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SETTING UP NONRELIGIOUS, SCIENTIFIC MODELS FOR TEACHING ORIGINS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOM SETTING UP NONRELIGIOUS, SCIENTIFIC MODELS FOR TEACHING.

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Presentation on theme: "SETTING UP NONRELIGIOUS, SCIENTIFIC MODELS FOR TEACHING ORIGINS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOM SETTING UP NONRELIGIOUS, SCIENTIFIC MODELS FOR TEACHING."— Presentation transcript:

1 SETTING UP NONRELIGIOUS, SCIENTIFIC MODELS FOR TEACHING ORIGINS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOM SETTING UP NONRELIGIOUS, SCIENTIFIC MODELS FOR TEACHING ORIGINS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOM By David Prentice, M.Ed., M.A.S.T.

2 TWO MAIN QUESTIONS: 1. Is it legal to teach more than one model of the origin of the earth and life? 2. Is it good education? 1. Is it legal to teach more than one model of the origin of the earth and life? 2. Is it good education? Visual #1

3 The U.S. Supreme Court has never held it illegal to teach alternatives to evolution. In striking down the Louisiana “Balanced Treatment Act” on a technicality, the majority opinion stated that The U.S. Supreme Court has never held it illegal to teach alternatives to evolution. In striking down the Louisiana “Balanced Treatment Act” on a technicality, the majority opinion stated that LEGALITY OF TEACHING ALTERNATIVES TO EVOLUTION LEGALITY OF TEACHING ALTERNATIVES TO EVOLUTION “The Act does not grant teachers a flexibility that they did not already possess to supplant the present science curriculum with the presentation of theories, besides evolution, about the origin of life. Indeed, the Court of Appeals found that no law prohibited Louisiana public schoolteachers from teaching any scientific theory... The Act provides Louisiana schoolteachers with no new authority. Thus the stated purpose is not furthered by it.” Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 107 S.Ct. 2573, No , 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 107 S.Ct. 2573, No , 1987 Visual #2

4 The U.S. Supreme Court has issued clear guidelines under which alternative theories can be taught: LEGALITY OF TEACHING ALTERNATIVES TO EVOLUTION LEGALITY OF TEACHING ALTERNATIVES TO EVOLUTION “We do not imply that a legislature could never require that scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories be taught. Indeed, the Court acknowledged in Stone that its decision forbidding the posting of the Ten Commandments did not mean that no use could ever be made of the Ten Commandments, or that the Ten Commandments played an exclusively religious role in the history of Western Civilization. In a similar way, teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.” Majority Opinion, Edwards v. Aguillard Visual #3

5 HOW DOES THE ORIGINS CONTROVERSY FIT INTO THE “NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS” (NGSS)? HOW DOES THE ORIGINS CONTROVERSY FIT INTO THE “NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS” (NGSS)? Many of the Next Generation Science Standards (HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1, HS-LS3-2, HS-LS3-3, HS- LS4-1, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-5, HS-ESS1-2, HS-ESS1- 6, et al.) call for students to evaluate the evidence for various aspects of evolutionary theory. HS- ETS1-2 calls for students to “Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.” The origins controversy is an excellent tool to teach these standards. Many of the Next Generation Science Standards (HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1, HS-LS3-2, HS-LS3-3, HS- LS4-1, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-5, HS-ESS1-2, HS-ESS1- 6, et al.) call for students to evaluate the evidence for various aspects of evolutionary theory. HS- ETS1-2 calls for students to “Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.” The origins controversy is an excellent tool to teach these standards. Visual #4

6 TIMETIME EVOLUTION: Initial Disorganization with later increase in complexity and unlimited diversification. Not just change, but change in the direction of increasing complexity. EVOLUTION: Initial Disorganization with later increase in complexity and unlimited diversification. Not just change, but change in the direction of increasing complexity. Evolutionary “Tree” All life came from one simple cell Visual #5

7 2 GENERAL MODELS OF EVOLUTION: Materialistic (Atheistic) Evolution Everything evolved by purely natural processes Theistic Evolution 2 Specific Models About Evolution of Living Things: 2 Specific Models About Evolution of Living Things: Neo-Darwinism: Evolution occurred slowly and gradually. Many have abandoned this belief because of the fossil evidence. Punctuated Equilibria: Evolution occurred in sudden jumps. The biological evidence against this belief is overwhelming. An influence not explainable by natural processes used evolu- tion to produce the universe Visual #6

8 TIMETIME THE ALTERNATIVE VIEW: Initial Complexity with later deterioration and diversification within limits Not just change, but change in the direction of decreasing complexity. THE ALTERNATIVE VIEW: Initial Complexity with later deterioration and diversification within limits Not just change, but change in the direction of decreasing complexity. “Forest” of Life All life came from multiple complex ancestors. Visual #7

9 CONTRASTING VIEWS OF INITIAL COMPLEXITY: The Young-Earth View – The beginning of the earth may have been within the last 10,000 years The Old-Earth View – The process was completed millions or billions of years ago Both are forms of Intelligent Design. Visual #8 The concept of Initial Complexity does not automatically require any specific age. The concept of Initial Complexity does not automatically require any specific age.

