Friday, August 08, 2008
Rick Kellogg of Wildomar, California has graced the Letters To the Editor page of The Californian with a unique way of judging the value of a scientific theory.
Most of Mr. Kellogg's missive is the usual blather: there's been a lot of (unspecified) positive evidence for Intelligent Design in the last few years; opposing pseudoscience means you are afraid of it; evolution is a secular religion; and evolutionists are persecuting anyone who so much as criticizes the theory.
But he is really onto something with this:
An acquaintance of mine who teaches science in a local public school has discovered a novel way of handling this problem. When he gets to the unit on evolution, he picks students to read aloud from the textbook. After a few sentences, you can hear chuckling in the classroom. Soon, it turns to outright laughter. He allows the students to discuss it openly, and when it's all done, the consensus is that evolution is a big joke, and he didn't have to say a word.What a clever method of judging worth Mr. Kellogg and his friend have stumbled on! Let's do this across the board! Let's have children, without any benefit of instruction, decide whether a Shakespeare was a great writer or just giggle bait. Why bother with doctors when you can have kids read a few pages out of a medical book and decide whether or not it's worth doing that operation. Presidential elections will no longer be necessary ... we can just have children who have never heard of the candidates pick the winners after reading out a few sentences of their biographies.
Best of all, before long, the entire American economy can be run by having them read "Would you like fries with that?"
John, surely you've heard of the Laugh Test...well this is simply a practical application. :)
Seriously, I wish I had thought of this myself. Would have made intro theoretical chem a whole lot easier!
Reading Genesis aloud, on the other hand ....
My preferred solution to the evolution/creation controversy is to present the best case for creationism in class and let the students debate the issue. In most schools this would end up making the creationist side look pretty silly.
True, there might be some schools in deeply religious parts or America where the technique would backfire but I think the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks. In my class (university students) we read Icons of Evolution and the stupidity of that book does more to harm the IDiot case than anything I could say.
Except, maybe, at how badly so many of our kids read.
In most schools this would end up making the creationist side look pretty silly.
One problem being, under our ... peculiar ... system, making creationism look silly may violate the Constitutional separation of church and state. Another problem is that studies have shown that about one-third of biology teachers in America support the teaching of creationism or Intelligent Design, so the creationist side would likely have a leg up in any debate in more than just a few areas.