147 thoughts on “Evolution and home-schooling poll

  1. Of course it’s ok.

    “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”

    It’s a bad idea to use them as books to teach your kids, but that’s not what the question asked.

    1. This is equivalent to saying an accredited school can teach creationism (or whatever random crazy idea the teacher has) as part of free speech. Which is wrong.

      1. Not at all. It’s simply saying a book can say whatever the author wants it to say.

        What is and should be taught in a classroom (whether that is at your local public elementary school or in your living room) is a whole other matter.

        1. It’s not a different matter when we consider the book is used as educational material in accredited programs. The question specified ‘home-school textbooks’.

          1. It’s a question of ‘should books that do this be allowed to be used in accredited programs’ rather than ‘should books that do this be allowed to exist’.

            That’s my interpretation of the wording, anyway.

            1. There is no “accreditation” for homeschools. So maybe that’s where the disconnect is. I would absolutely agree that any text that teaches any variant of a religious creation story as fact should not be paid for with public money or used in a publicly funded classroom.

            2. The term “textbook” implies that such books are acceptable for teaching students.

              If a “textbook” misrepresents its subject, it’s not an acceptable “textbook”.

              Of course it has a right to exist as a mere “book” under free-press laws (or the US first amendment).

      2. Question: is it legal for a private school to teach something everyone agrees is a lie (The United States is in the southern hemisphere) and retain accreditation? In the interest of free speech?

        Really, I don’t know, is it? What’s involved in accreditation?

        1. Unfortunately, accreditation is in the hands of many different bodies. It is even worse for colleges.

        2. Totally depends on the state. I don’t know if any state that demands to see all of a family’s homeschool materials and approve them, though.

      3. The fact is that evolution is NOT a fact and cannot be proven any more than special creation cannot be proven. Though evolution is taught as a fact in the government schools, the available data actually supports creation better. Just to cite one instance…evolution contends that species will change sufficiently over time to become a completely different species. If this were true, there would be abundant evidence in the fossil record…but there is none. There are no known transitional forms in the fossil record. I am nobody, and I was taught evolution in my education which includes a BS in Biochemistry and a professional degree as well, and I now believe that the cooked data on climate change recently discovered in the repository of climate data in England is pretty much the same as has been going on with evolution for years. In other words, fix the data or just make it up to support the theory.

        1. Sir or Madam,

          You are exposing your ignorance on this forum. People who post about the truth or falsity of evolution are supposed to have at least the rudiments of knowledge about it. If you’d read my book, you’d know that there are plenty of transitional forms.

          Come back when you’ve read it or the equivalent, but don’t parade your ignorance as a badge of honor.

        2. Evolution is a scientific theory (which doesn’t mean wild guess) which is well supported by the evidence.

          So in a way you’re right. Evolution is not a fact. It’s MILLIONS of facts.

          1. Could you name one of these millions, specifically? Preferably one that is absolute. One which is not debated by any scientist (barring the few quacks that are out there).

            1. Read

              Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne

              Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.

              The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins


            2. Too bad for what you want. I don’t get paid to teach you. As an adult human being, you should educate yourself. We have given you leads to books with hundreds of facts and examples, along with web sites and specific facts here.

              Not everything can be answered with a sound bite. Often it takes work to get properly educated.

              There will be no peeling of grapes to feed you here today.

            3. Just_wondering, let me ask you a simple question:

              What, if anything, would convince you that evolution is true?

              Unless you tell us this it is a waste of time for us to start spouting off random pieces of evidence, because we don’t know what sort of evidence you would find convincing and what sort you wouldn’t. There is such a mountain amount of evidence (literally) for evolution, it is hard to know where to begin. So you need to help us out a bit and tell us what would be the most effective way to proceed.

              If you just say “show me some evidence”, not one here is going to do it because most of us have far too much experience with creationists already. Creationists are notorious for asking vague questions and then dismissing the answers because it doesn’t match some arbitrary criteria they hadn’t mentioned before.

              Your question sounds like a standard creationist set-up and no one experience debating creationists is going to take the bait. That may not be your intention, if it isn’t then show us by being more specific.

            4. It’s unfortunate Black Cat, but I’d love to ask more speciic questions, such as: You said we can pinpoint when oxygen entered the atmosphere. How was there no oxygen when most of the world was covered in water – H2O? I have a ton more questions like that. I really do not plan to post more, but your question came in when I was posting my last reply. I did not come here trying to prove God, or disprove evolution. I came here expecting to find people I could debate with, and possibly learn from. I was a chemistry major, not a biology major. I never said I won’t read the books that were recommended, but since I don’t have them on hand I thought I’d ask more questions now while “experts” were online. As for my question about where we come from, I’m aware of the science, I just wonder how many people think back beyond the science. I would still love a recommendation for something to teach evolution to my children (textbook), but I don’t think I’m getting that here. There are too many angry people for me.

            5. WOW! You have a bachelor’s in chemistry yet you don’t know the difference between molecular oxygen (O2) and atomic oxygen in compounds (H2O, CO2, CH3OH)?

          2. Well Bob, I’m not surprised. Yes, I am looking for an intelligent debate where 2 adults exchange facts and opinions based on those facts, citing sources from which those facts came. I certainly can, and do, educate myself. I do find it quite amusing though, how very general most peoples’ posts are. My questions are meant to spark thought, on both sides. It’s a shame you couldn’t answer me specifically. Anyone can recommend a book or websight.(Even my 9 year old could have found the links you provided) Few can discuss the topics intelligently, and with maturity. I find most people get angry and nasty when they get frustrated. I’m sorry if my questions frustrated you. I’m guessing you were frustrated when I proved you wrong, citing Darwin himself as to his belief in use and disuse. Don’t worry, you won’t need to be frustrated any more, I don’t need to debate with people who can’t speak nicely, so I’m done responding to you. Now you can relax!

            1. This is the sham that I expected from you. A dozen people have told you to read WEIT because the information is not simple sound bites. You expect to be spoon fed here and when it will not happen you set yourself up as a Rhodes scholar. Your statements are pathetic and you waste a lot of people’s time here.

