Sunday, August 14, 2005

Evolution and ID

I went to school in the liberal Madison school district at the very liberal West High, yet I was never taught evolution. I took the required freshman year biology class (I was even in the "accelerated" version) and yet, no evolution. This despite the fact that in the "Wisconsin Model Academic Standards" it says that "By the end of grade 12, students will:
BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION*

F.12.5 Understand* the theory of evolution*, natural selection, and biological classification

F.12.6. Using concepts of evolution* and heredity, account for changes* in species and the diversity of species, include the influence of these changes on science, e.g. breeding of plants or animals
Maybe it's taught in the semester-long senior year biology elective? It's just striking that even in Madison, Wisconsin, evolution is too much to teach to everyone (or maybe it's just that science at West really sucks, which is true as well).

Happily, I did sort of learn evolution when I spent a semester at the Lycee Jean Mermoz in Montpellier, France. All I remember is the professeur stressing the random (aleatoire) nature of changes brought by evolution, rather than there being some telos to which the organism aims, or volition on the part of the organism facing a different environment, which seems important to understand.

Were you taught evolution in high school?

2 Comments:

Anonymous dick said...

Feeding a squirrel peanuts lately...and noticing feet and hands with five fingers, cute face with nose, eyes and mouth in familiar juxtaposition, it occured to me that we hail from the same ancestor(s) a few million years ago... but the squirrel's ability to negociate trees and tree branches is far superior...

8:47 AM  
Blogger henry said...

Yes, I was taught evolution. My freshman-year biology teacher was staunchly pro-evolution. He would always talk his arguments with his creationist father-in-law.

But what do you really learn about evolution? It seems like it would take about fifteen minutes to explain to anyone. I do remember that that's where I learned about those British moths that changed color after the smoky factories came. (3 thats?)

10:06 AM  

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