Education Letter to the Editor

Approach to Evolution Depends on ‘Worldview’

January 04, 2005 1 min read

To the Editor:

I’d like to respond to your article “Evolution Stickers Go on Trial in Ga.” (Nov. 17, 2004). When dealing with this issue, teachers need to be aware that the data used by both sides is basically the same. It is the worldview or philosophy that causes different interpretations, or conclusions.

For example, that living things have DNA in common is interpreted as “proving” that we all came from a common ancestor. It is just as valid a conclusion to say that we all came from the same “designer.”

One exercise I have the students do is a word count of such words and phrases as “could have,” “may have,” and “probably” in the textbook chapters covering the origin of life or other aspects of evolution. Then I have them do the same exercise with another chapter, say on mitosis or plant anatomy. The results are startling. If evolution, the idea that pond scum can become people, is a fact, then why does it have such a high number of words suggesting uncertainty, as opposed to other “factual” chapters?

The issue is not science vs. religion, but which worldview do you wish to hold. Logic and everyday life do indeed favor one over the other.

Christopher Gieschen

Fort Wayne, Ind.

A version of this article appeared in the January 05, 2005 edition of Education Week as Approach to Evolution Depends on ‘Worldview’