Evolution conversation questions
This is a potentially controversial subject in some societies, and consequently some teachers may want to carefully consider if they wish to use all of these questions.
- Do you think that evolution is "just" a theory?
- What does the word "theory" mean to a scientist? In other words, what do scientists mean when they refer to the "theory of relativity" the "theory of evolution"?
- What does the word "hypothesis" mean to a scientist?
- What do you understand by the term ‘natural selection’?
- What do you think of the term ‘survival of the fittest’? Is it the best description of evolution?
- If an animal survives, but doesn't reproduce, is it helping the evolution of the species?
- Does evolution always produce animals which are "better"? What about cave-living fish which lose their eyes? Or island-living birds which lose the ability to fly?
- Why do you think that some species survive and evolve while others go extinct?
- Did Darwin's theory of evolution "kill God"? Is it possible to reconcile contradictions between religious texts and his theory?
- Did we evolve from monkeys, did monkeys evolve from humans or did we both evolve from something else?
- What human traits are you familiar with that are a direct result of evolution from our common ancestor?
- Why have humans evolved to have different colours and other features?
- In what ways are Homo sapiens and Neanderthals similar?
- Should we attempt to clone Neanderthals from their DNA samples?
- If Neanderthals had survived to this day how do you think our species - Homo sapiens - would treat them?
- Are humans in any way “special”? How exactly?
- Are human beings the pinnacle of evolution? In other words, are we the "best evolved" species - the "objective" of the evolutionary process?
- Are there other animals better adapted to their environment than we are?
- If intelligence is so useful why are we the only species to have evolved it?
- Are we still evolving or does science and technology do it for us?
- Homo sapiens:
- Neanderthal: /niːˈændərtɑːl/
Evolution and religion
- Many schools in the USA teach Young Earth creationism – the idea that God put humans on Earth in their present form some 7,000 years ago - as an alternative to evolution. What do you think of this?
- Why do you think that creationism is more popular in the US compared to most of the rest of the western world?
- Are evolution and religion naturally incompatible?
- Supporters of the idea of "Intelligent Design" maintain that if something looks designed then it was designed. What do you think of this argument?
- Do you think that intelligent design or creationism are legitimate scientific alternatives to evolution? Why or why not?