Archive for carbon dating

Sometimes science teachers can’t even teach evolution properly

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Now, all teachers make mistakes.  Don’t get me wrong.  We’re just as fallible as everyone else.

On a message board when discussing different activities for teaching evolution, someone replied with the following:

From what I understand, evolution theories boils down to carbon dating and genetic profiling. There are plenty of videos on this. Record History channel’s “Evolve” for a start and the hosts start linking the past and present. Everyone knows about how the Big Bang theory is currently winning the theory war from the expand and contract theory. Talk about the spectrometers and how the far away galaxies are flying away exponentially.
But of course, you kinda have to talk that these are all just theories as opposed to laws as while some parts of the hypothesis are proven time and time again, there are other parts that cannot be tested at the moment.

I’m trying REALLY hard not to be judgmental.  I don’t know EVERYTHING about science–even the kind of science taught at the high school level.  For example, I’m fairly weak with physics.  I’m certified to teach it, but if I was ever asked to do so, I’d probably run screaming. 

However, the above shows a lack of understanding not just about evolution, but about the very nature of science.

“Boiling down” to carbon dating?  Has this person never learned about relative and absolute dating?  Have they never heard of ice cores, tree rings, geologic strata, and the various other radiometric dating methods out there BESIDES carbon dating? 

And what’s with mentioning the Big Bang?  This person is making the same mistake most creationists do–confusing origins of the universe with evolution, or how life changes over time. 

And the part about mentioning that these are “just theories”–that’s the part that really kills me.  As I’ve written about before, there seems to be a lack of understanding in the general public about what a “theory” means in the science world.  Apparently there is a lack of understanding to some extent in education as well.  That is scary, indeed.