RNCSE 20 (6)

Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Volume: 
20
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2000
Date: 
November–December
Articles available online are listed below.

Senseless in the Senate

Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Title: 
Senseless in the Senate
Author(s): 
Eric Meikle, NCSE Outreach Coordinator
Volume: 
20
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2000
Date: 
November–December
Page(s): 
4
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.
Originally published in RNCSE 20 (6): 4. The version on the web might differ slightly from the print publication.

On June 13, 2001, the US Senate adopted a “Sense of the Senate” resolution, proposed by Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Authorization bill, S1, currently under consideration. The resolution (Amendment #799) reads:

It is the sense of the Senate that (1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and (2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why the subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.
Although the resolution appears innocuous, it is telling that only evolution is singled out from all possible controversial issues. If the goal of the resolution were simply to encourage discussion of the social dimensions of scientific issues, or critical thinking, or some other secular purpose, the second clause of the resolution might have read, “when controversial issues are taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why the subjects generate controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subjects.”

The fact that evolution is singled out from all controversial issues indicates the amendment’s intention to discourage evolution education. It is no coincidence that Senator Santorum cited arguments for “teaching the controversy” made by intelligent design proponent David DeWolf in presenting his resolution. In the June 18 Washington Times, another intelligent design promoter, Phillip Johnson, is quoted as having “helped frame the language” of the resolution.

The vote to adopt the resolution was 91–8. It seems likely that most or nearly all senators were unaware of the anti-evolution implications of the language of the amendment. However, the tactic of singling out evolution for special mention as controversial is commonly used by anti-evolutionists in states and localities where they challenge its place in science education.

The comments of several senators in the Congressional Record suggest that they recognized the implications of the resolution. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas stated that passage of this resolution would justify the 1999 actions of the Kansas State Board of Education in removing evolution from their test standards. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia also expressed doubts about the reality of evolution before supporting the amendment.

The comments of anti-evolution groups following passage of the resolution also show the propaganda value they recognize in this language. The Answers in Genesis ministry web site headlined its account “US Senate supports intellectual freedom!”. AIG also informed its readers how to “… contact your Congressman to express your support of the Senate version of the Education bill that states that evolution is controversial…” A student “intelligent design” club at the University of California at San Diego headlined its report “Some Democratic and Republican Senators Feel Questioning of Evolutionary Theory in Schools is Legitimate”.

On June 14, the overall bill passed the Senate 91–8. The House of Representatives had previously passed a version of the Education bill without a comparable evolution statement. The two versions are currently before a conference committee, which will resume work on reconciling the bills following Congress’s August recess.

Other accounts of the Santorum amendment are available on the American Geological Institute’s web site or visit here.

Anti-evolution Standards Rejected in Hawai'i

Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Title: 
Anti-evolution Standards Rejected in Hawai'i
Author(s): 
Richard Pyle
Volume: 
20
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2000
Date: 
November–December
Page(s): 
4–5
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.

On August 2, 2001, the Hawai'i Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously to reject proposed changes to the state's science education performance standards, including the changes proposed by BOE member Denise Matsumoto to include "multiple theories of origin" and related wording. As a result, the standards will revert to the original wording, which is more in line with the National Science Education Standards. The BOE members patiently endured 65 three-minute oral testimonials on these changes; about 75% of the presenters opposed the proposed changes. Apparently, this was a record turnout for a BOE hearing. Additionally, the BOE had received over 200 written testimonials.

Testimony opposing the proposed changes came from a wide spectrum of people, including university-level professors, Hawai'i science teachers, concerned citizens, a former BOE member, and a surprising (and encouraging!) number of religious leaders. Almost without exception, this testimony was eloquent and extremely effective in addressing the real points of concern. Those testifying in favor of the proposed changes had a much less unified message to present, covering the typical range of anti-evolutionary positions — attacks on evolution as unsupported conjecture, appeals for children to be given both perspectives and allowed to think critically and objectively to make their own decisions, support of "Intelligent Design" theory as legitimate science, and the moral imperative of teaching the Bible to build character and integrity in our children.

