Interview with Jerry in American Scientist

March 5, 2009 • 8:36 am

by Greg Mayer

An interview with Jerry on evolution vs. creationism appears in the online pages of American Scientist. In the interview, Jerry talks mostly about his approach to teaching evolution based on 25 years experience, and how he applied that experience in the writing of WEIT. A couple of highlights:

…when you read Darwin, the thing that’s most fascinating is the evidence he musters in support of it. In talking with professional biologists and evolutionists, they didn’t ever learn why people thought evolution was true, because you’re not taught that in class. But I thought that that should be passed on to the students because of the second reason I wrote the book, which is the pervasiveness of creationism in this country. I wanted to educate the students so they know that evolution really happened, so they don’t really doubt that, but also to arm them against the forces of irrationality that were going to be impinging on them and society….

And so when I teach the stuff I teach it as sort of an object lesson in how to adjudicate between competing theories in science. And that’s the way I wrote the book, too. I’m constantly asking the reader, “How does creationism explain this observation? It can’t.” So it’s more than teaching the evidence; it’s teaching them how to discriminate between good science and bad science, and that’s a good lesson for students too.