10 CONTRAST OF BASIC MODELS: THE ALTERNATIVE VIEW: Initial Complexity with later deterioration and diversification within limits (complex to simple) EVOLUTION: Initial Disorganization with later increase in complexity and unlimited diversification (simple to complex) Visual #9

11 DOES THE ORIGINS CONTROVERSY HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS? DOES THE ORIGINS CONTROVERSY HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS? There are two aspects to the origins controversy. Who or what is responsible for the origin of everything? Why? What does it all mean? What were the CONDITIONS at the beginning? What sort of development has taken place since then? Simple to complex, or complex to simple? If we ignore the religious questions, students can learn a great deal from studying the scientific ones. Purpose: not to teach religion, but to enhance the effectiveness of science education. If we ignore the religious questions, students can learn a great deal from studying the scientific ones. Purpose: not to teach religion, but to enhance the effectiveness of science education. SCIENTIFIC RELIGIOUS Visual #10

12 Does the Requirement for Something Outside of Nature Mean Initial Complexity Cannot Possibly Be Scientific? 1. Most evolutionists believe in theistic evolution, so they are in the same position as creationists. 2. There is no known natural process that can cause matter and energy to come into existence in a com- plex, organized condition. Visual #11 3. Neither is there a known natural process that can cause matter and energy to come into existence in a disorganized condition. Even atheists have to be- lieve in something that cannot be explained by known natural processes.

13 A Non-Issue: THE EXISTENCE OF AN INFLUENCE OUTSIDE NATURE A Non-Issue: THE EXISTENCE OF AN INFLUENCE OUTSIDE NATURE GOD 2. Established natural laws, so is not subject to those laws - SUPERNATURAL. 2. Established natural laws, so is not subject to those laws - SUPERNATURAL. 3. Preceded the universe - ETERNAL. 3. Preceded the universe - ETERNAL. 4. Influence extends throughout the universe - OMNIPRESENT. 4. Influence extends throughout the universe - OMNIPRESENT. 5. Directly or indirectly responsi- ble for everything that has ever happened - OMNIPOTENT. 5. Directly or indirectly responsi- ble for everything that has ever happened - OMNIPOTENT. 6. Nobody made Him - SELF- EXISTENT. 6. Nobody made Him - SELF- EXISTENT. 1. Only seen by what He does - INVISIBLE. 1. Only seen by what He does - INVISIBLE. Visual #12

14 IF THERE IS NO GOD, THEN WHAT? What if there is no God? Then the universe would have to be the result of a series of forces, processes, and events operating with no particular purpose for billions of years. We could call the whole series “evolution,” “quantum fluctuation,” “accident,” etc. Let’s use the term “Random Chance,” with the understanding that it represents the whole multibillion year series of forces, processes, and events. Let’s see the characteristics that Random Chance would have to have. What if there is no God? Then the universe would have to be the result of a series of forces, processes, and events operating with no particular purpose for billions of years. We could call the whole series “evolution,” “quantum fluctuation,” “accident,” etc. Let’s use the term “Random Chance,” with the understanding that it represents the whole multibillion year series of forces, processes, and events. Let’s see the characteristics that Random Chance would have to have. Visual #13

15 GOD 2. Established natural laws, so is not subject to those laws - SUPERNATURAL. 2. Established natural laws, so is not subject to those laws - SUPERNATURAL. 3. Preceded the universe - ETERNAL. 3. Preceded the universe - ETERNAL. 4. Influence extends throughout the universe - OMNIPRESENT. 4. Influence extends throughout the universe - OMNIPRESENT. 5. Directly or indirectly responsi- ble for everything that has ever happened - OMNIPOTENT. 5. Directly or indirectly responsi- ble for everything that has ever happened - OMNIPOTENT. 6. Nobody made Him - SELF- EXISTENT. 6. Nobody made Him - SELF- EXISTENT. RANDOM CHANCE 2. Established natural laws, so is not subject to those laws - SUPERNATURAL. 2. Established natural laws, so is not subject to those laws - SUPERNATURAL. 3. Preceded the universe - ETERNAL. 3. Preceded the universe - ETERNAL. 4. Influence extends throughout the universe - OMNIPRESENT. 4. Influence extends throughout the universe - OMNIPRESENT. 5. Directly or indirectly responsi- ble for everything that has ever happened - OMNIPOTENT. 5. Directly or indirectly responsi- ble for everything that has ever happened - OMNIPOTENT. 6. Nobody made it - SELF- EXISTENT. 6. Nobody made it - SELF- EXISTENT. It is impossible NOT to believe in some sort of godlike entity. 1. Only seen by what He does - INVISIBLE. 1. Only seen by what He does - INVISIBLE. 1. Only seen by what it does - INVISIBLE. 1. Only seen by what it does - INVISIBLE. Visual #14 A Non-Issue: THE EXISTENCE OF AN INFLUENCE OUTSIDE NATURE A Non-Issue: THE EXISTENCE OF AN INFLUENCE OUTSIDE NATURE

