Evolution In The Classroom

First day on the forum. Currently debating a coworker about God in the classroom. Reading a book, Case For Creation, that says science is debunking a lot of Darwin’s theory on evolution. Science is showing an intelligence behind our existence versus God playing no role according to Darwin. My argument with him is I think you need to present both sides in the science class. Seems like our society is working hard to take God out of everything. Do you think this is ideology driven keeping God out of the classroom? Thanks!

Chuck

A lot of people see a strong backlash at people attempting to get Intelligent Design into the classroom and assume the backlash is against religion or God, but this is not really true. The backlash is because they’re trying to force something in a science class that is not science, which just makes no sense. This is especially true considering that ID says that it is not religious, so why would one even then feel the need to say people are keeping religion out of schools when ID is rejected? Besides that, I’ve met very few atheists even that are against religion being discussed in religion, philosophy, or history classes, it just has a proper place and the science class is not it.

And no, I’m not saying that ID is not science because I’m biased. The issue with ID is that it’s only a hypothesis… that’s it. It simply has not met the proper requirements to be taught in a school setting as a scientific theory. This is explained by this video:

youtube.com/watch?v=WqznURlEWI0

If you want to learn about Evolution, here is a good book written by a Christian. I have not read it, but it was recommended by some friends of mine that are Christian and they said it helped them understand the Evolution idea much better.

amazon.com/Finding-Darwins-God-Scientists-Evolution/dp/0060930497

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

Thanks for the reply. Couldn’t get the You Tube video to come up, I’ll keep trying. I guess what I’m trying to say is aren’t we teaching the aetheists point of view in the science class? I can’t remember my biology class, but what I’ve read implies, what is being taught in some classes, that Darwinism is fact versus just a theory. If science is debunking Darwin, isn’t it fair to offer a different perspective as long as it stays in the realm of science? Isn’t science about searching for the truth? Thanks!

Chuck

Completely!! Anybody who’s lost sight of this… I’d really love to hear what they think the point of science is :shrug:

No, you’re not.

If you’ve got a science teacher actually telling a class that God doesn’t exist, that’s a major issue. However, if teacher just teaches science without reference to God, then that’s not the “atheist’s point of view”. It’s no more a public school biology teacher’s job to talk about God than it is a math or gym teacher’s job. If you want your child to understand the facts they learn in the context of the God you believe in, then you have to teach that part to your kids yourself.

Apparently you can’t remember much of your class at all if you can’t remember what the term “theory” means in the context of science.

“Theory” means a well-supported body of scientific knowledge that’s useful for making predictions. Evolution isn’t something that we only kinda know and will progress to “fact” once we have more data… it’s a theory, but it’s also fact. Actually, it’s based on many, many facts.

It’s not.

Sure. But first come up with one that stays in the realm of science. BTW: so-called “intelligent design” isn’t it.

It’s about the search for measurable fact, not “truth”, but that aside, you’re fairly close to the mark. What science isn’t about is political wrangling to get religion slipped into public school classes in disguise.

Atheism is about one’s position on the existence of God. Evolution has nothing to do with that.

Evolution does contradict some people’s religious beliefs. However, science ought not be held back because some people take religious offense.

I can’t remember my biology class, but what I’ve read implies, what is being taught in some classes, that Darwinism is fact versus just a theory.

Evolution is a fact and a theory.

Perhaps you would benefit from a look at this page:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory

If science is debunking Darwin, isn’t it fair to offer a different perspective as long as it stays in the realm of science?

Maybe, but science isn’t debunking Darwin. Quite the opposite, actually.

Isn’t science about searching for the truth?

Yes. And the science classroom is about teaching what truth we’ve found so far.

evolution is not a fact

it is possible(however unlikely) to design an experiment to prove it wrong

it has falsifiability, and human being have not tested it under every single circumstance, making it impossible for it to be a fact

Empirical truth you mean. By the way, does anyone have a website showcasing the fossils detailing a clear or marginally clear progression of an ape like creature to a modern human? Not all the intermediate steps need be found, but a simple collection of fossils showing all the major different progressions would suffice. It would also be necessary to have a loose collection of fossils demonstrating how other pre-ape forms eventually evolved into the ape.

By major progression, I’m referring to things like hip bones moving from an inner to an outer direction. Things like fingers growing an inch are not necessary.

Actually, evolution is fact… animals change, this is obvious from dog breeds to fossils. The part that is a theory is how they change, natural selection being the predominating theory. The ONLY way one can claim that evolution itself is false is if you take the stance that God made all animals to only look like they had changed, which is a little ridiculous.

Do you think teaching kids about germ theory is also atheistic? What about the theory of gravity? What about the laws of thermodynamics? You seem to be under the impression that evolution is some kind of atheist propaganda… it’s just science, it doesn’t claim anything about God or even the origin of life. I realize a lot of atheists like to defend evolution, but it’s mostly because atheists are very fond of science, this part is being challenged by religious fundamentalists with theology dressed up to look like science, and evolution is frankly pretty easy to defend. Also, keep in mind that almost every scientist in the field that is Christian also supports the theory.

