“I don’t believe in evolution.” The words we shouldn’t use when we talk about science


“I don’t believe in evolution.” The words we shouldn’t use when we talk about science.

In this interactive presentation, we will examine the concept of disciplinary literacy in science, addressing how the use of particular words contributes to the development of misconceptions. The nature of science as a way of knowing is considered through these basic understandings:

  • Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
  • Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
  • Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence
  • Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena
  • Science is a Way of Knowing
  • Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
  • Science is a Human Endeavor
  • Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World (NGSS Lead States, 2013). 

The intersection of language and these understandings can be problematic, particularly with words popularly associated with science like prove and theory.


Dr. Frederick Nelson is Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University-Fresno. He received his Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Florida in 2012. He teaches courses in science methods and curriculum, instruction, and technology. Prior to his appointment at Fresno State, he was an Instructor of Science Education at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. He earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Secondary Education from Kansas State University, and was a high school science teacher for nine years before moving into teacher education. He also holds National Board Certification in Adolescent and Young Adult Science. He is a member of the Interdisciplinary Water Cohort and Project Director of the STEM Concentration in Liberal Studies.

Where:  Peeve’s Public House
, 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Contact:  559-278-2460 (cafe inquiries) / 559-573-5735 (Pub’s number)

Here’s the full poster for this event – please feel free to download, print, and share with your friends and family:

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