Science & Education

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 23-46

First online:

Foundational issues in evolution education

  • Mike U. SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine
  • , Harvey SiegelAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Miami
  • , Joseph D. McInerneyAffiliated withBiological Sciences Curriculum Studies, Colorado Springs, CO

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There is a great need for effective evolution education. This paper reviews some of the evidence that demonstrates that need and analyzes some of the foundational semantic, epistemological, and philosophical issues involved. This analysis is used to provide a functional understanding of the distinction between science and non-science. Special emphasis is placed the scientific meaning of the terms theory, hypothesis, fact, proof, evidence, and truth, focusing on the difference between religious belief and acceptance of a scientific theory. Science is viewed as theologically neutral and as not mutually exclusive from religion. Finally, a number of practical recommendations to the classroom biology teacher are presented.