Overall, the testimony provided by supporters of evolution was effective and to the point. Long before the end of hearing, it was evident that this would end up being a "slam dunk" decision by the BOE. There was almost no discussion among board members before making the final, and the final vote was unanimous — making it obvious that even Matsumoto conceded the issue. This outcome confirms resoundingly that community support can help level heads to prevail. In light of this success story, I think that we can renew our confidence in the Hawai'i State Educational system. However, it is clear that we should not allow ourselves to slip into complacency at this point. We were extremely lucky that Matsumoto apparently blundered into the situation with such a naive perspective. Our success was due in part to the disorganization of the opposing side. Had this hearing been coordinated by some of the big anti-evolutionist organizations on the mainland, it might have been a longer, more complicated struggle. What our experience shows is the importance of having a network of concerned and informed citizens ready to act when evolution education is threatened. It is also important that our network reaches beyond the academic world to other interested communities of educators, clergy, and citizens in all walks of life.

Organizations such as NCSE and the American Institute for Biological Sciences (see sidebar on AIBS state list servers, p 35) provide resources and connections to concerned communities throughout the nation. These networks allow us to be ready whenever a threat to evolution education pops up again (as experience tells us it will) and to coordinate efforts with maximum effectiveness.

About the Author(s): 
Richard L Pyle
Department of Ichthyology
Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St
Honolulu HI 96817
deepreef@bishopmuseum.org

Review: The Wedge of Truth

Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Volume: 
20
Year: 
2000
Issue: 
6
Date: 
November–December
Page(s): 
11–13
Reviewer: 
John F Haught
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.
Work under Review
Title: 
The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism
Author(s): 
Phillip E Johnson
Downers Grove (IL): InterVarsity Press, 2000. 192 pages.
Paul Tillich, the great German and American theologian, warned theologians never to embrace or reject any scientific idea for purely theological reasons. Such a strategy is theologically injudicious not only because scientific ideas are always subject to revision but also because new ideas from science can be an important stimulus to theological development.

One such idea has been that of evolution. Followers of Tillich's dictum do not reject or edit Darwin's "dangerous idea" if at first it seems not to sit well with certain inherited theological ideas. Instead they embrace it in all of its raggedness and, if need be, modify their theology accordingly. Although skeptics might consider such theological revision a defeat for religion, the fact is that religious thought has often undergone important change in the face of new intellectual challenges. Otherwise it might have died.

Phillip Johnson, however, wants nothing to do with theological revision. A (now-retired) University of California-Berkeley law professor and not a professional theologian, Johnson has written another in a series of books and articles drumming home his opinion that evolutionary science is simply theologically unacceptable. He already knows exactly what he wants in his vision of the universe, and evolutionary science's picture of life does not fit the bill. Unlike Tillich, who refused to allow theology to dictate to science, Johnson has made a second career of telling his readers what to think about evolutionary biology. In each new publication, his message to them is the same: if they want anything to do with God, they must renounce the central tenets of evolutionary biology.

Johnson's anti-evolutionary argument has itself undergone no significant evolution since he wrote Darwin on Trial (Washington DC: Regnery Gateway, 1991). We can always safely predict the contours of his impeccable logic:

Major premise:

Philosophical naturalism is atheism.

Minor premise:

Evolutionary science is philosophical naturalism.

Conclusion:

Therefore, evolutionary science is really atheism.

