I am a RE (Religious Education) teacher in the UK, I am covering the issue of origins to my year 7 class (11-12 years old).
I would like to make a list of the *three* strongest arguments from a evolutionist and the same for a creationist as to why each thinks his/her point of view is correct about how life forms came into being and are the variety we see now.
Please note that each of the three points needs to be simple to understand and expressed in just a couple of sentences. I will give further explanation during class time if I think it is needed.
Thank in anticipation for any help you can give, it is appreciated.
Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added the "(RE (Religious Education) in the UK)" part to the topic title.
> Also, why is this being taught in religious education? I don't > remember evolution ever being a religion.
(I Haven't worked out how to show quotes in shaded boxes, bear with me as I muddle my way through)
I wanted to explore the issue of origins. We have covered the creation story and I wanted to show contrasting views- it is normal in schools to show different points of view and let the children think and decide for themselves. Just out of interest, under which subject would you put this type of discussion?
> Parasomnium > Evolution is a scientific subject, and therefore does not belong in a class called "Religious Education", > just as Biblical exegesis does not belong in a science class. In my view, if you want to give them a > proper lesson in religious education, you should show your pupils the contrasting views among different > religions per se, and stimulate them to think about the fact that such disparate religious views exist at all.
Thanks for telling me how to do my job! We *do* cover creation from different viewpoints actually. This issue has been raised by the pupils themselves, which is the reason for my request. I don't feel that I have sufficient knowledge of both points of view to give a fair summary of either side.
> Parasomnium > I think that to concentrate on the supposed contrast between one religious viewpoint and a > scientific concept is to misinform your students and to reduce your lesson to the oxymoronic level >(no offence intended) that the term "Religious Education" suggests in the first place.
On the contrary, RE is the perfect subject in which to cover this debate, I guess that you would have an issue if these issues were covered in a science lesson. We also look at issues such as abortion and when does life begin ... this is a scientific question which has a bearing on what people believe to be right. Please let me know *which* subject this topic be covered in?
To push this issue out of lessons because it 'reduces to the oxymononic level' and therefore not teach it is to pander to censorship. After all, "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" (isn't that part of your quote?)
But to be honest - I'd probably focus more on comparing and contrasting the differences in world religions about origins with only a mention of the scientific account. I think the format of 'here are the three best arguments for 1 side, and here are three of the best arguments for the other' is unnecessarily adversarial and I personally don't think it's the best method for teaching the issues.
Hey, I'm getting the hang of this forum, now I can properly box and shade quotes ... thanks for the advice bluegenes
Modulous, adversarial techniques are a very good way of looking at issues- I have used it for class discussions and it is certainly a better way of teaching than telling children what to think. If the arguments are strong, they will hold up to scrutiny. I am surprised by the negative feedback I have had to get pupils to look at all sides of a debate before coming to their own conclusion. We have used the same technique from the frivolous to the serious, e.g. do fairies exist? Is the building we are sat in safe? Do humans cause global warming? Do ghosts exist? Using this type of technique forces us to look at the evidence, and not just simply take what someone else tells us.
Hmmm, it seems that I have opened a can of worms by simply suggesting that a topic is discussed at school. I must say that I am surprised by the comments posted here. I came sincerely looking for opinions on a topic which I admittedly have sparse knowledge of ... in reply I get a couple of members who can answer my request (thanks phage0070 and bluegenes) and numerous other comments calling into question my ability to teach effectively.
This will be my last post in this thread, I don't have time to justify my school policy or teaching methods- it was not the intention of the posting.
Due to limitations of my time I will only answer a few of the objections raised.
There is no conflict between this type of creation and the scientific view of things progressing alonge natural means, as the natural means are the tools of creation.
This means that your question is not properly formed if you consider that it is either creation OR evolution.
I understand your point, and I agree that there are people like yourself who believe in 'theistic evolution'- a point which I also cover.
Your comment that my question is not properly formed ... look at the name of this website: EVOLUTION VERSES CREATION forum- are you of the opinion that the website name itself is not properly formed either? Doesn't the name itself IMPLY that it is either creation or evolution? Nevertheless your point is taken, even if it is a bit pedantic.
The very fact that you stated to have taught "THE Creation Story" belies this omission of other options, in that there are countless Creation Stories throughout all the cultures in this world.
Thanks for your moral indignation that other faiths might be left-out, they are not!
The issue here though is you really are telling them what to think in your very omission of alternatives. This is a common strategy in diplomacy, war, and various board games. You limit your opponents options so you can more effectively control him/her.
It seems that you are reading into my actions your own thoughts and intentions, what you suggest is far from what I intended. You may be into mind control but I am not. I agree that there are more than two points of view, but it is a common technique to start with two, then show that the situation is more complex. To *not* discuss this issue is to omit alternatives. The very fact that I am willing to discuss alternatives shows that I prefer education to indoctrination- your implication (if I have understood it) is unwarranted.
I would highly recommend that you stick to religious explanations within your classroom, and go over each and every creation story of each major (historical and present) culture. Take those stories and have your students correlate what similarities and differences each story has. Then allow the class to discuss why they think these differences and similarities exist.
Er, excuse me, didn't you just say that omitting the alternatives is an effective way of exerting control? In which case why shouldn't evolution be discussed alongside the other issues- your arguments are inconsistent.
I am not arguing for censorship. By all means, teach your pupils religious education, teach them evolution, and teach them about the debate. But don't teach them about the debate in science class, or in religious education class. By doing so you run the risk of making them think that religious opinions are scientific topics, or that evolution is a religion. Best to avoid the confusion and teach them about the debate in a neutral setting.
You have not suggested *which* subject the issue should be discussed in- by all accounts you are advocating censorship by limiting options.
And if creationism had evidence then this might be worthwhile.
Erm, *WHO* decides if creationism has the evidence? *That* is the whole point of the discussion! This is the reason why I have come to the forum- the evidence should stand for itself. I have had discussion on the existence of fairies- and I have not experienced this much apparent paranoia and insecurity. What you are advocating is sponsorship- why shouldn't we decide ourselves if the evidence is enough?
That isn't really useful. Instead of doing all of this you could do something much more useful.
What would be *useful* is to take an issue which was raised in class and to discuss it. The issues which you have raised have no interest in the class- it appears that you want to impose your world-view on others by *not* discussing alternatives.
Mr Jack writes:
There is one principle reason to believe Evolutionism is true: the idea that reality can be determined and described by rational investigation.
To teach your pupils anything else is to lie to them.
... and to teach them that this is no other point of view is a lie by omission. Your paranoia and insecurity is a testament to your fear of discussion, as is your use of emotive language.
Mr Jack writes:
And, frankly, I'm kinda disappointed that our country has sunk enough that this Creationism is even considered an idea worth discussing.
The evidence will speak for itself, one way or another- *Who* should decide if anything is worth discussing? Why shouldn't it be discussed? I again quote michamus- limiting options (and discussions) is a type of control. By implication you seem to prefer indoctrination by omitting discussion, I prefer education.
This is my last post, with thanks to phage0070 and bluegenes I have the information which I need- I will seek other information elsewhere. If I had more time I would have liked to have discussed some of these issues more ... but alas we teachers have limited time, and this lesson has taken longer to plan than I first intended.
I hope to increase my knowledge of the issue of evolution/creation over time. Maybe I will return to this forum if I have further questions.
I had no idea that raising this issue would cause such negative feedback- if I have offended anyone in my answers I give my sincere apologies, I did not come here to debate but to get opinions, but I felt that I should give some justification to what I am doing, and I cannot help but point out inconsistencies when I see them. I wish there was a creationist point of view too which I could use.