This past semester I have been taking a course on “Evolution, Diversity, and Ecology”. It’s a simple overview course prerequisite to the Honors Evolution course I’m taking this fall and it has been sort of a joke. I have disliked the professor’s teaching style all semester; he just rambles and tells stories that aren’t relevant to any of the three topics of the course and the tests are so easy I don’t even bother to take notes. For example, he spent one whole day talking about mushroom hunting because he is a mycologist. It had nothing to do with the class, he just likes mushrooms.
More importantly, I have a serious philosophical disagreement with him on many issues. He was afraid to step on the toes of religion and was so wishy-washy the whole semester with the ID debate and never addressed the unfalsifiability and unscientific nature of the God hypothesis. It really made me question his scientific credentials that he didn’t just come out and say, “This isn’t science. Evolution is science, ID is not.”
We had a “Debate Week” in discussion section earlier this semester and I, of course, took the ‘Evolution only’ stance for the question “What should be taught in our high schools?” Naturally, I eviscerated the ‘teach-both-theories’ people and the ‘teach neither’ group because those positions are untenable. Everyone agreed by the end of class that our group (the evolution only group) killed it and that it wasn’t even a competition. It felt pretty good because I think we changed a few minds that day.
Then, as I’m studying for the final by looking over some old exams from previous years, I come across this gem:
The “official” take home lesson from Debate Week, formalized in lecture, is that:
A. Evolution should be taught in public high schools with no alternatives
B. Evolution and multiple alternatives should be taught in public high schools
C. Evolution should not be taught in public high schools
D. Evolution and Intelligent Design should be taught in public high schools
E. None of the above are correct.
“Surely the answer is A!” I said to myself. Then I checked the answer, which had an explanation:
E. (thoughtful arguments on all sides)
WHAT?! He calls himself a professor of biology and a scientist and he thinks there are “thoughtful arguments” in favor of teaching ID in public schools?!
This is ridiculous. I just disliked this professor’s teaching style before, now I realize that I have a mistrust in his critical thinking abilities and scientific training. Our university has one of the top biology programs in the nation and they let this guy teach a course on evolution. As if you can’t tell, I am so pissed off.