Should evolution be taught in public schools?Should evolution be taught in public schools?

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enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In response to #10, Creationism should be taught in religion class, Evolution should be taught in science class.

The Scientific Process, by its very nature, deals with the determination of fact by proof, religion establishes fact by axiom.  Facts must be proven, and yes, there are enough irrefutable facts for Evolution to stand the scrutiny of inquiry.

The same cannot be said for facts dictated by religion, which by definition, cannot be criticised, proven, nor disproven.

To equate one with the other with equal validity, while leaving the kids to figure it out for themselves, is to lead them to drowning in the deep sea of irrationality.

Evolution and Creationism are not equal, and should not be taught as such. The former is for scientists, the latter, for mystics.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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As part of exposing students to lots of different ideas and theories and teaching them how to collect and evaluate information so as to be able to formulate their own ideas and opinions based on the evidence, yes - evolution should be presented. As should intelligent design, creationism, and any other theories that come along. None of them can be presented as being irrefutable fact, so it's a matter of teaching kids how to think for themselves and make their own decisions.

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

This is not a question of presenting two opposing views to students and allowing them to build intellectual muscle in deciding what is right for themselves; this is a fundamental question of allowing children whom we have been entrusted to educate to embrace the irrational in the face of reason.

It would be interesting to study how many of those who object to Evolution object to Paleontology or Plate Tectonics.  Hypotheses can become theories which can become laws, but these are subject to proof. No one disputes the Laws of Continent Movement; why do they dispute Evolution? Akin to Paleontology and Plate Tectonics, it has its set of theories and yes, Laws -- we know certain things to be Laws, meaning they are true, not by dictum of some authority, but by proof, if we are to trust the evidence of accumulated scientific knowledge.  What is true is consistent.

Certainly individuals are free to question and reject such findings, but if they reject what has been proven to be true, then they must, to remain consistent in their arguments, reject the notion of the Scientific Process in its entirety. If so, earthquakes are caused by God's wrath, and fossils were placed by Him to test our Faith, the Earth is a few thousand years old, and Man is slightly younger.

Science is based on Induction; Religion is based on Deduction, with the axiom in this case, of "What Is Written In the Bible is Indisputably True."  There's no religious argument to be made otherwise, as you cannot dispute an axiom; to do so is to negate any discussion of religious deductions.

I wonder if Evolution would have been an issue if the Ancients had timed creation in the billions of years instead of a week.  To accept the latter premise in the face of evidence is to embrace the irrational, and rely on authority, or more insidiously, authority's dictum of what it decides to be true.

 

 

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I have to agree with post 7 that a prudent teacher is aware of dissenting opinions, on anything, and will present material accordingly.  To suggest that a difference of opinion (whether faith vs. science or anything else) is grounds for not teaching a subject would be dangerous for education.

Yes.  Evolution should be taught in public schools.  It should also be taught in private schools.  The world of academia is most successful when information is presented and students are guided on how to make educated decisions about what they want to agree or disagree with, and why.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Of course it should be taught in public schools since it is the scientifically accepted truth.  The public schools cannot simply choose not to teach something because some group of people do not believe it.  That said, a sensitive science teacher will tell their students something like "I don't really care if you believe this.  That's not important for what we are doing here.  You simply need to know what scientists say."  That gives students the ability to distance themselves from the material emotionally.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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It absolutely should be taught in schools, but with a thoughtful sensitivity to the fact that many students in a school may not believe those theories, and their religious understanding of creation should be respected and honored. Young people are very sensitive to these types of "tensions" in their lives, and the adults in the school need to be very careful how this topic is delivered.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I have to say that I believe that evolution should be taught in schools. If parents wish that their children do not study evolution, some schools will allow alternative assignments. Personally, I think that for students to be well-rounded, they need to be educated about all aspects of any subject.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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"Science is science" is an apt summation of why evolution theory should indeed be taught in schools. However, theory must be taught as theory while supporting evidence must be taught as supporting evidence: evolution theory is not yet indisputably determined in all its points. American schools may take the approach that large ideas are not "age appropriate" though important, thus curricula may dole out bits and pieces of large ideas year after year. This yields the impression that theories that are spoon-fed piecemeal are fixed and sure when they are in fact still in many instances theoretical.

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Absolutely it should. Science is science, and it has no connection to religion. Religion can be bent and manhandled to conform to science -- and vice versa -- but science is fact-based and should be taught as such. Now, this does not address the issue of teaching evolution side-by-side with intelligent design; in my mind, there should be religious classes (if approved by the board) which deal with religious teachings, and secular classes should focus on secular studies. I can tell you that in Jewish schools, students graduate with a very warped view of reality because they downplay and minimize secular studies. It is important -- especially for public schools, which should not have a political or cultural agenda -- for teachers to remain objective in their teaching, offer differing points of view if they choose, and answer student questions honestly even in areas they reject.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This one will be bound to increase discussion and debate.  I will fire off the first volley in arguing that I think evolution should be taught in public schools.  On the most wide of scales, public education should be embracing of as many narratives, as possible.  Evolution can be seen as a narrative as to how human beings came into existence.  This does not necessarily trade off with a religious point of view or a creationist element.  Different religious narratives have different points of emphasis as to creation.  I don't think that teaching Darwin in the public schools repudiates this spiritual element.  Darwin and evolution can be taught alongside with the idea that individuals can embrace creationism or the idea of an intelligent design.  Darwin's teaching of evolution is not a repudiation of religion, but rather an affirmation of thought and critical thinking skills.  In the end, to not teach Darwin represents a silencing of voice.  This is something that public education cannot embrace.  When public education is told to not teach a particular thinker or idea, our sensibilities as a great democracy are blunted.  In this light, I think that Darwin and evolutionary theory should be taught in public schools.

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yooph | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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I believe no- because here we're talking about public schools, in which there are students of various background and beliefs. And to show that we respect that, we can't make subjects, like evolution mandatory. Firstly, they may believe in something different, and if parent begin to think that this is interfering with their child's belief, its most likely that they won't like going to this certain school anymore. Some think evolution is scientifically true, but we need to accept the fact that not every one will accept that. In fact a report showed that 48% of americans (majority of the people who had been asked whether they believe in evolution) responded by saying they don't believe in it. 

 

Well, there's no evidence that chemistry exists yet we still learn about it...

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yooph | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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As a student who is currently learning the process of evolution I would be extremely saddened if it were to be removed from the learning curriculum. Having a scientific explanation on how current species came to be is, to me, very fascinating. The questions that I have asked when I was young have been answered. The society we live in today is one that somewhat accepts both religion and science. Besides religion I see no point of removing the "evolution unit" from schools for it is valuable knowledge that should be known to many.

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twitters22 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Should evolution be taught in public schools?

Should evolution be taught in public schools?

I wish schools would stop shoving evolution down our throats. Many people do not believein evolution. If they do teach evolution, they should also teach creationism to give students a broader perspective. I know evolution isn't a religion but it almost seems like one because it contradicts what so many people believe. If evolution is real, why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans, and why aren't there a bunch of half human-half monkeys running around that are still in the process of evolving?

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samiha1998 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

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I believe no- because here we're talking about public schools, in which there are students of various background and beliefs. And to show that we respect that, we can't make subjects, like evolution mandatory. Firstly, they may believe in something different, and if parent begin to think that this is interfering with their child's belief, its most likely that they won't like going to this certain school anymore. Some think evolution is scientifically true, but we need to accept the fact that not every one will accept that. In fact a report showed that 48% of americans (majority of the people who had been asked whether they believe in evolution) responded by saying they don't believe in it. 

 

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