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Evolution vs. intelligent design

Larry Arnhart suggests that we begin by actually teaching Darwin, whose work addresses all the issues in the debate and overcomes the narrowness of "sectarian" (my word, not his) scientific and religious approaches.

Discussions - 11 Comments

A pedagogical disaster if there ever was one. Ask someone there at Oglethorpe if they would teach a course in mechanics by asking students to read the Principia(does Oglethorpe have a physics dept?). In a history of science class yes, otherwise no. Arhart seems to be trolling.

I believe in a truly classical education, which means that in science courses students shouldn’t read anything beyond Galen. Everything’s been pretty much downhill since then.


Here are links to some core science courses (which is to say they’re required of all students, not just science majors). No one currently assigns Darwin, but there’s no reason in principle why they couldn’t; it would certainly be in the spirit of Oglethorpe’s core to assign a text that addresses big questions. I’d also take seriously the experience of Arnhart and his colleagues in the classroom. No one is saying that you should only teach Darwin and not contemporary biology.

ID seems little more than a code-word for Creationism. While I do believe Darwinism needs to be examined more rigorously than it actually is in the schools, I’m not sure if this end-around on Church-and-State is the way to go.

Teaching Evolution from Darwin’s actual works? Absolutely -- ahh, I found this interesting:

"I went to the class and found that it was for biology majors planning on teaching high school biology. At the first meeting of the class, the students were told that they would not be reading any of the publications by proponents of creationism and intelligent design because all of this writing was "crap." Instead, they would memorize the standard arguments defending evolution so that they could respond to those "ignorant parents" who might object to their teaching.

And therein lies the major shortcoming in today’s education.

I echo the sentiments of a commenter on the external site that Dr. K linked to:


I disagree with the claim that ID is code for Creationism.

"Creationism" begins with a literal interpretation of the Bible - the best example is the six-day creation. From most of what I have read and the topics I have discussed with those in the ID camp, they generally show a willingness to look at science objectively. Where it conflicts with the prevailing interpretation of Scripture, they are generally willing to question the "literal" interpretation.

Translation: they go a lot further than the mindless sophists that (often) fill our biology classrooms.

Teach students from primary texts, including Darwin’s original work? Great idea! We do that all the time. But, to do so to appease the religious right, who wants to infringe on true science by offering a completely nonscientific theory as remotely serious in the scientific realm? Absolutely not!

That Darwin’s original work had holes and flaws is a testament to the vibrant, progressive nature of science. It moves, and it progresses, so that evolutionary theory, for instance, is much more complete with the addition of Mendelian genetics than it was in Darwin’s day.

But, to use Darwin’s ignorance as an excuse to pursue our own ignorance is -- well -- ignorant!

Save the religious mythology for church, where it belongs! Then, you can justifiably keep Mendel and Darwin, and Dawkins out of your church. No problem with that, either, is there?

Give me a break, Fung.

Every high-school biology teacher in America talks about Darwin as if his ideas were gospel. It’s only fair to take a look at what he actually said.

Further, I resent your claim that the dumb ol’ Christians want to "infringe on true science by offering a completely nonscientific theory as remotely serious in the scientific realm." The last time I checked, "scientists" never can resist dabbling in metaphysics when speaking of random genesis, etc. If "scientists" will continue to make unfounded, metaphysical assertions, it is only fair that reasonable people of faith be able to put forth metaphysical arguments that are more rational and supported by the weight of history.

Kevin- You don’t know what "every high-school biology teacher" does, and neither do I. While most scientists refer to "Darwin’s Theory," they also recognize that our understanding of evolution has changed and grown since Darwin. This is the value of science, and it is what makes science different (not better, but different) than religion. We don’t know any more about Genesis, or the Psalms, or Revelations than we did 200 years ago. that is fine, and good for religion, and I think that faith is just dandy.

But, faith and science should not invade each other uninvited, because they are not compatible systems. It might be fun and instructive to try to merge them conceptually, as a thought exercise, but you don’t want me in your church, and I don’t want you in my kid’s science class.

Repeat a lie (theory) often enough, and it becomes the "truth" (scientific "fact").

Deb, what is it with you liberals and your OBSSESION with the Bush White House and their reasonable insistance that Saddam had WMDs?? And what in the world does that have to do with this subject? Answer: Nothing!


I think only you could answer that question since Deb’s comment said nothing of WMDs, nor of the war. I’d first assume she was talking about either (likely choice based on her past comments) Darwinism or Intelligent Design when she used the word "theory." Don’t be so quick to jump next time.

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