61
   

Latest Challenges to the Teaching of Evolution

 
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:41 am
sorry wandel, but I dont think that spendi adds anything to this thread either. When we get PMing back, I have a solution. Till then, Im gonna not participate because any of our objections to his childish churlishness would be read as petulance. I am interested in the subject but not with his mean spiritedness on the boards.
My honest opinion is that he should seek competent help or else get laid for once in his life so he can have something else to obsess about .

Any idea when PMing will return? If this site is to become self policed, we will need to deal with dickheads like spendi or else the boards will be turned into another abuzz (remember what that became when masses of clowns like NY Zinger and his ilk were sinking the ship).

Im not going to play with spendi because Ive got work to do and , Im not teaching the next 2 semesters so I dont need contributions from these yahoos for classroom discussions.

PS greg Krukonis has produced a fun book on evo/devo . Its in the "for dummies" series and is quite comprehensive. Its called "Evolution for Dummies" and is quite good and is enjoyable on several levels(K-12 through grad school). It leaves the reader well equipped with other resources and links to satisfy any appetite. I gave it a 3.5/5 rating only because it needs a better cross reference system. That aside, its comprehensive and entertaining as an introductory text and is a good resource for grad schoolers who arent necessarily focused in the area of evolutionary genetics or paleo but need a solid background in whats current.
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 07:31 am
@farmerman,
Thanks, farmerman. I was hoping that spendi would concentrate on the ID thread and leave this thread alone.

How about it, spendi? Can you say what you need to say on the ID thread and leave this thread alone?
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 08:20 am
@wandeljw,
Quote:
Re: farmerman (Post 3397749)
Thanks, farmerman. I was hoping that spendi would concentrate on the ID thread and leave this thread alone.

How about it, spendi? Can you say what you need to say on the ID thread and leave this thread alone?

Guys, just put the "Ignore User" on him and forget about it. It's easy. If people want to read his posts that's up to them.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 09:21 am
@rosborne979,
You obviously don't accept ros that your infantile strategy shreds your scientific credentials.

Since when have you lot earned the right to determine who writes what on which thread. Your totalitarian clitoris is again exposed to view.

The readers decide whether to buy it or not--not the writers.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 01:58 pm
Frank Harris wrote-

Quote:
Perhaps the wisest man I have met in my life was Alfred Russel Wallace, the scientist who wrote of the survival of the fittest some time before Darwin. Dr Wallace's pamphlet was so similar to Darwin's work that even some of its phrases appeared as titles in Darwin's MS. He was indeed the first to interpret the evolution of the world as Darwin afterwards interpreted it. It must be recorded in his honor that as soon as Darwin's book came out on the Origin of Species in 1859, Wallace hailed him as the chief of the school, and declared at once that the theory would be known as Darwinism, though he himself had promulgated it years before. When I asked him how he came to this unexampled generosity, he smiled in his kindly way and said, " You could not talk of Wallaceism, but you could talk of Darwinism. Besides, to be serious, Darwin had done all the spade work which I had neglected, thought unnecessary.


I presume "thought unnecessary" because it was so simple. Like studying every species of fish to prove that they swim in water.

Harris goes on later to say-

Quote:
He believed devoutly, simply, in a life after death, in this life indeed as a mere moment in the life of the spirit, and he insisted that personal identity would be preserved beyond the grave. I could not follow him in this though I admired the spiritual beauty of the creed and its incalcuable effect on life and conduct.


We have seen many examples of the effect on life and conduct of the atheistic materialism promulgated on this thread and in another place.

Not only do some posters on this thread refuse to expose themselves to other views but they deny the existence of the martyrs to their own cause and now they will have to deny the beliefs of the founder of their own creed.

They even deny that their creed will have an effect on the life and conduct of those who they persuade.

Wallace distinguished between the struggle for existence per se and, in his own words,--

Quote:
and the struggle for spiritual, intellectual and moral existence. Evolution can account for the land-grabber, the company promoter and the sweater; but if it fails to account for the devotion of the patriot, the enthusiasm of the artist, the constancy of the martyr, the resolute search of the scientific worker after Nature's secret, it has not explained the whole mystery of humanity.


0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 03:19 pm
@rosborne979,
I put him on ignore last week.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 05:15 pm
@edgarblythe,
Aren't we all overjoyed about that?

I am anyway. I would feel disgruntled and dejected if I thought Ed was understanding my posts.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 08:39 am
UK UPDATE

Quote:
Teenagers are not stupid, even if creationism is
(Adam Rutherford, Education Guardian, September 12 2008)

Why is it that scientists get so wound up by creationism? Well, for starters it's wrong. Really easily demonstrably wrong. It has nothing to do with science in fact, but simultaneously glibly attempts to explain what scientists have worked hard at for millennia. And so, when Rev Prof Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society, says that creationism can be part of science lessons, the reaction is as vehement as if someone had drawn a devastatingly satirical cartoon about it. Reiss suggests that creationists simply have an alternative worldview that should be respected.

