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General Chat Thread, Schools should teach creationism? in General; Originally Posted by mark You've made reference to Richard Dawkins. As a scientist , do you think his statement that ...
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    somabc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    You've made reference to Richard Dawkins. As a scientist, do you think his statement that there is actual proof of evolution that creationists deliberately ignore to be incorrect?
    He is not a Scientist. He is a Scientologist.

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    mark's Avatar
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    I knew he was a Scientologist - I also thought he taught science, looks like I was wrong. Ah well

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    somabc's Avatar
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    If he teaches Science then I apologise. Its a bit of a debate though, is a science teacher a scientist?

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    Back to the OP, this section from yesterday's Guardian letters page should help clear up a few things.

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    Interesting to see Michael Reiss' comment there in the Guardian. Don't believe everything you read in the newspapers eh!

    One could consider himself to be a scientist if he applied scientific reasoning, but I'm not a scientist in the professional sense.

    I have not heard that particular statement verbatim from Dawkins, but I know he has said something similar. I don't really watch everything he's done for TV nor read his many writings, but I would say that he is being a little generalised in making this assumption.

    If there is evidence for evolution, and I consider that there is, then that's fine. If someone ignores it, okay. But you can't go round saying 'creationists ignore evidence for evolution' because it doesn't refer to everyone. There may be some creationists who consider the evidence to be false or insufficient, and there may be those who accept it. Personally, I find the evidence for evolution to be mostly accurate, but it doesn't mean that I believe we all arose from a sea of ammonia or that all living things are animated by a carbon isotope. In my opinion, just as religion and atheism can coexist, science and religion can and do coexist and it would be remiss of us to omit either from the other's lesson. We don't deny science in R.E., so why deny religious belief in science? And that doesn't mean I advocate promoting it either. I just don't think science is against religion or vice versa. Some scientists may be against religion and some religionists may be against science. So be it, but let's not tar everyone with the same brush.

    I think you get my drift anyway.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    Prof Reiss is on the dead on the money. If a pupil raises an objection to a theory (any theory) then the teacher should be able to explain the science (or lack thereof) behind the theory.

    The only problem is how much time the teacher has to spend tackling alternative theories such as creationism, FSM etc. If they are to have enough time to actually explain the science can they simply tell the pupil that their particular theory is not important and move on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    Prof Reiss is on the dead on the money. If a pupil raises an objection to a theory (any theory) then the teacher should be able to explain the science (or lack thereof) behind the theory.

    The only problem is how much time the teacher has to spend tackling alternative theories such as creationism, FSM etc. If they are to have enough time to actually explain the science can they simply tell the pupil that their particular theory is not important and move on?
    But which is worse; telling a kid "no sorry, this is what the course says" and move on. Or explaining to him how the foundation of all his and his families beliefs is a lie?

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    Oh yes you are!!
    Nah, I really wasn't!

    If I hadn't vented about that article I would have exploded by the time I read there was a Creationist Museum about five minutes from my house!

    BBC NEWS | Magazine | Who are the British creationists?

    We're going on Saturday!

    Hi mark - I would take up the cloth but I really, really love computers. They are so awesome. (:crying

    Good summer?

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    Anyone else think Sam should read 'Scientology'?

    I'm surprised that not everyone agreed with the OP. Actually surprised.

    If you want to redefine science then that's a different issue. School children are not placed in a classroom with lots of cool chemicals and invited to mix them and try and discover something that no one has!

    Kids learn things like acid+base = salt+water - it was true when my mum and dad were at school, then when my older brother went, then when I did and my younger sister went. This is not a matter for debate, it's a fact we all learned (and should remember)

    Are people saying that if the biblical account of the world was not compatible with this we should discard this element of science too? Scientists don't go out of their way to annoy religious people!

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    But which is worse; telling a kid "no sorry, this is what the course says" and move on. Or explaining to him how the foundation of all his and his families beliefs is a lie?
    It isn't a science teacher's job to explain why his or her parents have a distorted understanding. Teaching creationism is not either.

    This is a really big problem. That's why scientists need to stand united with a single stance - evolution is a fact and biblical texts have no authority in the field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwendes View Post
    It isn't a science teacher's job to explain why his or her parents have a distorted understanding. Teaching creationism is not either.

    This is a really big problem. That's why scientists need to stand united with a single stance - evolution is a fact and biblical texts have no authority in the field.
    My point exactly. The only outcome i could see from a teacher telling a devout christian/muslim/etc their religion is wrong and they are right is for the teacher to be branded a racist/spreading religious hatred/whatever the current "in thing" is. And even if their are no grounds for a conviction the allagations alone are enough to destroy someones career/life.

