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Is it OK to teach evolution in public schools?

Posted May 29, '13 at 9:57pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,776 posts

Knight

In school evolution is taught as a theory (despite the fact that there is more proof to support than others such as creationism) not as a law.


Evolution is both a theory and a fact. It never was and never will be a law. Theories don't become law. A law is something different entirely.

A scientific law is a statement of fact meant to describe, in concise terms, an action or set of actions. A factual and well confirmed statement like "Mercury is liquid at standard temperature and pressure" are considered to be too specific to qualify as a scientific law. Both scientific laws and scientific theories are well supported by observations and experimentation. Unlike theories, laws don't explain why an observation is the way it is. Also laws are limited to circumstances resembling those previously observed.

they could completely refute this theory if they want.


There is a difference between denying something and refuting it.
 

Posted May 30, '13 at 4:21pm

NoNameC68

NoNameC68

5,296 posts

Knight

The problem with schools, both public and private, is that science teachers often teach students that a theory is an "educated guess".

Honestly, if a science teacher believes a theory is an educated guess, they should be fired on the spot.

 

Posted May 30, '13 at 5:45pm

exitpathuser

exitpathuser

156 posts

I believe it is ok to be taught because just because one small population within the school doesn't believe/want to be taught it doesn't mean all the children in the school do. those kids that dont want it to be taught probably got it from their parents and if thats what they believe then thats their choice. and parents can teach them that at home

 

Posted May 30, '13 at 8:38pm

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,776 posts

Knight

The problem with schools, both public and private, is that science teachers often teach students that a theory is an "educated guess".

Honestly, if a science teacher believes a theory is an educated guess, they should be fired on the spot.


Unfortunately even scientists will use the term theory in this way, which only further confuses things.

I believe it is ok to be taught because just because one small population within the school doesn't believe/want to be taught it doesn't mean all the children in the school do.


In the US among the general public the numbers aren't that small. About a third of the population does not believe in evolution, believing that we came into existence in our present from by a creator of some sort.
(This is from 2009 Pew Research.)

http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy/528-58.gif
http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy/528-60.gif
 

Posted May 31, '13 at 7:04am

SonOfVader

SonOfVader

113 posts

In the US among the general public the numbers aren't that small. About a third of the population does not believe in evolution, believing that we came into existence in our present from by a creator of some sort.
(This is from 2009 Pew Research.)


Interesting how, according to these stats, women are more likely to follow the literal interpretation of biblical scripture than men are; considering the abundance of verses in the bible that treat women as little more than birthing machines.
 

Posted Jun 4, '13 at 1:26am

thepyro222

thepyro222

2,187 posts

I've battled with this, and the only suitable way to settle it is to teach both macro-evolution (the theory that we evolved from sponges or something) and creation (the theory of a supreme being that has given us life.) Nothing more than that (well, more intellectually of course, with all of the big words and stuff.) That way, it provides both theories whilst staying as secular as possible.

IMHO, Science classes should not teach either theory. As those theories require faith to believe them to be true. They SHOULD teach, however, micro-evolution. (i.e. Darwin's birds.) Adaptation and natural selection are major components of biology, and those adaptations are actually observable in our natural world, unlike the other two.

 

Posted Jun 4, '13 at 2:18am

pangtongshu

pangtongshu

9,709 posts

I've battled with this, and the only suitable way to settle it is to teach both macro-evolution (the theory that we evolved from sponges or something) and creation (the theory of a supreme being that has given us life.) Nothing more than that (well, more intellectually of course, with all of the big words and stuff.) That way, it provides both theories whilst staying as secular as possible.


But they shouldn't be allowed to teach the FSM's theory of creation or Steve-ism's theory of creation?

IMHO, Science classes should not teach either theory. As those theories require faith to believe them to be true.


No...one requires faith...the other requires scientific backing, which it has. Because it has such strong scientific backing, it may thus be taught in a science class.
 

Posted Jun 4, '13 at 2:19am

HahiHa

HahiHa

5,260 posts

Knight

I've battled with this, and the only suitable way to settle it is to teach both macro-evolution (the theory that we evolved from sponges or something) and creation (the theory of a supreme being that has given us life.) Nothing more than that (well, more intellectually of course, with all of the big words and stuff.) That way, it provides both theories whilst staying as secular as possible.