What I think he is saying is that there is no point in being militant about teaching evolution. Even though it is the best and only credible explanation for the origin and diversity of life in the universe, some people " 10% of pupils according to Reiss' numbers " simply won't sign up for it. Ten per cent is way too many, but the fact is that they exist. More troubling is that in the US, one of them is potentially 50 days and one heart attack away from leading the free world.

The only thing that bothers me about Reiss' position is that ultimately it is a massive concession to pressure from religious groups; it is in effect negotiating with fundamentalists. The brutal reality is that creationism is a ridiculous stance. If you wish not to offend believers by describing it as a "worldview", whatever that means, then fine. Reiss is an extraordinarily polite man of dizzying intellect. But it's no different from opposing heliocentrism, or suggesting that the Earth is a flat plate resting on the back of infinite giant turtles all the way down. The only point is that very few people are turtlists.

There are several issues at stake here. Recently, I met science teachers, pupils and Reiss for a documentary on creationism. Many of the teachers, including Christians (though none were creationists) indicated to me that the curriculum does not devote enough time to evolution, nor at an early enough stage. I am no teaching expert, but I do know that nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution, which suggests to me that the curriculum is wrong. Others indicated that they didn't feel equipped to deal with questions of creationism in science lessons.

However, a debate about creationism is just the type of subject that enlivens any classroom. Students can learn about the sheer elegance of the unending scientific process by understanding how creationism is not science. Now more than ever, intelligent design should figure in these conversations, as its mimicry of science is a sharp lesson in how ideology can poison the font of knowledge. How ironic that such a well-understood and beautiful branch of evolution as mimicry should share so many traits with such a bogus impostor as ID.

To not be capable of or willing to engage in this debate within a science class is an error, because it will teach students that science is dogmatic and arrogant rather than a continuum of learning, founded on doubt: a way of knowing.

Furthermore, as Cif regulars are well aware, it's kind of fun. We often debate issues relating to the philosophy of science, and the guiding principles behind the scientific method. Can any of you remember how dull it was to learn about transpiration? Imagine a situation where a student asks about creationism and is told, "We can't talk about it, get back to the xylem". What a crappy message to deliver. Science teachers should be equipped to enable a debate about creationism. (Science teachers who teach either as an alternative to evolution should be booted out of their profession, and made to return their Bunsen burners.)

And for God's sake, won't somebody think of the children? If there's one nutbag in a class who thinks that T-Rex was a vegetarian and God's perfect design somehow includes shin bones, it's not as if they're going to indoctrinate the rest of the class. Teenagers are not stupid, even if creationism is. Most science at school, if you cast your minds back, is rote-learning facts, not the philosophical principles underlying the evolution of knowledge. I witnessed schools workshops at the Natural History Museum in London in which students split into groups and presented both sides of the debate. They developed their positions, of which they were previously totally unaware, de novo from guided learning at the exhibits. The arguments were as robust as any, if only lacking the detailed sophistication that practiced stalwarts of each position hold. This process is such good training for science as a way of thinking.

Sometimes " and bear in mind this is coming from someone who has devoted his professional adult life to it " science can be hard, and occasionally dull. The teleological argument is easy, and satisfactory to those who are not prone to thinking too hard about things. By no means am I saying science is responsible for the rise of creationism. It is not. But our job is not to ignore creationists because they are wrong, but to show them that as a way of knowing, science is so very much better.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:30 pm
@wandeljw,
We all know that as a way of knowing science is the bee's knees. Why does the gump belabour that point?

What about as a way of life? We don't all want to end up in the hole you lot are in irrespective of how much you know. There are many things we don't wish to know as fm and ros have proved. They just want us to know what they know.

Putting people on the Mom's Apron Ignore button and running around claiming that hypotheses should be subject to testing! Good gracious! Who would ever wish to look quite that stupid? And bragging about it too.

You're clean out of science when you block off the chap across the table. In one jump.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:44 pm
@wandeljw,
What I would do if I was a strategist on your side is post a request to ros and fm to take me off Ignore. Or say they had.

You could say that it is a scientific fact that spendi is murdering us on it. Which he is but no credit is due as anybody with any brains could do it.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:46 pm
@spendius,
I would even allow them to present it as a gesture of magnaminity and tolerance without protest.

I might have a good gloat privately mind you.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 01:19 pm
@spendius,
Hey wande-

This is sozobe's brand new signature line--

Quote:
“We owe it to our readers to present everybody's ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts.” -Scientific American.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2008 10:33 am
UK UPDATE
Quote:
Royal Society professor faces creationism backlash
(by Jenna Lyle, Christian Today, September 14, 2008)

Nobel Prize winners have called for the sacking of the Royal Society’s director of education after he said last week that creationism should be taught as part of the science curriculum at schools.

The Rev Professor Michael Reiss, an ordained Church of England minister, said that excluding creationism from science lessons is unhelpful to children who adhere to different beliefs about the formation of the universe.

Speaking at the British Association Festival of Science at the University of Liverpool, Reiss said, “I realised that simply banging on about evolution and natural selection didn’t lead some pupils to change their minds at all. Now I would be more content simply for them to understand it as one way of understanding the universe.”

