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Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today

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  • frank lagana
    ... From: Deborah Shepherd To: ; Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 2:17
    Message 1 of 24 , Feb 8, 2007
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Deborah Shepherd" <deborah.shepherd@...>
      To: <blynch@...>; <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 2:17 PM
      Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today


      > Could it be that many evangelicals the world wide would be happier if
      > we just said that modern humans are "ascended" from apes rather than
      > descended? Sometimes I wonder how much of the objection is truly
      > theological and how much is pure basic insult to their self-esteem. I
      > also wonder if many of them have thought hard about the difference.
      >
      >
      Perhaps it's the grimness of a cold February, or maybe I've just been at
      this for too long, but I wonder if anyone would like to share some thoughts
      on how to deal with the topic of evolution in introductory courses. For
      example, how do we deal with a student (actually more than just one today
      but one woman in particular) who insisted (very belligerently) that fossils
      are fakes. As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe they're
      fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm finding it
      increasingly difficult to maintain the proper academic demeanor. Of course,
      the rest of the class was looking up at me waiting to see how I'd handle the
      situation (it's the first week of the semester so they're still checking me
      out). I'm sure that those of you who teach in other parts of the country
      also are faced with this type of thing on a regular basis.
      After several minutes of politely listening to this particular student, and
      trying my best to remain reasonably calm in my answers to her, I finally
      abruptly ended the
      discussion, with the suggestion that it was obvious that nothing I could
      possibly say would ever have any effect on her.
      Anyone have any thoughts about ways to deal with all of this in a better way
      than I think I did tonight?

      Frank Lagana
      Dept of Social Sciences
      Queensborough Community College
    • Katrina Worley
      ... I ve had similar situations in my classes. I teach Intro to Physical and the associated lab class in central California. We have a large population of
      Message 2 of 24 , Feb 8, 2007
        On Feb 8, 2007, at 8:15 PM, frank lagana wrote:

        > Perhaps it's the grimness of a cold February, or maybe I've just
        > been at
        > this for too long, but I wonder if anyone would like to share some
        > thoughts
        > on how to deal with the topic of evolution in introductory courses.
        > For
        > example, how do we deal with a student (actually more than just one
        > today
        > but one woman in particular) who insisted (very belligerently) that
        > fossils
        > are fakes. As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe
        > they're
        > fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm
        > finding it
        > increasingly difficult to maintain the proper academic demeanor. Of
        > course,
        > the rest of the class was looking up at me waiting to see how I'd
        > handle the
        > situation (it's the first week of the semester so they're still
        > checking me
        > out). I'm sure that those of you who teach in other parts of the
        > country
        > also are faced with this type of thing on a regular basis.
        > After several minutes of politely listening to this particular
        > student, and
        > trying my best to remain reasonably calm in my answers to her, I
        > finally
        > abruptly ended the
        > discussion, with the suggestion that it was obvious that nothing I
        > could
        > possibly say would ever have any effect on her.
        > Anyone have any thoughts about ways to deal with all of this in a
        > better way
        > than I think I did tonight?

        I've had similar situations in my classes. I teach Intro to Physical
        and the associated lab class in central California. We have a large
        population of conservative Christians in our area. My way of
        handling situations like this is to head it off at the pass. On the
        first day of class while we're going over the syllabus I remind the
        students that they signed up for the class after having read the
        course description. They did so knowing that the course dealt with
        human evolution. I then inform the student that I don't care what
        they believe (and I don't- it's not my concern). In order to pass my
        course, however, they do have to understand what *science* has to say
        about evolution. In the same way that I don't care what they
        believe, I don't want to know what their minister, pastor or priest
        says about evolution. This is not a course on "religious views of
        evolution". This is a science class. They have to understand the
        science in order to pass the course. What they believe is their
        issue. I think this approach alleviates their fear that I'm trying to
        convert them. I'm telling them up front that I don't care if they
        retain their beliefs, while letting them know in advance that they
        may not use those beliefs to disrupt my classroom.

        Several years ago I had one student who began every response to every
        question with the phrase "according to scientists...", or "scientists
        think..." At the end of the semester, however, we were talking
        during the open lab session before the final. I had out the range of
        hominids, and a chimp and a modern human skull as comparisons (a
        student asked about whether A. afarensis was all that different from
        a chimp). Someone lined the hominids up chronologically and then
        bracketed them with the chimp and modern human. My creationist
        student looked at the sequence and said... "the Bible tells us that
        God used a rib from Adam to make Eve. Maybe God used an animal like
        a chimp to make us." Not perfect, but at least she was open to the
        idea.

