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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

MichaelSpinler 8 Nov 5

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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.

@MichaelSpinler I've always tended to think that the seeds were already in the child's mind and that Teacher supplied the composted bullshit that helped them to germinate.
After the little 'Teacher Tantrum' episode the child became more and more interested in reading and over a year we went from Beginner style books to me being asked to bring books about Evolution and Science for her to read with my help.
from there I learned later that she went from a slow, almost illiterate student to gaining A+'s and Distinction after Distinction in every year she was at High School and WAS offered places at 3 major Universities here in Australia as well.


When I went to school, the teacher taught & we least until college,


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."

Ha ha! Thanks bra! Regarding my hair, only a very few last survivors remain of what was once great population. 😎


I got to witness some savvy Science Teachers nip it quick! With something like, β€˜We’re sticking with science here,’ β€˜religious discussions can take place on your time.’ Much depends on the delivery, and those teachers get good!

Varn Level 8 Nov 5, 2019

Nope taught advanced paramedic course in college didn't come up


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.

@MichaelSpinler I had a couple of students make comments on the final exam. One said she was finally able to admit that she did not believe in a god. A couple of others said that while they were still Christian, studying the archetypal myths totally changed the way they looked at what they believed. When I left the church I had attended for over a decade, it was delving seriously into myth that caused me to abandon Christianity.

When I was in the church, my pastor had told me that Christians should not read anything that opposed Christian beliefs as it could weaken a person's faith and cause doubt. He was right.

@MichaelSpinler Agreed!


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.

@MichaelSpinler Not sure what they believed or how they explained dinosaur bones etc could not be bothered to ask as then I would get a lecture on why I should believe in a skyfairy not science.


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?

A secular explanation concerning The Pentateuch, the first five books of The Hebrew/Christian Scriptures, is that it had four authors and an editor who tried to reconcile the differences. The different creation myths are attributed to the Yahwists and the Elohists. The flood myth also has contradictions.

@MichaelSpinler There can be no logical doubt Noah's flood was taken from Gilgamesh. From the gods being upset with humans to the ark to the birds being released to find land, the correlations are clear. Gilgamesh predates the Jewish version by a long shot. The Egyptian flood myth is quite different but it in it, Ra was angry with humans. Jesus is yet one more dying and resurrecting deity stretching from Egypt to Sumeria to Greece and beyond.

@MichaelSpinler I do not debate whether or not a deity exists, but I will lay out mythic evidence. Christian apologists have an explanation for the aspects, i.e. they claim that Satan instituted the myth of the dying/resurrecting deity because he knew Jesus would come. They also claim that Satan seeded dinosaur bones to make it look as if the earth is older than 6,000 years.

@MichaelSpinler Sometimes, if we do not laugh, we cry. I do both when fundies have tried to convince me with their delusions. I have taught from home for about six years now and am rather reclusive--I don't have the chance to converse with "them" very often.

@MichaelSpinler I live in Missouri, but working from home allows me to largely deal with people on my terms. I am an extroverted introvert, as well, and though I am very friendly and at ease talking to people, I just do not associate with many--and most of them are strangers in stores.

@MichaelSpinler Well, ahem, you do commit many errors that make this English teacher blanch, but it is obvious that you are not unintelligent. I write as I speak, as well, but hey, I need to be a role model πŸ˜›

@MichaelSpinler Any skill not used deteriorates over time but hey, I can still multiply and divide, so I am not accepting your excuse! I could probably even "do" fractions if I tried hard enough.

@MichaelSpinler My world is the written word as I teach composition and literature. In a few years, when I cut back on how many classes I teach, I will return to my first love, writing.

I also have a passion for myth, and in many/most creations myths, the first deity, i.e. Atum, spoke the universe into existence. The Jews stole their myth from the Egyptians, "And God said . . ." The Egyptians believed that as long as a name is spoken or is recorded, the person lives in the afterlife. Writing is magic; magic formulas are called "spells" for a reason. While I am an atheist, I am a believer in myth as it records the thoughts of humanity.

Without the written word, there would be no Youtube videos or documentaries, or the ability to record mathematics.

(Gwen gets off the soapbox.)

@MichaelSpinler It is clear that the Bible is myth--all one has to do is compare it to earlier mythos from Egypt and Sumeria.

