Prof. Tim Moy, UNM, on
"Evolution and the university curriculum"

Timothy Moy, history of science professor at UNM, spoke on "Evolution and the university curriculum." Actually, Prof. Moy said, the university does not have any set "curriculum." There's no agreement on, for example, what to teach in history. There is the expectation, however, that incoming students will have a framework of understanding that will help them come to new knowledge. An essential part of scientific literacy, Tim said, is our understanding of nature. The Copernican insight, Newton's work, atomic theory, electromagnetism and light, cells, germs, and DNA are all part of a basic framework of understanding of the natural sciences. And biological evolution, and the role of natural selection, are an important part of that framework. Beyond the purely scientific side of things, he said, the story of evolution is an amazing human drama loaded with sex, violence and death. It's important to recognize the nature of science, and not just the content of science. If a student coming to study science in college had no knowledge of the theory of evolution, that would be like a history major having no knowledge of the Nazis, or having the view that the Holocaust never happened. They don't get a large number of Holocaust deniers at UNM, Prof. Moy said, but it's hard to imagine how someone who holds that view could ever become a history professional. Tim concluded that university students who have no knowledge of evolution or who think it's a "controversy" will simply be unprepared to deal with the essence of science - consensus building, ongoing testing, and so forth.

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