Evolution vs. Creationism in
of Creationism: Critically Appraising Intelligent Design, Robin
Pals-Rylaarsdam, Trinity Christian College, State University of New York at Buffalo
National Center for Case Study Teaching
This PBL-formatted case study about
the claims and criticisms of "Intelligent Design" (ID) was written
for freshman biology majors at a Christian liberal arts college.
In light of recent developments in school districts and state
education boards across the country, this case would also be
useful for education majors. Students read about the actions of
proponents of ID as they work for its inclusion in the high school
science curriculum. In the process, students learn about the
nature of science and the importance of evolution in the field of
biology. More advanced students are given the task of critically
evaluating one specific (and much cited) claim made by ID
supporters that the irreducible complexity of the bacterial
flagellum suggests that it cannot be the product of evolution.
This case is appropriate for
undergraduate evolutionary biology, general biology, or general
Additional resources for The
Evolution of Creationism Case:
- Two possible case study final
assignments - This link provides 2 possible final
assignments for this case. One is to write a policy
statement to the state board of education with recommendations
for how the state should handle the teaching if ID in public
high school biology classes. The 2nd is to have students
write a debate dialog between two individuals discussing how
public schools should handle the teaching of ID in biology
- Final Assignment Grading Rubrics
Fresh Air on science and religion. The first broadcast is
Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, an atheist and author
of the book, "The God Delusion"; the other is with Francis
Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research
Project, a Christian theist, and author of the book "The
Language of God". Each is speaking on
science and religion.
CNN Video Clips
Topic: Creation vs. Evolution: Environmental Science 7th Ed. CNN
Ed (2:31) - Charles
Darwin, known as the father of evolution, is still being
questioned by the education system today. The separation between
church and state has been a long fought battle for many decades.
In some states, evolution is predominantly taught in schools,
while in other states, only creationism is used in the curriculum.
There is currently a debate among educators and state school board
officials about using evolution or creationism as part of the
science curriculum in Kansas schools. Two years ago in
Topeka, Kansas, the state school board removed evolution from the
state's science curriculum. Since adopting the evolution-less
curriculum, there has been a movement among residents, educators,
and state officials to restore evolution to the science
curriculum. Some state officials believe that if students are to
be competitive in the 21st century students need to have the same
type of education that is available to other students around the
world. Currently, the state school board is holding a public forum
on whether to educate students with evolution or creationism, and
many expect evolution to be restored to the state's science
curriculum. The worksheet includes the URL for the Kansas State
Department of Education. (Student worksheet provided on CD)
Evolution of the eye - Part 1 - a very nice vignette
from the PBS Evolution series which explores the influence
of religious ideas on Darwin when he is about to publish The
Origin of Species.
Evolution of the eye - Part 2
- How is the evolution of highly complex structures through
natural selection possible?
- a nice vignette which explores how environmental change
leads to evolution of hummingbirds.
- A nice example of allopatric speciation/adaptive radiation
1 & Part
Evolution - short
videos to spur classroom discussion about the nature of science
and evolution. Contains the following short vignettes:
- Isn't evolution just a theory?
- Who was Charles Darwin?
- How do we know evolution happens?
- How does evolution work?
- Did humans evolve?
- Why does evolution matter now?
- Why is evolution
articles of interest may also be found under the heading "Science
about evolution and the nature of science - National
Academy of Sciences. 1998.
This is a free book from the
National Academy of Sciences. The book offers discussion of
why to teach evolution. Key features include activities that
help teach evolution and critical thinking inquiry applications.
free PDF here.
- A Supplement to Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of
Science, National Academy of Sciences, 2004 - This
supplement to Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science.
It examines evolution and the nature of science by looking at a
specific part of the world—the Hawaiian islands. Islands are
especially good places to see evolution in action. Download
the free PDF here.
