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Re: Teaching Evolution

Andrew Goldenkranz
Spring Grove School
Hollister, CA  wrote:

>I teach my kids a healthy respect for the gorund rules of >science--what
distinguishes a scientific from a nonscientific >argument. Then, I teach
evolution as a conclusion--after studying >variation, fossils, genetics,
adaptation, etc. rather than as a >stand-alone theory.  Finally, I reassure
skeptical parents that their >kids do not have to agree with evolution--but
>they do have to study it.

>By now the creationist families think i am doing them a big favor >because
their kids are learning, and are also free to disagree--but >based on
science, rather than ignorance.

Bravo Andrew!,  but how did you get the creationist families to be so
reasonable?  Must be a very moderate group there in "Shakey Town".  Perhaps
sitting on an active earthquake fault keeps reminding the folks that the
earth does move, and there is something to plate tectonics at least.  If
plate tectonics is real, perhaps some of the other scientific conclusions
have merit as well.

I have refrained from jumping on this thread before now, but I thought you
all might not mind me relating a little personal experience along these
lines.  I'll keep it short.  If you've had enough of this sort of thing just
scroll on thru, but don't flame me, this will be my only post on this

 While I was in Florida earlier this year I engaged my Aunt Nell in a cordial
discussion about Biology, Ecology, Environment, Evolution, Extinction,
Dinosaurs and other paleomorphs.  I proudly showed her my new Dinosaur
Bronzes, and a small (5 inches) tooth from Carcharodon megalodon that I had
just aquired from a fossil hunter there.  This guy dives the rivers and bays
in Florida and comes up with some amazing stuff, but that's another story.
 Now my Aunt Nell is a conservative Catholic, a couple of klicks to the right
of the Pope.  I think she still agrees with Pope Irving the First,  the one
that condemmed Galileo for having the audacity to point his new telescope at
the heavens, and second guess the Bible.   Anyway, during our conversation,
while she was fondling the big sharks tooth, she actually suggested to me
that God planted all this evidence, that He created the entire fossil record
in place where we find them today, as a way to tempt us, or test our faith.
  It was only when I heard this that I realized the extreme  narrow mind set
of the creationist.  How does one argue with a statement like that?  More to
the point, Why does one argue with a statement like that.  

My good Catholic Aunt Nell had eleven children, ten that survive today, and
while I haven't spoken to all of them recently I have spoken to some.  When I
tell my cousins about this conversation with Aunt Nell, their eyes roll up in
their heads and they nod in sympathy with my plight, as though I were a
little boy who had just stepped in dog doo doo.  Then they commend my
courage, having been through all this before.  It turns out that most of them
are engaged in scientific, or at least enlightened pursuits, one is a
Paleobotanist, two are Nurses, another promotes Rock Concerts etc. and the
one deceased cousin was a Marine Biologist.   That's encouraging considering
the environment in which they grew up.  

On the other hand my Aunt Nell's big brother Maynard, my Dad, was an agnostic
and a Mad Dog Rocket Scientist!  Really!   In the '50s and '60s he worked at
the Navel Ordinance Test Station, at China Lake, CA, and helped to develop
solid rocket fuels for the Mighty Mouse and Sidewinder Missiles, among
others.  While my Mom tried to raise me as a good Lutheran, my Dad encouraged
me to look at the other side of things, taught me fly fishing and opened my
eyes to the rest of the world.  I think it's called critical thinking today.
 Thanks to my Dad, my interests are eclectic, my mind is open and I learn
something new every day, and thanks to this list, I even learn something new
about Dinosaurs everyday.   Point is, it's OK to be stupid. Lots of people
are and they can't help that.  But it this information age, there's no excuse
for being ignorant and superstitious.  So Andrew, I salute you again, Keep up
the good work!  You're doing very well just to have those parents just
tolerate you.  I trust this post wasn't too long, nor too far afield  from
the subject of Dinosaurs.  Had to get it off my chest.

 Bill "swear there ain't no heaven and I pray there ain't no hell"  Hunt
   Frustrated Marine Biologist  -  Happy Artist
 2780 Chaparral Lane
 Paso Robles,  CA  93446     -    805-237-0733  
 E-Mail   WillSculpt@aol.com