How Should Schools Teach Evolution?

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A discussion of any theory is only as good as the science that supports it. It was only 500 years ago that science tried to support the theory of a flat earth. Less than 300 years ago, science still maintained that the earth was the center of the universe and that everything revolved around it. About 200 years ago, science supported that blood-letting cured diseases because they believed that excess blood in your body made you sick. In fact, it is told that George Washington died from being slowly bled to death by his doctors.

Continuing on, only in the last century or so, science has realized the relationship exists between the speed of light, energy, and matter. In the last half century, science has had to come to grips with chemo-synthesis to replace photosynthesis in some species near the deep ocean trenches. When I was in school forty years ago, science taught us that producers, ie. only plants with chlorophyl in the presence of light, could combine the elements to produce food, especially sugar, for the rest of the world to eat. They were wrong.

With so many ideas held to be right for so long when they were wrong, and the rapid pace of scientific discovery, it is more than likely that new cosmologies and theories of life will surface to replace evolution.

That species change is obvious. Any animal breeder can show you the proof of that by manipulating the genetic lines of dogs, cats, cows, etc. Proving that one species leads to another is a little tougher. To prove the evolution of a new genus is a larger step. Beyond that, evolution becomes a faith-based science.

One has to really want to believe that one cell became two, two became a colony with symbiotic relationships between the various cells, colonies merged to form higher life forms, and animals and plants migrated from the sea to land and back. There are just too many leaps to call evolution pure science. Really, is it easier to buy into the effects of enormous jumps by natural selection or just to believe in a creator?

Before life, we have to accept the big bang idea of a beginning to the cosmos. I could see that a willed creation by a superior being could leave effects that now are measured as a big bang. Besides, if I believe in God as a creator, it takes the pressure off to worry about how many big bangs have their been. The big bang does not solve the beginning, it just places a starting line that science has chosen to accept without asking where did the matter and/or energy in the first big bang come from.

If we could live a few more centuries, it would be interesting to see if the science of today is regarded as a primitive effort of early humans to solve difficult riddles with insufficient knowledge. That’s what we have done for our ancestors. Are we so arrogant to believe that our generations won’t suffer the same historical fate? If trees think, they probably laugh at our certainty over things we do not understand. Some of them have lived for thousands of years. We only make about 7 decades or so. In the last few hundred years data storage technology has allowed us to read what other short-timers have written and build on their unproven foundations.

Evolution? Teach it as a theory along with the other most prominent theories including creationism. Teach our kids to think and make up their own minds as new evidence comes to light.


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