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Evolution in Schools

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The Story of Evolution, Spring 2005
First Web Papers
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Evolution in Schools

Eleanor Carey

Evolution appears to be a hot topic of debate at the moment, and many people are paying attention to potential changes in the way that evolution is taught and the relationship between the teaching of evolution and teaching other theories on the origin and development of life on earth. The question of whether evolution should be taught in school at all must be asked as educators look at their methods of presenting the theory and others to their students. Because of the diversity of students in high schools and the questions that all people ask about their origins, and because of the nature of the conflict between creationists and Darwinists, it is important that evolution be taught in some way in high schools.

To not address the story of evolution in high school would be to ignore an important part of scientific history (as the existence of debate on the subject proves, evolution is a story of great importance to many people), and to ignore a question that most people ask, especially curious young people (Mayr stated in What Evolution Is that mankind wishes to explain what is unknown and that as far back as the most primitive man there has been folklore addressing questions of where the world and human life came from) (Mayr, p.5(2)). With so much evidence going into the story of evolution that Ernst Mayr could state that evolution is a fact (Mayr, page 275(2)) and considering the availability of other explanations for our origins, failing to address the issue in schools would not only be absurd (as this is not a topic about which we know nothing but a topic addressed by religion, by Darwinian evolution, and theories of intelligent design). Evolution may not be a fact, but it is a theory of enough strength that it may not be overlooked. Whether evolution is addressed as a fact or as a theory, it must be addressed as the number of facts that have led to the formulation of the theory and to so many people working on the theory and accepting it as viable.

The most beneficial way to present information about evolution would be along with the problems recognized in the theory and the questions that have yet to be answered by the theory; this will, if nothing else, allow students the most complete understanding of the story of evolution, and whether or not other theories are presented alongside the story of evolution, this avoids the possibility of evolution becoming dogma or being seen as religious teaching in schools, as some opponents of evolution and evolution teaching may assert it is, as, indeed, an article at does assert, stating that the religion of secular humanism is being taught in schools around the country and that evolution is a "powerful ally" of secular humanism (Noebel, David A., J.F. Baldwin, and Kevin Bywater(3).,) If the teaching of evolution becomes the teaching of religion then those with problems with the teaching of evolution have a good deal more to talk about than if evolution is the teaching of science.

Whether evolution is taught with great emphasis on the fact that it is a theory or simply with awareness of the questions unanswered by evolution and the problems that there are with the theory of evolution, high school students, especially those who come from families with strong religious and creationist beliefs, will be presented with the challenge of looking at evolution in the context of other stories of the origin of man and the diversity of life on earth. It is up to students and families as well as to churches and to teachers to deal with the difficulties of the disparities between the story of creation presented in the Bible and the story of evolution, and while these people cannot be expected to take the same tack as the Catholic Church has in accepting evolution as a story that can be used in conjunction with belief in God as a creator, with Pope John Paul II following Pope Pious XII in this assertion (Brumley(1).), but that evolution does not always conflict with religion is a point relating to the origins of man that can enhance and help the various stories of the origin of life evolve. While it may be difficult for some people, it is something with which they have dealt for a long time. When one considers the influence that a parent's teachings and beliefs have on a child from the very beginning of a child's life, a course on biology, especially one that presents the story of evolution in a non-combative manner, is unlikely to change the course of a high-school student's life. Indeed, this is an opportunity for a creationist parent or pastor to discuss with a child why he believes what he believes and what it means to him. For a child who does not come from such a background, the study of evolution is an opportunity to consider a story of the origin of life on Earth. This is an opportunity that should not be denied due to the problems with the story of evolution or because of some turmoil among people who disagree with the story of evolution and those who strongly support it. The story of evolution is an engaging scientific story and one that could potentially engage a student who has previously not had an interest in science or biology.

To address the issue of "who's calling the shots", if that is indeed a part of the controversy over evolution; American society needs to look at something even bigger than evolution. Where evolution is taught as religion, it may well be an issue of the separation of church and state, but when it comes to neglecting to teach a story relating to the history of mankind and all life on earth because it offends some who disagree with it, larger issues are in play, including the separation of church and state. If religious beliefs are going to dictate what is taught in schools, that is a clear lack of separation of church and state. And if that is something that schools want to allow, they must decide to change the way that separation of church and state is handled and the way that it is discussed. Viewed this way, evolution must be taught in schools even in light of the controversy at hand.

