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Should school science “teach the controversy” about evolution? Yes–sort of. Evolution should be taught bearing in mind public interest in science, not the interests of the science community. Evolution almost always prompts “cosmic questions.” Not that evolution addresses any cosmic question per se; but, because evolution offers a mechanism for how things have come to be as they are, people quite wonder if evolution is a sufficient mechanism for what they believe about our world. People wonder if there isn’t something more that is needed. People wonder if what we believe about the world is amenable with ideas from evolution. Though such musings are not scientific, they are not unimportant to people. With this “public interest” in mind, five guidelines can be offered for the teaching of evolution: 1) Understanding is critical but belief is not. 2) It is critical to understand the evidence that scientists adduce in support of evolution. 3) It is critical to understand that different people do not find the evidence for macroevolution to be equally compelling. 4) It is critical to understand the difference between evolution and evolutionism. 5) It is critical to understand the difference between a theology of creation and creationism.


SLCSP Paper # 163

Published Citation

Cobern, William W. "A Reasoned Approach to the Teaching of Evolution in the Public's Interest." International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group. Denver, CO: 2001.