Teaching Evolution in a Creation Nation
Laats and Siegel agree with most scientists: creationism is flawed, as science. But, they argue, students who believe it nevertheless need to be accommodated in public school science classes. Scientific or not, creationism maintains an important role in American history and culture as a point of religious dissent, a sustained form of protest that has weathered a century of broad—and often dramatic—social changes. At the same time, evolutionary theory has become a critical building block of modern knowledge. The key to accommodating both viewpoints, they show, is to disentangle belief from knowledge. A student does not need to believe in evolution in order to understand its tenets and evidence, and in this way can be fully literate in modern scientific thought and still maintain contrary religious or cultural views. Altogether, Laats and Siegel offer the kind of level-headed analysis that is crucial to finding a way out of our culture-war deadlock.
Introduction The Evolution of an Educational Controversy
1 Higher Education and a New Culture of Science
2 Evolution Education in a Jazz Age
3 The Dog That Didn’t Bark
4 A New Minority
5 Evolution, Creation, Science, Religion, and Public Education
6 Beyond “Creation Science”: The Scientific Status of Intelligent Design
7 Science Education: Aims and Constraints; Belief versus Understanding
8 A Question of Culture?
Conclusion Evolution as Education