16 DOES THE ORIGINS CONTROVERSY HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS? DOES THE ORIGINS CONTROVERSY HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS? There are two aspects to the origins controversy. Who or what is responsible for the origin of everything? Why? What does it all mean? What were the CONDITIONS at the beginning? What sort of development has taken place since then? Simple to complex, or complex to simple? If we ignore the religious questions, students can learn a great deal from studying the scientific ones. Purpose: not to teach religion, but to enhance the effectiveness of science education. If we ignore the religious questions, students can learn a great deal from studying the scientific ones. Purpose: not to teach religion, but to enhance the effectiveness of science education. SCIENTIFIC RELIGIOUS Visual #15

17 Educational Enhancement: THE SEARCH FOR DESIGN IS A NORMAL PART OF SCIENCE! NASA space flights / SETI Airplane crash investigation Arson Investi- gation Investigation of suspicious deaths Archaeology Visual #16

18 IS INTELLIGENT DESIGN UNSCIENTIFIC? Intelligent Design is a broad concept that allows for the possibility of either direct creation or theistic evolution. Judges nationwide have bought into the atheistic claim that since the presence of a designer cannot be tested, therefore I.D. is unscientific. It is true that no scientific test can prove the existence of a designer. But the judges have overlooked an obvious question: what sort of scientific test could prove there is NOT a designer? In what way is teaching the IMPOSSIBILITY of intel- ligent design any more scientific than teaching the POSSIBILITY of intelligent design? Either one is philosophy, not science. Visual #17

19 Some critics of Intelligent Design have unintentionally made the point that design does not necessarily point to any religion’s concept of God. It does not tell us anything about the designer, so it does not advance any particular religion. The “Flying Spaghetti Monster” by WIKIMedia user Niklas Jansson Visual #18

20 1. Things can’t be designed because that would bring God into science. A matter of opinion! In order to disprove design, we would have had to be watching since the beginning of the earth. 2. Things can’t be designed be- cause we don’t like the way they are put together (e.g. the panda’s “thumb”). Perhaps there is no design- er, but perhaps we just disagree with Him or don’t understand His purposes. ARGUMENTS AGAINST DESIGN Visual #19

21 1. OPINION (e.g. beauty in nature implies a designer with a sense of beauty). Not very persuasive to someone who thinks nature is ugly. 2. EXTREME IMPROBABILITY in a specific pattern. No theoretical barrier says it’s impossible for an armadillo or groundhog to make it across a busy 1000 lane superhighway - he just doesn’t. 2. EXTREME IMPROBABILITY in a specific pattern. No theoretical barrier says it’s impossible for an armadillo or groundhog to make it across a busy 1000 lane superhighway - he just doesn’t. ARGUMENTS FOR DESIGN Visual #20

22 SPECIFIED IMPROBABILITY In any collection of matter, no one arrangement is more or less improbable than any other. (Somebody is probably going to win the lottery.) However, this is not what the search for design is about. We are looking not just for improbability, but improba- bility in a specific direction. (Is Mt. Rushmore an accident? If the same person wins the lottery week after week, aren’t you going to get suspicious?) In nature, most arrangements produce meaningless junk. Only a few produce life. The question is, how improbable is it that those specific arrangements could arise by chance? Visual #21

23 PROBABILITIES - A NORMAL PART OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY. PROBABILITIES - A NORMAL PART OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY. Could they be motivated by reasons other than scientific curiosity? Biologists often use statistical tests such as “chi- square” distribution and “t-tests” to determine whether a phenomenon seems to be random or non-random (e.g., location of ant hills along a levee). Yet many are unwilling to admit that Intelligent Design is simply a reasonable application of probability testing to see if there are indications of non-randomness in nature. Visual #22

