About Me

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Vancouver Island BC., Canada
Welcome to the place where I exercise my right to be commentator, advocate, or as some might see it, babbler. What ever your take is, this is where I can take what I have seen and try to make sense by writing it out. Take the ride or don't but I hope something here will resonate with someone out there. My take on humanity right now? We aren't getting it right, but I like to think that given a second chance, we could all get it right. If you do venture into my ramblings I hope you can stay a minute and read two of my posts. They are "Innocence Lost, A Challenge Gained" and "The Hollywood Glandslide" I am a journalism student but please don't read these with a critical eye. I have not stopped to punctuate correctly, nor have I "essayified" them. These are written when the thoughts strike me, and therefore I do not want to "pretty them up." I wanted to catch my thoughts as they came and then later on go back and read them to see if my ideas change over time. Please feel free to comment, this may have a bearing on whether or not my ideas do change. And change... if for the better, is always a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Creation vs Evolution, how is either a bad thing?

I just read a CNN article in which there was a teacher, Kris Helphinstine in Sisters, Oregon, that was fired because,"he included Biblical references in material he provided to students and gave a PowerPoint presentation that made links between evolution, Nazi Germany and Planned Parenthood." according to the CNN article.

Now I am not going to debate the age old question of Creationism vs Evolution, however, I am going to respond to some of the responses from parents at the school board meeting to discuss the reasons for firing Helphinstine.

Helphinstine said that he, "did not teach the idea that God created the world. "I never taught creationism," he said. "I know what it is, and I went out of my way not to teach it."as quoted by CNN.

If in fact this is true, then all Helphinstine did was give the students information to make them think as he said in the CNN article. He didn't tell them this is the way it is. Creationism is all there is and Evolution is just bunk. No, he simply gave them a few ideas to help them formulate their own ideas and better understand the issues surrounding both ideologies. Yes many people feel that Creationism is an ideology and Evolution is a scientific fact, but just for the purpose of my blog let's give them equal playing ground ok? You will see why in a bit.

In response to Helphinstine's teaching technique many parents were outraged. I myself cannot understand how or why a parent could become this angry over a teacher simply adding a bit of material to the curriculum. The irony is Helphinstine has a Master's in Science.

Now here is the part that I find hard to imagine. One parent was quoted in the CNN article as saying, ""He took passages that had all kinds of Biblical references," Rahm said. "It prevented her from learning what she needed to learn." Another parent in the same article said ""How many minds did he pollute?"

My question is... Pollute! how on earth did someone get that bent out of shape over information given. Tell me please, when is it a bad thing to have two sides to draw upon to better understand either one of them. The thing that really gets me is (I am a parent so I feel I have a right to comment on at least this.) that parents today let their kids sit in front of the TV, or whatever electronic device they may be watching, and they are flooded with porn at 8:OO pm, violence at 9:00 pm, and then head for a round of Doom 3 before bed and the parent says "oh, hey that's just kids," or better yet, "at least my kid ain't buggin me."

OK, I know there is a lot of really good parents out there, and probably the two parents quoted on CNN are a couple of them but... my point is that kids today are inundated with crap all around them and see even worse at their own school. They deal everyday with things a child shouldn't see and most parents will say,"well they gotta see it some time, at least this way I know what she is watching." Parents will have parties for kids of 14 and 15 yrs of age, where alcohol is served saying well at least I know where she is drinking.

Yes, I am getting to my point but decided to rant for a bit. In school kids have to read things that some find offensive and vulgar, but because it is on the curriculum parents "ok" it. I know, I just went back to school, and every single short story read had "f" this and "f"that. But hey it's the curriculum right, it's "ok". Kids in school today are made to feel aware of their sexuality and are punished if someone's lifestyle isn't ok with them. All in the name of curriculum. And yet something as benign as presenting Creationism for a scientific look at two sides of an idea is called polluting a child's brain.

There did you see it? That was my point. My point is that when there is so much out there for parents to be really scared of. Things that are really polluting their brains; I cannot fathom how something like this issue could be even remotely considered "polluting."

If you ask me (and I am sure many of you are now saying "we didn't") but if you ask me I think that giving our children information that can better help them understand what they believe, or at the very least be able to formulate their own thoughts on the subject, is a good thing.

What you really need to teach them is not to be afraid of different thoughts and ideas that have nothing to do with sex, drugs and anything that might bring about their demise. And help them to see that information is the way they sort out their own thoughts and ideas. If you truly believe that your child is better off believing exactly what you believe, then you do not remember growing up yourself. Besides, science is always changing, growing learning. Don't we want our children to be the same?

