Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education

Evolution: Education and Outreach

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 402-404

First online:

The Soft Underbelly of Evolution?

  • Glenn BranchAffiliated withNational Center for Science Education Email author 
  • , Eugenie C. ScottAffiliated withNational Center for Science Education


Evolution and the origin of life are separate, if connected, topics, but they are frequently conflated—especially by creationists. Regarding the natural origin of life as “the soft underbelly” of evolution, creationists argue that it is impossible, improbable, or insusceptible to scientific investigation. Underlying their arguments is the hope that the failure of scientific research on the origin of life is evidence for a supernatural account. It is crucial for teachers to understand the nature of science in order to be able to explain why appeals to the supernatural are out of place in explaining the origin of life and why scientific research on the origin of life is not intrinsically a threat to faith.


Origin of life Creationism Miller–Urey experiment Nature of science