The sciences don't fit together without evolution

By trade a physicist, Lawrence Lerner respects the centrality of evolution to biology.

As a physicist, I have not concerned myself professionally with the details of biological evolution. Nevertheless, it is significant to the physicist (or any scientist) because of the way it fits perfectly with the evolution that takes place in every aspect of nature—from the Big Bang and cosmic evolution to the history of the formation of the solar system to the geological development of the earth. And this last, of course, merges and entangles with biological evolution in a complex and fascinating way.

Teaching biology without evolution is like teaching physics without Newton's laws or chemistry without the principles of mass and energy conservation.

Unless biological evolution is taught in the same scientific way that the other sciences are taught, students are likely to emerge from their schooling with a distorted picture of science as a whole. In particular, evolution is the central organizing principle of the biological sciences; teaching biology without evolution is like teaching physics without Newton's laws or chemistry without the principles of mass and energy conservation. Consequently, it is of the greatest importance that biological evolution be taught properly and scientifically. Only thus can the student come to understand the beautiful, complex harmony and consistency of the natural world. And only thus can the student come to understand matters that confront him or her on a daily basis—medical matters such as vaccination and antibiotic use; environmental issues such as droughts, storms, and flooding; earthquakes and their causes; and many others.

Most importantly, all the sciences, not the least of them biology, share an underlying methodology. Failing to teach biological evolution scientifically leaves the student with the impression that biology is fundamentally different from the other sciences, which leaves him or her with a gross misunderstanding of the workings of all the sciences.

Lawrence Lerner
Short Bio

Lawrence Lerner is a retired physics professor who thanks his broad liberal education in college for having made it possible for him later to make contributions in history and philosophy as well. He also worked for about thirty years on matters concerning K-12 science education.

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