In The Wedge of Truth Johnson does not disappoint us. As always, he is readable, interesting, and often clever. But after making our way through this thin volume, we find that the old familiar refrain sounds through once again: The ruling philosophy of modern culture is naturalism, materialism, or physicalism, and evolutionary science is the main carrier of this dour metaphysics. We find here yet again Johnson's firm refusal to accept the distinction that most religious thinkers and scientists make between methodological and philosophical naturalism. To Johnson it seems that if evolutionary science leaves out God as part of its method, this will likely lead scientifically educated people to leave out God in their extrascientific interpretations of the world as well. While most of us are willing to let science refrain from any comments on value, purpose, and the existence of God, Johnson is not. Here again he takes evolutionary biology's silence about things religious to be an outright denial of God's existence.

What is fresh in this book is some of the imagery in Johnson's otherwise predictable message. The "Wedge" of truth will split the "modern" naturalistic synthesis asunder. Its cutting edge consists of the brave (and academically marginalized) defenders of "Intelligent Design", especially William Dembski, Michael Behe, and Johnson himself. Inserted into "the log of naturalism" and hammered home by Johnson's logic, the Wedge — in combination with the cultural influence of evangelical Christianity — will breach the palisade of scientific naturalism and expose the infectious evolutionary ideas that are its main carrier.

The fissure at which the Wedge penetrates the log of materialism is Darwin's science. Once the Wedge has splayed open evolution as nothing more than a decaying veneer of bark that conceals the trunk of atheist propaganda, Darwinism will begin to lose its hold on the minds of people, including teachers and students. Maybe the next generation of Americans will have begun to get things right once again, and science textbooks will have been purged of the idea that new species of life can gradually evolve by natural selection over the course of time from a common ancestry.

Since I am one of the evolution-friendly theologians The Wedge brands as "modernist" compromisers of truth, Johnson will not be surprised that I would find fault lines in his own unchanging position on evolution, science, and theology. These are really not hard to locate.

First of all, there is Johnson's highly edited version of biology as ruling out macroevolution (he accepts "microevolution" but claims that it cannot lead to whole new biological types). In rebuttal, there is no need here to reprise the scientific information on evolution that most readers of RNCSE have at their fingertips. From my own point of view, though, what is particularly striking is Johnson's violation of the now well-established principle that theology has no business dictating what the range of data for scientific understanding will include. Without admitting it, Johnson, the would-be theologian, is telling scientists to avoid any data that do not fit the Wedge's idea of "Intelligent Design". In effect, this means that he — along with Dembski, Behe, and others — is asking biologists to leave out most of the fascinating story of life on earth.

Second, there is Johnson's unwavering insistence that the evolutionary idea of natural selection is inherently atheistic. While it is no doubt true that some scientific defenders of Darwinism do read natural selection through the lenses of philosophical materialism, the scientific idea itself cannot be any more inherently atheistic than is the law of gravity or any other law of nature. If some scientists see atheism as a consequence of evolutionary science, then they are no less guilty of violating the canons of scientific method than is Phillip Johnson, who fully concurs with them in this belief. They are implicitly lending their scientific authority to the minor premise of Johnson's syllogism. In doing so, they themselves unwittingly sabotage science education in an overwhelmingly theistic social setting.

If the evolutionist, in a pensive moment, opines that a universe sponsoring such a "cruel" or "impersonal" process as natural selection must surely be a godless one, let it be admitted that such reflection is not itself part of scientific work. Science does not admit of such metaphysical intrusions. If there is any value in Johnson's work, perhaps it consists in its oblique rebuke to those scientists who recklessly engage in a mixing of science with materialist ideology and then call this amalgam "science". Such a fusion, after all, is no less methodologically inadmissible than Johnson's own conflation of a heavily edited version of biological science with the incurably theological notion of "Intelligent Design".

Third, there is Johnson's theologically disputable squeezing of the idea of God into the mold of "Intelligent Design". To Johnson's credit, he does turn our attention to an issue that deserves serious attention, namely the meaning of "information" and its place in nature. Yet he tends to merge the notion of information with his own rather restrictive idea of design, and then attributes its presence directly to divine influence.

