May 3, 2005

STINKS WHEN THE CLASS KNOWS MORE THAN YOU DO:

Now evolving in biology classes: a testier climate: Some science teachers say they're encountering fresh resistance to the topic of evolution - and it's coming from their students. (G. Jeffrey MacDonald, 5/03/05, The Christian Science Monitor)

[S]tiff resistance on the part of some US students to the theory of evolution should come as no surprise.

Even after decades of debate, Americans remain deeply ambivalent about the notion that the theory of natural selection can explain creation and its genesis.

A Gallup poll late last year showed that only 28 percent of Americans accept the theory of evolution, while 48 percent adhere to creationism - the belief that an intelligent being is responsible for the creation of the earth and its inhabitants.

But if reluctance to accept evolution is not new, the ways in which students are resisting its teachings are changing.

"The argument was always in the past the monkey-ancestor deal," says Mr. Williamson, who teaches at Olathe East High School. "Today there are many more arguments that kids bring to class, a whole fleet of arguments, and they're all drawn out of the efforts by different groups, like the intelligent design [proponents]."

It creates an uncomfortable atmosphere in the classroom, Williamson says - one that he doesn't like. "I don't want to ever be in a confrontational mode with those kids ... I find it disheartening as a teacher."

Williamson and his Kansas colleagues aren't alone. An informal survey released in April from the National Science Teachers Association found that 31 percent of the 1,050 respondents said they feel pressure to include "creationism, intelligent design, or other nonscientific alternatives to evolution in their science classroom."

These findings confirm the experience of Gerry Wheeler, the group's executive director, who says that about half the teachers he talks to tell him they feel ideological pressure when they teach evolution.

And according to the survey, while 20 percent of the teachers say the pressure comes from parents, 22 percent say it comes primarily from students.


It was so much more fun when the little cretins just sat there and accepted the indoctrination...

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 3, 2005 12:47 PM
Comments

Now if we can get the kids in English classes to question their teachers on the quality of Faulkner, Hemingway, and DeLillo we'd be all set.

Posted by: Shelton at May 3, 2005 1:02 PM

Shelton:

You should have gone to school with me...

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2005 1:06 PM

Faulkner. Gag. (He was no Bellow you know).

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 3, 2005 1:22 PM

Yeah, his unreadable books were Southern.

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2005 1:52 PM

"Even after decades of debate, Americans remain deeply ambivalent about the notion that the theory of natural selection can explain creation and its genesis."

As well they should. Who proposed such bizarre nonsense?

Posted by: creeper at May 3, 2005 3:17 PM

Mr. Judd;

Ah, we should have been in class together. I found Faulkner unreadable as well. Of course, I also asked my poor English teacher why MacBeth didn't just burn down Durham Wood to avoid the prophesy...

But more interestingly, I had the best interaction with and learning from those teachers I had at least a partially confrontational interaction with. I feel sad for the teacher and his students if he prefers passive fact recepticles.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 3, 2005 4:49 PM

AOG:

You should have been in Ms Sebold's 8th grade English class for the discussion of The Crucible. Suffice it to say, she'd not heard the argument before that they were witches and should have burned.

Posted by: oj at May 3, 2005 4:55 PM

James Joyce made me want to pull my hair out and run screaming from the building. Faulkner, Bah!

Posted by: Stormys70 at May 3, 2005 7:08 PM

Joyce's writing is strangely reminiscent of teacher-talk in Charlie Brown cartoons.

I was once in a bookstore with my dad, took out a copy of Finnegan's Wake, and dared him to open it up to any random page and read a paragraph. Boy, the look on his face...

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 3, 2005 10:20 PM

And yes, I realize that was an extremely cruel thing to do...

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 3, 2005 10:26 PM

Soon we'll have kids demanding to be taught that the sun revolves around the earth.

Posted by: at May 4, 2005 2:01 PM

The Universe does.

Posted by: oj at May 4, 2005 2:39 PM

Pull the other one.

Posted by: creeper at May 4, 2005 3:26 PM

They bring Jack Chick comics into class and think they're qualified to discuss evolution.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 4, 2005 7:54 PM

As qualified.

Posted by: oj at May 4, 2005 7:57 PM

Okay, they bring Jack Chick comics into class and think they're as qualified to discuss evolution.

Posted by: creeper at May 5, 2005 12:59 AM

They are as qualified.

Posted by: oj at May 5, 2005 7:30 AM

Had I but world enough and time, I'd go back into the brothersjuddblog archives and follow the comments about evolution in the days before I and a few other knowledgable people showed up.

I pretty much expect it would show that Orrin was throwing red meat to the dogs and they were eating it up.

