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The South Shall Rise Again

Yeah - just not their SAT scores. This article from the Arkansas Times shows how evolution is slowly and systematically being forced out of the classroom - even to the point where teachers are not permitted to use the terms 'natural selection' or, of course, the 'e-word'. Best quote:
But Bob’s personal issue was more specific, and the prohibition more insidious. In his words, “I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD ... but I am NOT to say that these rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old.”
You know, if this keeps up, the Republicans are going to have to rethink their stand on illegal immigration - at this rate it's the only hope the Americans are ever going to have of getting anyone with a tech education.

Hey I saw this article too. Really risky to dumb down your population when the competition is bitin at your heels. Crazy ideas.

I agree that evolution is a theory, mainly because we were not around over the last 3 billion years ago to prove definitively that evolution is fact. So to satisfy the dumb gits down south in Arkansas, teach both Creationism "view" and Evolutionary Theory, but indicate that Evolution has a ton of testable hard evidence that supports it, while Creationism has some bible interpretations that are flimsy at best to support their "view" (terminology used by Gov. Huckabee)[note: No one said Creationism was a theory in the article]
This will satisfy the curriculum and the dumb gits will still have their "view" exposed [to what it really is].

Just an idea.

A big part of the problem is that fundamentalist Christians will very aggressively defend their position and will organize swiftly to counter any attempts against their foolish beliefs. Those that are in favour of teaching evolution, natural selection, deep time, etc., are less likely to do so for several reasons:

1) They do not often share a community organization network like a single or linked group of churches that meet regularly. I'm sure that an awful lot of this Creationist fervour is stoked by strident ministers whose science education is limited to what they took during their MDiv and read in the Bible. Evolutionists, for lack of a better term, do not have such a social network, and even if they do organize for this purpose, it will only be for this purpose. Their community organization will not baptise their kids, marry and bury them, and therefore will not engender the defense mechanism that a perceived threat to a church can. Those pro-evolutionists that do attend religious services are unlikely to be motivated to “battle” by a clergy, who in many cases are against their position outright.

2) For fundamentalists who choose this battle, it is one for the very souls of their young, and they fight it tooth and nail, whereas progressive parents caught in such bass-akwards schools, it is not such a grave issue, and the risk of creating bitterness in their community might not be worth the fight. They might opt to teach their kids “real” science after school or move to less regressive districts instead.

3) Creationist arguments at their heart are so fundamentally stupid that they cannot be subject to rational debate, therefore many people that would be able to fight this do not see it as a serious threat.

All of these factors, and I'm sure there are many more, pull evolutionists from the fight and cede the field to the Creationists.

Actually, dumbing down your population does have some advantages in that it tends to make them more tractable and willing to believe what you tell them ie. Saddam Hussein Caused 9/11. As far as the religious aspect of this arguement goes. I weighed in on Flash's post.

In the interest of credit where it's due, it was actually Dan's post that I slapped some god-botherers on.

Paul,
I obviously didn't read your comment, so I will say this once:

EVOLUTION IS NOT A FUCKING THEORY. EVOLUTION IS A FUCKING OBSERVED FACT. NATURAL SELECTION AS A MECHANISM OF CREATING THE FACT OF EVOLUTION IS A THEORY

No No No No No! Introducing bullshit like creationism in a science class justifies it as part of a reasonable scientific discussion, which it is not. A science class is not a place to teach "views"; it is a place to teach science.

Besides, if you are going to teach creationism in a science class, are you going to teach flat earth "theory", astrology, the old stacked turtles "theory", or any other fucking thing that you can stack the word "theory" wrongly in front of?

Nofuckingnofuckingnofuckingno!

And the Bible is not "flimsy proof" it is not proof at all.

And not just in science glass - using this rational, a history teacher would be justified in teaching that the Holocaust never happened and that JFK was assassinated by the CIA/Mafia/Castro/The "Greys"

Paul,
I'm really sorry for writing that harshly. Yikes! I didn't mean to be so harsh and assholic. But you really got me there.
Kev

Hey Kev,
Don't sweat it. I was expecting a rise, but not to such an extent. However, in our scientific communities, the word theory is still used and because we are still missing many fossil records that would conretely link everything together some scientists (yes real scientists) have continued to use theory and is still used sparsely in biology texts in high school and university. That is why I accepted and agreed to the term theory. As far as evidence is concerned I have been always on your side that evolution is how we came to be whether we call it a theory or law.
As for the putting the creationism in the curriculum, I should have made this more clear. In a science class we are teaching not only teaching scientific facts, laws and theories we are also teaching about how to do science. We do have to teach proper methods of proving and disproving theories. We teach what is good evidence and what is useless evidence. We must show lots of good examples and we must show a few bad examples so that students can see where people can go wrong when presenting religious views as science. I did not want to suggest that this creationism view to last more that a class (or even two considering the local brain-washed populus) during the entire year. Put creationism through the principles of the scientific method and see that it is not science but rather (perhaps) a philosophy of how the religious groups there see how we became.
This concept, Dan, could also apply to the history teacher analogy you presented, too.
Maybe I am being to idealistic, but based on the number and varied locals the articles posted from on creationism, I would say we have an excessively large group of brain-washed gits who are strong enough to convince real science teachers to ignore evolution and make them teach creationism. It may be important to teach why creationism and even ID is wrong from a science stand point. Our population does not have a majority of strong scientific minds who question and challenge theories or ideas. The majority will accept what ever is told to them. That majority has to be taught/told why something is incorrect (not just something that is correct).
I think I have blabbed long enough.
Yes I do believe they are fucked in the head down south.

