From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views:
Color us just a bit skeptical about news reports that Turkey will eliminate evolution from its official 9th grade curriculum. If true, though, it is of course a terrible idea.
News like this filtered through the Western media can’t necessarily be taken at face value. That having been said, the fact that evolution is both important and “controversial” is one reason we strongly favor teaching it thoroughly in high school biology classes, with due attention to objective scientific evidence and arguments for and against the theory. Critically evaluating scientific theories is what responsible scientists do, and with care and thoughtfulness, instructors can help students do the same.More.
All that the opponents of current claims about evolution have ever wanted is a fair fight.
We did not say that there shouldn’t be a fight. We want one.
From Klinghoffer at ENV:
The Turkish move – again, if it genuinely comes to that – will benefit no one other than Western atheist activists, including Richard Dawkins and his Center for Inquiry, who quickly seized on the news as red meat for their followers.
Sure. Because then they can get whatever foolishness they wish to utter grandfathered as something that “can’t be taught in Turkey.” That must be worth millions at least.
9 Replies to “Yes, teach evolution—but cut out the nonsense”
Make no mistake about it. This is a culture war between a/mats and theists, and a/mats are getting more desperate by the day. They thought this fight would be over by now (rvb8 has been waiting for the “penny to drop” for several years now), but the truth is that the fight is only just beginning.
I am happy to be a part of this fight…on the theist side.
TWSYF – what about the theists who accept the science of evolutionary biology?
I get the impression from some comments here that theistic evolutionists are even more despised than a/mats.
Boy that is a tough call! 🙂
There is — perhaps — a sense in some circles that while materialists are at least upfront about their materialism, theistic evolutionists are being insincere in their attempts to mesh the materialistic creation story with theism.
Furthermore, reading some of the prominent spokespersons on those two fronts, one can get the impression that many theistic evolutionists are wrong not only about the science, but about the philosophy/theology. Materialists are also wrong about their particular brand of philosophy/theology, but the theistic evolutionists, one might understandably presume, are supposed to know better.
Finally, there is a sense that some theistic evolutionists are having precisely the opposite effect of what they are publicly stating. Their whole approach, publicly stated, is to reconcile evolution with faith in God, but in practice their approach essentially amounts to adopting the materialistic framework and putting God in his distant place: out of sight, out of mind, and out of reach of any discernible influence in the real world. To this extent, they become useful fools of the materialist lobby. This is why materialistic evolution lobbyists like Eugenie Scott have focused so much time and energy on winning the hearts and minds of religious leaders in support of evolution.
Now I personally think the situation is a bit more complicated and nuanced than that, and I can understand why some people who don’t know the science very well might be tempted to go down the theistic evolution path, but the above is a large part of the reason for the tension that often exists between theistic evolutionists and skeptics of evolutionary theory.
If they cut out the nonsense, is there anything else left?
I’d rather say: teach biology with as much detail as possible, depending on the grade level of the students. Show the evidences, discuss them in class, but let the students reach their own conclusions. Then discuss the conclusions to see if they make sense.
Turkey under Recip Tyipp Erdogan, is rapidly rolling back all of Kamal Attaturks early 20th century reforms.
Reforms made to completely divorce itself from the previous theocratic Ottoman Empire.
Design is an idea well supported in Turkey, and now they have taken the next logical step all theocratic governments do, and attack rational science that places God in a minor, or non-existant role.
It is disingenuous of NEWS, and Mr Klinghoffer to cry crocodial tears at the demise of evolutionary biology in Turkey. Suggesting their, ‘teach the controversy’ ruse is anything but a ploy to slip ID into US classrooms, misses the point of their goal as stated in the ‘Wedge Document’;
a return to theocracy, and the centrality of Biblical thought;
Hey! Just like Turkey.
Teach biology as deep and with as much detail as possible, depending on the grade level of the students.
Show all the available scientific evidences, discuss them in class, but let the students reach their own conclusions.
Then discuss the conclusions to see if they make sense.
Encourage humility, honesty, open-mindedness, so that students become scientists who try to think out of wrongly preconceived boxes. Teach the importance of testing everything and holding what is good. Thus students might refrain from writing the kind of archaic pseudoscientific hogwash we see today in some research papers.
Encourage students to analyze and understand the basic formulation of the evo-devo problem described @1090 in this thread. Show them how important it is to do serious research in order to design new precise personalized medical treatments and health maintenance programs for the population.
Encourage the quick but careful translation of the scientific discoveries into effective medical applications.
But most importantly teach young people to love God with all their strength and all their minds. Teach them to ask God for wisdom.
Teach them the unmeasurable value of human life at any stage of development or at any age, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic situation.
Teach them from an early age the importance of moral integrity. And encourage them to be compassionate, graceful and to agape love other people as they love themselves, so they are never associated with shameful ideas like slave trafficking, Kristallnacht, Auschwitz, Gulag or many other horrendous things that happened through the messy human history.
Encourage students to genuinely pursue truth only.
the psudo-scientific hogwash you correctly point to as increasingly poisoning good research comes about precisely because the students are given free reign in their thinking.
The crap is produced by students refusing to follow tried and tested academic research principles, they are allowed to ‘free think’ and then produce all the crap so famously ridicueled in the Sokal Hoax.
Yours, and IDs invidious concept of ‘teach the controversy’, actually produces sheep who have a pre-conceived idea- creation/design, and then madly search for the tiniest sliver of evidence to prove their pre-conceived notion.
This is how creation science works; there was a flood, w know that, so let’s now prove it.
The very antithesis of scinece, which starts with no pre-conceived goals, and goes where the evidence points.
Think about it, your idea is;
1) we know there was design.
2) how can we prove this?
This sounds like a very scientific methodology to me. Hypothesis followed by search for supporting arguments; PROOF even!
How do you produce theory without ideas to chase after? Was Zeus blankly staring at a ream of test results with no preconceptions when, suddenly, out pops Athena?
Or are we to suppose that this is some arbitrary, whimsical idea, and that biology does not speak towards design? Would you deny Dawkins’ claims in coining the term “designoid”? Or the theme of design that permeates the body of biological literature, even evolutionary literature?
Is this what we should aspire towards?
1) we know more complex systems spontaneously emerge out of simpler ones.
2) how can we talk our way out of proving this?