Teaching Evolution and the Nature of Science
Paul Farber 2003 The American Biology Teacher v65 no5 p347-354
The author discusses the common ways in which evolution is handled in biology classrooms. Often is included simply as a topic instead of as an organizing element. Another problem is the "fortress-mentality" approach, barraging students with a list of evidence for evolution which can make evolution appear defensive, even dogmatic. Instead, advises the author, start with Darwin and the problems he observed: taxonomic, geographic, and temporal patterns of diversity and similarity among the animals he cataloged, and how the theory of evolution by natural selection addressed those problems. The theory did not account for all problems and created some new ones, so Mendel's theories of heredity are needed to explain how traits are passed on, and the theories added when the Modern Synthesis was created deal with other issues. Likewise, theological issues associated with evolution have a history, which the author feels should be included. Throughout, the instructor should emphasize the nature and language of science.