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Now here's a potentially heated topic! Hopefully, we'll keep it moderate so that the moderators don't have to practice their own brand of moderation.
A post in the general discussion prompted me to start this thread. I didn't want to get into it in the general for fear of starting a flame war. The post there, if you haven't seen it, refers to the satirical site for The Flying Spaghetti Monster (see The Great Noodler).
In an open letter, the site's author satirizes the Kansas state school board for teaching Intelligent Design. Having grown up in the Bible belt, I know full well the extent and depth of belief in the Biblical account of creation. However, this account just doesn't jive with what scientists have learned. Furthermore, as all religions have some sort of creation story, how can we give precedence to one particular religion (hence, the Flying Spaghetti Monster's plea for equality)?
As far as the "conflict" between science and religion, has anyone read works by Stephen Jay Gould? He has some fantastically lucid and compelling arguments for how science and the humanities, in which he includes religion, should not only coexist, but also benefit one another.
As for a much better argument than mine on ID, see Dr. Massimo Pigliucci's skeptic site.
But my point is, do you think that ideas like ID should be taught alongside hard science? Me, I say no. We have churches and religious schools that do a pretty darned good job of teaching their beliefs. Let public schools remain impartial imparters of knowledge, I say.
I honestly don't see the need for a school to ever delve into the realm of "how the world began". Honestly it will do nothing to better my childs future and if what the school teaches goes in opposition of how I've raised my children, then it has devalued mine and my wifes role as the moral guidance of our family. Especially if the moral guidance of our family is based in religion, which it is.
A school should have absolutely no right to contradict the guidance that a childs parent provides to them. Isn't it enough to learn the Periodic Table of Elements, which is actually useful, rather than learn several radical and contradictory theories on the beginning of the world? Which one of the two will help my child become a better biologist or chemist (if that's what they choose to be) later in life? My money is on the actual hard facts that can be observed multiple times in controlled experiments rather than conjecture and theory.
Leave the theorizing and philosophising to their college professors, whose classes they can choose not to take rather than in a class that they must attend mandatorily in order to graduate from school.
Honestly, the school systems need to stop debating the point and drop the subject entirely in favor of teaching children the important and life changing aspects of science rather than some half ****ed ideas about what they think is how the world began.
Really well stated, Hourglass. The only thing I'd add is that schools need to teach kids to think freely and investigate ideas about the world around them. Shouldn't they learn to form theories, as well as to wrangle with current ones, so that humankind approaches some kind of truth?
Maybe you're right. Maybe the whole issue is overstated and we need to look more closely at what we consider fundamental knowledge that children should have?
I believe it can work if it's all handled well. If you go into it saying "Some people think this is how it happened and some people think this is how it happened" I don't see any problems. Niether explination can really be considered fact. We wheren't there in the begining, we have no idea how it went down, but each side has come up with the best answer based on how they interpret the facts that are available.I do agree though that if you're going to teach these two theories, you should teach them all, or at least note that other theories exist and these are just the most common. Im would say it's safer to just avoid the subject completely as Hourglass suggested, but I just don't like the idae of not talking about something just because some people don't like it. It just doesn't seem fare to the kids to not teach them something just because people can't agree on it.If we did that with everything then History classes would be pretty damn short and Science classes would be damn near non-existent. I beleive it's perfectly acceptable to recognise religion as a valid explination, but it's not acceptable to present any theory, religious or scientific, as a solid fact.
Last edited by Edicius; August 27th, 2005 at 16:54.
The only problem with teaching these theories at all, though, is the fact that the teacher themself is not going to be an impartial imparter of that knowledge. When I went to high school, they attempted to do exactly what you said, which was teach creationism and evolution in the same class.
My opinionated teacher decided that we didn't need to learn creationism because it was "a stupid thing for any true scientist to believe" (Those words will always haunt me) so she blew through the creationism chapter in an hour while making fun of it the whole time. Then we spent no less than a month learning evolution, which I knew even at that young age was a bunch of bunk. (If you don't believe in God, ok that's fine, I can handle it, but at least come up with a better theory than ameoba -becomes- human after a million years) I sincerely belive that 100 years from now people will view the evolution theory in much the same way that we view phrenology, or even the flat earth theory today. :rolleyes:
My main point here is that by adding any of these theories into the school system, you end up leaving the interpretation of them up to the individual teacher and there is no such thing as a fence sitter when it comes to religion vs. science in relation to the "beginning of the world" theories.
I think it's best to just drop the entire subject from the curriculum and focus on the important reason that we send our children to school: to succeed in life. Success in life has nothing to do with wether you believe God created the world or whether a Noodly appendage created it.
