Stranger Fruit

I?m quoted in a press release regarding a teacher training workshop (the ?Evolution Challenges Workshop?) we?re giving at ASU to help middle and high school teachers teach evolution. Money quotes:

Studies have shown that ?16 percent of high school biology teachers are essentially young earth creationists who deny human evolution, with only 28 percent accepting unguided naturalistic evolution of humans,? says John Lynch, a lecturer in ASU?s School of Life Sciences and an Honors Faculty Fellow in Barrett, the Honors College. ?While this latter number is higher than the general public?s 13 percent, it is still very low.?

Lynch believes that at a time where state and local school boards are being pressured by creationist groups to ?teach the controversy? over ?Darwinism,? teachers and their students need to be clearly aware of the scientific nature of evolutionary biology and how scientists frame and test claims about the evolution of life’s diversity.

?Evolutionary biology is no different than any other scientific field,? Lynch points out. ?And modern evolutionary biology -  while having its roots in Darwin’s ideas formulated over 150 years ago – is not ?Darwinism,? but rather a rich field of inquiry that Darwin himself would perhaps not clearly recognize.?

?We at ASU are committed to helping Arizona’s high school biology teachers develop lessons that clearly show evolutionary biology for what it is – an exciting, engaging, and fascinating field, one that shares all the characteristics of modern scientific inquiry.?

I?ll be leading a section on evolution and common creationist talking points. Yes another thing I?m doing in February! For more on ASU?s Darwinfest, see here.

Comments

  1. #1 bobxxxx
    January 29, 2009

    “16 percent of high school biology teachers are essentially young earth creationists who deny human evolution, with only 28 percent accepting unguided naturalistic evolution of humans”

    This means 72% of high school biology teachers in America are incompetent and should be fired immediately.

  2. #2 Sigmund
    January 29, 2009

    “This means 72% of high school biology teachers in America are incompetent and should be fired immediately.”
    Not quite. I think the 72% would include those such as Ken Miller and Francis Collins who believe in vague notions of God’s ensoulment of humans or the supernatural introduction of morality into our ancestors at some stage of human evolution.
    This sort of belief doesn’t impinge upon basic biology teaching as there is only religious belief to back it up – which is why there is no actual scientific research done on this topic and thus nothing to teach in science class.

  3. #3 Anne Minard
    January 29, 2009

    I agree with Sigmund; belief in a creator and evolution aren’t mutually exclusive, and a science teacher can have faith and still teach evolution as the prevailing, richly supported theory that it is. Down the hall, the religion teacher can — and should! — cover the creation stories. I just wrote a related post on my new blog: http://anneminard.com/2009/01/28/day-5-this-science-of-which-you-speak/
    So far my readers are few … so I’d be curious to know what you think!

  4. #4 catgirl
    January 29, 2009

    I guess I was lucky to get a good biology teacher in high school. It’s even more amazing since most of the other teachers in my school (in all subjects) weren’t very good at teaching.

  5. #5 DLC
    January 29, 2009

    Uh . . mind explaining how 16+28 = 72 ?
    I must be missing it, but if 16% say they’re young earth creationists, and 28% believe in some sort of supernatural intervention, and assuming the 16% figure is a subset of the 28%, then isn’t it 72% who’re getting it right ?