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RE: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

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  • Pamela Ford
    It s so much fun to read about others experiences with these issues in the classroom and our various approaches. We do teach in a conservative area of
    Message 1 of 19 , Sep 6, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      It's so much fun to read about others' experiences with these issues in the
      classroom and our various approaches. We do teach in a conservative area of
      southern California, in fact a region that has been relatively isolated (the
      Inland Empire, aka the "IE" on LA news.) So, here, I always have students
      who tell me that they won't "believe it."

      I spend the semester of Physical Anthropology describing SCIENCE. We
      discuss natural selection as a working hypothesis/tentative explanation for
      evolutionary change. I don't use or encourage the use of the word "theory"
      because it always comes with the prefix "justa-" and is therefore fraught
      with meaning in students' minds but meaningless in my mind. (We use
      "hypothesis" a lot.) And this theme weaves its way through the entire
      semester.

      In Cultural Anthropology, I've come to use the term "supernaturalism" for
      the heading of religion, magic, witchcraft and more (as per Jacob Pandian at
      CSU Fullerton). It's a helpful concept because it also allows discussion of
      how things may be accepted on FAITH but they are not testable so not
      scientific. If it's needed in the Physical class, I go back to describe how
      supernaturalism is used to explain things for which we have limited
      understanding (why did my neighbor die in that particular traffic accident?)
      and that supernaturalism provides value-laden explanations that are so
      important for keeping culture on the right track. But those are not the
      explanations that bring us antibiotics, or new traffic lights, or the return
      of the extinct dinosaurs.

      I actually enjoy the challenge of helping students to both understand
      science and appreciate the value of supernaturalism. (Even though there are
      occasionally those who get hot about the issue. Those are usually recent
      converts, I think.) I always refuse to "debate" ID and Natural Selection.

      Oops, I didn't mean to "talk" so much....professional hazard. Have a great
      teaching day!

      ~Pam

      Pamela Ford
      Chair, Department for World Studies
      Mt. San Jacinto College
      1499 N. State Street
      San Jacinto, CA 92583
      951.487-3725


      -----Original Message-----
      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      Philip Stein
      Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2006 2:58 PM
      To: sacc-l@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

      There are those students whose rejection of evolution is based upon
      religious training that they have received from their parents and religious
      practitioners. Often this is explicitly anti-evolution and presumes to teach
      what evolution is in order to be able to show where its fails.

      I am indeed fortunate, perhaps, to be teaching in a suburban southern
      California community college. In all my years of teaching I have never come
      up against a religion versus science controversy or a verbal creationist in
      my classroom. And as far as I know, neither have my colleagues. Why? Part is
      demographics. Part is the fact that in the 1970s we renamed the course Human
      Biological Evolution. Thus the title may serve the purpose of warning
      creationists away from the course. However, our enrollments remain high
      because we do satisfy the natural science requirement.

      I believe that a significant portion of our students do not reject
      evolution on religious grounds. They are exposed to anti-evolution rhetoric
      all the time on television, radio, print media, and so forth. "Where there's
      smoke there's fire! I have not trouble with the concept, but with so many
      people questioning evolution, there must be something wrong! Anyway, isn't
      intelligent design science?"

      Last year my department adopted new student learning outcomes and course
      objectives. Our number one outcome deals with knowing science. Our first two
      objectives are:

      Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:
      1. Apply the process of science to problem solving situations and
      formulate procedural steps necessary for a scientific investigation.
      2. Analyze and evaluate the arguments of creationism and intelligence
      design theory and demonstrate the fallacies of these points of view as a
      scientific theory.

      Next week, when I hand out my syllabus, these objectives will be printed
      for all to see. It will be interesting to see what happens.

      The problem is poor science education and critical thinking skills. People
      believe in all sorts of strange things. (See the Skeptics Society for more
      information. It's a great organization!) The disputes in the area of
      evolution are symptomatic of much more. For example, we are ignoring global
      warming. It won't affect me, but I'm very worried about the world my
      grandson will live in as an adult. The average person, and certainly the
      typical politician, simply does not know how to evaluate scientific
      information.

      Thanks to all who are responding on the SACC web site. This is a great
      conversation!

      Phil


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



      Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
      ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Lloyd Miller
      That s great, Ann! Thanks, I needed the laugh. LLoyd ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Message 2 of 19 , Sep 6, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        That's great, Ann! Thanks, I needed the laugh.
        LLoyd



        On Sep 6, 2006, at 1:21 PM, Kaupp, Ann wrote:

        > Have enjoyed everyone's thoughtful remarks. If you feel it's time
        > for a
        > little levity, you might enjoy the following.
        >
        > FOR LEXOPHILES (LOVERS OF WORDS): Read Carefully



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Lynch, Brian M
        Renee, You say that you tell your students “scientists have never, to my knowledge, worked to discredit faith.” Of course, the potential challenge to
        Message 3 of 19 , Sep 6, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          Renee,
          You say that you tell your students “scientists have never, to my knowledge, worked to discredit faith.” Of course, the potential challenge to “faith” from the evolutionary perspective is not just a matter of scientists’ conscious, personal efforts to credit or discredit others' belief systems. (Nonetheless, I have known many scientists who either implicitly or explicitly presented science as a necessary antidote to religion, and this is not a minor strain in the social history of western science.) Even our surprise that more Americans don’t show up in the surveys as accepting evolutionary theory, reflects a set of assumptions like--- “you’d think Americans would be smarter than that” or “ you’d think Americans would be more scientifically based than that,” “…more rational than that,” “…more advanced than that” etc. that reflect a set of implicit judgments about “faith” and “science” (and U.S. American “superiority” based on these?)

          At the same time, as anthropologists, can we afford to be less nuanced about our understanding of the relationships between “knowledge” and “belief systems” when we are looking close to home, than when looking at far-away “others?” We wouldn’t, for example, feel comfortable expressing wonderment or surprise, that some traditionally-studied culture also possessed significant pharmacological or technical skills; we wouldn’t be asking ourselves “Hey! If they are so adept at discovering cures for their ills based on materials in their surrounding environment (science!) why do they still hold those irrational beliefs in supernatural forces and beings?” We accept that the two "ways of knowing" can coexist in the same society/culture, and that the two are not mutually exclusive, nor does one necessarily preclude or supersede the other. And can’t we likewise expect to find them co-existing in our own culture? Then the interesting question become things like: how do they co-exist, and why do they co-exist (and I mean here not “co-exist” as in “get along well together,” but exist, as “social facts” at the same time, in the same culture, for better or worse).

          I don't intend to suggest here that as anthropologists we should just accept that one explanation is just as good as another--that they somehow all should just be accepted as equally valuable (...sounds like an awfully familiar mischaracterization of cultural anthropology's cultural relativism!) In political battles over textbooks and school curriculums we certainly have roles to play, among other things to say, "if you want to teach SCIENCE, 'intelligent design' isn't it!" But in understanding this all from an anthropological perspective, we have to challenge ourselves to use the same tools of comparative, historical, economic, cultural analysis toward our own society that we commonly expect in studying "others."

