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I Was Never Taught Where Humans Came From

Oct 1, 2019

By Olga Khazan

Here’s what I remember from biology class at my public high school in Texas: We learned everything there is to know about the Krebs cycle. We collected bugs in the heat and suffocated them in jars of nail-polish remover. We did not, to my recollection, learn much of anything about how the human species originated.

Most scientists believe that the beings that would become humans branched off from the common ancestor we share with chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, about 6 million years ago. We did not learn this part—the monkey part. That is, our shared ancestry with other primates. Because this was nearly 20 years ago, and memories tend to fade with time, I checked with several friends who went to the same high school at the same time. None of them recalled learning anything about human evolution, either.

The only high-school biology class I took was in ninth grade, and it was apparently so uninteresting to me that I don’t remember my teacher’s name. (My former school district did not return a request for comment.) My teachers were for the most part religious, though they appeared to stay firmly within the bounds of the state-mandated curriculum. In another class, my teacher showed us diagrams of the human eye, then snuck in a remark that the complexity of the eye is convincing evidence that there is a Creator.

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2 comments on “I Was Never Taught Where Humans Came From

  • Hopefully I will live long enough to correct this deficiency in my grandson’s pending education (he’s 4 months old at the moment) in Tejas, where the educational system is allegedly so good.

    While I was raising my son I repeatedly had run-ins with PUBLIC (not private religious) school officials trying to foist xtian crap off on my son.  From prayers over the intercom in the mornings, to “counselors” who turn out to be preachers coming in and lecturing the kids on how “rain is god’s tears”.  Then he got mad when my son interrupted him while he was describing Genesis as the way the Earth was created.  My son wanted to tell him about planetary accretion, LOL!  I got called in to the school over it, whereupon *I* told them about planetary accretion and told them the next time my son came home with tales from bible mythology, it wasn’t ME they’d be dealing with, but a lawyer, most likely from the ACLU.  That was the last time my son, at least, was subjected to that crap.

    The sooner religion dies out entirely, the better.


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