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Do Creationists make good science students?

A letter from a longtime participant on my blog, Dave Van Dyke (left above), who has written a Ph.D. dissertation on the effect Creationist beliefs have upon the learning success of high school science students:

One of my favorite childhood memories is seeing "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with my father. My dad took me because had seen a glowing review of the film by Roger Ebert on Channel 11 WTTW out of Chicago. "Raiders" was the first movie I ever saw twice. Little did I know that, 30 years later, I would befriend the very guy who told my Dad to go see what became (and remains) my all-time favorite movie.

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A few years ago, I clicked a box on the upper right-hand corner of Roger's site labeled "Roger Ebert's Journal." Roger had posted a reflection about a movie called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." I found myself involved in a discussion in the "Comments" section about evolution: What it means, how it works and why it is important. You see, I teach science in a middle-school classroom in South Bend, IN. There was this guy on the blog defending intelligent design creationism named Randy Masters. I remember thinking "...this guy Randy just will not quit." Although neither of us budged a bit, we became friends.

Last winter, Randy and I met at a restaurant in Southwest Michigan. I told Randy then what I purposefully haven't told anyone else in Ebert World until now: I had been writing a dissertation on the effect of creationism on my students' learning. I was doing it through Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI. Andrews University (a wonderful school) happens to be a school run by Seventh Day Adventists, none of whom accept evolution.

Randy asked me to send him a copy of the dissertation when I was done. I finished a couple weeks ago, so I sent him an Email and attached it to Roger, thinking he might be interested. I wrote that part of what kept me going included the breaks I took at Ebert World.

Roger greatly honored me by proposing the dissertation be posted on his blog, and asked me to write this introduction. So I did.

I feel have made many good friends here. Thanks to all of you.

David Van Dyke Click here for the file download:Van_Dyke_Dissertation Nov 23 2010.docx And here is a PDF file: Van_Dyke_Dissertation Nov 23 2010 .pdf

Music and news about Dave's rock and roll band, the Van Dyke Revue. The Ebert blog entry on "Expelled," Win Ben Stein's Mind. Photo at top, l-r, Dave Van Dyke, Randy Masters and me at Ebertfest 2010.

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