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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Appendix D: Guidance notes for teaching the theory of evolution in Focus schools


24 comments:

  1. The third sentence reads, “These notes are intended to give students enough information so they are not disadvantaged this superficial coverage has been shown to be adequate in the past.”

    That statement could hardly be further from the truth. The superficial coverage provided falls far short of what is needed to prepare students for school biology exams. If this is all they get on evolution, they will be very severely disadvantaged. Let us hope they have some honourable, principled biology teachers who are driven by their consciences more than by their employers.

    The notes contain only a tiny proportion of what the standard school textbooks teach on evolution. There is nothing here about the role of DNA sequences in elucidating precise evolutionary lineages, and nothing about specific events such as chromosomal translocations that are associated with the emergence of new species. There is nothing about allopatric and sympatric speciation. There is nothing about embryology, or the compelling fact that mutation, recombination, genetic drift, natural selection and speciation can all be demonstrated both in the wild and in the laboratory.

    To include genetics in a list of evidence against the theory of evolution seems strangely perverse. The rapidly growing science of genetics has greatly enhanced our understanding of evolution and has filled in the main thing that was missing in Darwin’s account.

    What is also missing is an indication that among those who have studied the evidence in depth, there is virtually 100 per cent unanimous agreement that evolution has occurred, and different species have common ancestors. Even the protagonists of “intelligent design theory” agree about this. I don’t know of a single exception.

    There is something deeply dishonest about this approach to teaching. I am coming more and more to suspect that deep dishonesty is an essential, indispensable component of Exclusive Brethrenism, without which the sect could not survive in anything like its present form.

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  2. The theory they teach in focus schools is that genetics and thermodynamics,and incomplete fossil record are theories against evolution.

    Id sure like to know how they came to those conclusions.It must be real tough, being a teacher employed to teach science in their schools

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  3. The third sentence reads, “These notes are intended to give students enough information so they are not disadvantaged this superficial coverage has been shown to be adequate in the past.”

    That statement could hardly be further from the truth. The superficial coverage provided falls far short of what is needed to prepare students for school biology exams. If this is all they get on evolution, they will be very severely disadvantaged. Let us hope they have some honourable, principled biology teachers who are driven by their consciences more than by their employers.

    The notes contain only a tiny proportion of what the standard school textbooks teach on evolution. There is nothing here about the role of DNA sequences in elucidating precise evolutionary lineages, and nothing about specific events such as chromosomal translocations that are associated with the emergence of new species. There is nothing about allopatric and sympatric speciation. There is nothing about embryology, or the compelling fact that mutation, recombination, genetic drift, natural selection and speciation can all be demonstrated both in the wild and in the laboratory.

    To include genetics in a list of evidence against the theory of evolution seems strangely perverse. The rapidly growing science of genetics has greatly enhanced our understanding of evolution and has filled in the main thing that was missing in Darwin’s account.

    What is also missing is an indication that among those who have studied the evidence in depth, there is virtually 100 per cent unanimous agreement that evolution has occurred, and different species have common ancestors. Even the protagonists of “intelligent design theory” agree about this. I don’t know of a single exception.

    There is something deeply dishonest about this approach to teaching. I am coming more and more to suspect that deep dishonesty is an essential, indispensable component of Exclusive Brethrenism, without which the sect could not survive in anything like its present form.

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    1. Hasn't the Darby line of Brethrenism always had a thread of dishonesty running through it? - some of JND's writings and actions demonstrate that, for example his repeated comments about harmony between brothers in Christ but his strident divisiveness over certain people who disagreed with him.

      JTjr, it seems to me, began to develop that dishonesty thread into a major part of the EB warp and weft, although I was only a small child when he died... but one can see it in his latter ministry and in the testimony and/or behaviour of people who were adults at the time of his later leadership.

      However it is my actual experience that deep dishonesty was an absolute unspoken unrecognised requirement under JHS and since. (I say unrecognised, because by the late 70s most of us had stopped any sort of thinking or introspection that might have led to one asking the smallest of questions about any of his directives. There was no forum for debate or discussion about the word - or even the alleged word - of JHS throughout my upbringing.) The hypocrisy of life as an EB was one of the main reasons I left home, church and culture, at the end of my teens.

