Friday, April 20, 2012

Meanwhile, Over in North Carolina...

The Raleigh NewsObserver is reporting on the doings of a Wake County high school science teacher who has given an assignment asking students to, if they so desire, write a paper supporting a recent earth creation model of the earth's origins.  The authors write:
School officials say the assignment, in which the teacher gave his students the option of doing an extra-credit project on evolution or creationism, was inappropriate because the state curriculum doesn’t include creationism. The situation at Wakefield Middle School in North Raleigh highlights the challenge public schools face when discussing how life began...At Wakefield, eighth-grade science teacher Adam Dembrow gave students an extra-credit opportunity last month to do a poster and paper either on “your interpretation of a religions (sic) Creation” or on “any evidence on the theory of evolution, which can be used to support the theory of evolution.”
Much is unclear in this report. Is he trying to get his students to understand the shortcomings of the YEC model? Is he trying to get them to compare standard science with YEC? Even I make cursory mention of the YEC model in my “History of Science” lecture for my intro to physical anthropology class.  I also have, as an extra credit assignment, assigned a question such as "read an article on the intersection of science and religion and evaluate it."  Additionally, it is never a problem to give an assignment asking students to address evidence for evolution.  That gets them into the evidence, itself. 

While the recent Tennessee law is clearly a bad idea, I do not think that we need to jump out of our skins every time a teacher mentions the young earth model.  That is just overreacting. 

It has always been my contention that if we actually brought creationism into the classroom and taught the evidence for it honestly and with scientific integrity, students would see it for the stinkweed that it is and not embrace it.


  1. Since this was in the South the teacher might very well be a YEC.

  2. Brock Haussamen12:42 PM

    I'm glad to have found this blog, as a way to stay up to date on this issue. Thanks. I'm new to blogging myself, with a new blog at, on a spiritual view of evolution and survival.

  3. Note that the newspaper article states, "School officials say the assignment...was inappropriate because the state curriculum doesn't include creationism."

    I am in complete agreement with you that looking at (YE)Creationism honestly and with scientific rigor would be a useful exercise in the classroom, but outside the classroom and in the church we need to be prepared for the crisis of faith that such an examination might catalyze. Scot McNight speaks to the latter issue in his post today on Biologos:

  4. rubble2:38 PM

    I'm trying to figure out ways to address Creationists' concerns about the teaching of evolutionary theory in our public schools.

    Let's be clear: it ain't about the science. I bring that point home in a hurry, simply by summarizing some paper from the literature that isn't on the professional Creationists' public radar, and watching the discussion grind to a halt. They can't be bothered with reading the literature? OK, then I guess that they're not really interested in science after all.

    So part of the deal is to hear the honest concerns, and not the sham science concern.