Johnson and other "Intelligent Design" advocates are too eager to bring God into the picture. A God brought in so hastily, however, is inevitably too small for both our minds and our spirits, and will eventually die. The best of our religious wisdom, after all, tells us that God is a reality for which we must somehow wait, perhaps across endless ages. Moreover, as Tillich also wisely says, we are stronger when we wait than when we possess. A God hastily associated with "design" as Johnson conceives of it is too easily possessed, too small to fit the real world, and may not be worth waiting for.

About the Author(s): 
James F Haught, PhD
Department of Theology
Georgetown University
37th & O Street NW
Washington DC 20057-1135

Review: Science of Today and the Problems of Genesis

Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Volume: 
20
Year: 
2000
Issue: 
6
Date: 
November–December
Page(s): 
17–18, 23–24
Reviewer: 
Colin Groves, Australian National University
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.
Work under Review
Title: 
Science of Today and the Problems of Genesis: A Study of the "Six Days" of Creation, The Origin of Man and the Deluge and Antiquity of Man Based on Science and Sacred Scripture; A Vindication of the Papal Encyclicals and Rulings of the Church on These Questions. New Edition.
Author(s): 
Fr Patrick O'Connell, BD
Rockford (IL): Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. 1993. 386 pages.
If there is any book that was really pivotal in laying "creation science" before the public, it is surely Duane Gish's Evolution: The Fossils Say No!, first published in 1972. Among other tidbits in this book, there is a 13-page exposé in which Gish purports to demolish the claims for the very existence of "Peking Man", arguing that the conclusions supporting this human fossil are based on not merely bad science, but fraud. The charge of bad science"he substantiates by famously misquoting the early 20th-century paleoanthropologist Marcellin Boule (see Ritchie 1991); for his claims of fraud he relies, in the last four and a half pages of the section, on a 1969 book by Father Patrick O'Connell. O'Connell's book has been a bit hard to come by up to now; most of us have just had to take Gish's word for it. But now here it is, reprinted and slightly updated as of 1993, available through Amazon.com. Now we can check: Did Gish misrepresent O'Connell, or did a priest, a man devoted to the truth, really say all that?

He really did say all that, I fear, and more. Gish mentions O'Connell only in those last few pages, but actually relies heavily on him for the whole of the "Peking Man" segment, and for his "Java Man" section, too. Every last libel on anyone involved with Homo erectus, every shabby slur on the reputation of these honorable men, is lifted entire, attributed or unattributed, from O'Connell.

O'Connell's book is divided into four parts. In Part I, "The Six Days of Creation", he quotes extensively from Vatican documents, including the Decree of the Second Vatican Council, on what may and may not be believed by a Roman Catholic. O'Connell recounts the history of creation as he sees it and squares it with the Genesis account (he is a day/age man). Part II, "The Origin of Man", is the meat of the book, and I will return to it for a detailed treatment below. Part III deals with the Deluge, which, we learn, intervened between the end of the Mousterian and the beginning of the Aurignacian cultures and did not cover the entire earth but only those parts of it then inhabited by people. O'Connell cites lots of archaeological "evidences" for the Deluge (well, for floods, anyway) from the Middle East and elsewhere. Part IV, "The Antiquity of Man", runs quickly through ways of calculating dates, including radiocarbon but no other radiometric method, and concludes that the human species is about 20 000 years old. There are chapters that are supposed to bring Parts I, III, and IV up to date — but there is no such updating for Part II.

And so to "The Origin of Man" part — the bit that has created all the waves. O'Connell bemoans the way Roman Catholics, both ordained and lay, have not only accepted the evolutionary account but even, like the Abbé Breuil and Fr Boné, contributed to it. His chief wrath, however, is directed towards Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the eminent paleontologist who was also a Jesuit, and was forbidden by his superiors to publish during his lifetime his views reconciling evolution with paleontology. Wrath? O'Connell vehemently detests Teilhard, and his assessment of his brother priest, on pages 149–54, is filled with such venom as I would have hoped never to see on the printed page, let alone from a man charged with spreading the religion of brotherly love.