Science is indeed about searching for the truth, through evidence. As for fact vs theory, see my comment right before this one.

Keep one thing in mind… you wouldn’t ask a guy off the street for medical advise, you would see a doctor who has spent perhaps decades studying the subject. As for evolution or any other science, don’t just take people’s word on things, ask those who really know about it and keep in mind that something like 95% of biologists accept evolution. Read the book I linked too as well if you want specifics on the subject.

Yes, exactly. It’s a violation of church and state and it’s state-sponsored indoctrination in atheistic thought.

Are we surprised that all of the atheists on CAF are ardent supporters of evolutionary theory and cannot accept the slightest criticism to it?

Here are some excerpts from biology textbooks giving us some insight on the compulsory, state-sponsored, taxpayer-funded atheism that is promoted in science class:

“[E]volution works without either plan or purpose — Evolution is random and undirected.”
(Biology, by Kenneth R. Miller & Joseph S. Levine (1st ed., Prentice Hall, 1991), pg. 658; (3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 1995), pg. 658; (4th ed., Prentice Hall, 1998), pg. 658; emphasis in original.)

“**Humans represent just one tiny, largely fortuitous, and late-arising twig **on the enormously arborescent bush of life.”
(Stephen J Gould quoted in Biology, by Peter H Raven & George B Johnson (5th ed., McGraw Hill, 1999), pg 15; (6th ed., McGraw Hill, 2000), pg. 16.)

“By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous.”
(Evolutionary Biology, by Douglas J. Futuyma (3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc., 1998), p. 5.)

Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless–a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us.”
(Biology: Discovering Life by Joseph S. Levine & Kenneth R. Miller (1st ed., D.C. Heath and Co., 1992), pg. 152; (2nd ed… D.C. Heath and Co., 1994), p. 161; emphases in original.)

Adopting this view of the world means accepting not only the processes of evolution, but also the view that the living world is constantly evolving, and that evolutionary change occurs without any goals.’ The idea that evolution is not directed towards a final goal state has been more difficult for many people to accept than the process of evolution itself.”
(Life: The Science of Biology by William K. Purves, David Sadava, Gordon H. Orians, & H. Craig Keller, (6th ed., Sinauer; W.H. Freeman and Co., 2001), pg. 3.)

“The ‘blind’ watchmaker is natural selection. Natural selection is totally blind to the future. “Humans are fundamentally not exceptional because we came from the same evolutionary source as every other species. It is natural selection of selfish genes that has given us our bodies and brains “Natural selection is a bewilderingly simple idea. And yet what it explains is the whole of life, the diversity of life, the apparent design of life.”
(Richard Dawkins quoted in Biology by Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reese. & Lawrence G. Mitchell (5th ed., Addison Wesley Longman, 1999), pgs. 412-413.)

“Of course, no species has 'chosen’ a strategy. Rather, its ancestors ‘little by little, generation after generation’ merely wandered into a successful way of life through the action of random evolutionary forces. **Once pointed in a certain direction, a line of evolution survives only if the cosmic dice continues to roll in its favor. “[J]ust by chance, a wonderful diversity of life has developed **during the billions of years in which organisms have been evolving on earth.
(Biology by Burton S. Guttman (1st ed., McGraw Hill, 1999), pgs. 36-37.)

“It is difficult to avoid the speculation that Darwin, as has been the case with others, found the implications of his theory difficult to confront. “The real difficulty in accepting Darwins theory has always been that it seems to diminish our significance. Earlier, astronomy had made it clear that the earth is not the center of the solar universe, or even of our own solar system. Now the new biology asked us to accept the proposition that, like all other organisms, we too are the products of a random process that, as far as science can show, we are not created for any special purpose or as part of any universal design.”
(Invitation to Biology, by Helena Curtis & N. Sue Barnes(3rd ed., Worth, 1981), pgs. 474-475.)

“The advent of Darwinism posted even greater threats to religion by suggesting that biological relationship, including the origin of humans and of all species, could be explained by natural selection without the intervention of a god. Many felt that **evolutionary randomness and uncertainty had replaced a deity **having conscious, purposeful, human characteristics. **The Darwinian view **that evolution is a historical process and present-type organisms were not created spontaneously but formed in a succession of selective events that occurred in the past, **contradicted the common religious view **that there could be no design, biological or otherwise, without an intelligent designer. “The variability by which selection depends may be random, but adaptions are not; they arise because selection chooses and perfects only what is adaptive. In this scheme a god of design and purpose is not necessary …“Nevertheless, **faith in religious dogma has been eroded **by natural explanations of its mysteries, by a deep understanding of the sources of human emotional needs, and by the recognition that ethics and morality can change among different societies and that acceptance of such values need not depend on religion.”
(Evolution by Monroe, W. Strickberger (3rd ed., Jones & Bartlett, 2000), pg. 70-71)

“Nothing consciously chooses what is selected. Nature is not a conscious agent who chooses what will be selected. “There is no long term goal, for nothing is involved that could conceive of a goal.”
(Evolution: An Introduction by Stephen C. Stearns & Rolf F. Hoeckstra, pg. 30 (2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2005).)

