What to do when students bring up ID/creationism in class

Most science teachers have been here before.  Some students are more aggressive than others.  Most, fortunately, will let the conversation drop (though moodily) once they are told that we cannot have those sorts of conversations in class.

But sometimes it’s tempting to get involved in such conversations.

What exactly SHOULD you do when students bring up creationism or intelligent design in science class?

Greg Laden gives us some very good common sense and guidelines to follow when confronting such situations in class.  This is a very good read, especially this time of the year when we teachers are all returning to work.


8 Responses to “What to do when students bring up ID/creationism in class”

  1. Why will you not discuss it? Are you scared of the students remarks? Are you worried that you will not be able to back up your stance as well as you think you can? I teach Physics, chemistry, and earth science at a Christain high school. I have no problems discussing and teaching evolution as well as creationism. Evolution is taught as it has been scientifically observed. There is not near enough science behind the theory of evolution to put it on a large scale. Where are all the transition fossils (there are billions of people on earth and have been millions for a considerably long time. Why are there only a few transition fossils? Sounds more like a genetic mutation to me.)? What caused a particle to suddenly decide to live? Answer the later and I might respect your scientific comunity as much as mine. Oh and if a stundent inquires about something in a science class it is time to start step one of the scientific method, which evolutionists throw in the face of creationists on a daily basis.

  2. Given the strict laws surrounding religion in American classrooms, that sounds like something of a nightmare scenario.

    Would it be legal for a science teacher to simply refute a Creationist claim made by a student? (Ignoring for a moment whether or not doing so would be a good idea.)

  3. Mr. B, I feel that you are entirely missing the point and probably did not read the article linked to above.

    I, for one, am not scared at all of the students, but to be honest, yes, losing my job does worry me. I think that’s a rather rational fear. I would personally thoroughly ENJOY being able to have a discussion on both creationism and evolution in my classes.

    Yet legally it is simply not advisable to do so for numerous reasons, whether the teacher puts a creationist “spin” OR evolutionist “spin” on the topic.

    As far as your other questions regarding transitional fossils, etc, it worries me that you bring up these points while saying that you are a science teacher. Fortunately I see that you do not teach life science courses. Otherwise I would strongly recommend taking a few refresher courses in biology, genetics, and evolution.

  4. Hey airtightnoodle,

    I read a few of your comments on a different blog and then read a few of yours here. I had a question. I am not trying to be difficult I am just really asking a question.

    On http://diaryofabrokenvessel.com you were having a discussion about Carbon Dating and one of your first comments was “Ok…you are aware that there are numerous dating methods out there, right?”

    I was wondering if you show me some of these other methods or if you had some website you went to or just a link or something. I would like to learn about these other methods of dating. Obviously we have our differences but I would like to learn more about some of this stuff.

    I know this post wasn’t about that topic. I am sorry if you didn’t want this comment here I just didn’t know where to put it.

    Thanks for your time and any help will be greatly appreciated.

  5. No problem. Here is a link you may want to check out about dating. It’s a long read, but it’s written by a Christian if I recall correctly, and sort of aimed toward Christians:


    Thanks for visiting.

  6. Thanks! I’ll give it a read today!

  7. Don’t forget to utilize the website of the National Center for Science Education website (http://www.natcenscied.org/default.asp). Here’s one of their pages that discusses “cans and can’ts” as they relate to teaching evolution:


  8. Mr. B, you should try to learn something about a topic before trying to teach it. Regarding transitional fossils, why don’t you read about those which Darwin mentioned in his last edition of On the Origin of Species, and work your way through the relevant scientific literature of the present day? Try perusing actual peer-reviewed science journals, such as Science, or Nature. At the very least, try an online search engine to find more info if you can’t be bothered to go to a library. You’re not going to learn much valid biology in A Beka Books, Bob Jones University Books, Discovery Institute propaganda or Jack Chick tracts.

    Which of those does your “Christain [sic] high school” use?

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