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Teaching Evolution Essay

1939 words - 8 pages

Professor
Religions of the World
12 April 2010
THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING EVOLUTION
In his book Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons, professor and author Peter J. Bowler once wrote that "there is a widespread assumption that science and religion are at war with one another" (p 1), it is this assumption that is is alienating people from one another. Evolution has occurred and it is still happening today, it is vital to the earth and its' many ecosystems, it has nothing to do with religion and should be taught in all public school systems.
The word science is used often, however, when someone is asked to define it they rarely know what to say. Professor David ...view middle of the document...

Evolution is a complex and multifaceted system and is a large part of all types of science. The theory of evolution was first introduced by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, Charles Darwin is better known for the theory of evolution because he went on to write a book titled, "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection." Donald A Villenevue stated in his essay "Darwin was the first evolutionist whose theories carried conviction to a majority of his contemporaries. He set forth a formidable mass of supporting evidence in the form of direct observations from nature, coupled with a comprehensive and convincing synthesis of current knowledge. Most significantly, he proposed" the theory of "natural selection...the theoretical framework of evolution presented by Darwin contained three basic elements. First is the existence of variation in natural populations...Second, some of these varieties are better adapted to their environment than others. Third, the reproductive potential of populations is unlimited" (Evolution). Darwin proposed that in a population of species, no two beings are exactly alike, they all have differences and those differences are genetic so they can be passed down from parents to their offspring. Certain differences or traits, were more desirable than others. Lastly he proposed that populations can reproduce as much as they want or need to, however, in nature there is generally a high mortality rate for the offspring. Therefore the offspring that are better suited for their environment are better suited for survival.
There are many misconceptions about evolution, one of those misconceptions is that macroevolution has never been observed. Macroevolution can be "defined as evolutionary change at the species level or higher, that is, the formation of a new species, new genera, and so forth" (Isaak, p 89). Isaak contends that because "microevolution has been observed...because there is no known barrier to change...and because we can expect small changes to accumulate into large changes...microevolution implies macroevolution. Small changes to developmental genes or their regulation can cause relatively large changes in the adult organims" (p 88). Another common misconception is that there are no transitional fossils to support the theory of evolution. In fact "To say there are no transitional fossils is simply false. Paleontology has progressed a bit since Origin of Species was published, uncovering thousands of transitional fossils...The fossil record is still spotty and always will be; erosion and the rarity of conditions favorable to fossilization make that inevitable. Also, transitions may occur in a small population, in a small area, and/or in a relatively short amount of time; when any of these conditions hold, the chances of finding the transitional fossils goes down" (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html). Another shocking misconception is that evolution is denying the...

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