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Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools

by Eugenie C. Scott

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543411,051 (3.57)None
The book . . . is an excellent resource to deal with the attack on evolution, which is a surrogate, and indeed a wedge, for a wide-ranging crusade against the scientific integrity of the public education system in America."--Rev. Barry W. Lynn from the Foreword More than eighty years after the Scopes trial, creationism is alive and well. Through local school boards, sympathetic politicians, and well-funded organizations, a strong movement has developed to encourage the teaching of the latest incarnation of creationism-intelligent design-as a scientifically credible theory alongside evolution in science classes. Although intelligent design suffered a serious defeat in the recent Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, its proponents are bound to continue their assault on evolution education. Now, in Not in Our Classrooms, parents and teachers, as well as other concerned citizens, have a much-needed tool to use in the argument against teaching intelligent design as science. Where did the concept of intelligent design originate? How does it connect with, and conflict with, various religious beliefs? Should we teach the controversy itself in our science classrooms? In clear and lively essays, a team of experts answers these questions and many more, describing the history of the intelligent design movement and the lack of scientific support for its claims. Most importantly, the contributors-authorities on the scientific, legal, educational, and theological problems of intelligent design-speak specifically to teachers and parents about the need to defend the integrity of science education by keeping intelligent design out of science curriculums. A concluding chapter offers concrete advice for those seeking to defend the teaching of evolution in their own communities. Not in Our Classroomsis essential reading for anyone concerned about defending the teaching of evolution, uncompromised by religiously motivated pseudoscience, in the classrooms of our public schools.… (more)
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A book of contributed papers on the topic of intelligent design and why we shouldn't be teaching it in our classrooms. With the exception of one paper, which seemed to be more sympathetic with ID than not, the papers were mostly solid. The main complaint is the constant cringe-inducing bows to religious sensitivity. For Pete's sake, can't we just teach a topic without having to consult a bunch of priests and preachers to see if it's OK? And just once, can't the NCSE put out a book on evolution without pointing out every couple of pages that it doesn't conflict with religion? From the number of believers who have problem with evolution (some of whom do in fact understand the theory), it plainly does, and it might be useful to acknowledge that their version of religion is as valid as that of the handful of scientists who actually believe in God. In the end, constantly pointing out the lack of conflict only serves to draw attention to the issue more, and probably annoys those who feel that they are being told they are worshiping God wrong. Plus, the constant mantra in the end begins to sound like a scold, not only to fundamentalists but to non-believers as well, who are constantly being told there is no reason not to believe in God. Other than that, a decent look at the topic. ( )
1 vote Devil_llama | Aug 2, 2013 |
Summary: Although the Scopes trial was almost 90 years ago, the issue of evolution education in American schools is still a contentious issue. Although strict creationism has been for the most part abandoned, its close cousin, intelligent design, has been repeatedly inserted into public school curricula. Although courts have struck down these efforts in recent decisions, like those in Dover, Pennsylvania, proponents of intelligent design have continued their efforts to discredit evolution and prevent its being taught. Not in Our Classrooms is a collection of essays put together by the National Center for Science Education, and geared to educate people that are interested in the state of America's science curriculum about the history of the intelligent design movement and the ways that it has tried to introduce religious ideas into the public science classroom.

Review: Although I am, without question, deeply involved in science education, this book was not really geared towards me. I was expecting more of a guide on how to respond to creationist/intelligent design attacks on evolution education, with maybe a little historical and legal background thrown in for good measure. And that's what I wanted; I teach evolution (among other things), and although it hasn't been an issue yet, I wanted a resource for when that inevitable upset religious student comes to me contesting the course material. And that's not what I got; this book was a lot more historical and legal background and not so much in the way of concrete advice.

So it turns out that this book is not really geared towards evolutionary biologists, nor even really science educators (at least not at the college level), but rather towards concerned parents and other citizens who know that science education is under threat, but may not know the specifics of what intelligent design is, or why incorporating it into public school science curricula is wrong. It's a much broader audience than I was expecting, which is why I decided to review this book, even though I don't normally review things I read for work.

Even though this book wasn't quite what I was looking for, it does have a wealth of information that's for the most part presented clearly and accessibly for the layperson. (Some of the stuff I found the driest and least accessible were the parts about specific legal issues; other readers might not have a problem with this.) It also presents an interesting range of viewpoints on the issue: science education experts, yes, but also religious, legal, and community organization perspectives as well. It wasn't what I was looking for, but it's a resource that I'm glad exists. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Readers looking for specific guides about what to *do* in order to maintain the scientific integrity of our classrooms might find this book a little vague, but it's a good primer for those looking to know more about the controversy (...the controversy over what goes in public school curricula, that is; there is no scientific controversy regarding whether or not evolution is true, despite what the "teach the controversy" advocates would have us believe.) ( )
  fyrefly98 | Jun 14, 2013 |
This book is a useful tool for anyone with a child in school who wants to make sure they are being taught science rather than religion. It explores the history of the creationism/evolution debate, shows the legal cases relevant, and explains what issues the creationists/ID folks keep bringing up. Most of them are laughable, but I'm glad to know about them before I get sprung with them at a PTA meeting. It's sad how well-informed we have to be to beat the ill- and misinformed. ( )
  kaelirenee | Oct 3, 2007 |
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The book . . . is an excellent resource to deal with the attack on evolution, which is a surrogate, and indeed a wedge, for a wide-ranging crusade against the scientific integrity of the public education system in America."--Rev. Barry W. Lynn from the Foreword More than eighty years after the Scopes trial, creationism is alive and well. Through local school boards, sympathetic politicians, and well-funded organizations, a strong movement has developed to encourage the teaching of the latest incarnation of creationism-intelligent design-as a scientifically credible theory alongside evolution in science classes. Although intelligent design suffered a serious defeat in the recent Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, its proponents are bound to continue their assault on evolution education. Now, in Not in Our Classrooms, parents and teachers, as well as other concerned citizens, have a much-needed tool to use in the argument against teaching intelligent design as science. Where did the concept of intelligent design originate? How does it connect with, and conflict with, various religious beliefs? Should we teach the controversy itself in our science classrooms? In clear and lively essays, a team of experts answers these questions and many more, describing the history of the intelligent design movement and the lack of scientific support for its claims. Most importantly, the contributors-authorities on the scientific, legal, educational, and theological problems of intelligent design-speak specifically to teachers and parents about the need to defend the integrity of science education by keeping intelligent design out of science curriculums. A concluding chapter offers concrete advice for those seeking to defend the teaching of evolution in their own communities. Not in Our Classroomsis essential reading for anyone concerned about defending the teaching of evolution, uncompromised by religiously motivated pseudoscience, in the classrooms of our public schools.

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