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Teachers who teach evolution whether at the K-12 or college level face a number of challenges. One set of challenges comes from misunderstandings about evolution or the nature of science. For example, students may have difficulty in understanding basic concepts such as speciation or in grasping the immense scale of geological time. Another set of challenges comes from "outside" of science, that is, from creationist efforts to weaken (or even block) the teaching of evolution.
One of the most challenging concepts in thinking about evolution is the idea of "deep time," the profoundly different timescale involved in geological and evolutionary processes than those we deal with in our daily lives. It is rare for those of us in North America to see buildings that are more than 100 years old. If the geological history of the world were represented by the height of the Empire State Building, the time since mastodons walked across North America 14,000 years ago would be represented by the thickness of a single dime.
Evolution is a vast subject and there are many books and websites that offer introductions as well as more advanced discussions to its many subtopics and related fields. Our purpose here is to provide answers to questions about evolution that frequently arise in connection with creationism. Some resources here are short, quick answers; others delve into college-level material.
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In a September 4, 2008, press release, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology urged Louisiana citizens and legislators to repeal the recently enacted "Science Education Act" in their state, writing, "The Act was drafted under the guise of 'academic freedom
by Eugenie C. ScottMany — if not most — Americans think of the creation and evolution controversy as a dichotomy with "creationists" on one side, and "evolutionists" on the other. This assumption all too often leads to the unfortunate conclusion that because creationists are believers in God, that evolutionists must be atheists. The true situation is much more complicated: creationism comes in many forms, and not all of them reject evolution.