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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Correcting some common misrepresentations of evolution in textbooks and the media

Kevin Padian

Author Affiliations

Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley 94720-4780, USA

Evolution: Education and Outreach 2013, 6:11  doi:10.1186/1936-6434-6-11

Published: 25 June 2013


Topics related to evolution tend to generate a disproportionate amount of misunderstanding in traditional textbooks, other educational materials, and the media. This is not necessarily the fault of textbook and popular writers: many of these concepts are confusingly discussed in the scientific literature. However, faults can be corrected, and doing so makes it easier to explain related concepts. Three general areas are treated here: ideas and language about evolution, historical and philosophical aspects of evolution, and natural selection and related concepts. The aim of this paper is to produce a template for a more logical, historically and scientifically correct treatment of evolutionary terms and concepts.

Evolution; Evolution education; History of biology; Natural selection; Charles Darwin