"The missing link"


Jason R. Wiles's article "The missing link" -- detailing the ways in which evolution education is neglected in his home state of Arkansas -- appeared as the cover story in the weekly Arkansas Times (March 23, 2006). Relying on both anecdotal and statistical data, Wiles concludes, "evolution is being squeezed out of education systematically and broadly," adding, "The fallout is widespread ignorance of the tools and methods of science for generations to come." Wiles is a Ph.D. candidate in science education at McGill University, where he is also co-manager of the Evolution Education Research Centre. His article originally appeared in Reports of the National Center for Science Education.

Accompanying Wiles's article in the Arkansas Times were three letters of support, including one from Susan Epperson, the plaintiff in the landmark case Epperson v. Arkansas. Epperson wrote, "I wanted to say 'thanks' to you for this article about all the difficulty teaching evolution in Arkansas. ... I really feel for these teachers and administrators having to deal with the attitudes of folks who have been taught that scientists are atheists and not to be trusted. A crying shame." In a related article, Jennifer Barnett Reed investigated to what extent the Arkansas Department of Education ensures that teachers comply with the state science standards -- minimally, she concludes.