The UK government is quite clear about what is and what is not science. It's quite clear that to give any ground at all is to let the Discovery Institute in Seattle be able to use their Wedge Tactic more and more.
There is place for creationism in the context of RE and historical obstacles to scientific inquiry:
This is called irreducible complexity. If the evolution process occurred so slow, most creatures wouldn't survive. What evolved first, the animals eyes to see the prey, teeth to chew the prey, stomach to digest the prey, ect.? and when did the prey evolve? Darwin's theory was inspired before he realized how complex cells are. It is outdated and should not be taught in school.
Irreducible Complexity is nothing new to anyone here. It has been widely refuted.
The idealistic main aim of any science education should be for students to understand the nature of scientific investigation. Long after the facts, figures and specifics of a theory are forgotten students should still be able to recognise scientific research as distinct from the likes of astrology, superstition and (dare I say it) religion. To understand that a search for truth within an objective reality is what underpins the methods of science is key. In the specific area of biology I do not believe this is possible without discussing, arguably, the most far reaching theory in science - namely the theory of evolution as describing the formation of species from common ancestry - in the broadest of terms.
Actually it isn't. Irreducible complexity is something else entirely. Irreducible complexity is a prediction of the theory of evolution and was made in the early 20th Century:
Muller 1918 pp. 463-464 writes:
"... thus a complicated machine was gradually built up whose effective working was dependent upon the interlocking action of very numerous different elementary parts or factors, and many of the characters and factors which, when new, were originally merely an asset finally became necessary because other necessary characters and factors had subsequently become changed so as to be dependent on the former. It must result, in consequence, that a dropping out of, or even a slight change in any one of these parts is very likely to disturb fatally the whole machinery; for this reason we should expect very many, if not most, mutations to result in lethal factors ..."
(emphasis in the original)
What evolved first, the animals eyes to see the prey, teeth to chew the prey, stomach to digest the prey, ect.?
Darwin's theory was inspired before he realized how complex cells are. It is outdated and should not be taught in school.
Agreed. We should teach the modern theory of evolution instead.
I asked what came first, the eye, teeth or stomach? You said the eye. (I'm just trying to get up to date here on evolution.) Was it a long time before the other parts evolved? How slow was the total process?
Those are good questions but this thread isn't about such details of evolutionary history. You can propose a thread if you want some answers.
The answers are, of course, available all over the web and in lots of biology books. For an interesting view of evolutionary history I highly recommend "The Ancestor's Tale" by Dawkins.
We keep threads on topic so it is easier to follow them and so posters can ignore topics they aren't interested in.
You might want to get a very basic understanding of the evolutionary model before you go into such details. From your questions it is apparent you haven't been introduced to the most simple facts about it.
I think I agree with most of your statement. The important part of science is for students to understand the scientific process, how ideas are created and tested.
quote: To understand that a search for truth within an objective reality is what underpins the methods of science is key.
Exactly. But how certain are we of the origin of life? We're very certain natural selection happens, we are very certain speciation happens, these have all been tested by scientific experiments. But we can only say the life must have originated from a primordial soup, and give a possible explanation of how that could have happened. The origin of life is probably the least supported element of evolutionary theory. It is a logical consequence of natural selection and speciation, but there is no (or little) direct evidence for how it happened. If we really want to drive home the methods of science to students, is the origin of life and common ancestry really the way to go? It is more of a fact of the matter than a good example of scientific exploration working to understand an issue.
quote:We're very certain natural selection happens, we are very certain speciation happens, these have all been tested by scientific experiments.
We're also very certain that all known species have evolved over three and a half billion years from a single ancestral species.
Kings were put to death long before 21 January 1793. But regicides of earlier times and their followers were interested in attacking the person, not the principle, of the king. They wanted another king, and that was all. It never occurred to them that the throne could remain empty forever. -- Albert Camus
Anyone have major objections to a high school biology curriculum that involves and only involves natural selection, mutations, and speciation (with no mention of God or origin of species)?
