The Arkansas Science Teachers Association strongly supports the position that evolution is a major unifying concept in science and should be included and maintained in the state K–12 science education frameworks and curricula. It should be titled “evolution” and not indirectly called “change over time” or similar wording.
Evolution is not taught in many Arkansas school districts. These students in these districts will not achieve the level of scientific literacy they needed in an increasingly technological and scientific society. They will not understand natural systems, genetics, natural selection, geologic time, population biology, environmental and climate change, medical and microbiological sciences issues or other important concepts related to an understanding of evolution.
This position is consistent with all scientific organizations that support the teaching evolution and an old Earth history as part of science curricula (National Science Foundation, National Science Teachers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Association of Biology Teachers, National Academy of Science, Geological Society of America, etc.).
Evolution should be taught beginning in elementary school and with greater detail in each successive grade. Arkansas K-16 students and teaches should understand:
Many teachers have found the following chart helpful.
People have several ways that they know about their world. The chart below lists some of the ways of knowing. However, as you read the chart please note that science is a way of knowing that requires the use of certain rules and methods that differs from the other means of knowing. Scientific knowledge is limited to the natural world.
|Religious Knowledge||Philosophic Knowledge||Cultural Knowledge||Science Knowledge|
|Seeks answers to any question that can be posed including answers to the ultimate questions (What is my purpose? What is the meaning of life? Is there a supreme being? etc.).||Seeks answers to any question that can be posed including answers to the ultimate (What is my purpose? What is the meaning of life? Is there a supreme being? etc.).||Seeks answers to any question that can be posed including answers to the ultimate questions (What is my purpose? What is the meaning of life? etc.), but generally relates to how people treat one another.||Can only seek answers about the natural world but cannot answer ultimate questions (Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?).|
|Seek predictions on any event based on faith and belief.||Seek predictions on any event based on point of view.||Seek predictions on any event based on belief and cultural history.||Seek predictions about future natural events based on observational evidence and testing.|
|The rules may vary among the different religions.||The rules may vary among the different philosophic views.||The rules may vary among the different cultures.||Has a set of rules that must be followed in order to be called science.|
|Explanations are based on beliefs and faith and seek to understand and follow an ultimate purpose.||Explanations are based on logic or viewpoint and seek to understand and follow an ultimate purpose and may undergo some type of testing.||Explanations are based on beliefs and seek to understand and follow an ultimate purpose.||Explanations are based on observation, evidence, and testing.|
|Explanations can include supernatural forces.||Explanations can include supernatural forces and viewpoints.||Explanations can include supernatural forces and other historical viewpoints.||Explanations cannot include supernatural forces.|
|Hypotheses need not be part of the religion, nor do hypotheses have to be tested nor proved or disproved.||Hypotheses may be a part of the philosophic view and hypotheses may or may not have to be tested and proved or disproved.||Hypotheses need not be part of the cultural view, nor do hypotheses have to be tested nor proven.||The hypothesis used in tests must be able to be disproved.|
|Is a belief system and seeks truths.||Is a point of view and seeks truths.||May be a belief system rooted in historical views and seeks truths.||Is not a belief system nor seeks truths.|
|Knowledge may not change greatly over time, but may be swayed by culture.||Knowledge may not change greatly over time and may be influenced by culture.||
May be a belief system rooted in historical views and seeks truths.
Knowledge may or may not change slowly over time.
|Knowledge may change as new data arises.|
|Accepted knowledge does not need peer review or verification.||Accepted knowledge may seek peer review or verification, but conclusions may differ among individuals.||Accepted knowledge may seek review or verification, but conclusions may differ among individuals.||All knowledge must have peer review and verification.|