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Sunday school (def. Am. Heritage Dictionary) n.
A school generally affiliated with a church that offers religious instructions for children on Sundays.

College (def. Am. Heritage Dictionary) n.
A school of higher learning that grant the bachelor's degree in liberal arts or science or both for adults.

I always had disagreed with Darwin's theory of Evolution
because it seemed to contradict everything that I was taught in Sunday school.
(STC Environmental Biology Student, fall 2007)

x Our Savior Lutheran 9th grade Sunday School 12-15-2007

x Our Savior Lutheran Church Sunday School. Talk about evolution. View the x video below taken by a student in class. Not a very interesting video and not of very good quality. It is just posted to document what "educational" junk is going on in Sunday schools.

As was mentioned earlier, while anyone has the right to an opinion (educated or uneducated), students come to college to better their education and learn facts about the real world. It is important to be a well-educated, THINKING citizen, with an OPEN MIND for new knowledge, even if it "rocks the boat" of your religion. Remember, we are discussing EVOLUTION, not whether God exists or not.

As we have seen in the discussion about the Episcopal Church and the Catholic Church (above) -- being religious does not mean that one must deny scientific facts. Both churches have come out in support of evolution -- "on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points", as John Paul II said (although there is still ongoing internal debate). But because of poor education, educated statements like the one by the Pope about evolution in 1996, has not yet reached the "uneducated masses".

"If new species arise through evolution, then why do creatures exhibit features that look like they are designed? We now know that the structures of matter and living things are actually the outcome of evolutionary processes. Design in living organisms is now understood to be an internal rather than an external process, their forms arising within the creatures themselves rather than being imposed from without." (Episcopal Church. Catechism of Creation, Part II: Creation and Science.)

The paragraph above is talking about DNA, of course. Just because you don't have enough knowledge in biology, to understand or know about DNA, doesn't mean that you cannot listen, learn, and trust new scientific knowledge, and modify your faith accordingly.

Children are given a simplified version of reality, so that they can understand and learn. Adults don't see the world the same way as they did as children. But when it comes to religious views, some adults appear to retain the "child like" thinking.

Here is a student posting about Sunday school:

"I vaguely remember discussing evolution in high school, it wasn't until recently that I took Art Appreciation that the topic of evolution was brought about with the findings of cave drawings, etc. I always had disagreed with Darwin's theory of Evolution because it seemed to contradict everything that I was taught in Sunday school. We were taught that God created the Earth starting with Adam and Eve." (Student from a previous semester of Environmental Biology.)

-- If you feel Sunday schools provide quality education necessary for ADULTS -- why are you here at STC?

I think most students know that the "apple" in the "Adam and Eve original sin story" was symbolic. It was used as a symbol for temptation, and more... I also hope that most students understand that the "Garden of Eden" where the apple supposedly grew also was symbolic. The Bible stories are not descriptions of the real world. The "Garden of Eden" never existed.

Town Hall Topic x
xAre we Apes, or are we related to Adam and Eve?

x This is a very interesting topic, often very sensitive to religious people. Some are apparently ashamed of the idea of being related to the apes? If we are related -- then we are also apes. Oh, that is scary! Are we really ashamed to be apes? (See the cartoon below the Adam and Eve cartoons.)

The cartoon is used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, reposted here from Answers in Genesis, http://www.answersingenesis.org/aftereden/. For further source information and fair use statement see bottom of page.

The cartoon dated 1927 -1938 is used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, reposted here, from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain/projects/ejn/ejn_comics/. For further source information and fair use statement see bottom of page.

Children are usually given a simplified version of reality. This is so that they can understand and learn. Adults, especially COLLEGE EDUCATED adults, don't see the world the same way as they did as children. But when it comes to religious views, some adults appear to retain the "child like" thinking. This is a serious problem because in competition with the rest of the world the nation that led the world into the age of technology [the United States] is failing to provide its own children with the intellectual tools needed for the 21st century (as stated by The National Science Board, "Failing our Children: Implications of The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), NSB-98-154 (Arlington, VA: 1998)).

(Figure used for educational purpose, from Belk and Borden. 2004. Biology. Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Excellent textbook considered for use by this instructor in non-majors introductory biology at the time the web page was created. See copyright and fair use notice below.)

Evolutionary tree of humans. We have already looked at the evolutionary tree (in chapter 5) -- BUT LET's LOOK AT IT AGAIN. "Note that modern humans are the last remaining species of a group that was once highly diverse and consisted of several species that coexisted." Humans and the Chimpanzee have common ancestry. We had a common evolutionary line that separated about 5 million years ago. Two populations of the same species living in different areas with different environments, after being separated by some kind of geographic barrier, might evolve in different genetic directions due to different adaptations to the different environments. That is what happened to the common ancestor of Man and Chimp (the Pygmy Chimpanzee).

One difference between present day chimpanzees and humans is that we have 46 chromosomes (or put in another way 23 distinct chromosomes in the human egg or sperm), while chimpanzees have 48 (or 24). This chromosomal difference is sometimes used by people lacking science education who say, "see how different we are, we even have different number of chromosomes". But scientists have already investigated this and found that the human chromosome number 2 is a fusion of two ancestral chromosomes. (Also read this.)

In order for humans to become bipedal we had to sacrifice certain physical characteristics such as a much easier and "better" birth in our common ancestor with the chimpanzee, because of skeletal changes needed for us to become bipedal. The population that eventually evolved into Chimps continued to live in the rainforest, while the population that eventually evolved into Humans was exposed to a new grassland environment. This new environment eventually led to bipedalism and that gave us the ability to move around better -- move out of Africa. The rest is history...