        3. Hi, Ranger — former Christian and former creationist here. When I finally got around to studying evolution, I was surprised to find just how strong the evidence was that supported it. I also realised that I had been fed a lot of misleading BS by creationists.

          Yes, read Jerry’s book or just about any other book on the subject by an actual biologist. The evidence runs through several independent threads which all point to the same conclusion: Evolution is true.

    2. The poll did not ask if it was legal, it asked if it was OK.

      Here is a hint: Just because something is legal does not mean it is OK.

  2. No it is not ok because those people have permission to write whatever they want. Why do we have a constitution, the bill of rights? freedom of speech, of press, of religion? If text books would be banned from that it would be unconstitutional!

    1. That’s utter rubbish.

      Textbooks are for education. Education is about presenting the facts to those who are unaware of them or shall need them in the future. And while everyone is (begrudgingly) entitled to his/her own opinion, no one is entitled to his/her own facts.

      Textbook publishers have an innate responsibility to hold themselves to higher standards. When they don’t – or when vile, cretinous, destructive con-men like the Discovery Institute insert lies and unsubstantiated opinion where facts belong, as they have in their “textbooks” – freedom of speech no longer matters. The First Amendment doesn’t, and shouldn’t, protect people who yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Those who blatantly lie about well-documented scientific theories and their supporting evidence deserve the same treatment as the fire-screamers: none.

  3. Jessica, it says is it ok to have this, not is it legal. Of course it is legal, but not OK, because it is profoundly unethical to lie to children.

    1. I guess we’re playing a semantics game. “Is it ok for a book to say X?” I can’t think of a value for X that I would say is not ok.

      A better question would be, “Should states enforce standards on homeschoolers that include teaching evolutionary theory?”

      Now that would be a rousing discussion.

      1. I homeschool, and I teach my kids evolution. Most of my homeschooling friends (including families that use the Apologia curricula) teach their kids about evolution. HSLDA doesn’t speak for us, and I’d thank you all not to take their word on anything about the homeschooling community.
        It’s true that most homeschooling science texts teach “creation science”, and that few teach evolution (there are a fair number that avoid teaching either). Most creationist curricula was initially developed for private schools, a known market, and then made available to homeschoolers. Most secular textbook publishers are too concerned about cheating (by students in schools that use their curricula) to allow private individuals to purchase teachers’ guides.

        This does not mean that homeschoolers don’t teach evolution to their kids, just that we don’t use formal curricula to do it.
        Anyone who thinks the state should be able to dictate exactly what every kid learns in their own home should take a look at some of the recent decision the Texas state board of education has made. These decisions are all very political, and parents need to have the right to opt out if the powers that be pass something appalling.

  4. Jessica, There is accreditation of home schools here in Florida, lax though it may be.

    Here is the issue in a nutshell: We have agreed that the state has an interest in the education of the young. Toward that end, school is mandatory. Implicit in the idea that the young must be educated is the corollary that education must be meaningful, and such a concept requires the teaching of the contemporary state of art (or science, in this case). Today the state of the art in biology is evolution-based. To allow parents to teach their kids nonsense flies in the face of this logic and the educational imperative.

    I have started a quest here in Florida to require ALL schools, home, private and public, to teach evolution. Under the First Amendment, we cannot require church schools to teach evolution, but our state university system can require that applicants be versed in the theory. California has already gone this route. If we can get every state university system to effectively require the teaching of evolution in order for high school graduated to be accepted into college, we will have done the country a great favor.


    1. It doesn’t look like there is any “accreditation” to me. In Florida, you give them samples of your kid’s work and a list of books you used.

      None of which has anything to do with the fact that it is perfectly fine for a publisher to publish a book full of crap and call it a textbook. The public school textbook publishers do it all the time.

      1. Jessica,
        I agree. I meant to be taken literally. There is a process of accreditation–it’s just a lousy one.

    2. Actually the U. California system doesn’t require the teaching of evolution for all entering students. It requires students take a lab based science course (if they go the GPA route for admission) and if that course (or any of the courses used for calculation of the GPA) is biology it must teach evolution. They are also fairly strict on the history classes to keep out Barton style ‘facts’.

    3. You guys are so socialist in your view of this topic. Why do you insist on stomping on a parent’s rights to educate their own child? Fact is most of the popular Home School science Textbooks teach evolution, but they teach that evolution is a theory not a fact, which is true. There is another theory, called special creation. Both of these are theories . Neither can ever be conclusively be proven. Anyhow, home schooling is the ultimate in education personal responsibility. If the child’s education ends up not what it should be, can’t blame the failing local government schools. We home schooled our two boys, who went on to 4 year college degrees in engineering and physics, and then advanced degrees. I can guarantee you this would never have happened if their education was left to the local gov’t schools. Oh yea, we used Abeka curriculum with Saxon math.

      1. Ranger,

        You remember those chemistry courses from university? Yeah, it’s been a while since mine, too.

        Anyway, you should go back and read up on some science basics, such as what a scientific “theory” is and how it works.

        Special creation does not qualify as a scientific “theory”. At best it’s an hypothesis, but it’s one that has been disproven many times over.

        The “theory” of evolution, in contrast, has held up extremely well against all attempts to disprove it. In fact, it’s the only workable explanation that we have that links together all the myriad fields of biology.

        As some have said: without the TOE, biology would be like stamp-collecting: lots of isolated facts, but no way to link them together into a coherent whole.

        It also happens to be true.

      2. Hahaha, “socialist”, the catch-all scare word for right-wingers. You obviously don’t know what socialist even means.

  5. Well if they MAKE homeschoolers learn about evolution were is the democracy or the right or freedom in that. That would be more of ad dictatorship somewhat. Am i right?

    1. No, it’s no different than “making” students (home or elsewhere schooled) learn maths, English, history, or any other important subject. The core subjects should not be optional for any country that wants and needs an educated citizenry.

      1. Replying here as there is no reply link on your above post…

        If that textbook is unacceptable to you, then don’t use it with your kids.