Yes I believe in Evolution, but I also believe there is room for Creationism too. I raised my child with the ability to try to understand everything, but believe what she wished. She believes in both, but what I am most proud of is that she believes in herself. I raised her to not be afraid of any one persons idea. And to never discount something without learning everything about it. She personally has chosen to side more on the side of Evolution in terms of how our little world works but also has chosen to believe more in some areas of creationism, we are all here to make up our own minds.....

I agree with a lot of what she believes but we also differ. She is very much like me but she is growing into the person she should be; with her own ideas, likes, and dislikes. That is how we evolve. Does anybody see the irony of believing in Evolution, but refusing to evolve? Yes, I know we are debating fundamental evolution; actual dna changes, and skeletal and limb changes, but we also evolve in our brains. If you understand the brain at all you'll understand that each brain though similiar in shape is changing and creating new and different pathways so no two brains are alike; we are in a constant state of evolution.

And finally here is MY POINT! My daughter received A's in every class, and in every class there was no room for creationism, but I taught her to learn everything in school and around her, so then not only would she get A's (which are never a bad thing) but also be able to then make up her own mind. So tell me, was my child polluted by giving her the tools to decide what is true for her and what is not?

Now if you have learned anything here today I hope it is that you will; read my blog thoroughly, try to understand what I have said..... and embrace it..... or... PUNT IT FOR ALL IT'S WORTH! one last thought though, I made it up just now and I feel it suits this blog. A quote from me....
"I pity the man or woman who tries to argue a point not learned." c.hannah


Ben said...

You sound like a good parent and teacher, and I agree that exposing children to alternative ideas is never a bad idea.

The problem with Creationism/Intelligent Design in a science classroom is that has no basis in science. Scientific inquiry did not lead the field of biology to explain the world in terms of a Creator. Controversy is important in science, but most topics (I would say all, but there is probably a counterexample that I'm not thinking of) of true scientific controversy are beyond the level of high school biology.

Therefore, it is important to teach the process of science alongside the facts. (I can observe X and Y are interacting somehow... how can I test the relationship between X and Y? from these results, what conclusions can I make?) That is the most important part of science curricula. Introducing students to ideas outside the realm of science is a reasonable scholarly pursuit, but it is better suited to philosophy or religious history classes.

Teaching past theories that have since been refuted (such as Lamarckian evolution by acquired characteristics) is an excellent way to demonstrate how science corrects itself and would be far more beneficial to students learning the process of science than teaching them non-scientific worldviews.

Driving Miss Crazy said...

Hi Ben, Yes we agree to a point and obviously we both know this is a hot issue that will keep the educational system hopping for awhile. However, I really hope I made my point that- I was not so concerned with the creation/vs/evolution in the classroom as I was concerned about the reaction to it. I believe my fingers hit the keyboard shortly after I saw the statement by the one father saying he wondered how many other kids had this teacher polluted. Yes everything has a time and a place, but I worry that we are getting too compartmentalized and too pc that children today will never have the benefit of being exposed to other ideas, and other ways of thinking other than the pc versions of today. It just makes me angry that freedom of speech is covering things like internet porn and not ideas that may have (and I say may) a positive influence. The scales just seem to be tipping in the wrong way. I absolutely agree with you on what you said about teaching past theories that have since been refuted, excellent ways indeed to show how science corrects itself. However so many other areas in "science" or what we thought was an area in science became but myth as time went on. I feel until we have undeniable absolutes on the theories of anything to do with Creationism or God if you will; we cannot in good faith reject and dimiss. I am not sure we have proven or disproven enough to say that this isn't a theory to be entertained.
Dark Matter itself cannot be seen, it may be "proven" by mathematics and scientific equations to compensate for a theory but it has not and may never be fully ascertained to be an absolute. We as humans are always striving for understanding and will always want to prove we are right. It always boggles my mind(not a scientific statement I know) but it always boggles my mind to see how many different "scientific" theories there are that claim to solve one scientific question. So my question is, if we are to be true scientists, as we all are in one way or another, then shouldn't we be open to investigating every avenue of how we came to be? Our views of the universe change and grow as much as it does, and yet we have such stunted views of what we deem to be science. Sorry I started rambling again, truly I really just meant to say what I said at the beginning. It is not what had happened or what was being challenged in that school that upset me. What I was upset about was the closemindedness of the parents. Sure I agree that this incident needed someone to clarify the curriculum for this teacher, not because I feel he was completely wrong, but as a teacher he probably knew full well what was and wasn't in the corriculum. In this regard he showed disrespect for the schoolboard. However, the response of the parents considering what was taught I felt was inappropriate at best. Polluting a child's mind is an extremely strong statement and in my idea (not everyone's) I don't beleive this incident qualified.
Thank you for your insightful and enlightening response. It is appreciated and I look forward to you weighing in on any of my other harmless rants. I hope I didn't repeat myself too much for you. C Hannah