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Creation/Evolution, Politics, science

Creationism in the classroom… legally!

In our AmerIn Ameriican society the current understanding of the separation of church and state is understood as God is not allowed to be discussed at all in school.  This is a misinterpretation, but that’s another topic.  Due to this popular interpretation, how does one even attempt creationism in the American public classroom?  Well, you can’t in the current climate.  But there are things that can be done now legally, with no new laws enacted to encourage further study.  I’m sure no true scientist would want to hamper further study, right??

The first step is for science teachers who wish to be more honest and encourage dialogue concerning the truth about sciences that deal with historical issues.  Since we are not there to directly observe the things we are presuming about the past, we are relying on an uniformitarian assumption (things have always clicked along exactly as they do today) and an after-the-fact interpretation.  Discussion can be made about the dangers of assumptions and interpretations. 

Building on that discussion honest science teachers can legally highlight a growing number of peer-reviewed journal articles disputing long-held evolutionary assumptions.  For example this quote:

“According to Loren Rieseberg, a botanist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, around 14 per cent of living plant species are the product of the fusion of two separate lineages. … It is becoming increasingly apparent that HGT plays an unexpectedly big role in animals too. As ever more multicellular genomes are sequenced, ever more incongruous bits of DNA are turning up. Last year, for example, a team at the University of Texas at Arlington found a peculiar chunk of DNA in the genomes of eight animals – the mouse, rat, bushbaby, little brown bat, tenrec, opossum, anole lizard and African clawed frog – but not in 25 others, including humans, elephants, chickens and fish. This patchy distribution suggests that the sequence must have entered each genome independently by horizontal transfer… [Michael] Rose goes even further. “The tree of life is being politely buried, we all know that,” he says. “What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.” Biology is vastly more complex than we thought, he says, and facing up to this complexity will be as scary as the conceptual upheavals physicists had to take on board in the early 20th century.  … Syvanen recently compared 2000 genes that are common to humans, frogs, sea squirts, sea urchins, fruit flies and nematodes. In theory, he should have been able to use the gene sequences to construct an evolutionary tree showing the relationships between the six animals. He failed. The problem was that different genes told contradictory evolutionary stories. … Roughly 50 per cent of its genes have one evolutionary history and 50 per cent another,’ Syvanen says. “We’ve just annihilated the tree of life. It’s not a tree any more, it’s a different topology entirely

Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life, NewScientist, 2009.

 

Notice that this entire approach to “teaching the controversy” does not once mention God, the Bible, intelligent design, or creationism.  It’s an honest approach that strengthens student’s understanding of how science works:  tentative until further information reveals itself such as the recent reveal of junk DNA actually serving a purpose after all after decades of it being used as an evidence of evolution.  Our students deserve to hear the whole truth, not be indoctrinated towards any one view.  None of this puts creationism directly into the classroom, but it allows a foot-in-the-door in the student’s mind.  If evolution has the potential of not being true, what else could it be?  Cue the Sunday school teacher… who hopefully knows the right answers!

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

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