Evolution vs. Creationism in Science Classroom

Problems/Case Studies

The Evolution 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 science courses.

Additional resources for The Evolution of Creationism Case:
Radio Broadcasts

NPR's Fresh Air on science and religion.  The first broadcast is with Richard 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?

Hummingbird evolution - a nice vignette which explores how environmental change leads to evolution of hummingbirds.

Hawaiian Silverswords - A nice example of allopatric speciation/adaptive radiation - Part 1 & Part 2

PBS Evolution - short videos to spur classroom discussion about the nature of science and evolution.  Contains the following short vignettes:

*Please note articles of interest may also be found under the heading "Science and Religion
Teaching 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. Download the free PDF here.

Evolution in Hawaii - A Supplement to Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science,
National Academy of Sciences, 2004 - This is a 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.

Science, 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 Science Education

"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"

Gregory, T.R. (2008) Evolution as Fact, Theory and Path.  Evo Edu Outreach 1:46-52

Response to 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 Trial - NOVA
NOVA explores both sides (Intelligent Design and Evolution) surrounding landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover court decision on the teaching of ID in classrooms.

Rebuttal To: Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science - Dr. Johnathan Sarfati. Answersingenesis.org
Dr. Sarfati gives an editorial-style rebuttal to the teaching of evolution in classrooms.

Redefining Science -
Leshner, Allan L. Science Vol 309. 8 July 2005.

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 February 2006.
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 Wars:   Time, 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 classrooms.

Board votes no change on evolution. -  Chris Dixon and Mindy Hagen.  Post and Courier, March 9, 2006.
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.

Effect of a curriculum containing creation stories on attitudes about evolution.  Matthews, Dorothy.  The American Biology Teacher.  August 2001.
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 learning process. 

Evolution 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.

Evolution Wars.  Wallis, Claudia.  Time.  August 15, 2005.
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"

"Should Creationism and Evolution Get Equal Time in Schools?" Easton, Thomas. Taking Sides: Science, Technology, and Society, sixth edition.
Issue Summary:

"Is Science a Faith?" Easton, Thomas. Taking Sides: Science, Technology, and Society, sixth edition.
 Issue Summary: