Evolution in School
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20-02-2013, 10:22 PM
RE: Evolution in School
(20-02-2013 09:30 PM)UndercoverAtheist Wrote:  
(20-02-2013 09:21 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Could you give a few examples of how she's adopting a pro-religious stance? I'm afraid it wasn't clear from your post. Regardless, I can tell you the first step you should take.

Also-also, are you out at your school as an atheist or a not-fundamentalist-Christian? This can affect the avenues open to you.
She's basically comparing Evolution to a religion, and I hate when people think like that.

She also said "there is still a controversy over whether we were made by god or by something else."

And she referred to evolution as "the belief that we come from animals" (as if we aren't animals)

And by saying that she made many people stray from the topic (OH NO I"m AN ANIMAL?)

I am out at my school as an atheist but that's not the title I give myself, I just say that I am non religious (but most people take that as atheist)

Many people come to me when they have questions regarding science (everyone knows me as the science person with straight A's in science. lol)
Um. First off, I'd recommend having an honest talk with her out of class, if you're comfortable with it, preferably after you've documented some errors. State clearly that you feel she has misrepresented evolution, and how, and that you're concerned. Don't bring religion into the topic at all, and don't let her make it about religion either. The purpose of this conversation is not to persuade or debate, but simply air your discontent (in as polite, factual, and neutral terms as possible) and give her a chance to respond. Bring your notebook and take notes on her response. This projects a respectful and studious attitude, but also provides you with documentation of the meeting. Email might be an alternative format, but it's hard to project tone properly over the email, and the internet in general is prone to bring out attitudes of conflict in a way that face-to-face does not. (Fortunately, such halcyon settings as this forum are immune to that.)

Does your state have some sort of teach-the-controversy laws or policies or standards? Maybe something just on the district level, or even the school level, rather than the individual level? If so, she might be reciting from a script and not really have a choice on the subject. She might even be willing to help you in any efforts to change such a hypothetical policy. Don't assume an adversarial relationship until you're certain that she's the driving force behind these errors.

Also, do you have a science teacher who you think represents evolution correctly? Find time to bring it up with her or him and ask for advice. Email would be a good format here. Another teacher may know your history teacher well, and also the relevant policies and laws.

Mention it to your parents, too. They can be your best allies and have much more standing and leverage to push for change.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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20-02-2013, 10:35 PM
RE: Evolution in School
(20-02-2013 10:22 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Um. First off, I'd recommend having an honest talk with her out of class, if you're comfortable with it, preferably after you've documented some errors. State clearly that you feel she has misrepresented evolution, and how, and that you're concerned. Don't bring religion into the topic at all, and don't let her make it about religion either. The purpose of this conversation is not to persuade or debate, but simply air your discontent (in as polite, factual, and neutral terms as possible) and give her a chance to respond. Bring your notebook and take notes on her response. This projects a respectful and studious attitude, but also provides you with documentation of the meeting. Email might be an alternative format, but it's hard to project tone properly over the email, and the internet in general is prone to bring out attitudes of conflict in a way that face-to-face does not. (Fortunately, such halcyon settings as this forum are immune to that.)

Does your state have some sort of teach-the-controversy laws or policies or standards? Maybe something just on the district level, or even the school level, rather than the individual level? If so, she might be reciting from a script and not really have a choice on the subject. She might even be willing to help you in any efforts to change such a hypothetical policy. Don't assume an adversarial relationship until you're certain that she's the driving force behind these errors.

Also, do you have a science teacher who you think represents evolution correctly? Find time to bring it up with her or him and ask for advice. Email would be a good format here. Another teacher may know your history teacher well, and also the relevant policies and laws.

Mention it to your parents, too. They can be your best allies and have much more standing and leverage to push for change.
I'm afraid that I'm not too comfortable with that, but I will take your advice and write down what she says in class for a few days.

And maybe after I have some exact quotes written down I will have a talk.

Thanks.
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21-02-2013, 01:06 AM
RE: Evolution in School
I would recommend that idea suggested of taking down what she was specifically saying.. It may be a bit confrontational to take it up with her directly, if you didn't want to try that, it would probably be better to take that information to your guidance/school consular or dean.

