This article discusses a number of aspects of the nature of science that can be illustrated by considering the development of pangenesis, a principle proposed by Charles Darwin to describe the rules of inheritance, explain the source of new variation, and solve other natural history puzzles. Pangenesis – although false – can be used to illustrate important nature of science ideas such as the need for empirical evidence, the use of inductive reasoning, the creative component of science, the role of bias and subjectivity, social and personal influences on science, and the notion that scientific knowledge is tentative but durable, yet self correcting.
Darwin’s Error: Using the Story of Pangenesis to Illustrate Aspects of Nature of Science in the Classroom
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William F. McComas; Darwin’s Error: Using the Story of Pangenesis to Illustrate Aspects of Nature of Science in the Classroom. The American Biology Teacher 1 March 2012; 74 (3): 151–156. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2012.74.3.5
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