Paul,
I will try to explain a little more clearly and without all the caps. Use the word theory to describe stuff all you want, but you are mistaken if you apply it to evolution.

Evolution, meaning the historical and fossilized record of change from one form to another is an observed fact, not a theory. There is no reasonable debate going on about this. The theory of natural selection as a mechanism of that change is a theory. If you want a more thorough explanation of the difference, read Evolution is a Fact and a Theory".

When we talk to creationistas and other fools it is absolutely critical that we do not conflate these two separate issues. Evolution is not at question, complete fossil record or no. Natural selection, however, is.

The cost of confusing these two is that it fuels the creationist argument that there is some kind of controversy in the scientific community about the validity of the "theory of evolution". There is none whatsoever. There is a valuable discussion going on over the relative importance of random genetic mutation, forced mutation from external sources, pure natural selection, etc; but these are all referring to the mechanism that drives evolution, not evolution itself.

It is extremely important to differentiate these.

As for putting creationism in a science class - no fucking way. There is not enough time alotted to teach real science that some of it should be wasted on bullshit. Creationism could be taught in a course dedicated either to scientific fraud or scientific ethics, but I've never heard of these being taught at grade school level - university, yes.

You suggest "putting creationism through the principles of scientific method". If that were possible, I'd say go for it, but it's not. Here's how it would go - present evidence, got none? okay? next class please. The power of creationism is that it is entirely outside the realm of scientific query - "God" is not a testable hypothesis.

Kev,
I will try to read the article you linked to... the internet would not allow me to read it right now.
I will concede that the word theory to evolution is outdated. You have explained yourself a bit better this time. We are both on the same page as to the validity of Evolution. I talked to Edith who gave me some more interesting tidbits; Did you know that all living animals share one protien, which performs the same function in each animal? Having this protien is only possible if we all, goats, whales, ants, fish, pigeons, etc, came from the same source.

And yes Natural Selection mechanism is a theory along with many other mechanisms. I have also learned that a major mechanism is mutations that are sexually attractive. If the brighter plumage on a male bird is sexier to the female she will go for him and he will pass on his brighter plumage genes.

As for the "Creationist view put through the scientific method" point, you missed my point of being idealistic rather than realistic. I am not suggesting we do this realistically because I am well aware of time/resource constraints in a science class. Realistically speaking you are correct. Realistically speaking they are teaching creationism and/or avoiding evolution in many high schools in Arkansas. "Ideally", it is in those places that we have to educate the scientifically blind people of what is going on. The older generation is pretty well lost. The younger generation is being fed this creationist view as "science" using more than just biblical quotes as evidence. This is a fact. You may check out this link, which the author tries to use helium leakage rates in radioactive zircons as evidence for a 6000 year old earth! http://www.trueorigin.org/helium01.aspf
I have not read this through completely, but I am sure if given all of the back-ground evidence I would find crushing faults to the article, however, the point remains. If the creationist view is not put through the grinder in front of them (the students) they will not see it for what it is. Unfortunately, as we do not live in an ideal world and have to live with the fact that the students in Arkansas will have to hope their teachers stress heavily on questioning the science that is shovelled on them.

Paul,
I don't argue that I'd like to see creationism (and -ists, for that matter) put through the grinder, the fact is that creationism and ID "theory" are exempt from the scientific method. They cannot be put through the "scientific grinder" as you suggest, because their underlying premise is not testable. As a fallback argument they can always say "God did it". In short, you cannot introduce creationism and evolution/natural selection into a rational scientific discourse. If you could, this whole thing would have been settled 150 years ago.

If you go through your comments, until now you have not said anything about an "ideal" or "realistic" classroom - your suggestion was simply to put creationism in a science class to test it. It cannot be done ideally, realisticly, rightly or wrongly, therefore don't even bring it up. Not even theoretically can creationism and evolution/natural selection be debated using scientific methods. If you were governing a class science program, you would have just allowed the teaching of utter shit in your class for no reason whatsoever. Except of course, you might have started an argument among the more politically and biblicly literate.

Therefore, I go back to my first comment on your argument: there is NO room for creationism in any form in a science classroom.

It is crucial for us in the scientific community, and especially for you teacher-types, to develop a clear strategy to not cede any ground in this fight against creationist dogma.

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