25 August 2008

Teaching evolution below the Bible Belt

Today's New York Times has a fantastic piece that follows Florida high school science teacher David Campbell as, with the support of new state science education standards, he teaches a class of mostly conservative Christian students about evolution. I'm probably going to steal some of Campbells lines in my own future teaching:
“True or false?” [Campbell] barked the following week, wearing a tie emblazoned with the DNA double helix. “Humans evolved from chimpanzees.”

The students stared at him, unsure. “True,” some called out.

“False,” he said, correcting a common misconception. “But we do share a common ancestor.”
I attended a church-affiliated high school and university, and I know my teachers and professors put up with at least as much resistance as depicted here; possibly more, since a lot of parents sent their kids to my schools looking for safe havens from the "dangers" of biological fact. But in spite of all that, my biology teachers and professors taught evolution. And there's something kind of heroic about that.

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