Editorial: evolution must be taught in schools

Anna Levin, HHS Kiss and Tell Co-Editor

By definition, evolution is the change of one’s genetics over a period of time. Since every species’ genetics have changed, they themselves have evolved. Yet, schools have been avoiding teaching evolution out of fear of the controversy surrounding the topic. Evolution must be taught in schools.

The idea of evolution is simply a theory, meaning that although the idea is widely agreed upon, it also has known flaws, according to The Washington Post. So while human evolution should continue to be taught and explored, it shouldn’t be taught as a definite. To refrain from teaching it is to refrain from teaching students a fundamental idea that is backed by science and agreed upon by 83% of Americans, according to research by the National Association of Biology Teachers.

The scientific backing for evolution is solid, so the reason why schools aren’t teaching it has little to do with its supporting scientific evidence. In recent years, 60% of high school teachers surveyed have avoided teaching evolution due to the controversy about its religious implications, according to Penn State professors of Political Science Michael B. Berkman and Eric Plutzer argue in an article in Science.

However, evolution is not a definition for how humans came to exist on this planet as many anti-evolutionists argue. It simply describes how humans are connected to all other organisms and the changes made to their genetics.

Creationists, or those who believe a divine power created all, push to end teaching  evolution in schools claiming it infringes on people’s’ freedom of speech and right to worship as they choose, according to The New York Times. Instead, they often push to teach the idea of intellectual design, an idea unbacked by science that describes that G-d alone created and changed the universe.

While creationists use religion to fight evolution, their argument is not as sound as they might think. In 2014, Pope Francis said, “When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining G-d was a magician…But that is not so. He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment,” according to The Washington Post. If the most well known religious figure on earth concedes to the idea of evolution, the turmoil between religion and evolution should not stand.

The question now becomes, should ideas not backed by science be taught as a replacement for a scientifically backed theory? The answer seems simple. The approach to teaching evolution in schools needs to focus more on how humans and organisms have evolved rather than how they were created. If schools can manage to do this, the argument against evolution has no sound claim.

Derry Township School District does teach evolution in school, click here to thank the DTSD Board of Directors for continuing to include evolution in the curriculum. For anyone who does not go to a school that teaches evolution, contact the school board, local legislature, or even the teachers to discuss the need for evolution in schools.