Postscript: Evolution Readiness Project Readily Evolving Before Our Very Eyes

Recently I observed that the NSF’s $1,990,459 taxpayer-funded Evolution Readiness Project declared on its website that a main concern driving the project is that “it is unacceptable that 150 years after the birth of the theory of evolution only four out of ten Americans believe in it!” Although their website expressly stated that a motivating factor is the low numbers of Americans who “believe in” evolution, the project’s principal investigator, Paul Horwitz, denied that their agenda was to convince people of evolution. As Horwitz told the NABT: “We are not promoting a belief system … Our goal is to help kids understand natural selection as a mechanism for evolution, whether they believe in it or not.” Indeed, the project’s announcement Read More ›

Back to School Lesson Plans That Actually Help Students Understand Evolution

The taxpayer-funded “Evolution Readiness Project” seeks to “teach young children how Darwin’s model of natural selection explains the observation that organisms are adapted to their environment” in hopes that they will “believe in” evolution. The project offers a variety of lesson plans which are just as bad as the book Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution, a primary resource the project recommends which I critiqued in previous posts (see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5). As we’ve seen, this project promotes a decidedly one-sided view of evolution. What would it look like to teach students about evolution in an objective fashion, which follows the proscription of leading science educators to teach students about both Read More ›

Evolution Readiness Project Overplays the Evidence for Evolution

As discussed in previous posts, the $1,990,459 taxpayer funded Evolution Readiness Project recommends reading to fourth graders a book called Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution. The book gives a misleading picture of the development of biological thought when it comes to common ancestry. It says that when “scientists were creating systems to organize living things by placing them into groups,” the same “scientists thought, many different plants and animals had come from the same ancestors and had changed over time.” The problem is that this omits the glaring fact that the father of taxonomy himself, Carl Linnaeus, was not an evolutionist and in fact believed in the fixity of species. While no one–including Darwin critics–would endorse in the Read More ›

Evolution Readiness Project Promotes Made-Up Stories about Darwin and the Galápagos Finches

When it comes to teaching young children about Darwin, the NSF’s $2 million Evolution Readiness Project recommends resources that give him no end of praise. One of their recommended resources, the book Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution, calls “the theory of evolution … one of the great accomplishments of science.” One of the prime examples of evolution in the book is the classic Galápagos finch beak story. Darwin, we are told, visited the Galápagos islands and “found a [sic] unusual group of finches” which “gave Darwin important clues about the way evolution works.” Supposedly Darwin “noticed that on each islands the birds’ beaks were shaped differently” and “Darwin believed that small changes in the birds over many generations Read More ›

How Does The NSF Evolution Readiness Project Dumb Down Students?

“Rabbits, cacti, bumblebees, jellyfish, penguins, sunflowers–all living things on the earth are the descendants of simple, single-celled organisms,” opens the book Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution. This short 40-page book is one of the primary resources that the NSF’s new “Evolution Readiness Project” recommends reading to “young children” so they will “believe in” evolution. In my prior post, we saw that the project justifies teaching students that “evolution by natural selection is the fundamental model that explains the extraordinary complexity and interdependence of the living world” because allegedly there is “universal agreement among scientists” on that point. The evolution readiness project justifies excluding dissenting scientific views from students by pretending they don’t exist. The argument you’re likely to Read More ›