      From multiple brief interactions with several HEB on both sides of the globe since they have been under the jurisdiction of JSH (1987-2002) and now BDH, the dishonesty 'weave' now appears to be completely embedded. It has been an indispensable component for over four decades; IMO over this long time most Brethren gradually lost the ability to think for themselves, and thus determine truth. This has horrifying consequences - they will look you in the eye and swear that black is white, if they think or know BDH has sanctioned that.

      I do not think the CC in the UK fully recognised just how deeply dishonest the HEB/PBCC were and are, as an entire church group (or more accurately, cult). It is quite difficult and frightening to admit - but there are certain times when one comes face-to-face with Brethren's manipulative dishonesty, and it leaves one with almost a palpable sense of evil. Hard to describe, but their deceit is almost automatic, robot-like, and laced with a particularly nasty form of arrogance.

      ...Thinking about how I was when an EB, the dishonesty is particularly potent when a manifestation of one's devotion to the 'assembly position above all else' is required (i.e. separating from loved ones because of real or imagined infringements). Devotion to The Position makes it easy to do awful things and/or tell awful lies, without batting an eyelid... not even admitting it to one's self. The sky's the limit - one can achieve all sorts with that level of mindless devotion... as the lemmings of many totalitarian regimes have affirmed throughout history.

      If our opinions about endemic EB dishonesty are correct, then it would naturally follow that their Focus Trust education systems are riddled with it also. Childhood to the grave - the HEB even manage to insert dishonesty into the way they handle members' funerals! (see Marion Evans' account of EB deceit over her father's burial, and the latter stages of her mother's life... to say nothing of the COUNTLESS times exEB have been given wrong dates/times/cemeteries for their loved ones' graveside services by the Brethren.) Cradle to the grave, a culture of dishonesty, in my opinion and experience.

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    2. Anywhere that freedom of speech and difference of opinion, are being censored.Some form of dishonesty is likely to follow

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  4. It seems that the people at the Focus Learning Trust who have issued this 'Guidance' about evolution aren't able to marry two apparently contradictory views - in this case, of creation and evolution. Like so much about these Brethren, it's an 'either/or' not a 'both' approach.

    What do they teach about the wave-particle duality of light, I wonder? Reflecting on quantum theory, Einstein put it well: "We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do".

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  5. Forgive me - I should have made it clear that creation should be dealt with in Religious Studies or Philosophy lessons and evolution as part of the Science curriculum.

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    1. I fully agree with what you say, but why split them? Isn't Creation and evolution the same thing?

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    2. It could confuse the students if creation and evolution were taught in the same class, because they need to be able to distinguish between the literal language of science, on the one hand, which describes physical facts and actual historical events; and the figurative and poetic language of religion, on the other hand, which more often communicates values, aspirations, hopes, fears, reverence and love. Interpreting the two kinds of discourse requires two different approaches. They do not mix very well.

      For the same reason you might get lessons on how musical instruments work in a physics class, and lessons on actually using one in a music class. The concepts, language and skills involved are different, even though the two classes are both about creating music.

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  6. "And conflict with religious beliefs must be avoided by sensitive delivery and concentration on the fact that it is just a theory and so has not been proved"

    In other words feed the children up on bullshit.Teach the children that evolution is only a theory.And never mind even mentioning that creation is also only a theory too.

    Something deeply dishonest about it, for sure

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  7. Comments from Ian, Joan, and some others, are like beacons of light, illuminating the darkness of ignorance that is the Exclusive Brethren (PBCC Ltd). To think that the PBCC Ltd once had fanciful notions UK Focus Group Schools would be eligible for state funding! They should probably not even have "charitable" status.

    Principled teachers, however, are likely to be hounded out of their jobs if discovered. Science teachers, especially, already come under stricter scrutiny. There was an earlier anonymous comment, by a serving teacher, that his/her bright student was embarrassed by his good results in one of the sciences, as his parents and PBCC Ltd enforcers would not be particularly pleased. he had to confess in secret that he liked the sciences!