Minor matters are dispatched in a few pages. O'Connell informs us that "Neanderthal Man" was, of course, fully human but not like modern humans, being pre-Deluge. The human fossils that O'Connell regards as genuine either combine Neanderthal and modern traits (Ehringsdorf, Saccopastore, Steinheim) or are fully modern (Swanscombe and Fontéchevade). The obligatory chapter on Piltdown is mercifully brief. The Australopithecines were, he says, "shown to be just great apes"; that takes care of them, then. O'Connell kicks off a great and inglorious tradition by citing none other than Sir Solly Zuckerman as authority. So now we turn to Peking Man.

What actually happened at the "Peking Man" discovery site, Choukoutien (now Zhoukoudian), has been told many times. Jia and Huang (1990) give the full history in great detail. Shapiro (1974) writes about their disappearance during World War II and the subsequent search for them. Van Oosterzee (1999) places the story against the background of China under the warlords and the Japanese invasion. But O'Connell thinks that this well-documented history is all moonshine and is eager to take the lid off what really happened.

Although "Peking Man" — Sinanthropus — may or may not be actually ancestral to Homo sapiens (and I myself think not), there is absolutely no doubt that it is in every meaningful sense "intermediate" between ape and human. It was vital for O'Connell to discredit the fossils because they are "the only ones that have the support of great names. Hence they are used by advocates of the theory of evolution to support their contention." And he certainly does his level best to discredit them, in the process accusing all four main protagonists of fraud: Teilhard de Chardin (of course); Davidson Black, who was in charge of the excavations at Zhoukoudian until his death in 1934; Franz Weidenreich, who took his place; and Pei Wen-chung (now spelled Wenzhong), the leading Chinese member of the team.

O'Connell's qualifications for his claims? Only that he was in China, reading the Chinese newspapers, during the 1930s. He never, at any time, visited the discovery site, nor, as will become clear, does he have the slightest expertise in anatomy, geology, or even etymology. Gish repeated a few of O'Connell's claims of fraudulence, but even he does not stoop quite to the same depths; O'Connell's only rival in libel is another Catholic creationist, who repeats the claims in only slightly abbreviated form, even adding his own commentary about Pei's diabolical cleverness (Johnson 1982).

