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The Biggest Misconceptions About Evolution, And What We Can Do About Them (Part 1)

Outright denialism is part of the problem of America’s issue with evolution. Another part, which involves misconceptions about evolution, is far subtler.

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Despite the fact that 2015 is the tenth anniversary of the pivotal Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District decision prohibiting the practice, creation science and intelligent design are still taught in far too many classrooms: perhaps more than one in eight, according to a 2011 survey . Outright denialism and overt teaching of non-science, however, is only part of the problem at the heart of America’s issue with evolution. Another part, which involves misconceptions about evolution, is far subtler. Such misconceptions have a variety of sources, but their effect, building up slowly over time, is to impair student understanding of evolution. As a result, the students are vulnerable to confusion and doubt about evolution in particular, or even science in general, after they leave school.

So what are some of the biggest misconceptions about evolution, how do you spot them, and what can you do about them? We’ll cover the first two in this installment, and three more in the next one.