Post Two – Reflection: Evolution vs. the Theory of Evolution

In the article “Why Should Students Learn Evolution?” from Alters and Alters, the main point is that evolution should be taught to students regardless of any other beliefs a student may have. To a degree, I agree with this idea. As a Psychology major, the concept of evolution come up time and time again and it is nearly always a valid and important way to see the situation as well as for understanding the human race in general. Although the readings did not change the way I see evolution or my field, they did give me the opportunity to think more in depth about what I believe and how that applies to my field.

Firstly, I believe that it is important to make a distinction between the concept that evolution occurs every day, and the Theory of Evolution which draws out how the world began. I do not believe that there is any way at any time that we will be able to understand how the world came to be. That being said, any theory could be correct, and they all might be incorrect. For this reason, I do not believe that all parts of evolution should be taught in schools, just as I don’t believe that Christianity should be taught in schools (despite my Christian beliefs). Schools are a place for learning, and more specifically for learning the things that we know to be facts. I don’t believe that we have enough information to say that all species come from a certain ancestor. I also don’t believe we have any definitive evidence of a creator. For this reason, I believe that any theories that branch into how the world came to be or anything else that we cannot possibly know should be kept completely out of the school system.

However, it is also clearly important to recognize the other aspects of the theory for their incredible value in all aspects of human life. Aside from the idea of how the world came to be, this theory describes the constantly changing life that is supported by a constantly changing world, and how these two factors interact. Evolution covers the ways in which humans have changed over time and the ways in which we see our environment change over time (in addition to the changes we see in the flora and fauna around us). In my field specifically, the ways in which mental disorders change and differ in each population is an increasingly-important aspect to consider when dealing with how to reduce mental illness rates. For example, in a population that undergoes an incredible amount of stress, we see an incredible increase of mental disorders. One population that has been observed for this recently is the immigrant population to the United States. When they first arrive, they are healthier than even the richest Americans (and the richer a person is, the better their health). So despite entering the country under the worst circumstances of poverty, they are the least likely to develop a mental disorder. However, their children are far more likely to develop a disorder during their childhood. As the generations go on, they are less and less likely to develop a mental disorder. This tells us that the population is adapting to its surroundings Рjust like evolution predicts. In this way, evolution is an incredibly important topic to discuss, and it should (although not in its entirety) be included in school curriculums.

One thought on “Post Two – Reflection: Evolution vs. the Theory of Evolution

  1. I, too, am a psychology major. But my view on the importance of evolutions is rather different than yours. It is the foundation of biology, and, therefore, psychology as we study it today. To not teach evolution, and every aspect of it, is akin to not teaching the concepts of relativity or quantum mechanics when teaching physics. Higher study of biology is based upon evolution, fossils and genetic mapping have clearly demonstrated chronological order and progression of species over time.

    Quantum mechanics and relativity are both theories as well, and both are utilized in technology used by billions of people. GPS satellites must have their clocks reset regularly as time passes differently based on the effect of gravity. Without resetting them, the GPS satellites, which utilize time to measure distances and correlate these time-measures to determine locations, would not function properly. We would not understand this phenomenon without the theory of relativity, however, even though we utilize relativity to understand and correct the effects of this phenomenon, there are many holes and flaws in the theory that physicists work every day to fill in and correct. Quantum mechanics deals in the behavior of atoms and smaller subatomic particles. Humans utilize quantum mechanics, for one specific example, to create technology used in computers; quantum mechanics clearly works as made evident by how computers exist and advance. But it cannot explain phenomena like time and space, which relativity can. When attempted to be used together, these two theories, quantum mechanics and relativity, prove incompatible. The cross-equations spit out nonsense answers, commonly zero and infinity. But we know specific aspects of each to be correct, through our utilization of them to create functioning objects. Would you, because certain aspects are incompatible and not fully fleshed-out, propose not teaching quantum mechanics and relativity as whole theories? Because that is the same as your argument for not teaching aspects of evolution.

    One beauty of science is its own capacity to evolve, to correct mistakes and fill in gaps within itself and its theories. That is one of the main differences between science and religion, science is constantly seeking to correct and alter itself, where religion has key aspects it fights to maintain. Did you know the catholic church sentenced Galileo to house arrest, from 1633 until his death in 1642, because the Christian belief at the time, based on the bible, was that Earth is the center of the solar system and all heavenly bodies? Galileo had evidence this was not true; he had a theory that the sun was the center of our solar system, his theory was not perfect, but today we know he was mostly right. It took Christianity 300 years to accept that all heavenly bodies do not revolve around the earth. Today Christians still exist, and they do not find the sun being that around which we revolve controversial. Do you see the lesson here in application to evolution? Evolution, as a theory, with the facts that back it, should be taught in its entirety.

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