Critique: Exploring "Explore Evolution"
Students as Jurors
Explore Evolution claims that many scientists who criticized Haeckel's embryos still support common ancestry; but students, as good jurors, should keep an open mind. Students are learners, not jurors. Their science class is a chance to gain enough context to continue their science education in college and graduate programs, where they will get the background necessary to challenge well-established science. To suggest that students should reject such science at the beginning of their scientific careers is irresponsible.
Keeping an open mind is a virtue when coupled with skepticism and critical analysis. Such skepticism and analysis requires accurate information, which Explore Evolution fails to offer.
Asking students, at the very start of their biological studies, to keep an open mind about the views of an extremely small minority of biologists has questionable pedagogical value. This is particularly problematic because Explore Evolution suffers from so many distortions.
In Explore Evolution, students are exposed to a set of arguments from authority presented in a courtroom-like "he said/she said" fashion. This is not "inquiry-based" education, but rather a rhetorical exercise.
In science, there are not always two diametrically-opposed sides to every issue. When measuring the velocity of objects falling in gravity fields, there is no "dissenting view" or other side that can claim equal time. In areas of active scientific research, there are often more than two sides or interpretations. The courtroom-like approach of this book is an inaccurate representation of how science works.