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History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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JFK assassination and design?

February 19th, 2007 · No Comments

Non-scientific theories have a place in schools

But maybe there is a problem with the standard JFK assassination scenario!

To be truly informed, students need to know before they begin their studies that there are different viewpoints on a subject, although they need not all be treated equally. Evolutionary theory should be taught as the definitive scientific answer, but turning a blind eye to other answers, even if they are perceived as inferior, doesn’t give students the education they need to prepare for life in a society where many people actually hold these beliefs.

They should know, for instance, that scientific evidence points toward evolution and leaves no room for “intelligent design” as an answer to where life comes from, as well as what intelligent design is, why people believe in it, and why it fails to pass scientific muster. The classroom should give students context to what they will encounter in society, not just in ivory towers.

To give a parallel example, history classes should teach the commonly held belief that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, but they should also acknowledge that there is ongoing debate in small circles about far less likely alternative theories. Conspiracies about who was really on the grassy knoll are important tangents to American history, even if only to dismiss them and move on.

Skepticism is an essential tool for life, but students will be hard-pressed to pick it up during their education if they are only exposed to one side of an issue. The process of picking and choosing only the “right” information for kids to learn is well-intentioned, but neglecting other perspectives entirely prevents students from being challenged and forging their own beliefs with the most information possible.

Tags: Evolution

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