“[A]s E.O. Wilson puts it, a chicken is really the chicken genes’ way of making more copies of themselves. “[A]s an evolutionary biologist I believe that in some sense we exist solely to propagate the genes within us.”
(Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach, by John Alcock, pgs 16, 609 (Sinauer Associates, Inc, 1998).)

Expert advise is useful, but I would like to continue enjoying the liberty of making up my own mind. Besides, scientists have been wrong about major theories plenty of times in the past. If we were to go by scientific consensus, eugenics would have remained the law of the land.

By the way, welcome to the forum. Please keep in mind, the philosophy section here tends to be dominated by atheists who freely (and endlessly) offer their opinions against belief in God and the Catholic Faith. So, if you’re looking for advice, or even a reasonable discussion from a Catholic perspective, you’ll have to filter out a lot of irrelevant garbage along the way. If you want to try to get through to atheists, however, that’s a different kind of challenge.

I like that you point this out. Although I still cling to “evolution is a theory and it bothers me when people teach it as a fact” I don’t have a problem with it being taught, as a theory (including those facts within it that have been proven to be true), in classrooms. (I went to a very Orthodox Catholic high school and it was taught in detail). I do have a problem with people using it as evidence that everything is random and there is no God (obviously, so do you).

From what I know of ID, most people wanting to teach it are trying to push a religious agenda. I do, however, think that, in concept, it could be taught as part of a Science class, if only to produce an alternative to randomness. I don’t see how that’s a problem. Of course, you might have to find a different name for it than ID I guess.

Very true! Just keep in mind that you’re an adult, you’re free to believe whatever you want if you really wanted. When teaching students in a science class, you stick to what has been accepted in the scientific literature with lots and lots of evidence. A classroom full of students that just went over DNA for a week is not the place to discuss whether evolution is true or not anymore than you would trust the students to be able to determine if maxwell’s equations were really correct.

I posted this already in this thread, but it’s just such a good fit for this topic I’ll post it again:

youtube.com/watch?v=WqznURlEWI0

Evolution might change some in the future as new things are discovered, that’s true, but just because some parts change doesn’t mean you throw out the theory, it simply means you adjust it so that it fits both the new and all the old evidence as well… that there is a LOT of current evidence.

Geez, are aetheists always this cranky when somebody questions Darwinism? Mr Gearhead…you say that if a teacher says there is no God then it’s wrong. Is it okay then to imply there is no God through the teachings of Darwinism? What does the biology teacher say to the student, if he/she asks directly, if Darwin is saying there is no God?

I will have to disagree with you on science proving Darwin more correct as time goes on. The book, The Case For A Creator, seems to show your theory is getting debunked by modern day science. Please read the book and let me know what you think. The author, Lee Strobel, used to be an aetheist too until he did some investigating.

how does some Einstein suit you

"No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single [/FONT][FONT=Verdana]experiment can prove me wrong.
Albert Einstein "
scientists have not proven, and likely never will, that every single thing on this earth has been tested and has evolved from something else, therefore it still remains a theory

a rather good theory for scientific purposes, but still a theory

(for the record, i support ID)

Throwing out the theory or modifying it depends on the evidence.

That video isn’t relevant because there is no way to recreate the evolution of human intelligence in a lab setting. It is also tiresome to hear of these mountains of evidence and then be presented with only marginal examples.

The idea that peer review screens out weak or unsubstantiated claims is a half truth. It is an excellent selection tool and weeds out a great deal of garbage. However, to claim that the scientific process supersedes human nature and prevents large scale scientific dogma is to ignore basic human fallibility and the lessons of horrifically wrong conclusions that dominated the peer reviewed scientific landscape of the past. For examples, see global cooling/warming, demographic projections about overpopulation and famine, the aforementioned Eugenics theory, and the current predictions that proved untrue concerning SARS, Y2K, Avian Flu, and a range of other terrible non-disasters.

Regarding evolution, let’s see a real debate where scientists on both or all sides show up at a theater and present their sides. Why have I never seen this? If the evidence is that convincing, let’s get it out in the open into the real realm of public debate and discussion with all the evidence.

Which atheist here do you think is cranky? All I see is a bunch of people answering your questions and correcting some misconceptions.

Mr Gearhead…you say that if a teacher says there is no God then it’s wrong. Is it okay then to imply there is no God through the teachings of Darwinism?

I don’t think that’s possible. The existence of God is an entirely different subject than the origin of modern biodiversity.

What does the biology teacher say to the student, if he/she asks directly, if Darwin is saying there is no God?

A responsible teacher will reply that the existence of God is not affirmed or denied by science, whether evolution or some other subject.

I will have to disagree with you on science proving Darwin more correct as time goes on. The book, The Case For A Creator, seems to show your theory is getting debunked by modern day science. Please read the book and let me know what you think. The author, Lee Strobel, used to be an aetheist too until he did some investigating.

Lee Strobel, if memory serves, is a journalist. I would be surprised if he has any formal training at all in biology, much less a relevant degree.

Strobel is an apologist. He is interested in proving the existence of God. If you’re interested in science, ask a scientist. There are hundreds of books written by qualified biologists on the subject of evolution. Try one of those.

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