I am a sight reader and phonics did not work for me. We need to be taught by our specific learning styles. Luckily for me, sight reading was the method when I was in school, but that is unlucky for children who would have benefited from phonics. One of my sons learned better by sight and the other by phonics; they had the same teacher who taught them to read, but she understood the different needs.

Dyslexia is a problem and it makes me sad to think of all the dyslexic children throughout history who were labeled "stupid" because they were dyslexic. There is nothing wrong with feeding the need for information via visual and audio format--unless, of course, someone is watching a poor adaptation of a novel (but that is entertainment) .

My six year old grandson is extremely bright but has ADHD. He can watch a Youtube video and explain to you how a music box works. He has a vivid imagination and the other day, I told him that he would be a storyteller. He said he wanted to be a scientist. I told him that he could be both. He had some horrible problems in a school where he attended Kindergarten for a few months. His parents switched schools, and it is amazing how much better he is doing. He recently started taking medication; his parents and I were strongly against it at first, but meds for ADHD have improved greatly since Ritalin. He is certainly not a zombie as were children on meds for ADHD were 20 years ago.

@MichaelSpinler Were you spelling words as they sounded? I need to visualize a word--it is hard for me to spell a word without writing it first. Carl Sagan was not bad at storytelling, either! If the kid can stay focused, he can do anything he wants to do.

@MichaelSpinler That is why sight reading was better for me. Tell a kid to sound out "of" in order to spell it. Right.

@MichaelSpinler I know that my grandson is being taught "sight" words, but he might do better with phonics. When I was doing my student teaching (1991, I think), I spend two weeks in a first grade classroom and they kept journals where students could use "creative spelling''--which means spell it like it sounds. However, they were also learning more traditional methods outside of the journal. Some of my students can't read. I have one of my entry level composition classes do readability checkers; most of them are not college level writing and some of the them are as low as 8th. grade.

@MichaelSpinler I truly do not know. Even though I have a teaching credential, I got it almost 30 years ago. I did not teach full-time but subbed, and that was mainly with older kids.

@MichaelSpinler I am sorry that I gave my usual impression that I know everything. I try to keep my identity as all knowing Goddess a secret. I mean that I have not been involved in teaching elementary school, especially primary classes for over 22 years. However, if you want to know how I teach British literature, I will be happy to explain!

@MichaelSpinler I knew that you were, silly man. I was looking for an opportunity to lecture about literature outside the classroom.

@MichaelSpinler Like Beowulf? My grad class is discussing warriors this week.

@MichaelSpinler There is a video lecture.

@MichaelSpinler Duh.


@MichaelSpinler She was vying for my attention. This was filmed several years ago and alas, she went to Bast this year. She started having feline strokes--she was 14--and I had her euthanized.

@MichaelSpinler I am not familiar with Carrier, but I do think that Jesus was based on a real person who was mythologized. His story fits the hero archetype: he was born of a virgin, has a god for a father (many heroes do), is called to adventure, and has a bunch of sidekicks. There are more aspects, but that would take too much typing. He is a dying and resurrecting god and that myth exists in both Egypt and Sumeria. Inanna is even dead three days and nights.

Robert Graves postulated that many mythic characters were based on real people and/or composites of people, i.e. a strong man named Hercules existed and was well known for his strength; parents subsequently named their offspring "Hercules," as well. Myth often contains historical allegory, as well; the war between the Olympians and Titans is allegory for the wars between Aryan invaders and the Pelasgians who lived in what is now termed "Greece"--and elsewhere.

And you are a glutton for punishment if you watched the whole video. I doubt that few of my students do.

@MichaelSpinler She was in good shape other than the strokes, but they were growing in frequency. She appears in other videos, too.

@MichaelSpinler We will never know if Jesus is based on a person or not! However, Jesus is closely aligned with Mithras. In the Roman version, though, Mithras was born from a cave. I started writing a book on Mithras some years ago and hope to finish it when I am not teaching 5/6 classes. By incorporating archetypal myth into the tale of Jesus, it was a Hollywood sell. Also, Greeks were among the first to embrace Christianity, and their mythos is full of such gods. In Zoroastrianism, Mithras was the go-between Ahura Mazda and humans, just as Jesus is.

