Essay, Research Paper: Education And Evolution


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Throughout recent history creationists and evolutionists have argued whether
evolution should be a part of America's public education. Whether evolution is
science fact, or science fiction. Evolution being a science based on statistics
has some faults, although many concepts in science or math do. The process of
learning about evolution is a necessary part of a well-rounded student's
education due to the fact that it is a statistically proven science and removing
it in turn revokes certain student's rights. In a student's academic career that
a student is most likely at one time or another going to have to take a science
class. Science, being the main topic of discussion in this class, should at one
point include evolution, because that is what evolution is, a science. Although
to truly understand evolution in its fullest context, one must not look to a
dictionary, for dictionary definitions just are too vague. One of the most
respected evolutionary biologists has defined biological evolution as follows:
"In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is
all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological
evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that
transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is
not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in
populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via
the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may
be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the
proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining
blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest
protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions." - Douglas J.
Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986 All sciences are based
on some form of proof. Whether it being living proof such as in Biology where
one can observe cell division, mathematical proof such as in calculating
air-resistance in Physics, or statistical proof as in all science experiments
when a predicted result occurs again and again. All sciences have at least one
of these qualities, including evolution. The proof of evolution's existence has
been on this earth ever since life was formed from carbon based atom structures.
Humans, however, have not been in existence long enough to observe properly the
phenomena of evolution. Although by using the latest technology we can
accurately observe the process of evolution as it occurred over time long ago
and is still happening today. Charles Darwin, a British naturalist, made the
first major step in classifying evolution during his studies in the Galapagos
Archipelago in 1831 when he was only 22 years of age. Due to this he is credited
with first forming a structured theory of evolution. During his studies in the
Galapagos Archipelago he found a multitude of flora and fauna that had complete
isolation from the rest of the world. One particular type of animal that he paid
close attention to be a small bird called a Finch. This was thought as being
simple at first, but as he traveled to the different islands he noticed many
different species of finches. These finches probably descended from one type of
ancestor and then, due to isolation and through chance, different climates and
natural forces such as food availability and type, they evolved into many
different types of finches. Some finches had different colorings, wingspan, and
even beak style. In total he found thirteen different varieties of finches.
Later on in Charles' life he formed many theories on the origins of man. This
was directly related to his studies in the Galapagos Archipelago. In his book
"Decent of Man" written in 1871 he declares why man had been so
ignorant by denying evolution in the final parts of chapter one. "Thus we
can understand how it has come to pass that man and all other vertebrate animals
have been constructed on the same general model, why they pass through the same
early stages of development, and why they retain certain rudiments in common.
Consequently we ought frankly to admit their community of descent: to take any
other view, is to admit that our own structure, and that of all the animals
around us, is a mere snare laid to entrap our judgment. This conclusion is
greatly strengthened, if we look to the members of the whole animal series, and
consider the evidence derived from their affinities or classification, their
geographical distribution and geological succession. It is only our natural
prejudice, and that arrogance which made our forefathers declare that they were
descended from demigods, which leads us to demur to this conclusion. But the
time will before long come, when it will be thought wonderful that naturalists,
who were well acquainted with the comparative structure and development of man,
and other mammals, should have believed that each was the work of a separate act
of creation." (Darwin) As seen in the above text, Charles Darwin explains
how statistically man did evolve from a lower form of life. This is directly
related to the finches due to that the same forces that caused them to evolve
may have caused humans to evolve as well. Yet still some schools in America have
tried banning the teaching of evolution in the classroom. Every student in a
United States public school has a constitutional right to hear the whole story
when it comes to evolution. It is called the first amendment in the Bill of
Rights. According to the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU, the authority
on civil rights, states that every student has the right to a non-biased
education (ACLU Urges…). In the Supreme Court decision Edwards v. Aguillard,
482 U.S. 578 (1987), the Court ruled that to compromise by omitting evolution
and creationism from the science curriculum would "undermine the provision
of a comprehensive scientific education." On this point, the law is very
clear, and the Supreme Court put its foot down -- the First Amendment forbids a
state to alter its curriculum simply in order to defend a religious belief.
That's an establishment of religion, and it's unconstitutional. (Edwards) So not
only is removing evolution from the classroom unjustified, but it is against the
law. Creationism has its place in the classroom as well as Evolutionism,
although not the same classroom. Creationism belongs in a class like Theology or
History of Religion. This is because creationism is the belief in the biblical
account of the creation of the world. Biblical meaning the Bible, restricting it
only to a group of religions. So-called "Creation Science" is not a
science at all. Lately it has been more of a political movement than a science.
Sure creationists may have facilities like the "Institute for Creation
Research" (a church that does no scientific research at all) and the
"Creation Research Society" (another church that also does no
scientific research), but in the end there is not a shred of science in
creation. Recently many science teachers in public schools have tried to work
their way around teaching evolution by teaching a so called "intelligent
design theory" (Washington State). This is just one of the many guises of
creation science, and it does not change the fact that states and school
districts may not adopt religious theories as standards in school curricula.
Creationists will always exist, since ignorance will always exist, although
evolution will always have a place in science curriculum. Creationists believe
in creation because their masters have told them to believe in Creationism as a
tool to their "salvation". They do not care that evolution is an
observed fact: they have "faith" that Creationism is true, and that's
all they need. They consider facts and truth to be a hindrance to their ticket
to Heaven. The teachings of these people should have no place, and will have no
place in our children's science classrooms, only evolution and other proven
sciences have the right to be present. Therefore, the process of learning about
evolution is a necessary part of a well-rounded student's education due to the
fact that it is a statistically proven science and removing it in turn revokes
certain student's rights.

Darwin, Charles. The Decent of Man. Bank of Wisdom, 1871. "ACLU Urges
Kansas Public Schools to Reject Religion-Based Evolution Teachings in Science
Classes." American Civil Liberties Union Freedom Network. 13 Aug. 1999
. "Edwards, Governor of Louisana, et. al. v. Aguillard et. al." 482
U.S.S.C 578. 107 S. Ct. 2573. "Washington State Teacher Told to Stick to
Science." American Civil Liberties Union Freedom Network. 2 Nov. 1998.

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