          I once had a professor who prided himself as a "Renaissance Man." He studied anthropology and geography, and could teach just about anything from what we now know as the "five fields" of the discipline. I admired him greatly and learned much from him about physical anthropology, paleo anthropology, archaeology, and so much more. When he learned at some point that I was involved with the local campus "Newman Parish" (a Catholic Parish for students hosted just to the edge of our state-college campus) he wondered (many times, out loud) how I could reconcile this with "real anthropology." But that didn't strike me as much as the fact that in his discussion of this he made reference to a famous Catholic scientist/theologian/anthropologist/priest who he conflated with "The Catholic Church" as an illustration of how "The Church" (as he imagined was embodied by this learned scholar) "rejected evolution." This esteemed professor of mine had the story wrong on all counts, and to my knowledge never went back to check his historical accuracy. He was so convinced that "The Church" was "against evolution," (back in the 1970's) that he filtered his historical understanding through this erroneous "fact." And it all came out wrong.

          To over-simplify it just a bit (!!) the theologian/anthropologist/philosopher/priest was Teilhard de Chardin, and in fact he embraced evolutionary theory "to an extreme," moving from the physical to the metaphysical. He saw the model of change that it reflected, and carried the model out beyond the realm of science, into theology. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, didn't reject him (or evolution) as far as he/it went scientifically. Officially the Church accepted that as long as "science" in its materialist explanation didn't simply conclude "that's all there is," it would be perfectly compatible with "faith." On the other hand, it initially rejected Teilhard because he carried out the logic and the model of evolution beyond the limits of the observable, and entered into territory that the church felt came dangerously close to challenging some of its fundamental theological explanations of God, sin, and "human nature."

          I guess it was probably easier, with a bunch of undergraduate anthro majors, to conflate all this, say "the church rejects evolution," and move on to our human osteology manual, or to the latest notes on Koobi Fora, or to the outlines of contemporary cultural theory. It certainly served the purpose of highlighting ("for heuristic purposes," he would often say!) that professor's message about the primacy of science. It is interesting, at the same time, to see where "scientists" (my anthro professor and Teilhard included) are ready to settle in their pursuit of study of cause-and-effect chains in their world.

          Brian


          -----Original Message-----
          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Renee Garcia
          Sent: Wed 9/6/2006 11:59 AM
          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

          I too teach in Southern California, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo
          specifically. Dangerously close to Saddleback Church. I have to say that I
          have never encountered the number of students who are creationists by
          training as I have here. I would say at least 6% of every class is a
          creationist, this includes my online students who admit more freely that
          they are creationists. They however specify a belief in microevolution but
          not macroevolution.

          I would suggest that if you believe you don't have creationists in your
          classes they are simply not admitting that they are and choose to fulfill
          the course requirements. They can pass the bio. anthropology without
          "believing" in evolution. However, I think the more sinister aspect of this
          issue is that both Intelligent Design and Creationism work to discredit
          science in general. In this regard, for the last few years I have taken more
          time explaining the scientific method its value and the steps specifically.
          I have also shown the evolution series doc entitled "What about God?" and I
          explain that unlike the popular arguments of both Id'ers and Creationists,
          scientists have never, to my knowledge, worked to discredit faith. In fact,
          most of us I think would rather never even discuss it as this would be the
          poorest example of the use of scientific methodology.

          I have tried to express to my students that the point is not that science
          discredits the Bible, the point is that science and faith are two completely
          different systems. I also explain that there is a necessity to understand
          the underlying issues involved in creationism and Intelligent Design namely
          political agendas. This of course takes us into other discussion
          possibilities, but it allows them to understand perspectives they may not
          have recognized previously.

          However, I must confess that I am considering not teaching Bio Anthro 1
          online in the future. This venue makes discussion difficult for me to really
          explain the issues. I know that I reach a level of frustration after I've
          explained the concepts over and over, but lack the ability to go further.
          Does anyone have suggestions from personal experience teaching online A1
          courses?

          Renee

          Renee Garcia, MA
          Saddleback College
          Dept. of Anthropology
          Universite de Bordeaux I
          Anthropologie Biologique

          -----Original Message-----
          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of
          Hare II, William E
          Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 8:20 AM
          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
          Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

          Hi,

          I have avoided any heated debate about this issue by establishing the
          following guidelines:

          1. Respect everyone's world view (including science)
          2. Understand that my job is to present the scientific point of
          view and the student's job is to be able to explain it.
          3. I will correct any misuse of logical thinking or scientific
          argument.

          I am currently working on the course objectives for Intro to Anth and
          will probably have to include something similar to what Phil has written
          below.

          Will Hare
          Three Rivers Community College

          -----Original Message-----
          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
          Of Philip Stein
          Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2006 5:58 PM
          To: sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
          Subject: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

          There are those students whose rejection of evolution is based upon
          religious training that they have received from their parents and
          religious practitioners. Often this is explicitly anti-evolution and
          presumes to teach what evolution is in order to be able to show where
          its fails.

          I am indeed fortunate, perhaps, to be teaching in a suburban southern
          California community college. In all my years of teaching I have never
          come up against a religion versus science controversy or a verbal
          creationist in my classroom. And as far as I know, neither have my
          colleagues. Why? Part is demographics. Part is the fact that in the
          1970s we renamed the course Human Biological Evolution. Thus the title
          may serve the purpose of warning creationists away from the course.
          However, our enrollments remain high because we do satisfy the natural
          science requirement.

          I believe that a significant portion of our students do not reject
          evolution on religious grounds. They are exposed to anti-evolution
          rhetoric all the time on television, radio, print media, and so forth.
          "Where there's smoke there's fire! I have not trouble with the concept,
          but with so many people questioning evolution, there must be something
          wrong! Anyway, isn't intelligent design science?"

          Last year my department adopted new student learning outcomes and course
          objectives. Our number one outcome deals with knowing science. Our first
          two objectives are:

          Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:
          1. Apply the process of science to problem solving situations and
          formulate procedural steps necessary for a scientific investigation.
          2. Analyze and evaluate the arguments of creationism and intelligence
          design theory and demonstrate the fallacies of these points of view as a
          scientific theory.

          Next week, when I hand out my syllabus, these objectives will be printed
          for all to see. It will be interesting to see what happens.

          The problem is poor science education and critical thinking skills.
          People believe in all sorts of strange things. (See the Skeptics Society
          for more information. It's a great organization!) The disputes in the
          area of evolution are symptomatic of much more. For example, we are
          ignoring global warming. It won't affect me, but I'm very worried about
          the world my grandson will live in as an adult. The average person, and
          certainly the typical politician, simply does not know how to evaluate
          scientific information.

          Thanks to all who are responding on the SACC web site. This is a great
          conversation!

          Phil

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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          Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
          ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
          Yahoo! Groups Links





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        • Philip Stein
          Brian and all, You make a very important point about knowledge versus belief systems. I always wait for the question: Do you believe in evolution? This
          Message 4 of 19 , Sep 6, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Brian and all,

            You make a very important point about knowledge versus belief systems. I always wait for the question: "Do you believe in evolution?" This enables me to discuss this important difference and that knowledge and belief systems do not necessarily conflict.

            What disturbs me most is the lack of critical thinking. I am amused by the suggestion that we should teach both evolution and intelligent design to students and let them make up their mind, as if they have the tools to make a valid judgement.

            I did have one creationist in my class many years ago. I had no idea what his beliefs were, but as he left the final he handed me a book to read. It was a creationist text. I actually read a great deal of it since I had never read a creationist text before, but it was full with misrepresentation of data and ideas and the application of crazy "logic." But he was an A student and I really admired him for taking the course even though he was a creationist. I can respect this. I cannot assume that everyone will reach the same "enlightened" conclusion as I, but the misrepretation of evolutionary theory is unforgivable.

