Survey in my class

After a sadly abbreviated section on evolution due to curriculum constraints, I provided some space for students to journal their thought processes. Growing up in a predominantly bimodal distribution of beliefs on evolution and from a Christian school background.

bold is student number 1
italics is student number 2

Is there conflict between science and faith?

Yes, I believe so. Some/most scientists don’t believe in the bible or trust its teachings. This can cause certain people to believe those scientists while those think they are wrong because it doesn’t
correspond with the bible.

Yes, there is. There is conflict about how the Earth was created and how the world will end

What are some of your thoughts on evolution?

I believe that evolution has somewhat happened, but I don’t believe that humans come from apes or
monkeys. I read the bible and believe that evolution is not true in the aspects others think it is.

I love evolution and I think that it’s super cool.

Is evolution incompatible with the Christian faith?

No, I don’t think evolution is compatible with Christian faith. We came from Adam and Eve and the Lord has created us in his image we didn’t evolve from other animals. I believe evolution has somewhat happened, kind of like the natural selection.

Yes, in a way.

What could be your vision for a better relationship between faith and science?

I feel if we had more Christian scientists our relationship with science and the ideas presented would be better beneficial to our world and current society, though many people would say it is wrong.

Faith agreeing with science

Do you have any lingering questions about evolution?

No, I feel that I have learned what I need to know. Even though I don’t believe in evolution I know that learning and seeing the other side is good for me.

Not really

I apologize for the brief nature of their responses as they are 15 and it was the last week of school before Christmas.

Any thoughts?


Can you briefly describe what was taught about evolution besides changes in populations over time?

Thank you for your attempt to get young people to at least think about evolution. It must be a bit nerve wracking to teach this subject in an environment where many parents (and possibly some colleagues) oppose the grand unifying theory of biology.

As for getting the subject in, I think the modular structure of some curricula makes that difficult since by design it gets tacked on near the end. That was how it was for me growing up many decades ago too. Perhaps bits and pieces can instead be worked in as one goes thru the term.

Here is an overview of main points that are determined by the state curricula:

patterns of inheritance: Mendelian genetics, Punnett squares, complete dominance, co-dominance, incomplete dominance, sex-linked inheritance, human genetics


positive, negative, and neutral impacts

mutagens and carcinogens

natural selection**:**

adaptive radiation

selection pressure (e.g., adaptation and extinction, invasive species)



artificial selection:

in agriculture (e.g., monoculture, polyculture, food sustainability)

breeding (plant and animal)

applied genetics: genomics, GMOs, gene therapy, cloning, stem cells, reproductive technology, species, population and ecosystems, forensics, genetic engineering

All in the big idea: “mechanisms for the diversity of life”, “Applications and ethics”

I was able to fit brief overviews of the following:

  1. Genetic
    a. Endogenous retrovirus
    b. Molecular clocks
    c. Genetic/protein similarities
    d. Nested hierarchies

  2. Fossils & Biogeography
    a. Sedimentary layers
    b. Comparative anatomy
    c. Adaptive radiations
    d. Carbon and radiometric dating

  3. Direct
    a. Artificial selection
    b. Peppered moth
    c. Antibiotic resistance
    d. Nylon-eating bacteria


It is often challenging to fit everything needed into a school year and curricula are not perfect. Here is the progression in my region (we teach all sciences as unified until grade 11)

Grade 8: cell theory, characteristics of life, cell anatomy and respiration/photosynthesis

Grade 9: Meiosis and mitosis

Grade 10: Patterns of inheritance, mechanisms of evolution, applied genetics, structure and function of DNA

The rate of knowledge acquisition has to accelerate dramatically in grade 10 which is somewhat unfortunate. Additionally, having to balance a physics section, biology section, and chemistry section with random one (geology in g8, electricity in g9, astronomy in g10).

I lowkey wonder if had a somewhat independent learning unit option so that students could choose from a collection of for that 4th unit (such as going deeper in bio/physics/chem, or doing geo/astro/etc).

Some places like Finland focus on a more project/problem solving based model where students learn to address situations and the knowledge/concepts/skills/though-processes are developed in order to address these.


Nothing about inquiry itself?

I had just listed the content portion. I spent an additional couple of weeks working on inquiry and methodology processes culminating in a short data driven inquiry assessment and we are expected to build on inquiry on other processes throughout.

Here is a link to my province’s curricula overview:


This all looks like good curriculum. The above is where it maybe easy to exaggerate what the theory can currently explain. If you are realistic here I do not see any ideological issues.

OK. I think that showing that pseudoscientists avoid the scientific method is best shown as their lack of interest in scientific inquiry when you teach it.

Yikes! That’s a lot of words for a fairly simple concept.

And right on cue, the pseudoscientist chimes in. You could present Bill as an example!

Speaking of not being realistic, what is the alleged single substrate of beta-lactamase?

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What would you consider as evidentiarily unsupported about evolutionary theory?

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Reconsidering (and reconstituting) @colewd’s comment which I previously rejected …

created_at: 2022-12-28 12:22:46 UTC
rejected_at: 2022-12-28T14:23:46+00:00
user: colewd (Bill Cole)
topic: Survey in my class

Mechanisms that are responsible for life’s diversity are not characterized well. How much common descent explains of life diversity is also not well understood.

I’ll provide my thoughts from a YEC perspective (IF you care to hear them):

First some background: The concept of a supposed conflict between science and faith is foreign to me. I love science. My father was a middle-school science teacher, and he passed along to me a love for science. Also I’ve followed these create/evolution/age debates since the 90s. After years of research, I’ve settled on YEC as my belief. I’ve even recently reached the conclusion that science is now even more fulfilling as a YEC. “Science and faith in conflict”? Hardly.

Now my thoughts:
1st: As a read through your post, I see that everything posted there makes more sense by replacing “science” with “naturalism”.
2nd: Perhaps another question along the lines of “Do you understand difference between asking the question of ‘science vs faith’ and ‘naturalism vs faith’?” Reading their responses to your questions (and your questions themselves) greatly highlight how many people do not understand this critical difference.

As usual, not really a response, and clear as mud. In what way are these unspecified mechanisms not characterized well? What are we expecting common descent to explain that it doesn’t? Do you have any idea? (Asking Bill, not Dan.)


I would say that the difference would be in cases where naturalism requires a particular answer but the scientific evidence is not quite strong enough to justify a conclusion. The origin of life might be an example even if the science tends to favour a naturalistic origin.

However, on the question of the age of the Earth, the science is very clear and a Young Earth is definitely in conflict with science. Even if we allowed implausibly large errors in the estimates of the Earth’s age, it would still be hundreds of millions of years old.

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This is puzzling. How is YEC not antithetical to a great deal of science: much of biology, geology, and even astronomy and physics, as all these involve deep time in one way or another?


Hi Jeff,

Interesting thoughts. In your mind how is science that different in practice to naturalism?

From what you’ve posted here, you appear to have resolved the conflict by completely avoiding actual evidence in favor of hearsay. As an actual scientist, I could never be fulfilled by that approach.

Common Descent does not explain:
The origin of the eukaryotic cell, the origin of multicellular life, the origin of vertebrates and the origin of many unique vertebrates. It does not explain the differences we see in genes and chromosomes. It does not explain the origin of unique functional gene sequences that have appeared throughout evolutionary history.

Common descent is not a mechanism. :roll_eyes:


Science can only work if one presumes naturalism as part of its methodology. Which does not entail the position that naturalism is true in absolute or metaphysical terms.

By “science” it seems you mean something akin to “Trying my best to make sense of empirical observations without contradicting my doctrinal beliefs, which I must not abandon no matter the cost.”