I have found the topic of biological evolution to be very important for young people. As I teach my high school students, I make sure to cover the topic each year. In my Historical Doctrines and Apologetics class, I spend about two weeks discussing biological evolution with the students. I plan to cover it again with my students in my new Comparative Worldviews and Religions class.
The first important point is that there are different definitions of evolution. The first thing I teach my students is to always ask questions of clarification. If someone asks you if you believe in evolution, you need to ask what they mean by evolution rather than responding quickly. Evolution can be change over time like how the iPhone has evolved. If this is the case, I believe in that kind of evolution. It can also be small changes within a species like different breeds of dogs. This is micro-evolution. Again, I agree with this definition of evolution. The last main definition is macro-evolution or Darwinian evolution. This states that random mutation and natural selection account for all living organisms. This is where I begin to have problems with the evidence. So, when I refer to evolution in this post, I am talking about Darwinian evolution (macro-evolution).
It my time working with high school students, I have yet to see any weaknesses or reasons against teaching evolution. It has only been a benefit for them. I have found that most Christian students reject evolution without even being able to define what it is accurately. I have also found that most non-Christian students accept evolution without being able to describe it. Students on both sides of this issue seem to accept it based on cultural influence – if you’re a Christian you reject it and if you’re not a Christian then you accept it. Accepting a position simply because that is what you have been taught is not the best. We should have a deeper understanding of the things that we believe.
So, when I teach evolution in my class, I begin with a few lectures doing the best I can to make a case for evolution. I present the facts similar to how a college professor would teach them. This allows them to be able to talk intelligently about the theory of evolution later on. We go over each one of the icons and I explain how evolutionists explain each point. This tactic is extremely beneficial because I don’t want the first time they hear a strong case for evolution to be when they are away from home. I want them to hear the strongest points when they are with me. If there are any questions, they can be addressed by someone who is trying to teach them how to think rather than what to think.
After I make a case for evolution, we then work through all of the scientific evidence on each one of the icons. Without just saying “God did it!” or “Christians can’t believe in evolution!” we are able to see, as a class, that evolution can’t stand on its own two feet. There are too many holes in the process and too many conclusions are made without evidence. I have found that after some time on this topic, students are able to see why creation makes more sense. They are able to see the incredible scientific discoveries that point to a common creator rather than a common ancestor.