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Teaching evolution to creationist students

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From David Warmflash at Genetic Literacy Project:

There’s a problem facing college biology educators on how to teach evolution in a setting where many students hold creationist views. These evolution deniers are not a fringe element on college campuses, even among students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. There are substantial numbers of college STEM students who begin college biology already with minds set against evolution. Instead of writing those students off as lost causes, educators are trying different approaches to reach them.

A few years ago, evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins spoke one-on-one with students at London’s Park High School, where students were known to have an anti-evolution mindset connected with religious upbringings. Dawkins was able to make a point of the fact that the various religions in which the students were raised — Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam — disagreed amongst themselves on traditional creations stories, but that all included leaders who were both religious and yet accepted evolution. More.

Yes, and all religions include both philanthropists and mass murderers as well. Most such persons will claim that their religion endorses their view. So?

Why would anyone who was embarking on teaching evolution as a serious project try to involve a virulently anti-religious figure like Dawkins in the argument? Dawkins just got dumped from Berkeley radio for that specific reason.

Many of us feel that the radio station was quite wrong to disinvite him. But the episode should apprise a reasonable person that Dawkins is not the right person to represent evolution for the 21st century. Which is not the Darwinism these people are still trying to dump on the public.

Pos-Darwinista (hat tip) asks: Why not teach evolution objectively???

Because objectivity is not the Genetic Literacy Project’s tax-funded religion. “Evolution” is, however, as they have usefully demonstrated. Otherwise, they would have asked someone who was not a lightning rod for contention about religion for help.

File this one with Tales of the Tone Deaf, featuring dim profs writing in dozy journals about why people doubt Science and how to fix them.

See also:  What the fossils told us in their own words

Mark Steyn on Richard Dawkins getting dumped at Berkeley

Evolution News and Views on Dawkins dumped from Berkeley: Did it serve him right?

and

Dawkins dumped from Berkeley due to “hurtful words”

17 Replies to “Teaching evolution to creationist students

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    There are so many holes in evolutionary theory. We should teach every single one of them.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Yes, Mung at 1, but we need to be inclusive. How shall we employ Dawkins?

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Perhaps we could have him watch the preschoolers.

  4. 4
    vmahuna says:

    Mung @ 3,

    Good Lord, no. I spend most of my days with preschoolers, and they are too precious to trust to crazies. Perhaps Mr. Dawkins could help sort janitorial supplies or something. Although this might require a month or 2 of instruction before he could correctly sort mops from brooms, etc.

  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    You know, vmahuna @ 4, that mops evolved from brooms, when someone left a broom out in the rain one day, and then discovered that it could clean better than just a broom. Natural selection you see. 😉

    If it were me, I’d just teach all the rest of science and leave origins teaching to those with more philosophical/theological background. It’s amazing how bad the reasoning of so many of the self-appointed intellectual leaders we have these days.

  6. 6
    rvb8 says:

    EDTA,

    mops and brooms are inanimate objects. Was this an attempt at levity?

    Your second para is telling, ‘If it were me, I’d just teach the rest of science and leave origins teaching to those with more philosophical/theological backround.’

    Ah huh. Read them Genesis? Let the Imams in? Or did you mean Christian Pastors? Would Catholic Priests be acceptable?

    I saw the youtube of Dawkins talking to these students. As usual he’s patient, engaging, witty, and tolerant. A lot could be learned from him there, here.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    rvb8- Dawkins doesn’t have an explanation for the origin of life. And he has to make up stories with regards to evolution.

  8. 8
    MatSpirit says:

    News: “…objectivity is not the Genetic Literacy Project’s tax-funded religion.”

    Wikipedia says they are a 501c3 non-profit, same as the Discovery Institute. Their major source of funding seems to be the Templeton Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting religion.

    Wikipedia lists their donors:

    2015-2016 Fiscal Year Donations to the Genetic Literacy Project
    John Templeton Foundation, Gene-ius Project (for GLP): $92,225[18]
    John Templeton Foundation Epigenetics Literacy Project: $151,985
    Searle Freedom Trust, GLP: $150,000
    Winkler Family Foundation, GENeS Project, $50,000
    Academics Review Charitable Association, (pass through support for University of California-Davis Biotech Literacy Bootcamp from BIO, UC-Davis and USDA): $5,000
    Individual donations: $9,647.12

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_Literacy_Project

  9. 9
    rvb8 says:

    ET,

    as always with argument at UD; ‘if you say so!’

  10. 10
    News says:

    The principal question here is how anyone who claims to be teaching evolution without an overlay of science vs. religion would even think of involving Richard Dawkins.

    Many other respected figures who are not engaged in any such controversy are available.

    Talk about an instance of bad faith that is so bad that only a dunce wouldn’t see it. Meanwhile, the Tone Deaf, plot against People Who Doubt.

    And, to think these people wonder why they aren’t believed!

  11. 11
    LocalMinimum says:

    rvb8:

    mops and brooms are inanimate objects.

    How does an a/mat distinguish the animate from the inanimate, especially seeing as they allege the former spontaneously arises from the latter?

  12. 12
    Florabama says:

    “Dawkins was able to make a point of the fact that the various religions in which the students were raised — Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam — disagreed amongst themselves…”

    So what? You mean science doesn’t disagree about evolution? From, The Third Way of Evolution’s front page, “Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis.” I wonder what, “without a real empirical basis means to Dawkins (or rvb8)? There isn’t a single person on Earth who know’s HOW evolution works, and yet we’re supposed to teach it as unquestioned fact?

  13. 13
    News says:

    Florabama at 12, yes, that is just the point. Many workers in the field are beginning to resent the Darwinism that the Project seeks to enforce. To make matters worse, they offer us as a benign force a man who is a lightning rod for controversy due to his hostility to traditional religions. It is a plain case of Acting in Bad Faith

  14. 14
    tragic mishap says:

    There was a good point made by this article: “After all, one can function as a perfectly competent physician, dentist, or allied heath professional without giving a thought to evolution.”

  15. 15

    Mung @ 1: Absolutely! But that’s exactly what a/mats don’t do (or want).

  16. 16
    EDTA says:

    rvb8 @ 6:
    Yes, that was humor.

    Ah huh. Read them Genesis? Let the Imams in? Or did you mean Christian Pastors? Would Catholic Priests be acceptable?

    My point was that we should teach the observable, repeatable, verifiable science more, and teach less of the stuff that doesn’t really make much of a difference in most professions anyway. As others here have observed, most doctors, chemists, engineers, etc., don’t really use any origins ideas in their daily work anyway.

    We have some real problems in our midst: Teachers do not have the background to analyze what they are teaching, but have to trust those in authority. Those in authority are just pushing one worldview or another. Researchers don’t to know as much about statistics as they should, and reach wrong conclusions way too much of the time. (There’s a whole host of issues with research these days; over a dozen summarized on my blog, but WordPress won’t allow re-posting of the same URL twice. Thanks WP.) Researchers have a lousy background in philosophy. (It’s really humorous when they try their hand at it.) Imams I’ve seen couldn’t reason their way out of a wet paper bag. Don’t know any Catholic priests. Most pastors I’ve known don’t have a decent background in philosophy, but I’ve known some who do.

    It’s almost as if we (those pursuing knowledge) have reached some sort of limit, where we have to rely too much on a trust that is too easily and too often abused. So we spend our time arguing and forcing people to trust/believe other people, since we can’t verify everything for ourselves anymore. Bad place to be.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    rvb8 @9- You cannot show otherwise and his books speak for themselves- it’s all made-up, untestable wishful thinking.

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