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Re: birds and dinosaurs
Here in Australia I've yet to see what misconceptions my kids' textbooks
contain as they're all still in Primary school (K-7 here) and textbooks
aren't usually the resource employed.
My eldest daughter is learning about dinosaurs in year 1 - it's the
current Theme - and last night I explained to her that small, flying
dinosaurs were still alive and well, but we call them "birds".
She thought that was pretty cool and didn't express any concerns over
our local dinosaur population of corvids at the time, but this morning
she did look a bit nervously at a noisy raven in a tree. I'm wondering
what her teacher's reaction will be when my daughter "corrects" her for
saying dinosaurs are all extinct.
evelyn sobielski wrote:
--- David Marjanovic <email@example.com>
In fact, in my experience K-12 biology textbooksare by far the most
out of touch with the current state of theirrespective science, and
it's for the simple reason that modern biology isalways never out in
the absence of evolutionary theory, but textbookmakers don't want to
embrace this due to fears of upsetting
That's certainly not the whole reason. In Austria,
evolution is taken for
granted, and there's much less choice in the school
system (so you can't
escape having biology lessons, and you probably
can't escape learning about
evolution) -- but schoolbooks are written by
teachers, so the books never
know more than the teachers do. In other words, the
books are horribly out
of date. I remember having a biology book that had a
classification of "the
animals" in the front and one of "the plants" at the
back. Kingdom "plants",
subkingdom "nucleus-less plants (bacteria)",
plants"... we're talking late 90s here. (I forgot
whether *Euglena* was
classified as an animal or a plant, har har, but
probably as a plant along
with, say, *Chlamydomonas*.) And in the early 00s, I
helped my little sister
learning for a biology exam... her book depicted
what it called an annelid
and mentioned the fact that, remarkably for an
annelid, it had jointed
limbs. It was a frigging beetle larva. I kid you
not. Approved by the
Ministry for Education like all schoolbooks.
In Germany, schoolbooks are approved on a state (not
country) basis, except those for the last years of the
most prestigious highschool branch which are up to
each individual school's discretion (which is for
example where the fact that 'shrooms and bactera are
not plants is on the curriculum; on a country-wide
average about 45% advance to that level). But
altogether it's about the same as in Austria. We
already had one education minister who's an
evo-denier, in Hesse, but she got the boot recently
(though not for that particular reason).
In a test in late 2007, it was found that biology
textbooks have on average 1 severe error each 5 pages.
But few of these were fundamental misrepresentations
(insofar as that they did not stick out and could be
corrected by an alert teacher in-class).
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