    For a teacher to argue against a religion he must first fully understand it. Science teachers are not RE teachers, infact in alot of cases they are quite opposite types of person. Anyway the bottom line for a religious person is "yoiu must have faith" so no amount of proof is ever going to convince them that everything they have ever been taught is wrong.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 16th September 2008 at 11:33 AM.

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    A teacher shouldn't be so stupid to tell the religious person that they're wrong. Like you say, it'd be professional suicide. It shouldn't be necessary. Evolution remains a theory. Certain facts may support it, but nothing is conclusive (I think I'm right in saying).

    It is a real problem at some level for most religious believers. You are believing in stuff that is supernatural. That affects your understanding of science; you have to look on science as incomplete. Some look on science as proof of intelligent design. The interpretation changes enlightened by scientific study. The meaning isn't changed, just better understood. I don't understand people who say religion is a fixed view unlike science. The Bible makes statements, but none are disproved by science.

    Funny thought yesterday - the Bible is the best evidence there is against intelligent design - I know that's essentially been said in different ways already, but just thought it clarified it a bit

    Interesting the comments on the Guardian article re teachers within a school needing to collaborate more. In my ex school the RE teacher and the Chemistry teacher were best buddies. They are both Christians, core members of the school Christian group thingy, the RE teacher a devout creationist and the Chemistry teacher not so much. (I'm still in contact with both as friends) (Dan the RE man gets excellent results. His lessons are challenging and interesting - the kids get to discuss moral issues in some depth.)

    I think it's actually against the rules now to discuss creationism in science lessons.

    I was just discussing creationism with a couple of Christian friends last night in a churchy meeting thing. They firmly believe the torah to be literally true. These are not extremist nutters - very ordinary people with simple beliefs. They had no problem with my belief in evolution. I have no problem with their beliefs either. I'm just interested in why they think what they do. One is a mother, and tells her children the same. I suppose it's down to the intelligence of the individual to reason and conclude what they do.
    Last edited by mark; 16th September 2008 at 01:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    Evolution remains a theory. Certain facts may support it, but nothing is conclusive (I think I'm right in saying).
    There is a difference between a scientific theory and the general word 'theory'. A scientific theory hast to go through huge amounts of peer review, testing, and be generally accepted as 'true' before it is actually even a theory.

    Creationism isn't a theory, in the scientific meaning of the word.

    It is important to remember that when discussing this really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    A teacher shouldn't be so stupid to tell the religious person that they're wrong. Like you say, it'd be professional suicide. It shouldn't be necessary. Evolution remains a theory. Certain facts may support it, but nothing is conclusive (I think I'm right in saying).
    It remains a scientific theory.

    "In scientific usage, a theory does not mean an unsubstantiated guess or hunch, as it can in everyday speech. A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena." Wiki

    Generally speaking, theories are facts. They are the best model we have, backed up by large amounts of evidence.

    Since evolution was first proposed we have discovered genetics - if that isn't conclusive, being able to trace the movement if every piece of digital code within every living thing, then nothing is. What about micro-evolution?

    We will never be able to observe evolution but the overwhelming evidence it has left, in the fossil record for example, puts the theory beyond question. The idea that an old book somehow holds a more complete truth or an alternative theory that holds equal water and is based on an equal amount of faith is nothing other than an insult to Science. And it deserves a capital letter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    A teacher shouldn't be so stupid to tell the religious person that they're wrong. Like you say, it'd be professional suicide. It shouldn't be necessary.
    For arguements sake, Im a Christian and you are the teacher.

    Me - "The world, all its creatures, and man were created by God in 7 days around x000 years ago (sorry cant remember what god says it is). There is no such thing as evolution. And all the evidence which points to creatures pre-dating man by millions of year (ie Dinasours) is falsified or mis-interperated. Carbon dating is wrong... "


    Now explain to me how you would correct me without actually telling me Im wrong. See the problem? At some point in the debate someone has to come out as being right and the other as wrong. There are some issues which can be interperated by scientists and religious people in differant ways but some things such as the all but un-deniable proof that the earth is older than God says it is (fossils, dinasaurs, evolution etc) are black and white issues; the earth either is or isnt the age Gods said it was, therefore someone has to be right and someone wrong.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 16th September 2008 at 02:15 PM.

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