This is a quickie - how old we you when you were first TAUGHT about evolution.
In the UK, it was in advanced biology - an optional class for school leavers and I was about 17 at the time - in 1980. (Oh god, I'm old!)
I didn't understand it: accepted it, yes, but didn't understand it.
Anyone who knows me well might find this surprising, because I didn't bother looking at evolution proper until a couple of decades back - while researching something completely different.
These days, evolution is taught in secondary schools (at least, it should be) which puts it in the age 11-16 or 11-18 depending on when the child started.
Dawkins thinks - and I heartily agree - we should introduce this cornerstone of Biology in primary science - so I wonder, how many people hear came to understand Darwin later in life?
In a long-ago mathematics course in differential equations, the professor one day said that even mathematics requires faith. He neither explained nor defended his statement.
I had by then quit Catholicism and in two visits to the university's atheist club found its members' certainty unsupported by evidence. I had settled on agnosticism and the professor's remark led me to conclude that I need to have faith in my mind's ability to understand mathematics.
In recent talks about faith, I've told people of my faith that the next can of food I open won't poison me. I also usually smell the can's contents, so I suppose I have some faith in my sense of smell.
I have no faith in cosmologists' claims of multiverses, eleven dimensions, or even big bangs. Such faith won't help me pay the rent or buy food, etc.
I was educated ABOUT evolution (in that, my teacher did explain some organism's adaptations and such) in my 9th grade year of high school, though the word "evolution" was never actually used, and we skipped the topic chapter explaining it entirely.
I'm in my 11th grade year of high school now and am currently reading "Why Evolution Is True" by Jerry Coyne. Quite an insightful read.
"I don't ever remember NOT being aware of evolution."
The clearest picture I formed was as a child (7?8?) watching Disney's Fantasia.
There, in a middlebrow, mass-produced film was an unvarnished presentation of the long history of the earth and the undeniable facts of natural selection, progressive change as a result of same, and the consequences of environmental catastrophe and change on populations.
I cannot imagine a major entertainment producer putting out such a plain-speaking view of evolution in a children's film (never mind tacking on a short film featuring Satan!)
I was taught about it in the 6th grade, but I only managed to understand it years later, through reading and curiosity. I know that public schools in my country are very bad, but I also felt that evolution was not an important topic in the classroom.
Evolution needs to be taught early, indeed, but it will be useless if the students don`t manage to understand it. As denying evolution comes from ignorance, schools need to ensure that everyone knows clearly what evolution is.
...Is it bad that I don't remember studying evolution in school? I mean, we may have brushed over it, but I can't really remember having a real lesson on it.
I think my first exposure to it (besides pokemon lol) was in the books about dinosaurs and other ancient animals that I loved to read when I was younger (about 7 when I started reading them). They talked about how some of the animals in the book changed over time to look like the animals we see today, the dinosaurs-birds thing, and such. I didn't realize that it was evolution until much later.
(Those books were also the thing made me think that something was a bit off about the creation story)
my theory is that the relative rationality in europe is a result of the state religions there. new wierd wacko religions cant get started if you dont have freedom of religion. they are suppressed. this leads to people becoming bored with old religion and leaving the state church, the few who want to find a new religion look around but theres none there.
recently, however we have the internet, so the wackos will find whatever the flavor of the month is whereever they are.
thats only a theory.