Now Nobel Prize winners Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Richard Roberts are calling for Reiss’ dismissal saying that his religious views make him unsuitable for the job of education director at the Royal Society, the oldest scientific organisation in the world.

Kroto, a Royal Society fellow and winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, was quoted by The Observer as saying, “I warned the president of the Royal Society that his [Reiss] was a dangerous appointment a year ago. I did not realise just how dangerous it would turn out to be.”

Roberts, meanwhile, who won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Medicine, said, “I think it is outrageous that this man is suggesting that creationism should be discussed in a science classroom. It is an incredible idea and I am drafting a letter to other Nobel laureates " which would be sent to the Royal Society " to ask that Reiss be made to stand down.”

Reiss told the British Association Festival of Science that around 10 per cent of British schoolchildren were from families that held creationist beliefs. He invited science teachers to regard creationism not as a “misconception” but rather a “worldview”.

A spokesman for the Royal Society indicated it would not be asking Reiss to step down.

“Michael Reiss’s views are completely in keeping with those of the Royal Society,” he was quoted as saying by The Observer.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2008 01:42 pm
@wandeljw,
Why would a chemist and a biochemist be considered experts on education policy?

Quote:
A spokesman for the Royal Society indicated it would not be asking Reiss to step down.

“Michael Reiss’s views are completely in keeping with those of the Royal Society,” he was quoted as saying by The Observer.


It looks like I'm on the same side as the Royal Society. It must consist of trolls and people to ignore.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Sep, 2008 02:56 pm
It might be said that those who try to read the Creator's mind out of the tapestry of Nature are the one's Shakespeare called "God's spies". And the truest scientists.

Once one is chiselling out a living, or some other benefit, out of Nature's patterns certain suspicions are justified. One can IGNORE the suspicions of course but they do not go away.

It is a suspicion that two eminent scientists are running around London putting out statements to the press when they ought really to be in their labs, which we have paid for, working on cures for every unfortunate condition known to man. Or in their home study going over papers in an armchair by the fire while the wife knits them a new cardigan whilst watching an omnibus edition of Coronation Street.

Or are they saying atheism is a cure for man's conditions? That's a rather complex question to say the least. Assuming fantasy is excluded.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 04:57 am
with the newest findings in convergent evolution, genetic controls of body plans, the minimalist expressions of genes, the discovery of flexible tissues in fossils , the discovery of degraded osteocalcin in 100000 year old fossils , the discovery of several key intermediate fossils, the discovery of the connections between reptiles and birds, I believe we could safely allow "Creationist" thinking into a classroom where its fallacies could be , in the light of the overwhelming evidence, be quickly understood and just as quickly dismissed.
While Im not a big fan of wasting students time on such flaming error, perhaps a good dose of "Intesnsive exposure" to the history and errors of Creationist thinking, could be used to help our kiddies to understand how the scientific method and discovery of the underpinnings of evolution have disassembled any "evidence" that the Creationists have been touting.

I dont know, but perhaps our continuous avoidance of the ancient testament of creationism needs to be reevaluated and put into some nonreligious context so it can fall under its own lack of any substance when compared to real world synthesis.

PS-spendi, when A2K changed over, it has allowed us to ig nore you for the first time. Im still deciding about whether to ignore you officially or not. You do spend too much time preening . Youre kind of like a road accident, everyone tunes in to see what damages youll do to yourself everytime you open your mouth (virtually of course).

Paraphrasing something I heard on the radio this weekend, "Spendi is alternatively clued",
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 08:43 am
MINNESOTA UPDATE
Quote:
State wants feedback on science standards
(by Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio, September 15, 2008)

St. Paul, Minn. " The Minnesota Education Department begins a series of public meetings tonight on a new set of science standards.

The new standards will not be in place until the fall of 2011, but the state is spending this school year deciding what those final standards will be.

Right now, it's just a first draft.

Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said one aim of the new standards is to focus more on technology, as well as hands-on engineering - showing students how things work in real life, and less teaching in the abstract.

"How you use levers and how you put things together and make them work, so I think that's going to be a big difference in our science standards," Seagren said.

Seagren said there are no changes on the subject of evolution - decisions on what to teach will still be left to each district.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 10:55 am
@farmerman,
Put me on Ignore fm for goodness sake. Put everybody on Ignore who has a different view to your's. Get your tunnel vision properly focussed.

Although I am at a loss to understand how your understanding of the scientific method sits comfortably with such an infantile strategy.

I feel sure A2Kers are pretty sick of you continuously delineating my character.

But I am more than delighted that I am "alternatively clued" to you lot. I have a few friends on A2K. I think they will be delighted too.


farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 06:58 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
I feel sure A2Kers are pretty sick of you continuously delineating my character


I endeavor to be accurate, thank you.
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Sep, 2008 03:20 am
@farmerman,
Your endeavours are at the mercy of your fantasies. Accuracy doesn't come into it.

Two questions-

1--How many teachers are required to teach evolution?

2- What qualifications do they need to be approved in interviews?
 

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