            There are two books I just purchased and have begun to read. They both look like they will be very useful in framing my lecture on intelligent design. (Yes, I do teach intelligent design. But I also critique it!) They are:

            John Brockman (ed.), Intgelligent Thought: Science versus the Intelligent Design Movement. This is a collection of essays by 16 "preeminent thinkers whose clear, accessible, and passionate essays reveal the fact and power of Darwin's theory, and the beauty of the scientific quest to understand our world."

            Michael Shermer, Why Darwin Matters. At the beginning, the part I have read, Shermer presents a good history and analysis of intelligent design.

            Another wonderful source is the 136-page decision by Judge Jones in the Dover, PA, case last December. It is wonderfully written and quite detailed, although you have to wade through the legal stuff. What makes is especially good is that the judge is a conversation Bush appointee. A good place to get a copy is on the talkorigins web site.

            Phil

            "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...> wrote:
            Renee,
            You say that you tell your students “scientists have never, to my knowledge, worked to discredit faith.” Of course, the potential challenge to “faith” from the evolutionary perspective is not just a matter of scientists’ conscious, personal efforts to credit or discredit others' belief systems. (Nonetheless, I have known many scientists who either implicitly or explicitly presented science as a necessary antidote to religion, and this is not a minor strain in the social history of western science.) Even our surprise that more Americans don’t show up in the surveys as accepting evolutionary theory, reflects a set of assumptions like--- “you’d think Americans would be smarter than that” or “ you’d think Americans would be more scientifically based than that,” “…more rational than that,” “…more advanced than that” etc. that reflect a set of implicit judgments about “faith” and “science” (and U.S. American “superiority” based on these?)

            At the same time, as anthropologists, can we afford to be less nuanced about our understanding of the relationships between “knowledge” and “belief systems” when we are looking close to home, than when looking at far-away “others?” We wouldn’t, for example, feel comfortable expressing wonderment or surprise, that some traditionally-studied culture also possessed significant pharmacological or technical skills; we wouldn’t be asking ourselves “Hey! If they are so adept at discovering cures for their ills based on materials in their surrounding environment (science!) why do they still hold those irrational beliefs in supernatural forces and beings?” We accept that the two "ways of knowing" can coexist in the same society/culture, and that the two are not mutually exclusive, nor does one necessarily preclude or supersede the other. And can’t we likewise expect to find them co-existing in our own culture? Then the interesting question become things like: how do they co-exist,
            and why do they co-exist (and I mean here not “co-exist” as in “get along well together,” but exist, as “social facts” at the same time, in the same culture, for better or worse).

            I don't intend to suggest here that as anthropologists we should just accept that one explanation is just as good as another--that they somehow all should just be accepted as equally valuable (...sounds like an awfully familiar mischaracterization of cultural anthropology's cultural relativism!) In political battles over textbooks and school curriculums we certainly have roles to play, among other things to say, "if you want to teach SCIENCE, 'intelligent design' isn't it!" But in understanding this all from an anthropological perspective, we have to challenge ourselves to use the same tools of comparative, historical, economic, cultural analysis toward our own society that we commonly expect in studying "others."

            I once had a professor who prided himself as a "Renaissance Man." He studied anthropology and geography, and could teach just about anything from what we now know as the "five fields" of the discipline. I admired him greatly and learned much from him about physical anthropology, paleo anthropology, archaeology, and so much more. When he learned at some point that I was involved with the local campus "Newman Parish" (a Catholic Parish for students hosted just to the edge of our state-college campus) he wondered (many times, out loud) how I could reconcile this with "real anthropology." But that didn't strike me as much as the fact that in his discussion of this he made reference to a famous Catholic scientist/theologian/anthropologist/priest who he conflated with "The Catholic Church" as an illustration of how "The Church" (as he imagined was embodied by this learned scholar) "rejected evolution." This esteemed professor of mine had the story wrong on all counts, and to my
            knowledge never went back to check his historical accuracy. He was so convinced that "The Church" was "against evolution," (back in the 1970's) that he filtered his historical understanding through this erroneous "fact." And it all came out wrong.

            To over-simplify it just a bit (!!) the theologian/anthropologist/philosopher/priest was Teilhard de Chardin, and in fact he embraced evolutionary theory "to an extreme," moving from the physical to the metaphysical. He saw the model of change that it reflected, and carried the model out beyond the realm of science, into theology. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, didn't reject him (or evolution) as far as he/it went scientifically. Officially the Church accepted that as long as "science" in its materialist explanation didn't simply conclude "that's all there is," it would be perfectly compatible with "faith." On the other hand, it initially rejected Teilhard because he carried out the logic and the model of evolution beyond the limits of the observable, and entered into territory that the church felt came dangerously close to challenging some of its fundamental theological explanations of God, sin, and "human nature."

            I guess it was probably easier, with a bunch of undergraduate anthro majors, to conflate all this, say "the church rejects evolution," and move on to our human osteology manual, or to the latest notes on Koobi Fora, or to the outlines of contemporary cultural theory. It certainly served the purpose of highlighting ("for heuristic purposes," he would often say!) that professor's message about the primacy of science. It is interesting, at the same time, to see where "scientists" (my anthro professor and Teilhard included) are ready to settle in their pursuit of study of cause-and-effect chains in their world.

            Brian


            -----Original Message-----
            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Renee Garcia
            Sent: Wed 9/6/2006 11:59 AM
            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

            I too teach in Southern California, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo
            specifically. Dangerously close to Saddleback Church. I have to say that I
            have never encountered the number of students who are creationists by
            training as I have here. I would say at least 6% of every class is a
            creationist, this includes my online students who admit more freely that
            they are creationists. They however specify a belief in microevolution but
            not macroevolution.

            I would suggest that if you believe you don't have creationists in your
            classes they are simply not admitting that they are and choose to fulfill
            the course requirements. They can pass the bio. anthropology without
            "believing" in evolution. However, I think the more sinister aspect of this
            issue is that both Intelligent Design and Creationism work to discredit
            science in general. In this regard, for the last few years I have taken more
            time explaining the scientific method its value and the steps specifically.
            I have also shown the evolution series doc entitled "What about God?" and I
            explain that unlike the popular arguments of both Id'ers and Creationists,
            scientists have never, to my knowledge, worked to discredit faith. In fact,
            most of us I think would rather never even discuss it as this would be the
            poorest example of the use of scientific methodology.

            I have tried to express to my students that the point is not that science
            discredits the Bible, the point is that science and faith are two completely
            different systems. I also explain that there is a necessity to understand
            the underlying issues involved in creationism and Intelligent Design namely
            political agendas. This of course takes us into other discussion
            possibilities, but it allows them to understand perspectives they may not
            have recognized previously.

            However, I must confess that I am considering not teaching Bio Anthro 1
            online in the future. This venue makes discussion difficult for me to really
            explain the issues. I know that I reach a level of frustration after I've
            explained the concepts over and over, but lack the ability to go further.
            Does anyone have suggestions from personal experience teaching online A1
            courses?

