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Horror in Israel: Schools don’t teach much “evolution”

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Blue Star of David between two horizontal blue stripes on a white field. The staff of a national newspaper is shocked and appalled:

Biology classes in kindergarten and elementary school do not mention Charles Darwin’s theory that all life evolved from common ancestors, and in middle school it is only alluded to as part of general discussions, the TV report said.

Four years ago, the high school curriculum was revised, the report said. Previously there had been one unit on evolution in the matriculation exams. In the new curriculum, the religiously sensitive theory of common descent has been omitted, and replaced with classes on species survival and genetic modifications and adaptations based on environmental factors.

If Israel is reasonably up-to-date on science matters (check the Nobel Prize stats), many biology teachers may know that the Tree of Life concept is actually coming under fire now, principally due to greater knowledge of horizontal gene transfer among life forms—change over time without ancestry. See, for example, David Quammen’s new mainstream book, The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life.

How important is horizontal gene transfer? We don’t know. What we do know is that it could be the more backward or politically complicit folk who are still splintering lecterns on behalf of the Fundamental Truth of the Tree of Life.

“Not teaching this is actually removing a very, very fundamental part of science and making it inaccessible to Israeli children,” said Dr. Liat Ben David, the general director of the Davidson Institute for Science Education.

The Education Ministry defended its curriculum.

“Learning the principles of adaptation to the environment is compulsory in middle school,” it told Channel 10. “The theory of evolution itself is taught as an optional class in high schools.” TOI staff, “Israeli schools largely avoid teaching evolution — report” at Times of Israel

“very, very fundamental part of science”? Can’t you just hear the rubbish rattling down the can when people talk that way? You’d think Darwin’s theory was the “times tables” in arithmetic. If it were, of course, SJW’s would attack it and Big Science would be silent.

So, is Israel the new Louisiana in the Middle East? A decade after the education act that permitted teachers to quit worshipping Darwin in the Bayou, it turns out that swamp monsters are not on the loose.

There is no evidence that failure to teach Darwinism as fundamental in biology is harmful to students’ understanding of biology. Any more than failure to teach social justice concepts in math is harmful to students’ understanding of math. Both concepts are simply propaganda points and they carry the same risk: Students graduate who can recite the mantras of Darwinism—or social justice—but do not know basic biological processes or mathematical operations.

They’ll be plenty woke and ready to hit the streets. But very slow.

See also: Professor: Maths should be a movement against “objects, truths, and knowledge” We’ve heard for decades that consciousness is an evolved illusion and that our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. The subversion of mathematics to propaganda and job protection should not come as any surprise.


Darwinian Jerry Coyne minimizes the significance of horizontal gene transfer

8 Replies to “Horror in Israel: Schools don’t teach much “evolution”

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    The Education Ministry defended its curriculum.

    The Selfish Gene just does what it does.

    Yay science.


  2. 2
    R J Sawyer says:

    Biology classes in kindergarten and elementary school do not mention Charles Darwin’s theory that all life evolved from common ancestors, and in middle school it is only alluded to as part of general discussions, the TV report said.

    I don’t see why this would be surprising. Many school systems do not dart talking about evolution until middle or high school.

  3. 3 says:

    6. Most biology and medicine books include a chapter on evolution right along one on Mendelian genetics. However, while Mendelian genetics can readily be verified experimentally and has real and immediate implications in medicine, biology, food science and much more, the “knowledge” that organism A evolved from organism B, or the two are just products of “convergent evolution”, adds nothing to our understanding of either A or B.

  4. 4
    News says: at 3, doctors tell me that “evolution” is useless in medical practice unless we are talking about immediate ancestors or close kin.

    It does not matter whether Homo erectus had a drinking problem. Or whether lemurs do. It matters a good deal if the patient’s father and brother have a drinking problem. Same with women and breast cancer.

    What if an underlying factor is epigenetics as well as genetics? Environment triggers? Psychology? All are at least potentially important. Darwinism? Nah.

  5. 5
    EricMH says:

    I’ve never heard of a useful result from the theory of evolution. Whenever people claim such, they are always talking about Mendelian genetics.

    This should be a regular challenge at UD: point out a useful result from evolution.

    On the other hand, it is easy to point out a useful result of ID: the ENCODE project.

  6. 6
    Tom Robbins says:

    Evolution worships and shapes its ideas around a man (was not even an original thought), that was born in 1809 and died in 1882.

    I think it is very valid to take a look at the things that many still took as consensus during his time and compare them to what we now know today.

    For instance, since our technology to examine biology on scales that matter were completly absent in Darwin’s time, what were the ideas about life and the cell that definitely helped shape his ideas? Most still believed in spontaneous generation – the belief that life can rapidly develop from non-living matter. And secondly, they thought the cell was the building blocks of organisms, but were basically bags of goo (protoplasm). So selection for Darwin did not mean of molecular machines, or blood clotting systems that were basically thought of as one chemical released. Yes for him it meant for some unknown trait maker, with names “like long hair for sheep selector”. That there was a unit for big nose, small ears, 5 fingers, he thought of live on a very large and simplistic assembly of traits. Morphology traits were connected to inner workings in a very simplistic manner in his day – so far off from reality it is bizarre that some still base their thinking off of his.

