“Theory” in Theory and Practice
A central obstacle to accepting evolution, both among students and the general public, is the idea that evolution is “just a theory,” where “theory” is understood in a pejorative sense as something conjectural or speculative. Although scientists and textbooks constantly explain that the scientific use of “theory” is quite different, the pejorative use continues to cause confusion, in part because of its deep roots in a popular, Baconian, understanding of science. A constructivist approach, whereby students are helped to examine the adequacy of their preconceptions about “theory” for themselves and to revise or replace them appropriately, is recommended.
- Alters BJ, Alters SM. Defending evolution: a guide to the creation/evolution controversy. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett; 2001.
- Bhattacharjee Y. Florida standards support evolution—with a twist. Science 2008;319(5867):1168. CrossRef
- Florida Department of Education (FDE). Florida Science: Sunshine Science Standards. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Education; 2008. Available at: http://www.fldoestem.org/Uploads/1/docs/Science%20Standards%20Both-FINAL%203–20–08.pdf (accessed April 15, 2008).
- Gould SJ. Evolution as fact and theory. Discover 1981;2:34–7. (May).
- Gregory TR. Evolution as fact, theory, and path. Evo Edu Outreach 2008;1(1):46–52. CrossRef
- Gross PR. The State of State Science Standards. Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Institute; 2005. Available at: http://www.edexcellence.net/institute/publication/publication.cfm?id=352 (accessed April 15, 2008).
- Holifield EB. The odd couple: theology and science in the American tradition. Atlanta, GA: Emory University; 2004. Available at: http://www.emory.edu/SENATE/FacultyCouncil/Committees/DFL_Lectures/Holifield%202004.pdf (accessed April 15, 2008).
- Larson EJ. Trial and error: the American controversy over creation and evolution. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2003.
- Miller KR, Levine J. Prentice Hall biology, California edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall; 2007.
- Postal L. State Board of Education to vote on evolution—as a “theory”. Orlando Sentinel 2008;16:B1. (February).
- Scotchmoor J. Not just a theory. Berkeley, CA: University of California Museum of Paleontology; 2003. Available at: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/education/lessons/notjusttheory.html (accessed April 15, 2008).
- “Theory” in Theory and Practice
- Open Access
- Available under Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Evolution: Education and Outreach
Volume 1, Issue 3 , pp 287-289
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Evolution education
- Francis Bacon
- William Jennings Bryan