Matsumura 2000 NCSE_evolution_creati

Matsumura 2000 NCSE_evolution_creati - NCSE Resource Page 1...

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National Center for Science Education Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools Home | On the Road | NCSE Store | Links | Journal | Resources | About NCSE | Press Room | Search Evolution, Creation, and Science Education by Molleen Matsumura Scientific Issues Legal Issues Moral Issues How to Learn More THE SCIENTIFIC ISSUES Why should evolution be taught in science classes? Evolution should be taught for the same reason that other factual information should be taught. It is the best, most accurate explanation we have for the variety we see in the living world, resulting from the research and experimentation of thousands of scientists for over a century. And, it is important. Children may not need to know what time of day George Washington was born, but they need to know he was our first president. In the same way, they may not need to know every detail of cell division, but they need to know about evolution because it is a key to understanding every aspect of the biological sciences, from genetics to animal behavior. But what about equal time for other scientific viewpoints, like scientific creationism? Sometimes, scientists really do disagree about the explanation for some natural phenomenon. And sometimes, it is appropriate to present children with different viewpoints, and the evidence for them. This can help children understand how science works, and what kind of evidence is needed to establish a scientific theory. But it can't always be done because there wouldn't be enough hours in the school day to teach children about every explanation that was ever given. In any case, the fact is that "scientific creationism" is not a genuine scientific theory. It is an attempt to use scientific-sounding arguments to uphold a religious belief, the belief that the creation story told in the Bible is literally true. The scientific method starts with a question, like, "Why are some fossil animals so different from the animals around us today?" and finds the answer through observation and experiment. The creationist method starts with an answer, then looks for evidence that seems to fit. Another important difference is that science uses natural explanations of natural events. Scientists study natural processes occurring in the world around them, find out how they work, and apply the principles they learn to new questions. They never use miracles as explanations. "Scientific creationism" depends on miracles; its explanations assume that there have been exceptions to the laws of nature. This means that "scientific creationism" is unscientific by definition! What about the flaws in the theory of evolution? If someone can show problems with this theory,
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This note was uploaded on 01/06/2010 for the course NS 2750 taught by Professor Haas&gu during the Spring '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Matsumura 2000 NCSE_evolution_creati - NCSE Resource Page 1...

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