Teaching the Science of Evolution

| 22 Comments

NSCE reports

Alberts and Labov on teaching evolution

Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academies, and Jay Labov of the Center for Education at the National Research Council have written an article on “Teaching the Science of Evolution,” which appears in the current issue of the journal Cell Biology Education.

Alberts and Labov write, “Cell and molecular biologists have provided some of the most compelling evidence to support the theory of evolution and should therefore be among those who raise their voices the loudest to support science curricula that help students understand the processes of evolution. As scientists, we also should make it our responsibility to present the evidence for biological evolution to all of our students, especially in introductory courses. Most students who enroll in our introductory courses will use them as their terminal courses in science. At least some of those students will go on to careers as teachers or as public servants who will be asked to make decisions about whether to allow nonscientific approaches to teaching evolution to appear in science curricula. It is our responsibility to equip them with the knowledge and understanding of science that they will need to confront such challenges.”

From the National Academies:

Bruce Alberts and Jay B. Labov Teaching the Science of Evolution Cell Biology Education Volume 3 Summer 2004, 75-80

More at Cell Biology Education

22 Comments

“At least some of those students will go on to careers as teachers or as public servants who will be asked to make decisions about whether to allow nonscientific approaches to teaching evolution to appear in science curricula.”

What is a nonscientific approach to teaching evolution? I don’t understand the comment. Was the author referencing some real “nonscientific” approach to teaching evolution, or is this a guerilla attack (cowardly veiled statement) against the Intelligent Design movement?

Let me write that sentence as I would have were I Alberts and Labov

At least some of those students will go on to careers as teachers or as public servants who will be asked to make decisions about whether to allow nonscientific crap like Wells’s Icons of Evolution to appear in science curricula.

RBH

RBH writes:

Let me write that sentence as I would have were I Alberts and Labov:

“At least some of those students will go on to careers as teachers or as public servants who will be asked to make decisions about whether to allow nonscientific crap like Wells’s Icons of Evolution to appear in science curricula.”

RBH

I apologize if I gave you a notion other than seriousness in my inquiry, RBH, but thank you for your reply.

I did not intend for one to offer what he or she would have written in place of the author, unless, of course, it was somewhat constructive to the reply. I’m not saying this instance is the equivalent of replacing “Johnny likes corn” with “Creationists are bigots”,quite an interesting switch, but I hope my reasoning comes across properly. The Alberts and Labov reference to nonscientific evolution somewhat puzzles me and I am curious. Aren’t all approaches to evolution supposed to be scientific? Alberts and Labov made reference to “nonscientific approaches to teaching evolution”, not “nonscientific approaches to teaching anti-evolutionary nonscientific crap” as I take it you were referring to. The authors specifically referenced teaching evolution, not non-evolution, and I am curious as to what those referenced approaches are. If, in fact, the authors’ intentions were as you suggested, why would they have described it as a method of teaching evolution, rather than non-evolution?

It is not necessary that RBH reply (in case you should choose not to), but the questions are being left open for observations by all. Thanks.

Joe B, you don’t know the real deal. RBH does, intimately. What the DI tries to get schools to teach is, specifically, antiscience propaganda written by the DI’s own Wells. Learn.

In case you didn’t know this either, the political creationism called ID is the product of a political organization called the DI.

Thanks Mr. Dunkelberg, I’ll check out that info. However, that wasn’t my question. I was asking about Alberts and Labov, not Wells.

Pete:

Would Intelligent Design continue to exist if the DI did not.

and

Do you really think the ID movement is entirely political or religious?

Just asking.

Oh, its religious politics. If the DI wins, science will still be the same. The big losers will be normal theologians and churches who do not insist that one must reject science in order to be religious.

The DI’s arguments are not nearly as new as they let you think, but they are constantly putting time, money and effort into political promotion of their own slogans and buzzwords. Your first question is sort of like asking if communism would continue to exist without the Communist Party.

Russ: you didn’t think there was science in it did you? If so, what? Just asking.

Oh, Science being apart of it. I certainly think so.

I think when one takes into account the various mechanisms for information generation provided by Darwinism (by Darwinism I just mean naturalistic evolutionary theories) and compares them with a mechanism of intelligent causation to explain say, the origination of all the enzymes necessary for DNA transcription and translation, by comparing the causal efficacy of chance and necessity with the causal efficay of intelligent activity, is quite a scientific prosess. You must take into account known rates of mutation, the possibilities of gene duplication, the concept of irreducible complexity, so on and on.

