Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

As Tortoises Disappear, So Does the Theory They Inspired

Richard Cohen in the Washington Post writes that on a recent visit to the Galapagos Islands, he couldn't find the famous tortoises because they've become endangered. He sees symbolism in that.

It is odd to amble around the Galapagos and see the handiwork of evolution yet at the same time bear in mind that many Americans do not accept evolution at all. It is belittled as a mere "theory," which is a misunderstanding of the scientific term, and even in some places where it is grudgingly accepted, it is supposed to share the curriculum with creationism, as if that is an alternative theory. It is, of course, just a fancy term for the creation according to Genesis, a matter of religious belief and not scientific theory or fact. It can have its place, but not in the science curriculum.

One nitpick: The column's headline, "Backward Evolution" reinforces the mistaken belief that evolution is a process that moves forward toward an end. In truth, humans are no "more evolved" than single-celled organisms. We've all been evolving for exactly the same amount of time; we've just evolved differently.

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