Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Teaching Science in Science Class

The Register-Guard in Eugene, Oregon has a good editorial that places a bit of blame for Americans' ignorance of evolution on the public schools. I think it's a reasonable argument.

Most importantly, I think it's obvious from hearing public debate that the vast majority of Americans don't understand what a scientific theory is.

What seems abundantly clear from the Pew Center poll is that American public schools have consistently failed to teach students the fundamentals and vocabulary of the scientific method. Critics of evolution constantly repeat that it is "a theory, not a fact," clearly implying that alternative "theories" ought to get equal time in the classroom.

But this is a semantic subterfuge that succeeds precisely because so many products of the U.S. public school system - including many who now serve on school boards - don't know the difference between a scientific theory and the common usage of theory to mean a hunch or a speculation.


We need better science education in our schools, but I don't know if we're ever going to get it. There's such an anti-science mentality at the top of our government today that it's hard to imagine rigorous scientific standards becoming the norm in our classrooms.

2 Comments:

At 10:35 AM, Blogger dhodge said...

In the 1950s, we got serious about science education after the Russians beat us into space. Today, we're taking a page out of the Al-Qaida playbook and getting serious about indoctrinating science students with funamentalist religious beliefs. If our national science education policy is actually dictated by the scientific achievements (or lack thereof) of our sworn enemy, perhaps we need to choose some new enemies. Maybe we really do need to hit France where it hurts, for the sake of science education.

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger MDS said...

That's true. Our enemies now are so scientifically backward that there's zero chance of anyone ever having to question whether the Muslim fundamentalists are beating us in their scientific education. But perhaps soon we'll start to hear more about how Europe is a competitor economically, and how they're developing more bright minds than we are.

 

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