SA teacher "forced to quit" after teaching evolution.

My emphasis added:

A science teacher at an upmarket Cape Town school has found herself at odds with senior staff over her desire to [b]teach evolution in science lessons[/b].

“I explicitly put teaching natural selection on the syllabus for the year; I made a three week slot; I came with practical experiments they could do. What I discovered was, I was the only person teaching natural selection,” said a science teacher at a Cape Town high school who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity.

She said that the teachers in the school’s science department were mainly Christian and that she was reprimanded over teaching the scientific concept.

Teaching scientific concepts in a science class, whod’ve thunk?

Did they name the school?

Nope, I’m sure that would’ve hindered her “condition of anonymity”.

I suppose so; I’m sure parents would like to know, though. If the school is “upmarket” it’s probably private, unless this is just the usual crap journalism from news24 who describe a rowing boat as a ‘luxury yacht’.

Parents who had been made aware of the teacher's lesson plans had apparently also told their children to dismiss the teacher's lessons. [...]

“One kid told me that his dad had already told him that he was to ignore everything that I said about evolution because it was a load of nonsense. The parents are preparing them to reject it.”

Another one for … laughs?

"I met a Muslim Biology teacher who refused to teach evolution and I met a Christian Geography teacher who refused to teach plate tectonics.

She says about her new job:

".. my life has got even more interesting now because I've joined a school that's a cult. They believe that their leader has insight and he believes that the entire solar system was created for human beings, and that animals and plants are the rejected parts of what would've been the human body that don't belong, and the last thing to be rejected was bacteria.

“And don’t bother that the fossil record goes the other way round because he had these insights through his spiritual and meditative journeys. So now I find myself out of the frying pan into the fire.”

the FUCK?!

:confused: I’ve been wondering when this fight would start in SA. I honestly had no idea just how bad it was until I read some of the comments. Scary stuff. Scarier people…

jisses. you dont say. so bacteria is the fat kid of the animal world then?

It’s probably some private, independent school, because evolution is very explicitly in the syllabus of government schools. If it is a government school, the teacher needs but to lodge a complaint with the department of education.

Here’s something in the article that struck me as very curious:

“…they know it is E=mc², it’s not E=mc² plus baby Jesus,” psychohistorian Auke Slotegraaf told News24."

Psychohistorian!? Who’s been reading too much Asimov?

Slotegraaf is an astronomer. Perhaps he was pulling the journalist’s leg. :slight_smile:
He is about my age, and when we were in our teens we were both members of the South African Astronomical Society. We briefly corresponded (the old-fashioned way, via handwritten letters). I doubt if he’ll remember me, but I remember him well because of his unusual name. It was only a few months ago that I realized he eventually became an astronomer, when I saw his name on the web somewhere, and I was glad to see he had realized his boyhood dream. I turned out to be way too dumb in math to be an astronomer. :slight_smile:

Or maybe not :wink:


Hmm, can’t work out what that site is all about. They don’t explain anywhere. But seems to me Slotegraaf was indeed perhaps pulling the journalist’s leg. :slight_smile:

He does have a forum account which may be helpful if you wish to contact him, but he hasn’t been active in more than three years. The last time I corresponded with him was concerning a rebuttal to a YEC talk about Noah’s Flood given at Maties by Dr Emil Silvestru.


The Department for Basic Education should be able to take action against this school if they actually give a shit,I’m not sure of their jurisdiction over private schools though. These teachers actually go against the RSA educational constitution and the aims of the National Curriculum. Mainly the principle of

“Active and critical learning: encouraging an active and critical approach to learning, rather than rote and uncritical learning of given truths”

The whole set of principles looks pretty encouraging on paper but how far it is implemented is another thing. If the school is following the SA curriculum, the new CAPS syllabus is actually policy not so it requires adherence rather than loose interpretation and in Geography at least, Plate tectonics is one of the modules that must be covered. Evolution is also in the Gr 11 and Matric Life Sciences syllabus, so on top of everything these teachers are also disadvantaging the students further as they would be examined on these topics and wouldn’t have covered them which also makes them professionally negligent. (wtf!!)

I’d be taking this motherfuckers to an employment tribunal

If it’s an independent school they can probably do as they please, though I’m not sure.

Yeah but the thing is most syllabi/ syllabuses (?!) for subjects such as geography and life sciences have modules on “controversial” subjects it was that it said she “desired” and “planned” 3 weeks of it - so it must be off the grid and unaccountable to a certain extent. I’m not sure what the many eponymously named christian schools teach in their lessons- in fact I weep at the thought of it

And so you should, a very senior colleague of mine with a private catholic school education didnt know what helium was and why some balloons float and others dont…

Well OK, there’s woo and there’s also downright incompetence. A colleague of mine recently ranted about his daughter’s mainstream school who had this moron science teacher. She told kids various gems that had to be righted by said colleague personally (because teacher vehemently fought the daughter’s assertions).

These included:

  • Earth has an atmosphere because it has gravity. Other planets do not have atmospheres, because they do not have gravity. Conclusion: The Earth is the only planet with gravity.

  • When you apply a force to something and it doesn’t move, it applies an equal and opposite force back. BUT that only holds for stuff that isn’t the earth, in the case of standing on the earth, the surface of the earth does NOT apply an equal force to you that opposes gravity. (how she believes this works is a mystery)

Now, the first assertion alone has so many things wrong with it that my brain hurts. And this is from a “trained” science teacher that DOES teach evolution, etc. Exactly HOW evolution is taught, is another matter I’m sure…

Palaeontologist Dr Jurie van den Heever weighs in on the flipside of the situation where certain teachers refuse to teach evolution.

Incompetent teachers are just one aspect of the problem. Equally incompetent parents constitute the more important issue. Everybody is so busy shouting to be heard that nobody is listening anymore — not that they could hear anything above all the clamour even if they wanted to.


Quite. Maybe Newton’s third law holds for shouting forces too. :frowning:



Reflecting back on my eldest’s years at school, I’m gobsmacked at the amount of teaching I personally had to do. How much I had to coach (and still does with my youngest) as to absorb the correct facts but still being able to appease the teacher with responding with the "correct " answers in order to pass set exams. It was (is) a constant juggle to make sure they understood exactly what is right but simultaneously being able to manipulate the system. Thank goodness that I’m a reader and we had endless sessions with encyclopedias spread open on the lounge floor cross-referencing facts.

According to the article I linked to earlier, “the [CAPS] document [for life sciences] also recommends two weeks for learners to be taught about alternatives to evolution, including creationism and intelligent design.”

I’m both puzzled and alarmed that this provision should be included. Neither creationism nor intelligent design is science in any rigorous sense of that word. Creationism isn’t science because it isn’t falsifiable. Intelligent design isn’t science because it lacks objective standards for distinguishing designs that are the result of directed intelligence from those that are not. In any case, “god” (or whatever name you wish to give the ostensible creator/intelligent designer) is not any kind of useful, illuminating and/or fruitful explanation for anything. It merely defers the questions by being a placeholder for “I don’t know”.

I very much doubt that these powerful criticisms of those alternatives even make it into the life sciences syllabus.

No, this inclusion smells suspiciously like an appeasement gambit so that religious teachers and parents are mollified that their origins beliefs aren’t simply elbowed aside as they rightfully should be. The dark and dangerous side of this clause is, of course, that it legitimises creationism and intelligent design in the minds of pupils … er, I mean lennahs.