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13% Of High School Biology Teachers Are Creationists

This is pretty depressing:

The majority of high school biology teachers don’t take a solid stance on evolution with their students, mostly to avoid conflicts, and fewer than 30 percent of teachers take an adamant pro-evolutionary stance on the topic, a new study finds. Also, 13 percent of these teachers advocate creationism in their classrooms.

“The survey left space for (the teachers) to share their experiences. That’s where we picked up a lot of a sense about how they play to the test and tell students they can figure it out for themselves,” Michael Berkman, co-author of the study with Penn State University colleague Eric Plutzer, told Livescience. “Our general sense is they lack the knowledge and confidence to go in there and teach evolution, which makes them risk-averse.”

(…)

The data was collected from 926 nationally representative participants in the National Survey of High School Biology Teachers, which polled them on what they taught in the classroom and how much time they spent on each subject. They also noted the teachers’ personal feelings on creationism and evolution.

Only 28 percent of high school biology teachers followed the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences recommendations on teaching evolution, which include citing evidence that evolution occurred and teaching evolution thematically, as a link between various biology topics.

(…)

In comparison, 13 percent of the teachers said they “explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.” These are mostly the same group of teachers (about 14 percent) who personally reject the idea of evolution and the scientific method, and believe that God created humans on Earth in their present form less than 10,000 years ago. (That 14 percent included teachers’ personal beliefs, regardless of whether they taught these in the classroom.)

Some of the creationism advocates insisted that they, rather than scientists, were practicing proper science, with a Minnesota teacher commenting, “I don’t teach the theory of evolution in my life science classes, nor do I teach the Big Bang Theory in my (E)arth (S)cience classes…. We do not have time to do something that is at best poor science.”

Others rejected the scientific method as valid for shedding light on the origin of species, with an Illinois teacher responding, “I am always amazed at how evolution and creationism are treated as if they are right or wrong. They are both belief systems that can never be truly or fully proved or discredited.”

(…)

“We say (evolution is) a central idea in biology, but someone can get a biology degree and not take a class in it,” Randy Moore, a science and evolution education specialist in the biology department at the University of Minnesota who was not involved in the study, told LiveScience. “We let that go in the name of religious freedom.”

No, it’s not “religious freedom,” it’s religion being taught as scientific quackery. This is how we’re educating the next generation of Americans, folks.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hello World! says:

    Evolution and creationism are not at odds with each other, never have been. Biology even teaches that living cells only come from living cells. Everything is an emergent property of some other living organism and what kicked off the processes is a mystery.

    Now, if people want to go on believing that God created man in 1 day then thats a whole other conversation that has no place in our schools.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. Tano says:

    Yet again, conservatives keep building that bridge to the eighteenth century, and doing their best to prod our nation in that direction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. john personna says:

    It’s the new Eugenics. Disbelieve science, and have large families.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  4. TG Chicago says:

    @Hello World: I agree that Creationism and Evolution do not have to be at odds with each other — I personally believe in both. However, Creationism has no place in a science classroom (other than perhaps a teacher pointing out that learning about Evolution is not tantamount to heresy). Creationism is not science. It’s untestable.

    In fact, at least from a Christian perspective, *that’s the point*! Taking a leap of faith is an important part of Christianity. If you were leaping to something which was scientifically proven, that wouldn’t be a leap of faith at all.

    So teach the science in the science classroom and teach the faith in Sunday School. In my opinion, both sides are important, but everyone should have the right to make that decision for themselves. That’s important both in order to protect American rights and also to allow for a pure, nonobligatory Christian faith (or other faith or nonfaith, as the case may be).

    Putting Creationism in the classroom is bad for Creationism and bad for science.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  5. tom p says:

    “I don’t teach the theory of evolution in my life science classes, nor do I teach the Big Bang Theory in my (E)arth (S)cience classes…. We do not have time to do something that is at best poor science.”

    sighhhh…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  6. Brett says:

    This is how we’re educating the next generation of Americans, folks.

    The upside is that most Americans won’t retain any vestige of their high school science education anyways, and at the university level they most certainly do teach evolution vigorously.*

    * I took an introductory class to Biological Anthropology. The entire first chapter of our textbook (50+ pages) was devoted to showing the evidence and theory of evolution, as well as debunking creationist and ID arguments. It was one of the better defenses of Evolution that I’ve ever seen in print.