        Katrina

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mark Lewine
        I think that we have a unique opportunity to engage clergy as well as students in science education with the Race Project moving around the country for the
        Message 3 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
          I think that we have a unique opportunity to engage clergy as well as students in 'science education' with the Race Project moving around the country for the next several years. For example, most of my students with 'creationist' issues mystifying their ability to think in my courses are African-American and Latino with trust in ignorant clergy. When the Race Project comes to Cleveland, I am planning to invite groups of these clergy to view and discuss the exhibit information on the human genome and its significance as an 'anti-racist' educational source. This should begin to change their perspective on science and evolution. This is only one example of techniques we can discuss at our meeting for dealing with the problem that most of us face in teaching human origins.
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Katrina Worley
          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 12:35 AM
          Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today


          On Feb 8, 2007, at 8:15 PM, frank lagana wrote:

          > Perhaps it's the grimness of a cold February, or maybe I've just
          > been at
          > this for too long, but I wonder if anyone would like to share some
          > thoughts
          > on how to deal with the topic of evolution in introductory courses.
          > For
          > example, how do we deal with a student (actually more than just one
          > today
          > but one woman in particular) who insisted (very belligerently) that
          > fossils
          > are fakes. As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe
          > they're
          > fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm
          > finding it
          > increasingly difficult to maintain the proper academic demeanor. Of
          > course,
          > the rest of the class was looking up at me waiting to see how I'd
          > handle the
          > situation (it's the first week of the semester so they're still
          > checking me
          > out). I'm sure that those of you who teach in other parts of the
          > country
          > also are faced with this type of thing on a regular basis.
          > After several minutes of politely listening to this particular
          > student, and
          > trying my best to remain reasonably calm in my answers to her, I
          > finally
          > abruptly ended the
          > discussion, with the suggestion that it was obvious that nothing I
          > could
          > possibly say would ever have any effect on her.
          > Anyone have any thoughts about ways to deal with all of this in a
          > better way
          > than I think I did tonight?

          I've had similar situations in my classes. I teach Intro to Physical
          and the associated lab class in central California. We have a large
          population of conservative Christians in our area. My way of
          handling situations like this is to head it off at the pass. On the
          first day of class while we're going over the syllabus I remind the
          students that they signed up for the class after having read the
          course description. They did so knowing that the course dealt with
          human evolution. I then inform the student that I don't care what
          they believe (and I don't- it's not my concern). In order to pass my
          course, however, they do have to understand what *science* has to say
          about evolution. In the same way that I don't care what they
          believe, I don't want to know what their minister, pastor or priest
          says about evolution. This is not a course on "religious views of
          evolution". This is a science class. They have to understand the
          science in order to pass the course. What they believe is their
          issue. I think this approach alleviates their fear that I'm trying to
          convert them. I'm telling them up front that I don't care if they
          retain their beliefs, while letting them know in advance that they
          may not use those beliefs to disrupt my classroom.

          Several years ago I had one student who began every response to every
          question with the phrase "according to scientists...", or "scientists
          think..." At the end of the semester, however, we were talking
          during the open lab session before the final. I had out the range of
          hominids, and a chimp and a modern human skull as comparisons (a
          student asked about whether A. afarensis was all that different from
          a chimp). Someone lined the hominids up chronologically and then
          bracketed them with the chimp and modern human. My creationist
          student looked at the sequence and said... "the Bible tells us that
          God used a rib from Adam to make Eve. Maybe God used an animal like
          a chimp to make us." Not perfect, but at least she was open to the
          idea.

          Katrina

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





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • anthropmor@AOL.COM
          In a message dated 2/8/2007 10:26:29 P.M. Central Standard Time, frankL@worldnet.att.net writes: As she put it, I m a Christian so I have to believe they re
          Message 4 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
            In a message dated 2/8/2007 10:26:29 P.M. Central Standard Time,
            frankL@... writes:

            As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe they're
            fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm finding it
            increasingly difficult to maintain


            I know this situation well- when the fossils are attacked, I ask them to
            explain living forms.

