Fwd: Kansas Rejects Evolution In Science Classes

mystic mystic at lcc.net
Sat Aug 14 19:35:19 EST 1999

David Starrett wrote:

> *** 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?
> Dave

I teach in a little podunk district deep in the heart of E. Texas  --
and if there's one place in the world that a science teacher will catch
flak from devout students for mentioning evolution, this is the place.

However, the point you made about science not being able to 'prove'
anything, only to disprove, is one that I make time and time again in my
7th grade classes.  We talk about adaptation and change all the time,
and the one thing I've been able to do so far is make my students pretty
comfortable with the idea that the mechanisms of evolution may have
NOTHING to do with the root question of 'why?'.  So far, I haven't had a
single student fight me on evolution, mostly because I am willing to
concede that, despite Big Bang and evolution, the root 'why' of the
universe (why did it come to exist?) simply cannot be explained by
science.  That, and my explanation of the passive nature of evolutional
change, seems to satisfy them.  If more teachers allowed the devout
students that 'out', so that they could see, at a young age, that
science and faith are not mutually exclusive, fewer of them would grow
up to be bone-headed Kansas State School Board member.


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