As Alters and Alters address the fear of evolution in classrooms, I cannot help but think about my past experiences. Before I was a student at Michigan State University, I went to a private- non denominational university which did not allow the teaching of evolution. As I took an environmental science class, I was absolutely shocked and confused that any and all parts of evolution were skipped over or completely ignored. It still bewilders me to this day how one can teach a scientific-based research class without covering the evolution of plants, animals and the earth. Nonetheless, teaching that the earth is at most 10,000 years’ old- regardless of proof to the contrary. This teaching method seemed to creep into every aspect of the education system there. It limited topics to which students could write or speak about in English, Science, and Social Science classes- which was ultimately the main reason in my decision to leave that particular system. The missing component of evolution really did make it hard to learn hard science classes, the concepts were there, but how they occurred, why, and the connection of it all was extremely detrimental to the learning process.
As a public policy major and a global health and epidemiology minor, the theory of evolution is one that is highly debated and extremely useful in the two differing fields. First and most obviously, the debated issue of evolution is one that is highly controversial in the political field. There is constant policy and political changes and agendas surrounding education programs all around the United States. The decision to teach or ignore evolution in public schools is one that generates media attention at least once a year- and one that will remain controversial. I have participated in many discussions and forums speaking on this topic, especially in many college classroom discussions. I believe that all scientifically backed theories have a right to be expressed, as it is up to each individual to form their opinion on the issues. If more science- backed research were used when writing policy and doing politics, I believe the world would be in a much better place environmentally, economically and socially.
Global health and epidemiology is obviously very connected to evolution as well. The past two weeks we have learned about sickle cell anemia and malaria in different parts of the world and how certain genetic code allows for some to thrive, and for others to suffer. In addition, the overuse of antibiotics and the body creating a resistance to certain types of illnesses are sure to create health concerns and epidemics.
The Genographic Project put on by National Geographic was so awesome to explore and get familiar with. Gene-tracing can have a cool social component to it, as we see that all humans can be traced back to the same ancestor and have very similar heritage! This is such a sobering thought. Many theories of politics and international relations focus on the contempt and hatred that borders, ethnicity, nationalism and other geographic-based components bring forward. I know I am an idealist, but I believe that knowledge of shared ancestors can start to erase those man- made borders and concepts, creating a better understanding and longer-lasting peace.