        Yes, it is unfortunate that textbooks are full of bad information and falsities, but all of them are. Maybe we should be looking at the texts that the vast majority of US kids are required to learn from before we go on some crusade to disallow creationists to publish books with the label “textbook”.

        1. You guys have no clue. The Aveka curriculum we used to home school was a very good classical curriculum, superior academically to the sorry excuse for the politically corrected texts used by the gov’t schools.

  6. The online poll question is a “loaded” question. How about I ask the same question, but only in reverse: “Is it okay for public school and secular college textbooks to dismiss the theory of creationism?”

    1. There’s no such thing as a “theory of creationism”. There’s an old myth that doesn’t rise to the level of hypothesis that’s repeatedly been disproven, if that’s what you’re thinking of.

    2. Yes Gary, It’s not only OK for them to dismiss creationism but it should be mandatory. Not only is creationism NOT a theory but it’s also based on NO facts and stands in direct contradiction to all of the available evidence.

      It is no less appropriate for schools to dismiss creationism than it is appropriate for them to dismiss alchemy, astrology, phrenology, or flat-earth theory.

  7. Gary is right but you guys are to stuborn to see. So what you guys are saying is that it’s ok for you to bully us but its not ok for us to bully you. Also why is creation a myth? Can someone please answer me that. I want a scientific answer not an opinion!

    1. Um…because it’s got absolutely zero evidence outside the Bible and is no more credible than Zeus or Odin?

      Nobody’s bullying you. But nobody’s interested in letting the people you support lie to children and cripple their future either.

      1. Was Albert Einstein cripple in Knowledge? He is one of and if not the greatest scientist that the world has ever known. He believed in creation. Tell me was he crippled in knowledge?

            1. Someone gives nate his scientific explanation as to why creationism isn’t scientific and he responds with:

              – An attempted argument from authority regarding Einstein (and only an attempt, since Einstein didn’t believe in, say, the sanctity of Jesus or Mohammed), and

              – An argument from personal incredulity

              And both responses drag this part of the thread away from the important point: when there’s EVIDENCE for an act of creation, scientists might give a crap. Till then, why support it?

              Stay classy, nate. Stay classy.

        1. Not that it has any real bearing on the validity of evolution, but I would love to see you provide the evidence behind your claim that Einstein “believed in creation.”

        2. “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
          -Albert Einstein

        3. Einstein may not have like being called an atheist, but he was a long way from being a believer in a personal deity. He used the term god in the way a deist or pantheist might. To him, the fundamental laws of nature were the mind of god, not some primitive set desert myths.

          I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. […] My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.
          — Albert Einstein, from Albert Einstein: The Human Side

          I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.
          — Albert Einstein, responding to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the International Synagogue in New York, who had sent Einstein a cablegram bluntly demanding “Do you believe in God?”

    2. Nate, creationism is a myth because it’s a fanciful story with absolutely nothing–no facts, no logic, no reason–to support it. Indeed, there are many, many creation myths that derive from many cultures and religions–Norse myths, Mayan myths, Hindu myths, etc. See: http://www.magictails.com/creationlinks.html ) They are only stories. So the scientific answer is that there is no rational, verifiable truth to any of them. The story of Genesis is only that, a story.

      The fact of evolution has been exhaustively verified by many people in countless, irrefutable ways. Evolution underlies all of modern medicine, as well as all biology, botany, anthropology, paleontology, and more.

      You owe it to yourself to read WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE, by Jerry Coyne. It’s never to late to start learning–but it’s going to take some effort. Good luck to you.

    3. No one is being stuborn (sic), and no one is trying to bully anyone. Kelseigh and Don are telling you the truth. Absolutely the only evidence (I stretch the term for you)for creationism is a bronze age book of unknown authorship, unknown veracity of translation and transcription, which is controverted by reality in almost every truth claim it makes.

      Please buy Coyne’s book, or Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth. They are not trying to attack your religious beliefs–but they will demonstrate the undeniable reality of evolution for you.

        1. It depends on where you start. I put the Bible at somewhere around 750 AD, possibly a little older. This locates it in the time of The Iliad, where it seems the Greeks and Trojans had mastered use of bronze,but not iron. Certainly the oral traditions are bronze age.

          1. Parts of the books of Joshua and Judges, at least, were iron age — since the Caananites had “chariots of iron” that could not be overcome, even by Yahweh.

    4. Also why is creation a myth? Can someone please answer me that. I want a scientific answer not an opinion!
      Because it contradicts absolutely everything we know about the universe (an a lot of ancient history as well). Every branch of science has something in it that directly contradicts young-Earth creationism, most have many things, quite a few have thousands, some have millions or even billions. The computer you use, the car you drive, the food you eat, the oil, coal, and uranium that power our society, you probably interact with tens of thousands of technologies every day that would not work if creationism was correct.

    5. Your creation story is a myth for the exact same scientific reasons that Scientology’s creation story is a myth.

      There is no more evidence for your supernatural beliefs then there is for theirs.

      We have never understood anything true or useful by invoking the equivalent of “magic” in the explanation.

      (I would expect that even a brainwashed/fundamentalist home-schooled person would understand this.)

      1. Also, if you want a scientific answer rather than an opinion then you might want to give us a clue that you are not a scientific ignoramus.

        Why don’t you give us the scientific evidence for creationism again so we can see exactly what is “scientific” to you.

        1. Are you suggesting that only someone with a great knowledge of science is worthy of a scienific answer? Certainly you must have an educated answer. Why wouldn’t you want to share it with him???

          1. I’m saying a scientific answer requires a bit of science understanding. You can’t explain how we know the earth is round to someone who insists it must be flat otherwise the oceans would spill out.

            Creationists often ask questions they do not want the answers too.– They ask weirdly loaded questions or scientifically ignorant questions on par with “how far to the end of the earth” and then use the unclear answers as proof that their “woo is true”.

            Of course you know that, because although you might think you are fooling others, we all have become accustomed to your ilk.

            In fact, you just asked two insincere questions above– showing your “expertise” and creationist smarmy questioning. Congratulations and thanks for illustrating my point so clearly.

