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Ten Questions (and Answers) about Teaching Evolution

A high school biology teacher asked the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science (a division of the Center for Inquiry) a series of questions about teaching evolution. Bertha Vazquez, director the foundation’s Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES), answered. We thought her answers deserved sharing with Skeptical inquirer readers.

1. What do you think are the main factors that influence how effective a biology teacher is at teaching evolution?

It’s all about content knowledge. A teacher should know the definition of a scientific theory, current examples of evolution, and, as a result, have confidence when teaching the subject.

2. How does evolution education differ from country to country?

Our teachers [in the United States] have to constantly defend evolution. That’s not the case in most first-world countries. Like Richard says in The Greatest Show on Earth, it’s like a professor of Roman history having to defend the existence of the Roman Empire every year, year after year. I’m not as familiar with other countries, but as far as the United States is concerned, I am getting published soon in a journal titled Evolution: Education and Outreach. I did a comprehensive state-by-state comparison of our nation’s middle school science standards. It is now available online at

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