Evolution conversation questions

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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.

Evolution[edit]

  • 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?

Human evolution[edit]

IPA vowels
æ ɑː
trap father - start
e
dress face square
ɪ ɪə
kit fleece near
ɒ əʊ ɔː
lot goat taught
ʊ ʊə
foot goose mature
juː jʊə
cute cure
ʌ ə ɜː
strut comma nurse
ɔɪ
price mouth choice
  • 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?

Pronunciation[edit]

  • Homo sapiens:
BrE: /ˌhɒməʊ ˈsæpiːenz/, /ˌhəʊməʊ ˈsæpiːenz/
AmE: /ˌhəʊməʊ ˈseɪpiːenz/, /ˌhəʊməʊ ˈsæpiːenz/
  • Neanderthal: /niːˈændərtɑːl/

Evolution and religion[edit]

  • 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?

See also[edit]