            My favorite tactic, however, is to ask them if they have seen an electron.
            Then I explain that this class is just like physics- I don't care if they
            believe in electrons in their hearts - here is the info we have amassed, and
            that is what the class is about.
            Also, being a christian in general, does not require them not to believe
            in evolution.
            Mike Pavlik


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • anthropmor@AOL.COM
            In a message dated 2/8/2007 11:42:13 P.M. Central Standard Time, worleyk@gmail.com writes: They did so knowing that the course dealt with human evolution. I
            Message 5 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
              In a message dated 2/8/2007 11:42:13 P.M. Central Standard Time,
              worleyk@... writes:

              They did so knowing that the course dealt with
              human evolution. I then inform the student that I don't care what
              they believe (and I don't- it's not my concern). In order to pass my
              course, however, they do have to understand what *science* has to say
              about evolution. In the same way that I don't care what they
              believe, I don't want to know what their minister, pastor or priest
              says about evolution


              Wow- great way to beat me to the punch!
              Nicely written!
              Mike Pavlik


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Dorothy Davis DDBRUNER
              Frank, I teach in the Bible Belt and I handle the issue this way. When I am teaching our 4 fields course (in the cultural section, which I do first) I
              Message 6 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                Frank,
                I teach in the Bible Belt and I handle the issue this way.
                When I am teaching our 4 fields course (in the cultural section, which I
                do first) I introduce the concept of three kinds of knowledge: Common
                sense knowledge, religious knowledge- based on faith- and scientific
                knowledge. I give examples and then proceed to explain the scientific
                method. There are usually no problems with this. When we get to evolution
                and someone begins to challenge it for religious reasons , I just point
                out that they are using religious knowledge and not scientific knowledge,
                and then I explain why. That seems to satisfy them (since they think that
                religious trumps scientific knowledge anyways).


                But then you may try the approach of one of my colleagues. She goes into
                class the first day with a big Intro to Physical text, holds it up and
                drops it on the floor several times.....a good start for explaining the
                scientific method and testibility and verifiability.

                Dorothy Davis
                Anthropology Department
                UNCG
                Tel- 256-1099



                "frank lagana" <frankL@...>
                Sent by: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                02/08/2007 11:15 PM
                Please respond to
                SACC-L@yahoogroups.com


                To
                <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com>
                cc

                Subject
                Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today







                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Deborah Shepherd" <deborah.shepherd@...>
                To: <blynch@...>; <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 2:17 PM
                Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today

                > Could it be that many evangelicals the world wide would be happier if
                > we just said that modern humans are "ascended" from apes rather than
                > descended? Sometimes I wonder how much of the objection is truly
                > theological and how much is pure basic insult to their self-esteem. I
                > also wonder if many of them have thought hard about the difference.
                >
                >
                Perhaps it's the grimness of a cold February, or maybe I've just been at
                this for too long, but I wonder if anyone would like to share some
                thoughts
                on how to deal with the topic of evolution in introductory courses. For
                example, how do we deal with a student (actually more than just one today
                but one woman in particular) who insisted (very belligerently) that
                fossils
                are fakes. As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe they're
                fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm finding it
                increasingly difficult to maintain the proper academic demeanor. Of
                course,
                the rest of the class was looking up at me waiting to see how I'd handle
                the
                situation (it's the first week of the semester so they're still checking
                me
                out). I'm sure that those of you who teach in other parts of the country
                also are faced with this type of thing on a regular basis.
                After several minutes of politely listening to this particular student,
                and
                trying my best to remain reasonably calm in my answers to her, I finally
                abruptly ended the
                discussion, with the suggestion that it was obvious that nothing I could
                possibly say would ever have any effect on her.
                Anyone have any thoughts about ways to deal with all of this in a better
                way
                than I think I did tonight?

                Frank Lagana
                Dept of Social Sciences
                Queensborough Community College




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Philip Stein
                We have relatively few problems in this area. I think it is in large part because we ve renamed the course Human Biological Evolution. So students know
                Message 7 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                  We have relatively few problems in this area. I think it is in large part because we've renamed the course "Human Biological Evolution." So students know exactly what the course is about, rather than signing up for Physical Anthropolgy (What the hell is that!) and then discovering on the first day that it's a course in human evolution. (We know that students do not read the catalog; they select courses based on course title or from a laundry list of courses that satisfy a particular gen ed requirement. Luckily, our field begins with an A!)

                  I do teach Intelligent Design, both the controvery and the concept. Of course, like all ideas, I critique the concept and, I must confess, ID doesn't come out looking all that well. I emphasize that the problem is that ID is simply not science. But I respect their belief systems, at least publically. I just make it clear that since our course fulfills a natural science gen ed requirement, we must deal with science. The nature of the supernatural is appropriate for our Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft course.

