More Evolution, Please!

I thought you might be interested in this recent blog post by Kelly Cowan (Are WE the Missing Link in Acceptance of Evolution?). To me, the central idea of Kelly’s post is this: “It just might be possible that the lack of sophistication about evolution in this country is not due to a resistance to it on the part of students, but due instead to a lack of coverage on the part of teachers.” This is particularly a problem in high schools, where avoiding the topic of evolution is often simpler than dealing with the inevitable protests. That puts more of the burden on those of us who teach in colleges and universities.

I am making an effort this semester to casually mention evolution more often in all four units of my class, rather than focusing on it nearly exclusively during the evolution/biodiversity unit. By “casually” I mean that when I talk about chemistry, cell structure, respiration, photosynthesis, protein synthesis, mitosis, and so on, it will be easy enough to just show a quick image of the “tree of life” and show how widespread (or universal) those structures and processes are. For the ecology unit, it’s easy to keep referring back to selective forces that shape organisms in all domains/kingdoms.

I’d be curious to learn more about how my colleagues work evolution into units that aren’t explicitly “about” evolution.

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