Neanderthals in the Classroom examines the ongoing battle surrounding evolution from a cultural and historical perspective and then puts Theodosius Dobzhansky’s claim that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” to the ultimate test by exploring the potential evolutionary roots of this societal and educational clash over human origins. In examining the biological roots of the conflict, Watts demonstrates how understanding our inner Neanderthal allows us to consciously choose more highly evolved forms of communication as a means of alleviating societal division and creating space for more effective science education.
- Introduces readers to the multifaceted world of evolution education.
- Describes the complex interplay between religious beliefs and science as well as the clash of false information and formal education.
- Offers an overview of the transformation of public opinion of evolution and science over time in the United States due to the perceived conflict between science and religion.
- Examines students’ misconceptions about the theory of evolution and the general nature of scientific discovery due to the contradictory messages that they receive in popular culture.
- Offers potential means to amend misconceptions so that students and other individuals can integrate evolutionary theory into their worldviews, regardless of their religious background.
Table of Contents
1. FIGHT OR FLIGHT. 2. Religion Meets Science. 3. Americans Seek Justice. 4. Morphology of Misconceptions. 5. Our Inner Neanderthal. 6. TEND AND BEFRIEND. 7. All in the Mind. 8. Conscious Evolution. Education (R)evolution. 9. Understanding Common Descent. 10. Conclusion. 11. Afterword. Appendices. References.
Elizabeth Watts is a member of the Biology Education Research Group in the Institute for Zoology and Evolutionary Research at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. Her papers on science education, mindfulness, evolution and climate science have appeared in international journals such as Trends in Ecology and Evolution, The American Biology Teacher and Cultural Studies of Science Education. She has also received the Caspar Friedrich Wolff Medal for her work in the history of science.