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Understanding Evolution: 17 Misconceptions and Their Responses

Understanding Evolution: 17 Misconceptions and Their Responses

Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Evolution is one of the best supported, most elegant, and most powerful theories in all of science. As it stands, it is the best explanation that we have for the diversity of life on Earth. Understanding evolution, as a scientifically literate society, is then a primary goal for anyone who was ever at least curious about the various forms of life we encounter. However, because evolutionary facts are thought to step on the toes of modern religious interpretations of life’s diversity (that all humans came from the interbreeding of a family generated from a rib bone, for example), there are many misconceptions that have been thrown in the way to act as obstacles to true understanding.

All of the following misconceptions and responses are via Understanding Evolution, a project to bring a true understanding of evolutionary theory to the public by the University of California at Berkeley. You can also find this post for later reference at the top of every SBL page under the drop-down menu for “RESOURCES”.

Many of these arguments come primarily from creationists, and would be remedied easily with the proper understanding of the theory itself, which seems to be chronically lacking.

The Misconceptions and Their Responses

Misconception: “Evolution is a theory about the origin of life.”

Response:
Evolutionary theory deals mainly with how life changed after its origin. Science does try to investigate how life started (e.g., whether or not it happened near a deep-sea vent, which organic molecules came first, etc.), but these considerations are not the central focus of evolutionary theory. Regardless of how life started, afterwards it branched and diversified, and most studies of evolution are focused on those processes.

Misconception: “Evolution is like a climb up a ladder of progress; organisms are always getting better.”

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TAGGED: EDUCATION, EVOLUTION


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