Well, having just graduated from high school a few months ago, this is all still (somewhat) fresh in my mind, and it is apparant to me that in public school science is held in higher esteem than religion. Fairly obvious, I know, but a little disconcerting. Evidence? In the Hamilton District School Board curriculum, grade 9 and 10 science classes are compulsory, meaning you must complete them in order to graduate. Specialized sciences (chemistry, biology, physics) are elective (take 'em if you want) senior (grades 11 and 12) credits. That's five different science courses offered at two different levels (applied* and academic^). There is also World History pre-16th century, which starts off with evolution and plenty of monkey men (also offered in both applied and academic flavors, though taught by a devout Christian for some reason).
In contrast, there is exactly one religion class offered, and it is (supposedly) a non-biased look at many different world religions (touches on everything from Zoroastrianism to Taoism, and a lot of the stuff in between). This is an elective senior course offered at a mixed (both applied and academic) level. Not helping matters is the fact that it is taught by a former Christian who has now forsworn the faith and rips into it and every other religion at every opportunity (he's a great guy though, and very learned). See the bias?
Now, that's not to say that religion is oppressed or anything. Hardly that. The school's population has a very large percentage of Muslim students who attend things like prayer sessions every Friday. An Imam even comes in to lead them. We were also forced to stand at attention during the daily broadcast of the Canadian national anthem (excerpt: "God keep our land...")
However, creationism is a no-no. It isn't taught with any assurances that it is correct. It is simply touched upon in the same callous way that every other religion is touched upon in that single religion class (the teacher's own bias influences this). Yet evolution is taught as the norm. What the hell is that?
I took all of the classes I mentioned in the first paragraph and, after all was said and done, I treated science like every other religion: with scepticism. Science is a religion in my book, the current fad. However it is espoused as truth while the "regular" religions are treated as collections of fairy tales and ghost stories.
This of course means that Creationism isn't taught as truth and evolution is, which I think is wrong.
So, returning back to the original topic after that (long) detour, do I think Intelligent Design should be taught in schools? Not as "the way it happened", no. However, I'm all for it being taught the way my religion class (was supposed to have) taught it. On the other hand, I am equally opposed to science being touted as said "way", though this is purely based on my personal prejudice. I do not accept science as truth in the same way I do not accept any god as my master, and therein lies the problem. We are told that science is the right way because not everybody is Christian or Muslim or whatever and so not everybody will accept their theories on the creation of the human species. But when were we all piled into the science boat? I sure as hell want to get off that damn ship.
*Applied: "The easy way"; i.e. less homework, less memorizing, less subject matter covered.
^Academic: "For the university bound"; i.e. more homework, more memorizing, more subject matter, more stress
Last edited by Zanzibar; August 27th, 2005 at 22:25.
A very interesting topic! And definitely one that I think belongs here, in the Enhanced Discussion section.
Do I think religion belongs in school? Of course. School is where children learn about the world around them, which should include the worldâ€™s religions, taught objectively and neutrally. Thatâ€™s how my religion classes have always been; they have included descriptions of various religions, their history and rituals. It has been a great way for the students to learn about and understand other religions, such as Islam, that are not indigenous to the country, and Iâ€™m sure it goes a long way to prevent prejudices based on ignorance.
However, when it comes to creationism, thatâ€™s a subject far beyond objectivism and neutrality. It is subjective and very much loaded with pre-existing opinions, including a less than fortunate view of those who believe in the evolution theory. It does not teach children tolerance, open-mindedness and understanding, rather the opposite. And thatâ€™s what bothers me most about it. I donâ€™t mind people being religious. I do not turn to any organised religion myself, though I have many friends who are strong believers in Christianity and Islam. But I do dislike that religions often have a tendency to claim that theirs is the one and only universal truth, especially when it comes to things such as creationism. If only the believers would keep from bashing the non-believers, I would be content. But alas, I have been looked down upon because of my belief in the evolution theory.
I am a firm believer in empirical evidence, and that is what science is all about. Religions are about faith, not knowledge. If you knew that God existed, the entire purpose of belief would be lost, hence you canâ€™t know. And for this reason alone, religion should be kept away from science classes.
When it comes to evolution, though, it does have strong empirical evidence speaking for it. Iâ€™ve seen evolution with my own eyes, made it happen myself by changing the conditions in a Petri dish that was the home of a population of bacteria. Suddenly, only the strongest and most adaptable were left of the population, and they had evolved to thrive in the changed conditions. Perhaps God made them change, I donâ€™t know, but the fact is that they did and thus proved the theory of evolution. Perhaps God made an amoeba and realised that it was quite frankly a rather boring creation, and decided to poke it until it got mad enough to react in new and interesting ways, and voila, evolution. Thatâ€™s what my mother believes, in any case.
