In Part 1 of this post, I introduced this new series, Misconception Monday, and let you in on the secret to my misconception know-how: student test papers. In this conclusion, I want to get into some ways that this misconception, that natural selection eliminates all bad variations, could be tackled, or even headed-off, in the classroom.

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William Jennings Bryan (1902)

In a so far successful effort to avoid having to unpack a bunch of boxes that are cluttering my office at the moment, I’m talking about four scientists cited in a footnote in William Jennings Bryan’s In His Image (1922), evidently to support Bryan’s assertion, “If Darwin had described his doctrine as a guess instead of calling it an hypothesis, it would not have lived a year.”

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William Jennings Bryan (1902)

Recall, from part 1, that I’m discussing four scientists cited in a footnote in William Jennings Bryan’s In His Image (1922), evidently to support Bryan’s assertion, “If Darwin had described his doctrine as a guess instead of calling it an hypothesis, it would not have lived a year.” Three of them were reasonably familiar to me.

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William Jennings Bryan (1902)

There are probably better motivations for reading William Jennings Bryan’s In His Image (1922) than wanting to avoid unpacking boxes, but needs must when the devil drives.

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Themed birthday party, ca. 1910-1915, likely in New Jersey. Via Wikimedia Commons.

In part 1, I reported that in 2006, there were eight state Republican parties with antievolution planks embedded in their official platforms, and that in 2014, there were again eight such state Republican parties. In part 2 and part 3, I offered pairwise comparison between the earlier and the later versions of those planks in the states in both lists, namely Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, along with a few comments.

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Themed birthday party, ca. 1910-1915, likely in New Jersey. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Having observed (in part 1) that there are seven state Republican parties with antievolution planks embedded in their official platforms in 2006 and 2014, I undertook (in part 2) to begin to offer pairwise comparisons between the earlier and the later versions of those planks, along with comments. I managed to get through Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota before running out of steam; now the project is to finish off with Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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Themed birthday party, ca. 1910-1915, likely in New Jersey. Via Wikimedia Commons.

In part 1, I reported that in 2006, there were eight state Republican parties with antievolution planks embedded in their official platforms, and that in 2014, there were again eight such state Republican parties. (In 2006, Oregon’s was among them and North Dakota’s was not; in 2014, North Dakota’s was among them and Oregon’s was not.) The state Republican parties of Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, were present in both lists. I now want to begin to compare the earlier and the later versions of these seven platforms; I’ll offer a few comments along the way.

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Themed birthday party, ca. 1910-1915, likely in New Jersey. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Sorry. No funny hats, no crepe streamers, and no cake today. Instead, I’m talking about political parties, in particular state political parties in the United States. And I’m prompted by the news that the Alaska Republican Party recently revised its platform. According to Alaska Public Media (May 4, 2014), at its recent meeting, the party “condensed the Alaska Republican platform. Sections on education and crime were streamlined, and specific provisions on school vouchers, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide, and the teaching of creation science were removed.” Removing support for the teaching of creation science in Alaska’s public schools from a party platform is just a wee bit overdue, twenty-seven years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) that teaching creation science in the public schools is unconstitutional, but welcome nevertheless. Good job, Alaska Republicans.

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I have no expectation that televangelist Pat Robertson cares what I think. It’s even possible that, when it comes to creationism, his interests and mine may not be in full alignment.

But I think he should take Answers in Genesis and noted Ark enthusiast Ken Ham up on this offer:

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Last Sunday's Cosmos took on the related concepts of extinction and climate change, topics I’ve had on my mind since reviewing The Sixth Extinction and interviewing author Elizabeth Kolbert.

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