            Renee

            Renee Garcia, MA
            Saddleback College
            Dept. of Anthropology
            Universite de Bordeaux I
            Anthropologie Biologique

            -----Original Message-----
            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of
            Hare II, William E
            Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 8:20 AM
            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

            Hi,

            I have avoided any heated debate about this issue by establishing the
            following guidelines:

            1. Respect everyone's world view (including science)
            2. Understand that my job is to present the scientific point of
            view and the student's job is to be able to explain it.
            3. I will correct any misuse of logical thinking or scientific
            argument.

            I am currently working on the course objectives for Intro to Anth and
            will probably have to include something similar to what Phil has written
            below.

            Will Hare
            Three Rivers Community College

            -----Original Message-----
            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf
            Of Philip Stein
            Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2006 5:58 PM
            To: sacc-l@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

            There are those students whose rejection of evolution is based upon
            religious training that they have received from their parents and
            religious practitioners. Often this is explicitly anti-evolution and
            presumes to teach what evolution is in order to be able to show where
            its fails.

            I am indeed fortunate, perhaps, to be teaching in a suburban southern
            California community college. In all my years of teaching I have never
            come up against a religion versus science controversy or a verbal
            creationist in my classroom. And as far as I know, neither have my
            colleagues. Why? Part is demographics. Part is the fact that in the
            1970s we renamed the course Human Biological Evolution. Thus the title
            may serve the purpose of warning creationists away from the course.
            However, our enrollments remain high because we do satisfy the natural
            science requirement.

            I believe that a significant portion of our students do not reject
            evolution on religious grounds. They are exposed to anti-evolution
            rhetoric all the time on television, radio, print media, and so forth.
            "Where there's smoke there's fire! I have not trouble with the concept,
            but with so many people questioning evolution, there must be something
            wrong! Anyway, isn't intelligent design science?"

            Last year my department adopted new student learning outcomes and course
            objectives. Our number one outcome deals with knowing science. Our first
            two objectives are:

            Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:
            1. Apply the process of science to problem solving situations and
            formulate procedural steps necessary for a scientific investigation.
            2. Analyze and evaluate the arguments of creationism and intelligence
            design theory and demonstrate the fallacies of these points of view as a
            scientific theory.

            Next week, when I hand out my syllabus, these objectives will be printed
            for all to see. It will be interesting to see what happens.

            The problem is poor science education and critical thinking skills.
            People believe in all sorts of strange things. (See the Skeptics Society
            for more information. It's a great organization!) The disputes in the
            area of evolution are symptomatic of much more. For example, we are
            ignoring global warming. It won't affect me, but I'm very worried about
            the world my grandson will live in as an adult. The average person, and
            certainly the typical politician, simply does not know how to evaluate
            scientific information.

            Thanks to all who are responding on the SACC web site. This is a great
            conversation!

            Phil

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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          • Monica Bellas
            Renee -- I also teach Physical Anthropology online and have not had any problems with students insisting on including their religious ideology in their
            Message 5 of 19 , Sep 7, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              Renee --
              I also teach Physical Anthropology online and have not had any "problems"
              with students insisting on including their religious ideology in their
              written assignments. Perhaps that is because I include the following
              paragraph in my online (and lecture) syllabus:
              Scientific Method and Science Viewpoint
              This class satisfies the General Education Requirement Area 5 in
              Biological/Life Sciences. As such, the class is taught from a scientific
              point of view, using the scientific method (hypotheses building and testing)
              and scientific facts (verifiable truths). We will be examining biological
              relationships and behavioral similarities between nonhuman primates (monkeys
              and apes) and humans, in addition to studying the evolution of hominids
              (bipedal primates) from the common ancestor we share with chimpanzees and
              bonobos. While I realize that some of you have a belief system as to how
              humans were created that may contradict the scientific theory of evolution,
              in this class you are required to base all of your answers to assignments
              and test questions on the scientific evidence of evolution, not on your
              religious ideology. If you find it impossible to segregate your religious
              beliefs in the context of this course, I would suggest that you drop the
              class. If you do include your religious ideology in your answer, you will
              receive a zero on the assignment or test answer.

              I also have students that persist in their religious ideology, but perfrom
              perfectly well on their exams. One student told me that while she doesn't
              "believe" in evolution, she has no problem basing her answers on
              evolutionary theory. I also make it clear to students that it is not
              impossible to believe in evolution and be a Christian -- that both are
              different ways to look at the world, based on "different" methodologies, and
              are not mutually exclusive.
              I don't know if this helps, but I thought I'd add my two cents...
              Monica Bellas
              Cerritos College
              Norwalk, CA



