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Science Education is De-evolving

More evidence that we in education have done a pretty poor job, at least when it comes to science.

In a new survey of 34 industrialized countries, almost 40% of American adults believe this statement is false: “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.”

21% aren’t sure.

Almost two-thirds disagree with the statement that “more than half of human genes are common to chimpanzees”. In fact, scientists have demonstrated that humans and chimps share 99% of their genes.

Unfortunately, this ties into the fact that polls regularly show that large numbers of people also believe in astrology and UFOs.

I wonder where they stand on alchemy.

science, education, evolution

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6 Comments

  1. You’re too funny…the truth is that every human being starts out fresh when they’re born. Facts, figures do not speak to our spiritual needs…yet…

    Science, facts, and reason are critical to our survival in the world. but, they are insufficient in the final analysis.

    How do i know this? I take it on faith.

    Miguel

  2. Diana King

    Faith may have its place, but a scientist or science teacher needs to deal with what’s supported by observable data.

    One of our teachers is transferring to another school this year, where she’ll be teaching science. I heard her say she had told her new principal that she didn’t want to teach evolution. Fortunately, she’ll be working with 8th grade physical science, and evolution isn’t part of that curriculum. I hope she never has to deal with the 7th grade course.

  3. John

    We don’t see that many Einsteins or Newtons running around these days. Of course, these and many other eminent scientists would likely fail this test — without injury to the progress of science.

    Learning to think precisely is a good thing for the advancement of science. The lack of precision associated with the word “evolve” is appalling.

    “Cosmological” evolution and “biological” evolution are distinct areas of inquiry.

    Within the life sciences, there is a distinction between variation within species (micro-evolution) and the concept that one species develops into another (macro-evolution).

    There is ample evidence for “micro evolution.” However, its sloppy thinking to suggest that proves “macro evolution.”

  4. Here’s an important question to consider: What would science teachers have to do to more effectively convey these ideas? What would it take to get people to think about empirical observations before reaching conclusions?

    Andrew Pass
    http://www.Pass-Ed.com/blogger.html

  5. Diana King

    John, isn’t the 97-98% similarity between chimp and human DNA considered to be evidence of “macro-evolution”? They’re both primates, but considered distinct species, aren’t they?

  6. tim

    I don’t have a lot of faith that faith will solve the tougher scientific problems we have. I certainly don’t trust running science education through the filter of multiple religions.

    Actually, I’d just be happy if the faith-based organizations of the world would stop fighting with each other.

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