"Teaching evolution without tears can be a tall order for science teachers in a nation where 46 percent of Americans believe in creationism over science (Gallup Poll), but NIMBioS is trying to help get good information into the hands of teachers."
Beth Adler, Oak Ridge High School teacher, talks to teachers with a printout of part of the human genome surrounding her on the floor.
Both Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Drum are wrong, but I think Drum is infuriatingly wrong. The evolution statistic does have epic significance. If kids were graduating from high school unable to read or do basic arithmetic, we’d see that as a serious indictment of our educational system…and we’d be right to worry about our future as a technological society. That 46% of our citizens graduate with a complete denial of a most basic, fundamental fact about our world — that all of the sciences, not just biology, but physics, geology, chemistry, and astronomy concur that the planet is billions of years old — represents a massive failure of our educational system. In itself, it’s a small problem — it’s knowledge of one small detail. But as a symptom, it indicates a nation-wide problem.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas is headed toward another debate over how evolution is taught in its public schools, with a State Board of Education member saying Friday that science standards under development are “very problematic” for describing the theory as a well-established, core scientific concept....
Education teaching resources on ARKive including key science & biology subjects such as adaptation, biodiversity, conservation, classification, food chains, identification and Darwin’s theory of natural selection...
"I believe our usual counterargument goes something like this: “What controversy? That’s like saying there’s a controversy over whether the Roman Empire existed!” I think that’s a flawed counterargument, and here’s why: It doesn’t fully capture the specific nature of the creationism argument. It doesn’t capture that there is tepid public acceptance but overwhelming acceptance of evolution among biologists. That is, in the case of evolution, there is *actual* controversy. It just doesn’t exist between people who are educated on the topic."
"The new Tennessee law does not ban the teaching of evolution as the old law had. Its supporters contend that it will allow the expansion of scientific views in the classroom. What it does do is allow doubt to be injected into areas of science in which scientists say there really isn’t any. It allows creationism and evolution to be debated side by side in a science classroom, which is just plain wrong, even if the Tennessee legislature thinks otherwise."
"Oklahoma's House Bill 1551, one of two bills attacking the teaching of evolution and of climate change active in the Oklahoma legislature during 2012, is now in effect dead, according to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education. Originally introduced in 2011, HB 1551 was rejected by the House Common Education Committee in that year, but revived and passed by the committee in 2012, and then passed by the House of Representatives on a 56-12 vote on March 15, 2012, and sent to the Senate Education Committee, where it died. April 2, 2012, was the last meeting of the Senate Education Committee in the present legislative session, and April 5, 2012, is the deadline for single-assigned house bills (such as HB 1551) to be reported from their senate committees."
"I too worry that polarizing things does lead to a religion-or-science-and-take-no-hostages kind of thinking. And whatever the Constitution may say and whatever previous interpretations may have been, I fear that the present Supreme Court might take this as an excuse – if indeed they even look for excuses – to allow some form of biblical literalism into biology classes."
May 29, 2012 AAAS member -- Freelance Writer Carrie Madren Editor’s note: In a two-part series, AAAS talks with middle and high school teachers across the country to find out what it’s like to be on the front lines of two often-controversial science topics — evolution and climate change — and how they deal with the push back. Part I features tales about teaching evolution and Part II, stories from climate science teachers..
"Many religiously affiliated schools across the country are known for turning out well-educated students and teaching core subjects without a sectarian bias. But some schools financed by the tax-credit programs teach a fundamentalist dogma holding that the world was literally created in six days."
By all means criticize TE for glopping up a perfectly good scientific theory with a lot of unnecessary theological gobbledy-gook. Just remember that on the issue of science education they are on the side of the angels, and, indeed, are necessary allies in the fight against creationism. Describing them with the same term we use for anti-science, right-wing religious zealots is not helpful...
"Once, the Monkey Bill would have been regarded as only a local curiosity. But lunatic legislation no longer occurs in a vacuum. Gun laws like Stand Your Ground, the new spate of voter-ID laws, laws that restrict immigration and abortion or those that attempt to resurrect school prayer are derived, often word for word, from model legislation issued by ideological think tanks."
A new law in the U.S. state of Tennessee, the second in the country, will allow science teachers to address the “strengths and weaknesses” of the theory of evolution with their classes. They may also use class time to present alternative explanations, such as intelligent design, the new incarnation of creationism. Although proponents of the law claim it simply defends “academic freedom” and encourages critical thinking in students, supporters of science see it as a veiled effort to bring creationism into the classroom.
"Today on KTRS/St. Louis, I discussed the new law with evolutionary biologist Josh Rosenau of the National Center For Science Education. He explained what it means for science teachers in Tennessee and the impact it will have on students who go on to college."
"Concerns surrounding this bill cannot be overstated. Indeed, HB 368 does not even purport to improve science education – it practically acknowledges that its purpose is to discredit scientific theories. HB 368, in fact, significantly changes Tennessee’s science curriculum—it calls into question the veracity of the entire discipline. Arguments that students should learn about “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories” are unwarranted based on the overwhelming evidence that supports such theories, and will only harm students’ education. This legislation, which perpetuates the teaching of non-science with a seemingly neutral approach, allows creationists to continue to make unfounded attacks against evolution."
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