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Creationism, as a political movement, is perhaps a valid subject for civics class. But its claims should not be taught in school for the simple reason that they are demonstrably false. The fact that humans are related to chimpanzees has been widely accepted since Linnaeus placed both in the genus Homo in 1758. The historical fact of biological evolution has been well documented since the end of the 18th century, when the English geologist William Smith coined the "principle of faunal succession." But just as gravity was known for many years before Newton developed his theory of gravity, so this historical fact of gradual change in life forms (now known by the name of "biological evolution") was an unexplained fact for some time before Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace independently developed a theory of evolution through natural selection, which explained it and allowed predictions to be made. Although spectacularly unlikely, new evidence could appear tomorrow which would overturn the current theory of evolution through natural selection. But that wouldn't change the historical fact of biological evolution, and a new theory of evolution would be required. Because the two are intimately connected, many people who accept both ue the term "evolution" to describe both. But for people who wish to debate the matter, let me ask: do you accept the historical fact of change in species over time? If you do, debating theories explaining it makes sense. If you do not, then the theory is irrelevant; there is no evolution to theorize about.
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