Times change. Presented with actual darwinism, rather than the ersatz subsitute that's peddled by, eg, Discovery Institute, he has declined to even attempt a critique but merely retreated into a frank obscurantism.

The yahoos still eat it up, but Americans are, if nothing else, practical-minded and goal-oriented. How Orrin's strategy fits into his overall strategy puzzles me.

I mean, tens of millions of people may say they believe in angels -- so what? -- but getting the same tens of millions to stop believing in penicillin?

I don't think so.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 5, 2005 6:37 PM

Harry:

I don't know anyone who still believes in Darwinism, including my biology PHD brother and doctor Wife. It's dead except for your fanmatical fringe in the States, which believes for anti-religious reasons, not scientific.

I could hardluy caricature you better than you do there--the lonely defender of Reason and Darwin who's single-handedly fended off the Creationist horde...

All silly, of course. There are always atheists around who insist on Darwinism--Rand Simberg used to fill the role--and do so poorly.

I don't reiterate the entire critique every time because there's so much of it here. Suffice it to say you've never mnade it past the most basic point--nothing actually speciates or undergoes significant morphological change in the wild as a result of selection pressures. It was an insightful guess by Darwin, but happens not to work in reality.


http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1390/Evolution.htm

Posted by: oj at May 5, 2005 8:36 PM

My review of the book took a different line.

But your review does not explain your obscurantism.

I understand why you are obscurantist. It's the default position of Christianity. What I don't get is why you are a frank obscurantist.

You are preaching to the choir and chasing away any fencesitters.

People like Dembski and Johnson are more subtle. They are obscurantists but they try to hide it.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 6, 2005 8:34 PM

Yes, Intelligent Design is just as silly as Darwinism.

Fence sitters? 12% of Americans believe in Darwinism and the rest believe it's God.

Posted by: oj at May 6, 2005 8:38 PM

Excellent points, Harry.

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 10:34 AM

Orrin,

Of the rest who "believe it's God", 4% have no opinion, therefore clearly don't "believe it's God", while another 38% believe that human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process - which contradicts your own stance of biblical literalism or pretending that God creating the world in six days equals evolution.

Also, 35% consider the theory of evolution as being well-supported by evidence, while another 29% don't know enough to say.

Heck yeah, there's plenty of fence-sitters, and as Harry pointed out, should any of them stop by here, your peculiar brand of obscurantism may well have an effect on them.

Though with your recent surprise revelation that you now agree with Kettlewell's findings, if not his methods, one has to wonder if you're trying to scare away not just the fencesitters, but the choir.

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 1:26 PM

12% believe it's Nature and the number has only gone up or down by about a percentage point or two over thirty years. Darwinism is a dead letter in America, believed in only by a marginal elite that's widely despised.

Kettlewell faked his findings and they couldn't prove what he sought to, but the premise of the study is too obvious to need testing.

Posted by: oj at May 8, 2005 1:33 PM

"12% believe it's Nature and the number has only gone up or down by about a percentage point or two over thirty years."

Actually it has gone up by 4% in the last 12 years.

"Darwinism is a dead letter in America, believed in only by a marginal elite that's widely despised."

35% consider the theory of evolution as being well-supported by evidence, while another 29% don't know enough to say. The trend, albeit a weak one, is from not knowing enough to say to accepting evolution as being well-supported by evidence. That goes hand in hand with the fastest-growing religious preference in the US being "none".

"Kettlewell faked his findings and they couldn't prove what he sought to, but the premise of the study is too obvious to need testing."

How do you consolidate on the one hand finding his premise as so obvious as to be not worth proving (which incidentally flies in the face of almost all criticism of Kettlewell), and on the other hand calling him a fraud with no evidence whatsoever, simply because you find one data point in his findings difficult to believe (even though this, in turn, has been found entirely plausible - see http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/moonshine.htm)?

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 1:57 PM

creeper:

Evolution guided by God, well-supported by the evidence, is Creationism.

Kettlewell was right that predation rates vary, fradulent in his methods, and mistaken that it had any effect on birth ratios.

Posted by: oj at May 8, 2005 2:29 PM

"Evolution guided by God, well-supported by the evidence, is Creationism."

cre·a·tion·ism, n.

Belief in the literal interpretation of the account of the creation of the universe and of all living things related in the Bible.

It seems that what you are describing is closer to Intelligent Design, not Creationism. Some people appreciate a differentiation between the two.

"Kettlewell was right that predation rates vary, fradulent in his methods, and mistaken that it had any effect on birth ratios."

