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Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy

Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D.
Eugenie C. Scott
February 21, 2013
Maucker Union
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Many topics in the curriculum of American schools are controversial, but perhaps the one with the longest tenure is evolution. Politics plays a role in this controversy in a number of ways. Politicians have keen antennae for cultural values, and the "fairness" argument (i.e., it is only"fair" to "balance" evolution with creationism) regularlyDarwin Week is exploited, regardless of the appropriateness of its application to science education. Variants of the fairness argument such as balancing evolution with "scientific alternatives to evolution" or balancing evolution with "strengths and weaknesses of evolution" have in fact become the current predominant antievolutionist strategy, partly in response to a series of legal decisions that have excluded the overt advocacy of creationism in public schools.

Keynote address for
Darwin Week
sponsored by the
U.N.I. Freethinkers and Inquirers