24 3. IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY. A mousetrap is an example of an irreducibly complex machine. It must have a base, hammer, spring, latch, and trigger. If any one of them is missing or not working properly, it is not a mouse- trap but a pile of junk. base spring trigger latch hammer ARGUMENTS FOR DESIGN If any part of an irreducibly complex machine is missing or not working right, the whole thing is a useless waste of materials. Visual #23

25 A machine must have at least minimal function to be of any use. A machine must have at least minimal function to be of any use. It is not possible to make an irreducibly complex machine by gradual changes in a different type of machine. You could modify a rat trap to make a mouse trap, but you could not make one out of a can opener. You would quickly have a piece of junk that could neither open cans nor catch mice. Likewise, irreducibly complex mech- anisms in living things could not have evolved from mechanisms of a different type. Natural selection would have eliminated the non-functioning intermediates. MINIMAL FUNCTION Visual #24

26 Biochemist Michael Behe, a theistic evolutionist, likens much of mod- ern biological research search to a group of detectives investi- gating a flattened body. As they search for clues to the cause of death they have to keep stepping around the ele- phant in the room. However, because they have agreed in advance that there is no such thing as an elephant, none of them is willing to say, “Maybe the elephant did it.” Rather than go against the majority view and be la- beled incom- petent or superstitious, they keep searching for other explanations. THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Behe’s point: LET’S QUIT OVERLOOKING THE POSSIBILITY OF DESIGN! Visual #25

27 1. Personal Experience through the five senses. I know a bee sting hurts; I know how to ride a bike. 1. Personal Experience through the five senses. I know a bee sting hurts; I know how to ride a bike. 2. Reliance on Authority. I know the sun is 93 million miles away; Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. 2. Reliance on Authority. I know the sun is 93 million miles away; Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. 3. Logic. I know 2 million + 2 million = 4 million, even though I’ve never counted that high. I know I have a brain, even though I’ve never seen it. 3. Logic. I know 2 million + 2 million = 4 million, even though I’ve never counted that high. I know I have a brain, even though I’ve never seen it. 4. Feeling or Intuition. I know she’s the one for me; I know I am called to be a fireman. 4. Feeling or Intuition. I know she’s the one for me; I know I am called to be a fireman. 5. Wishful Thinking (you really want it to be true) I just know I’m going to win the lottery! 5. Wishful Thinking (you really want it to be true) I just know I’m going to win the lottery! 6. Bluffing (lying) - you try to persuade others for an ulterior motive. You should buy these tickets from me because I know this team is going to the Super Bowl this year; I know evolution is a fact! 6. Bluffing (lying) - you try to persuade others for an ulterior motive. You should buy these tickets from me because I know this team is going to the Super Bowl this year; I know evolution is a fact! WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “KNOW” SOMETHING? Visual #26

28 THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD 1. Define the problem. What do you want to know? (E.g. “Does music affect how plants grow?”) 2. Gather information about the subject. (AUTHORITY) 3. Formulate a hypothesis. 4. Devise a way to test the hypothesis. 5. Observe the results of the test. (EXPERIENCE) 6. Draw a conclusion (INDUCTIVE LOGIC) and report your results so others can repeat the test. Visual #27

29 Present + Repeatable + Observable = SCIENCE Past + Non-Repeatable + Eyewitness Account = HISTORY Past + Non-Repeatable + No Eyewitnesses = BELIEF Visual #28

30 LAWS OF SCIENCE: Gravity, thermodynamics, planetary motion, etc. 1. Derived from observation. If exceptions ever observed, the law must be corrected. 2. Accurately predict the behavior of the systems they describe. 3. Can often be expressed mathematically. tells us how strong the force of gravity is, but doesn’t tell us why gravity exists in the first place. A law of science simply describes what happens, without trying to explain why it happens. For instance, the law of gravity A law of science simply describes what happens, without trying to explain why it happens. For instance, the law of gravity F grav = G m 1 m 2 d2d2 Visual #29

31 1. In science, a “Theory” is a very powerful term. It means that a hypothesis – a proposed explanation -- has been tested over and over and has never failed a single test. Calling an idea a Theory is a high compliment. 2. The idea that humans came from apes is not a scientific theory because it is impossible to test! There is no way we could perform an experiment to make apes evolve into humans. It is a HYPOTHESIS or MODEL instead. Likewise, the idea of a “big bang” is not testable. It relies on computer models rather than experimentation. It, too, is a hypothesis or model rather than a theory. A COMMON MISTAKE: saying “Evolution is only a theory.” A COMMON MISTAKE: saying “Evolution is only a theory.” Visual #30

