young earth dilemma

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by sculptor, Apr 6, 2018.

  1. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Young earth dilemma:
    One of my sons(Michael) teaches science in a Mennonite school. One of his brightest students seems to be a young earther. Recently while teaching biology he got into evolution, and found a communication problem. Currently he is teaching geology and running into even more of a problem while talking about rocks(Iowa limestone) that are millions of years old.
    Mike is concerned that if he pushes the subject too much the student's parents might take him out of the school(he had been home schooled).
    Can he get through to the student such that the conflict does not escalate.
    If so, how so?
    Curiously, the student did not have a conflict when plate tectonics was introduced.

    Does anyone have access to James Hutton's unpublished preface to his Theory of the Earth?
    Wherein, he addressed his concerns that the book would likely run into religious criticism?

    If so, could/would you post it here.

    any other thoughts?
     
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  3. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    The best a science teacher or scientist can do is present the mainstream views.

    If I were teaching evolution in a context which included some students with religious beliefs contrary to Darwinian explanations, I might try the following.
     
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  5. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Evolution for Dummies
    The Complete Idiot's Guide to Evolution.

    Most of my relatives are rabidly religious, including snake handlers. I sneak copies of the above books to the younger people so they don't look stupid.
     
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I've seen a bright student handle the issue (with their family) via the concept of "God years".

    We have already some examples at hand: kilometers/miles, Centigrade/Farenheit, dog years/people years.

    As flawed humans we use "human years", and scientists in particular use them because all humans have them in common - it's easier to do the arithmetic when everyone is using the same units.

    There is no implication of capital T "Truth" involved - it's just a scale unit, derived from our small and inadequate human perceptions.

    Just a suggestion. Sometimes works.
     
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  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    This link seems to quote and discuss it: http://adamslostdream.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/james-hutton-and-lost-preface.html

    I suspect the best course is not to labour the age of the Earth or evolution, but to focus on the uncontentious areas of science and get him hooked on those. And if he is OK with things like plate tectonics, then teach that and allow the student to work out for himself (it may take some years) that the whole thing only really hangs together if the Earth is old. When the challenges come, your son will of course have to say that science has a lot of evidence for the age of the Earth, but I think the key thing is not to make a confrontation of it and to try to be understanding that this guy will be wrestling with cognitive dissonance.

    The hope has to be that your son can save this student from YEC beliefs, by sowing the seeds of an interest in science. If he were in England then he could be taught in Religious Education class the mainstream Christian interpretations of Genesis etc, which do not conflict with science, but I guess one can't do that in the States, so perhaps best not to go into that.

    Several of these c.19th earth scientists seems to have been clergymen. Buckland was one too - Dean of Westminster, no less!
     
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  9. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with exchemist's statement - let the student work it out for himself.

    The student is going to have more conflicts than this to resolve in his lifetime, best not to alienate him. Teach the mainstream view and try to remain non-confrontational.
     
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  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Is that not legitimising the view as being scientific? As such I would discourage it from a science class.
    At best I would tell the person that the young-earth notion is not a scientific matter, and leave it at that.
     
  11. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

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    i am guessing this is an etherial word usage ?

    science does not try and convince people.
    science does not change its language
    science just is as it is found.
    much like a rock.

    choosing to do battle with the childs parental authority boundarys is one of the most important parts school teachers play in the developing minds of children.
    Civilisation as we know it would be stuck in a feudal age if it were not for this aspect.

    the "how" is dependant on the schools policys.

    what is best for the child ?
     
  12. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    The Earth isn't young, that's a fact. If they can't deal with it, they can GTFO.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Very Bolton-esque of you. Do you think John Bolton would make a good teacher?
     
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  14. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Public schools shouldn't be in the business of teaching fake facts. Of course, the best thing is to show the evidence of geology. I don't understand what other option is there?
     
  15. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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  16. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    In Missouri we have hundreds of feet of limestone. "Limestone is a sedimentary rock, which means it was formed from small particles of rock or stone that have been compacted by pressure. Sedimentary rock is important because it often contains fossils and gives clues about what type of rock was on the Earth long ago. Just like a tree's rings tell a lot about its environment, layers found in sedimentary rock can tell about important changes in the environment."

    We find fossil coral here too, 443 feet above sea level.
     
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Nobody is suggesting that. Read the thread. The discussion is about a suitably diplomatic approach, to avoid deterring a potentially talented science student, who has the misfortune to have had a YEC upbringing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  18. Michael 345 Bali in Nov closer Valued Senior Member

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    Obviously a CIA plant

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  19. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    One of my cousins had a chunk of that coral in her flower bed. I pointed out what it was and she refused to consider the idea.

    "It's just a pretty rock I found in the woods." Faced with hard evidence she reverted to denialism rather than face facts. Nothing new with that lot, of course.
     
  20. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    The fat area of the dammed river out in front of my house is called Coralville lake. Coralville is a town south of us.
    The "mother of pearl" inner surface of the 200+ million year old bivalves are still shiny --- those things may not have been Rhodes scholars, but they did know how to build something that lasts.
    In some road cuts and quarries one may see sedimentary rocks from 3 geological periods.

    Old saying among sculptors: "everyone can look but we must learn to see".
     
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  21. Michael 345 Bali in Nov closer Valued Senior Member

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    Not being rude - how many neighbours did you have in the region without opposing thumbs ?

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  22. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    There were, at last count, 1,143 people* who were qualified to attend our family reunions. I call them "the Rabbit Clan". Best thing that ever happened to me was moving from the Ozarks to Indiana. Got me away from their institutionalized stupidity. Indiana is no MIT prep school but I managed to get an education despite the inertia of the '60s.

    *Living in six states along the Big Muddy.
     
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    ......built from platelets of aragonite (one of the crystal structures of CaCO3), which have dimensions of the same order as the wavelengths of visible light, hence the iridescence. Interestingly however, Wiki says that aragonite is thermodynamically unstable with respect to calcite and therefore tends to covert itself into calcite over timescales of 10-100m yrs.

    Coralville has Devonian fossil beds, doesn't it? These would be 350-400m yrs old, but as you mention 200m yr old fossils I presume you are referring to some younger rocks. You mention 200m yrs old, which would put them near the boundary between the Triassic and Jurassic.
     

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