January 31, 2009
This is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, who was born February 12, 1809, which is the same day that Abraham Lincoln was born. Darwin, according to one of our grandsons, is the “father of evolution,” (see yesterday’s post).
Two recent publications devote considerable space to Charles Darwin and Evolution. The January issue of Scientific American, is a special issue “on the most powerful idea in science.” It includes 10 articles ranging from natural selection at the level of DNA to an article on creationism, intelligent design and the teaching of evolution in school (I’ll discuss this tomorrow).… Read more
January 30, 2009
Today I received a voicemail from one of our grandsons (Evan) wondering if I might come and speak to his science class. After leaving a message saying I would be happy to do this, he called back and explained.
His middle school science teacher is working with the students in a study of evolution, and fossils. When they were talking in class, especially about fossils, it reminded him of the crinoid stem fossils
that I had given him, and after class he talked with his teacher about this, and she asked him if I might be interested in coming to his class.… Read more
January 24, 2009
In June 2008, the Governor of Louisiana signed the Louisiana Science Education Act into law which supports the Trojan Horse of using critical thinking as a way to creak open the door for the teaching of Creationism and Intelligent Design as part of science teaching.
And now the State of Texas is having at it.
A New York Times article reports the story. Although the forces in favor of teaching creationism gave up their long battle to insist that science teachers explore the “strengths and weaknesses” of all theories, they were able to stick various amendments on the state’s science curriculum including:
one that would compel science teachers to instruct students about aspects of the fossil record that do not neatly fit with the idea of species’ gradually changing over time, like the relatively sudden appearance of some species and the fact that others seem to remain unchanged for millions of years.
… Read more
August 25, 2008
I’ve written several posts over the past several years about the teaching of and opposition to teaching evolution. Right now, there is evidence that the resistance to teach evolution is fading, although, if history is helpful, this lack of resistance will not last very long. In the article cited below there is a very interesting chart that traces the history of evolutionary theory beginning with Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species, through the famous Scopes Trial, to the insistence that “equal time” be given to “creation science,” to the now very significant Kitzmiller vs.… Read more
August 16, 2008
In Kenneth Miller’s book, Only a Theory, he talks about the fundamental concept underlying “intelligent design” and goes on to show how the fundamental concept is wrong, and not supported in biological research. The fundamental idea is that there are some aspects of nature that that are just too complex to have “evolved” to their present state; they must have been design by an intelligent being. ID proponents call this “irreducible complexity.” In biology, one of the examples that proponents use is bacterial flagellum. To these proponents, the flagellum is too complex to have evolved, and indeed was designed as is. They claim that without all of the proteins that make up the flagellum system, it won’t work. Research biologists have shown that parts could serve other purposes, and through evolution the more complex system evolved.… Read more
August 14, 2008
In his new book Only a Theory, Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University, and author of a number of books, including one on high school biology, explores the issues surrounding the teaching of evolution in American schools. He begins his book in the following way:
“In a courtroom even a whisper can catch your attention, especially one that comes right at you with a smile and a wink.
… Read more
July 28, 2008
The other day I was at my favorite book store, and purchased two books with the following titles. Book 1: Only a Theory by Kenneth R. Miller; and Book 2: Final Theory by Mark Alpert. I wasn’t looking for either book. Alpert’s book was sitting on the display table as you walked into the store, the title intrigued me, and after a quick review, I decided to buy it. Miller’s book was on a shelf in the science section, and the subtitle “evolution and the battle for America’s soul” and the fact that I had read other books by Miller caused me to buy this one. But here on this one visit to the bookstore, I found two books with the word theory in them. Later, I’ll tell you a bit about each book—they are very very different from each other—but first I have to tell you where my mind went when I thought about the word theory.… Read more