32 SETTING UP MODELS OF THE UNOBSERVABLE IF YOU WERE BLIND: Would you think an elephant was like a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan, or a rope? Would you think an elephant was like a wall, a spear, a snake, a tree, a fan, or a rope? Visual #31

33 A Model is used to help us a get a mental picture of something that cannot be directly observed because it is: A Model is used to help us a get a mental picture of something that cannot be directly observed because it is: Too fast or too slow Too big or too small Too far away Past or future etc. Too fast or too slow Too big or too small Too far away Past or future etc. A model is not necessarily testable. It just helps us to “wrap our minds around an idea.” Visual #32

34 SUMMARYSUMMARY A HYPOTHESIS is a tentative explanation for something observed in nature. A THEORY is a hypothesis that has been thoroughly tested by many experiments. It is an attempt to explain WHY something happens. A LAW has also been tested by many experiments (usually for many years). It describes WHAT happens, without trying to say WHY it happens. A MODEL is a description, object, drawing, set of equations, etc. that helps us get a mental picture of something we cannot directly observe. Visual #33 Creation and Evolution are neither theories nor laws, but models. Creation and Evolution are neither theories nor laws, but models.

35 WHAT TV AND TEXTBOOKS SHOW US... Visual #34

36 WHAT WE ACTUALLY FIND: a bunch of jumbled up bone fragments That we put together and make up stories about! That we put together and make up stories about! IF YOU CAN’T OBSERVE, IT’S NOT SCIENCE -- IT’S STORYTELLING! Visual #35

37 THINGS WE CAN TEST SCIENTIFICALLY: 1. Overall trends and tend- encies in nature. 2. Observable processes. 3. Processes and events that left direct evidence. THINGS WE CAN’T: 1. Who or what started the universe, and was there a motive? 2. Morality and meaning. 3. Specific details: the names of the first humans, what they wore, what they liked to eat, etc. Visual #36

38 HOW TO SET UP MODELS Use the basic ideas of Initial Disorganization versus Initial Complexity to make predictions in as many areas as possible: Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Paleontology, Geology, etc. Whichever set of predictions better fits what we observe is much more likely to be correct. Visual #37

39 Any model of Origins Must Deal With Four Major Areas: Any model of Origins Must Deal With Four Major Areas: 1. How did matter and energy come into existence? Visual #38 2. How did they get from there to their present state? 3. How did life begin? 4. How did it get from there to its present state?

40 INITIAL DISORGANIZATION: FIRST PREDICTION: Tendency toward Organization or Disorganization? Since the universe has become more and more or- ganized, there should be a built-in tendency toward increasing organization and order throughout nature. There might be temporary local exceptions, but the overall trend should be toward self-organization. INITIAL COMPLEXITY: Since everything started at its most organized, there should be a built-in tendency toward deterioration and disorder throughout nature. There might be temporary local exceptions, but the overall trend should be toward self-disorganization. Visual #39

41 EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: FIRST PREDICTION: Organization or Disorganization?  Throughout nature, scientists have observed a tendency toward increasing entropy (a measure of the disorganization of the energy in a system). Students studying this topic will develop a deeper understanding of entropy.  They will be exposed to the discovery and verification of the 2 nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy in isolated systems), as well as entropy in open systems.  They will be exposed to information theory and theoretical models of how the tendency toward disorganization might be overcome in open systems. Students can learn science even without making a choice about which to believe. Visual #40

42 If natural processes brought matter and energy into existence from nothing, they should be able to do it again. Natural processes should be sufficient to produce new matter and energy. SECOND PREDICTION: Origin of Matter and Energy (Everything from Nothing) INITIAL DISORGANIZATION: INITIAL COMPLEXITY: If an influence outside nature was needed to bring matter and energy into existence, then we expect that only the same influence should be able to do it again. Natural processes should be insufficient to produce new matter and energy (or to cause them to go out of existence). Visual #41

43 SECOND PREDICTION: Origin of Matter and Energy SECOND PREDICTION: Origin of Matter and Energy  Students will learn how the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy (1 st Law of Thermodynamics) was discovered.  They will probably become curious about the source of matter and energy and will learn how the 2 nd Law of Thermodynamics argues against an infinitely old universe.  In studying how some theoreticians attempt to overcome this problem, they will be exposed to models such as the Oscillating Universe, Steady State Universe, “Big Crunch,” “Little Big Bang,” et al. which attempt to explain how matter and energy could appear by natural processes. Notice that there is no mention of religion. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: Visual #42

