Is evolution missing link in some Pennsylvania high schools?


Some 20 percent of science teachers in survey say they believe in creationism

During an Advanced Placement biology course in Easton Area High School, Jennifer Estevez's teacher sped through the large chapter on evolution, focusing on one formula for the AP exam and the basics: survival of the fittest and natural selection.

In those high school years in Northampton County, she also would attend a Baptist leadership retreat where a speaker denounced evolution as false, unproven science.

Seemingly unimportant and even discredited, evolution fell off her radar. So the Easton student, who is a Baptist, arrived at Duquesne University last fall considering herself a creationist, a person who generally believes God created the world as described in the Bible.

But a college biology course convinced her that evolution was valid science with overwhelming evidence that all living things, including humans, evolved most likely from a common ancestor — over a period of millions, even billions, of years longer than that described in Genesis.

Ending her freshman year, and in pursuit of a career in medicine, Ms. Estevez, 19, said she's "a bit upset" that her high school teacher played down evolution while others trashed the science that serves as the foundation of modern biology, genetics and medicine.

Written By: David Templeton
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    • In reply to #1 by tyga:

      “Some 20 percent of science teachers in survey say they believe in creationism”

      Science teachers?

      Because of educational failings – particularly in some parts of the world, good scientists are in short supply! Perhaps they mean “teachers who have been given the job of teaching science” (due to bigotry or a shortage of COMPETENT science teachers)!

      @link – Rev. Donn S. Chapman held six classes in his “Origins Series” at Cornerstone Ministries in Murrysville on what he says is the truth of creationism and why evolution is suspect science. He said 890 signed up for the class, which was proven when many hundreds filled the church auditorium for the classes, which ended April 10.

      That’s told the biologists – a massed gathering of the applauding ignorant challenge them!

      Featured speakers included intelligent-design scientists who cast doubt in the audience on key principles of evolution.

      Ha! ha! ha! “intelligent-design scientists”. Next they’ll be having presentations from “Flat-Earth Astronomers”!

  1. No science teacher can ever allow creationism to be part of their thought process, there is absolutely no correlation between the two and if you have anything other than contempt for creationism you cannot be a science teacher.

  2. I hammer away at creationism all day every day here in Pennsylvania. Every time I see something in the curriculum that is clearly NOT intelligently designed, I bring it to the forefront. Most recently was the leading and lagging strands of DNA during replication.

    I mean, just “design” a polymerase that goes both 5 to 3 AND 3 to 5!! Then you do not need okazaki fragments to form and the chaotic lagging strand doesn’t exist. A child would do a better job “designing” this.

    I look for chances to point shit like this out and speak to the kids in frank open language about what they would expect to see if something were intelligently designed and what we actually see because the system evolved.

    I do not EVER wait for the evolution “unit” to start teaching about evolution. It starts when they meet me. Sometimes it starts in the hallway! We play games like “Ask any Question” and “Stump Crookedshoes”… We talk about current books about evolution (most recently Sean Carroll’s most excellent “The making of the Fittest”)

    The thing that I think is really missing from the info in this article is that in Pennsylvania, you have Philly and Pittsburgh; with Tennessee in between. They just happened to do their poll in the “in between” area.

    BTW, until you actually teach a subject; you don’t know shit about it.

  3. Can someone teach science if s/he believes that the sun turns around the earth?
    Can someone teach science if s/he believes that iron ships can’t float?
    Can someone teach science if s/he believes that aircraft heavier than air can’t fly?
    Etc, etc, etc…………


    Then, why on Earth someone who is a Creationist can TEACH science?!?!?!?!

  4. BTW, why aren’t these direct questions on the test to be a science teacher and MARKED WRONG when the person offers a WRONG answer??? Directly ask how old the earth is and when a person chooses to write down that it is 6000 years old, they get it wrong.

    It is like this; every choice you make potentially opens some doors and potentially closes others. There is nothing wrong with a tattoo of the grim reaper on your neck and face BUT you probably won’t be hired as a kindergarten teacher or nanny if you choose to get one. I don’t care if you decide to do acid but do not want you flying an airplane or driving a schoolbus full of kids while you are tripping. Choose to “believe” in horseshit and the doors to teaching science should slam shut. BUT THEY DON’T. Why not?

    Answer that and you have gotten to the bottom of the issue.

    • In reply to #15 by crookedshoes:

      BTW, why aren’t these direct questions on the test to be a science teacher and MARKED WRONG when the person offers a WRONG answer??? Directly ask how old the earth is and when a person chooses to write down that it is 6000 years old, they get it wrong.

      It would appear there is a lack of an effective inspection system or disciplinary system for additional training, or removing incompetents from teaching. It is probably a local political feature of government and/or school boards. (Liberty University’s failed attempt to recruit biology staff for “creationist science courses” comes to mind!)

      Having said that, in the Bible-belt such a system would probably be perverted to appoint stooges as inspectors and remove competent teachers!!

  5. Given that I’m constantly informed how litigious a society the US is, might there be a case for a student wanting to pursue a scientific career suing a school for feeding them false information and failing to prepare them for further study? There must surely be a case for claiming the time and money (tutor fees?) required to learn what the school failed to teach. ‘Course, I ain’t no big city lawyer so maybe there isn’t.

  6. I was thinking maybe I could be a spanish teacher. I don’t speak a word spanish or anything, but you can’t hold that against me, right? We should teach the controversy, many people believe that there is no country called “Spain”. After all, it is not mentioned in the bible.

  7. We can cover medical costs in the US if we made sure everyone treated signed a paper saying they understand medicine is based on evolution. If evolution is evil, we would not want to force it on believers.

    I am appalled every time society forces a religious leader to go to the evolutionary medical hospital environment. Can’t we give them nice relics so they suffer in faith and god’s glory.

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