It is clear that evolution could be taught in schools in a way that could be viewed as offensive and irresponsible. However, if the story of evolution is taught in a thorough manner (addressing the changes that the story has undergone and the problems that it still has), it can be beneficial to most all students. Either way, to fail to teach evolution at all would be to keep a variety of students in the dark about a story addressing an issue nearly everyone wonders about, and to surrender too much to those who do not want to learn about evolution but who can deal with and potentially benefit from the teaching of evolution in schools.



1. Brumley, Mark. "Evolution and the Pope". . Cited February 10, 2005
2. Mayr, Ernst. What Evolution Is. New York: Basic Books, 2001.
3. Noebel, David A.,J.F. Baldwin, and Kevin Bywater, "Is the Religion of Popular Humanism Being Taught in Public School Classrooms?" adapted from book Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism Summit Ministries. 1999. . Cited 10 February 2005


Comments made prior to 2007

Your comments that evolution must be taught in schools is not entirely incorrect, however, the problem lies in how evolution is taught incorrectly. Due to the improper understanding by so many teachers on the differences of Micro-evolution (which definitely occurs and is observed everywhere in nature) versus Macro-evolution (which has so much scientific evidence against it) and how they combine the two as if Macro-evolution is an obvious given based on the observations of Micro-evolution is not only incorrect but false teaching and must be corrected.

Darwin's observations were upon micro-evolution and not macro-evolution. His premise of evolution of species from one species to the other is only an idea which is 165 years old. The new scientific evidences apparent in fossil evidence (Cambrian Age), lack of evidence that species can actually evolve from each other, lack of transitional species, DNA understandings and DNA fingerprinting which makes macro-evolution unfeasable, the presence of individual (fingerprints, toeprints, and eyeprints) for every human conception, understandings upon the Thermodynamic Laws of Physics, understandings of chemical bonding laws, the Big Bang Theory which has been verified by scientific calculations by AstroPhysicist Steven Hawkings, Irreducible Complexity by BioChemist Michael Behe, and so many other evidences that literally fill volumes and volumes of books.

Until teachers get a firm understanding and grasp on true scientific understanding in terms of Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, statistics and and how all these sciences come together in proving the impossibility of Macro-evolution, the teachers will only continue to teach what they themselves continue to read in books based upon old scientific understandings. The last fifty years of science has made such huge advances, but so little has changed in the thinking and putting together of the new scientific evidences because everyone is afraid to rock the boat. What a shame that facilities of higher education such as public schools and universities are afraid to open up discussions but must keep it illegal to even debate differing scientific observations as to the true scientific merits. Our society has become a society that would rather lie to a person in exchange for the possibility of offending them. I rather tell the truth and not offend others if possible, but if I have to choose between telling the truth and offending and telling a lie and not offending, then we must choose to tell the truth. That's is what a school of learing is about, teaching truth to the majority who may be saying the world is flat based on old science, even if they may be the majority. Science is not about discussing evidences only when they are appealing to the majority ... Sung Cha, 1 September 2006



Serendip Visitor Maddie's picture

Evolution cannot be observed

Evolution cannot be observed in a laboritory and therefore cannot be proved. When I was 8, I was told the world was like, 18 billion years old, and now they say it's like, 22.. ?? I haven't lived 4 billion years and only ages 8 years!! That is because it's not true. The world is only approximatley 6000 years old, according to the Bible.

