Fwd: Kansas Rejects Evolution In Science Classes

David Starrett dstarret at BIOLOGY.SEMO.EDU
Fri Aug 13 19:33:06 EST 1999

At 08:54 AM 8/13/99 -0500, James W. Perry wrote:
>The creationist have never been able to win this argument ("proving" the 
>existence of a god) so they have taken another tact. They are not now 
>arguing to place creationism in the curriculum, but rather that evolution 
>cannot be proven either. Ergo, if their belief cannot be proven, and thus 
>is not in the curriculum, and evolution cannot be proven, then it should 
>not be in the curriculum either. I believe that was the outcome in KS.

*** If they would only comprehend the diffence between faith and science.
They don't have to be mutually exclusive.  If only evolution could be
understood to be separate from the origin of life.  Then testability is an
issue.  From experince though I know that many students will simply not
believe we are related to a chimpanzee, etc.

*** I am guessing you are right about the mechanism.  Putting creatinoism
in a curriculum is not as easy as what they have acoomplished I am guessing.

>Interestingly, it seems that microevolution is not being challenged with 
>the vehemence of macroevolution. They just can't stand to think that they 
>were not "created in the image of god" I guess.

*** There is a really nice Discover article that we use in class
(http://biology.semo.edu/courses/bi120/stdygd06.html) that deals with the
adam/eve issue.  I am not surprised by the aspects of evolution challenged,
it fits what I see in the classroom.  "Sure, fish all evolved from an
ancestral fish, but I ain't related to no monkey"

>I wish there was some way to help the biologists (and others) in KS fight 
>this lunacy.

*** Amen :)

*** I am disturbed by the events in KS and wish as you do that there was
something that we could do.  This is actually a pretty serious issue in my
mind.  Not really the bit about god vs evolution etc but the denial of
science, etc. that is implied.

>And what is "proof?" Last I checked, we have all sorts of evidence for 
>evolution, both micro and macro. Do we have proof for the existence of 
>atoms? of gravity? (After all, gravity is only a theory! :-   )

*** Interestingly, we make a big point with our stundets that in science
nothing can be proved!  We can only disprove.  Your point abut gravity is
one I make in the classroom.  We never "proved" gravity, so why don't we
all just float off into space?  This is an effective counter to the student
who says "you can't 'prove' the theroy of evolution, so it isn't real".
Your point is exactly our approach.  Nothing can be 'proved' , but we can
sure disprove all reasonable alternate explanations to the point that the
only alternate explanations left are so far-fecthed, etc that we are pretty
comfortable acepting the hypothesis (at that point a theory).  Gravity,
evolution, etc.

O.K., I can keep going for ever, enough for now.

Am curious to hear opinions of others on this.  How many are really
disturbed by this?


|  Dr. David Starrett, Director                        |
|  Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning     |
|  MS 4650, 1 University Plaza                         |
|  Southeast Missouri State University                 |
|  Cape Girardeau, MO 63701                 \          |
|  Ph: (573) 651-2298                       /\         |
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|  email: starrett at cstl.semo.edu                       |
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