Summary of “Evolution: Debate it”
John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer, authors of “Evolution: Debate it” discuss the matter in which evolution should be taught in schools. The Kansas State Board of Education proposed a policy on teaching evolution in schools (Campbell and Meyer 373). The policy would require students to not only learn about the modern version of evolution, “neo-Darwinism,” but the critiques to it and other alternative theories (Campbell and Meyer 373). The majority of the people are in favor of the policy; however, some feel it exemplifies a folly scientific curriculum (Campbell and Meyer 374).
Campbell and Meyer feel as though there is a way to teach evolution “that advances science education, fosters civil discourse and also respects public opinion” (374). Rather than teaching evolution as an undeniable truth, Campbell and Meyer believe teachers should present the arguments for evolution and encourage students to evaluate the arguments critically (374). They feel Darwin’s case should be taught as Darwin himself did: a plausible, but contestable, argument (Campbell and Meyer 374). Campbell and Meyer state, “Students who learn the arguments for and against a theory are learning how science works. Teaching current scientific arguments about a theory also gives students an understanding of the status of a theory” (374).
Campbell and Meyer feel that there are many important scientific criticisms of the theory students should know about (374). For example, fossil records challenge the Darwinian idea that all organisms share a common ancestor. In addition to fossils, the Cambrian Explosion shows new life forms suddenly appear without connection to earlier life forms—contradicting Darwin’s depiction of the history of life as a fully connected branching tree (Campbell and Meyer 374). Campbell and Meyer also note, “Many scientists also doubt the ability of Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection to produce the major innovations—the new...