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Israel to start teaching evolution in Middle School

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  • Israel to start teaching evolution in Middle School

    Source: For the First Time, Israeli Schools Will Teach Evolution in Middle School – But With One Key Part Missing


    While in the U.S. there’s a passionate debate over the teaching of evolution versus creationism, it might be surprising to learn that evolution has not officially been taught to elementary or middle school-aged students in Israel.

    That’s now changing with a decision by the Education Ministry, which sets national policy over what is taught in Israeli schools, to begin teaching Darwin’s theory to eighth- and ninth-grade classes beginning this fall.

    However, the Israeli news site Ynet reported Tuesday, the most controversial part of the topic – the assertion that humans originated from apes — will be left out of the curriculum.

    The focus will instead be on heredity, natural selection and survival of the fittest.

    Currently, the theory of evolution is taught only in advanced high school biology classes, which are elective courses taken by pupils preparing for matriculation exams in the sciences, Ynet reported.

    According to Education Ministry statistics, only 15,000 Israeli students take the biology matriculation exam, suggesting that until now, most students likely never had a formal lesson at school on the theory of evolution.

    The biblical account of creation depicted in the book of Genesis is taught in Israeli schools starting in elementary school.

    An Education Ministry committee deliberated for months over the issue, trying to navigate between the appeals from scientific advisers and the needs of religious schools serving the devout Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths in Israel.

    An unnamed education policymaker told Ynet: “The teacher in class will explain the survival chances of individuals in their environment when those adapted better to their environment will pass on these traits to their descendants, allowing them better chances to survive.”

    Dr. Ariel Chipman of the Hebrew University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior said that introducing the new course curriculum was made possible only as a result of omitting the issue of human evolution.

    “There isn’t too much difference between the evolution of humans to that of animals, but if taking out humans from the theory is what it takes to incorporate Darwin’s theory — one of the most important scientific theories of our time — to the education system, than it is fine by me,” Chipman told Ynet.

    “I honestly don’t think that the evolution of humans is the most important issue in Darwin’s theory; once we understood the evolutionary principles, we have no other choice but to conclude that humans have undergone a process of evolution as well,” he added.

    In the U.S., a new Gallup poll showed that 42 percent of Americans said believe that God created humans in their current form, while 19 percent said that humans evolved without divine guidance. Thirty-one percent said they believe mankind evolved, but with God guiding the process.


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    Apparently, and somewhat surprising to me at least, the reaction from the Orthodox community has not been unanimously against the move but has been described as "mixed." For instance while some have declared that this decision was a "mistake," the Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah said that they welcome the move stating that it was important for children to be exposed to "different perspectives."

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

  • #2
    Um, you do know Israel tends to be politically liberal, right? Israeli politics are fascinating but somewhat schizo from an American POV (downright right wing from a European POV).

    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


    "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
      Um, you do know Israel tends to be politically liberal, right?
      Explaining why it was only now before they allowed evolution to be taught to those not in advanced biology classes, right?

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
        Explaining why it was only now before they allowed evolution to be taught to those not in advanced biology classes, right?
        The 'schizo' part, probably. Israel is a very strange political animal - but it's really not all that politically conservative.

        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


        "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

        My Personal Blog

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
          The 'schizo' part, probably. Israel is a very strange political animal - but it's really not all that politically conservative.
          I believe it depends on the issue at hand whether one has a conservative, liberal, or religious view. I am surprised at the discomfort many in Israel apparently have toward evolution. Many Jews are pragmatic to indifferent concerning the Torah or whether the interpretation is literal or not. Many are pragmatic to the point of agnostic/atheistic view.
          Last edited by shunyadragon; 06-05-2014, 12:37 PM.
          Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
          Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
          But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

          go with the flow the river knows . . .

          Frank

          I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

          Comment


          • #6
            This really shouldn't be a liberal/conservative issue. The core concepts here (esp. natural selection, genetics) are commonly taught in middle schools in the US, and generally do not cause any problems.
            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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            • #7
              Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
              I believe it depends on the issue at hand whether one has a conservative, liberal, or religious view. I am surprised at the discomfort many in Israel apparently have toward evolution. Many Jews are pragmatic to indifferent concerning the Torah or whether the interpretation is literal or not. Many are pragmatic to the point of agnostic/atheistic view.

              Any issue can have a L/C stance to it. And no person or group is perfectly one or the other on all issues - human, and all that. As a whole, Israel tends to be socially liberal, fiscally conservative and conservative toward security. The result is a mishmash when you look at specific issues.

