In her review, How Science Works: Evolution. A Student Primer by R. John Ellis (Springer, 2010) Eugenie Scott states her concerns that Americans are not embracing evolution as she would like, “The public misunderstands and mistrusts the scientific explanation of evolution more than any other branch of research, particularly in the United States.”
Back in 2006, there was a report from the U.S. National Academy which stated something similar…
“Most people in this country lack the basic understanding of science that they need to make informed decisions about the many scientific issues affecting their lives. Neither this basic understanding—often referred to as scientific literacy—nor an appreciation for how science has shaped the society and culture is being cultivated during the high school years.”
It’s important to note, the NSF believes that students need to embrace evolutionary science to a level where countries like the United States can avoid an economic and security meltdowns! However, recent meltdowns have really nothing to do with science at all. European countries are known to embrace evolution more so than the United States, but problems with deficit spending has no connection with evolution.
For example, the Greek economy is failing because it’s government is spending more than it can raise in taxes so other countries are offering bailout money so they don’t default on their loan. Ireland proposed a second budget in 2009 by putting away six billion dollars in an attempt to control it’s deficit.
What about the United States? It’s market crashed two years ago and it wasn’t because of people being skeptical of evolution rather it was the government, private businesses and house buyers who were all at fault in crashing the United States market.
The government used sub-prime loans as a way to boost on how many people owned houses, businesses didn’t care who they gave a loan to because houses would sell so quickly and normally higher than what a person asked thus making a huge profit. People were able to afford houses beyond their wildest dreams which was really beyond their means of what they could actually afford. So it’s not a refusal to embrace evolution that brings down an economy, it’s greed and socialism.
Eugenie Scott basically believes in the same philosophy she did back in the 1980s saying that Science is not an ideology, but science requires methodological naturalism, the only methodologically naturalistic view of biology available is Darwinian evolution, because it does not involve supernaturalism, therefore according to her worldview people must teach Darwin in the schools and keep out creationism and intelligent design.
However opposition to her view point came from Casey Luskin who is an intelligent design proponent stated these excellent points about how science should be taught…
1. The inquiry method of teaching science stresses process over content.
2. There are no legal obstacles to teaching scientific critiques of prevailing theories.
3. There is ample evidence of controversy in evolutionary literature.
A surprising agreement came from Science magazine which stated…
“Argument and debate are common in science, yet they are virtually absent from science education. Recent research shows, however, that opportunities for students to engage in collaborative discourse and argumentation offer a means of enhancing student conceptual understanding and students’ skills and capabilities with scientific reasoning.
“As one of the hallmarks of the scientist is critical, rational skepticism, the lack of opportunities to develop the ability to reason and argue scientifically would appear to be a significant weakness in contemporary educational practice. In short, knowing what is wrong matters as much as knowing what is right. This paper presents a summary of the main features of this body of research and discusses its implications for the teaching and learning of science.”
Instead of indoctrination of evolution as Eugenie Scott proposes, abductive reasoning is also part of science which was used quite a lot in such books as Signature of the Cell by Stephen Meyer. A creationist rarely agrees with science magazine but in this case, the writer is correct on science standards which include challenging theories and critical thinking among students.