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Teaching Evolution is Important and Possible

Susan's picture

Darwin Day is a holiday that celebrates science and reason, logic and nature and human beings.  The Darwin Day website Darwin Day tells us: "Darwin Day is an international celebration of science and humanity held on or around February 12, the day that Charles Darwin was born on in 1809. Specifically, it celebrates the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin -- the man who first described biological evolution via natural selection with scientific rigor. More generally, Darwin Day expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity."

ESWoW will be recognizing Darwin Day this year on our Community Call on Feb. 19, 2012.  We'll be joined by Dr. Anne Klaeysen, Leader of the NY Society for Ethical Culture.  Anne presented the Platform Address at the NY Society on 2/12/12 on "Inherit the Wind" Revisited: An Update on the Evolution Wars.  

I find it scary that in 2012 there is so much rejection of science.  How can there be people who hope to president of the United States who do not accept the concept of evolution?  How can it be that there is so much effort to include the teaching of one form or another of creationism, with more and more attempts to pass it off as science such as with "Creation Science" and "Intelligent Design?"  It baffles me at best and makes me very angry at worst. While I know there is much work going on in neuroscience which is helping us understand the different ways people think, in my gut I just don't get why people reject science in so many ways, not realizing that they are embracing it in others, even as they drive SUV's, use iPods, and computers.

A big part of the rejection of science is how it is taught these days in some elementary and high schools.  Science was one of the best parts of my high school education.  I was fortunate to have excellent, engaging teachers, and I've written about them before.  But there are relentless attacks on what may or may not be taught as science in public school curricula. Fortunately, we have the National Center for Science Education that works just as relentlessly to counter those attacks and to provide accurate information and resources for teachers about evolution and also that much "debated" and questioned topic of global climate change.  They also provide accurate information on what public school teachers can and cannot teach in science classes. They tell us:

...in summary: a teacher can teach about religion (though not advocate it), and teach evolution. A state, district or school cannot ban evolution, require equal time for creationism, or require a disclaimer on evolution. An individual teacher cannot teach creationism or creation science "freelance." 

There are also lots of ways to have fun learning about evolution.  Here are some of my favorites this year.

The Web of Life Tree House 
Chronozoom 
Debating Dogma Photos and Cartoons

There are more resources about Darwin Day and evolution on the ESWoW website.  Please use the search box and type in Darwin to find Platforms and other writings by me, Randy Best and Hugh Taft-Morales.

 "We don't teach astrology as an alternative to astronomy in science classes, nor should we be teaching any Creationist view in science class."

Let us know your thoughts and if you did anything to celebrate Darwin Day. And please join us for our call on 2/19/12.