Human Evolution, Science Based, or Religiously Based?
Can you believe there are still people who refuse to believe in evolution? Though saddening, it’s very true, and even worse, the teachers who are against the theory of evolution try to do away with teaching their students about it and instead want to teach them about creationism and religion (not very scientific!). In this article they took a look into why it’s so crucial for teachers to teach the theory of evolution and why its important to teach it from a certain stand point. They have also come across some new theories/ideas that can be taught alongside evolution. By "evolution" in this article, they mean both neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory in biology and chemical evolutionary theories for the origin of the first life from non-living chemicals. Over the years, school boards have been forced to address concerns about good science education as well as conflicting claims about constitutional limitations. So, a new approach was developed called, “Teach the Controversy.” The idea is to use scientific disagreements over evolution to help students learn more about evolution, and about how science deals with controversy. According to this approach, students should learn the scientific case for evolution, but in doing so they should study the scientific criticisms of various aspects of evolutionary theory. This new approach also allows students to practice important questioning and critical thinking skills as well as analysis over a very controversial topic; and most importantly, it allows each student to develop their own beliefs and stance on evolution- instead of just learning about the teacher’s viewpoint.
In 1995 a broad range of over 30 legal, religious and non-religious organizations signed a statement called "Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law." The joint statement agreed, "any genuinely scientific evidence for or against any explanation of life may be taught." After the U.S. Supreme Court had made a number of landmark decisions, the teaching of the Judeo-Christian story of creation at all or alongside evolution was banned from schools. In the Constitution the teaching of evolution as well as the teaching of scientific criticisms of prevailing scientific theories is permitted, but refusing or banning the teaching of evolution was deemed as going against the First Amendment. In 2013, the standards were changed again, and now indicate that students should be able to “communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.” So, if the teachers today are teaching evolution ‘correctly,’ after they have been taught all about it and all the controversies that go along with it, they should be able to put together their own viewpoints on evolution and be able to defend whatever their stance may be.
One of the biggest problems in the education system today is that states get to develop their own standards that they have their teachers teach by, that means students end up learning completely different things than other students their age just because they grew up out west rather than down south or in the northeast, and that problem is magnified in the controversy of how evolution should and can be taught. Even today, students in some states still aren’t getting properly educated on and about how human life got here and evolved; a sad truth.
Article: Teaching Evolution in Public Schools: A Short Summary of the Law
-Kelsey Morrison (2)