As an undergraduate, I realized that I had some difficulty understanding evolution. Growing up in a church, I struggled with justifying a faith and an atheistic view of how the world was created. Going through rigorous classroom exercises as an undergrad, I developed a deep understanding of Evolution.
Why Evolution should be taught:
One of the most influencial reasons I think that everyone should have at least a basic understanding of evolution is something that I've found myself struggle with this semester - how can an understanding of the past, and how organisms evolve, better the future of the world? To many evolution is only a theory, they do not realize the truth that it plays out in their lives. The flu shot signs, the reason they cannot kick the cold they've had for weeks. With so many conflicting avenues for information, it is no wonder people only see evolution as a theory, but in reality it is a very real thing, influencing countless areas of our lives.
In an introductory classroom setting, evolution teaches primarily the past, a set of concepts for people who may or may not see a purpose in learning the material. Through the semester, I myself have struggled at work trying to explain the horrors of genetically modified organisms, and why we should not support companies primed to produce food which can only harm the true future of produce.
Food and Evolution
Evolution of food, not something we all consider. The discussions on natual selection, polyploidy, and other characteristics of plant evolution hit hard. And I stumbled on countless articles indicating why companies like Monsanto should not have as much power as they do. If people truly understood evolution, they would not spray genetically modified organisms with glycophosphate, (Or round-up). An article published in september explained why - the presence of polyploidy in plants allows a plant's genetic material to jump between species. This article indicated that polyploidy has allowed non-gmo wheat to recieve a different species resistance to glycophosphate. Although there is not concrete explanation for why the wheat was resistant to the herbicide, an understanding of evolution and how plants can change points to polyploidy (Pan and Waananen, 2013).
It can no longer be 'only a theory' because now, evolution, and the effects of artificial modification, are changing our food, and very few people understand why. How can we have any chance of changing the future if so few people understand what is so central to the study of biology?
Pan, D., Waananen, L. (2013) The Evolution of Food. Inlander, Sept. 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.inlander.com/spokane/the-evolution-of-food/Content?oid=2189990