When it comes to scientific fact versus scientific theory, many people are confused. Occasionally, the terms can be applied to the same principle.
Evolution is both a theory and a fact. Over the last few centuries, the evidence supporting evolution as the mechanism for the origin of species has become so overwhelming and so incontrovertible that scientists know that it cannot be overturned. It’s how the natural world works. We don’t know all the details, nor can we answer every niggling question, so evolutionary theory continues to be refined. But the fact of evolution cannot be challenged. And so it is with global warming, and several other hot button issues.
So I’m shocked to learn that so many US science teachers don’t understand the subject they teach, according to a recent survey published in Science by Penn State political scientists Eric Plutzer and Michael B. Berkman
Unbelievably, only “28 percent of the 926 instructors surveyed consistently implement the recommendations of the National Research Council, which calls on high school biology instructors to present without qualification the overwhelming evidence for evolution.”
And it’s crucial that they do. Plutzer explains.
All nations are increasingly confronted with important policy choices that are informed by science: Should we mandate vaccines for all school children? Should we take costly steps to reduce carbon emissions? How can we most effectively reduce the incidence of chronic diseases? For ordinary citizens to play a meaningful role in democracies tackling these issues, they need to be excellent critical thinkers concerning science…
They should not blindly accept scientific findings, whether they come from academia, government or industry. But neither should they believe that scientific debates are simply clashes of opinion and values. A healthy appreciation of the nature of science, the persuasiveness of replication, and respect for the necessary expertise is also essential. When teachers tell their students that they can have their own opinions about the validity of evolutionary biology, they are sending a dangerous message to our future citizens.
I’m not a religious man, but I don’t see why you can’t support evolution and have faith in God. Why you can’t be inspired by the beauty of creation even when it is informed by reason, logic, and understanding. Even Charles Darwin understood.
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Via Andrew Sullivan