              >From: "Renee Garcia" <rgarcia43@...>
              >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
              >To: <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com>
              >Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution
              >Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 08:59:47 -0700
              >
              >I too teach in Southern California, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo
              >specifically. Dangerously close to Saddleback Church. I have to say that I
              >have never encountered the number of students who are creationists by
              >training as I have here. I would say at least 6% of every class is a
              >creationist, this includes my online students who admit more freely that
              >they are creationists. They however specify a belief in microevolution but
              >not macroevolution.
              >
              >I would suggest that if you believe you don't have creationists in your
              >classes they are simply not admitting that they are and choose to fulfill
              >the course requirements. They can pass the bio. anthropology without
              >"believing" in evolution. However, I think the more sinister aspect of this
              >issue is that both Intelligent Design and Creationism work to discredit
              >science in general. In this regard, for the last few years I have taken
              >more
              >time explaining the scientific method its value and the steps specifically.
              >I have also shown the evolution series doc entitled "What about God?" and I
              >explain that unlike the popular arguments of both Id'ers and Creationists,
              >scientists have never, to my knowledge, worked to discredit faith. In fact,
              >most of us I think would rather never even discuss it as this would be the
              >poorest example of the use of scientific methodology.
              >
              >I have tried to express to my students that the point is not that science
              >discredits the Bible, the point is that science and faith are two
              >completely
              >different systems. I also explain that there is a necessity to understand
              >the underlying issues involved in creationism and Intelligent Design namely
              >political agendas. This of course takes us into other discussion
              >possibilities, but it allows them to understand perspectives they may not
              >have recognized previously.
              >
              >However, I must confess that I am considering not teaching Bio Anthro 1
              >online in the future. This venue makes discussion difficult for me to
              >really
              >explain the issues. I know that I reach a level of frustration after I've
              >explained the concepts over and over, but lack the ability to go further.
              >Does anyone have suggestions from personal experience teaching online A1
              >courses?
              >
              >
              >Renee
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >Renee Garcia, MA
              >Saddleback College
              >Dept. of Anthropology
              >Universite de Bordeaux I
              >Anthropologie Biologique
              >
              >-----Original Message-----
              >From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
              >Hare II, William E
              >Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 8:20 AM
              >To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
              >Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution
              >
              >Hi,
              >
              >I have avoided any heated debate about this issue by establishing the
              >following guidelines:
              >
              >1. Respect everyone's world view (including science)
              >2. Understand that my job is to present the scientific point of
              >view and the student's job is to be able to explain it.
              >3. I will correct any misuse of logical thinking or scientific
              >argument.
              >
              >I am currently working on the course objectives for Intro to Anth and
              >will probably have to include something similar to what Phil has written
              >below.
              >
              >Will Hare
              >Three Rivers Community College
              >
              >-----Original Message-----
              >From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              >Of Philip Stein
              >Sent: Saturday, September 02, 2006 5:58 PM
              >To: sacc-l@yahoogroups.com
              >Subject: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution
              >
              >There are those students whose rejection of evolution is based upon
              >religious training that they have received from their parents and
              >religious practitioners. Often this is explicitly anti-evolution and
              >presumes to teach what evolution is in order to be able to show where
              >its fails.
              >
              >I am indeed fortunate, perhaps, to be teaching in a suburban southern
              >California community college. In all my years of teaching I have never
              >come up against a religion versus science controversy or a verbal
              >creationist in my classroom. And as far as I know, neither have my
              >colleagues. Why? Part is demographics. Part is the fact that in the
              >1970s we renamed the course Human Biological Evolution. Thus the title
              >may serve the purpose of warning creationists away from the course.
              >However, our enrollments remain high because we do satisfy the natural
              >science requirement.
              >
              >I believe that a significant portion of our students do not reject
              >evolution on religious grounds. They are exposed to anti-evolution
              >rhetoric all the time on television, radio, print media, and so forth.
              >"Where there's smoke there's fire! I have not trouble with the concept,
              >but with so many people questioning evolution, there must be something
              >wrong! Anyway, isn't intelligent design science?"
              >
              >Last year my department adopted new student learning outcomes and course
              >objectives. Our number one outcome deals with knowing science. Our first
              >two objectives are:
              >
              >Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:
              >1. Apply the process of science to problem solving situations and
              >formulate procedural steps necessary for a scientific investigation.
              >2. Analyze and evaluate the arguments of creationism and intelligence
              >design theory and demonstrate the fallacies of these points of view as a
              >scientific theory.
              >
              >Next week, when I hand out my syllabus, these objectives will be printed
              >for all to see. It will be interesting to see what happens.
              >
              >The problem is poor science education and critical thinking skills.
              >People believe in all sorts of strange things. (See the Skeptics Society
              >for more information. It's a great organization!) The disputes in the
              >area of evolution are symptomatic of much more. For example, we are
              >ignoring global warming. It won't affect me, but I'm very worried about
              >the world my grandson will live in as an adult. The average person, and
              >certainly the typical politician, simply does not know how to evaluate
              >scientific information.
              >
              >Thanks to all who are responding on the SACC web site. This is a great
              >conversation!
              >
              >Phil
              >
              >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
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              >
              >If you want to permanently block the sender of this email, you would
              >need to add
              >sentto-126016-3510-1157234287-whare=trcc.commnet.edu@...
              >o.com to your Anti-Spam Blocked Senders List. For more information see
              >the Anti-Spam FAQ item:
              >http://www.commnet.edu/it/security/anti-spam-faq.asp#BlockRealSender
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              >-------
              >
              >
              >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              >Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
              >ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
              >Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
              >ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
              >Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Deborah Shepherd
              I ve been interested in hearing from instructors who don t get a lot of religious flack from their students. Frankly, I don t think it matters what you say in
              Message 6 of 19 , Sep 8, 2006
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                I've been interested in hearing from instructors who don't get a lot of
                religious flack from their students. Frankly, I don't think it matters
                what you say in your syllabus or on the first day of class. I use all
                the same statements and arguments myself. It is simply a matter of
                demographics. My college is suburban and very, very Euro-American. Most
                students here are local and first-generation college students, and a
                great many are weekly attendees and members of large, fundamentalist
                churches. I experience several problems:

                1. The student registers without reading the course description and
                really has no clear idea what the course is about. They only know that
                it fits into their schedule and helps them to fulfill "area 10"
                requirements.

                2. They assume that I will give "equal time" to creationism and
                intelligent design because (a) that's what their high school teachers
                did, or (b) they've been told by their parents or their ministers that
                "equal time" is to be expected.

                3. They oppose evolution and are taking the course just to convince
                themselves further that they are right. One student told me he took the
                course on a dare from his girlfriend. These students are rarely happy,
                and there's nothing I expect to do about that.

                My goal is to teach to the students who are interested and receptive.
                If any of the others come around, they can do so on their own terms.

                When I give students the first-day reality check, about 5% have to drop
                the course because they can't live with the fact that I respectfully do
                not and will not abide by #2 because religion is not a part of
                anthropology.

                One last observation: we are not the only ones to have problems with
                some evangelical Christians. A History colleague surprised me by saying
                that he had to cope with students in Ancient and Medieval History who
                object to the teaching of events or social conditions where Christians
                are shown in an unfavorable light.

                No wonder my college is in a town called "Coon Rapids" which the local
                populace has adamantly refused to allow to be renamed! But that goes off
                on another tangent.

                Deborah


                Deborah J. Shepherd, Ph.D.
                Anthropology and Sociology
                Anoka-Ramsey Community College
                Coon Rapids Campus
                email: deborah.shepherd@...
                http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                new phone number: 763-433-1195



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Bob Muckle
                The first time I taught the human evoution course I had a young woman stay after class to talk with me. It took about 30 seconds for her to break into tears,
                Message 7 of 19 , Sep 8, 2006
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                  The first time I taught the human evoution course I had a young woman
                  stay after class to talk with me. It took about 30 seconds for her to
                  break into tears, letting me know that she didn't want to take the
                  course but needed it as a requirement. She was really hoping that I
                  could somehow get the requirement waived for her. She came from a family
                  of missionaries and this was her ambition as well, after getting a
                  degree in social work. I simply explained to her that she didn't have to
                  give up her own beliefs to do well in the course and it really couldn't
                  hurt to know what the people she believed were her opponents thought and
                  how they came to their conclusions. I also assured her that I would
                  frame test questions so that she wouldn't have difficulty answering
                  because of her belief system (eg. starting questions with such phrases
                  as "According to...." or "Scientific research shows..."). The student
                  did complete the course, but no more was said about our little
                  conversation. I moved on to another college hundreds of miles away and
                  never thought of the student again. Until four years later I received a
                  call from the student who just wanted to let me know that she was now in
                  her first year in a graduate program, in Anthropology!

                  Also...I think I've mentioned this before, but I think an excellent way
                  to start the course is with the Nova program 'God, Darwin, and
                  Dinosaurs.' It uses the Creation vs. Evolution debate, especially the
                  teaching of creationism in schools, to inform students about the nature
                  of science. It does a good job, in my opinion, of exploring the question
                  'What is science?" and answering it. Although the program came out quite
                  a few years ago, as it focuses on school board decisions, it still
                  appears contemporary.

                  Bob
                • Pamela Ford
                  It s that evidence of outright fear in some of our students that really bothers me. I suspect while so many are unskilled at any kind of critical thinking,
                  Message 8 of 19 , Sep 8, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    It's that evidence of outright fear in some of our students that really
                    bothers me. I suspect while so many are unskilled at any kind of critical
                    thinking, they become terrified of an idea that's not part of the segment of
                    the world they occupy. (The irony is that the same young people can rebel
                    with tattoos and piercings, but not with new intellectual concepts!) I feel
                    compelled to work with them since anthropology is the only discipline where
                    we can consider both biological data and behavioral data in order to
                    understand humans on a grand scale. If a student is fighting hard not to
                    understand evolutionary processes in the physical anthropology class, then I
                    think they really need to take the cultural anthropology class next to
                    better understand their own ethnocentrism (especially about religion.) So I
                    don't want to lose them......

