evolution & the nature of science

I like to teach my students here at Waikato something about how the theory of evolution was developed. OK, I'm interested in history anyway, but it's also a really good way to teach about the nature of science. You know; what is science, really? What does the word theory mean to a scientist? How's science done? Well, I've just come across a website that has some really good material on just these issues.

It's part of the PBS website, from the US. This link takes you to a page that has a number of scientists talking about the nature of science & of evolutionary theory.

To put it in perspective, the page is part of a larger site written as supporting material for a PBS documentary called Judgement Day: intelligent design on trial. It's based on the 2005 court case that followed a school board's decision to support the teaching of intelligent design in its classroom, a decision that was challenged by a group of parents and teachers and ruled against by a US judge. And like biologists round the world, I applauded the judge's decision – you'll already have gathered that I'm no fan of 'intelligent design'.

Anyway, have a look at the site sometime. As well as the links above, there's some excellent stuff on evidence for evolution, & quite a few extras that I haven't had a look at yet. It would be great to see the programme air on NZ television…

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