            You might not be able to get a clue, but others can learn from your cluelessness.

            1. *at*–not and

              Just Wondering, quit asking questions you don’t really want the answer too –it makes you look like a stupid, dishonest creationist.

              You aren’t fooling anyone except (maybe) yourself. And the answers you get will never be to your liking.

              You may wish to blabber on and on at some website where others find you as intelligent as you seem to think you are.
              This site is for people interested in evolution and truth.

              Or stay… I find you a fun play-toy and an excellent illustration of how religion can mess up a mind. Moreover, when you blathering on here, you aren’t infecting young minds with your poor understanding of evolution.

              In keeping a creotard occupied (and exposing the hypocrisy), I feel I’ve done my good deed for the day.

  8. I wonder… now that you have the attention of a bunch of people who do not believe in evolution, will you take advantage of that and try to teach them what evolution really is? If you can change one person’s mind, is that not worth it?

    I’d especially like to see a post that teaches people what a scientific theory really is and how a hypothesis actually becomes a theory. Too many people do not understand this.

    1. He wrote a book about this. You wouldn’t want him to cannibalize the sales of that book, would you? πŸ˜‰

      On a more serious note, I’m not sure those who have been attracted to his blog based on the article are the type who would attempt to understand evolution even if it were laid out for them. Jerry Coyne’s blog was not linked in the article that led them here, so they had to be incensed enough to try to seek it out themselves. I’m not sure these kinds of people are going to be receptive.

      On the other hand, several home schoolers who are looking for good, accurate science textbooks showed up as well. I think it’d probably be more useful to engage with them instead because they came here to get information. I don’t think these people need a primer as much as they need a reference to good textbook materials.

      1. There are already several good recommendations from home-school parents on these various threads. I’ll try to collect them in one place after the dust settles.

      2. Actually, I doubt the naysayers are as “incensed” as you believe. This blog was linked to a FB post by the HSLDA. I stumbled onto it through that post. I’d imagine others did as well. You might also consider that it’s possible there are creationists “incensed” with learning the science of evolution to learn how it may intertwine with their own beliefs.

        1. Your last sentence is incoherent. What is it Jerry might “consider” according to you regarding “incensed creationists” again??

          And why is it that you doubt the naysayers are as incensed as Jerry believes? Do you think YOU are representative of the naysayers? How incensed does Jerry believe the naysayers are do you imagine? And why do you think you have more expertise on the subject? Most of us around here are probably a little more aware of naysayer “incense” than you, I suspect. But you didn’t ask any of us anything –you just assume Jerry is incorrect about something or other like most creationists who barge in over here.

          (Oh, and your poor communication doesn’t speak well for your homeschooling credentials and those subject to your lessons. You ought to brush up on clarity if you are going to be effective at teaching it.)

    2. While I know how this might come off as “throwing in the towel”, I’ve pretty much given up on debating creationists. It usually isn’t an honest intellectual debate at all.

      And I should know. I was born and raised in a conservative Christian home, a child of a minister no less. I bought into the “infallible, inerrant” bible completely. I went to a Christian school and a Christian college. I loved biology and had decided early on that it was the career I wanted to pursue. Yes, even as a dedicated young-earth creationist Christian.

      Where it started was the intellectual dishonesty I recognized in the claims by my creationist biology professors. That really began to disturb me. For example, Charles Darwin was painted as a coward (for his delay in publishing…somehow this was supposed it indicate fraud), and of course the ridiculous global flood explanations for the fossil record, biogeography etc. They even went with the “Canopy Theory” as a viable explanation for the pre-flood world (figure out what the sea-level atmosheric pressure would have been and you’ll realize the idiocy of that idea). And eventually I realized that creationism offers absolutely no evidence whatsoever (discarding the writings of a bronze-age culture, “in my heart I know” or “it’s too complex for me to grasp hence sky-fairy”).

      Eventually I had to come to terms with what the evidence supports. The evidence unequivocally supports the theory of evolution by natural selection as the best explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth.

      But for me to get to that point, I had to question what I had been taught and believed. Can’t say that I decoverted since that was all I ever knew, but I did eventually reject that belief system. For those people caught up in those religions, and it can never be overstated, critical thinking is overtly discouraged. For me any debate is dead in the water. From them it’s all boilerplate…the asserstions, the misrepresentations, and no meaningful research (yeah, they try…see ICR).

      I applaud books like Jerry’s (it’s my favorite on the subject), and also people like you here on this site that try to reach them. My path has been different and my patience reached an end. They either figure it out or they don’t.

      Just my two cents.

      1. What did lead to your eventual understanding of evolution?

        Was your acceptance of science post-internet or pre-internet?

        Do you think it’s more effective just to dismiss religious folks the way you’d dismiss Scientologists and their unfounded beliefs, or is it better to “accommodate” them and point them in the direction of believers who understand and accept evolution.

        1. Re: my study of the theory of evolution; it was a combination of self-education the and courses I took in grad school.

          I can’t point you to a particular publication, it was an compilation of publications and studies. But it was certainly pre-internet.

          It is a different environment to be raised creationist, compared to those of you that have not (from what I can tell). If you haven’t lived it, it might be hard to appreciate the personal impact (and there is a significant one…such as immediate family members who are no longer willing to communicate with you.)

          At some point, when all the same objections, refutations, and lies are thrown at you, over and over again…you get it. It’s a game. Serious game, but it comes down to being just a game.

          Anyway,that’s what I was referring too when I said ” a different path”. As I said, “you either get it or you don’t”. Something tugs at you, bothers you. Or it for what ever reason it doesn’t. Why? Don’t know.

          And finally, I have no idea why science should accommodate anyone. Gravity certainly did not accommodate me when I was trying to get rid of some Polistes wasps on my eaves.
          “Lame joke”.

          (Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’m the only one posting here that is coming from this background.)

          1. Many of my very favorite skeptics were once true believers. I find their stories fascinating.

            I was raised Catholic in a more liberal state so I didn’t have the creationist brainwashing, but I do consider myself “scarred” somewhat by religion–though my tale is hardly as dramatic as yours.