Serendip Visitor's picture


Ok people, first of all, evolution is just a THEORY, not a complete fact, alright? Second of all, there are these things called "Fossil Records" and "Carbon dating" that very much support the earth being waaaaaaay older than 6,000 years. Hell, even cave drawings and ancient paint shops reveal that humans began socializing about 125,000 years ago. There's even a huge blob of space particles, much bigger than anything else the universe, that is 12 billion light years away, almost around the time of the Big Bang (which wasn't a literal explosion, btw. It was a very gradual expansion). Thirdly, since evolution is a theory mostly supported by FACTS, it is completely appropriate to be taught in schools. Creationism is a theory too, but a poorly supported one. There is no evidence that the Garden of Eden existed, that the first humans gave themselves names, or that even God exists. Those are all just beliefs. Besides, those who say that animals aren't evolving? Look around. Elephants are getting rid of their horns. Ants are adjusting to different continents. Lizards are developing bodies flexible enough to shake off small predators. There are about 12 species of fish off the coast of Australia that are currently developing lungs. Also, humans did NOT come from monkeys. Both homo sapiens and primates share a common ancestor but split off the family line at one point a couple million years ago. Basically, it's like having a sibling. You come from the same parents, but are not the same. Also, to those that attribute our living conditions as "Perfect" and must have come from an intelligent creator, well, here's how it is. We just happen to be at the right distance away from our stellar body, which allowed for gases to freely combine and create an atmosphere, which eventually gave way to micro-organisms. If you're saying that an almighty creator gave us perfect living conditions, why didn't he create more planets suitable for life? Basically, it's all just pure luck and coincidence. Do not attribute our living conditions or bodies as intelligent design. One final statement. Just because science often makes mistakes, it doesn't mean you should go around shitting on it. Religious theories are almost completely made up of mistakes and false testimonies. Whenever science makes mistakes, it goes back and tries to correct them. Religions just anchor themselves down and are to stubborn to accept change. Science is doing its best to find answers to every day questions while religions aren't.

anonymous's picture

Evidence of a creator is strong

I don't see how some people can say that people who don't believe in evolution are uneducated. In fact the more I learn the more I can see how obvious it is that this earth was created, and designed for life. Just think evolutionists believe that the planets and all the stars just came about somehow,and they say our ideas are unfounded. There are over 1sextillian stars in the universe! and evolutionists believe they just suddenly came about. Now lets talk about the earth. Just look at the air that gases that make up the air that we breath everyday. Its made up of 21% oxygen, 78% Nitrogen, and 1% other gases. This turns out to be perfect for humans. for example for if the oxygen level were increased, for every 1% it increased the chance of a natural forest fire would go up 70%. The air in our atmosphere does not have much oxygen in it because it is diluted with nitrogen. No it turns out that nitrogen is the perfect gas to accomplish this dilution. Almost all other gases that have ever existed are poisonous to humans to breath, especially in such large quantities and so often. So we are very "lucky" that this just happened to work out this way.

Daleri Rileda's picture

What should you be teaching?

What should you be teaching? You need to be teaching the simple fact that the very elements of the universe are themselves interchangeable nanomachine parts that do work with intent and purpose by design in life forms. Your education is a waste if you are not teaching that there are literally billions of observable digits of actual directives in life forms that order the formation of the nanomachines and parts that make the life forms according to preexisting designs. Since the very elements of the universe themselves are interchangeable nanomachine parts, it means the entire universe is by design because you should know that no machine or part of any kind ever worked with intent and purpose without design and we are filled with nanomachines that do work with intent and purpose (by design). Not teaching these facts is a disgrace to the educational system. It is not unconstitutional to be teaching these observable facts. It is actually student abuse to be teaching anything other than the fact that there is clear observable evidence of design and of Creation. The truth is nothing to be afraid of. Hydrogen and the many other elements are interchangeable nanomachine parts that do successfully work with intent and purpose by design storing billions and billions of observable digits of directives that make the actual nanomachine parts that make every life form there is according to a design that is already in place. That is what you should be teaching. The elements of the universe did not design or make themselves to be interchangeable nanomachine parts as they are or to work as they do because no machine part of any kind has ever been observed designing or making itself. You have to prove that has happened before you can say it happened.

Dov Henis's picture

22nd cemtury evolution comprehension

The Origin, Nature And Mechanism of Life's Evolution
Life Evolution Is A Fractal Of The Cosmos Evolution
(In Basic, Not AcademEnglish, Language)

A. Comment-reply, Jan 12th 2010, at

Quote : "the basic property of life as a system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution began when genetic information was finally stored and transmitted such as occurs in nucleotide polymers (RNA and DNA)."

