Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Education and Darwin

Bernard Shaw questioned the education system stating that it is problematic as it just re-iterates the same information from generation to generation (Shaw, 1963, p. xiii). This type of thought can be used when scrutinizing Darwinism as well. The ideas that were presented by Charles Darwin have been passed down from generation to generation, but it seems as though the message has been lost. To use an analogy, it is like the telephone game where one person starts with a message, then the message is whispered from person to person in a circle, and the final person has to say out loud what the message they received was and it is generally very different from what was originally intended. This is in part because everyone has different ways of interpreting messages and picking out the important parts of the information.

Doctor Bruce Alexander who presented to the class even said that there is a group of Darwinians that he does not agree with, as they do not follow the true word of Darwin. How can Darwinism live on in what is presented in the general public as a united faction when really it is very divided. Even though the message of Darwin was written in Origin of Species and Descent of Man, there are those from the 19th century that critic his work and those today that do. In primary education there is no discussion about whether Darwin’s thoughts could be discredited, but instead just told that this is the way it is and to accept it. There needs to be a more critical approach taken not only to Darwinism, but a wide range of other topics in primary education to prepare students for the real world. In high school biology I recall my teacher stating, “This class will teach from a scientific point of view, not a religious one”. After reading a number of critics of Darwin, it is easy to see that Darwinism is not an indisputable theory. Shaw’s critic of the education system is very valid, and needs to be taken into consideration.

1 comment:

  1. The theme you address is a very important one to bring up. There is always variation within life and between human beings. We are not constant beings and our culture differs throughout the ages. I believe that Darwin would agree with this statement - we diverge. But that in turn makes belief/practice/acceptance of Darwinism problematic; which sect is the most accurate? truest to original form? Are those groups who have digressed from Darwin's original thoughts beneficial or detrimental to scientific thought? Take the vegetarian person for example. who is the true vegetarian? the vegan, the ovo-lacto vegetarian, or the lacto vegetarian? (Vegan meaning they exclude all animal products, ovo-lacto do not exclude milk or eggs or honey from their diet, and lacto simply does not exclude milk). Is one of these groups (among the other sects of vegetarianism) 'better' or 'worse' than the other? More or less accurate? Who determines? Does it really matter as long as we are following our own personal convictions in the end?