The size and shape of the "birth canal" (the oval obturator foramen) is an interesting example of what we had to sacrifice to become bipedal. The photo above shows plastic casts. The upper two pelves are humans, female to the left, male to the right. Below them is a chimpanzee pelvis (sex unknown). The chimp pelvis doesn't look at all like the human pelves, because the chimp is not bipedal. (From the skeletal changes link above, http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/resources/clarifications/HumanBirth.html)

Notice that the chimp foramen is wider than the female human foramen, which is wider than the male human foramen. The human infant is always born immature and helpless. Humans have shorter gestation periods because a larger fetus (a larger head) to be compatible with a birth canal small enough to allow functional bipedalism. (From the skeletal changes link above, http://weber.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/resources/clarifications/HumanBirth.html)

Human birth problems (not just limited to pain and danger) and the long dependency on the parents of the human infant, are the "price we had to pay" for evolving hips that allowed bipedal locomotion. What was the adaptive advantage of being bipedal that allowed natural selection to go in this direction -- despite the disadvantages? Whatever it was, made the chimpanzee evolve for continued existence in the rainforest (where our common ancestor also used to live), while humans evolved bipedalism for living on the grassland savannah, and eventually "walked out of Africa"...


Source: http://www.handprint.com/LS/ANC/disp.html (Hominid Fossil Sites and Patterns of Hominid Dispersal.)
Used for educational purposes by Dr. Jan A. Nilsson, South Texas College -- to make sure students have
24/7 access to these Internet educational resources. For fair use statement see bottom of page.

Recognize the map above? You should...x

Finally, in an attempt to help those of you lacking a science background and unfortunately are indoctrinated by creationist ideas, here is a web site you might want to try. Don Johansen, the discoverer of the famous Lucy fossils (see below), has established an organization to promote education on human ancestry. Becoming Human, the organization's web site, http://www.becominghuman.org/, is filled with educational resources and teaching tools. (The photo of the primate is from the Becoming Human web site.)

Why are Adam and Eve white skinned in so many old pictures? Why are they dark skinned in the cartoons below from Answer in Genesis? (Answer in Genesis is a creationist web site.) Have we perhaps learned something after all during the last 2000 years?

The cartoon is used for educational purposes by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, reposted here from Answers in Genesis, http://www.answersingenesis.org/aftereden/. For further source information and fair use statement see bottom of page.

Human evolution started in Africa. For this reason the first humans must have had dark skin, an adaptation to protect us against harmful radiations from the sun.

Challenge apple: The Bible Adam and Eve story is a symbolic representation of the human start on Earth -- an artistic invention -- they never existed! (Unless of course you symbolically like to give the names to some Australopithecus ancestor that lived 3 million years ago. However, the most famous of them is already named Lucy -- after the Beatle song...

Lucy's skeleton -- downloaded from http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/Anthro/Anth101/The%20Four%20Subfields.htm
Model of Lucy -- downloaded from http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/troufs/anth1602/images/lucy-recon_big.jpg


Photo of Dikika baby, 3.3 million year old Australopithecus baby. Used for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES by Dr. Nilsson, South Texas College, scanned from National Geographic, November 2006.

x Human Family Tree and finding "Lucy"

"The Hominid Family Tree and the discovery of one of the most ancient ancestors of Human Evolution to date. Excerpt from the History Channel's "Ape to Man." (The sound is not perfect so I have decided not to make this a mandatory viewing, but it is a very informative video.)

x x

Then we have the age of the Earth, which is a story by itself -- but we don't have time for that story here (sorry). Here is a link to a page where you can order a human history poster (see the figure to the right) with important people and events organized in time, 6000 years from Adam until present.

Don't take offence or reject ideas -- don't burn flags or get mad at your kid's teacher -- or this instructor -- just because the ideas are new to you and go against tradition; give them careful consideration before drawing a conclusion. Sure, as stated several times on my web pages, you may want to maintain a HEALTHY skepticism for all points discussed in college. However, you must show consideration and respect for the knowledge and long training of instructors, and ponder other students' opinions, even though you may disagree with some of the things said in class. Remember that you are here to learn and that new advances in scientific understanding are often made when new ideas are expressed that go against traditional viewpoints (including religious viewpoints as the human history poster). This is not Sunday school. This is college.

"Also, the dedicated pursuit of scientific knowledge deserves our respect, and we should never be close-minded or dismissive of scientific claims if ever they seem to threaten our understanding of God's revelation to us." (Bishop Raymundo Pena)

"What I have against religion is that they start you when you are so defenseless. I was three or something. I believed in Santa Claus and the fairy godmother, of course I believed in virgin birth, a guy lived in a whale, and a woman coming from a rib. But then something very important happened to me that made me doubt all of this -- I graduated 6th grade!" Bill Maher (Religion can be dangerous) x

We have established that Sunday school is for kids. To proceed to chapter 9 click on the link in the left frame or click here.

Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, Jan A. Nilsson. Page created 10.IX.2005, last updated 19.VIII.2009, most likely during the wee hours of the morning on a G3 PowerBook owned by Jan A. Nilsson. Web page layout and design © and intellectual property Jan A. Nilsson. Content on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice may not be used for commercial purposes. All rights reserved. Except for educational purposes and 'fair use' (see below), reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited. If used for educational purposes and 'fair use', including photographs, source must be given. (Some clip art, texts and backgrounds used on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice downloaded for educational purposes and/or 'fair use' from Internet free domain has no source.)

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-- Fair Use Notice: Web pages on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice are used for educational purposes; I understand the "fair use notice" below as the correct interpretation of the copyright law. Fair non-commercial use is necessary in order to maintain an open and free Internet -- as originally intended. As an educator I thank whom it may concern for allowing the use of material under the "fair use rule" for educational purposes to educate this and future generations.

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(Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.)

If anyone feels that his or her material cannot be used this way I will immediately remove it if notified.

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