Creation is not a theory, it is a belief. Teach theories in science classes and beliefs in religion classes. Neither one has anything to do in the other.

IMHO, Science classes should not teach either theory. As those theories require faith to believe them to be true. They SHOULD teach, however, micro-evolution. (i.e. Darwin's birds.) Adaptation and natural selection are major components of biology, and those adaptations are actually observable in our natural world, unlike the other two.

Micro- and macroevolution are both parts of evolution. You cannot take one without the other, as (assuming you do make the difference) macroevolution is based on microevolution, and microevolution doesn't make sense if it doesn't lead to macroevolution eventually. And there's no faith required in evolution, only evidence, which we have.
 

Posted Jun 4, '13 at 3:04am

NoNameC68

NoNameC68

5,296 posts

Knight

I've battled with this, and the only suitable way to settle it is to teach both macro-evolution (the theory that we evolved from sponges or something) and creation (the theory of a supreme being that has given us life.) Nothing more than that (well, more intellectually of course, with all of the big words and stuff.) That way, it provides both theories whilst staying as secular as possible.


We avoid teaching creationism in science class the same reason we avoid teaching geocentrism in science class, or the idea that illness comes from sin, masturbation, or lack of faith.

If we teach creationism in schools, then the following problems present themselves.

1. We teach children (wrongly) that a theory is just an educated guess.

2. We teach children that you don't need empirical evidence to create a scientific theory, you just need an idea that sounds plausible.

3. We teach children to think using fallacious methods.

For example, if a "scientist" uses a red herring to "prove" creationism, then children learn to use red herrings to support what they believe is a scientific theory.

Here's a video that goes over 25 common fallacies used by creationists:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXMKPvWqgYk

To teach creationism is to teach children how to think, wrongly.

4. We teach children that there's a lack of evidence to support evolution, when there isn't. We also teach children that there's evidence for creationism when there isn't.

IMHO, Science classes should not teach either theory. As those theories require faith to believe them to be true. They SHOULD teach, however, micro-evolution. (i.e. Darwin's birds.) Adaptation and natural selection are major components of biology, and those adaptations are actually observable in our natural world, unlike the other two.


There is plenty of evidence to support macro-evolution. You don't have to observe it as it happens. You just have to find other forms of evidence that supports the hypothesis.
 

Posted Jun 4, '13 at 7:05am

MageGrayWolf

MageGrayWolf

9,776 posts

Knight

macro-evolution (the theory that we evolved from sponges or something)


or something... Macroevolution is just evolution at the scale at or above the level of species. This is something we have observed happen.

creation (the theory of a supreme being that has given us life.)


Creationism isn't a theory It has no observation that have been verified at all, in contract to the requirement of a theory to have observations based on hypotheses that have been verified multiple times by independent researchers.

Creationism has often focused on attempts to just discredit evolution instead of providing evidence for itself, as if defeating the leading theory would automatically put creationism in it's place. Even if evolution was shown to be completely wrong we would just be left with an unknown with creationism having all the work ahead of itself.

At worst it has at times even gone against the observable evidence, using flat out lies in order to convince people of it's validity.

At best we could call creationism/ID a speculation which is just a general statement about nature requiring no facts.

IMHO, Science classes should not teach either theory. As those theories require faith to believe them to be true.


Evolution at any scale is not requiring faith. We have actual observable evidence, which has been displayed on this forum many times and can be providence upon request at any time. It would be best to stop flat out ignoring the evidence at hand.


micro-evolution. (i.e. Darwin's birds.)


Darwin's finches were 12 different species of finch, as such being it was evolution at or above the level of species they are an example of macroevolution.

Adaptation and natural selection are major components of biology, and those adaptations are actually observable in our natural world, unlike the other two.


macro and micro evolution is the same process, just at different scales.

(cat) each small change in the population that still keeps it the same species (cot) is microevolution. With enough small changes (cog) you can eventually end up with an entirely new species that can no longer interbreed or do so with difficulty with the group it was once part of. These accumulated changes can leave the new species radically different from what it once was. (dog)
 
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