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Teaching evolution in K-12, NOT.

Brian Foley brianf at med.uvm.edu
Tue Dec 14 19:48:15 EST 1993

Dear Researchers:

	As a graduate student in molecular genetics, I am quite interested
in molecular evolution, and evoltuion in general.  I was not taught much
about evolution before entering college (1978), so I recently became
interested in finding out how much evolution is taught in the K-12 school
years now.

	I tried finding out by asking teachers who use the Usenet
newsgroup called K12.ED.Science about evolution.  I was quickly told by
several members of the group (including one who seemed to be the
moderator) that discussion of evolution was not allowed in the K12.ED.Science
list because "there are other groups for discussing that".  I followed up
saying that in my humble opinion biology is now based on evolution to a
large degree and that it is a true science.  I noted that religious
debates about evolution may not be pertinent to the group, but I felt that
sticking to proven facts about evolution, without getting into theories
about exactly what the driving forces might be, would be appropriate for 
K-12 students to learn about.
	The group responed with another "No way".  Here is one personal reply
to my followup letter.

>Hi Brian,
>for evolution from a scientific perspective in Internet:
>   Sci.Bio.Evolution
>for evolution from a religious perspective in Internet:
>   Soc.Religion.Christian
>   Soc.Religion.Bible.Study
>In FidoNet, see C_VS_E for Creation vs Evolution
>and there are some echoes with titles like CREATION, 
>BIBLE_TOPICS, GTNET_SCIENCE that are appropriate.
>I hope that helps,     regards,    Terry
>  aka   bowden at sydvm1.vnet.ibm.com
>Via FidoNet/AARNET gateway - 3:632/400 at fidonet and Pro-Net Australia
>within Australia, call for more information on joining Pro-Net (03) 349-2266

	I was upset with this answer for a number of reasons:  1) I cannot 
find any such group as Sci.Bio.Evolution, I found the this BIONET group,
but this group is sure not to reach high school students and teachers because
due to network load they do not download the BIONET group of groups.  2)
the argument that the Christian religion has more to say about evolution
than the Taoist, Sioux, or any other religion does not sound right to me.

	Now I am left with the impression that most science teachers at the
K-12 level believe that evolution is just a single "theory" that competes
directly with religious views of creation.  THis was what I was taught in 
grade school in the late '60s.  I thought we had progressed since then.

	Any comments?

*  Brian Foley               *     If we knew what we were doing   *
*  Molecular Genetics Dept.  *     it wouldn't be called research  *
*  University of Vermont     *                                     *

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