Why should evolution be taught in school?

by Helen Fryman

Question: Why should evolution be taught in school?

Response: Science should be taught in school.  The data, how it was achieved, what has been discovered -- these are the backbone of science.  But science cannot mean much without interpretations as to meaning.  Evolution is the reigning paradigm governing those interpretations at the moment, and in that light should certainly be taught.  It is not a fact apart from simple speciation, however, and should not be taught as such.  I personally don't mind if creationism is not taught.  I do think, however, that challenges to the evolution interpretation should be discussed, and the idea of options to that interpretation be discussed. But as for actually injecting a religious viewpoint into the discussion in terms of the Bible, the Koran, the Vedas, or any other religious work -- that might be a good project for a term paper to compare different ideas, but it is not a good idea for science classroom study.  Since evolution itself is an idea that is quite pervasive, however, it certainly should be part of the curriculum, but it should not be treated as some sort of icon immune from challenge or disagreement.  To do so is to disallow students to think their own way through data and possible meanings.  We need scientists-in-training, not robots.




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