Originally Posted by lisan23
Why not focus on all of them? And really, the students just need to understand the difference between scientific theory and theory in general since they are not the same. (Any average Joe can make a theory, but scientific theory is backed up by information and is more or less fact... but remains theory since most scientists realize that as time goes on we have more information and that could change the theory.)
Evolution is not a fact but a scientific theory. A scientific theory with lots of evidence, but there is a difference between fact and scientific theory. You can't state that evolution is fact because 100 years from now science might discover something that disproves evolution, hence why it is a scientific theory. Creationism is a theory in another sense (one based on human imagination... or God if you choose to believe in him) but is also used as an explanation to our existence, as is evolution.
Stating that they're like debating 2 different subject when they both have a common factor (the existence of human life) is completely inaccurate. They are debatable and this would be a class that would appeal to some high school students. I don't see the harm in it as long as it's properly moderated and the students understand it's for learning purposes and not just to argue.
Evolution is a fact. Inheritable traits within a gene pool vary in their proportions over time. That is evolution and it is a fact. It has been measured and documented many times, both in the lab and in the wild.
It is as much a fact as germ theory - the theory that many diseases are caused by microorganisms. Then there is atomic theory, the theory of gravity, collision theory, and on and on. And these are all facts. Which is to say, as testible and falsifiable concepts, they have withstood many decades of testing and have been shown to be in accord with all available data.
But it's just a theory!
is right out of Creationism 101. Again, as another poster has pointed out, so is gravity. Yet no one ever cautions proponents of teaching physics that grativy is just a theory
and that we should thus not teach it as fact. And why is that? Because its status as a theory is irrelevant, as is that of evolution, and because such people don't have a political agenda desperate to deny certain aspects of physics. It is also the case that some people are simply and honestly ignorant of the fact that theory
in the scientific sense is different than in the colloquial sense. However, once this difference in definitions of the word is pointed out, such people have an obligation to understand the difference and to stop holding the two up as equivalent. Because they most certainly are not.