Evolution & Creationism, National Academy
of Sciences., 2008 - The NAS and the
Institute of Medicine explain the fundamental methods of science,
document the overwhelming evidence in support of biological
evolution, and evaluate the alternative perspectives offered by
advocates of various kinds of creationism, including "intelligent
design." The book explores the many fascinating inquiries being
pursued that put the science of evolution to work in preventing
and treating human disease, developing new agricultural products,
and fostering industrial innovations. The book also presents the
scientific and legal reasons for not teaching creationist ideas in
public school science classes. Download a free PDF or
purchase the manuscript. Podcasts also available. We also have a couple of hardcopies
in the PBL resource cabinet outside Rm. 207 SCIC.
Defending the teaching of
evolution in public schools - National Center for
"The National Center for Science
Education (NCSE) defends the teaching of evolution in public
schools. We are a nationally-recognized clearinghouse for
information and advice to keep evolution in the science classroom
and "scientific creationism" out. NCSE is the only national
organization to specialize in this issue. We provide:
Reviews of current anti-evolution activity in
the United States and around the world
Background to the fundamentally creationist and
anti-evolution movement known as "Intelligent Design"
Detailed information on the Creation/Evolution
controversy from 1859 to the present
Resources for parents, teachers, school boards,
and the general public"
Theory and Path. Evo Edu Outreach 1:46-52
National Academy of Sciences Release of Science, Education,
and Creationism. Creationists.org
Blog-type article responds to NAS' publishing of a
pro-evolution book, "Science, Education, and Creationism".
Intelligent Design on
NOVA explores both sides (Intelligent Design and Evolution)
surrounding landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover court decision on the
teaching of ID in classrooms.
To: Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science - Dr. Johnathan Sarfati.
Dr. Sarfati gives an editorial-style rebuttal to the teaching of
evolution in classrooms.
Redefining Science - Leshner, Allan L. Science Vol 309. 8
This editorial explains why
scientists are against intelligent design, and gives many supports
as to why bringing ID into the classroom can harm the students
understanding of science.
Science and Creationism - A
View from the National Academy of Sciences. second edition.
National Academy Press. 1999.
This is a booklet giving
biological evidence in support of evolution. It also contains a
question and answer section that answers questions such as: is
evolution just a theory and why are apes still around.
Panel Rejects Biology Model -
Debate erupts over way evolution taught in 10th grade. - Dixon,
Chris. The Post and Courier. 14 February, 2006.
This article focuses on the debate
that the South Carolina state board is having about the
possibility of changing the state science standards. Proponents
for changing the standards feel that data should be used from many
scientific sources in order to critically analyze the theory of
evolution. Opponents for change feel like the current standards
are scientifically sound and that creationism being taught is the
goal of the change.
Darwin or Design? - Can
Christians and scientists find common ground in the debate between
evolution and intelligent design? - Hawes, Jennifer Berry. The
Post and Courier. 5 February, 2006.
This article focuses on the
speakers of the sixth annual Darwin Week. It summarizes the views
of many of the various speakers and points out that many feel like
Christianity and science can coexist.
Is Intelligent Design Near? -
SC Senator supports it, awaits board's decision on applying it to
teaching - Dixon, Chris. The Post and Courier. 6 February 2006.
This article explains that Sen.
Mike Fair believes that students should be exposed to others
theories besides evolution. He believes that the theory is not
being critically analyzed in the classroom and he is trying to
pass a bill that would change the state standards to include the
language "critical analysis" to the teaching of evolution.
Ohio Board Alters Evolution Standard
- Spencer-Ghose, Carrie. The Post and Courier. 15
This article explains how the
school board in Ohio is deleting language that encourages students
to "critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory". The board
feels that it opens the door for intelligent design to be taught.
Intelligent Design- How did life
begin? - Charles Darwin's bedrock theory of evolution squares
off against a belief that the world is so complex that something
must be behind the wheel. But is it God? - Hawes,
Jennifer Berry. The Post and Courier. 21 August 2005.