            Congratulations on figuring things out. I bet you will be a beacon of understanding to more people than you know. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  9. Awesome! But disproving 150+ years of science is a fairly involved and difficult task–even for an intrepid 16-year-old such as yourself. Let’s start with something a little smaller. How about providing evidence for your claim that Albert Einstein was a creationist?

    1. Re Nate

      I pose something even simpler. In the Hebrew Bible, is is claimed that Joshua caused the Sun to stand still in the sky for a day. Aside from the fact that the implicit assumption that the sun went around the earth is totally false, such an event violates the laws of physics. However, we know that this event never happened because contemporaneous civilization such as in Egypt and the Mayan in Central America never remarked on it. Surely, the Sun standing still in the sky for a day would have been an event that these contemporaneous civilizations would have noticed and commented on.

  10. I’ve homeschooled for 10 years and evolution is my greatest frustration. The creationists have dominated this for too long, while biologists and anthropologists keep deciding if they want to attend a debate and wonder why the polls are so depressing. Why Evolution is True is the best I’ve read recently. I’ve recommended it to my sophomore, but not my 12 yr. old. She just looks like a deer in the headlights while homeschool classmates blather every talking point from Ken Ham and Jonathon Park. It is not enough to know her family relies on science (we do not “believe” in evolution – except for my daughter, that is), she needs information at her level and has needed it since kindergarten. Doesn’t anyone want to write for children? Like, for example: The Story of The Mule – the missing link of today, would be a great beginning with photos of horses, donkeys and mules. Or Brassicas – the varieties of these cousins are endless. Or Why Don’t Islands Have Giraffes? – I really enjoyed that chapter. How nice if something more kid-friendly could explain it to my 7th grader. I was thrilled to see I’m not the only frustrated parent, but now we need to join forces and pressure you folks to meet our needs. This is my attempt. Abridge your book and add LOTS of color photos and help us! The one big lie is that evolution is too slow to be perceived. Our kids deserve to watch mice turn black, kohlrabi bulb up and the indigenous life of Hawaii. Thanks.

  11. As a secular home-schooling parent, I too have been frustrated by the lack of good, secular teaching materials, particularly at the high school level.

    While is is true that home-schoolers are more likely to be creationists that the general public, there are many home-schooling families who use materials such as the Apologia high school science texts simply because they lack good alternatives. They then try to supplement with something else to teach evolution.

    So, how about it Jerry? Would you consider writing evolution-based materials for home-schoolers? I’d love to have someone write a good biology text for high school age kids that is designed for self-teaching (which is why the Apologia series is popular with home-schoolers; it doesn’t require a ‘teacher’).

  12. Is it okay for home-school textbooks to dismiss the theory of evolution?

    Unfortunately, yes.

    While most of us will pull our hair and gnash our teeth over the idea of someone growing up bathed in ignorance, the parents have the right to teach whatever dumb-assed excuse for knowledge they pass on.

    To attempt to force them into accepting science and reason is very much the same thing the religious try to do with creationism in public school classrooms.

    There have been many raised in their faith over the centuries who manage to toss off those shackles of ignorance as adults simply due to them having the questions and the evidence presented to them, rather than it being forced upon them.

    We should continue to trust in that method. It’s been winning.

  13. No, it is not okay to dismiss the theory of evolution, but it is okay question, doubt and even disagree with the theory of evolution. Module 9 of Apologia’s biology textbook is titled “Evolution-Part Scientific Theory, Part Unconfirmed Hypothesis”. That is hardly a dismissal of the theory of evolution. Homeschool texts don’t dismiss evolution, but some of them disagree with its conclusions. Those are different things, which is why I won’t vote on the MSNBC poll.

    1. So why is it that the ‘textbook’ disagrees with every single solitary scientist then? I’m talking about real scientist by the way not those who get degrees for the sole purpose to seem important. No scientist disagrees with the Theory of Evolution and it is not a “Unconfirmed Hypothesis” it’s been put through the same types of test as other scientific theories and has come out just fine. That’s why it’s a theory and not a hypothesis. So I have no idea what that ‘textbook’ is talking about.
      Why do so many people have a problem with this? I just don’t get it. What is it that you can’t grasp or understand? It’s so obvious that evolution is true, what makes you so blind? Self importance maybe? Can’t cope with the fact we’re just another animal? That we might not be extra super special? (having been made in the image of a god and having a soul kind of special) I know in humans are unique is some ways.

    2. They also lie, blatantly, about what evolution is in order to tear down a strawman argument. Creationists cannot beat evolution as it really is, they don’t even try. Instead, they make up their own bizarre and nonsensical ideas, label those evolution, tear them down, and then claim victory. They are very good at tearing down strawman, but run away if they face someone who actually knows what evolution actually is.

      1. I agree with you completely. I was just addressing the false premise he was stating. We all know Creationist lie and build false arguments against something they know nothing about. Which sadly they could learn fairly easily.

      2. Could you be more specific about these “lies?” Please attach links or specific references from where you’re quoting. I am not saying you’re wrong, there are always radicals willing to stretch or completely change the truth in order to attempt to prove their cause. I could cite multiple incidents of evolutionists who have lied to attempt to prove Darwin correct. There will always be radicals who hurt their cause. I am just honestly curious about the creationists who lie, and specific examples of such.

        1. For one, they say there is a controversy about evolution amongst scientist– there isn’t… the controversy is only from various fundamentalist religions– mainly Christian and Muslim whose members believe they are “saved” via faith in a certain story. I think Scientologists have a creation story too, but they don’t believe in heaven… but they believe their beliefs will effect their reincarnation.

          Creationists are very poor at explaining the key to understanding evolution– mainly natural selection. It’s an excellent explanation as to why things looked “designed” but are far from what you’d expect from an “intelligent designer” (most life is wasteful, cruel,slow, and the “favorite creations” are prone to suffering).

          So they lie and call evolution “random” and give the inane junkyard 747 analogy (if you’ve heard it, you’ve been lied to and made purposefully stupid regarding what evolution is).