44 THIRD PREDICTION: Origin of the Chemical Elements (Atoms) THIRD PREDICTION: Origin of the Chemical Elements (Atoms) Matter began in the simplest possible form, hydrogen. The heavier elements were produced later by processes such as fusion and neutron capture during the big bang, or in the interior of stars and supernovae. It should be relatively easy to produce heavier elements from lighter ones. INITIAL DISORGANIZATION: INITIAL COMPLEXITY: Since the universe is deteriorating, matter probably came into existence in a complex condition. Most or all of the naturally occurring elements from Hydrogen to Lawrencium should have been present from the beginning. It should be very difficult to produce heavy elements from the lightest ones. Visual #43

45  Students will learn that scientists have never been able to produce elements heavier than Lithium when starting with Hydrogen.  They should learn why Gamow and others believe the big bang could not have produced anything heavier than Lithium, despite the fact that other elements occur in all known stars.  They should learn how theoretical models of stellar and supernova synthesis try to get past our inability to fuse lighter elements into atoms of mass number 5 and 8 to use as building blocks for heavier elements.  They will learn that in producing transuranium elements, researchers start with high atomic number elements. THIRD PREDICTION: Origin of the Chemical Elements (Atoms) THIRD PREDICTION: Origin of the Chemical Elements (Atoms) EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: Visual #44

46 DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNVERSE: The Big Bang DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNVERSE: The Big Bang The most commonly taught model is that that billions of years ago all the matter/energy in the cosmos was con- centrated into a single point, which exploded in a “big bang” and evolved into the present universe. We ex- pect to find that the universe is still expanding, and we expect to find some evidence such as radiation left over from the explosion. INITIAL DISORGANIZATION: INITIAL COMPLEXITY: The universe came into existence in a more orderly condition than it is at present. It does not matter if it is expanding, but there should be a lack of evidence of a big bang. Visual #45

47  Students will learn that there are dozens of big bang models, each of which contradicts the others. They will learn why each new model had to be introduced.  They will learn how various models deal with problems such as the 2 nd Law of Thermodynamics (how could the most disorderly explosion of all time result in an orderly universe?), Law of Conservation of Momentum, Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum, etc.  They should recognize that mathematical models are only as good as their programming, and do not furnish nearly as strong support for a concept as actual experiments do. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: Visual #46 DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNVERSE: The Big Bang DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNVERSE: The Big Bang

48  Students should investigate mechanisms that have been proposed in order to reconcile the discrepancy between the distribution of matter and the distribution of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) -- inflation, cosmic strings and textures, etc.  They should learn about other proposed mechanisms for the origin of the CMB.  They should learn how red shifts are used to calculate the size of the universe using 3-dimensional geometry, as compared to the non-Euclidean geometry required for a big bang to be possible. They should learn about attempts to reconcile the discrepancy. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: Visual #47 DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNVERSE: The Big Bang DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNVERSE: The Big Bang

49 SIZE AND AGE OF THE UNVERSE If the universe started in a big bang, we could determine how long ago by measuring its present size and rate of expansion. Since it is believed to be billions of light years across, it must be billions of years old. INITIAL DISORGANIZATION: INITIAL COMPLEXITY: The I.C. model does not make any predictions about the universe’s size. Since it started complex, it could be any age – some believe billions of years, others thousands. Either way, its steady deterioration means that it must be young enough for stars not to have burned out, galaxies not to have flown apart, etc. Visual #48

50  Students will understand that the universe’s size cannot be directly measured. They should know the steps used to calculate cosmic distances: parallax, Hertzsprung- Russell Diagram, Main Sequence method, Cepheid variable stars, Galactic Red Shifts, etc.  They should be made aware that these methods require 3-dimensional Euclidean geometry, while many big bang models require space to be 4-dimensional and non-Euclidean. (There is no center.)  They should understand that non-Euclidean space was introduced to deal with the observation that the Milky Way seems to be fairly near the center of the universe. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: Visual #49 SIZE AND AGE OF THE UNVERSE

51  Students should understand what the red shift of starlight is, and be made aware that size calculations depend upon our being correct in interpreting red shifts as a Doppler effect.  They should learn that there are several alternate models as to what red shifts mean and why they exist, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of each model.  They should learn how astronomers deal with the quantization of red shifts, which some interpret to indicate that the Milky Way is fairly close to the center of the universe. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: Visual #50 SIZE AND AGE OF THE UNVERSE

52  Students should learn what the terms “dark matter” and “dark energy” mean.  They should understand that these concepts were introduced because the distribution of matter and energy in the universe, galaxies, galaxy clusters and so on is not what it was expected to be for an extremely old universe.  If any evidence for dark matter or dark energy is ever discovered, students should learn what it is.  They should also learn of alternative models for the size and age of the universe that do not require these concepts. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: SIZE AND AGE OF THE UNVERSE Visual #51

