The Right Way To Teach Evolution

Andrew Sullivan —  Nov 25 2012 @ 4:56pm

John Horgan struggles with students who believe in creationism:

I point out that some religion-bashing Darwinians exaggerate the power of evolutionary theory. For example, Richard Dawkins was wrong–egregiously wrong–when he claimed in his 1986 bestseller The Blind Watchmaker that life "is a mystery no longer because [Darwin] solved it." Even when bolstered by modern genetics, evolutionary theory does not explain why life emerged on Earth more than 3 billion years ago, or whether life was highly probable, even inevitable, or a once in a universe fluke. The theory doesn’t explain why life, after remaining single-celled for more than 2 billion years, suddenly spawned multi-cellular organisms, including one exceedingly strange mammal capable of pondering its own origins.

But he holds his ground:

I feel a bit queasy, I admit, challenging their faith, from which some of them derive great comfort. Part of me agrees with one student who wrote: "Each individual is entitled to his or her own religious beliefs… Authority figures teaching America’s youth should not be permitted to say certain things such as any religion being simply ‘wrong’ due to a certain scientific explanation." On the other hand, if I don’t prod these young people into questioning their most cherished beliefs, I’m not doing my job, am I?