As for those looking down upon the evolution theory, Iâ€™d just like to inform you that without it, youâ€™d all be living rather short, disease-ridden lives right now. Most modern medicine has been created using techniques that are based on the belief that humans are the evolutionary step after primates, and primates are several steps above rodents. If we were not evolutionary linked with these animals, why test new medicine on random creatures that have nothing in common with us? Creationist would make really lousy scientists in that regard, I think.
And finally, to avoid confusion, letâ€™s just make it clear that science is not the truth, it is the search for truth, empirically proven.
"Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.
Yes, but you are talking about only one form of evolution: micro evolution. Micro Evolution is completely provable and occurs every day in real life. It is used to help organisms adapt on a small scale in order to survive in their environment. The concept of micro evolution, or diversification of species, is a fact of nature. Species do vary and change, but only on a small scale. We have many examples of Darwin's finches and even the breeding history of dogs which supports the notion of micro evolution.
Macro evolution, however, is a ridiculous theory to posit as truth. As hard as people try to make all of the correct links, there still is no evidence that amoeba -becomes- human. Scientists will try to hide this fact from you as much as possible, and when you attempt to dig for the truth yourself, they will toss words at you like "extinct species" and "missing links". All of which are about as provable as God at this point in history.
Although we can explain and understand the mechanism behind micro-evolution, we still can only theorize about possible explanations for macro evolution, since it has no scientifically valid occurrences. The end of that sentence is important. We have never ever ever ever ever (x's a billion) have observed something so drastic as a human sprouting wings. Why is that important? Because to make this claim is to put as much faith into something that has never been witnessed as me putting my faith in God.
Wow, I just realized that between the two of us, we have derailed this topic from whether creationism belongs in schools and turned it into a forum on evolution. However, that is really what it comes down to. Those are the only two serious theories in consideration as of now. Even Intelligent Design is just another way of saying creationism and I'm not one of those people who is so embarrassed by believing in God that I'm willing to repackage God in a scientific sounding name like: Intelligent Design. I just personally don't think that either of them belong in a science class where biased people can put their own spin on it.
Final Note: I find it incredibly ironic that people are willing to put their faith into an unproven scientific theory and then turn around and claim that God has no empirical evidence to back up his existence so he cannot be real.
Micro evolution is still evolution. I see no logical difference between one species of bacteria evolving into another species of bacteria and one species of primate evolving into another species of primate. The only difference is that bacteria live such short lives that we can observe many thousand generations over a very short time, whereas primates have generations that take decades to replace each other. Were we to observe a thousand generations of primates, I am sure we would see macro evolution too. Problem is that none of us will likely experience more than five generations at most, which makes macro evolution rather difficult to prove empirically here and now.Originally Posted by H0urg1assI am a scientist. Does that mean I am hiding the truth from myself? :pOriginally Posted by H0urg1assBut extinct species do exist! Iâ€™m not even going to attempt bringing up the dinosaurs, but the moa and the Tasmanian tiger are real, actual animals that lived side by side with human beings and were hunted to extinction. As for missing links, I agree with you that we still have to discover the archaeological missing link between humans and our closest primate relatives (although the fact that out DNA is so much alike is proof enough for me), but we do have missing links between other species. Also, many legless animals, such as snakes and whales, have redundant leg bones in their bodies, proving that they descend from walking predecessors. Why else would they have them?Originally Posted by H0urg1assGive me a billion years and the right conditions, and Iâ€™ll give you flying humans. In the meantime, we can go to a museum and have a look at the Archaeopteryx, the missing link between dinosaurs and birds. Itâ€™s right there, for all to see. Can you give me any proof of Godâ€™s existence that matches that?Originally Posted by H0urg1assTrue. And it really is quite an interesting debate. I hope the Powers That Be in this section of the forum will bear with us for the sake of a good discussion and let this little diversion from the topic pass unnoticed. Though, considering the length of our posts, that might be somewhat difficult.Originally Posted by H0urg1assThis is actually quite amusing. I hear many believers in creationism claim that the evolution theory isnâ€™t valid because it is only a theory, but in fact this only proves that they shouldâ€™ve paid closer attention in school to the science that theyâ€™re now bashing. â€˜Theoryâ€™ is a word that in ordinary laymanâ€™s English means â€œâ€¦a formal set of ideas that is intended to explain why sth happens or exists.â€? I.e. a theory in laymanâ€™s terms is an idea, a guess, unproved and not a fact. It might even lack credibility. However, this is not what the term means scientifically! In scientific terms, â€˜theoryâ€™ implies something which has been proven and is generally accepted as being true.Originally Posted by H0urg1ass
From the internet I have copied these definitions:
Scientific Law: This is a statement of fact meant to explain, in concise terms, an action or set of actions. It is generally accepted to be true and universal, and can sometimes be expressed in terms of a single mathematical equation. Scientific laws are similar to mathematical postulates. They donâ€™t really need any complex external proofs; they are accepted at face value based upon the fact that they have always been observed to be true.