                  Phil


                  anthropmor@... wrote:

                  In a message dated 2/8/2007 11:42:13 P.M. Central Standard Time,
                  worleyk@... writes:

                  They did so knowing that the course dealt with
                  human evolution. I then inform the student that I don't care what
                  they believe (and I don't- it's not my concern). In order to pass my
                  course, however, they do have to understand what *science* has to say
                  about evolution. In the same way that I don't care what they
                  believe, I don't want to know what their minister, pastor or priest
                  says about evolution


                  Wow- great way to beat me to the punch!
                  Nicely written!
                  Mike Pavlik


                  [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






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Dianne Chidester
                  I use the charts from this article, even in my sociology classes. Many of my students don t understand the differences between science and religion. I use
                  Message 8 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                    I use the charts from this article, even in my sociology classes. Many
                    of my students don't understand the differences between science and
                    religion. I use the flow chart to demonstrate the scientific method and
                    use recent news to show how it works. (I've been using the example of
                    Celebrex and Vioxx as how the systems works. We keep doing experiments
                    and when we realize there are problems, we revise or throw out and start
                    over. This example works well because I can talk about how bias, in
                    this case money, can corrupt the scientific method if we're not ethical
                    scientists.)



                    Then I go on to the characteristics of science, pseudoscience, and
                    religion. Some students will try to argue with me trying to "prove
                    God." Then I ask them, "If you have faith, why do you need proof?
                    Isn't faith about not needing proof?"



                    Science vs. religion: teach the difference, resolve the conflict -
                    Special Issue: Science and Religion: Conflict or Conciliation?

                    Skeptical Inquirer <http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2843> ,
                    July-August, 1999
                    <http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2843/is_4_23> by Zoran
                    Pazameta
                    <http://www.findarticles.com/p/search?tb=art&qt=%22Zoran+Pazameta%22>





                    I'm trying to find the entire article online, but haven't been able to.
                    I'll keep trying to find the charts he uses. If I can't find them, I'll
                    type them and send them out if folks are interested.



                    Cheers!

                    Dianne





                    ________________________________

                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                    Of Dorothy Davis DDBRUNER
                    Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 9:57 AM
                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today



                    Frank,
                    I teach in the Bible Belt and I handle the issue this way.
                    When I am teaching our 4 fields course (in the cultural section, which I

                    do first) I introduce the concept of three kinds of knowledge: Common
                    sense knowledge, religious knowledge- based on faith- and scientific
                    knowledge. I give examples and then proceed to explain the scientific
                    method. There are usually no problems with this. When we get to
                    evolution
                    and someone begins to challenge it for religious reasons , I just point
                    out that they are using religious knowledge and not scientific
                    knowledge,
                    and then I explain why. That seems to satisfy them (since they think
                    that
                    religious trumps scientific knowledge anyways).


                    But then you may try the approach of one of my colleagues. She goes into

                    class the first day with a big Intro to Physical text, holds it up and
                    drops it on the floor several times.....a good start for explaining the
                    scientific method and testibility and verifiability.

                    Dorothy Davis
                    Anthropology Department
                    UNCG
                    Tel- 256-1099

                    "frank lagana" <frankL@...
                    <mailto:frankL%40worldnet.att.net> >
                    Sent by: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                    02/08/2007 11:15 PM
                    Please respond to
                    SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                    To
                    <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> >
                    cc

                    Subject
                    Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today

                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Deborah Shepherd" <deborah.shepherd@...
                    <mailto:deborah.shepherd%40anokaramsey.edu> >
                    To: <blynch@... <mailto:blynch%40qvcc.commnet.edu> >;
                    <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> >
                    Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 2:17 PM
                    Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today

                    > Could it be that many evangelicals the world wide would be happier if
                    > we just said that modern humans are "ascended" from apes rather than
                    > descended? Sometimes I wonder how much of the objection is truly
                    > theological and how much is pure basic insult to their self-esteem. I
                    > also wonder if many of them have thought hard about the difference.
                    >
                    >
                    Perhaps it's the grimness of a cold February, or maybe I've just been at
                    this for too long, but I wonder if anyone would like to share some
                    thoughts
                    on how to deal with the topic of evolution in introductory courses. For
                    example, how do we deal with a student (actually more than just one
                    today
                    but one woman in particular) who insisted (very belligerently) that
                    fossils
                    are fakes. As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe they're
                    fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm finding
                    it
                    increasingly difficult to maintain the proper academic demeanor. Of
                    course,
                    the rest of the class was looking up at me waiting to see how I'd handle

                    the
                    situation (it's the first week of the semester so they're still checking

                    me
                    out). I'm sure that those of you who teach in other parts of the country
                    also are faced with this type of thing on a regular basis.
                    After several minutes of politely listening to this particular student,
                    and
                    trying my best to remain reasonably calm in my answers to her, I finally

                    abruptly ended the
                    discussion, with the suggestion that it was obvious that nothing I could
                    possibly say would ever have any effect on her.
                    Anyone have any thoughts about ways to deal with all of this in a better

                    way
                    than I think I did tonight?

                    Frank Lagana
                    Dept of Social Sciences
                    Queensborough Community College

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




                    This electronic mail message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. This mail message has been scanned for virus and malware and is free of such to the best of this sending sites ability and knowledge.


