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(P&CE) Agree or Disagree? Cautious 60 percent of teachers need to speak up about evolution


Cautious 60 percent of teachers need to speak up about evolution

By Collin Lysford

Published: Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 00:02


About five years ago the teaching of evolution in public schools came under fire in Kitzmiller v. Dover. A Dover Area School District policy demanded that intelligent design be taught as an alternative to evolution. The plaintiffs, parents of children in the school district, argued that intelligent design was nothing more than an alternate form of creationism, a religious view unfit for the classroom. In a district court, presided by the conservative, Republican judge John E. Jones III, it was the plaintiff who carried the day. To quote Judge Jones: "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."

Evolution has won the battle in the courtroom. Even now, though, five years after Kitzmiller v. Dover, it's still an issue of strong contention in our classrooms.

Science Magazine recently published a survey regarding the teaching of evolution in the United States. On the optimistic side, advocates of evolutionary biology – teachers who properly show evolution's role in tying together the disparate elements of biology – are up to 28 percent, as opposed to 13 percent who explicitly teach creationism. More worrisome, though, is the remainder. Between 59 and 60 percent profess to teaching "neither." That's right: more than half of our biology teachers are not taking a stand on the most important issue in biology. As the article accompanying the survey put it, they want to "avoid controversy."




Agree or Disagree? 


Asked by MamaK88 at 11:37 AM on Feb. 22, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 33 (62,090 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (20)
  • They are doing their classes a grave disservice. The second those kids get to college, they will be required to take 2 or 3 science classes, and every single one will start with a disclaimer by the prof (and possibly in the text book) that they teach the facts of evolution, which have nothing to do with religion. Argument is not welcome or allowed. The same goes for the required world civ classes, which will go back farther than the bible, and will include the same type of disclaimer about historical fact vs matters left to religion.

    I saw a few people in different classes who really struggled with that, to the point that they risked failing. Failing in college is a lot more expensive than having that struggle in high school.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 11:43 AM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • Evolution is a fact, and scientific theory means a collection of facts. One of the gravest disservices ever done in education was letting people mistakenly believe hypothesis and theory mean the same thing.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 11:57 AM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • Evolution is still a theory


    Every time I see sentences like this, and I know that person does not understand the difference between facts, laws, and theories in science. Theories EXPLAIN laws and facts. Saying 'it's STILL theory' makes no sense in science.

    Answer by pam19 at 1:43 PM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • If you teach something is fact, you tend to discourage kids questioning it and isn't it through questioning things that other things are discovered and improved on?


    Evolution is a FACT that been observed in nature and labs. The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is the best EXPLANATION we have of the FACT of evolution. It's possible we will have a better theory someday. Even if someday we find there's a better theory (explanation) for evolution, evolution does not stop occurring just because we're debating the scientific theory that best explains it. Just as gravity doesn't stop work just because one theory explains it a little more thoroughly than the first theory. Anyone who knows anything about science is ALWAYS questioning everything. I think everyone needs to learn the difference between facts, laws, and theories in science, and stop confusing 'theory' in science with the common use of the word.

    Answer by pam19 at 1:38 PM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • Also from that above quote article: "Some scientific theories include the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, the atomic theory, and the quantum theory. All of these theories are well documented and proved beyond reasonable doubt. Yet scientists continue to tinker with the component hypotheses of each theory in an attempt to make them more elegant and concise, or to make them more all-encompassing. Theories can be tweaked, but they are seldom, if ever, entirely replaced. "

    People toss around the "theory of evolution' as if it were fact because it is NOT a hypothesis. It *has* been tested and supported in a number of ways by experts. IN the scientific community it *IS* considered fact. It is *not* the colloquial use of theory, as in "I have a hunch that I've yet to support with facts." In science, a theory *IS* supported by oodles of tested and proven facts.

    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:54 PM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • I'll give you the HugePostoftheDay Award.

    Answer by jewjewbee at 11:40 AM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • I agree. I think it's sad that this is the reality. This is why are kids are so behind in science, compared to the rest of the world. people don't even understand the definition of science. It is a fact, and it should be taught as such. Religious beliefs should have nothing to do with what we choose to teach our children. Facts should be taught, not hidden away not to offend people.


    Answer by mommom2000 at 12:10 PM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • To quote Judge Jones: "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."


    I agree with this ^, and I think we need to teach evolution in school. Creationism could be taught in a comparative religion course AS religion, but it's not based on science and should not be taught as fact or as scientific theory.

    Answer by pam19 at 12:41 PM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • Meriana - while your explanation of scientific theory is technically accurate, your application of it is a bit off. Scientific theories have been tested by multiple experts using different vehicles of experimentation and study. A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been VERIFIED and ACCEPTED AS TRUE. You can read a good explanation here:

    To quote the site: "In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole." Also: "The biggest difference between a law and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A law describes a single action, whereas a theory explains an entire group of related phenomena. And, whereas a law is a postulate that forms the foundation of the scientific method, a theory is the end result of that same process. "

    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:51 PM on Feb. 22, 2011

  • I can understand the teachers position. Depending on where they teach, their jobs can be in jeopardy. They're trying to be politically correct, and it puts them in a difficult spot.

    Answer by SweetLuci at 1:08 PM on Feb. 22, 2011

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