Teach the Controversy? What Controversy? Trina L. Short EdM Program in Science & the Public SUNY Buffalo
<ul><ul><li>“ Why do we live in a world where we travel in vehicles with internal combustion engines controlled by semi-co...
Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Around the country, some people are wanting science teachers to “Teach the Controversy” r...
Outline <ul><li>Science & Theory </li></ul><ul><li>What is Evolution? </li></ul><ul><li>What is Intelligent Design? </li><...
Science & Theory “ Science is not a collection of facts to be repeated on demand.  Rather, it is a historically successful...
Science & Theory “ A theory is not just something that we think of in the middle of the night after too much coffee and no...
Science & Theory Science is only science if you can make predictions and then test those predictions. If you can’t do that...
What is Evolution? “ Well, everyone knows that evolution, in a sense, is change over time. [...] It's important to underst...
What is Evolution? “ It's an explanatory framework within which all the rest of biology fits. It's something that we use i...
What is Intelligent Design? Intelligent design proponents believe “there is good evidence that some features of nature--li...
What is Intelligent Design? A key argument from Intelligent Design Proponents is that some things, like the eye or the fla...
What is Intelligent Design? However, such arguments for Irreducibly Complex structures are unfounded.  “ When you look at ...
The False Dilemma There is a common argument style known as The False Dilemma whereby one person declares that there are o...
The False Dilemma “ The whole idea of intelligent design is a confession on the part of its advocates that they actually c...
The False Dilemma “ One side is required to produce evidence, every step of the way. The other side is never required to p...
Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine The main question is, who or what is the Intelligent Designer that the Intelligen...
Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine <ul><li>Perhaps the Intelligent Designer is the Flying Spaghetti Monster as sugge...
Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine During the Dover, PA School Board trial in 2005, links between the religious “Cre...
Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine The Intelligent Design biology textbook  Of Pandas and People  was examined throu...
Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine “ So the correct term for this transitional form is &quot;Cdesign proponentsists....
Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine “ We conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readi...
The Legal Standing <ul><li>Intelligent Design is a more modern title for Creationism </li></ul><ul><li>Creationism and Int...
The Legal Standing <ul><li>Scopes v. State, 152 Tenn. 424, 278 S.W. 57 (Tenn. 1925) (AKA the Scopes “Monkey Trial”) - the ...
The Legal Standing <ul><li>Ohio's Science Standards require that evolution be taught in Ohio schools </li></ul><ul><li>10 ...
Controversy? “ 'Teach the controversy' is a deliberately ambiguous phrase. It means 'pretend to students that scientists a...
Controversy? “ Among the controversies that students of evolution commonly face, these are genuinely challenging and of gr...
Evidence for Evolution “ In 2004, a field crew digging in the Canadian Arctic unearthed the fossil remains of a half-fish,...
Evidence for Evolution Image courtesy of http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/tran-nf.html
Evidence for Evolution <ul><li>In addition to transitional species as shown on the previous slide, there is  evidence of o...
Evidence for Evolution “ All great apes apart from man have 24 pairs of chromosomes. There is therefore a hypothesis that ...
Recommendations <ul><li>Evolution may be a hotly contested issue outside of science, but within science, it's a very stron...
Recommendations <ul><li>The State Standards require evolutionary theory to be covered in the life science classes </li></u...
Recommendations Our students deserve the best science education which we can provide for them. Some of our students may so...
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Teach the Controversy? What Controversy?

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This presentation was written for LAI 531 Science Curricula: Current Approaches
Special Session for the Science and the Public EdM Program at SUNY Buffalo. It is written as a presentation to be given to a school board regarding the so-called controversy over evolution.

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Teach the Controversy? What Controversy?

  1. 1. Teach the Controversy? What Controversy? Trina L. Short EdM Program in Science & the Public SUNY Buffalo
  2. 2. <ul><ul><li>“ Why do we live in a world where we travel in vehicles with internal combustion engines controlled by semi-conductor computers and yet act as if science is evil? How can we accept monoclonal antibody tests and antibiotic treatments in a modern medical system but say evolution is no better at explaining biological systems than is the creation story, creation science or its latest incarnation, Intelligent Design? How can we accept infertility treatments and test tube babies and reject stem cell research?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mike Short “E=mc 2 Energy Matter and Religion” The Fourth R , 17-3 May-June 2004 </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Around the country, some people are wanting science teachers to “Teach the Controversy” regarding evolution. But is there really a scientific controversy which should be addressed? This presentation will examine the issue of evolution and its detractors.
