Evovlution as theory

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Sun, 3 Mar 1996 13:08:53 -0500

In message <Pine.PMDF.3.91.960303100916.662700945A-100000@acc.fau.edu>
Christopher King writes:
> So Tennessee law will state that evolution must be taught as theory and
> not stated fact. For me this is a nonsense bill since evolution is only
> a theory. Whether someone believes the theory to be fact is another
> issue. All the teacher is supposed to do is give the evidence in an
> objective manner so that the students can decide for themselves. The
> teacher does not in any way have to profess his/her beliefs.

Saying that evolution is "only a theory" is akin to claiming that rattlesnakes
are only a theory. Try dismissing a rattlesnake as a theory and stepping on it!
You'll only do it once, I bet.

This is another place where we and other scientists have, for far too long, let
the public get away with misprepresentation of what we intend. In the sentence
"the theory of evolution by natural selection" theory refers to natural
selection, which is offered as an explanation of the observed fact, which is

Of course, as professors we cannot force our students to change their cosmology
on the basis of silly things like facts. But, when I teach human evolution
(which I'll be doing this summer) I CAN and DO insist that they learn what the
facts are and be able to give them back to me on a test. That's all I can do.

Ronald Kephart
Dept of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL USA 32224-2645
Phone: (904) 646-2580