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Lloyd Miller
                    Regarding Frank s student who said, I m a Christian so I have to believe they re fakes, it might be helpful to show students that the majority of mainstream
                    Message 9 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                      Regarding Frank's student who said, "I'm a Christian so I have to
                      believe they're fakes," it might be helpful to show students that the
                      majority of mainstream Christian denominations do not reject science
                      and evolution. In his article on Intelligent Design (SACC Notes,
                      Vol. 11, No. 2, spring 2005), Len Lieberman gives examples and
                      provides some sources for this. I also mention it briefly in my
                      primer on evolution and ID (SACC Notes, Vol. 12, No. 2, spring 2006).
                      Lloyd



                      On Feb 9, 2007, at 9:06 AM, Philip Stein wrote:

                      > We have relatively few problems in this area. I think it is in
                      > large part because we've renamed the course "Human Biological
                      > Evolution." So students know exactly what the course is about,
                      > rather than signing up for Physical Anthropolgy (What the hell is
                      > that!) and then discovering on the first day that it's a course in
                      > human evolution. (We know that students do not read the catalog;
                      > they select courses based on course title or from a laundry list of
                      > courses that satisfy a particular gen ed requirement. Luckily, our
                      > field begins with an A!)
                      >
                      > I do teach Intelligent Design, both the controvery and the concept.
                      > Of course, like all ideas, I critique the concept and, I must
                      > confess, ID doesn't come out looking all that well. I emphasize
                      > that the problem is that ID is simply not science. But I respect
                      > their belief systems, at least publically. I just make it clear
                      > that since our course fulfills a natural science gen ed
                      > requirement, we must deal with science. The nature of the
                      > supernatural is appropriate for our Anthropology of Religion,
                      > Magic, and Witchcraft course.
                      >
                      > Phil
                      >
                      > anthropmor@... wrote:
                      >
                      > In a message dated 2/8/2007 11:42:13 P.M. Central Standard Time,
                      > worleyk@... writes:
                      >
                      > They did so knowing that the course dealt with
                      > human evolution. I then inform the student that I don't care what
                      > they believe (and I don't- it's not my concern). In order to pass my
                      > course, however, they do have to understand what *science* has to say
                      > about evolution. In the same way that I don't care what they
                      > believe, I don't want to know what their minister, pastor or priest
                      > says about evolution
                      >
                      > Wow- great way to beat me to the punch!
                      > Nicely written!
                      > Mike Pavlik
                      >
                      > [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
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Dianne Chidester
                      One of my favorite editorial cartoons by Nick Anderson. I hope the address works! http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=11168 In the interest of
                      Message 10 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                        One of my favorite editorial cartoons by Nick Anderson. I hope the
                        address works!





                        http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=11168



                        "In the interest of teaching 'both sides,' I thought I'd give equal time
                        to the theory of evolution..."



                        Cheers!

                        Dianne


                        This electronic mail message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. This mail message has been scanned for virus and malware and is free of such to the best of this sending sites ability and knowledge.


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • bdlqvcc
                        To paraphrase (I think it was) Frank, an anthro class is not a theology class; it is about science. Granted. But then, a student who says I m a Christian. I
                        Message 11 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                          To paraphrase (I think it was) Frank, an anthro class is not a
                          theology class; it is about science. Granted.

                          But then, a student who says "I'm a Christian. I can't believe in
                          the science of evolution. I have to believe in the Biblical
                          account," is either not accepting the fundamental premise that
                          you/we have set in such a class--"we do science here"--or hasn't
                          really thought about it yet and all its implications (such as "why
                          am I in this class then, if I don't accept its basic foundation?")

                          Mike, then, makes another point: "being a christian in general, does
                          not require them not to believe in evolution." The
                          objective "social fact" is that there are people all over the place
                          who consider themeselves "good Christians," who also understand and
                          accept the science of evolution. You could, of course, point this
                          out to such a student who otherwise makes the matter of fact
                          statement "I'm a Christian. I can't believe in evolution..." At
                          least initially this may do no more for such a student than to
                          confirm that there are lots of "lost Christians" out there!

                          But then, as a cultural anthropologist, I often think of it this
                          way: My task in such a class is to invite people into what for many
                          might be a foreign "culture" (scientific anthropology). They are
                          going to be invited and asked to explore, observe, and learn to
                          understand this foreign culture, not to necessarily give up their
                          own culture, but to be able, at least, to return to that culture
                          with a better understanding of this one (the discipline of
                          anthropology). It is what anthropology itself is about, and I have
                          often thought about how my classes should model the discipline's
                          approach.