@MichaelSpinler I will check him out when I have time, but it is clear that not only are the Christian Scriptures myth, but the Hebrew Scriptures, as well. This has been an area of study for me for 20 years or more.

If there were a historical Jesus, it really would not be surprising that there is no record of him. He would have been a small town preacher not important enough to bother recording. Josephus might have referred to Jesus when he wrote about James, the brother of the "so-called Christ," but the other passage in Josephus that discusses Jesus is an obvious addition by a later Christian editor of the work.

@MichaelSpinler Whether Moses existed or not, the variations in his story are due to repeated telling of the tale over centuries and the various writers of The Hebrew Scriptures. And whether Moses existed or not, there is absolutely no evidence that there was a mass exodus of Jews from Egypt. Slaves were not used to build pyramids, as well, pyramids were not made from bricks, and bricks are not made with straw. Whether Jesus existed or not, he did not feed 5,000 people with a couple of fish and loaves of bread, the dead did not rise and walk around the city when he was crucified, and he did not rise from the dead and/or ascend to heaven.

There are two contradicting tales of creation, and they reflect the Yahwist and Elohist writer(s). Later works such as the Midrash seek to reconcile the two versions, i.e. Lilith is added as Adam's wife to explain why both man and woman were made at the same time in the first version but in the second, Adam was made first and then, Eve. There are contradictions in the flood story, as well.

@MichaelSpinler If people want to believe something, they will find a way to explain it--logical or not. And my students can't stay in the same tense, so why should the ancients Jews have been able to do so? (Grin.) Real or not, Moses wrote nothing and the same applies to Jesus.

@MichaelSpinler Also, since the Jews were coming out of Egypt and Moses was raised in the pharaoh's household, it seems that the Ten Commandments would have been written in Egyptian hieroglyphs. I never thought of this before, hmm . . .

@MichaelSpinler Where would Moses have learned Hebrew/Aramaic? Would the Jews, as slaves, have the opportunity to learn to read or write? Again, I had not considered this before, but now, I have!

@MichaelSpinler One thing I see concerning Trumpers is their inability to even consider that they are wrong about anything. They are mimicking their idol who is, of course, never wrong.

@MichaelSpinler The spoken word is not the issue: the written word is the issue. The Ten Commandments were written.

@MichaelSpinler Not going to discuss politics, thanks for the offer.

@MichaelSpinler There weren't any tablets! Or none constructed by god. Yes, the Sumerians used cuneiform. Both Egypt and Sumeria (and the Harappans) invented writing roughly at the same time. Sumeria was c. 3200-3400 BCE; Egypt was shortly after. Hebrew (c. 1000 BCE) differs from both types of these writing, though, as it uses an alphabet and not hieroglyphs. Wikipedia says that the Jews claim that the Ten Commandments was written in a different script that was lost over time. Uh-huh.

@MichaelSpinler Oh, come on, Michael! They have vials of Mary's breast milk, splinters of the cross, and St. Veronica's veil! There is also the Shroud of Turin. You don't believe all of those things are real? What do we have that belonged to Julius Caesar? We have Egyptian artifacts because they were buried with them. Most likely, no one thought to save the goods of a crucified Jew.

@MichaelSpinler If he were an itinerant preacher, he would not have had much.


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.


Only in Amerikkka.


Evolution is a natural part of education in Scotland. I did as part of Scottish history. Creationism is laughed at in the UK.


I am a professional historian and university educator.
I teach religion as part of history and articulate clearly and thoughtfully its roles in history, cultural interactions, etc. I am not a theologian, so I make that fact clear.

I may have to pick your intellect next year - I'm learning religion as an element of sociology then.

@Sofabeast Feel free to ask any questions or to discuss.
I love intellectual discourse.

@skeptic70 Thanks - I'm doing a lot of American studies at the moment too. Politics and History 1945-92. Cold War and Vietnam War. Then the fun of 'teaching' the class on phenomenology in a couple of weeks. I'm looking to enter into teaching/lecturing in a couple of years.

@Sofabeast Excellent, I am a Russian historian but teach global history.


If I were a teacher, I would make it clear that we are talking about science, and that mythology has no place here.


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.

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