2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


JACKSON, Sharon S., Buffalo Grove High School, 1100 W. Dundee Road, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089 and GLASS, Alexander, Department of Geology, Univ of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801-2919, ssackjack@yahoo.com

During the last ten years, the scientific community has become increasingly aware of the need to get more involved in supporting the teaching of evolution in America's public schools. Recent efforts by the intelligent design creationist movement have been met with position statements by national scientific bodies, educational websites, books, articles, and several new local grassroot organizations dedicated to fighting sectarian attacks against evolution education.

Despite these efforts, many educators remain uncertain as to how to best address this controversial issue in both the classroom and the local community. The multifaceted nature of the debate and the ongoing appearance of different, misleading arguments on the part of the creationist community calls for much attention on the part of educators. Keeping up with ongoing change is time consuming and the nature of the arguments can be intimidating.

We will present ten activities, ranging from the introductory to the advanced, that educators of all levels can implement in their classrooms and their communities. We will discuss which books to donate to your local public, school, or church libraries, which books to suggest to your local Christian bookstores, how and where to start a science and religion reading group (and what to read), how to convert your classroom lecture into an effective lecture for the public, how to easily incorporate rebuttals of common creationist arguments into your classroom, and how and where to hold a no-pressure, two-afternoon discussion group on the creation-evolution issue.

In addition, we will give ideas on how to get involved in your local churches. It is vital that Christians who accept evolution openly share with their faith communities through Bible studies and discussion groups. Non-Christians should make a greater effort to educate themselves about the religious and ethical issues that their students bring to the classroom; Christian colleagues can play an important role in providing a respectful place for such much needed dialogue.

To get you started, we will supply study aids, discussion outlines, as well as a list of useful references and websites, and provide some tips on how to avoid pitfalls.