 2011, 04:06 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Bishadi View Post
which hand?
Left one, his right hand is surely busy.
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Old 9th February 2011, 04:27 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Java Man View Post
Left one, his right hand is surely busy.
Seems appropriate. The Egyptian god Amun quite literally masturbated the world into existence.

Speaking of which, why aren't we teaching THAT controversy.
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Old 9th February 2011, 04:55 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bishadi View Post
biology and evolution should be a part of each other but there is no mathematics from physics to support an evolution.
...huh??
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Old 9th February 2011, 05:24 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Mercurial Artism View Post
...(for the arts, nothing woo-y)...
You don't consider the Arts at least a little bit woo-y?
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:01 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by themusicteacher View Post
Expecting someone to just "get it" is slipshod from an educational standpoint.
It's not optimal but this is an emotionally-charged issue. Students will accept facts from which the ToE is a drop-dead obvious synthesis. My opinion is that, given comprehensive training in biological fact, any student that fails to make the nearly-unavoidable step to the ToE just doesn't get it and probably never will.

Your nic implies you're a music teacher. Do you expect your students to appreciate great music or do you teach them the basics and then expect them to be able to differentiate a masterpiece from bubble-gum? Don't you expect them to take that step themselves? Do you have to actively expel students who don't appreciate Bach or do they weed themselves out of advanced studies? (Guessing the latter.)


Quote:
There is no other way to explain certain things in biology other than using "evolve" and "evolution."
Sure there are. I just told you that I was never taught evolution per se. I have a fairly good grasp of it, though. If you show students how malleable DNA is to adaptation and how prevalent analogous and homolgous structures are in nature, wouldn't the intelligent ones wonder exactly what would stop DNA from changing enough to separate a population into a new species? If they don't, they're obviously not going to be successful biologists.
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Old 9th February 2011, 06:02 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by KingMerv00 View Post
Seems appropriate. The Egyptian god Amun quite literally masturbated the world into existence.

Speaking of which, why aren't we teaching THAT controversy.
We're not? Really? Damn, my bad!
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Old 9th February 2011, 07:04 PM   #32
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FYI, I did a detailed blog post on this just a few days ago...

http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.co...on-adequately/
Quote:
... So it seems that part of the problem is that many biology teachers themselves are not adequately prepared to teach about evolution. However, this is a problem which can (and should) be corrected by making adjustments to the university curriculum & training for prospective biology teachers, giving them (well, the 87% who are NOT creationist) the appropriate skills & training in the subject matter. Unfortunately, there seems to be a deeper problem: that of intimidation, either explicit or implicit, of biology teachers who actually want to teach evolution…
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Old 9th February 2011, 07:09 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Bishadi View Post
biology and evolution should be a part of each other but there is no mathematics from physics to support an evolution.
I don't know about physics specifically, but there certainly is a LOT of mathematical support for evolution.
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Old 9th February 2011, 08:26 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
I recall S. J. Gould making the point about the influence of Texas on HS textbooks and that evolution was tucked into the last chapter of most texts and a lot of classes never got that far.
Another point is that HS biology teachers usually take a lot more education courses than biology courses.
Though I am not teaching Bio in my HS (prefer and am doing Chem), I will have to teach a short version of it in my integrated science (it really isn't but they use the name). I explained to the unenlightened among my IS students for both cosmology and Bio that (whatever the problems here) FL requires the evolution and the Big Bang thingies.
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Old 10th February 2011, 05:45 AM   #35
Bishadi
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
I don't know about physics specifically, but there certainly is a LOT of mathematical support for evolution.


here is a pdf on the original 2004 version of the work

http://www.cs.unm.edu/~moret/poincare_survey.pdf

so anyone can read but we all can find, you dont read much of what you post M&M!

(and that guy is supposed to be a (math) teacher............ )


that math is not on the physics of mass/energy.... it is of gene algorithms (guestimations) of what they believe is occuring to develop an evolutionary frame. It has nothing to do with the energy of the mass; the life of the specimen.


m&m you are definitely not the most credible math teacher

ie..... why not post the threorem of an evolution?

you are supposed to be a teacher, then teach!


but you cant and you know that! (too much pride to be any assistance on this subject)

Go lay by your dish!

Last edited by Bishadi; 10th February 2011 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 10th February 2011, 05:48 AM   #36
Bishadi
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Originally Posted by bikerdruid View Post
...huh??


post it!

the math teach cant and had to google away for a book title, but never even opened the book...............

how about you?
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Old 10th February 2011, 05:56 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by TShaitanaku View Post
You don't consider the Arts at least a little bit woo-y?
What unsupported claims are they making to be labeled as "woo"?
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Old 10th February 2011, 06:04 AM   #38
Emet
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Originally Posted by Bishadi View Post
post it!

the math teach cant and had to google away for a book title, but never even opened the book...............

how about you?
The book MattusMaximus linked to is 442 pages.

The pdf you linked to is 32 pages.

Do you think they're identical?

BTW , MM is not a "math teach".
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Old 10th February 2011, 06:58 AM   #39
Bishadi
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Originally Posted by Emet View Post
The book MattusMaximus linked to is 442 pages.

The pdf you linked to is 32 pages.


Do you think they're identical?
the math is............

ie... e=mc2 didnt take 442 pages (the theorem)

Quote:

BTW , MM is not a "math teach".
or much of any kind of 'teacher' unless to show how to avoid being honest with reality.

i love teachers more than most but any instructor that is incapable of being honest on such comments as "there is no math to support an evolution' is an pure claim. ie... if there was, then there would not be a thread on 'biology teachers dont support evolution' because the math of how mass/energy work would be supporting the biology to the molecular level; the natural progression would be understood by even k-12 children, prior to any having the capacity to impose the creation or uncertain claim.

the rules of how nature works would be mathematical versus speculative.
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Old 10th February 2011, 07:34 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
Another point is that HS biology teachers usually take a lot more education courses than biology courses.
Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner. We can't expect rank and file high school biology teachers to do the superb job required to address the teaching of evolution when they are poorly educated in the subject themselves.

Issues to address:

*A significant proportion of the U.S. population specifically eschews logic and evidence because they believe the bible to be the inerrant word of god. End of story - you will not reach these people. (Although it is fun to catch them eating cheesburgers and endless shrimp platters, and not plucking their eyes out when they see Beyonce dancing on TV.)

*In the Bible Belt (and elsewhere in this country), a lot of the people teaching biology in our high schools are the people above.

*Of the well-meaning biology teachers who do want to tackle this issue head-on, how many have actually taken a course in evolution? For those who rely on their one "Intro Bio" course for their evolutionary knowledge (usually first semester, freshman year), how much time was spent on evolution, and how well was it presented? For example, there are an awful lot of "Christian" liberal arts colleges out there, pumping out a lot of high school teachers. Even if those teachers are not overtly religious themselves, what do we really know about how evolution was presented to them in their college biology class?
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