Re: Importance of evolution in curriculum

Dr. Moorad Alexanian (
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 20:28:43 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: David Campbell <>
To: <>
Date: Monday, January 18, 1999 2:10 PM
Subject: Importance of evolution in curriculum

>Moorad Alexanian wrote
>>What would happen if the theory of evolution
>>would be totally barred from our school systems? I believe that nothing
>>would happen, science would continue to proposer, technology would be
>>unhindered, medicine would flourish, etc.
>Actually, there is an important truth in this. Although my career will
>probably be in the study of evolutionary issues, the only aspect relevant
>to most people's everyday lives is "In the beginning, God".
>However, descent with modification is currently our best scientific
>explanation of how the current diversity of organisms was created, and as
>far as I can tell, the Big Bang is currently our best scientific
>explanation of how the universe was created. As "where did this come
>from?" is likely to be asked by students, such issues are relevant. They
>also can provide a helpful framework for other issues.

I think the key words are "scientific explanation." Clearly this is
legitimate but does not preclude that the question which is being answered
may not be a scientific question. Explaining phenomena is not the main point
of a scientific theory. The most important point is predictive power--not
merely fitting data with phenomenological theories.

>The basic problem is what the goal of education is perceived to be. If
>someone is taking biology in order to prepare for med school, evolution is
>not very relevant, except for the often-neglected issue of how pathogens
>evolve in response to antibiotics or other treatment. If someone is taking
>biology in order to have a general idea about our knowledge of life, then
>evolution is an important part of that picture.
>David C.

It is clear that in our system the goal of education is to eradicate belief
in anything but science. These goals were set up by John Dewey, etc. Does
the response of pathogens to antibiotics give rise to anything but pathogens
with no difference in kind but merely degree? One must distinguish between
"our knowledge of life" and what actually may have happened in the past. We
must walk a fine line otherwise we have total confusion.