*** The basic property of life as a system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution began at life's genesis, with the first replication of the first independent gene, not yet genomed not yet celled gene...initiated and maintained with direct sun energy. Connote this with sleep and with life's chirality.

Quote : "life (even primitive early-stage life) is restricted to be one which can undergo Darwinian evolution."

*** Life is life is life. Life is gene, and gene is gene is gene. There is no "primitive early-stage life" versus "evolved modern life". Complexity in life is what physics calls Broken Symmetry, which is what biology calls Evolution. And life's evolution is simply a cosmic mass evolution, life being just one of the many cosmic mass formats. And, like in cosmic mass evolutions, life's (Darwinian) evolution is based on and consists of the genes replicating with or without change, depending on whether its suggested-by-feed-back progeny's expression gains or does not gain more constrained energy. Plain and simple. All cosmic and life evolutions are initiated and proceed and accumulate in answer to this one single question. All evolutionary complexities, of all degrees of complexity, evolve and develop in response to and in the direction of this one single question.

B. "Should Evolutionary Theory Evolve?"
Some biologists are calling for a rethink of the rules of evolution.

Life evolution is a fractal of the cosmos evolution.

Dear Bob Grant, you can extend the list of evolution theorists and the descriptions of their theories, but IMO none of them will survive into the 22nd century. Just wait and see.

Life is just one of many forms of mass in the universe, ALL of which are forms of energy. Life's evolution is a fractal of the cosmos evolution. It is so plain and simple, therefore unbelievable in view of the immense verbiage mountains about it. The origin, nature and mechanism of life's evolution is the origin, nature and mechanism of the evolution of mass formats in the cosmos. So plain and simple that it hurts, it's embarassingly clear.

Glance at the Evolution Theory of the future. Brace yourself to a realization of its obviousness and simplicity. Start the search at the three brief notes, in basic English, below.

Dov Henis
(Comments From The 22nd Century)
Updated Life's Manifest May 2009
28Dec09 Implications Of E=Total[m(1 + D)]
Cosmic Evolution Simplified

Cayden DeFusco's picture

Evolution and Islam

Evolution should be taught in schools but they should also teach about the bible. They do actually teach a lot about the bible but they never teach about islam. If they were really atheists it wouldn't matter but no, people just hate islams even though they are exactly the same as Christians, except the believe that Mohammad is the Messiah, not Jesus. They need to teach evolution because if they don't, we will have no scientists to help make the theory of Evolution a known fact.

andrewcummings's picture

i belive in the process of

i belive in the process of evoultion i go to north central college in naperville IL
personaly to not belive in evoultion is just crazy to belive in the well nosence i
just dont get it i was tought fairy tals as a child and to me the bible is no more
then some good stories look at all the proof we have of evolution and pretty much that we have no proof god is not real or maybe he some how made evoultion but all the the other bull in the bible is just so farfetched that if you belive in it you are uneducated i belive any educated person would no that evoltion is true.

i mean come on people wake the hell up its the 21st centery we dont have to make stories up to find out were we come anymore because we dont know were we came from this is a world of discovery and science now not myths and creators.

Anonymous's picture

It's kind of funny how the

It's kind of funny how the kid who can't spell is calling us uneducated. I dare you to read the Bible and then say that it's far fetched.

Kara's picture

touche my good sir, TOUCHE.

touche my good sir, TOUCHE.

Christina Hillard's picture

The Theory of Evolution must be destroyed.

Evolution should NOT be taught in schools, nor on the face of this earth. Why:

When one believes in Evolution (man evolved from a monkey):
1. One would believe man was once a monkey, then evolved into a man.
2. One would believe the earth is 4.5 billon years old.
3. One would NOT believe nor read the Word of God.
4. The bottom line is when one believes in evolution, one will believe there is no Creator, no God.

When on believes in Creation (God created man)
1. One would believe the earth is around 6,000 years old based upon bibilical accounts.
• Garden of Eden to the time of Abraham = 2,000 years
• From Abraham to the time of Jesus on earth in form of a man = 2,000 years
• From Jesus on earth from our time = Approximately 2,000 years
2. One would read the Word of God and believe in Him.
3. The bottom line line is when one believes there is a Creator, there is only one creator, and that Creator of God.