          There is no evidence for any religion’s creation story… and there are lots of them.

          When we want to understand history or how a crime was solved or the way the world works, our best method is to follow the evidence. This is the only method with an error correcting mechanism and provable results (e.g. the computer you are typing on).

          I don’t know exactly how ignorant you are in regards to science, but Nova’s Judgement DAy (free to view online) is an excellent place to start and an excellent overview of “teaching the controversy”. I teach my students why religious people want their members to believe their IS a controversy.

          Does your faith in god depend on evolution being false? Do your “salvation” depends on what you believe about the origin of species?

          1. My faith does not depend on evolution being false. Quite the contrary. I am certain that however we “evolved”, it was from one original “thing” that always was, and always will be (I know of no something that has ever come from nothing). That “thing” is my God. There’s no reason, in my mind, to doubt God set evolution in motion. My doubts are in regards to much of the science that “proves” evolution. And though I appreciate your opinion, and the fact that your the first person to truly respond to my specific question, I disagree with your notion that there is no controversy amongst scientists regarding evolution. I personally know 2 scientists (granted they are not world-renown), who don’t believe in creation and seriously doubt many “facts” about evolution. I can also cite Dr. Jobe Martin, who, while trying to prove evolution to his students, found (what he perceived as, as do many others) so many inconsistencies that he reversed his opinion and turned to Christ. http://creationwiki.org/Jobe_Martin I really do appreciate your response though.

            1. “I am certain…”

              “I know of no something…”

              “There’s no reason, in my mind, to doubt…”

              A closed mind is a terrible waste. Sounds like fundagelical to me.

    3. But creationism is just like all other creation myths that humans have invented over the eons to explain that which they don’t understand.

      It doesn’t even rise to the level of pseudoscience or legend. There isn’t a lick of evidence to suggest an invisible man poofed critters into existence as is… (with junk filled genomes and pseudogenes that look exactly as one would expect if evolution was a fact.)

    1. I’m grateful…

      When arrogant creotards stroll by, I consider it a nice chance to sharpen my claws. And perhaps one or two will be very lucky and get a clue too.

      (And never underestimate those who read and learn without ever leaving a comment. Sending the creotards here might open a mind that may one day be used to further knowledge!)

  14. Am I the only home schooler here who teaches both? For over 2100 years all the greatest scientific minds believed in spontaneous generation. (A theory I hope you ALL understand) They even had experimental proofs for their theory. Pasteur disproved it in 1859. Darwin believed in acquired characteristics. He believed if a man enlarged his muscles with exercise then his offspring would be born with large muscles. It was believed that if a horse stretched it’s neck enough, it could become a long-necked animal. Darwin beleived in use and disuse – if an animal stops using a body part long enough, it’s offsping will eventually be born without that part. Darwin later wrote to his cousin: “If this implies that many parts are not modified by use and disuse during the life of the individual, I differ widely from you, as every year I come to attribute more and more to such agency.” August Weisman disproved this theory in 1889, 7 years after Darwin died. Since then scientists have learned more and more about how our DNA works; more specifically that the ‘DNA in the reproductive cells of a multicellular animal cannot sense that another part of the body is not being used.’ – Evolution: The Grand Experiment. The biggest problem I see is that Evolutionists have been so adamant that evolutionary facts/theories are an absolute disproval of the Creationists. When any one of those facts/theories are disproven, Creationists are then adamant that they have been proven right. I for one find the certainty of either group to be irrationally ignorant. I don’t believe either proves or disproves the other. I am a Christian. I was a chemistry major in college. My ‘scientific brain’ led me to question my faith vs. modern science while I was in high school. I believe God created us all. I KNOW that I have no idea how He did so. One day to God is not our 24 hours, and could be millions of years, therefore He could have created us all in “7 days.” Evolution is a POSSIBLE answer to me, but more and more modern day science causes me to question that theory. I fully accept the possibility that human kind has yet to discover the true answer. Are evolutionists truly so arrogant to say they are 100% certain??? I would love a recommendation for an evolutionary book I could use to teach my children the theory as others learn it. I recommend ALL of you head to your library and check out the aforementioned textbook by Dr. Carl Werner. True ignorance comes when we are so absolutley certain of ourselves that we refuse to take the time to learn our opponents’ points-of-view.

      1. I will not apologize for quoting sources. I’m certain all of our nowledge came from somewhere. Adding links is its own form of quotes. I will disregard the “garbage” comment, since I’m not easily angered over this (probably since my beliefs do not hinge on the accuracy of Darwin’s theory). If there are more nasty comments though, I will end my debating with you. I enjoy a good debate, but not a fight. I have ‘evolved’ past that.
        Your link was not useful to me since I found my own contradictions to it. The letters to Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, are included here: http://galton.org/letters/darwin/correspondence.htm Specifically, see letter 271, #1. The misunderstanding, as I understand it, is that Darwin misunderstood Galton, who had not refuted the theory of misuse and use. Also citing Darwin’s belief in this concept is a quote directly from The Origin of Species: “From the facts eluded to in the first chapter, I think that there can be no doubt that use in our domestic animals has strengthened and enlarged certain parts, and disuse diminished them; and that such modifications are inherited.” I’m not sure how I can misunderstand what he meant here when he said inherited, but if he later wrote something to contradict it then I’d love to read it. If you don’t have the book you can read it here: http://books.google.com/books?id=TCwLAAAAIAAJ&dq=Charles+Darwin&printsec=frontcover&source=an&hl=en&ei=HFKVS4XHLpKyswOw3aX8Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=13&ved=0CC8Q6AEwDA#v=onepage&q=&f=false Specifically, what I quoted is on page 147. It’s in the 2nd full paragraph. Again, if you have specific quotes or writings from Darwin disputing this, I’d love to read them, truly. I am always seeking more science. It’s my nature. I will not blindly accept modern science though without trying to learn all about it, and question it each step of the way. My goal is not to prove Darwin wrong. Just because he was not right about everything he believed does not mean he was entirely wrong. My goal is to find the truth.

