The first and most obvious tragedy about schools that don’t teach evolution to their students is that the students are missing out on one of the most important scientific explanations of how the world works. This is how life on earth developed. Schools that refuse to teach it are leaving an important tool out of their students’ mental toolkits. Indeed, one of the many facets of being educated in the modern world is to know this idea (even if you reject it).

A second and less visible tragedy that follows from the first is that this not only handicaps students in science but also in economic understanding, which is far more important in its impact on policy. Just as evolution by natural selection does not need a guiding intent*, so too markets function without somebody at the top. In fact, with somebody at the top nothing works.

Understanding how markets work and understanding how natural selection works are two complementary intellectual skills. As students are likely to have a background that makes natural selection comprehensible to them before markets, we ought to support educational schemes that introduce this idea to them as soon as they’re ready for it.


*There’s an entire theological debate out there about fitting both a deity and evolution into the same worldview. As I’m not a theologian I will skip it, but many people consider it possible. It’s beside the point here but almost obligatory to note.

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