This article explains the debate
between intelligent design and evolution using different views
from different scientists. One of these scientist is Rob Dillon
from the College of Charleston, who feels like intelligent design
is the same thing as creationism. He believes that religion and
science are "two different ways of looking at the world" and that
the two should be kept separated. This is the view that is held by
the majority of scientists.
The push to
teach intelligent design raises a question: Does God have a
place in science class? - Wallis, Claudia. Evolution
August 15, 2005.
The debate over teaching evolution
in schools still exists. Dover,
PA public schools read a statement prior
to teaching evolution stating that evolution is just a theory and
intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life.
Polls show an increase in citizens who want intelligent design
taught and who do not believe in evolution. The debate is
assessed of Darwinians vs. Anti-Darwinians.
"The nature of evolution". Alles, D. L.
The American Biology Teacher,
67, 2005, p. 7.
A review of the concepts contained
within evolutionary theory. Evolution is defined as a class
of natural algorithms, a type of causal relationship that produces
cumulative change in historical systems is a fundamental
characteristic of our universe.
"I won't teach evolution: It's
against my religion. And now for the rest of the
story. Trani, R. The
American Biology Teacher, 66, 2004, p. 419.The article describes an Oregon study of the
misinterpretation of evolution by many and the views held by
teachers with strong religious beliefs. It
was found that teachers who possess strong religious beliefs are
less likely to present evolution in the classroom.
However, teachers with a strong understanding of evolution
and the nature of science are shown to teach evolution in their
Board votes no change on evolution. - Chris Dixon
and Mindy Hagen. Post
and Courier, March 9, 2006.
Effect of a
curriculum containing creation stories on attitudes about
evolution. Matthews, Dorothy. The American Biology Teacher.
The SC State Department of Education has kept the biology
curriculum standards that will have teachers teaching evolution
without discussion of other theories of the origin of man.
These standards may stay in place until 2009 when the next
standards review will take place.
The article reviews college
students' attitudes towards evolution. The conclusion is
that professors are ultimately the guide to teaching evolution,
but students must be able to consider their own beliefs during the
debate simmers. Bo Peterson. Post and Courier. December 14, 2005.
The article reviews the
review of the SC education standards on teaching evolution.
Some believe that the door is being opened to allow intelligent
design to be taught in the public school classroom.
Wars. Wallis, Claudia. Time. August 15,
The idea of faith-based
science worries some scientists as the theory of evolution is
being presented to students as having gaps in the theory.
The article relays attempts to discredit Darwin's theory as well
as the implications of teaching intelligent design and the
implications to science, as evolution forms the foundation for
many scientific theories.
Articles in "Taking Sides"
in Schools?" Easton, Thomas. Taking Sides: Science, Technology, and Society,
- YES: Richard J. Clifford, a professor of biblical studies,
argues that although modern creationism is flawed, excluding the
Bible and religion from American public education is
indefensible. He maintains that schools should be places where
religious beliefs are treated with respect. (from "Creationism's
Value?", America, March
- NO: Professor of political science Marjorie George argues that
the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court have created a solid
wall between the educational system and religion. Despite the
efforts of creationists to find ways around or through that
wall, she holds, religion "can play no part in the classroom".
(from "And Then God Created Kansas? The Evolution/Creationism
Debate in America's Public Schools", University of Pennsylvania Law Review, January
a Faith?" Easton, Thomas. Taking Sides:
Science, Technology, and
Society, sixth edition.
- YES: Bioethicist Daniel Callahan argues that science's
domination of the cultural landscape unreasonably excludes other
ways of understanding nature and the world and sets it above any
need to accept moral, social, and intellectual judgement from
political, religious, and even traditional values. (from
"Calling Scientific Ideology to Account", Society, May/June
- NO: Biologist Richard Dawkins maintains that science "is free
of the main vice of religion, which is faith" because it relies
on evidence and logic instead of tradition, authority, and
revelation. (from "Is Science a Religion?", The Humanist,