              "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


              "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

              My Personal Blog

              My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                This really shouldn't be a liberal/conservative issue. The core concepts here (esp. natural selection, genetics) are commonly taught in middle schools in the US, and generally do not cause any problems.
                Sure, it should - the fact is you cannot teach every possible thing in schools and so long as that is true, the decisions of what is and is not taught and how it is presented are very much political issues. What is taught affects society and the body politic - it's perfectly correct for citizens to take a stance on such matters and to lobby for or against given items. What's wrong is trying to pretend (you aren't doing this) that education has no political ramifications and is therefore 'above' politics (you're in this ballpark).

                Truth is not actually the deciding factor even if we allow that nat. selection/genetics are true (not disputing, just framing the argument). The basics of nuclear weapon manufacture are provably 'true' - and a really bad idea to teach (even if you can find them on the Internet). Granted we don't want to teach falsehood but merely being true does not automatically override the political, societal, financial or any other legitimate area of concern (we don't teach how to use poison for the same reason). Politics is messy - humans tend to be that way - but it is also the legitimate means of deciding how we will proceed as a nation/society and education, especially publicly funded, is correctly within its sphere.

                "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                My Personal Blog

                My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rogue06 View Post


                  Apparently, and somewhat surprising to me at least, the reaction from the Orthodox community has not been unanimously against the move but has been described as "mixed." For instance while some have declared that this decision was a "mistake," the Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah said that they welcome the move stating that it was important for children to be exposed to "different perspectives."
                  It seems that I shouldn't really have been surprised that many in the Orthodox Jewish community don't have a problem with evolution. It appears that over the years many of their leaders held a somewhat Theistic Evolutionary stance and even some of those who were critical of evolution like Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808--1888) declared that it wouldn't pose a threat to Orthodox Jewish belief.

                  I'm always still in trouble again

                  "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                  "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                    Sure, it should - the fact is you cannot teach every possible thing in schools and so long as that is true, the decisions of what is and is not taught and how it is presented are very much political issues. What is taught affects society and the body politic - it's perfectly correct for citizens to take a stance on such matters and to lobby for or against given items. What's wrong is trying to pretend (you aren't doing this) that education has no political ramifications and is therefore 'above' politics (you're in this ballpark).

                    Truth is not actually the deciding factor even if we allow that nat. selection/genetics are true (not disputing, just framing the argument). The basics of nuclear weapon manufacture are provably 'true' - and a really bad idea to teach (even if you can find them on the Internet). Granted we don't want to teach falsehood but merely being true does not automatically override the political, societal, financial or any other legitimate area of concern (we don't teach how to use poison for the same reason). Politics is messy - humans tend to be that way - but it is also the legitimate means of deciding how we will proceed as a nation/society and education, especially publicly funded, is correctly within its sphere.
                    I think a more apt analogy here would be saying that atomic theory is a bad idea to teach because it can lead to nuclear weapons manufacture.

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                      I think a more apt analogy here would be saying that atomic theory is a bad idea to teach because it can lead to nuclear weapons manufacture.
                      It's not an analogy - it was an example of something we wouldn't teach despite being true.

                      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                      "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                      My Personal Blog

                      My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                        It seems that I shouldn't really have been surprised that many in the Orthodox Jewish community don't have a problem with evolution. It appears that over the years many of their leaders held a somewhat Theistic Evolutionary stance and even some of those who were critical of evolution like Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808--1888) declared that it wouldn't pose a threat to Orthodox Jewish belief.

                        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                        "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                        My Personal Blog

                        My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                          This really shouldn't be a liberal/conservative issue. The core concepts here (esp. natural selection, genetics) are commonly taught in middle schools in the US, and generally do not cause any problems.
                          There are ongoing problems in many states in the USA concerning the teaching of evolution particularly in religious conservative areas. Many religious private schools will not teach evolution.
                          Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                          Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                          But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                          go with the flow the river knows . . .

                          Frank

                          I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Are we talking about evolution or evilution?

                            The former is a well-supported theory, the latter is evil.

                            K54

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There is a trend in USA, which is a parallel in Israel. In the USA the higher the church attendance on Sunday the more likely they are to reject evolution. In Israel it is the more devote religious who have an objection to the teaching of evolution. Most of the general population is strong cultural investment in Judaism, but are most often secular indifferent to the religious belief in Judaism.
                              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                              go with the flow the river knows . . .

                              Frank

                              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                              Comment

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