Non-religious people can do this. Non-political people can do this. However, closeminded people can’t seem to do this.

Oh, science being apart of it. I certainly think so.

I think when one takes into account the various mechanisms for information generation provided by Darwinism (by Darwinism I just mean naturalistic evolutionary theories) and compares them with a mechanism of intelligent causation to explain say, the origination of all the enzymes necessary for DNA transcription and translation, by comparing the causal efficacy of chance and necessity with the causal efficay of intelligent activity, is quite a scientific prosess. You must take into account known rates of mutation, the possibilities of gene duplication, the concept of irreducible complexity, so on and on.

Non-religious people can do this. Non-political people can do this. However, closeminded people can’t seem to do this.

I too think science is apart from the DI.

T Russ Wrote:

I think when one takes into account the various mechanisms for information generation provided by Darwinism (by Darwinism I just mean naturalistic evolutionary theories) and compares them with a mechanism of intelligent causation to explain say, the origination of all the enzymes necessary for DNA transcription and translation, by comparing the causal efficacy of chance and necessity with the causal efficay of intelligent activity, is quite a scientific prosess. You must take into account known rates of mutation, the possibilities of gene duplication, the concept of irreducible complexity, so on and on.

What mechanisms of intelligent causation? It’s not really the issue if an all powerful designer could have done all this, it’s what the evidence shows. Science has shown that the many claims of ID are fallacious, poorly founded in fact and logic. Thus we seem to be back to: Well show us in fullest detail how it really happened.

In the mean time what is ID doing to enhance our knowledge in this area?

nada

Btw welcome to one of the club leaders of the Oklahoma chapter of the IDEA club. T Russell Hunter.

Link

See also their website

Welcome to the University of Oklahoma IDEA Club website! We are no longer the Creation Science Society. Our new name is Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness Club. That’s IDEA Club for short!

ROTFL

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s the funniest thing all week. Holy shit, I am saving a copy of that webpage, because that wording will be changed, I am sure.

Also, that’s the first photo I’ve seen of Phillip Johnson. Living here in the southeast (for one more year), he looks like a million other bible-thumpers I have seen.

PvM wrote:

What mechanisms of intelligent causation?

Don’t you know any science, Pim? ID astrophysicists from the DI proved years ago that God said “Check check. Testing. One two three. One two three. Ahem. Let there be …”etc. and the universe, being voice-activated, promptly came into existence and complied, and it was good.

That comment partially inspired by a classic scene in Family Guy, in which Stewie is asked to say a few words from the good book at a funeral.

Stewie: “Yea, and God said to Abraham you will kill your son Issac, and Abraham said I can’t hear you, you will have to speak into the microphone. And God said oh, I’m sorry, is this better? Check, check, check, check. Jerry, pull the high end out, I’m still getting some hiss back here.”

Thank You, Dr. Johnson! OU IDEA Club would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Phillip Johnson for visiting OU. Your words were truly enlightening and inspiring. Thank you for providing us with your wisdom and perspective, Courtesy www.arn.org as well as for the immeasurable impact that you continue to have on our society and the scientific community.

He will indeed have an immeasurable impact on the scientific community, in the strictest sense of the word.

PvM, that page just keeps on giving.

Does IDEA take a position on the age of the earth?

The age of the earth is not an issue related to intelligent design theory, nor is it necessarily related to the validity of evolutionary theory,…

:-p

Creationism. The gift that keeps on giving.

The leaders of the ID movement deny they are of the ‘creationist’ kind. Yet this

We are no longer the Creation Science Society. Our new name is Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness Club. That’s IDEA Club for short!

is clear evidence of a sudden transition from Creationists to IDiots. We have caught this evolution in the act. Either this is macroevolution, or both are still of the ‘creationist’ kind. One thing’s for sure. Intelligent design was not involved.

Steve, man you really are a funny guy, but I must say, you sure do come across as an anti-religious biggot.

Intelligent Agent Causation: Being that intelligent design is the theory that the directed organization of living things cannot be accounted for by purely blind natural forces but also requires intelligent agency for its proper explanation, the mechanism of ID is the intelligent selection and specifacation of a designing intelligence. The Mechanism of intelligent agent causation is carried out every time you sit down at your keyboard and type a post here at PT.

Information concerning the OU IDEA Club website.

