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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How My Teacher Helped Religious Parents Understand Evolution


My biology teacher, Mr. G, used to teach at a K - 12 Christian school many years back, and in his biology class, he taught evolution. Naturally, this made many parents of religious families upset, and he expected quite a lot of backlash at parent-teacher night. Looking back, he laughs and says, “I knew they wanted a piece of me.”
So, to prepare, he bought regular 50 piece puzzles, and took a few pieces out from each of them. Then, when the parents arrived, he put them on the table, and requested the parents to construct the puzzles,without seeing the final picture on the box cover. By the time they eventually put all of the pieces they had together, he asked them, “What is it a picture of?”
They responded, “A flowerpot!” or, “A butterfly!” or, “A house!”
But then he told them, “But you don’t have all the pieces! How can you know!”
They said, “Well, we can see it!”
And he asked again, “You can’t see everything! How do you know for sure?”
They kept saying variations of, “Well, we don’t have all the pieces, but we know what it is, because they make up the shapes, and the lines to form the picture.” and, “It’s not complete, and we don’t know for sure, because we don’t have all of the pieces, but we know the image from the other pieces, and what it suggests the other pieces will be.”
And then, it soon dawned on them that this is how theories are formed, and how evolution is a worthwhile idea to understand and learn.
My teachers now says in class to his students, when we are learning about evolution, “It’s alright if you believe in something else, and it’s okay to keep those beliefs. We don’t want to attack you. But, in biology class, we want you to open your mind, and learn about evolution. Not believe in evolution initially, just understand it at first. We are not forcing you to believe something; this classroom should be a safe environment.”
Aristotle once said, "It is a mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
All the scientific community asks the religious community to do is to consider our evidence and arguments. After you have properly understood all of it, and thought about how well it can apply to our world,  then you may go back to your beliefs if you are still not convinced. However, I am sure that it will open your mind, and help you understand our world a little better.
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  1. The 'religious community' doesn't oppose evolution, just pockets of fundamentalists within it. As a religious person, i am often embarassed by thei. willful ignorance - just as I'm often nonplussed by atheists who pillory a caricature of what I believe, rather than admitting that science, like the intellect itself, has its limitations.

    1. Please don't take generalized statements as a personal attack on all religious persons.

    2. I don't need science to know vinny G is a piece of shit full of little pieces of shit. So science is not the only way to knowledge.

      Science is a craft that has been shown time and again to be by far the most reliable means for performing incremental search of knowledge. To properly apply the craft of science one needs to start from a foundation, built by prior practices of science, sufficiently robust and close to the point of search to support the search.

      Where science would appear to falter is where science has not yet reached the step capable of supporting a particular search, yet those claiming to practice the craft of science uses the jargons of science to pretend science has offered rewards for the search.

      At any given stage, science can not be properly applied to all possible searches, only those seaches which can be properly conducted from the base science has already up to that moment.

      Given infinite time for diligent practice, can science bring all knowledge that can conceivably be gained within its reach? Possibly. Can science provide all possible knowledge now? No. Can other means provide it where science fails? That depends, when other means appear to provide knowledge not yet attainable by science, by what standard do you judge such knowledge to be real and would not be overthrown when science does get around eventually to put that knowledge within its reach?

    3. Pockets? In the United States, 31% of the total population believed in young earth creationism, another 22% believed in intelligent design, and only 32% accepted the scientific theory of evolution, with 15% abstaining.

      Given that the first two are modelled around a theistic being, there would presumably be no atheists in those groups, and so the subsections of the religious community which reject evolution would be even an larger percentage than those percentages of the total population, which is already more than half.


    4. "Damm these atheists, making fun of a being that I believe in who has as much proof of existance as any other fairy tale!!"

    5. Wikipedia is not a reliable source! If you were to read the actual study you are quoting you would know that it is a survey of 2000 Christians from different faiths and in no way represents the nation as a whole. Only 31% of the 2000 "white evangelists", :black protestants", and catholics that were surveyed believed in creationism. Don't assume you are reading facts, ever.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. Funny thing about Wikipedia - sources are cited. Clicking the footnote link take you to a link to the study summary, which also contains links to the original study, as well as the questionnaire itself.

      What you are saying ("...it is a survey of 2000 Christians..." is simply untrue.

  2. So Obviously you don't know that only about only 32% of atheist even talk about religion. Some atheist like myself don't care about your "beliefs" or why and what makes you believe these things. Since we are just giving opinions with you saying that "the religious community doesn't oppose evolution" is pretty wild since the religious community is so big.... There are over 4,200 religions I don't think you are at liberty to make this claim.

  3. I know there are religious people that believe in evolution, but still not sure why/how they believe in god. There's no proof of god, and the fact that some people follows stories and laws written down in the iron age is just baffling.

  4. That quote from Aristotle is "disputed", ie, he quite probably never said it. And why do you need arguments from authority anyway?

    1. It's not part of any argument. It's just a nice quote that summarizes the idea, whether it was said by Aristotle or Vinny the garbage man isn't really important.

  5. Please don't do stuff like this. This is the kind of bollocks theists paste around the place, like that 'US marine' who hits the lecturer at school, or the other nonsensical non sequitur bollocks laden cool story bro stories clearly pushing an agenda that only people who ALREADY AGREE WITH THE IDEAS PUT FORWARD would ever like, post, or read, and would otherwise offend the sensibilities of any rational person not blinded by fucking propaganda.