I will list O'Connell's main slanders, more or less in order, and follow each one with my own comments, in italics.
  • All the human fossils have disappeared (but none of the animal fossils); all we have are "casts or models" (p 126).
    Yes, the fossils have, tragically, disappeared; what we have are casts, not models.
  • The skulls did not disappear while being evacuated to America after the Japanese invasion, as the story usually goes. The Japanese did not interfere with the excavations, and in 1943 Weidenreich even wrote an article on the skulls, "and it was published in Palaeontologia Sinica, which means that the article passed through the hands of Japanese..." No, the skulls were destroyed by Dr Pei "in order to remove the evidence of fraud on a large scale" (p 127).
    In his 1943 monograph, Weidenreich thanked some American associates "who consented to have this paper printed and edited in the United States as a monograph of the Palaeontologia Sinica where my main reports on the Sinanthropus material have previously appeared". In dedicating it to his Chinese colleagues and to Teilhard, he made it very clear that the Japanese had indeed made the work completely impossible and that this is why he published his monograph in the USA but in a Chinese series. As for Pei's destroying the fossils...!
  • After the war, Dr Pei resumed excavation at Zhoukoudian and found animal fossils, but "no more tell-tale skulls of Sinanthropus" (p 128).
    Nonsense. The Zhoukoudian Lower Cave at Locality 1 had been almost emptied by the excavations of the 1930s, but another mandible was nonetheless discovered in 1959, and two cranial fragments in 1966. These latter, incidentally, completed one of the crania found in the 1930s, and they fit the surviving cast exactly — a tribute to the high quality of the original casts.
  • Earlier limestone quarrying and burning at Zhoukoudian had undermined the hill, causing a landslide, burying everything "under thousands of tons of stone". The so-called fossil deposits result from this burial. The stone tools were actually the remains of quartz stones used to construct the lime kilns. The so-called hearths were from the lime kilns. The modern human skulls were some of the miners. The so-called Sinanthropus skulls were those of local baboons and macaques (p 128–9).
    The hill was a lime quarry, but there is no evidence for kilns or a landslide. The cave fill was consolidated. Black and others (1933: 6) write, "...the deposit of Locality 1 had been partially exposed at the head of an abandoned quarry..."
  • The discovery of modern humans, as well as Sinanthropus, had been concealed by Weidenreich and Pei for 5 years; there is no justification for representing them as being later in time, "for both were found buried under the same landslide" (p 130, 143–4).
    Nonsense; papers were published on the near-modern human remains by Black in 1933 and by Pei in 1934 (see Weidenreich, 1939, 205, n 2). They came from the Upper Cave, higher up the same hill as the Lower Cave (Locality 1).
  • A skullcap found in 1928 or 1929 was described by Black in 1931 as being "more like man than ape, with a brain capacity more than twice that of a monkey" (p 133), but in 1930 Teilhard described it as a skull, not a skullcap, with a "probably small" cranial capacity and with close similarities to the great apes in length of face, brow ridges, postorbital constriction, receding forehead, triangular (not oval) skull shape seen from behind, and form of the tympanic bone (p 135). O'Connell concludes from this that "it was the skull of a baboon or monkey, for no fossils of apes have been found in China" (p 136).
    That Black emphasized the human features and Teilhard was bound to describe its "ape-like" features says more about the intellectual climate of the times than about the characteristics of the specimen. What is more important is that O'Connell obviously does not know that anatomists use "skull-cap" for anything from the upper vault (calotte) to the major part of it (calvaria), so there is no contradiction at all between the way Black and Teilhard characterized it.
  • Boule published a paper in 1937 in which he described the skulls as "monkey-like" (p 137).
    Boule did not describe them as "monkey-like" (see Ritchie 1991).
  • Boule also revealed that in all of them "there was a hole in the top of the skull at the occiput, supposed to have been made for the purpose of extracting the brain" (p 137), but there was no such hole shown in the photos published by Black in 1931, which was therefore not the actual skull at all but "an artificial model of the mythical Sinanthropus" (p 138).
    So O'Connell does not know where the occipital bone is! (I thought that Catholic priests, before Vatican II, were supposed to know Latin.) Boule wrote (1937: 8), "La partie centrale, c'est-à-dire le poutour du trou occipital, a été détruite" (the central part, that is to say the area adjacent to the occipital "hole", has been destroyed); the occipital bone is at the back of the skull and extends onto the base, and the "trou occipital" is the foramen magnum, on the underside of the braincase.
  • Black estimated the brain capacity at 960 cc, later corrected by Weidenreich to 915 cc, but Teilhard had described the skull as small and resembled that of an ape — more evidence that the model was not even a cast but "a creature of the imagination" (p 139).
    It is clear that "small" is a relative term — in this case, small relative to modern humans.
  • Weidenreich alleged that three more Sinanthropus skulls had been discovered in 1936, but no photographs of them have ever been published, only of three incomplete skulls (that is, of the "artificial models") in a brief article in 1937. Nonsense. Photographs and x-rays of all of them (Skulls X, XI, and XII are the ones in question) were published in Weidenreich's 1943 monograph, which O'Connell mentions but does not appear even to have glanced at.
  • Teilhard stated, in a 1937 article, that the fossils were found in a cave, but "the existence of any natural cave at either the lower or the upper level is denied categorically by Weidenreich" (p 151).
    Nonsense. Weidenreich many times (1939, 1943, and elsewhere) mentioned both the Lower Cave, where "Peking Man" was discovered, and the Upper Cave, at the top of the hill, where the near-modern specimens were found.
After this simply frightening mélange of misrepresentations, anything else must surely be an anticlimax. Yet O'Connell has a few more willful distortions up his sleeve in the following chapter. "Java Man", he reports, was discovered at Trinil in the 1890s by Dubois:
He brought home a great quantity of bones of various animals, two simian teeth, the thigh bone of a man, and the cap of a skull which some say is that of a man, others, that of an ape, and others still, that of a "missing link". As the brain case is missing, it is not possible to decide to which category it belongs.

