Teach genetics to understand evolution, suggest researchers, according to reports in University of Bath Research News 22 May 2017, ScienceDaily, 23 May 2017, and PLoS Biology doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2002255 23 May 2017.
Researchers at Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath, UK were considering the best way to help high school students understand evolution. They suggested that teaching genetics prior to teaching evolution would help. They introduced their report with: “As microevolution may be configured as a branch of genetics, it being a short conceptual leap from understanding the concepts of mutation and alleles (i.e., genetics) to allele frequency change (i.e., evolution), we hypothesised that learning genetics prior to evolution might improve student understanding of evolution”. (Items in brackets in original text.)
To test this theory they recruited teachers in schools in southern England who taught science to students of ages 14 to 16. The teachers were asked to teach either genetics first or evolution first. The study involved nearly 2,000 students in 78 classes from 23 schools. The University of Bath researchers then assessed how much the students understood evolution, and found there was better understanding in the groups that were taught genetics first.
However, the order of teaching the topics did not make any difference to students’ belief in evolution. According to University of Bath News the researchers conducted follow up studies with the students in focus groups and reported “acceptance is heavily conditioned by authority figures (teachers, TV personalities, religious figures) and the correlation between the students’ understanding of evolution and their acceptance of it is weak”.
Editorial Comment: So, teaching genetics did not make students believe in evolution if they didn’t already do so. Could it be that teaching genetics before evolution actually exposes the fact that genetics shows evolution won’t work? It certainly did for this editor who after graduating following three years of genetics, could only conclude, as our evolutionist professor had stated, there is no evidence for any mechanism of evolution in genetics.
The researchers were studying students’ understanding of “allele frequency change”. Alleles are variations of already existing genes, and the number of individuals within a population that have each variation will differ over the generations as some individuals die out and others reproduce and pass on their alleles. This results in an “allele frequency change”, but it seems some students were smart enough to know that this does not actually explain what the theory of evolution is really about, i.e. non-living chemicals turning into cells, which turn into worms, which eventually become university researchers, via fish, reptiles and apes.
That kind of change has never been observed, so it is no surprise that students depend on “authority figures” to tell them whether it did or did not happen. However, teachers, TV personalities and religious leaders were not there to observe how living things came into being. The only thing they can, and should be doing is to direct students to the written word of the ultimate Authority Figure, the Creator and Lord, Jesus Christ, who was there, and will judge earthly authority figures for whether they helped or hindered students to finding the truth.
Evidence News vol.17 No. 11 14 June 2017 Creation Research Australia
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