        1. If you read Origin of Species on the next 2 pages, 148 and 149, Darwin explains more about inheritance due to disuse and then natural selection being the main method of the inheritance.

          Particularly note Darwin’s call for being cautious and “…not as cases of inherited mutilations, but due to the effects of long-continued disuse.”

          This can also be found in depth in Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne.

          1. I agree that Darwin believed natural selection was the MAIN method of inheritance, but he did not say it was the ONLY method. Twice you’ve stated that I’ve confused Darwin with Lamarck, but Darwin’s own words refute that. He did believe in use & disuse, he just believed natural selection was more predominant. Again, my point is simply to show that Darwin was not entirely correct, and has been proven wrong on at least one of his ideas. I am not implying that this makes him completely wrong, or that we should discount his work completely. I am implying (well now I’m just stating), that I believe it is naive to believe he can’t be wrong. Many of the “facts” that support evolution can be used to support creation as well. Homologies is often cited as evidence of evolution: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/lines_04 yet it’s also been cited as evidence to support creation.~ How can so many ‘chance’ mutations result in such similarity? If there is a Creator, doesn’t it make sense that He would use similar parts to create different creatures that do some similar things? If a builder builds 10 different homes, won’t they each have a similar foundation, even though the colors, sizes and floorplans are different? ~ Both are arguments I have heard. I just wish everyone would stop getting so angry and realize that until evolution has been 100% proven (ALL gaps are filled, explained and PROVEN), or disproven (a completely new theory becomes absolute), it is absolutely acceptable for either side to doubt the other, and believing one over the other does not make one unintelligent. Finally, I wish people would accept that it is possible that God created us all by creating evolution.

            1. Miller and Francis Collins accept that. In fact most religiously indoctrinated people accept that, I believe. It’s only the fundamentalist xians and Muslims who have a problem with it. And the Raelians and Scientologists too, I think. I think Mormons have a problem too. But the majority of Catholics and Protestant offshoots are fine with science.

              We atheists just don’t see evidence of a god. And those of us who understand evolution very well, find it hard to imagine a god who could be so… cruel and wasteful.

              But also, it’s just hard to believe in invisible men who “want you to believe in them” even though they have no brain to “want” anything. To me, it’s obviously a human manipulation. It probably worked well when we didn’t understand much, but now it just seems like childish magical thinking to me.

              Believers seem to have to lie to themselves and others… or they just sound semantically smarmy to me– like you do.

              They do a lot of semantic juggling to try to make such beliefs sound rational– but you have to already believe (be indoctrinated) to buy into such “explanations”. They aren’t really adequate if your goal is to understand the truth. They seem more like arguments designed for people who are afraid not to believe in god.

    1. Unfortunately you’re understanding of Darwin and evolution is poor. You’re right, you really do need a good texbook. I don’t know what texbooks are good, but I can only reiterate, buy Dr. Coyne’s book. It will help a great deal.

        1. Please refer to my reply to NewEnglandBob. If you could be more specific about my misuderstanding I would appreciate it. I’m not here to argue.

          1. There was no reply to me from you. You confused Darwin and Lamarck and I pointed it out and there was no response.

          2. Your most basic problem is that you think that what Darwin says is even remotely relevant to modern biology. That indicates you don’t understand science at all. So I would first recommend brushing up on what science is and how it works. You won’t understand anything about science until you understand science itself.

            As for a book, just read Why Evolution is True.

            1. Why is it that so many peoples’ best defense is to claim the opposing party must be ignorant? I will respond to specific information, not childish ridicules with absolutely no scientific substance. Try citing specifics please.

            2. You ARE ignorant.

              What sort of evidence would help you understand that. Or would you prefer to remain ignorant.

              Reality isn’t really open for debate, you know.

              And you can’t talk about facts with someone who has a vested interest in not understanding them.

              I think it’s quite obvious that you would rather believe a lie then to find out that your religious indoctrinators have mislead you.

              Much of the commentary you dismiss comes from people who once believed as you did; their thinking evolved.

              What do you think is the most substantial thing you’ve added to this discussion. Do you imagine you are coming across as someone really interested in the facts?

    2. The other comments here are right on and I don’t know why you’d want to confuse your children by teaching ‘both sides’ because there isn’t. There’s myth and then there’s science. Also we already know there’s a lot that Darwin didn’t know and got wrong but Darwin isn’t the be all end all of everything. Science progresses and that’s the reality. We know what we know now because science gets better as time goes by.

        1. What do you “we all”? If you mean life, we all ultimately developed from simple self-replicating macromolecules, probably nucleotides (perhaps RNA, or perhaps some other nucleic acid that no longer exists). They were probably only a few hundred to a few thousand units long, only a small bit of which was probably critical to the auto-catalytic (self-catalyzing) properties of the molecules. It would have had occasional errors in the copying that would have resulted in mutations, leading to competition fro resources between different molecular sequences with different catalytic properties (that is, they would have evolved).

            1. You’re offering the argument of First Cause? Really?

              So, everything was created by something, and if we trace this chain back far enough we have the original or first cause, who we assume to be God.

              Of course, we must then ask what created God because, after all, our whole argument is that everything must have a cause.

              But we make an exception for God, who either always existed or caused himself, which undermines the basis of our argument; everything does not have to have a cause.

              That argument has been dead for what, two hundred years or so?

              Not to mention that neither First Cause nor Abiogenesis has any bearing on the validity of Evolution.

            2. Just because we may not have an answer (or at least not one that you accept or understand), doesn’t mean an invisible magical deity dude poofed us into existence as part of some mystical plan that your religion has let you become privvy to, you know?

              Or maybe you have an explanation with evidence? OH– that’s right… creotards don’t NEED evidence… they have faith! And all the evidence in the world can’t change a mind seeped in faith, eh?

              To understand where life came from, you might need to have an education beyond home-schooling and it might also help not to believe you are saved for “believing in” a magic story.

              But you were just lying when you asked your question like all creationists. You don’t want to know the answer– you want to believe that our inability to give you an acceptable answer means that your “woo is true”– you think your nebulous preacher man’s alternate answer MUST be true if scientists can’t give you a clue, eh?

