Good Essay On Critical Analysis: Why Evolution Should Be Taught In Public Schools
“Why Evolution should be taught in public schools” is an article by Laura H. Khan that explores the issue of evolution. Just like the title suggests, Kahn presents a passionate argument of why the theory of evolution advanced by Charles Darwin should be adopted in the public school curriculum. Khan argues that understanding of evolution is crucial when it comes to confronting some of the 21st century microbiological challenges. He argues that the next generation of scientists need to be educated on the issue of evolution and hence be provided with the tools needed to create and develop treatment and interventions against emerging viruses, antibiotic resistance bacteria, as well as other deadly microbes. His argument mainly seems to be targeted at education policy makers who he attempts to convince that allowing children in public schools to be taught on evolution will only be for the benefit of the entire community in the long term.
Khan supports her arguments by first of all exploring ‘spontaneous generation’, a theory that was previously used to explain disease before the development of the germ theory of disease. His intention here is to show how destructive scientifically unproven theories can be and how they do not aid humans to develop themselves and make the world a better place. Khan refers to the spontaneous generation theory as a “dogma” that did nothing to prepare physicians and scientists to develop effective strategies and intervention techniques for infectious disease that were at the time claiming the lives of many people. Khan then goes on to show how a French scientist named Louis Pasteur went to great levels to disapprove this theory and replaced it with a more scientifically viable theory that was named the “germ theory of disease”. Khan writes that Pasteur essentially helped to convince a doubting world that spontaneous generation was not an accurate explanation of the development of disease and that is was instead invincible microbes that caused disease. By doing this, he initiated a revolution in public health and medicine; a revolution whose effects are visible even today. Khan then convincingly shows how hard it was to convince people of this new theory as the spontaneous generation theory was dominant at the time and was widely accepted by all people. The main proposal of this theory was that life was capable of emerging from non-living organic matter. This was for example proven by the emergence of maggots from rotting meat, as well as the “magical” appearance of vermin in stored grain. This theory was primarily based on observation and was backed by almost zero scientific proof. Kahn, therefore, argues that it was wrong. She also shows how this theory incorrectly explained the true cause of disease; microbes. This theory postulated that microbes were the result of disease and not the actual cause. Khan then dedicates a large section of her argument to show how Louis Pasteur persistence eventually paved way for the adoption of germ theory as the most accurate explanation of disease. She writes about Pasteur’s work on the process of fermentation and how this work convinced him otherwise regarding the spontaneous generation theory. In addition, Khan Writes about the various experiments that Pasteur conducted all in an effort to prove wrong the proponents of the spontaneous generation theory as well as those who were opposed to his own theory.
Khan’s inference and discussion of the spontaneous generation vs. the germ theory of disease is simply a tactic to further support his argument about the need for evolution to be adopted as a topic in public schools. Just like the more accurate ‘germ theory of disease’ was embroiled in battle and struggle against the traditionally accepted ‘spontaneous generation theory’. Khan postulates that more the accurate evolution theory is currently engaged in a battle of wits with the widely accepted ‘creationism theory’.
Khan compares the creationism theory to the spontaneous generation theory with particularly emphasis on the fact that the two cannot be scientifically proven. However, he faintly suggests that the creationism theory is even worse than the spontaneous generation theory because unlike the latter which is based on observation, creationism is actually based on belief. Khan’s intention here is to one again shows the superiority of the evolution theory to the creationism theory.
Khan also seemingly dismisses the creationism theory stating that a truly legitimate scientific theory “requires collecting data, conducting experiments and generating hypotheses to explain natural phenomena” (Khan, 2007, n.p). Clearly, the creationism theory does not meet this feature as it is merely based on belief. Kahn particularly castigates the theory for its emphasis on the existence of a deity who created all things in spite of the fact that the existence of this deity has never been proven. This is in comparison with the Darwinism theory of evolution which is backed by a lot of scientific evidence and data and which, in fact, continues to manifest every day in normal biological processes.
In his final piece of support to his argument, Khan once again makes reference to the germ theory of disease. He contends that just like the germ theory of disease allowed humans to understand the real causes of infectious diseases as well as the spread of pandemics and epidemics, the theory of evolution offers almost a similar gift. This theory will help humans to understand important disease concepts such as antimicrobial resistance development, the growth and emergence of novel pathogens that infect animals, humans and plants or even the potential or ability of the avian influenza virus to undergo mutation and therefore develop into a deadly human influenza virus that can cause a pandemic. Kahn’s overall premise to all this is the fact that children have to receive a good education that includes learning of accurate scientific concepts such as evolution in order to further or enhance their human understanding.
Khan acknowledges that various theories have been given over the years to explain certain phenomena, but many have slowly been proven to be inaccurate. Consequently, they have and should indeed be progressively replaced by more accurate scientific theories explaining phenomena. It is these new theories that enhance human understanding and helps humans create a better world for themselves. This is what drives Khan to make a passionate appeal for evolution to be included into the public school curriculum as it will enable the future generation have a better understanding of the human world. Khan presents his argument in a well-articulated manner. Although he remains respectfully to the theories that he does not believe in, he however gives viable reasons to discredit them and in the end, his argument about the need to include teaching of evolution in public schools is very convincing.
Khan, Laura H. "Why Evolution Should Be Taught in Public Schools." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. N.p., 11 Dec. 2007. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://thebulletin.org/why-evolution-should-be-taught-public-schools>.
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