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Re: [SACC-L] Interesting news item today

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  • 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 1 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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      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 2 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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        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 3 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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          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 4 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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            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 5 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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              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 6 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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                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.


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              • 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 7 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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                  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 8 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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                    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 9 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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                      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 10 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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                        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 11 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
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                          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 12 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                          • 0 Attachment
                            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

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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 13 of 24 , Feb 9, 2007
                            • 0 Attachment
                              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 14 of 24 , Feb 11, 2007
                              • 0 Attachment
                                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



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