America’s Ongoing Problem with Evolution

Everyone knows that the United States is not among the top tier… or even middle tier when it comes to understanding and accepting evolution. But why? This talk will briefly explore the “how did we get here?” of evolution acceptance in the United States, before zooming in on one of the most maddening causes (and effects) of poor evolution literacy: misconceptions. Misconceptions about evolution are abundant and pervasive. From thinking individuals evolve, to believing evolution proceeds linearly toward human “perfection,” misconceptions cloud a student’s understanding of biology’s unifying topic, and make it difficult to assess mastery. We will highlight a few common evolution misconceptions and discuss strategies for identifying and—crucially—correcting them.