The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Opinion: Evolution shouldn’t be taught as a fact

Erin Kee
Evolution has become a standardized concept in California’s science curriculum.

Despite evolution’s widespread acceptance by the general public, evolution is not a fact; it has never been one, and shouldn’t be taught as one.

As students, we’re required to take biology, in which one of the fundamental principles taught is Charles Darwin’s scientific theory: evolution by natural selection. Throughout our middle school and high school years, evolution is a deeply covered topic regardless of its controversial nature. The numerous tests and quizzes on the subject require students to study the concept in-depth, whether they believe it or not.

Just as there is scientific evidence supporting evolution, there is also evidence challenging the theory. This filtered education leaves little room for people to come to their own conclusion on how life came about. Instead, it merely paints evolution as a fact.

“Since most textbooks today do not explicitly discuss the descent theory as an active theory, a large misrepresentation is being passed on to students. If this stems in part from saying that ‘evolution is a fact,’ then care must be taken to make sure precisely what is meant by ‘evolution is a fact,'” said Ralph W. Lewis, an American biologist in an issue of the Creation-Evolution Journal.

When I say that evolution is taught as a fact, I’m not saying that your textbook or your teacher is explicitly saying that evolution is a fact. Instead, the curriculum’s extensive focus on the subject results in students’ misconception that the theory is a fact. 

On top of that, a necessary step in the well known scientific method is observation. Evolution’s lack of ability to be observed makes the theory just as faith-based as ideas like intelligent design, the theory that life was designed by some smart entity and could not have happened by chance. Thus, if intelligent design can not be taught in public schools, at the very least, evolution shouldn’t be interpreted as if it’s factually correct.

I come from a Christian household and, because of my background, have been exposed to in-depth theological studies on creationism.

Although statistically, my identity as a Christian places me as part of the majority, all my life, I’ve felt like the minority, especially in a school setting. There’s a difference between being a “Christian” and being a Christian. I try to live my life authentically based on my beliefs in my faith. Being a Christian to me isn’t just because my parents are Christians or that I’ve grown up in the church; my faith is my own and is the lifestyle that I’ve chosen for myself.

This lifestyle that I choose, though it often makes me feel like a minority, is what I standby. I feel lucky that I’ve been exposed to multiple theories about life because it has allowed me to come to my own conclusion and my understanding of how life came about.

But these feelings are not just my own. Throughout American history, there have been many disputes between the teachings of science and religion in public schools: Edwards v. Aguillard, the Butler Act, the Scopes Monkey Trial, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, to name a few. 

Inherit the Wind, a movie based on the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, covers a legal case where a high school teacher violated the Butler Act by teaching evolution in the classroom. In the movie, there is a scene where Henry Drummond, the lawyer defending Bertram Cates, says, “I am trying to establish, Your Honor, that Howard- Colonel Brady- or Charles Darwin- or anyone in this courtroom- or you, sir- has the right to think![…] With all respect to the bench, I hold that the right to think is very much on trial! It is fearfully in danger in the proceedings of this court!” 

Though the times have changed, and the teaching of evolution is heavily implemented in the science curriculum, “the right to think” hasn’t changed. The now conventional practice of solely teaching evolution prevents students from learning about alternatives to evolutionism.

This, in turn, takes away the right to choose their beliefs when a single theory presents itself as a fact. Whatever we want to believe in, we shouldn’t be exclusively taught one belief on how life developed on Earth.

So, to the schools and teachers, don’t strip us of our “right to think.”


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About the Contributor
Erin Kee
Erin Kee, Staff Writer
Erin Kee is a senior in high school. She's excited to be working in the world of publications as an editor for the Highlander magazine as well as a writer for Scot Scoop. To check out her portfolio, click here. Twitter: @erinnkee4

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  • S

    StevenApr 26, 2021 at 4:02 am

    Hi Erin,
    Thanks for this great article. Your article is the first one in so many that I have read that speaks from other than a pro-evolution point of view, and as a student in a STEM-focused high school, I really appreciate this opportunity to get to know about the other side’s concerns and arguments. Also, I really like your point about the right to think. Previously, I have only been exposed to pro-evolution evidence (*) and debunked creationist arguments, and I would like to know more about what creationists or proponents of intelligent design have to say. Personally, I don’t like the current situation of this origin argument because most on each side stick to themselves and don’t really listen to each other. I think what society needs is an in-depth understanding (important!) of both theories and a peaceful discussion based on logical validity instead of stereotypes and accusations and suspicions about conspiracies.
    (*) You wrote that evolution cannot be observed in action and thus is faith-based. Well, evolution is a broad term, and if we are just talking about natural selection (which doesn’t necessarily involve the emergence of new species), I have learned plenty of such examples from AP Biology and casual reading by myself. I think what you mean here is **speciation**, which, according to the theory of evolution, usually happens over very long periods of time (thus your argument that it can’t be observed). So far, what I know are examples of speciation of which the results we have observed, but no examples of speciation in action. I’ll search about it, maybe on Google Scholar, and I recommend you do so too. After all, having more diverse information at hand should help us make better decisions.

  • T

    TinaDec 4, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    This is a great article. There is so much scientific evidence supporting the Bible over evolution. You are completely right, and simple answer as to why they are prejudice towards Intelligent Design is because they have an agenda in preaching this evolution theory in schools. Mass indoctrination. Its great to run across someone like you who actually thinks for themselves.

  • K

    KatieApr 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Great article! I like that point about the freedom to think and choose what you believe in. It’s great how you acknowledge that the theory of evolution should be taught in school but just not as a fact. Very well thought out!

  • S

    SammyApr 21, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    The right to think, Erin, means that you must read and understand beyond the anti-evolution world view into which you have been indoctrinated. If you are going to truly understand, then you must comprehend both sides of the argument, in their own terms. Go to Google and type in “wedge document” and read what the founders of the ID movement actually had in mind. Read books like Why Evolution is True and Your Inner Fish to hear real evidence from real scientists. READ the results of scientist Richard Lenski. If you reject doing so, you are not exercising your right to think by actually considering real evidence in the creation vs. evolution debate. You want to to talk about the truth, so SEEK the truth instead of repeating weak religious arguments against evolution. Intellectual honesty is the path to truth.

    • E

      Erin KeeApr 22, 2020 at 9:54 pm

      I’m in no way arguing the nature of evolution itself. My interpretation of “the right to think” is how evolution is presented to students. I believe the limitations of the curriculum doesn’t give students “the right to think.” I understand that I am not the most educated in evolution and can’t tell people what to believe in but I don’t think schools can determine what students believe either.

  • H

    HrafnApr 21, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    I would suggest that Kee read Epperson v. Arkansas, Edwards v. Aguillard and Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, to find out why what she herself admits are “faith-based as ideas” cannot be taught in public schools. I would also point out that religiously-motivated arguments (not evidence), like the Second Law of Thermodynamics argument presented by Ken Ham and his Answers in Genesis Ministry, have been scientifically debunked. Links to multiple articles summarising this can be found here:

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Opinion: Evolution shouldn’t be taught as a fact