Origins 6(2):55-56 (1979).
Brief summaries of the main conclusions of the leading presentations are given below for those who may find the complete articles too long or technical.
THE ATTITUDE OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS TOWARD THE TEACHING OF CREATION AND EVOLUTION IN THE SCHOOLS
The recent increase of activity in the evolution-creation
controversy has emphasized the significant dichotomy that exists in public education
between the wishes of the taxpayers that support the schools and the evolutionists who
would have only their views presented. A number of public opinion polls have been taken,
showing that about ¾ or more of the general public would prefer that both creation and
evolution be taught. A study of secondary-school biology teachers also showed that about
half thought that evolution was a theory and not a fact and that alternative theories
should be presented. The study reported in detail here deals with the opinions of
prospective teachers in a teacher-training program.
An opinionnaire was designed to assess the attitudes of undergraduate students about the creation-evolution question. In addition, a sample of biology graduate students was utilized to compare graduate and undergraduate opinions. From a total of 516 undergraduates, 91.0% felt that both creation and evolution should be taught. In addition, 43.0% of the undergraduate students classified themselves as "pure creationists," 46.0% as "theistic evolutionists," and 8.0% as "atheistic evolutionists." Of the sample of 74 natural-science graduate students, 72.0% felt that both evolution and creation should be taught in the schools. Also, 36.0% classified themselves as "pure creationists," 46.0% as "theistic evolutionists," and 14.0% as "atheistic evolutionists."
THE ORGANIC LEVELS OF THE YELLOWSTONE PETRIFIED FORESTS
In the fossil forests of Yellowstone one sees scores of layers of
petrified trees (many of them upright) that have been interpreted as successive forests
preserved in growth position. Many thousands of years would be required to grow these
successive forests; hence, they have significant time implications for the creation and
evolutionary models of origins. At the base of many of the tree layers, one finds finer
sediments that contain organic material and that have been interpreted as soils. One may
assume either the trees grew in their present position or that trees and soil were
transported and deposited about the same time. A sequence of successive forests could be
accommodated within a short period of time by the transport model which is favored by the
author who presents evidence indicating that the organic zones do not show normal soil
The main points in support of this view are: 1) The organic zones are often thin or absent despite the presence of abundant or large petrified trees. 2) The organic profile may be reversed to that expected in normal soils, and there is no evidence of differential decay from top to bottom. 3) There is no evidence of the presence of animals or animal activity as would be expected on a normal forest floor. 4) Several areas show complex multiple and branching organic levels which suggest transport rather than in situ development. 5) Vertical microscopic sections through the organic layers show the type of sedimentary features and sorting of organic material expected from transport. 6) Clay is usually absent or, when present, does not appear to be related to the organic zones. 7) Unweathered feldspar crystals which are expected from rapid burial and not from slow soil development are abundant.
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