Mothering Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,292 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone give me a straightforward answer on whether Waldorf schools teach evolution? And if it is taught (even if only in high school), how is it taught? As scientific truth or as one of various theories of the origins of life?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
We've been discussing this in our study group linked <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?p=7764617#post7764617" target="_blank">here</a><br><br>
Seems that the ideal of Waldorf education is to help students gain an understanding of the dynamic nature of all scientific knowledge. Of course, that does not guarantee that it will presented this way in a given school.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,636 Posts
Nope, definitely not.<br><br>
I still need to ask my daughter how evolution was taught at the waldorf hs she attended. I don't think evolution would be presented before hs in most waldorf schools, so, for the majority of schools in the U.S. it still isn't an issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,636 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LizD</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7892065"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can anyone give me a straightforward answer on whether Waldorf schools teach evolution? And if it is taught (even if only in high school), how is it taught? As scientific truth or as one of various theories of the origins of life?<br><br>
Thanks!</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I have a close friend who is a professional scientist. He is a microbiologist, a researcher and professor at a major university, in the school of pharmacy. He is almost incapable, no is incapable, of asserting that anything is a "scientific truth." Science, like calculus, is a workable series of assertions of possibility. So, to the extent that anyone is presenting any scientific results as "truth" they are misrepresenting science as an activity.<br><br>
There is one realm of human thinking where truth can be asserted, which is mathematics. I knew a mathematician, doing post-doctoral work at the same university, who told a group once: "when I am at work, we discuss things that can be exactly, precisely true, or not true. When I go home, I have to decompress, because at first everything my wife says strikes me as untrue. She isn't a liar, I just have an impractical standard of what constitutes truth!" (paraphrased)<br><br>
As to the question of how waldorf schools teach evolution, I'm not sure. The two years I was at a waldorf school didn't include a block on the subject. I've never asked my daughter what she was taught at the waldorf hs she attended, and even though I worked at a waldorf school that included a hs, I never discussed the topic with any of the teachers. Sorry! I suspect it varies from school to school and teacher to teacher.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
Darwin is sometimes taught in 8th grade as a powerful influence in modern science and the Industrial revolution.<br><br>
Evolutionary theory and genetics are taught in high school, eg Lamarckism, natural and sexual selection, genetic drift, Mendelism.<br><br>
I can only hope that it isn't taught as an immutable truth. That would be contrary to how anything should be taught in Waldorf school. If Einstein had been indoctrinated that Newton was immutable truth, he couldn't have developed his theory of relativity. The tendency toward treating science as dogma doesn't nurture creative and intelligent future scientists, it simply manufactures a new posse of sheeplike "believers".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,636 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LindaCl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7895023"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Darwin is sometimes taught in 8th grade as a powerful influence in modern science and the Industrial revolution.<br><br>
Evolutionary theory and genetics are taught in high school, eg Lamarckism, natural and sexual selection, genetic drift, Mendelism.<br><br>
I can only hope that it isn't taught as an immutable truth. That would be contrary to how anything should be taught in Waldorf school. If Einstein had been indoctrinated that Newton was immutable truth, he couldn't have developed his theory of relativity. The tendency toward treating science as dogma doesn't nurture creative and intelligent future scientists, it simply manufactures a new posse of sheeplike "believers".</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Yeah, lately I've come across that sort of science being called "scientism" to differentiate it from the real thing.<br><br>
I'd say that Darwin and his followers were more influenced by the Industrial Revolution than the Industrial Revolution was influenced by them. The Industrial Revolution started in the 18th Century with the first working steam engine, the first mechanical loom, the spinning jenny, etc. Darwin's theory was pulled into service to support a ruthless economic system, at a point when it was becoming obvious that a ruthless economic system doesn't really work very well in the long run. One factoid that I've appreciated a long time: Marx and Engels didn't do their own direct research. Their sources for the data on the horrendous effects of industrialization?: various government reports on the horrendous effects of industrialization.<br><br>
Germany's industrial revolution wasn't nearly as nasty as England's because they had the benefit of seeing what had gone wrong and avoiding some of it. I adore industrial history! Lots of misery and pollution (alas), but also all sorts of interesting interactions and problem solving.<br><br>
Sorry, going way off topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,636 Posts
Just wanted to add:<br><br>
I'm very uncomfortable with evolution being used as a sort of litmus test for whether a school teaches science properly, for several reasons. A school could be lousy on evolution and great on physics, for example, or vice versa. Even in schools where all the curriculum is prescribed, the teacher makes a huge difference in whether the students get it or not.<br><br>
As I said in the other thread, the whole creationism versus evolution debate is polarizing and politicizing what should be an open discussion with the freedom to consider any evidence and any questions and any problems.<br><br>
When I did my first year in college, I took two science classes one semester. Botany and Physical Anthropology (not sure of the exact name). The botany class assumed evolution, but freely discussed all the unexplained pieces and problems in an undogmatic way--coevolution of plants and insects, for example. It was educational in the best sense and I learned a lot. The anthropology class was dogmatic (the textbook, not the teacher), and as I did my own independent research I discovered that some of the illustrations in the textbook were distorted to support the ideas of human evolution (angles at which the skulls were shown, for example), various controversies, failings and problems were downplayed and the evidence in favor of human evolution from some sort of proto-ape was exaggerated, in my opinion. This was in 1985, and I suspect the problems have just gotten worse. Further, the distortions spread into minor details. For example, they talked about childbed fever as a sign that human evolution hasn't done well when it comes to reproduction. This is nonsense, as childbed fever was caused not by a weakness in the women, but ignorance on the part of doctors, who stuck their dirty hands inside of women who were giving birth.<br><br>
What I'm trying to get at is that attempts to make a super-solid case for something ends up with, at best, distortions, at worst, outright lying. I ended up with more doubts about human evolution than when I started the class!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Neither of my first-through eighth grade waldorf grads had evolution. Neither attends a waldorf high school, so I can't speak to that.<br><br>
David
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top