Science and Religion
Evolution of Creationism: Critically Appraising ‘Intelligent
Design’, Robin Pals-Rylaarsdam, Trinity Christian College, State University of New York at
Buffalo’s National Center for Case Study Teaching - Go to the Evolutionary
Biology resource page for resources for this case.
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 general science and
evolutionary biology courses.
Science or Not?" Kathy Gallucci, Elon University. State
University of New York at Buffalo’s National Center for Case Study
In this case, students read a news
article about a study of the effects of intercessory prayer on
cardiac patients published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. After reading the case and discussing the questions in
small groups, students evaluate the study for its scientific
validity and defend their reasoning.
The case was developed to teach non-science majors in an
introductory biology course about the scientific method.
What, Ms. Ranger? The Search for the Intelligent Designer". Clyde Freeman Herreid, University at Buffalo, State
University of New York. National Center for Case Study Teaching.
Intelligent Design (ID) continues
to be a hot political and educational topic in some parts of
the country. This discussion case study uses the
dramatic setting of a public school board as it considers
whether district science teachers should be made to read a
statement to their classes identifying ID as a competing
theory to evolution that is worthy of scientific
consideration. The relevant statement is in fact
the one that was at the center of the 2004 controversy in
This case would be appropriate in general biology or
advanced courses where the focus is on evolution.
Evolution - short
videos to spur classroom discussion about the nature of science
and evolution. Contains the following short vignettes:
vs. Evolution: Environmental Science 7th Ed. CNN Ed (2:31)
- 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
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)
"Religion and Health": Biology 8th Ed. CNN Ed 2004 (2:09)
Andrew Newburg, of the University
of Pennsylvania, is using brain-imaging techniques to study what
happens to the brain during deep meditation or prayer. Comparing
subjects’ brains before and during these activities shows both
activate the brain’s frontal lobe, while dampening activity in the
area that provides a sense of self. Meditation also triggers
changes in the hypothalamus, which can affect heart rate, blood
pressure, and release of hormones, including cortisol. Newburg
says that while his studies suggest that meditation and prayer
could be good for health, he would not advise patients to engage
in these activities solely for the health benefits. (Student
worksheet provided on CD)
Fresh Air on science and relgion. 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.
*Please note, additional articles
of interest may also be found under the Evolution vs. Creationism Issue Page
Articles in Taking Sides
Science 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,
Creationism and Evolution Get Equal Time in Schools?"
Easton, Thomas. Taking Sides: Science, Technology, and
Society, sixth edition.
- 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. ("Creationism's
March 11, 2000).
- 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".
("And Then God Created Kansas? The
Evolution/Creationism Debate in America's
Law Review, January 2001)