  4. 4. Outline <ul><li>Science & Theory </li></ul><ul><li>What is Evolution? </li></ul><ul><li>What is Intelligent Design? </li></ul><ul><li>The False Dilemma </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine </li></ul><ul><li>The Legal Standing </li></ul><ul><li>Controversy? </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence for Evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations </li></ul>
  5. 5. Science & Theory “ Science is not a collection of facts to be repeated on demand. Rather, it is a historically successful process for finding patterns and testing relationships.” Greg Kifer in his letter to members of the Kansas State Board of Education, quoted from his e-mail to PHYS-L@LISTS.NAU.EDU, May 23, 2005
  6. 6. Science & Theory “ A theory is not just something that we think of in the middle of the night after too much coffee and not enough sleep. That's an idea. A theory [...] in science means a very large body of information that's withstood a lot of testing. It probably consists of a number of different hypotheses, many different lines of evidence.” Kevin Padian at the Dover, PA School Board hearing, Oct. 14, 2005. Transcript available at http://www.aclupa.org/downloads/Day9AM.pdf
  7. 7. Science & Theory Science is only science if you can make predictions and then test those predictions. If you can’t do that, it’s not science. Theories are testable models of natural phenomena. They are the best explanations we have for the facts at hand. And they will be changed if we discover new facts that contradict them.
  8. 8. What is Evolution? “ Well, everyone knows that evolution, in a sense, is change over time. [...] It's important to understand, first of all, that individuals don't evolve. I'm not evolving into something else, and my dog isn't evolving into something else. I'm going to remain a human being, he's going to remain a dog. That's the way things are going to work. What changes over time are populations of individuals, for very straightforward reasons.” Kenneth Miller, “In Defense of Evolution,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/defense-ev.html
  9. 9. What is Evolution? “ It's an explanatory framework within which all the rest of biology fits. It's something that we use in practical biological applications: medicine, agriculture, industry. When you're getting a flu vaccine—that really depended upon evolutionary knowledge. In many, many specific ways, evolution makes a practical difference. It's not just something that happened in the past, evolution's happening now.” Robert Pennock, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3416_id.html
  10. 10. What is Intelligent Design? Intelligent design proponents believe “there is good evidence that some features of nature--like the intricate molecular motors within cells and the finely-tuned laws of physics--are best explained as the products of an intelligent cause, not chance and necessity.” John G. West, “UPDATE: Sun Sentinel Suppresses Accurate Definition of Intelligent Design,” http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/02/orlando_sentinel_suppresses_ac.html
  11. 11. What is Intelligent Design? A key argument from Intelligent Design Proponents is that some things, like the eye or the flagella of bacteria are Irreducibly Complex. Random chance, they say, couldn't be responsible for such things since if any one part is removed, the remainder won't work. They propose that only some Intelligent Designer was responsible for such features.
  12. 12. What is Intelligent Design? However, such arguments for Irreducibly Complex structures are unfounded. “ When you look at the experiments that biologists and biochemists have done on the bacterial flagellum you discover that little clusters of proteins in the flagellum, in other bacteria that don't have flagella, are busy doing other functions.” Kenneth Miller, “In Defense of Evolution,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/defense-ev.html
  13. 13. The False Dilemma There is a common argument style known as The False Dilemma whereby one person declares that there are only two sides and if it's not the one side, then it must, by default, be the other. Proponents for Intelligent Design have been using this False Dilemma argument often. If evolution can't explain something yet, that something must be because of an Intelligent Designer.
  14. 14. The False Dilemma “ The whole idea of intelligent design is a confession on the part of its advocates that they actually can't get any evidence at all in favor of a designer. So what they resort to is the notion that it's either evolution or it's design. And if evolution right now, today, cannot explain everything, that lack of a complete explanation amounts to evidence for the other side.” Kenneth Miller, “In Defense of Evolution,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/defense-ev.html
  15. 15. The False Dilemma “ One side is required to produce evidence, every step of the way. The other side is never required to produce one iota of evidence, but is deemed to have won automatically, the moment the first side encounters a difficulty – the sort of difficulty that all sciences [sic] encounter every day, and go to work to solve, with relish.” Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, “One side can be wrong” eSchool News , November/December 2005
  16. 16. Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine The main question is, who or what is the Intelligent Designer that the Intelligent Design proponents think is responsible for the Irreducibly Complex structures in some living organisms? The Discovery Institute won't specifically say – they say that that isn't the purpose of the Intelligent Design theory.
  17. 17. Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine <ul><li>Perhaps the Intelligent Designer is the Flying Spaghetti Monster as suggested by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. </li></ul>Image courtesy of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, http://www.venganza.org/
  18. 18. Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine During the Dover, PA School Board trial in 2005, links between the religious “Creation Science” (where God is the designer of all living things) and the supposedly nonreligious Intelligent Design were shown. Intelligent Design is the new, modern version of Creationism.
  19. 19. Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine The Intelligent Design biology textbook Of Pandas and People was examined through all of its drafts. “ In cleansing this manuscript, they failed to replace every word properly. I found the word &quot;creationists.&quot; And instead of replacing the entire word, they just kind of did this [she is typing on a computer], and got &quot;design proponents&quot; with the &quot;c&quot; in front and the &quot;ists&quot; in the back from the original word.” Barbara Forrest, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3416_id.html
  20. 20. Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine “ So the correct term for this transitional form is &quot;Cdesign proponentsists.&quot; And everyone now refers to this as the &quot;missing link&quot; between creationism and intelligent design. You've got the direct physical evidence there of a transitional fossil.” Nick Matzke, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3416_id.html
  21. 21. Intelligent Design as Religious Doctrine “ We conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child” John E. Jones III, “Memorandum Opinion,” (from the Dover, PA School Board Trial, December 20, 2005) http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf
  22. 22. The Legal Standing <ul><li>Intelligent Design is a more modern title for Creationism </li></ul><ul><li>Creationism and Intelligent Design require a Creator or Designer – a God in other words </li></ul><ul><li>According to the First Amendment of our Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” </li></ul><ul><li>Public schools are state-sponsored agencies and must follow the First Amendment – separation of church and state. </li></ul>
  23. 23. The Legal Standing <ul><li>Scopes v. State, 152 Tenn. 424, 278 S.W. 57 (Tenn. 1925) (AKA the Scopes “Monkey Trial”) - the court then upheld the Butler Act in Tennesee which prohibited the teaching of evolution or “any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible” </li></ul><ul><li>Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., Case No. 04cv2688 – in 2005, Judge John E. Jones III ruled that the Dover School Board mandate to teach Intelligent Design alongside evolution was unconstitutional </li></ul>
  24. 24. The Legal Standing <ul><li>Ohio's Science Standards require that evolution be taught in Ohio schools </li></ul><ul><li>10 th grade indicator 25: Explain that life on Earth is thought to have begun as simple, one celled organisms approximately 4 billion years ago. During most of the history of Earth only single celled microorganisms existed, but once cells with nuclei developed about a billion years ago, increasingly complex multicellular organisms evolved. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3&TopicRelationID=334&ContentID=834&Content=32645 </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Controversy? “ 'Teach the controversy' is a deliberately ambiguous phrase. It means 'pretend to students that scientists are arguing over whether evolution took place.' This is not happening. “ I mean you go to the scientific journals, you go to universities [...] and you ask the professors, is there an argument going on about whether living things had common ancestors? They'll look at you blankly. This is not a controversy.” Eugenie Scott, “Online NewsHour: Evolution Debate,” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june05/creation_3-28.html
  26. 26. Controversy? “ Among the controversies that students of evolution commonly face, these are genuinely challenging and of great educational value: neutralism versus selectionism in molecular evolution; adaptationism; group selection; punctuated equilibrium; cladism; &quot;evo-devo&quot;; the &quot;Cambrian Explosion&quot;; mass extinctions; interspecies competition; sympatric speciation; sexual selection; the evolution of sex itself; evolutionary psychology; Darwinian medicine and so on.” Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, “One side can be wrong” eSchool News , November/December 2005
  27. 27. Evidence for Evolution “ In 2004, a field crew digging in the Canadian Arctic unearthed the fossil remains of a half-fish, half-amphibian that would all but confirm paleontologists' theories about how land-dwelling tetrapods (four-limbed animals, including us) evolved from their fish ancestors.” Rima Chaddha, “Nova | Intelligent Design On Trial | Fossil Evidence,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/tran-nf.html
  28. 28. Evidence for Evolution Image courtesy of http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/tran-nf.html
  29. 29. Evidence for Evolution <ul><li>In addition to transitional species as shown on the previous slide, there is evidence of other more modern transitional species (http://www.evolutionpages.com/Organelle_transitional.htm) </li></ul><ul><li>Flu vaccines must change yearly to combat the latest evolution of the flu virus </li></ul><ul><li>MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphyl-ococcus aureus) is Staph aureus which has evolved to be resistant to methicillin </li></ul><ul><li>Breeders have used “selection” for centuries – nature's been doing it for even longer </li></ul>
  30. 30. Evidence for Evolution “ All great apes apart from man have 24 pairs of chromosomes. There is therefore a hypothesis that the common ancestor of all great apes had 24 pairs of chromosomes and that the fusion of two of the ancestor's chromosomes created chromosome 2 in humans. The evidence for this hypothesis is very strong.” Check out Alec MacAndrew's page for more details at http://www.evolutionpages.com/chromosome_2.htm
  31. 31. Recommendations <ul><li>Evolution may be a hotly contested issue outside of science, but within science, it's a very strong theory which is used throughout the life sciences </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent Design is not science and is actually thinly veiled religion </li></ul><ul><li>The First Amendment separates church and state – religion should not be taught in public schools, especially in science class </li></ul>
  32. 32. Recommendations <ul><li>The State Standards require evolutionary theory to be covered in the life science classes </li></ul><ul><li>If a “controversy” over evolution is to be taught, let it be over the areas in evolution which are contested (see slide 26 for some suggestions from Dawkins & Coyne). </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence for evolution is strong – more sources can be cited if necessary </li></ul>
  33. 33. Recommendations Our students deserve the best science education which we can provide for them. Some of our students may someday be the people discovering cures for viruses, bacterial infections, or even cancer and to do that, they'll need the most complete life science education that we can provide for them. Evolution will help us do this, but Intelligent Design will not.
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