In other words, teach evolution but call it something else?
I would rather have a class on philosophy of science, that can cover the natural history of the development of science and how it operates. Teach logic, the scientific method.
I would also not be adverse to a philosophy course that looks into the question of ID and whether it really is science or just philosophy making USE of science to pursue philosophical questions.
It has also seemed to me that we have an opportunity to take people interested in ID and wean them into science, rather than shut the door, but I just don't think an already overloaded high school science course is the place to do it.
It should be earlier on the ladder of learning.
I have also though of having high school voluntary but free to those who do want to learn - let those who do not want to learn (then) go out in the world and leave the classes to those who do want to learn and go on to higher learning.
Make it through middle school and it's your choice, one you can always come back to later too.
I think students should be taught what we are certain of and why and also what we cannot be completely certain of and why.
A discussion of the latest research into the origins of life may well be appropriate. I would also suggest a brief discussion on science from a historical perspective as a search for explanations of the unknown with a long a distinguished record of providing answers to the supposedly unknowable eventually.
The only reason for hiding areas of uncertanty is a fear that non science will be allowed to creep into the curriculum the moment a weakness is identified. I agree this is a danger but my preference would be to meet it head on rather than try and sweep anything under the carpet.
Show why the religious alternatives are non scientific and why the fact that science cannot fully provide answers (yet!) is no reason to jump to non scientific alternatives.
Am I being too idealistic? Would love to know what a real teacher in this position makes of it all?
the problem with it is, if you ever talk about an intelligent designer or a God, it goes into the realm of pseudoscience an religion. These claims are non falsifiable, and firmly outside the realm of science. There is a very well established evolutionary theory of the origin of life, and it states that as the climate of the early earth changed, it spawned new molecules (RNA, DNA, etc)which had the remarkable capability to self replicate. Over time, these molecules could have begun to get more efficient due to competition for limited resources. This chain could continue until all opf the diversity on earth is developed. Most importantly, this theory has true evidence that has been tested, replicated, and has held up.
and it states that as the climate of the early earth changed, it spawned new molecules (RNA, DNA, etc)which had the remarkable capability to self replicate. Over time, these molecules could have begun to get more efficient due to competition for limited resources.
This is abiogenesis rather than evolution. Evolution is the change in species over time: it requires life as a starting point, but make no predictions about it.
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Yes, I agree, no concession to the impotent. But I think you are being unrealistic.
I disagree. Coming from a family almost entirely of educators, in every education situation I have ever participated in as a student and teacher, you can get more learning and progress at a faster pace by simply enumerating and raising expectations.
As far as I understand the situation, the high school curriculum is jam-packed as it is.
I also disagree and other than some poor excuses from Dover biology teaches about why they cannot teach more in the classroom I challange you to find any substantial evidence to support this that does not rely upon the temperament of the classroom.
Right now our standards play to the lowest common denominator to make sure that no one is 'left behind'. A better approach would be to target a level of learning and knowledge retention that is slightly above average and adjust that upward as time goes on. Expect more, get more.
When it comes down to it, what message do we want our HS students leaving with? All life originates from one common ancestor? Or that natural selection is a crucial factor governing the response of organisms to our environment?
And I am saying that it is rediculous to have to pick and choose. They should know both.
The former question has important philosophical implications and I guess is crucial to geosciences. But I am more concerned with the latter question, since this governs most of evolutionary and biomedical research, particular of rapidly evolving bacteria and viruses. I'd rather have our doctors capable of curing diseases than have our philosophers slightly more knowledgable about the world.
I guess I would need to see a better argument of why you think that either of those concepts is more useful. I guess I can agree that there seems to be much more visible application of knowing process but common ancestry is fundamental to understanding the very foundation of biology. Yes you are right that you can probably get by understanding the mechanics but if you don't HAVE to give up the fundamentals then why would you?
It just seems like your proposition really is, and no offense, one big rediculous and ignorant concession.
Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)