                          When we get in to this discussion it always makes me think of
                          an "over the cubicle walls" discussion between two mentors of mine
                          in grad school; one was a fairly liberal, Irish, Catholic priest and
                          the other was Hindu. Both taught "theology." One day after about
                          10 minutes of Santosh talking about some aspect of comparative
                          religion and social justice, Fr. Paul commented over the
                          wall, "Well, Toshi, for someone who believes none of this is real,
                          you have an awful lot to say about it!" They both let out a roar of
                          laughter (as did those of us in surrounding cubicles) and their rich
                          theological discussion continued. He still spoke from his religious
                          perspective, but with all the critical and scholarly acumen he was
                          so well known for, and she from her equally respected background as
                          a Hindu scholar.

                          At the intro level it is sometimes difficult to imagine students
                          somehow reaching this eventual level of skill, ability,
                          understanding, and mutual respect (and many may not). But for me it
                          is at least an important model that I keep in mind when I try to
                          imagine what I am attempting to share (and why) with students.

                          Brian


                          --- In SACC-L@yahoogroups.com, anthropmor@... wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > In a message dated 2/8/2007 10:26:29 P.M. Central Standard Time,
                          > frankL@... writes:
                          >
                          > As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe they're
                          > fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm
                          finding it
                          > increasingly difficult to maintain
                          >
                          >
                          > I know this situation well- when the fossils are attacked, I ask
                          them to
                          > explain living forms.
                          >
                          > My favorite tactic, however, is to ask them if they have seen
                          an electron.
                          > Then I explain that this class is just like physics- I don't
                          care if they
                          > believe in electrons in their hearts - here is the info we have
                          amassed, and
                          > that is what the class is about.
                          > Also, being a christian in general, does not require them not
                          to believe
                          > in evolution.
                          > Mike Pavlik
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                        • Tbbyrnehom@aol.com
                          Hello SACCERS, I invite you to look at a nice web site for an application of technology and education for Anthropology. _http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/_
                          Message 12 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                            Hello SACCERS, I invite you to look at a nice web site for an application
                            of technology and education for Anthropology.
                            _http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/_ (http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/) clik on Journey of Mankind,
                            from Oppenheimer's book on DNA showing the migration patterns around the world
                            with a nice timeline.
                            We have come a long way from the old overhead projector. And regarding
                            teaching evolution to Biblical fundamentalist....I asked students if they can
                            know something without believing it to be "TRUE". They always said yes. I told
                            them I was teaching evolution as information and not testing them on what
                            ever they believed. Bill Byrne, Happily retired.


                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Deborah Shepherd
                            My sympathies. I ve been there. Believers can have their beliefs, but by being belligerent in her argument, she was being disrespectful of you and the
                            Message 13 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                              My sympathies. I've been there. "Believers" can have their beliefs, but by being belligerent in her argument, she was being disrespectful of you and the class--which is a point you shouldn't forget. I'll let any student have their say just once and to the point, if that makes them feel better. I try to focus on:
                              1. No one is required to take my class.
                              2. I teach science, not religion.
                              3. If her statement has to begin, "I believe," then it isn't science.
                              4. The other students have registered for (and paid for) a class in anthropology, so it is time to talk about anthropology.
                              5. All students in the class need to respect that your job (for which you are paid) is to teach them anthropology.

                              I have found that if I am firm, the other students, if they say anything, express relief (privately) that I finished that particularly discussion quickly. But there are always the worst-case scenarios.

                              Maybe your next lecture could start immediately with a review of scientific method: data, observations, and testable hypotheses. Or maybe you've done that already! Or you could have them all write an impromptu essay about why they are in the class and what they hope to learn. You may find the results encouraging, or amusing, if nothing else.

                              I keep telling myself, if I make just one of the "I'm religious" students think twice about evolution vs. their biblical certainties, then I've had success.

                              Deborah

                              >>> frankL@... 2/8/2007 10:15 PM >>>


                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "Deborah Shepherd" <deborah.shepherd@...>
                              To: <blynch@...>; <SACC-L@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 2:17 PM
                              Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today

