Monday, July 25, 2005


Putting ID and Creationism Back in their Box

Last Tuesday, July 19th, Red State Rabble was invited to drive out to Hays, Kansas to attend a talk by Anne Tweed. She is the retiring president of the National Science Teachers Association. She spoke to middle school teachers from Hays -- and via a distance learning hookup, to Emporia teachers, as well -- on The Nature of Science.

Tweed, who is a Senior Science Consultant with the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) in Aurora, Colorado, is a veteran high school science educator. She was a 1997 Finalist for the state of Colorado in the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program. She was named the Outstanding Biology Teacher in 1992 by the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and the Distinguished High School Science Teacher for Colorado by the Colorado Association of Science Teachers (CAST).

Tweed's talk in Hays centered on the scientific way of knowing. As she quite correctly pointed out, there are many valid ways of knowing, including a number that are non-scientific. There are explanations of how the natural world changes based on cultural stories, personal beliefs, religious values, superstition, or authority that may be personally useful and socially relevant, according to Tweed, but they are not scientific.

One might, for example, learn much about the world from watching a play by Shakespeare or reading a poem by Yeats. There is truth and much that is valuable in these forms of knowing, but they are different than the scientific ways of knowing.

Tweed honed in on the definitions of fact, hypothesis, theory, and law -- terms that have distorted by creationists and intelligent design proponents, in much the same way Bush, Cheney, and Rove twisted the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Red State Rabble is grateful to have been invited to attend. Tweed's presentation is extremely effective. It should be repeated for every middle and high school science teacher in the country. RSR readers who are middle or high school science teachers would do well to inquire about inviting Tweed to make this presentation in their own district.

This short, well-thought out presentation is just the kind of event that will, in the end, put creationism and intelligent design back in the box -- much as the the Ark of the Covenant is put into a box at the end of the Harrison Ford epic "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

It needs to be presented widely.


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