Friday, November 19, 2010

Education Week: Evolution Education Working

According to an article in Education Week, the fallout from the Dover trial in 2005 has been bad for creationism and intelligent design. Sarah Sparks writes:
The National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, and other groups have increased research investment on identifying essential concepts for teaching evolution, including creating the Evolution Education Research Centre, a partnership of Harvard, McGill, and Chapman universities, and launching the first peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the subject, Journal of Evolution: Education and Outreach.
The journal was free for its first two years but now is behind a subscription wall. It is a top notch journal, though and worth seeking out. Sparks goes on to describe the different programs that are being implemented throughout the country but cautions that there are still problems:

Teacher education also has opened up as a new front in the battle over evolution in the classroom, according to Mr. Eberle. The Institute for Creation Research, which promotes creation-based science teaching, recently moved from California to Texas to fight for state accreditation to establish a master’s degree program in science education. Also, Louisiana has passed an “academic freedom” law protecting teachers who supplement their standard science textbooks with other materials; a state committee explicitly rejected a move to bar creationist or intelligent design materials from those supplements.

“If you take this term of ‘academic freedom’ more broadly, does it mean a teacher can teach anything?” Mr. Eberle asked. “It’s been narrowly applied to evolution, and I think it’s another term to accomplish the same goal” to undermine the scientific validity of evolution.

It should be noted that the ICR failed miserably in its bid to get accredited in Texas and has closed their "graduate program" in science. Interestingly, while there are many teachers that are skittish about teaching evolution, if you asked them if they were going to teach transmutation of gold or that the earth is flat, they would respond negatively. Why people feel different about evolution lies mostly in their lack of understanding of what the theory does and does not explain and deep-seated fears that it will upend their faith. The problem is that, if you are a young earth creationist, it will.

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