Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fairytales should be taught as fairytales...

...not in biology class. That's my reaction anytime I hear about Creationism still being taught in public schools. It's no longer shocking some still try to get around the many court decisions that would have seemed to have decided this issue. But, Wired's Science blog writes about a report that 25 percent of biology teachers around the country are still teaching Creationism, or some derivative like Intelligent Design, in public classrooms, and that they believe it's a viable alternate theory to evolution. Many in fact believe the scientific community accepts that these "alternate theories" are scientifically sound.

While this issue is nothing new, the final point is one of interest to Michael B. Berkman, Julianna Sandell Pacheco, and Eric Plutzer with their paper titled Evolution and Creationism in America's Classrooms: A National Portrait. While progressives have focused on the courts as the bulwark against religious fundamentalism crossing over into public schools for decades, the researchers show this is not enough. Nor should it be.

Many of the beliefs of these teachers are not merely set by their families and communities, but also by their own education in science - or lack thereof - as well. As such, Berkman, Pacheco and Plutzer put forth a no-brainer: Mandating that teachers actually need to have taken evolutionary biology as part of their accreditation. With exposure to actual evolutionary biology, and the scientific process, it would be much clearer for some what a theory actually is. While there are always hardliners, among the remaining 1-in-4 teachers who think it's okay to push their religious views on students and call it science, this is an important idea. While it's simple, there is no silver bullet that will forever resolve this issue, and this is a common-sense, practical step that should have been taken years ago.

6 comments:

kreplech said...

great post. this leads me to rehash an unresolved argument between myself and the sometimes very ornery Bradda. the argument was about home-schooling... should the teaching of alternative theories to evolution be outlawed in the home? should home-schooling (where is replaces a general public or private education) be outlawed altogether? do you have the right to teach your child what you choose? does the government have the right to teach your child what they've deemed fact? given the temporal nature of science (as opposed to the dogmatic nature of religion), should the modern-day, currently accepted "truths" of science even be taught as fact at all?

i have a difficult time supporting a point of view that takes power away from the citizenry and places it in the hands of the government... even if it means that we lose some of the population to stupidity.

maybe i'm an optimist, but i think the virtues of freedom ultimately outweigh the evils of ignorance.

Bradda said...

Well once again Kreplech shows why he has no grasp of reality and the world at large. When ideological religious people only teach their children "stories" and then that generation continues the abuse, after time it becomes where we stand today. A government infested with these tier 4 Regent "Law" School graduates who are making rules and changing ones they don't care for to further their cause.
I am not one to advocate government control over parents rights to raise their children. The argument does have merit however. If it wasn't fundamentalist Christians and instead white supremacists home schooling their children thier "message" and ONLY the white supremacist story, should the government not step in?
It's not that far of an analogy. Both believe vehemantly their own versions of society and both are impervious to debate. So it leads to the question again.
Gallieo was imprisoned for his "facts" by the Church and it turns out he was right all along. Last I checked we are WAY past the whole earth rotating around the sun. Do we have to go backwards to go forward?

kreplech said...

"grasp of reality"... hmmm, which one of us actually deals with reality... i wonder?

(your uncle walter's going on and on...)

anyway...

having the gestapo knock down your door to find out what your teaching your children is a violation of civil liberties that you'll take offense to once its starts happening.

try controlling your own life before trying to control others'.

peace.

kreplech said...

and if you're going to try to flame me - at least try to address the content of my statement instead of this off-topic blather.

Bradda said...

Your right Krep, having a job at a major coporation and having health insurance is proof that you are a far superior human being than I am. If only I would buy a house and have kids then maybe I could be a better human.
I never said I wanted the government to knock anyone's door in to see what is being taught to their kids. I mearly wondered how and/or when a line in the sand should be drawn. You just don't listen to anything that anybody says when you THINK your right. Screaming and name calling when you have no point to make is surely a sign of higher intellect.

Rob said...

Man, I used to think Ricky and I played rough.