Why Education is Important

Over on Carl Zimmer's blog, the Loom, is a comment from some fellow named Philip Heywood. He says, regarding his skepticism of evolution,

"I will check some of those references, although I don't know whether they will or will not assist a layman such as myself in seeing how humans can be descended from monkeys yet not be giving birth to monkeys."

My first inclination after reading this was to curl up in my oven and light myself on fire. The scientific ignorance here is appalling, yet this is a fairly common misconception. How many adults share this idea is probably pretty high (which is scary). Humans did not descend from modern monkeys; we share a common ancestor from around 7 million + years ago (read Richard Dawkin's latest book, The Ancestor's Tale for a highly entertaining account of evolution). One of the reasons I'm going to start teaching evolution next year to 5th/6th graders is to hopefully produce some future adults who actually understand the scientific context of statements like these and know why they are ridiculous.

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