53 Since life resulted from purely natural processes, we should find evidence that conditions on the early earth were suitable to produce life from lifeless chemicals - vastly different from the way things are now. We also expect that, under the right conditions, life could again be produced from nonlife. INITIAL DISORGANIZATION: INITIAL COMPLEXITY: The first living things came into existence in a complex, fully functional condition. We expect to find evidence that from the time these organisms first appeared, conditions on earth have been suitable to sustain life - probably not too dif- ferent from the way things are now. We also expect to find life coming only from life. ORIGIN OF LIFE Visual #52

54  Students should know the historical beliefs about spontaneous generation of life from decaying vegetation, rotting meat and the like (“abiogenesis”). They should be familiar with Pasteur’s and similar experiments disproving the spontaneous generation of life in this manner. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: ORIGIN OF LIFE  They should understand the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis, the most widely accepted scenar- io for the origin of life. It says the early atmo- sphere was made of hydrogen, methane, am- monia, and water vapor. This formed the “pri- mordial soup,” which was struck by energy sources such as lightning, ultraviolet, heat, or Stanley Miller’s apparatus used to test the Oparin-Haldane Hypothesis (Denver Museum of Science – photo by the author) shock waves. The chemical action formed amino acids, then proteins, and finally living cells. Visual #53

55  Students should be aware of an alternative model known as “Directed Panspermia,” proposed by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick. He believes that life began elsewhere in the universe, then came to earth. His reasoning will be very informative to their understanding of biological processes.  They should know that the chemical reactions of the Oparin- Haldane scenario do not occur in the presence of free oxygen. (Hence, it is excluded from experiments.)  They should know that oxidized deposits have been found in every layer of the earth’s geologic column, all the way down to basement rock. This indicates the presence of free oxygen on the early earth. Students should learn how adherents of the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis deal with this evidence. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: ORIGIN OF LIFE Visual #54

56  Students should know that the ultraviolet used as an energy source in some origin-of-life experiments is the short-wave form, whereas EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: ORIGIN OF LIFE Visual #55  Every origin-of-life experiment has used sophisticated trapping mechanisms to shield the chemicals produced from the energy source that produced them. However, no such trapping mechanism is known in nature. If one is discovered, students should learn about it. ® the sun produces mainly long-wave, which is deadly to living cells. They should realize that the ozone layer, which filters out most of the long-wave UV before it can reach the earth’s surface, would not have existed at the beginning.

57  Amino acids make up proteins, which in turn compose cells. In lab experiments, they occur as a roughly even mixture of right-handed and left-handed forms. Students should learn how to use probability techniques to calculate the odds that every single one of the 24,000 or so amino acids in a cell would come out right-handed while every one of the 3 billion or so sugars in DNA is right-handed. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: ORIGIN OF LIFE  They should learn about any efforts of biologists to overcome the natural randomizing effects of chemical action, which prevent complex biological molecules from forming spontaneously apart from DNA.  DNA is needed to form enzymes and enzymes are needed to form DNA (a seemingly irreducibly complex system). Students should learn about any efforts of biologists to determine how DNA could have come into existence apart from enzymes. Visual #56

58 Visual #57  Students should go beyond exploring the Oparin-Haldane Hypothesis to the next logical steps. If a cell could form, what would protect it from the environment? They should learn that a phospholipid membrane can form spontaneously because it is thermodynamically favorable.  They should understand that such a membrane does too good a job of protection, cutting off the cell from absorbing necessary nutrients such as phosphates from the surroundings.  They should learn that ion channels or permeases allow needed substances in and out.  They should learn that these channels are placed exactly where needed, because of preexisting in- formation in DNA.  They should understand that this is an irreducibly complex mechanism: ion channels are needed to form DNA, and DNA is needed to form ion channels. EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: ORIGIN OF LIFE Simple illustration of ion channels allowing needed substances through a phospholipid membrane

59 The first living thing was a single cell that was far simpler than any known today. As it and its descendants reproduced, they experienced many copying mistakes (mutations) in their DNA. Many of these must have been beneficial. They created all the genetic information found in every type of organism that has ever lived. INITIAL DISORGANIZATION: INITIAL COMPLEXITY: There were many types of living things at the beginning. They began in a complex, fully functional condition. Changes would damage genetic information rather than adding to it. Mutations should be harmful, so there should be mechanisms to minimize them. No new major types should have come into existence since the beginning, but many may have gone extinct. DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE AFTER ITS ORIGIN Visual #58