                    I had a student with stomach ulcers (and serious pain) because she was
                    forced to attend a kind of "seminary" in the early mornings before she came
                    to the community college. Every day, her family and her teachers in the
                    "seminary" re-inforced the notion that she was evil for wanting to learn.
                    She needed a lot of reassurance from me. We have many students whose
                    situation is not so dire but who need a lot of support just for because they
                    are trying to be students in a segment of society that frowns on
                    intellectual development of any kind.

                    Pamela Ford
                    Chair, Department for World Studies
                    Mt. San Jacinto College
                    1499 N. State Street
                    San Jacinto, CA 92583
                    951.487-3725


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                    Bob Muckle
                    Sent: Friday, September 08, 2006 10:11 AM
                    To: deborah.shepherd@...; SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Teaching Evolution

                    The first time I taught the human evoution course I had a young woman
                    stay after class to talk with me. It took about 30 seconds for her to
                    break into tears, letting me know that she didn't want to take the
                    course but needed it as a requirement. She was really hoping that I
                    could somehow get the requirement waived for her. She came from a family
                    of missionaries and this was her ambition as well, after getting a
                    degree in social work. I simply explained to her that she didn't have to
                    give up her own beliefs to do well in the course and it really couldn't
                    hurt to know what the people she believed were her opponents thought and
                    how they came to their conclusions. I also assured her that I would
                    frame test questions so that she wouldn't have difficulty answering
                    because of her belief system (eg. starting questions with such phrases
                    as "According to...." or "Scientific research shows..."). The student
                    did complete the course, but no more was said about our little
                    conversation. I moved on to another college hundreds of miles away and
                    never thought of the student again. Until four years later I received a
                    call from the student who just wanted to let me know that she was now in
                    her first year in a graduate program, in Anthropology!

                    Also...I think I've mentioned this before, but I think an excellent way
                    to start the course is with the Nova program 'God, Darwin, and
                    Dinosaurs.' It uses the Creation vs. Evolution debate, especially the
                    teaching of creationism in schools, to inform students about the nature
                    of science. It does a good job, in my opinion, of exploring the question
                    'What is science?" and answering it. Although the program came out quite
                    a few years ago, as it focuses on school board decisions, it still
                    appears contemporary.

                    Bob


                    Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                    ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                    Yahoo! Groups Links
                  • Linda France Stine LFSTINE
                    This is a great discussion on teaching evolution. I am having the most trouble with home-schooled students. They tend to enter the classroom with the visceral
                    Message 9 of 19 , Sep 19, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      This is a great discussion on teaching evolution. I am having the most
                      trouble with home-schooled students. They tend to enter the classroom with
                      the visceral reaction to the word evolution as something inherently evil
                      and anti-Christian. It is very difficult to discuss evolutionary concepts
                      with them- you hit this big wall of silent enmity. Linda

                      Dr. Linda France Stine, RPA
                      Department of Anthropology
                      436 Graham, UNCG 27412
                      (336)-256-1098 lfstine@...

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Pamela Ford
                      Linda, What do you start with when you begin the course? Do you proceed like most of the textbooks with the concept of natural selection, cell division, genes
                      Message 10 of 19 , Sep 19, 2006
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Linda,

                        What do you start with when you begin the course? Do you proceed like most
                        of the textbooks with the concept of natural selection, cell division, genes
                        and DNA? The reason that I ask is that I think I have a way of getting
                        through that wall you are facing. I begin with the living primates. For
                        the very problem you describe, I figure that NO ONE can resist pictures
                        and/or film of baby chimps. And, by learning about living non-human
                        primates, students begin to see that, well, yes, we do look more like these
                        animals than we look like rats or horses...... More importantly, they look
                        a lot like us so maybe we are related....... (But I still say fifteen
                        times in the semester, "I never told you that we are descended from chimps
                        and neither did Darwin.") Oh, and by doing this right up front, the Order
                        Primates is clearly understood, classification is covered, as well as the
                        physical traits that are shared by all primates, and "natural selection"
                        becomes part of the vocabulary with less resistance.

                        The psychologist around the corner from me uses medical accomplishments as a
                        tribute to the value of understanding natural selection. She goes so far as
                        to suggest that if do not want to understand the basic premise of biology,
                        then maybe we shouldn't be dependent upon the benefits we get from that
                        understanding (the idea of not having antibiotics is enough to capture many
                        people's attention.)

                        But I still think our students are afraid. They are just as afraid of
                        "Darwinism" as they are afraid of math. The difference is that they think
                        our topic is designed to fight AGAINST that which they hold dear and so
                        their resistance is more deeply rooted than their resistance to math.
                        That's why the cultural anthro discussions about supernaturalism and
                        ethnocentrism can be so helpful to students. Look at some of the models
                        we've seen discussed in this thread where our colleagues are so helpful and
                        careful about explaining scientific thinking.

                        But I still say we can melt their hearts with pictures of baby chimps!

                        Pamela Ford
                        Chair, Department for World Studies
                        Mt. San Jacinto College
                        1499 N. State Street
                        San Jacinto, CA 92583
                        951.487-3725

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                        Linda France Stine LFSTINE
                        Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:31 PM
                        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution

                        This is a great discussion on teaching evolution. I am having the most
                        trouble with home-schooled students. They tend to enter the classroom with
                        the visceral reaction to the word evolution as something inherently evil
                        and anti-Christian. It is very difficult to discuss evolutionary concepts
                        with them- you hit this big wall of silent enmity. Linda

                        Dr. Linda France Stine, RPA
                        Department of Anthropology
                        436 Graham, UNCG 27412
                        (336)-256-1098 lfstine@...

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                        Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                        ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                        Yahoo! Groups Links
                      • Rebecca Cramer
                        Had to share this. A little levity. Rebecca Pamela Ford wrote: Linda, What do you start with when you begin the course? Do you proceed like
                        Message 11 of 19 , Sep 19, 2006
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Had to share this. A little levity.
                          Rebecca

                          Pamela Ford <pford@...> wrote:
                          Linda,

                          What do you start with when you begin the course? Do you proceed like most
                          of the textbooks with the concept of natural selection, cell division, genes
                          and DNA? The reason that I ask is that I think I have a way of getting
                          through that wall you are facing. I begin with the living primates. For
                          the very problem you describe, I figure that NO ONE can resist pictures
                          and/or film of baby chimps. And, by learning about living non-human
                          primates, students begin to see that, well, yes, we do look more like these
                          animals than we look like rats or horses...... More importantly, they look
                          a lot like us so maybe we are related....... (But I still say fifteen
                          times in the semester, "I never told you that we are descended from chimps
                          and neither did Darwin.") Oh, and by doing this right up front, the Order
                          Primates is clearly understood, classification is covered, as well as the
                          physical traits that are shared by all primates, and "natural selection"
                          becomes part of the vocabulary with less resistance.

                          The psychologist around the corner from me uses medical accomplishments as a
                          tribute to the value of understanding natural selection. She goes so far as
                          to suggest that if do not want to understand the basic premise of biology,
                          then maybe we shouldn't be dependent upon the benefits we get from that
                          understanding (the idea of not having antibiotics is enough to capture many
                          people's attention.)