    No surprise then, when it was proved without a doubt, that life could not arise spontaneously from non-living matter, it was a HUGE revelation. And when Watson and Crick not only helped to uncover the structure of DNA, but more importantly proposed the now proven sequence hypothesis, that immaterial data was encoded in the DNA, it was a SHOCK, and one of the two became a deist, and the other claimed it came from outer space – they knew the implications of this, that their was no chance whatsoever that natural processes could “decide” to encode instructions of how to build molecular machines. Before this, the idea that life could have slowly assembled with enough organic material was more palatable, but again, this gut level, and very high level idea that it takes a mind to use language or code, was buried by Darwin’s FOLLOWERS and Descendants who for the most part had no interest in science, but every interest in coming up with a plausible scenario, that would keep alive the notion, that from the Cambrian Explosion to the present, time and chance could get the job done, and the need for a “knower” to invent such a code was somehow irrelevant – there has been NO explanation to date, how coded information can come from random processes – think about it, think about the actual things that would need to take place for a cell to “decide” that if I read a section of DNA from point A to point B, it means make protein XY so it was both assembled that way, and their has to be a decoding system that understands this. “When I see this sequence, I attach these amino acids together.

    Evolutionary Biology should have stopped in its tracks, and until it could show how this could happen without agency, simply should be forced, by scientific standards to consider that, at a minimum, they should concede AT LEAST the front-loading of information, and not just use another “Darwin of the Gaps” explanation and leapfrog over what has to be the CRUX of all traditional evolutionary Biology, the origin of of this first common ancestor they keep stating as if it were some kind of fact.

    There are many that are breaking away from neo-darwinism, as strong ID challenges – insisting these questions be addressed, and indeed cleverly disguised challenges within the established sciences. We know from many honest Biologists, that in the backrooms of Academia, at the gatekeeper level, they know that Darwin was simply wrong applying the concept of minor changes which we now know for certain can rapidly cycle back and forth, depending on the environment, cannot be extrapolated to fish to man evolution.

    The actual EVIDENCE now shows that these changes within limits have nothing to do with accidental genetic changes and selection, as that a mutation MAY be able to repair by shear luck a broken complex protein, by adding a single missing amino acid that is a floppy “placeholder” that allows the protein to fold “close enough”, it has no way to invent the functional protein in the first place – the reason why is straightforward, and I hope this ties this back to the basis of my ramble about what I see as Darwin Worship which is an enemy of progress in evolutionary science:

    The mechanisms of molecular machines we see EVEN AT THE VERY FIRST important strata of life, the Cambrian, are so complex and and SO ORDER SPECIFIC (each protein), and the overall structure, that in order for it to be “seen” in the genetic pool and picked for selection, it ALREADY MUST BE INVENTED.

    Little tweaks that are often harmful, but sometimes lucky enough to bring some function back to a broken protein (under the most favorable lab conditions anyway), are not at all the same thing, just like changes within limits which can be selected (I prefer chosen) are not the same thing as fish to man – BECAUSE, the entire structure, which could be a collection of dozens of proteins working with a tiny margin of error in sequence space (highly specified order of amino acids, all of which must be left handed isomers), would take so many right on time mutations at very different loci in the genome, as the probability is ZERO that time and chance could make even ONE modest 150 amino acid long useful protein with a mutation mechanism, not to mention this is only one and you get nowhere with one, or even two useful proteins so the probability goes past impossible to insane, as the number required go up. BOTTOM LINE, of the inventions we see that serve a real function, have to be INVENTED FIRST before they are even noticed by the population to be selected for.

    One more side not – if you can’t explain the origin and continuation of life without a MIND behind it in this universe, then the MULTIVERSE is a big huge MUTE point. People often miss this fact. If life is so incredibly rare and has to have all the right cosmic and earthly conditions through time that you must appeal to a multiverse, you have just shot yourself in the foot and boxed yourself in to materialist suicide, because we in no way can show, even with all the fine tuning in this universe, how life could have came about and flourished by chance, without an engineer working behind the scenes – so if you, like myself, believe in MIND as primary, the multiverse is shown to be an incredibly unnecessary proposition – a divide by zero appeal to infinity, and the fine tuning is there due to a fine tuner, and so if there is a fine tuner, then he does not need your multiverses.

  7. 7
    EricMH says:

    Excellent and very lucid rant. Mods, Tom Robbins’ comment should be a top level article.

  8. 8
    Granville Sewell says:

    Actually Turkey has apparently removed teaching evolution from secondary schools. Whether that is a good idea is debatable:

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