You could stress as you don't want to make a big deal about it, but make it noted that you felt uncomfortable because of the implications in her comments.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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21-02-2013, 08:11 AM
RE: Evolution in School
Seeing as this is a History class and it sounds like she is only grazing the subject, I foresee a difficult road. Sometimes you have to let something go. If she is not getting into the science and if she is only noting it in passing, it will be very difficult to get her to change since I bet she thinks she is 100% correct. If she lacks this type of basic knowledge, change is not in the foreseeable future IMO, especially for a History teacher.

I really like some of the advice given here: take notes, define your goals, etc. I could be wrong about "only grazing the subject" based on your posts. About a year ago during lunch with my boss and about 8 other people co-workers my boss made a statement along the lines of "in the bible it says x, and if you believe the bible is true and I do, then Y". sure he crossed the line and I could have confronted him there or privately afterward but I didn't b/c it was not egregious and the risks were great. It is not a perfectly parallel situation but it is something that formed my advice.
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21-02-2013, 08:46 AM
RE: Evolution in School
Since it is history, history is on your side.
I think in nearly every court battle, reason, evidence and evolution has won out.

When she does finally say in class "And the court decided after hearing all the evidence that....."

Just simply ask "What evidence did they hear and why do you think they have voted that way time and time again" ?
It's because evolution is a demonstrative fact. Science is able to demonstrate the truth.
They did that in court and it's why 99.9 % of all biology, medicine, and any field dealing with life science in the world use the tools that evolution provides to solve problems.

Get a forestry field guide that helps you identify plants in the wild.
That guide is based on evolution. Each plant has certain characteristics that shows commonality.
Each plant will fall into categories based on the shape of their leaves, the way they flower, smell, the roots, the stalk, everything. Evolution predicts this.

In some ways I really feel sad for your classmates. They are missing out on how something so wonderful about life shows that we are all connected. We all have the same roots, the same origins and we are on the same planet.

Life gives birth to more life and that new life is slightly different. At no point does magic ever create a baby.
POOF - a baby - That never happens. And that's why all life has the exact same building blocks.

It's because we all at some point have a common ancestor. Thus the tree of life.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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21-02-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: Evolution in School
I love it when people compare an understanding of evolution to being a religious belief. It shows just how insecure they are about their own religious beliefs. It is essentially them trying to say "evolution is just as weak a position as religion is. I mean, religion is a strong position but not evolution religion, somehow it is weaker."

Only those who don't understand it, spew forth such drivel. I mean, the theory of gravity is just a religion too...

Evolve
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23-02-2013, 11:36 PM
RE: Evolution in School
(20-02-2013 07:03 PM)UndercoverAtheist Wrote:  We are now in the 1920's in History class and we are getting into the so called "controversy" of science in the classroom.

We are learning about the Scopes trial and we got into a little discussion today that left me a bit pissed.

My teacher (living in the bible belt) is of course a religious person and today she was hinting at Evolution being the same as a religion.

This royally pissed me off and everyone else was in agreement with the teacher.

I raised my hand to say something, but I quickly lowered it in fear that I would start a riot.

We are going to continue to learn about this and probably discuss so I need your opinion on what approach I should take.

I don't want to go throughout class without the opposite position being discussed (mostly the validity of Evolution, on which I have much knowledge).

All that I really want to point out is that most people that understand Evolution believe it to be true and that this is not coincidence.

Sorry if I went all over the place, I wrote this the fastest I could.

Thanks.
For practicality's sake, I would say that if you live in an area where you're likely to be discriminated against for confronting religious beliefs, don't go and defy it openly. It's not worth it. If people could be swayed by information, truth or logic, we wouldn't have any theists on this world. The fact that we do means that - as noble as it is to stand alone for the truth - you won't convince many and you'll just make life harder for yourself.

In this case, I would just say to poke holes in whatever creationist crap comes out of your teacher's mouth. Don't do it blatantly, just ask innocent questions like "If evolution isn't real, how come scientists have evolved lab-made viruses?", and "If evolution is false, why does the Catholic Church publicly accept it as a fact?".

If, however, you live in an area tolerant of rational thought, you could appeal to education authorities (whatever the organisation that manages education in your state is), or to other teachers/principal/parents, etc.

Science, logic and how they destroy religious arguments @ http://scepticalprophet.wordpress.com/

To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.
- Isaac Asimov.
Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
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