60 Students will learn the correct information about the following miscon- ceptions frequently used as arguments for initial disorganization: EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE AFTER ITS ORIGIN  Lamarckianism – use and disuse of body parts (e.g., the giraffe’s neck)  Industrial melanism – the Peppered Moth  So-called vestigial organs  Haeckel’s “embryonic recapitulation” fraud Besides learning about what should not be part of the origins discussion, they will learn about what should. For example: They will learn about any proposed mechanisms for the multiple levels of error checking and correcting in the cell. They will learn about the effects of mutations on DNA as well as proposed mechanisms that might have created new genetic information. Visual #59

61 Students will learn much more detail about the following than they presently do: EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT: DEVELOPMENT OF LIFE AFTER ITS ORIGIN  Pleiotropy – multiple effects of single mutations in DNA  Recent discoveries showing that “pseudogenes” are functional after all  Patterns in protein sequences incompatible with Initial Disorganization, as well as any mechanisms proposed to account for the incompatibility  Comparison of homology (similar structures in organisms not considered closely related) in phenotype as compared to genotype  How Initial Complexity and Initial Disorganization models account for biogeography (geographic variation within groups) Visual #60

62 The earth’s geologic features accumulated slowly and gradually. The great majority of fossils were produced by presently observed pro- cesses operating slowly and gradually over vast expanses of time. Most fossils form when an animal or plant dies near water, falls in, and is gradually covered by sediment. INITIAL DISORGANIZATION: INITIAL COMPLEXITY: Though natural processes usually proceed slowly and gradually, there may have been times when they operated much faster. One or more catastrophic events may have accelerated the development of geologic features. Living things can turn into fossils rapidly after catastrophic events such as volcanic eruptions and floods. This and the fact that most fossils are found encased in water-laid sediment lead us to believe that much of the fossil record was produced in the aftermath of catastrophic events. Development of Life After its Origin – The Fossil Record Development of Life After its Origin – The Fossil Record Visual #61

63 EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT:  Students should learn about experiments that have produced simulated fossils in a short time.  They should become familiar with vast fossil graveyards found around the world, as well as proposed uniformitarian explanations for them.  They should learn of modifications in geologic models that allow for the possibility of catastrophism.  They should study the phenomenon of strata occurring in a different order than predicted by uniformitarianism, and learn mechanisms (e.g., overthrusting) proposed to explain those exceptions.  They should study uniformitarian and catastrophic mechanisms proposed to explain orogenesis (mountain building). Development of Life After its Origin – The Fossil Record Development of Life After its Origin – The Fossil Record Visual #62

64 EDUCATIONAL ENHANCEMENT:  St Visual #63 Development of Life After its Origin – The Fossil Record Development of Life After its Origin – The Fossil Record

65 PREDICTIONS OF CREATION AND EVOLUTION CREATION EVOLUTION Big Bang Steady State THERMODYNAMICS - 1st LawPREDICTDENYDENY 2nd LawPREDICTDENYDENY INERTIA PREDICTDENYN/A Neo-Darwinism Punct. Equilib. FOSSIL RECORD Clearcut systematic PREDICTDENYPREDICT gaps GENETICS Variation only within PREDICTDENYDENY limits Mutations destructivePREDICTDENYDENY Reproduction only of PREDICTDENYDENY same kind Life only from lifePREDICTDENYDENY VESTIGIAL ORGANS FEW OR NONEMANYMANY EMBRYONIC RECAPITULATION DENYPREDICTPREDICT CREATION EVOLUTION Big Bang Steady State THERMODYNAMICS - 1st LawPREDICTDENYDENY 2nd LawPREDICTDENYDENY INERTIA PREDICTDENYN/A Neo-Darwinism Punct. Equilib. FOSSIL RECORD Clearcut systematic PREDICTDENYPREDICT gaps GENETICS Variation only within PREDICTDENYDENY limits Mutations destructivePREDICTDENYDENY Reproduction only of PREDICTDENYDENY same kind Life only from lifePREDICTDENYDENY VESTIGIAL ORGANS FEW OR NONEMANYMANY EMBRYONIC RECAPITULATION DENYPREDICTPREDICT

66 THE EDUCATIONAL ADVANTAGE OF STUDYING THE ORIGINS CONTROVERSY From an educational perspective, it is not necessary for students to make up their minds about whether creation or evolution makes more sense. Instead, by stimulating their natural curiosity about this emotional topic, we teachers can help them develop the skills necessary to evaluate all sides of a controversial issue. Isn’t that what good education is all about? From an educational perspective, it is not necessary for students to make up their minds about whether creation or evolution makes more sense. Instead, by stimulating their natural curiosity about this emotional topic, we teachers can help them develop the skills necessary to evaluate all sides of a controversial issue. Isn’t that what good education is all about?

67 For more information contact David Prentice, M.Ed., M.A.S.T. or For more information contact David Prentice, M.Ed., M.A.S.T. or


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