A commenter on an earlier thread directed our attention to an article by Zack Kopplin in the Daily Beast, “School teaching creationism with video from Islamic sex cult.” The headline may be a bit over the top, but the gist of the article is that the school district is employing materials developed by Harun Yahya. To give due credit, here is what the commenter, “Charley Horse,” wrote on the earlier thread:
A bit off topic … but of interest.
School Teaching Creationism With Video From Islamic Sex Cult. An Ohio school district is using a video made by a Holocaust-denying Muslim to undermine evolution in science class.
QUOTE A BIT:
A curriculum map recommends teachers in this public school district show a creationist video, Cambrian Fossils and the Creation of Species as part of 10th grade science education. The video claims that the Cambrian Explosion “totally invalidates the theory of evolution.”
…The district’s curriculum map calls for teaching “an alternative theory called Intelligent Design,” which is another name for creationism. Youngstown suggests teachers show a creationist video, Unlocking the Mystery of Life, produced by the right wing Christian advocacy group, Focus on the Family and by the Discovery Institute, a creationist think tank….
“Students are reminded how the irreducibly complex system like the flagellum of a bacterial cell could not have evolved slowly, piece by piece and serves as a counter-example to evolution,” says the curriculum, citing another disproven creationist talking point. It also recommends the video Darwin’s Dilemma, also produced by the Discovery Institute. Other materials call evolution a “theory in crisis,” and were created by the All About GOD ministries.
The Daily Beast article directs us to a “curriculum map” and notes,
A curriculum map (PDF) recommends teachers in this public school district show a creationist video, Cambrian Fossils and the Creation of Species as part of 10th grade science education. The video claims that the Cambrian Explosion “totally invalidates the theory of evolution.” The Cambrian Explosion was a time period, nearly 550 million years ago, where, over the next tens of millions of years, the number of species on Earth experienced a (relatively) rapid expansion by evolutionary standards. Christian creationists regularly point to this explosion of life as evidence for creation by God and against evolution.
Blink and you’d miss the Islamic connection in the video. A black screen flashes for less than one second that says “this film is based on the works of Harun Yahya.” In the right corner, there’s a gold bubble that says, “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” in Arabic.
I followed the link to the curriculum map. I am not a biologist, and I did not read all 24 pages in detail, but, sure enough, on page 3/24, I found,
- Teacher explains Darwin’s dilemma: The geologically-sudden appearance of dozens of major complex animal types in the fossil record without any trace of the gradual transitional steps Charles Darwin had predicted. Students watch a video which gives a description of the Cambrian explosion and traits of Cambrian life forms that existed hundreds millions years ago, which still amaze scientists today. Students discuss the issues presented in the video and consider the big question that the Cambrian Explosion poses - where does the massive increase in genetic information come from for the development of these new animal types? Students consider another possible view of the dilemma in video 2 by considering changes in protein structure.
video 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyEHNg1O3QM (8:29)
video 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h38Xi-Jz9yk (4:58)
- Teacher explains that in recent decades Charles Darwin’s explanation of evolution through natural selection has been challenged by an alternative theory called Intelligent Design[.] Class does both parts of the activity A and B, with a follow-up class discussion for both A and B.
A. Students watch two videos to consider the evidence being used to explain the great diversity and complexity of life. Teacher discusses each video after viewing; students work in small groups to identify the key supporting points for each argument. Video titles - Unlocking the Mystery of Life
video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85q8y-z9Cyk - part 1 Explains Darwin’s theory
video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyGgkShTZvU - part 2 Explains basis for Intelligent Design [creationism]
B. In small groups students read one of several articles (attached); compare findings and cite evidence in the article to support /contradict the theories; groups report out the information they found; teacher records arguments on chart paper as students highlight their own copy of the article and/or take notes.
Class Discussion (see questions below.) Students analyze and critique the positions of each side of the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design debate by referring to the information presented i)n [sic] the videos/articles and through answering the following questions:
1. Which side uses more factual information and statistical data to support its position? How convincing is the support?
2. Which uses more historical and / or societal references for support?
3. Which allows for more supposition or interpretation?
4. Which position is more often on the defensive? And, why do you think so?
After the class discussion each student assesses the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrates information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
- Teacher explains another evolution theory [sic!], modern evolutionary synthesis; students take notes. Students are reminded how the irreducibly complex system like the flagellum of a bacterial cell could not have evolved slowly, piece by piece and serves as a counter-example to evolution (students saw this presented in the T-L #6 video – part 2)
Students “are reminded …” that the flagellum “could not have evolved slowly.” In other words, for all the appearance of objectivity that preceded article 7, students are now told unequivocally that intelligent-design creationism is fact and the modern synthesis is flawed. That, it seems to me, is tantamount to teaching religion in a public school class and should be prohibited.