                          But I still think our students are afraid. They are just as afraid of
                          "Darwinism" as they are afraid of math. The difference is that they think
                          our topic is designed to fight AGAINST that which they hold dear and so
                          their resistance is more deeply rooted than their resistance to math.
                          That's why the cultural anthro discussions about supernaturalism and
                          ethnocentrism can be so helpful to students. Look at some of the models
                          we've seen discussed in this thread where our colleagues are so helpful and
                          careful about explaining scientific thinking.

                          But I still say we can melt their hearts with pictures of baby chimps!

                          Pamela Ford
                          Chair, Department for World Studies
                          Mt. San Jacinto College
                          1499 N. State Street
                          San Jacinto, CA 92583
                          951.487-3725

                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                          Linda France Stine LFSTINE
                          Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:31 PM
                          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution

                          This is a great discussion on teaching evolution. I am having the most
                          trouble with home-schooled students. They tend to enter the classroom with
                          the visceral reaction to the word evolution as something inherently evil
                          and anti-Christian. It is very difficult to discuss evolutionary concepts
                          with them- you hit this big wall of silent enmity. Linda

                          Dr. Linda France Stine, RPA
                          Department of Anthropology
                          436 Graham, UNCG 27412
                          (336)-256-1098 lfstine@...

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                          Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                          ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                          Yahoo! Groups Links






                          ==============
                          Rebecca Cramer
                          missiontosonora@...
                          http://www.u.arizona.edu/~rcramer/
                          ==============

                          ---------------------------------
                          Do you Yahoo!?
                          Get on board. You're invited to try the new Yahoo! Mail.

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Dianne Chidester
                          This sounds like a session for us to present at the AAA in 2007! (Teaching Evolutionary Theory: Getting through the Wall--just a suggested title.) Anyone
                          Message 12 of 19 , Sep 20, 2006
                          • 0 Attachment
                            This sounds like a session for us to present at the AAA in 2007!
                            (Teaching Evolutionary Theory: Getting through the Wall--just a
                            suggested title.) Anyone willing to organize it?

                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                            Of Pamela Ford
                            Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 6:31 PM
                            To: 'SACC-L@yahoogroups.com'
                            Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution

                            Linda,

                            What do you start with when you begin the course? Do you proceed like
                            most
                            of the textbooks with the concept of natural selection, cell division,
                            genes
                            and DNA? The reason that I ask is that I think I have a way of getting
                            through that wall you are facing. I begin with the living primates.
                            For
                            the very problem you describe, I figure that NO ONE can resist pictures
                            and/or film of baby chimps. And, by learning about living non-human
                            primates, students begin to see that, well, yes, we do look more like
                            these
                            animals than we look like rats or horses...... More importantly, they
                            look
                            a lot like us so maybe we are related....... (But I still say fifteen
                            times in the semester, "I never told you that we are descended from
                            chimps
                            and neither did Darwin.") Oh, and by doing this right up front, the
                            Order
                            Primates is clearly understood, classification is covered, as well as
                            the
                            physical traits that are shared by all primates, and "natural selection"
                            becomes part of the vocabulary with less resistance.

                            The psychologist around the corner from me uses medical accomplishments
                            as a
                            tribute to the value of understanding natural selection. She goes so
                            far as
                            to suggest that if do not want to understand the basic premise of
                            biology,
                            then maybe we shouldn't be dependent upon the benefits we get from that
                            understanding (the idea of not having antibiotics is enough to capture
                            many
                            people's attention.)

                            But I still think our students are afraid. They are just as afraid of
                            "Darwinism" as they are afraid of math. The difference is that they
                            think
                            our topic is designed to fight AGAINST that which they hold dear and so
                            their resistance is more deeply rooted than their resistance to math.
                            That's why the cultural anthro discussions about supernaturalism and
                            ethnocentrism can be so helpful to students. Look at some of the models
                            we've seen discussed in this thread where our colleagues are so helpful
                            and
                            careful about explaining scientific thinking.

                            But I still say we can melt their hearts with pictures of baby chimps!

                            Pamela Ford
                            Chair, Department for World Studies
                            Mt. San Jacinto College
                            1499 N. State Street
                            San Jacinto, CA 92583
                            951.487-3725

                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                            Of
                            Linda France Stine LFSTINE
                            Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:31 PM
                            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution

                            This is a great discussion on teaching evolution. I am having the most
                            trouble with home-schooled students. They tend to enter the classroom
                            with
                            the visceral reaction to the word evolution as something inherently evil

                            and anti-Christian. It is very difficult to discuss evolutionary
                            concepts
                            with them- you hit this big wall of silent enmity. Linda

                            Dr. Linda France Stine, RPA
                            Department of Anthropology
                            436 Graham, UNCG 27412
                            (336)-256-1098 lfstine@...

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                            Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                            ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                            Yahoo! Groups Links










                            Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                            ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                            Yahoo! Groups Links










                            The content of this electronic communication is intended only for the person or persons to whom it is addressed and may contain sensitive, confidential or privileged information. The dissemination, retransmission or use of any information by any person other than the intended recipient or recipients is strictly prohibited. This item has been scanned for virus and malware infection and is free from known infections.
                          • Lloyd Miller
                            That s a good idea, Dianne. Let me also re-send an earlier notice (pasted below) that Anthropology News (AN) is looking for contributions on teaching. I
                            Message 13 of 19 , Sep 20, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              That's a good idea, Dianne. Let me also re-send an earlier notice
                              (pasted below) that Anthropology News (AN) is looking for
                              contributions on teaching. I think this is tailor-made for SACCers.

                              Anthropology News Call for Papers: TEACHING
                              Teaching is what most anthropologists do most of the time. Perhaps it
                              should occupy a more central place in our publications and annual
                              meetings. Anthropology News is therefore soliciting commentaries and
                              analyses related to teaching and anthropology. Submissions that take
                              up the following issues are particularly welcome:
                              anthropology and the general education curriculum
                              distance and online learning
                              anthropology and experiential learning (service learning, study
                              abroad, action research, community engagement, internships, field
                              schools, labs)
                              teaching across differences of culture, class, race and gender
                              the role and status (or lack thereof) of teaching in the academy and
                              the discipline
                              the construction of meaningful courses, curricula and teaching materials
                              the teaching of anthropological methods, theories and writing
                              team-teaching across subfields, disciplines and nations
                              what it is that anthropology can contribute to student learning on
                              various critical issues
                              how teaching informs and enriches anthropologists� research and writing
                              public education, including teaching in museums, using exhibits and
                              collections
                              anthropology (or the lack of anthropology) in the K-12 curriculum
                              Commentaries on these issues should be under 1000 words.
                              Short pieces under 800 words on particular teaching methods that
                              readers have found productive are also welcome, especially if these
                              are framed by larger methodological and theoretical discussions.
                              Send commentaries and short articles to AN Managing Editor Stacy
                              Lathrop, slathrop@... by October 20, 2006.


