Evolution is considered to be one of the fundamental theories of biology. As a theory, evolutionary theory holds the same ‘position’ as other scientific theories, such as the Big Bang Theory or the Atomic Theory. In biology, evolutionary concepts explain many aspects of living systems. In everyday conversations, words such as‘theory’ and‘hypotheses’ generally mean hunches or speculations. In scientific usage, these have very different meanings. A scientific theory is based upon a large volume of evidence, collected by many scientists over a long period of time. The concepts that make up a theory have been thoroughly tested in experiments. A theory represents the highest level of scientific thinking. Evolutionary theory is no different to other scientific theories - it is based on a large volume of data.

For the HSC course, you:

(i) need to demonstrate a good understanding of the essential principles of evolution

(ii) need to demonstrate a good grasp of the evidence that support the principles of evolutionary theory. In other words, you need to be able to explain how each line of evidence concludes that evolution is the best model to explain those observations.

Sham Nair 2014