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God in Class?

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Despite the federal court ban on teaching the theory that God created all life, some teachers still do it.

A recent survey revealed that one in eight high school biology teachers teach the theory that God created all life (see Genesis 1-2) as a valid scientific alternative to evolution. While we are entitled to believe what we choose, some moms feel that teaching about God in science class is mixing oil and water--not to mention illegal. It definitely sparked controversy among momlogic moms:

annie.jpgI was taught creationism in school in Oklahoma INSTEAD of evolution, and I now feel cheated. I don't believe creationism should be taught in schools. I think it should be left to churches to teach that. There should be a separation between church and state, period.
jill.jpgI think there's a place and purpose to teaching kids about all religious theories....but it sure as hell shouldn't be in science class!
julie.jpgI feel both theories should be taught in science class, they both offer two completely different views of the world. I think the problem people have with intelligent design is that it's taught through the Bible and religion, and those two subjects are controversial. The intelligent design theory really does have a place in science; physics have discovered that the universe is 10% matter and 90% consciousness--intelligent consciousness. We may have evolved, but I believe it's a well-thought evolution.
jackie.jpgI'm an atheist, but I think a balanced approach is best. While I think the story of creation is somewhat like a fable (but a pretty cool story), I think that kids should understand the scientific nature of the universe.

What's your view?


next: Disney Recalls Tinker Bell Wands
45 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous May 27, 2008, 6:17 PM

Shame on Mom Logic..It is NOT illegal to teach creationism as a THEORY (along side the theory of evolution, intelligent design) in classrooms. Please check your facts before posting the writings of free lance writers.

Anonymous  May 27, 2008, 6:28 PM

I read the article momlogic mentioned and it DOES say that there is a court-ordered ban on teaching creationism in U.S. schools. A theory is one thing, but many teachers are teaching it as a valid science.

lloyd barrester May 27, 2008, 7:01 PM

Have you heard about this case? Great answer from the judge!

In Florida , an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared, ‘Case dismissed!’

The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, ‘Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other o bserva nces. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah…yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!’

The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, ‘Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate his own atheists’ holiday!’

The lawyer pompously said, ‘Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists. Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?’

The judge said, ‘Well it comes every year on exactly the same date—-April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as ‘April Fools Day,’ consider that Psalm 14:1 states, ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God.’ Thus, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture, he is a fool, and April 1st is his holiday! Now have a good day and get out of my courtroom!!

Way to go, Judge! AMEN

mountainview May 27, 2008, 8:26 PM

Lloyd-That case is a fictitious case that never happened. It is a urban legend circulated by christians who don’t do their homework and it makes us all look…well like fools. If you want a court case that is pertinent everyone should watch the pbs/nova documentary “Intelligent design on trial” (you can watch for free on the PBS website.) It gives a (overly dramatised but true) account of the ID case in Dover and it explains why ID is not science and how the court decided that it was unconstitional.

Elisa May 27, 2008, 8:31 PM

Absolutely noy. Teaching creationism in school is equal to religious discrimination, because not all religions have the same beliefs in that regard. Religion should have a place in our children’s lives but NOT as part of the school curriculum. And certainly not in science class.

Lisa May 27, 2008, 8:33 PM

Really? So which creation story are you going to teach? Native American Indians Creation Myth? The Zohar Creation Myth? or how about the Big Bang Creation Myth? How about we quit teaching myths in science and move them over to literature? We don’t have the answer yet. Quit confusing the kids and teach them computer skills and what they need to survive in a fast thinking universe!

Lisa May 27, 2008, 8:36 PM

Really? So which creation story are you going to teach? Native American Indians Creation Myth? The Zohar Creation Myth? or how about the Big Bang Creation Myth? How about we quit teaching myths in science and move them over to literature? We don’t have the answer yet. Quit confusing the kids and teach them computer skills and what they need to survive in a fast thinking universe!

crunchycarpets May 27, 2008, 8:45 PM

yeah..if you are going to teach CHRISTIAN creationism..you need to teach all the rest….and in a RELIGION class..not science.

Because again it assumes that ONE religion’s view of the earths creation is correct above all else and you can’t do that.

Have a world religion class…or a Humanities class that covers it or keep it to home and church.

Lisa- Unschooling Mom May 27, 2008, 9:51 PM

Creation Science, Intelligent Design, etc could be mentioned as a possible theory believed by SOME. Teaching it as a fact in a science class is ludicrous and frightening. Th only way for public schools to exist is if they remain secular. I would FREAK if my kids came home saying they were taught that god created the world in science class.
( though we homeschool- one of the reasons to maintain freedom of thought)
Another Lisa ( above) said it best when she posted who’s idea of creation? These topics could be taught in social sciences.

abb3w May 27, 2008, 9:58 PM

Neither Creationism nor Intelligent Design are “theories” in the scientific sense of the word; they are merely “hypotheses”, with pitifully inadequate support in evidence. For a decent definition of the formal use of “theory”, check out the recently adopted Florida Science Standards (available from the FLDOESTEM.org website), benchmarks SC.6.N.3.1 and SC.912.N.3.1 in particular.