You have not managed to substantiate your claim that Kettlewell was fraudulent in your methods, and one has to wonder at this point if you are perhaps knowingly speaking the untruth, which would not be very nice of you at all, Orrin.

As for "mistaken that it had any effect on birth ratios", please cite the scientific study that shows that it had no effect on birth ratios. In the absence of such, the best you can conclude would be that Kettlewell's study was inconclusive as regards birth ratios.

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 2:41 PM

"in your methods" = "in his methods"

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 2:42 PM

creeper:

Yes the absence of any scientific studies on the puported melanism is the exact point.

If God Created it then it's creationism.

Posted by: oj at May 8, 2005 2:53 PM

"Yes the absence of any scientific studies on the puported melanism is the exact point."

There are scientific studies regardine melanism, and I have linked to them previously. There are AFAIK no studies regarding birth ratios, and in the absence of such you are in no position to make a conclusive judgement that Kettlewell was mistaken that predation rates had any effect on birth ratios.

"If God Created it then it's creationism"

And as you'll note, the word created did not feature in the question, so this is irrelevant.

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 3:14 PM

You've never linked to a study showing melanism, just counts of adults, which has nothing to do with it.


It is the question. They answer God guiding Evolution, which is Creation.

Posted by: oj at May 8, 2005 4:32 PM

"You've never linked to a study showing melanism, just counts of adults, which has nothing to do with it.

E.B. Poulton did a rather extensive study of larvae, not adult lepidopterae, including the peppered moth, back in 1890.

Two chapters are devoted to a subject which Mr. Poulton has made especially his own, the variable protective colouring of insects. This was first noticed by the late Mr. T. W. Wood, the well-known natural history artist who furnished many of the best illustrations for Darwin's "Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals," and the result of his experiments were brought before the Entomological Society of London in 1867. Since then a few other observations have been made by several naturalists, but little was known of the extent or of the exact causes of the adaptation till Mr. Poulton carried out his experiments for several years in succession, and on so extensive a scale that in one year over 700 larvæ of the small tortoiseshell butterfly (Vanessa urticæ) were observed under various surroundings, and the colours of the resulting chrysalides recorded. In this way pupæ were obtained varying from black to nearly white or metallic golden colours, in each case corresponding more or less closely to the coloured surfaces on which they were suspended. By changing the coloured surroundings at different stages of the process, and by blinding some of the larvæ, it was ascertained that the period of susceptibility is the quiescent stage just before the change to the pupa state, and that in this case vision has nothing to do with the change of colour. By a number of ingenious experiments, it was ascertained that the whole surface of the skin is sensitive to the action of variously-coloured light, and the effect on the pupa-skin is produced, not directly, as by some photographic action, but by a physiological process acting through the nervous system. In some cases even the cocoons spun by the larvæ are modified by the surrounding colours; and still more curious changes are effected in the larva itself when, as in so many cases, the same species feeds on several plants having differently-coloured leaves. Even the presence of numerous dark twigs has been shown to cause a corresponding change of colour in the larva of the peppered moth (Amphidasis betularia).

I can't speak for Harry, but he may have been referring to the above-mentioned study earlier.

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 5:26 PM

"You've never linked to a study showing melanism, just counts of adults, which has nothing to do with it."

When the frequency of carbonaria among adults reaches 98%, it does have something to do with it.

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 5:27 PM

"It is the question. They answer God guiding Evolution, which is Creation."

When they answer yes to "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process", that is not creationism.

cre·a·tion·ism, n.

Belief in the literal interpretation of the account of the creation of the universe and of all living things related in the Bible.

Doesn't mean it's not a belief in God, or they're not religious folks. It just means that they do take the evolution of man from less advanced forms of life on board, and they do not take the account of creation presented in the bible literally.

Don't begrudge them their faith.

Posted by: creeper at May 8, 2005 5:32 PM

Fair enough. I'm untroubled if your version of Darwinism assumes that God selects.

Posted by: oj at May 8, 2005 6:58 PM

Of course, "the variable protective colouring of insect" would be the opposite of industrial melanism. I do stand corrected though. From that data we can see that Kettlewell's assumption about predation, though logical, was totally wrong. Once again, the logic of selection proves useless in reality. Does though explain even better why he had to resort to fraud.

Posted by: oj at May 8, 2005 7:00 PM

"I'm untroubled if your version of Darwinism assumes that God selects."

As we've discussed before, this isn't my version of Darwinism, but obviously it is that of millions of people out there.

Not that that should be troubling either.

Posted by: creeper at May 9, 2005 2:50 AM

"Does though explain even better why he had to resort to fraud."

What fraud?

Posted by: creeper at May 9, 2005 2:52 AM
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