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 – just 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.