                              On Sep 20, 2006, at 6:53 AM, Dianne Chidester wrote:

                              > This sounds like a session for us to present at the AAA in 2007!
                              > (Teaching Evolutionary Theory: Getting through the Wall--just a
                              > suggested title.) Anyone willing to organize it?
                              >
                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                              > Of Pamela Ford
                              > Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 6:31 PM
                              > To: 'SACC-L@yahoogroups.com'
                              > Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution
                              >
                              > Linda,
                              >
                              > What do you start with when you begin the course? Do you proceed like
                              > most
                              > of the textbooks with the concept of natural selection, cell division,
                              > genes
                              > and DNA? The reason that I ask is that I think I have a way of
                              > getting
                              > through that wall you are facing. I begin with the living primates.
                              > For
                              > the very problem you describe, I figure that NO ONE can resist
                              > pictures
                              > and/or film of baby chimps. And, by learning about living non-human
                              > primates, students begin to see that, well, yes, we do look more like
                              > these
                              > animals than we look like rats or horses...... More importantly, they
                              > look
                              > a lot like us so maybe we are related....... (But I still say
                              > fifteen
                              > times in the semester, "I never told you that we are descended from
                              > chimps
                              > and neither did Darwin.") Oh, and by doing this right up front, the
                              > Order
                              > Primates is clearly understood, classification is covered, as well as
                              > the
                              > physical traits that are shared by all primates, and "natural
                              > selection"
                              > becomes part of the vocabulary with less resistance.
                              >
                              > The psychologist around the corner from me uses medical
                              > accomplishments
                              > as a
                              > tribute to the value of understanding natural selection. She goes so
                              > far as
                              > to suggest that if do not want to understand the basic premise of
                              > biology,
                              > then maybe we shouldn't be dependent upon the benefits we get from
                              > that
                              > understanding (the idea of not having antibiotics is enough to capture
                              > many
                              > people's attention.)
                              >
                              > But I still think our students are afraid. They are just as afraid of
                              > "Darwinism" as they are afraid of math. The difference is that they
                              > think
                              > our topic is designed to fight AGAINST that which they hold dear
                              > and so
                              > their resistance is more deeply rooted than their resistance to math.
                              > That's why the cultural anthro discussions about supernaturalism and
                              > ethnocentrism can be so helpful to students. Look at some of the
                              > models
                              > we've seen discussed in this thread where our colleagues are so
                              > helpful
                              > and
                              > careful about explaining scientific thinking.
                              >
                              > But I still say we can melt their hearts with pictures of baby chimps!
                              >
                              > Pamela Ford
                              > Chair, Department for World Studies
                              > Mt. San Jacinto College
                              > 1499 N. State Street
                              > San Jacinto, CA 92583
                              > 951.487-3725
                              >
                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                              > Of
                              > Linda France Stine LFSTINE
                              > Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:31 PM
                              > To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution
                              >
                              > This is a great discussion on teaching evolution. I am having the
                              > most
                              > trouble with home-schooled students. They tend to enter the classroom
                              > with
                              > the visceral reaction to the word evolution as something inherently
                              > evil
                              >
                              > and anti-Christian. It is very difficult to discuss evolutionary
                              > concepts
                              > with them- you hit this big wall of silent enmity. Linda
                              >
                              > Dr. Linda France Stine, RPA
                              > Department of Anthropology
                              > 436 Graham, UNCG 27412
                              > (336)-256-1098 lfstine@...
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                              > ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                              > ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > The content of this electronic communication is intended only for
                              > the person or persons to whom it is addressed and may contain
                              > sensitive, confidential or privileged information. The
                              > dissemination, retransmission or use of any information by any
                              > person other than the intended recipient or recipients is strictly
                              > prohibited. This item has been scanned for virus and malware
                              > infection and is free from known infections.
                              >
                              >
                              > Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE
                              > NEW ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Renee Garcia
                              I would very much like to volunteer. Let me know what day/time we should be looking at and I can go from there. Renee Renee Garcia Saddleback College Dept. of
                              Message 14 of 19 , Sep 20, 2006
                              • 0 Attachment
                                I would very much like to volunteer. Let me know what day/time we should be
                                looking at and I can go from there.
                                Renee

                                Renee Garcia
                                Saddleback College
                                Dept. of Anthropology
                                Universite de Bordeaux I
                                Anthropologie Biologique

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                                Dianne Chidester
                                Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 4:54 AM
                                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution

                                This sounds like a session for us to present at the AAA in 2007!
                                (Teaching Evolutionary Theory: Getting through the Wall--just a
                                suggested title.) Anyone willing to organize it?

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                                Of Pamela Ford
                                Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 6:31 PM
                                To: 'SACC-L@yahoogroups.com'
                                Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution

                                Linda,

                                What do you start with when you begin the course? Do you proceed like
                                most
                                of the textbooks with the concept of natural selection, cell division,
                                genes
                                and DNA? The reason that I ask is that I think I have a way of getting
                                through that wall you are facing. I begin with the living primates.
                                For
                                the very problem you describe, I figure that NO ONE can resist pictures
                                and/or film of baby chimps. And, by learning about living non-human
                                primates, students begin to see that, well, yes, we do look more like
                                these
                                animals than we look like rats or horses...... More importantly, they
                                look
                                a lot like us so maybe we are related....... (But I still say fifteen
                                times in the semester, "I never told you that we are descended from
                                chimps
                                and neither did Darwin.") Oh, and by doing this right up front, the
                                Order
                                Primates is clearly understood, classification is covered, as well as
                                the
                                physical traits that are shared by all primates, and "natural selection"
                                becomes part of the vocabulary with less resistance.

                                The psychologist around the corner from me uses medical accomplishments
                                as a
                                tribute to the value of understanding natural selection. She goes so
                                far as
                                to suggest that if do not want to understand the basic premise of
                                biology,
                                then maybe we shouldn't be dependent upon the benefits we get from that
                                understanding (the idea of not having antibiotics is enough to capture
                                many
                                people's attention.)

                                But I still think our students are afraid. They are just as afraid of
                                "Darwinism" as they are afraid of math. The difference is that they
                                think
                                our topic is designed to fight AGAINST that which they hold dear and so
                                their resistance is more deeply rooted than their resistance to math.
                                That's why the cultural anthro discussions about supernaturalism and
                                ethnocentrism can be so helpful to students. Look at some of the models
                                we've seen discussed in this thread where our colleagues are so helpful
                                and
                                careful about explaining scientific thinking.

                                But I still say we can melt their hearts with pictures of baby chimps!

                                Pamela Ford
                                Chair, Department for World Studies
                                Mt. San Jacinto College
                                1499 N. State Street
                                San Jacinto, CA 92583
                                951.487-3725

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                                Of
                                Linda France Stine LFSTINE
                                Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:31 PM
                                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [SACC-L] Re: Teaching Evolution

                                This is a great discussion on teaching evolution. I am having the most
                                trouble with home-schooled students. They tend to enter the classroom
                                with
                                the visceral reaction to the word evolution as something inherently evil

                                and anti-Christian. It is very difficult to discuss evolutionary
                                concepts
                                with them- you hit this big wall of silent enmity. Linda

                                Dr. Linda France Stine, RPA
                                Department of Anthropology
                                436 Graham, UNCG 27412
                                (336)-256-1098 lfstine@...

                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                                Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                                ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                                Yahoo! Groups Links










                                Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                                ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                                Yahoo! Groups Links










                                The content of this electronic communication is intended only for the person
                                or persons to whom it is addressed and may contain sensitive, confidential
                                or privileged information. The dissemination, retransmission or use of any
                                information by any person other than the intended recipient or recipients is
                                strictly prohibited. This item has been scanned for virus and malware
                                infection and is free from known infections.


                                Be sure to check out the SACC web page at www.anthro.cc (NOTE THE NEW
                                ADDRESS!!) for meeting materials, newsletters, etc.
                                Yahoo! Groups Links
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