The reason why evolution teaches the earth is 4.5 billons years old because it would support their theory that over these years, man evolve from monkey to human beings. However, when one believes in creation and the earth is only 6,000 years old, this will cancel and destroy the theory of evolution since there is no evidence that supports man was evolved from a monkey.

Whether you believe in God or not, one day, every human being ever lived(including Charles Robert Darwin) upon this earth will meet Him (God, the Creator) face to face.

Gabriel's picture

It's really not that difficult to understand, people.

OK, the topic is "Should evolution be taught in schools?" The general consensus: "Yes. Our children WILL want to know the origins of the human species." Understood, but there are many underlying factors that make this consensus ridiculously contradictory.

Now, my question: If 'evolutionary science' - a total misnomer - is allowed to be taught to our children, funded by taxpayer dollars, and accredited to science, then why is creationism then prohibited?

There have been just as many studies on intelligent design being the answer to many burning scientific questions regarding the origin of life, but they all get snuffed out by our government. Why? Because they consider it "religious." Fair enough. Even though intelligent design doesn't have to pertain to a specific religion, rather a belief in a Creator, but we'll just look past that for the time being. Instead, let's focus on the definition of "religion" for a moment. Religion, according to most modern dictionaries, states: that religion is "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects." It can then be extended beyond that to a belief system that attributes the fundamental set of beliefs to a divine Creator. But that's merely an afterthought. The most common definition is merely that it's a fundamental set of beliefs adhered to by a wide audience. With that in mind, it's crazy to deny that the theory of evolution is not a religious belief with religious-like implications. Take out the deity, and that's basically what you're left with.

Why, then, is it allowed to be taught with impunity - and oftentimes by highly anti-theistic professors or teachers - and yet, it relies on the same underlying principles that creationism teaches about?

Fundamentalist "evolutionary thinkers" commonly attribute the "burden of proof" to theologians in order to compel our government that creationism - again, not necessarily a belief attributed to a certain religion - should not be taught in schools. But in nearly every textbook you open, it's clear as day that our children are forced to learn that our world is 'millions upon billions of years old', and that evolution is the only viable explanation for the existence of life on this planet. That is just as indoctrinating as a textbook that clearly teaches that a Creator is responsible, but yet even our younger children are forced to learn this (and be tested on it) in our public school system.

This brainwashing has gone on long enough, and I encourage every person who reads this to openly question what your children are being taught if they attend public schools. If you are a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or any other religion that teaches that a divine Creator is responsible for our existence, then I highly encourage you to take a close look at how our public school system is indoctrinating our children against our wishes. This will stop, but due to the overwhelming opposition of non-believers in theology, the process will be painfully slow and very tedious. But we can all help. Speak with administrators, speak with the Board of Education in your area, write your local political officials, and ask - no, demand - that our schools stop indoctrinating our children into a belief system that offers no alternatives, and no proof. Evolution has not, and can not, be proven. Millions upon BILLIONS of fossils have been found since the inception of 'Darwinism', and there has NOT BEEN A SINGLE CASE of a transitional fossil being found that proves the theory that animals (or humans) have ever had the ability to evolve into another animal. Not one single case! But still evolution is taught as the only reasonable alternative to creationism, and they still claim that it's based on evidence. There is no evidence. There is only more theoretical conjecture that they say supports the evidence (that's not even there to begin with), and contends that it's further supported by science. Evolution is far from scientific. Science dictates that conclusions are to be made by careful analysis and reproducible conditions which can then be analyzed and scrutinized. Most forms of evolution cannot be witnessed. Some can, such as teaching that variation within species is possible. That much is true, and can be witnessed under controlled conditions. But the theories stating that life evolved from non-living matter, millions upon billions of years ago... or even that humans evolved from a common ancestor shared with apes... is ridiculous, and has ABSOLUTELY NO factual evidence to back it up. No transitional fossils. Only theories.

