Happy Atheist Forum

Religion => Creationism/Intelligent Design => Topic started by: Benoît Bôls on August 24, 2008, 11:26:35 PM

Title: A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Post by: Benoît Bôls on August 24, 2008, 11:26:35 PM
An interesting article about how a Florida high school teacher is helping students understand the basics of evolution:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/education/24evolution.html?_r=1&ref=science&oref=slogin
Title: Re: A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Post by: Whitney on August 27, 2008, 02:44:05 AM
I like this approach:
Quote
He started with Mickey Mouse.

On the projector, Mr. Campbell placed slides of the cartoon icon: one at his skinny genesis in 1928; one from his 1940 turn as the impish Sorcerer’s Apprentice; and another of the rounded, ingratiating charmer of Mouse Club fame.

“How,” he asked his students, “has Mickey changed?”

Natives of Disney World’s home state, they waved their hands and called out answers.

“His tail gets shorter,” Bryce volunteered.

“Bigger eyes!” someone else shouted.

“He looks happier,” one girl observed. “And cuter.”

Mr. Campbell smiled. “Mickey evolved,” he said. “And Mickey gets cuter because Walt Disney makes more money that way. That is ‘selection.’ ”
Title: Re: A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Post by: curiosityandthecat on August 27, 2008, 02:59:26 AM
Got this on my education RSS feed a while back. Good man.
Title: Re: A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Post by: Benoît Bôls on August 27, 2008, 03:36:31 AM
Quote from: "laetusatheos"
I like this approach:
Quote
He started with Mickey Mouse...
I emailed him about a slight problem with that approach. I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here and point out that it could be (mis)interpreted as an argument for intelligent design.

Afterall, Mickey Mouse was designed by an intelligent being (Disney) who had also altered his appearance for a reason known only to the creator (what I mean by "known only to the creator" is that Mickey wasn't aware of his origins and reason for his existence. Yes, we know what's going on, but Mickey doesn't.).
Title: Re: A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Post by: Whitney on August 28, 2008, 01:22:50 AM
Quote from: "Benoît Bôls"
Quote from: "laetusatheos"
I like this approach:
Quote
He started with Mickey Mouse...
I emailed him about a slight problem with that approach. I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here and point out that it could be (mis)interpreted as an argument for intelligent design.

Afterall, Mickey Mouse was designed by an intelligent being (Disney) who had also altered his appearance for a reason known only to the creator (what I mean by "known only to the creator" is that Mickey wasn't aware of his origins and reason for his existence. Yes, we know what's going on, but Mickey doesn't.).

I see your point.  I think just about any simple explaination of evolution tends to leave the door wide open for intelligent design advocates to put their foot in.  I think the reason so many people are willing to embrace intelligent design is that they only understand a simplistic explaination of evolution (at best).
Title: Re: A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Post by: McQ on August 28, 2008, 01:49:52 AM
I'm interested to hear what the teacher says if he gets back to you. Good point you made in emailing him. If I were an ID'er, I'd have a field day with his approach. He needs to actually do more of the opposite of what he did when using examples. Mickey's evolution was directed, exactly what a designer would do. Biological Evolution is not directional. Let us know what his reply is.
Title: Re: A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Post by: Benoît Bôls on August 28, 2008, 02:12:03 AM
Quote from: "laetusatheos"
I think just about any simple explaination of evolution tends to leave the door wide open for intelligent design advocates to put their foot in.
Not really. I've managed to keep them down with other arguments.

Quote from: "laetusatheos"
I think the reason so many people are willing to embrace intelligent design is that they only understand a simplistic explaination of evolution (at best).
Some people, but you get those who will do anything to keep God in the picture. I was debating with a hardline (read: "Dependent on Logical Fallacies") creationist and, after three days, got him to surrender. His parting shot? "I refuse to acknowlege the evidence as I am afraid that it would diminish my faith in God." He actually had the brass ones to say that.

Quote from: "McQ"
I'm interested to hear what the teacher says if he gets back to you. Good point you made in emailing him. If I were an ID'er, I'd have a field day with his approach. He needs to actually do more of the opposite of what he did when using examples. Mickey's evolution was directed, exactly what a designer would do. Biological Evolution is not directional. Let us know what his reply is.
I will. I emailed him Sunday night, so it may be a bit before I hear back.

I had also pointed him toward the works of Kenneth Krause. Krause and Richard Dawkins had a neat discussion about how to best approach creationists. I wish I could find the article. As you know, Dawkins can be a pitbull. Krause was much more approachable.

I also suggested that he should read Michael Shermer's book Why People Believe Weird Things to hopefully get inside his students' heads.
Title: Re: A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Post by: Jolly Sapper on August 28, 2008, 02:44:10 AM
Sweet, can't wait to see if you get a response.