    Is it not time for the rights of the young person to supersede that of medieval bigotry?

    Illuminator

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  8. Joan’s analogy with particles and waves is thought-provoking. There are many other diverse fields in which we struggle to understand phenomena and concepts that can be accounted for in two alternative ways that look radically different but are not necessarily contradictory when properly understood.

    For instance, we have two contrasting accounts of how the mind works, one derived from the work of psychologists and the other from the work of neurophysiologists. One of them depicts our behaviour and decisions as caused by ideas, information, experiences, desires, fears and hopes, and the other depicts the same behaviour and decisions as caused by signals transmitted across synapses from neurones to other neurones, starting with sensory neurones and finishing with motor neurones. But we need both accounts. There are too many things we could not understand if we opted for only one or the other.

    In mechanics we have radical differences between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics. According to one account a particle can be in only one place at a time, and according to the other account it is in many places at the same time, and yet each account has an essential part to play in enabling us to understand, predict and control events around us.

    In our understanding and practice of ethics we have a serious contrast between deontology and consequentialism, and yet in analysing any ethical dilemma we generally use both of them and often other ethical approaches too. There are many circumstances in which our ethical decisions would become unacceptable if we treated the choice as an either/or decision and used only one of them. Some examples are found in Bible stories.

    Music can be understood in terms of concepts like genre, style, idiom, beauty, harmony, discord, passion and pathos, or it can be understood as a roomful of vibrating air, activated by vibrating strings and vibrating columns inside tubes, which in turn cause our eardrums to vibrate. The two accounts hardly overlap at all, but both are needed to understand what is happening.

    In economics we have Keyenian theory and monetary theory, which both guide policy-makers at times of economic crisis. They sometimes prescribe diametrically opposite remedies, but it is risky to listen to only one of their verdicts.

    God can be understood as one who dwells in light unapproachable, whom no man has seen or can see, or he can be understood as the one in whom we live and move and have our being. For thousands of years both concepts have contributed to an understanding of spiritual experiences. They are very different concepts but we do not need to choose between the two.

    What if creation and evolution turn out to be another example of a false dichotomy? Many Christians are grateful for the insights and benefits of evolutionary theory and at the same time give God the credit for it all.

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  9. I've often thought that the Focus Learning Trust doesn't understand the word 'theory' in its generally accepted sense. Perhaps they confuse it with 'hypothesis'.

    I think this is quite important because it seems that their children and young people are being seduced into thinking that the theory of evolution is mere speculation.

    Does the Focus Learning Trust also make a statement that their pupils regard the theory of relativity 'as a fallacy'?

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    1. Joan asks, “Does the Focus Learning Trust also make a statement that their pupils regard the theory of relativity 'as a fallacy'?”

      Yes, the document image is difficult to read but I think the first two sentences are, “Students attending Focus schools believe in God as the Creator and accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God. They reject the theory of evolution as a fallacy.”

      It seems a bit presumptuous for the Trust to say what the students believe. In a society where deviant beliefs are suppressed and punished, it must be difficult to know what anyone really believes.

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  10. The Questioner12 May 2014 at 09:03

    Is separation a theory or a hypothesis? I consider it a fallacy.

    I do note that although this paper is from as recent as 2007 it refers to the exclusive brethren including a link to that website. So they have not been named PBCC since Darby was a boy after all.

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    1. A puzzle I have on separation and eating, if anyone can help

      How do the EB, from JTjr onwards, think of and apply Luke 24 v.29/30?

      It seems they had This Man into their house and sat down to eat with him.
      They didn't know it was The Lord, or even if he was of the same faith, never mind being someone to break bread with

      Do the EB believe in these verses?

      Paul

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  11. Yes being a science teacher in a focus school is a challenge, and it was my pupil that was ashamed of his A*! I will hopefully be able to provide more of these such documents on guidelines for teaching Science in a school registered as having 'Special religious character' very soon....its not just evolution (although that does form a large part of the biology curriculum), but human reproduction, even hormones involved, fossil fuels (or indeed anything fossilised..), geology in general.....(God "made rocks look that old..")...the big bang theory, cells, red shift, the list goes on and on.....as I said, hopefully more soon.....