Some scientific laws, or laws of nature, include the law of gravity, the law of thermodynamics, and Hookâ€™s law of elasticity.
Hypothesis: This is an educated guess based upon observation. It is a rational explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what is observed, but which has not been proved. Most hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation or continued observation.
Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis.
In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology.
The biggest difference between a law and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A law governs a single action, whereas a theory explains a whole series of related phenomena.
So, as you see, the evolution theory isnâ€™t a theory at all. :p
Last edited by Grephaun; August 28th, 2005 at 10:30. Reason: Spelling. >_<
"Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.
@DavidVC04 Oh geeeeeez, dude. I'm so freakin sorry about hijacking your thread like this, but it just HAD to happen. You can't mention evolution and creationism in a thread and keep a couple of passionate people from debating each other... Sorry. :oNo its not. You're right. Because every one of the definitions that you just gave me have the same word in them: Observable. As soon as somone shows me and observable instance of Macro evolution I'll be a convert. Until then, I'm going to lump it into the realm of Phrenology and Flat Earth "theories".So, as you see, the evolution theory isnâ€™t a theory at all.
Based on that, what I originally said holds true. It's just as silly for you to claim as scientific fact something that you never have and never will observe, as it is for me to believe in God.Oh, but we can and have! Check the fossil record and you'll find primates that haven't changed for thousands of years. among the Miocene primates were the ancestors of all modern species of apes. That was 14 million years ago btw, and if you look at their skeletons they look just like the skeletons of a normal ape from our own modern world. 14 MILLION years of observable primates.Were we to observe a thousand generations of primates, I am sure we would see macro evolution too. Problem is that none of us will likely experience more than five generations at most, which makes macro evolution rather difficult to prove empirically here and now.
Since you have seen to thought this out quite well, I would like to know what your thoughts are on a couple of questions regarding this subject.
1) If evolution exists to make a species adapt better to their environment, then why does the old species exist? If the old species couldn't adapt, why aren't they dead? Why are there still Apes if walking on two legs is better? Not to mention, where the hell did our fur go? I tell you what, I'd still like to have a fur coat in the middle of a good Korean winter. I don't see it all likely that fur would disappear.
2) Ok. One creature mutates and POOF, he's better adapted to survive in his area because of this freaky mutation, lets say it's a longer neck. Now he mates with another one of his species and what pops out of the mommy? Another one with the same freaky mutation? Not likely. Mutations are the recessive gene, which means that the chances of it showing up twice are so unlikely as to not even be thinkable. The best chance for a baby having the same mutation is for both parents to have the same recessive gene. (Not to mention most species on the planet either kill the mutant or do not allow mutants to have mating rights)
Now give me the odds of THAT one. Two parents that suddenly sprouted longer necks, found each other on the planet, are opposite sexes, mated, and produced similar offspring. Lets keep going: Now for the mutation to keep perpetuating the offspring must mate with another one of its species with the same mutation to have a good chance of it occuring again. Now, wait, does't that mean that another set of parents out there had to have had the same mutation and produced a child of the opposite sex for this child to mate with.... either that or it needs to sleep with mommy to reproduce.
Give me the answer to this one, cause the paradox of it all and the INSANE improbability of it drives me nutz!
3) Explain one small piece of anatomy to me. The eyeball. Where did this thing come from? Why did some organism somewhere along the line suddenly decide that capturing light in a spherical object, reversing the pattern on the back of the eyeball and then magically transporting this image to a highly evolved cluster of nerves in the brain, would be a great way to see the world around it? This is a highly thought out adaptation for an amoeba. In my humble opinion, just this single evolutionary process would take so many attempts to get right that not even 4 billion years would be enough to perfect it like it is. (Not to mention, evolution has to produce fulls sets of functioning organs in the same time period that all miraculously work together with highly intricate nervous and veinous systems.)
4) Where is the super creature? If each adaptation makes us better, then where is the animal with the best of all worlds? I mean, I would like to have wings, fangs, the ability to spit poison, hibernate in cold weather, see in the dark like a cat, spray a defensive smell when some jerk gets too close to my girlfriend, and if that doesn't work roll up into a ball of spikes. Instead, I'm this fleshy, hairless, can't-see-in-the-dark, defenseless-without-tools piece of evolutionary crap that shouldn't have survived ten years out on the plains much less "millions" of years. :rolleyes:
*panting* GOSH that took a lot of typing. Anyhow, this is just friendly debate, I'm not knocking you or your *cough*silly*cough* ideas, I just want to hear your side without getting in a bloodbath.