              Asking questions you don’t really want the answer to, and are too uneducated to understand the answers to is exactly the kind of dishonest things scientists have come to expect from creationists.

            3. If you read everything I wrote, Matthew, you would see that I am not implying that the existence of God diproves evolution. First Cause is certainly not “dead”, though many would love for it to be. You argued points for me that I’m certain I would not have said… at least not that way. As a person with a very analytical brain, I question everything. Though I am FAR from being one of the great scientific minds, this is what they do and those past did, so I am proud of my doubts in everything unproven. I do question what was first. I know of nowhere in science where spontaneos generation has been shown. (After 2100 yrs. of the greatest scientific minds believing in it, Pasteur disproved it in 1859.) So either none of us actually exists, or there was one original “thing” that always was. That one thing had to be capable of setting everything we know into motion. I choose to believe that this is God. If there ever comes a day when science can prove with all certainty that it was something else, and show specifically what that was, then I’ll denounce my position. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

            4. It would have arisen by chance. We know that the building blocks of these molecules were present on early Earth, we know that the conditions necessary to make them form random combinations were present on random Earth, and we are fairly certain that a subset of those random combinations would have been self-replicating. Given we are dealing with a whole ocean of these molecules appearing and disappearing over up to hundreds of millions of years, the probability of a small self-replicating molecule forming by chance at some point somewhere is pretty high.

              This can’t happen today because the conditions are vastly different now than they were back then. For one, the raw materials are long gone, gobbled up by early organism. Second, the atmosphere is all wrong, fully of highly reactive oxygen that would have destroyed these molecules had it been present (we know when the oxygen appeared because of changes in ocean chemistry at the time).

              What is more, we are well on our way to showing that these sorts of molecules are possible. Just recently scientists demonstrated that a simple RNA chain could catalyze its own formation from two smaller RNA chains.

              So there is nothing implausible, or even improbable, about this occurring.

              Of course you would know all this if you had actually done any research on the subject you claim you have.

            5. Just when I thought you weren’t one of the “angry” ones, articulett. I was NOT home-schooled. I do not pretend to be any more educated than I am. I did very well in high school and college, but I am no genius. I wasn’t aware that I needed to be in order to debate here. I ask questions to spark debate and to get people thinking, as well as to find more answers. As I stated, my belief in God does not hinge on evolution or the lack thereof. I, unlike many here, have no hidden agenda. It’s sad to me that there can’t be a forum to discuss this without all the negativity and nastiness. If you feel better calling me ignorant than go ahead. Obviously you need to believe that anyone who doubts evolution is ignorant. Whatever helps you sleep at night, dear. As for me, I’m done with this blog. You all can celebrate that one less person will question you and make you think for yourself, and you can go on pretending to be experts on the subject… it’s amazing how NONE of you have to ask any questions here… you must ALL work in the field! LOL Oh see, now I’m being rude, which means it really is time to go!

            6. And another one runs away immediately after I post a detailed rebuttal. Disappointing, but predictable creationist behavior.

            7. I’m reading (and enjoying) a book by Nick Lane at the moment called “Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution”. Chapter 1 discusses ocean vents and covers plausible origins of the first self-replicating molecules.

  15. I didn’t read this blog all weekend and am seriously regretting it. I’m just caught up on all the comments regarding home-schooling.

    Thank you everyone for the great read. I had a few good laughs, a few tears, and more than a few shakes of my head at the scientific ignorance displayed by some people.

    A good idea before going to a science blog to debate a supported theory is to have some basic understanding of the subject matter. I really don’t know how some of you could have passed a high-school science class – oh wait, you were home-schooled. That explains it.

    1. I went to my local public school and aced all my science courses, including biology, yet I question many evolution “facts.”

      1. All that means is that you had a bad biology teacher or a bad set of state standards (or both).

        1. Sorry to upset you, but actually, my former high school was then, and still is now, one of the best in a well-ranked state. Also, not only did my best friend graduate as valedictorian, but she also went on to complete her degree in biology as one of the best in her class. She highly doubts the existence of God, but refuses to oompletely discount Him. Based on her education and many scientific facts, she too doubts evolution as it is taught. She strongly believes that a completely new theory will one day be discovered, which may or may not include some of Darwin’s theories. I can assure you, neither of us had an inferior eduction. Rather, we had teachers and professors who challenged us to think for ourselves whenever looking into ANY theory.

          1. Opinions aren’t facts, remember.

            I don’t think you’ve impressed anyone here with your education.

            Feeling smart is not the same as being smart.

            1. I can more than match your friends education and credentials (I was also a valedictorian and latter received my Masters in Genetics), and I assure you, evolution is in no danger of being overturned. I think your friend may be embarrassed at your conjecture regarding her beliefs… perhaps you should let her speak for herself.

              I don’t think you are impressing anyone here with your intelligence, honesty, or understanding of evolution. You seem to think much more of yourself than anyone else does. Oh and I think the owner of this website might know a wee bit more about education than your friend does. But you are clearly afraid to learn anything that conflicts with whatever mumbo jumbo you feel so special for believing.

              Why don’t you and your special friend run along and have a little chit chat instead of you embarrassing yourself by trying to convince others that you have more of a clue than you actually have.

          2. Perhaps your education was great and you just didn’t actually learn much from it. You obviously learned nothing about abiogenesis, nothing about the conditions on early Earth, nothing about the spontaneous formation of ribonucleotides. These are all things I learned in middle school, not to mention high school, yet you don’t know them at all.

            1. I don’t think she could pass my states high school science proficiency test.

              I also think it’s interesting that she keeps dismissing suggestions that she read Jerry’s book (or anything that might educate her)– I guess she feels that have access to her former valedictorian friend makes her an expert on the subject.

        2. I think it means that her religion made her stupid and impenetrable towards facts–just like it did to all those churchies in galileo’s time insisting that the earth was the center of the universe.

          It happens to tons of people. I wouldn’t blame the biology teachers. But they could have been similarly stupid due to their religious indoctrination, I suppose.

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