Only the best hypothesis is called a theory, and only as long as it remains the best. For the formal mathematical criterion usable to competitively judge hypotheses, track down the paper “Minimum Description Length Induction, Bayesianism and Kolmogorov Complexity” by Paul M. B. Vitányi and Ming Li. (Be warned, it’s written at the college to post-graduate level.) At the present, the “Modern” Evolutionary Genetic Synthesis is the Theory.

And incidentally… Lloyd’s put the same joke in comments elsewhere on other ID news items. While cute, as an argument it’s just insubstantial smoke and mirrors.

ScottN May 27, 2008, 10:19 PM

@ Anonymous writing “Shame on Mom Logic…”:

You should follow your own advice regarding fact checking. The Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) decision of the Supreme Court made the teaching of creationism illegal in public schools. Kitzmiller v. Dover (2005) did the same for intelligent design creationism, although the decision applies to only part of Pennsylvania.

Don’t worry though, if that concerns you. Private schools are free to teach all the creationism nonsense that they want.

Anonymous May 27, 2008, 11:55 PM

ScottN & abb3w: In Ca - where I reside, each school district selects its text books according to the state framework. So, intelligent design, creationism, and evolution are all taught as theories in many school districs. My own daughter’s text (6th grade public school) addresses the issue as such. So evidently, this is a state issue, decided by communities. This is not as cut and dry as proposed.

cali mom+3 May 28, 2008, 12:19 AM

Anon is right. I actually taught in a very liberal county where everything was allowed to a very conservative town where those same clubs & activities are not allowed; they even ban books here. The school board is very powerful in many areas of ca. Each school appoints a “book committee” comprised of parents and school personnel who overview all the books available for adoption and then choose the book they want taught for their district.

ScottN May 28, 2008, 12:42 AM

@ Anonymous:

Nope, this isn’t a state or local issue. It’s illegal in all 50 states to teach creationism as science in a public school.

If teachers are incorporating creationism as though it were science into the science classroom curriculum (and there are some that do), then they are breaking the law.

You can teach ABOUT creationism and intelligent design - as history or civics - just not as science. And that’s as it should be.

I suspect that when you refer to something being taught “as a theory,” you are using the word “theory” in the non-scientific sense, meaning “hunch” or “guess.” “Theory” in science is much more than that. A theory is a set of explanations that describe, unify and explain a broad range of facts and is well-supported by repeated observation, experiment and evidence. That describes the theory of evolution exactly, and leaves creationism nowhere.

incredulous May 28, 2008, 2:10 AM

@DULCE

What planet are you on?

You said “physics have discovered that the universe is 10% matter and 90% consciousness—intelligent consciousness”

Really? Can you find one, just one, real physicist who thinks there is nine times more “consciousness—intelligent consciousness” in the universe than matter? Please think what you’re saying before you post this sort of mindless new age babble……

Or post a link to the (reliable)source of your figures and I’ll eat my laptop and send you the video!


Anonymous May 28, 2008, 9:55 AM

The actual COMPLETE definition of theory.
Seems applicable to evolution, creationism, and intelligent design.
Main Entry: the·o·ry
Pronunciation: \ˈthē-ə-rē, ˈthir-ē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural the·o·ries
Etymology: Late Latin theoria, from Greek theōria, from theōrein
Date: 1592
1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
2: abstract thought : speculation
3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art
4 a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory
5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
6 a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b: an unproved assumption : conjecture c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject

abb3w May 28, 2008, 11:15 AM

Anonymous: as ScottN noted, there’s a difference between being “taught as theory” in the informal sense, and being a theory in the formal sense.

As for the dictionary definition, you didn’t check out the benchmarks I suggested, did you? SC.6.N.3.1: “Recognize and explain that a scientific theory is a well-supported and widely accepted explanation of nature and is not simply a claim posed by an individual. Thus, the use of the term theory in science is very different than how it is used in everyday life.” Ignorance is forgivable, but willful ignorance is pitiful.

On the other hand, ScottN’s claim is slightly off; while it’s definitely unconstitutional for creationism (including “Intelligent Design”) to be included as Science in the Biology curriculum by either State or Local government, I’m not sure there are any precedent cases regarding inclusion by individual teachers.

Dulce May 28, 2008, 1:05 PM

Read for yourselves…

Stuart Hameroff M.D. — is a Professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology, and Director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Hameroff’s publications include 150 peer reviewed papers including three co-authored with Roger Penrose and 5 books including: Toward a Science of Consciousness I-III (MIT Press 1996, 1998, 1999), and Ultimate Computing – Biomolecular Consciousness and Nanotechnology, (Elsevier-North Holland 1987.)

Dulce May 28, 2008, 1:46 PM

Search Youtube for:
What the Bleep Do We Know Superposition

Stuart Hameroff M.D.
www.quantumconsciousness.org

Anonymous May 28, 2008, 3:03 PM

You’re reading too much into my initial comment…it is not illegal to teach creation…I never said in science as scientific fact. Even if its taught in Social Studies as a belief system, it is still taught in class. The initial article gave the impression that it is wrong to mention creationism.


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