UPI Story Weak on Weaknesses

Jonathan Witt

Phil Magers’ recent UPI story about evolution in the classroom (“Teachers feel pressure”) conveys a growing problem for biology teachers: more and more students refuse to uncritically accept Darwinism. How horrible!
Magers’ pro-Darwin analysis is simplistic, even misleading. This is fitting, for so too is the presentation of evolution in the typical classroom. When students aren’t being fed bogus evidence for Darwin’s theory (like Haeckel’s faked embryo drawings), they’re being led to believe the theory is without important weaknesses.
In fact, Darwinism faces enormous evidential hurdles. Consider the Cambrian Explosion of animal forms 500 million years ago. As leading Darwinist Eugenie Scott admitted in a recent Seattle Times story, “Who knows whether natural selection explains the Cambrian body plans. … So what?”
So what? So, natural selection is integral to the modern theory of evolution. Instead of pretending that such weaknesses don’t exist, schools should follow Ohio’s lead. There, students hear the case for Darwinism, but they also learn about the scientific debates over modern evolutionary theory, like the question of whether change within a species confirms the unobserved notion of common descent from a single, original cell. If scientists can read about these debates in their science journals, why can’t students study them in biology class?