                              > Could it be that many evangelicals the world wide would be happier if
                              > we just said that modern humans are "ascended" from apes rather than
                              > descended? Sometimes I wonder how much of the objection is truly
                              > theological and how much is pure basic insult to their self-esteem. I
                              > also wonder if many of them have thought hard about the difference.
                              >
                              >
                              Perhaps it's the grimness of a cold February, or maybe I've just been at
                              this for too long, but I wonder if anyone would like to share some thoughts
                              on how to deal with the topic of evolution in introductory courses. For
                              example, how do we deal with a student (actually more than just one today
                              but one woman in particular) who insisted (very belligerently) that fossils
                              are fakes. As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe they're
                              fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm finding it
                              increasingly difficult to maintain the proper academic demeanor. Of course,
                              the rest of the class was looking up at me waiting to see how I'd handle the
                              situation (it's the first week of the semester so they're still checking me
                              out). I'm sure that those of you who teach in other parts of the country
                              also are faced with this type of thing on a regular basis.
                              After several minutes of politely listening to this particular student, and
                              trying my best to remain reasonably calm in my answers to her, I finally
                              abruptly ended the
                              discussion, with the suggestion that it was obvious that nothing I could
                              possibly say would ever have any effect on her.
                              Anyone have any thoughts about ways to deal with all of this in a better way
                              than I think I did tonight?

                              Frank Lagana
                              Dept of Social Sciences
                              Queensborough Community College





                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Deborah Shepherd
                              That s a great idea! Deborah J. Shepherd, Ph.D. Anthropology and Sociology Anoka-Ramsey Community College Coon Rapids Campus email:
                              Message 14 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                                That's a great idea!

                                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

                                >>> mlewine@... 2/9/2007 5:54 AM >>>

                                I think that we have a unique opportunity to engage clergy as well as students in 'science education' with the Race Project moving around the country for the next several years. For example, most of my students with 'creationist' issues mystifying their ability to think in my courses are African-American and Latino with trust in ignorant clergy. When the Race Project comes to Cleveland, I am planning to invite groups of these clergy to view and discuss the exhibit information on the human genome and its significance as an 'anti-racist' educational source. This should begin to change their perspective on science and evolution. This is only one example of techniques we can discuss at our meeting for dealing with the problem that most of us face in teaching human origins.
                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: Katrina Worley
                                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 12:35 AM
                                Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today

                                On Feb 8, 2007, at 8:15 PM, frank lagana wrote:

                                > Perhaps it's the grimness of a cold February, or maybe I've just
                                > been at
                                > this for too long, but I wonder if anyone would like to share some
                                > thoughts
                                > on how to deal with the topic of evolution in introductory courses.
                                > For
                                > example, how do we deal with a student (actually more than just one
                                > today
                                > but one woman in particular) who insisted (very belligerently) that
                                > fossils
                                > are fakes. As she put it, "I'm a Christian so I have to believe
                                > they're
                                > fakes". After 33 years of listening to nonsense like this, I'm
                                > finding it
                                > increasingly difficult to maintain the proper academic demeanor. Of
                                > course,
                                > the rest of the class was looking up at me waiting to see how I'd
                                > handle the
                                > situation (it's the first week of the semester so they're still
                                > checking me
                                > out). I'm sure that those of you who teach in other parts of the
                                > country
                                > also are faced with this type of thing on a regular basis.
                                > After several minutes of politely listening to this particular
                                > student, and
                                > trying my best to remain reasonably calm in my answers to her, I
                                > finally
                                > abruptly ended the
                                > discussion, with the suggestion that it was obvious that nothing I
                                > could
                                > possibly say would ever have any effect on her.
                                > Anyone have any thoughts about ways to deal with all of this in a
                                > better way
                                > than I think I did tonight?

                                I've had similar situations in my classes. I teach Intro to Physical
                                and the associated lab class in central California. We have a large
                                population of conservative Christians in our area. My way of
                                handling situations like this is to head it off at the pass. On the
                                first day of class while we're going over the syllabus I remind the
                                students that they signed up for the class after having read the
                                course description. They did so knowing that the course dealt with
                                human evolution. I then inform the student that I don't care what
                                they believe (and I don't- it's not my concern). In order to pass my
                                course, however, they do have to understand what *science* has to say
                                about evolution. In the same way that I don't care what they
                                believe, I don't want to know what their minister, pastor or priest
                                says about evolution. This is not a course on "religious views of
                                evolution". This is a science class. They have to understand the
                                science in order to pass the course. What they believe is their
                                issue. I think this approach alleviates their fear that I'm trying to
                                convert them. I'm telling them up front that I don't care if they
                                retain their beliefs, while letting them know in advance that they
                                may not use those beliefs to disrupt my classroom.

                                Several years ago I had one student who began every response to every
                                question with the phrase "according to scientists...", or "scientists
                                think..." At the end of the semester, however, we were talking
                                during the open lab session before the final. I had out the range of
                                hominids, and a chimp and a modern human skull as comparisons (a
                                student asked about whether A. afarensis was all that different from
                                a chimp). Someone lined the hominids up chronologically and then
                                bracketed them with the chimp and modern human. My creationist
                                student looked at the sequence and said... "the Bible tells us that
                                God used a rib from Adam to make Eve. Maybe God used an animal like
                                a chimp to make us." Not perfect, but at least she was open to the
                                idea.

