Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Out and About the Intertubes

Talking Tautology:

Wilkins continues his series on the contention that the concept of Natural Selection is a tautology:

The tautology problem

tautology 1a: corrections

Tautology 1b: Butler

Tautology 2: The problem arises

Tautology 3: The problem spreads

Tautology 4: What is a tautology?

Tautology 5a: The issues

Tautology 5b: The issues, continued

Tautology 6: A resolution

Tautology 7: Conclusions
Talking Science:

Like any elusive prey, young minds may have to be snuck up on.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute may be a tad awash with money. It publishes a large-format glossy magazine, HHMI Bulletin, that it will send to you absolutely for free for the asking. It can be also found on the web. The content is not very deep -- mostly profiles of HHMI scientists with no more than a page or two on their work -- but it is still well worth the price.

This quarter's issue has a story on "The E Word":

Twenty-six weeks into Suzanne Black's 10th-grade biology class in a Seattle suburb, she drops the bomb.


Black didn't purposely avoid the word before then, but in 25 years of teaching she's learned to minimize conflict by presenting information about evolution gradually.

Though the principles of evolution underlie biology from genetics to ecology, the religious beliefs of some students can make teaching the topic difficult. Experienced high school educators have learned to get past the controversy by working up to the important concepts and keeping lessons relevant to the students' lives. ...

"We start with evidence that's based in molecular biology and genetics and slide in the 'evolution' word later on," agrees Ann Findley, professor of biology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She teaches college students as well as high school seniors and high school biology teachers in an HHMI-supported summer course. "[Some students] have been misled to think it's something else, and they don't see what all the fuss is about."

The same day Black formally introduced the "E" word, a student asked a question about intelligent design.

"I explained that intelligent design is a religious viewpoint that says that some things are so complex that you can't explain them, and that it's not scientifically supported," she says. "The kids wanted to know what I meant, and I asked how we could design experiments to test the ideas behind intelligent design. And that was it."

Another interesting thing from the article is a HHMI-supported program, Science Education Partnership, which is a professional development program for high school teachers based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Those in the front lines might want to look into it.

Talking Steves:

The National Center for Science Education has announced the 1,100th Steve.

Great post!
I had, few days ago, a really good chat with some friends about this topic. I will use some of this arguments for the next time.
Good for Ms. Black. Her question about designing an experiment to test the idea was an excellent way of pointing out one of the "theory's" major drawbacks without coming across as hostile.
Yes, I thought her approach not only had the advantage of minimizing the sociological conflict between religion and science but also tracked the way that children learn best ... by getting them to do it themselves.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

. . . . .


How to Support Science Education