"Facts" and Facts

Susan Love Brown (SL_BROWN@ACC.FAU.EDU)
Thu, 7 Dec 1995 15:12:08 -0400

I find all of this talk about evolution and creationism fascinating.
Since teaching full time in Florida I have become aware that many
students find it necessary to "hide" their belief in creationism,
because they think it is going to interfere with their grades.
Sometimes students reveal their real positions after discovering that
they have done well in the course. This always shocks me, because I
never think of myself as that intimidating.

In general anthropology (which always begins with the biological), I try to explain the
difference between science and belief, stressing that because
something is "scientific" or a "theory" doesn't mean that it is the
final word. I try to show students how complicated is the process of
developing theory based on fossil evidence, etc. However, I also make
the point that as an anthropologist I cannot "privilege" one creation
story over another. But I make sure to include the Judeo-Christian
origin story along with samples from other cultures, hoping that
students will understand that their belief is one out of many. But
who knows if this is really working? I also make it a point to say
that students are not required to believe anything I say, but they are
required to know the course content, which entails knowing what
evolution is and all of the details about it.

Fortunately, I have never been asked to debate the topic of evolution.
In any case, I would leave it to the experts in the biological field.
But I can't help but support Bob Graber's position that it is
probably a pointless exercise, unless, of course, you are the only
speaker in the program.

Susan Love Brown

Susan Love Brown, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida 33431-0991
(407)367-3230; fax (407)367-2744