                                Katrina

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

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                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Deborah Shepherd
                                Lloyd, For those of us who don t have SACC notes going back that far, do you have a Word or other digital copy that you can send us privately by request (or
                                Message 15 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                                  Lloyd,
                                  For those of us who don't have SACC notes going back that far, do you have a Word or other digital copy that you can send us privately by request (or however you want to do it)? Or if Len doesn't mind, this might be a great article to publish on our web site.

                                  Deborah

                                  >>> lloyd.miller@... 2/9/2007 9:33 AM >>>

                                  Regarding Frank's student who said, "I'm a Christian so I have to
                                  believe they're fakes," it might be helpful to show students that the
                                  majority of mainstream Christian denominations do not reject science
                                  and evolution. In his article on Intelligent Design (SACC Notes,
                                  Vol. 11, No. 2, spring 2005), Len Lieberman gives examples and
                                  provides some sources for this. I also mention it briefly in my
                                  primer on evolution and ID (SACC Notes, Vol. 12, No. 2, spring 2006).
                                  Lloyd

                                  On Feb 9, 2007, at 9:06 AM, Philip Stein wrote:

                                  > We have relatively few problems in this area. I think it is in
                                  > large part because we've renamed the course "Human Biological
                                  > Evolution." So students know exactly what the course is about,
                                  > rather than signing up for Physical Anthropolgy (What the hell is
                                  > that!) and then discovering on the first day that it's a course in
                                  > human evolution. (We know that students do not read the catalog;
                                  > they select courses based on course title or from a laundry list of
                                  > courses that satisfy a particular gen ed requirement. Luckily, our
                                  > field begins with an A!)
                                  >
                                  > I do teach Intelligent Design, both the controvery and the concept.
                                  > Of course, like all ideas, I critique the concept and, I must
                                  > confess, ID doesn't come out looking all that well. I emphasize
                                  > that the problem is that ID is simply not science. But I respect
                                  > their belief systems, at least publically. I just make it clear
                                  > that since our course fulfills a natural science gen ed
                                  > requirement, we must deal with science. The nature of the
                                  > supernatural is appropriate for our Anthropology of Religion,
                                  > Magic, and Witchcraft course.
                                  >
                                  > Phil
                                  >
                                  > anthropmor@... wrote:
                                  >
                                  > In a message dated 2/8/2007 11:42:13 P.M. Central Standard Time,
                                  > worleyk@... writes:
                                  >
                                  > They did so knowing that the course dealt with
                                  > human evolution. I then inform the student that I don't care what
                                  > they believe (and I don't- it's not my concern). In order to pass my
                                  > course, however, they do have to understand what *science* has to say
                                  > about evolution. In the same way that I don't care what they
                                  > believe, I don't want to know what their minister, pastor or priest
                                  > says about evolution
                                  >
                                  > Wow- great way to beat me to the punch!
                                  > Nicely written!
                                  > Mike Pavlik
                                  >
                                  > [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
                                  >
                                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >

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





                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Lloyd Miller
                                  Yes, Deborah, I have it on a Word document. I ll send it to you separately and to anyone else who writes for it (and hasn t maintained their SACC Notes issues
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Feb 11, 2007
                                    Yes, Deborah, I have it on a Word document. I'll send it to you
                                    separately and to anyone else who writes for it (and hasn't
                                    maintained their SACC Notes issues in gold-embossed, leather-bound
                                    volumes.).
                                    Lloyd



                                    On Feb 9, 2007, at 1:59 PM, Deborah Shepherd wrote:

                                    > Lloyd,
                                    > For those of us who don't have SACC notes going back that far, do
                                    > you have a Word or other digital copy that you can send us
                                    > privately by request (or however you want to do it)? Or if Len
                                    > doesn't mind, this might be a great article to publish on our web
                                    > site.
                                    >
                                    > Deborah
                                    >
                                    > >>> lloyd.miller@... 2/9/2007 9:33 AM >>>
                                    >
                                    > Regarding Frank's student who said, "I'm a Christian so I have to
                                    > believe they're fakes," it might be helpful to show students that the
                                    > majority of mainstream Christian denominations do not reject science
                                    > and evolution. In his article on Intelligent Design (SACC Notes,
                                    > Vol. 11, No. 2, spring 2005), Len Lieberman gives examples and
                                    > provides some sources for this. I also mention it briefly in my
                                    > primer on evolution and ID (SACC Notes, Vol. 12, No. 2, spring 2006).
                                    > Lloyd



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