New Textbook Seeks to Improve Teaching of Evolution by Promoting Inquiry-Based Approach

Original Article

Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers Ltd., Melbourne and London, 2007) is the first biology textbook to present the scientific evidence both for and against key aspects of Darwinian evolution.

“Sadly, the majority of biology textbooks in use today are ‘dumbed-down’ and do a poor job explaining evolution,” said Dr. John West of Discovery Institute, the book’s United States distributor. “Explore Evolution will improve the teaching of evolution by providing teachers and students with more information about evolution than they are likely to find in any other textbook written at the same level.” West is Associate Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

Explore Evolution promotes inquiry-based learning, encouraging students to participate in the process of discovery, deliberation, and argument that scientists use to form their theories.

Explore Evolution brings to the classroom data and debates that already are raised regularly by scientists in their science journals,” emphasized science education policy analyst Casey Luskin, M.S., J.D. “Exposure to these real-world scientific debates will make the study of evolution more interesting to students, and it will train them to be better scientists by encouraging them to actually practice the kind of critical thinking and analysis that forms the heart of science.”

Co-authored by two state university biology professors, two philosophers of science, and a science curriculum writer, Explore Evolution was peer-reviewed by biology faculty at both state and private universities, teachers with experience in both AP and pre-AP life science courses, and doctoral scientists working for industry and government. The textbook has been pilot-tested in classes at both the secondary school and college levels.

The textbook looks at five areas of biology that are typically viewed as confirming the modern theory of evolution: fossil succession, anatomical homology, embryology, natural selection, and natural selection and mutation. For each area of study, Explore Evolution explains the evidence and arguments used to support Darwin’s theory and then examines the evidence and arguments that lead some scientists to question the adequacy of Darwinian explanations. Each chapter concludes with a section called Further Debate that explores the current state of the discussion.

Explore Evolution is ideally suited for:

  • AP Biology teachers who need a stimulating capstone unit for the last 5-6 weeks of their AP course after their students have taken the AP biology test.
  • High School General Biology teachers who wish to deepen their own understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory and want to incorporate inquiry-based learning into their teaching of evolution.
  • College-level biology instructors who teach freshman or honors General Biology courses or stand-alone courses on evolution.
  • Home school teachers who want to provide their students with a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum in the life sciences that stresses critical thinking skills.
  • Parents who desire to supplement and enrich their children’s school instruction in biological evolution in preparation for college.
  • Interested adults who wish to inform themselves about the scientific debates over key aspects of modern evolutionary theory.

For more information, visit the textbook website at, where you will find the introduction to the textbook, table of contents, author and publisher information, as well as sample pages from the book.

About the Publisher
Established in 1982, Hill House Publishers Pty. Ltd. (Melbourne and London) specializes in publishing science and nature books of exceptional quality. In addition to Explore Evolution, its books include The Concise Atlas of Butterflies of the World (2001), The Birds of Asia, vol. 7 (1992), The Mammals of Australia, vol 2 (2002), and World Butterflies (2006). A publishing partner of the Natural History Museum in London, Hill House has been awarded an exclusive license by the museum to produce authentic facsimiles of priceless and rare antiquarian books, prints and maps from the world-famous libraries of that institution. For more information about Hill House Publishers, visit

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.