NCSE on human evolution education in The Atlantic

NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch was interviewed for Olga Khazan's "I Was Never Taught Where Humans Came From," published on The Atlantic's website (September 19, 2019).

In her public high school in Texas, Khazan relates, "We did not, to my recollection, learn much of anything about how the human species originated." And her experience was not atypical,  judging from survey data: as the 2007 survey conducted by Penn State's Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer indicated, the majority of public high school biology teachers fail to teach evolution forthrightly. 

Human evolution is particularly likely to be downplayed, NCSE's Branch explained, because creationists "are not invested in whether evolution affects the sizes and shapes of the beaks of finches in the Galápagos ... They are worried about whether people were created in the image of God himself." And he added that teachers tend to adjust their presentation of socially controversial topics to align with the mores of their communities.

Khazan ended by suggesting "the real problem with not learning about human evolution in high school might be the simple frustration of not knowing what other people know."

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.

branch@ncse.ngo

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