We probably won’t change the statement

“Welcome to the University of Oklahoma IDEA Club website! We are no longer the Creation Science Society. Our new name is Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness Club. That’s IDEA Club for short!”

even though it provides all you anti-ID rhetoricians with a chance to make use of your smash-bang “ID people really are all just biblical creationists” argument. And if we did, what would that matter? I see what your implying, so here’s an explanation. Before my friends and I started up the local IDEA club group, there already existed on OU’s campus a small registered student group called the Creation Science Society (YECers and OECers actually). When their leadership graduated, we took over their “official student group” status, rewrote the groups constitution, and basically changed everything else about it. Many of the people who came to CSS actually didn’t really keep coming once we changed to IDEA Club for our focus was entirely different than their’s, as well as the technical level of our groups meetings.

I was half-sure T. Russ was having us on, just like “Admonitus”.

Especially when the cagier sort of ID authors - the ones that pretend that this is all about science and nothing about religion - were joined by ICR wingnuts like Bohlin and Lester in our library of Must Reads.

But here’s what I think about the ID movement in general, and especially the “IDEA clubs”: If you want to be a really convincing liar, the first thing you want to do is convince yourself. Probably works as well for used cars and politics as it does for religion.

Pim van Meurs Wrote:

Science has shown that the many claims of ID are fallacious, poorly founded in fact and logic. Thus we seem to be back to: Well show us in fullest detail how it really happened. In the mean time what is ID doing to enhance our knowledge in this area? nada

Actually, they have done a lot to enhance my knowledge in this area. I had only a vague understanding of evolution, and don’t even remember anything specific about evolution being taught in school. However, by following the answers biologists give to the creationists, I can state why the ID positions on IC and CSI are obviously wrong. E.g. the transition of reptilian jawbones (already having a secondary use for hearing) to the mammalian earbones. So, that is just one example and completely debunks ID, why is there still a ‘debate’?

Why am I even interested in this? Well, one of my children is already in school and the other soon will be. Also, as an American, I see this as an attempt to drive our country towards theocracy, it was just a few hundred years ago that you could be burned to death for being of the wrong Christian sect. With the separation of church and state, Protestants don’t have to worry about being burned at the stake by Catholics.

Joe B. wrote

I did not intend for one to offer what he or she would have written in place of the author, unless, of course, it was somewhat constructive to the reply. I’m not saying this instance is the equivalent of replacing “Johnny likes corn” with “Creationists are bigots”,quite an interesting switch, but I hope my reasoning comes across properly. The Alberts and Labov reference to nonscientific evolution somewhat puzzles me and I am curious. Aren’t all approaches to evolution supposed to be scientific? Alberts and Labov made reference to “nonscientific approaches to teaching evolution”, not “nonscientific approaches to teaching anti-evolutionary nonscientific crap” as I take it you were referring to. The authors specifically referenced teaching evolution, not non-evolution, and I am curious as to what those referenced approaches are. If, in fact, the authors’ intentions were as you suggested, why would they have described it as a method of teaching evolution, rather than non-evolution?

It is not necessary that RBH reply (in case you should choose not to), but the questions are being left open for observations by all. Thanks.

But that is precisely what is offererd by the ID creationist movement: Wells’s crap. And that’s what Alberts and Labov were addressing. The ID creationist movement pretends that Wells made valid scientific points about evolution in Icons and repackages them as representing a “Critical Evaluation of Evolution” for school boards and legislatures. But what it is, and what it remains after the specious repackaging, is Wells’s non-scientific crap.

RBH

T. Russ, telling me that there is some science in ID, writes a couple sentences consisting almost entirely of big, scientific sounding words including “a mechanism of intelligent causation … causal efficay of intelligent activity”

Russ, there is explicitly and avowedly no mechanism in ID. The ‘causal efficacy’ of saying that The Designer (formerly known as God) could have done anything, including plant the evidence of evolution, is nil. The one thing that the non explanatory power of this might explain is why it took humanity so long to begin to understand how nature really works.

Russ continues: “the concept of irreducible complexity,.…” No cigar. Behe’s rhetorical argument does not pass Biology I. IC is a normal outcome of standard evolutionary processes.

No, Russ, there is no science in ID. That is why the Wedge states that science must be changed into theo-science. Worse than merely not being scientific, ID is an attempt to get rid of science because some people don’t like some things we have learned about the world. Still worse, the DI and its political allies try to use political pressure to cause public schools to lie to students, telling them that something is science although we know it is not.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on July 11, 2004 7:44 PM.

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