    I’m tempted to blame this problem on the localism of schooling in the US. It’s very likely that most of these creationist teachers are hailing from highly conservative, creationist neighborhoods, where any teacher who vigorously taught evolution would be ostracized by “concerned parents” (read: obnoxious, ignorant bible-thumpers). But we also see this stuff at the state level in a couple of southern states, particularly Texas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  7. MarkedMan says:

    What does it mean that one of the two political parties in this country have embraced “faith over facts”? Not just in this crazy creation science BS, but in virtually every endeavor. It simply doesn’t matter to the Republican leadership if something they posit is proved wrong by facts. “Faith” is what they worship, not God. Faith in their theories and beliefs, and to abjure that faith because of reality is apostasy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  8. ALP says:

    Okay, Here we go again! Religion and Evolution! When will the arguments cease, probably never.
    When I was young and went to church I believed all that was taught. When I got older and more educated, I was able thru my own research and studies to develop my own opinions. Let us accept that creationism is a spiritual based belief without fact to back it up. Evolution on the other hand, is based on a good number of provable facts, such as the changing of bacteria and viruses over a period of time. Human evolution is also based on a great number of hard evidence based findings. However these findings are not 100% fact! They are accepted theories based on findings so far. Some try to combine religion and evolution by saying, A “higher being” could have caused evolution on purpose. Could be right, could be wrong. I have to say, I don’t actually know! So please, let us keep religious beliefs and the study of the sciences apart as much as we can. One can never be proved to the living, and the other is not yet proved absolutely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    You got the sigh part right

    ***.In fact, at least from a Christian perspective, *that’s the point*! Taking a leap of faith is an important part of Christianity. If you were leaping to something which was scientifically proven, that wouldn’t be a leap of faith at all.***

    The Christian perspective is to believe in God’s Son as your Creator, God and and absolutely most importantly you Savior.

    The proof for creation just happen to match what God says about it, and it is your faith that makes you disbelieve this evidence.

    That’s if you even know anything about it besides what the likes of the leaders of your religion write about it.

    ***So teach the science in the science classroom and teach the faith in Sunday School.***lol fair enough, So then can we teach evolution theory and big bang theory in the creative writing and fantasy/SI-Fi film schools were it belongs.

    There is no practical need for it to be taught anywhere else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***Human evolution is also based on a great number of hard evidence based findings.***Or so they would have you believe……

    I say there is 0 evidence and we are getting weaker, dumber and more deluded in more ways then one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Bleev K says:

    G.A.Phillips, you’re beyond pathetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. TG Chicago says:

    “The Christian perspective is to believe in God’s Son as your Creator, God and and absolutely most importantly you Savior. ”

    Right, to “believe”. Not to *know* with scientific certainty. There is no value in getting science and religion mixed up. They don’t have the same goals. They don’t even speak the same language.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***G.A.Phillips, you’re beyond pathetic.***lol, ya good come back.

    ***Right, to “believe”. Not to *know* with scientific certainty. There is no value in getting science and religion mixed up. They don’t have the same goals. They don’t even speak the same language.****

    That’s what I’m trying to tell you, er, lol, Dude….have you ever studied the effects of brainwashing and it’s ability to make you see things only in one way?

    Compare what the Bible teaches to science, and then compare what evolution teaches to science. The made up unverifiable, incomparable, untestable origin evolution is meaningless to it…

    You can dig up and study history that confirms the Bible, you can study written history that confirms the Bible……

    What do you have for evolution? Fabrication after fabrication fraud after fraud, yes we are wrong once again but it has to be true? We will get the debunked evidence to fit one day?

    A crappy story line that does not require evidence is what you have….

    lol, and any evidence that you do bumble across always fits creation when looked at properly.

    A faith in a purely and totally created religion, is what you have and can prove nothing more.

    SIGH…..

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  14. An Interested Party says:

    “You can dig up and study history that confirms the Bible, you can study written history that confirms the Bible……”

    Really? So where’s the proof of, say, the story of Noah and the flood?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. mantis says:

    Really? So where’s the proof of, say, the story of Noah and the flood?

    Word to the wise: don’t feed the sectarian Christianist trolls. It’s not worth it.

    These are the kind of idiots who think dinosaur fossils are evidence of the flood. You will get nowhere with them. Faith not in crisis is impenetrable from contrary facts. They are absorbed and interpreted as evidence of their opposite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. tom p says:

    You got the sigh part right

    **”The Christian perspective is to believe in God’s Son as your Creator, God and and absolutely most importantly you Savior.

    The proof for creation just happen to match what God says about it, and it is your faith that makes you disbelieve this evidence.

    That’s if you even know anything about it besides what the likes of the leaders of your religion write about it.”**

    sighhhhhhhh……………….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. sam says:

    Well, I’d like to ask GA how we can believe a book, the New Testament, that, on its own terms, begins with a pure falsehood?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Davebo says:

    Dude….have you ever studied the effects of brainwashing and it’s ability to make you see things only in one way?

    Yes, every time I read one of your comments my little Beckian friend!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0