An open letter considering ignorance, misunderstanding, and the irrationality of teaching the "theory of evolution" and a formal request for removing the theory of evolution as a theory and replacing it with a "hypothesis of evolution.
My Dear Colleagues,
I am deeply concerned with the state of our educational system, especially existing scientific attitudes and beliefs as invoked in the "theory" of evolution. The theory of evolution does not rely on facts, as scientific theories always should, but on arguments resting on myths, falsehoods, and guesswork. It is really the evolution conjecture.
Although the theory of evolution aims at truth, it misses, and it is unclear what kind of truth the proponents of the theory of evolution consider, and if their interest is in harmony with the interest of satisfying the body of knowledge, and if it is propelled by the motivation to fulfil a higher good of scientific justice.
Indeed, it is rather hard to explain why the theory of evolution is being taught in schools since there is no proof for it. Deep questions arise about the impartial perspective and the interest of the teaching profession. Those who aspire to teach should have thought and should continue to think about the consequences of misguided education and what kinds of problems they inflict on young people and society. Today's education cannot be validated unless educators are able to rethink and adjust their practices to meet the demands of the changing morality of science and society at large, and separate facts from speculation.
A primary difficulty in the approach of separating facts from speculations is that the theory of evolution is taught in school as a theory, theory being a fact. There is a difference between a theory and a hypothesis. "There is a popular misconception that theories are nothing but hunches or unfounded explanations. But, in scientific terms, a theory is a statement of relationship that has a firm basis as demonstrated through testing and the accumulation of evidence." 1
It is not important how the theory of evolution is used, so long as this use is made clear. Therefore, I propose that we teach evolution not as theory but as a hypothesis. A hypothesis, contrary to a theory, indicates an assumption, an opinion, or a speculation. Since there is no hard scientific proof for evolution, a hypothesis of evolution does not necessarily have to be based on facts; in other words, a hypothesis of evolution is not required to be consistent with true descriptions of reality but rather a provisional idea whose merit needs evaluation.
Since the scope of education is to teach a body of knowledge, I propose we also teach the hypothesis of intelligent design and/or catasthropism in our schools. I propose that scholars who promote the hypothesis of evolution as theory do it with less egotistical competition and more respect for people who do not adhere to their belief system. In short, I propose we concentrate on what is ethical, not egotistical.
The purpose of education is to get to know different ideas without prejudice. A prejudiced belief such as the "theory of evolution" is usually held because it suits the interest of the believers. Evolution is not science because it cannot be tested, nor is it amenable to falsification; neither it is open to refutation.
It would be forthright for the Ministry of Education to replace the "theory of evolution" with a "hypothesis of evolution" as an important victory for the teaching of science in North American schools.
For more information on evolution as surmise, please consult my publication Obituary - Evolution 1859-2009.
1. Jurmain, Robert, Harry Nelson, Lynn Kilgore, Wenda Trevathan. Essentials of Physical Anthropology (2001). University textbook. Wadsworth Thomson Learning, page 14