Re: Teaching (Was: Re: Final Textbook Insert)

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Wed, 03 Dec 1997 14:11:00 -0500 (EST)

At 10:11 AM 11/26/97 -0600, Janet Rice wrote:
>George Murphy suggested the idea of a class dealing with the theory of
>origins and had these two items as possible topics.
>> 5) The fact that many members of these communities believe
>>Genesis to be true & authoritative but _not_ chronicle-like accounts of
>>origins. (This would provide some opportunity to teach about literary
>>types, &c.) These people think that evolution can be consistent with
>>their religious beliefs.
>> 6) Perhaps some attention to other religious traditions,
>>depending in part on the makeup of the school. (But you can't cover
>I think the idea of a seperate "orgins" class is an interesting one -
>although the thought of adding one more required class to the load that
>either high school and college students already have seems sort of
>difficult. However, my question is whether or not teaching such things
>would be acceptable to those from Christian traditions that require a
>literal interpretation of the Bible? If people are unhappy at their
>children being taught evolution as a science, what are they going to say
>about teaching their children about other religious traditions, even other
>Christian traditions?
>The question of teaching about non-Christian traditions is particularly
>germane in my own school district. Our former school board, who were
>collectively very conservative, fired a superintendent because he wouldn't
>fight a court ruling on prayer before football games. But the district
>also includes devout Zorastrians, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, and animists,
>so teaching only Christian tradition (of any sort) could be a problem. But
>I'm not sure how giving equal billing to other traditions would work with
>people who are legitmately serious about their Christian faith. But it
>sure would be interesting to watch.
>Janet Rice

There is no substitute to good scholarship when teaching at any level. On
the question of origins good scholarship would entail discussing the nature
of the question before giving any particular answer to it. I believe all the
arguments will emerge in such discussions and the result would be to know
what science is and what it is not.