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    1. "God "made rocks look that old.."

      Its almost as if,they seem to believe.That if they can just continue to deny things for long enough.Then the evidence will change

      This is the sort of problem that occurs when holy books are being looked upon as being infallible.These fundamentalist choose to box themselves into a corner.They have allowed no room for misunderstandings and mistakes.No room to allow that people back within bible times,didn't have the sort of technology that we now have today

      As time goes on,its more than likely that the evidence will continually keep on mounting up against them.Their heritage that will be recorded within history,will be that of a group of people, whom chose to cause extreme harm to many, in hope of preserving themselves

      And meanwhile they get busy running the group called RRT

      They seem to think that the harm they have caused to many.Can somehow just be washed away, by following up with this facade

      Do they realize that evidence of the amount of harm they caused,has already been compiled and recorded within peoples health records.It has also been displayed upon TV media.

      They wont be able to keep this facade up forever.Because soon enough, someone within their ranks, will end up rocking their boat again.And they will shut them up,or become involved in excommunicating them

      Either way.They will still need to change



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  12. It is interesting, and somewhat contradictory, that there is a PBCC Ltd run company, "Edulab", providing resources for teaching in colleges, schools and similar places. Such resources also includes fossils (real or repro, I cannot say). I assume it might be in order to use these items if only to show the fossil record is incomplete, or planted by a Deity to test faith. Edulab is linked with a similar company on PBCC home turf, Australia.

    Exclusive Brethren are blind to inconsistencies in the way they profit from "the world". "Civic Seating", for example, also with an Australia HQ, are happy to fit out such centres of contamination as sporting arenas and Universities.

    Illuminator

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  13. The Questioner12 May 2014 at 19:52

    God "made rocks look that old..

    The PBCC God may be deceitful but mine isn't.

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    1. I was present at a meeting in the 1960s when Jim Taylor put forward that idea that God deliberately deceived the unfaithful about the age of the Earth. The idea that God made rocks and fossils and trees and galaxies look much older than they really are was argued in great detail by one of the Exclusive Brethren, Philip Henry Gosse, in 1857 in a book called Omphalos, which hardly anyone took seriously. Some thought it ridiculous and some thought it blasphemous.

      However, some similar idea must have been around much earlier because Thomas Paine criticised it in 1795. His said it was inconsistent to say God’s work is deceitful while his word is not, or that we should believe his word and not his work. On the contrary, Paine pointed out that God’s word could easily have been tampered with, so if word and work disagree we can be more certain of his work, “which no human invention can counterfeit or alter.”

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  14. Yes, I deal with Civic Seating and they are happy to work in other churches - see their website. I have to work with a lot of peeb businesses due to my field of employment and geographical location and I can assure you the products they sell or build to make a buck bear no reflection whatever on ther personal beliefs as claimed on their ridiculous website.

    AQS

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    1. How do the Exclusives reconcile selling seating for other churches where they dare not go during a church service to the teaching of JT jr that they should not sell anything that they would not use themselves. My sister had to give up a part-time job in the 1960s because of some of the products in the shop where she worked. e.g magazines and tobacco.
      It would be interesting to identify how many of JTjrs 200+ edicts have been overturned or quietly forgotten. They also forget the damage, distress and hardship they caused to thousands of people by enforcing these stupid ideas.
      We should not forget of course that they continue to enforce the equally unscriptural separation teaching originating from the same source despite their undertaking to the Charity Commission not to do so.

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  15. The Questioner14 May 2014 at 10:09

    The more of Taylor's edicts that are rejected the better. I don't mourn their loss but if there was an ounce of decency with current EB/PBCC leaders they would apologise to all those who were damaged by their earlier enforcement. One major item of Taylor's teaching which hasn't been overturned is, sadly, his noxious concept of separation from anyone who is not them.

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