Geoscience Research Institute

IN A FEW WORDS

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 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 features.
    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.


1979

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