Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Only a third of US biology teachers stand up for science

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-05-20

I realized that US science teachers are pressured to teach "creationism" in science classes in glowing terms, but I didn’t realize just how many actually believe it.

It’s worth going through some of the detailed figures (over the fold) in doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060124 (2008-05-20), the PLoS Biology essay "Evolution and Creationism in America’s Classrooms: A National Portrait" which surveyed approximately 1000 US high school biology teachers.

Stalinist-inspired genetics caused massive agricultural failures.  For the long-term benefit of US citizens, similar suffering for religious and politically-driven science policy is probably necessary – as long as the rest of the world doesn’t suffer.

As an aside, why don’t US religious nutters drive cars with elliptical wheels, because their holy book unambiguously implies that pi=3? (1 Kings, 7.23 KJV: "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about." or the even clearer New American Version: "The sea was then cast; it was made with a circular rim, and measured ten cubits across, five in height, and thirty in circumference.")

Anyway, to the gory details from the PLoS paper:

Only 2% excluded evolution entirely.  But significantly fewer teachers covered human evolution, which is not included as an NSES (National Science Education Standards) benchmark.  Of teachers surveyed, 17% did not cover human evolution at all in their biology class…

But wait, it gets worse when examining responses to particular questions:

"It is possible to offer an excellent general biology course for high school students that includes no mention of Darwin or evolutionary theory?"

  • Strongly agree: 6%
  • Agree: 7%
  • Not applicable/No answer: 6%
  • Disagree: 26
  • Strongly disagree: 56

I suppose that 1 in 5 also think you can teach chemistry and physics without discussing atoms!

"I emphasize that almost scientists reject these (creationism/intelligent design – ed) as valid accounts of the origin of species:"

  • Strongly Disagree: 8%
  • Disagree: 41%
  • Not applicable/No answer: 19%
  • Agree: 29%
  • Strongly Agree 3%

OK, only one third are prepared to stand up for science, and at least half are prepared to hide the objective fact of the percentage of scientists who reject creationism, and thus intentionally misrepresent truth!

16% of the teachers agree that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so", while almost half agree that a god guided human development over millions of years. (See this graph).

"I emphasize that this (creationism/intelligent design – ed) is a valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species"

  • Strongly Agree: 11%
  • Agree: 37%
  • Not applicable/No answer: 14%
  • Disagree: 27%
  • Strongly Disagree: 11%

This is a clear breach of professional ethics and moral duty by the creationism-loving "teachers" as far as I am concerned.

I hope such teachers also indoctrinate the Christians in their class to believe in the efficacy of faith healing over scientific medicine… then we’ll see evolution in action!

Notes/See Also:


2 Responses to “Only a third of US biology teachers stand up for science”

  1. zombinol said

    What are the evolutionary factors in the development of this particular human evolutionary branch?
    I thought evolution was about environment but psychosomatic conditioning seems to be working too. Thank you religion for expanding my lack of knowledge.

  2. […] Dave Bath is disappointed with US biology teachers. […]

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