Peregrine flight

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More news from the front

According to a new study by Penn State political science professors Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer, High School teachers are failing to teach evolution in the classroom. The study was published in the latest issue of Science. They procured their data from the National Survey of High School Biology Teachers, a representative sample of 926 public high school biology instructors, to reach their conclusions.
Amongst their findings:  "About 13 percent of biology teachers "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light." Creationists do not believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
About 28 percent consistently implement National Research Council recommendations calling for introduction of evidence that evolution occurred, and craft lesson plans with evolution as a unifying theory.
The rest, about 60 percent, “fail to explain the nature of scientific inquiry, undermine the authority of established experts, and legitimize creationist arguments.”
These teachers, the researchers said, try to avoid controversy by using one of several different strategies that include :
* Teaching evolutionary biology as if it applies only to molecular biology and failing to to explain evidence that one species gives rise to other species.
* Telling students they don't have to "believe" in evolution but they have to know it for tests.
* Telling students to make up their own minds -- even though scientists say that they are as certain of the validity of evolution as they are of other scientific principles taken as fact."
Here is the official position taken by the National Science Teacher's Association regarding the teaching of evolution. Berkman and Plutzer wrote the book Evolution, Creationism and the battle to control America's Classrooms - Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Of course, evolution is already in the news this week, with Republican congressman from Georgia, Jack Kingston announcing that "I believe I came from God, not from a monkey so the answer is no," he said, laughing, when asked if he subscribes to the theory. "I don't believe that a creature crawled out of the sea and became a human being one day."

According to a Gallup poll released last month, 40 percent of Americans believe God is responsible for creating human life in its current form roughly 10,000 years ago. The survey found that 52 percent of Republicans believe in creationism with 34 percent of Democrats and independents maintaining the same view.  According to the poll:
"The significantly higher percentage of Republicans who choose a creationist view of human origins reflects in part the strong relationship between religion and politics in contemporary America. Republicans are significantly more likely to attend church weekly than are others, and, as noted, Americans who attend church weekly are most likely to select the creationist alternative for the origin of humans."
I don't think that I have to provide a lot of analysis regarding these studies. The dumbing down of America is old news, the rejection of science in favor of superstition as old a pursuit as burning witches at the stake. The fossil record, the proven link between hominids with an ancient ancestor Ardi some 4.4 million years ago, perhaps all part of the dark force's great conspiracy to thwart the divine plant for our nascent planet.

It is interesting how creationism, after having been totally refuted by science and reality, quietly morphed into the somewhat more fashionable "intelligent design" movement. Once it was the flat earth, in the center of the hub whose orbits included the sun, planets and angels. Now we try once again to shape our earth and cosmology to conform to our preconceived notions of deity and myth. We are still drawing crude figures on the walls of our caves, trying to make some sense of the great mystery of life and consciousness.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps what you are overlooking here is the possibility that, in this warp-speed information age we are living in, people really need "myths", or fundamentalist beliefs, or "something", as a kind of counterbalance.

So do you claim to know what "actually is"?.

one of those bastards

Blue Heron said...

You may very well be right. I can appreciate your need. I just don't want to be forced to worship your idols. No matter how many people are drinking the sweetened beverage.

Anonymous said...

Read Sagan's "Demon Haunted World."

lounorm said...

Big Evolution Discovery !

British professor Nigel Swiggerton of Chapsworth College has recently found a missing link in the evolution/creation debate. Everyone is familiar with the "stages of man" chart found in textbooks which begins with a naked, hairy, bent over, grunting Neanderthal type which over millions of years finally learns how to stand erect while sporting a 1930s-style haircut. Well, Dr. Swiggerton discovered that someone accidentally reversed the negative. It turns out that the first man was actually standing erect with a short haircut but has been descending over the years until he has finally reached the last stage - the stage at any rock concert filled with naked, hairy, bent over, grunting Neanderthal types!

(Ran across the preceding on the internet. Are overly blessed, underly grateful Americans aware that Darwin acknowledged the "Creator" on the last page of his "Origin of Species"? Why did he used this term if he meant an "unknown process"? When God allows some American city to be destroyed someday, will surviving American ingrates pray to the anti-Christian, anti-American Hollywood shmucks that the ingrates have long worshiped more than God? Thank God for Rep. Jack Kingston (GA) who does serve the Declaration of Independence's "Creator" and the "God" mentioned in all 50 state constitutions - a congressman who was recently "crucified" on TV by God-hating shmuck Bill Maher and his fellow "nailers" for daring to uphold the creationism overwhelmingly embraced by America's founders! For more on Maher etc., Google Jesus-bashers "Sandra Bernhard, Larry David, Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher, Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman.")

(I viewed above bit on the net.)