To any educators in the group. or retired . Have any of you had to teach evolution as part of your job. how did you overcome the theist in your class? i ask because back in a day, i had considered teaching. thought it may make for some interesting stories. non educators don't feel left out all comments welcome
I was never an Educator/Teacher as such BUT I did spend many a good hour as Volunteer in the role as 'helper' teaching kids to learn to read,write and ask questions.
I can still remember one child in particular, approx. 9 years of age, asking me the question " Where did humans come from," and a Teacher, a quite religious one in a PUBLIC school btw, admonishing me for explain Evolution to the child INSTEAD of merely reciting the Creation Story.
The best of it is that this child, hopefully and maybe as a result in some small way, is NOW a well-educated and recognised Forensic Archaeologist and a Biologist too boot, all this from a child who at the age of 9 could barely manage to read and write.
I have been teaching high school science for 20 years. Evolution is one of my favorite subjects. I very matter-of-factly lay out the theory, present the evidence, and let the chips fall where they may. Some people cannot accept it, and that's a shame but it does not change the facts. And who knows? Some day an acorn I planted years before may grow into a mighty oak. One can hope. Meanwhile, some others get a lift from an awakening freedom to think for themselves. Ineviablt someone will ask me if I believe in god. My standard reply is, "In science, belief is irrelevant. Next question."
From the other side, I took a class in graduate school on human development and we got to a chapter in the book about the afterlife. Ninety-five percent of it was about people's near death experiences and five percent about the opposite including the chemical reactions the body goes through and such. It was quite awkward when I was grilled by everyone, including the professor, about the fact that I didn't believe in the whole afterlife idea.
I am an English teacher and not a science teacher; however, I have taught mythology at two schools (college/uni levels) and had issues with theists in the courses. In both seated and online courses, I would let the students know that I would refer to Judeo/Xtian tales as "myth"; I explained that it was not intended to denigrate anyone's beliefs, but in comparing the tales to myth, the connection is obvious.
In one seated class, a student came to be after the first meeting and said he would be dropping the class due to that aspect. Ok.
In online courses, I had to post guidelines for discussions that no one should divulge their religious--or lack of--affiliations or discuss personal beliefs. The class was about myth and while religion is intricately connected to myth, the class was not a place to discuss beliefs. I did not do this in the first class online and nearly had a war in one of the first discussions; the Christians were sharing that Jesus was the way and the atheists were telling the fundies that they could not believe that people still bought into religion.
I have had students tell me that they could not complete assignments because even postulating that Noah's ark was not a true story was heretical. I am a lead instructor and also had other instructors encounter the same. Most of those students wound up dropping the class.
As a primary school teacher I taught about dinosaurs because all of the students were interested in them. Only had two problems one in a pre-school when a parent instructed me not to say that dinosaurs existed millions of years ago because her cult did not believe that. I told her that term is a bit irrelevant to pre-schoolers who were struggling with counting to 10, and that I tell them a long time ago. My aide went to the same cult and when a child asked me how long I proudly said millions of years. Never heard from the parent about it. Second was when a teacher had to cover my class as I had a meeting and she wrote me a note telling me how uncomfortable she was teaching the lesson as there was another side to this. (I went over my notes and could not find anything confronting as it was a class of 7,8 and 9 year olds) wondered what she was on about then the cult magazines rocked up in my pigeon hole. I carefully arranged them in the bin so she could she I had thrown them out. I left her a note telling her she could believe what she liked but not to put that stuff in my pigeon hole. She never spoke to me again.
Here is an interesting lesson from the Bible.....
Which came first man or animal? Which did God make first? According to Genesis chapter 1, animals were made first....then man. Animals were made at Genesis 1:20-25, ....then man was made at Genesis 1:26-27 But according to Genesis chapter 2, Man was made first, and then animals were made. Man was made at Genesis 2:7 and then animals at Genesis 2:19 Who's ignorant? Whoever wrote Genesis and couldn't get his story straight....or those that believe this fable?
Back in 1966 I was teaching biology in a central Florida high school. My principal asked me not to teach evolution in my class. I responded to him that as a science teacher, I had the obligation to deal with all of the information in the field, and could not, in good conscience, withhold any information which had a real scientific basis. His response, "It's your ass." I did teach a full unit on evolution and had no complaints from my students or their parents. There are stands which we must take, even if it could cost us.
I can remember a Geology prof, who told us about a student of his who fled his class in tears, when he was lecturing on the geologic age of the Earth. It seems the student was from a fundamentalist Christian background, and had been taught the Earth was created just 4,000 years ago. The prof had to go out in the hallway, and console the poor girl. I can also remember an Anthropology prof, who told us a similar story.
I haven’t taught evolution, but I took a botany course, very much about evolution theory. Not one person objected on religious grounds, though there must have been religious people in the class.
A lot of religious people fully accept evolution, but they think the process is guided by a higher intelligence rather than random chance only.
Not a science guy, but I did have to contend with literary allusions to religions. And, of course, teaching early American literature is full of religious works. I found a wide range of a lack of understanding for many students who professed to be religious (mostly xtions). Although while teaching one small group, once, about The Grapes of Wrath, I discovered most had not even a grasp of the simple story of Moses as a baby floating down the river. To this day, if I could go back in time - I would go back to before the monks first wrote down Beowulf and hear the story unadorned by christianity.