If we're to allow these theories to be taught to our children (as young as elementary school), we should also allow theories regarding the existence of a Creator to be taught. Neither can be proven, but evolution in most cases, can be DISproven. It has since its inception, and it continues to be to this very day. Still, our children are forced to learn it, and forced to retain it in their impressionable minds because they'll inevitably be tested on it. Neutrality should be shown, or neither should be taught. It's plain and simple. It's indoctrination by our school system, for whatever absurd reason. It will be stopped. The movement has begun, and will not relent until some kind of neutral agreement is reached. I encourage everyone, theist and atheist, to consider the implications of teaching a singular belief system for the origin of our species. We are individuals, and it's time we stopped letting the powers-that-be dictate what we are to think, repeat, and believe.

heidi's picture

I don't understand

Why does everyone beileve that some dude from up above pointed his finger and the whole earth formed! the world is such a detailed place! who created "god"? or his world? did anyone ever think about the fact that "god" had to come from somewhere? Mary had to come from somewhere and same with the other people before "god". *sigh*

Anonymous's picture

Before you make rash

Before you make rash comments against religion, you need to study up on it. It is ignorant to dispose of any belief about the origin of the world, such as creationism, when you personally have not studied that particular theory or idea in great detail.

Anonymous's picture

okay then..

Why don't you explain it then?

Brian Taylor's picture

God and evolution

It really amazes me that there are so many people in this world that do not see the connection between God and evolution. Not anywhere in the Bible does it say a word about how God created the Earth or anything else that is on it except for man and woman. All it says is that God created this universe but doesn't say HOW! EVOLUTION IS THE HAND OF GOD AT WORK! Why is that so hard to see?
A lot of people wonder about the Bible. Is it all myth or is it telling the truth. The Bible is in deed an artifact of religeons. It is also much more than that. It is a manual about how to live your life. You wouldn't try to repair something you didn't know how to repair without a manual. You wouldn't try a make a new meal without the recipe in front of you. Why try to live your life with no experience when there is a manual right there in front of you?

Anonymous's picture

Bible Verse 1

I would like for you to give me your address so that i may send you a copy of the Holy Bible. obviously you have never cracked the cover. the very fist verse of the Bible says God created the heavens and the EARTH!!!!! if you are implying that the Bible doesnt say God created the EARTH, im sorry to say you are very ill informed.

Serendip Visitor's picture

your just another person who

your just another person who needs to believe that theres something waiting for you when you die. As humans, we attatch ourselves onto religion because it's extremely hard to accept that maybe when we die,...we are completely irrelevant and done to serve anymore purpose. I hope there is something there for me after I die but I don't believe in god. Evolution is something that has so many examinations and facts to give a strong theory on it. Something that religion, and creationism and intelligent design just simple don't have. Your just standing behind a book with words with no author. Don't reply saying that god or some saint wrote it because the bible in my opinion, is a joke, but I think the belief in religion for people is healthy.

Anonymous's picture

I think what they meant was

I think what they meant was that the Bible doesn't say what methods God used to create the Earth. That it leaves open the question as to whether God created what we see through scientific laws (which God would also have created) to manipulate the formation of the planet and universe, or whether God just started pulling bits out of the sky and saying it was good. The Bible says that he did make it, but not how he made it, so why couldn't God be constantly adjusting and re-adjusting life right now and we see that work as evolution?

Anonymous's picture

Human Evolution

Although humans weren't around to witness the creation of the world or its species, I think we can say with much certainty that humans did evolve from negros.

Jordan's picture


I totally agree that the overlooking of evolution would be a terrible mistake by humans in general. I'm not claiming to be atheist or anything, but i feel that some things that are explained in the bible are a little hard to grasp, growing up in an era of information, technology, and logic, and are better explained and more reasonable through the explanation of science. Sure science has its parts that are uncertain, but most scientific theory is backed by evidence and logic, otherwise it couldn't be a theory at all. I strongly believe that the theory of evolution, and i mean the "theory" and not the "absolute certainty" of evolution, should definitely be taught in schools. In fact i feel that evolution theory should be taught in school and that creationism should be taught in the a place of worship, therefore the person learning has the opportunity to decide for themselves which is more understandable for them. You don't see churches fighting for more time in mass for discussion on "evolution", why should it be a reverse issue in schools?