He brought home at the same time two human skulls, known as the Wadjak skulls, of large brain capacity... Dr Dubois concealed these on his return... He produced them, however, in 1925, 30 years later... (p 159).
von Koenigswald, he reports, made a final attempt to find more specimens of Java Man in the 1930s, but all he produced was
parts of four skulls so broken that the brain capacity could not be determined. Romer, in Man and the Vertebrates, describes these as "three more skullcaps, a lower jaw and an upper jaw". ...As there were only skullcaps, it is impossible to tell what was the brain capacity, but Romer, Vallois and other propagandists for the man-from-ape theory, give the capacity as much the same as that given by Dr Dubois' first specimen — between 800 and 900 cc (p 161).
"Skullcaps" again! Had O'Connell ever seen any of them, even photographs? All four — Dubois's from Trinil, and von Koenigswald's from Sangiran — are substantial specimens, from which it is easy to obtain cranial capacities. This is also the case for at least three of the many, many specimens which have been discovered since then, mainly by Indonesian scholars. As for the Wadjak (now Wajak) skulls, they were not "concealed", but described by Dubois in three separate papers in the 1890s (Brace 1987).

What do we make of O'Connell? His motives are evident: an old-fashioned Catholic, desperately struggling against the modernizers whose efforts to bring the church, kicking and screaming, into the Enlightenment — no, into the Renaissance — finally began to bear fruit in Vatican II. Like some other traditionalists, and even some not-so-traditionalists (see Scharle 1999), he harbors a deep well of hatred against his opponents (witness his unedifying attacks on the reputation of Teilhard de Chardin). Because he has right on his side, he can destroy the reputations of those who incur his detestation without a second thought: fortunate for him, perhaps, that by the time of his first edition all his targets were either dead or, in the case of Pei, alive but isolated from outside contact in Mao's China. He is aided in his crusade by his astonishing invention of whole new scenarios, his willful disdain for actually reading the books and papers that he disparages, his triumphant ignorance of anatomy — he does not even know what the words mean, and quite obviously he does not want to know.

It says a lot about Gish that he takes this poisonous garbage as his primary, no, his only source on "Peking Man" and "Java Man" — that he is willing to lower himself to the level of this unspeakable nastiness. And let us, perhaps, raise at least one, whispered cheer for Marvin Lubenow who has managed to avoid it — although he must surely know about it, he never endorses it. But he and others of his sort might merit some respect from us, their critics, if they joined forthrightly in its condemnation.

References

Black D, Teilhard de Chardin P, Young CC, Pei WC. Fossil man in China. Geological Memoirs, Geological Survey of China, 1933; Series A, nr 11.
Boule M. Le Sinanthrope. L'Anthropologie, 1937; 47: 1–22.
Brace CL. Creationists and the Pithecanthropines. Creation/Evolution 1987; nr 19: 16–23.
Jia L, Huang W. The Story of Peking Man. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1990.
Johnson JWG. The Crumbling Theory of Evolution. Brisbane: Queensland Binding Service. 1982.
van Oosterzee P. Dragon Bones: The Story of Peking Man. St. Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin, 1999.
Ritchie A. The creation science controversy — a response to deception. Australian Biologist, 1991; 4 (1): 116–21.
Scharle T. Book review: Did Darwin Get it Right? Catholics and the Theory of Evolution. RNCSE 1999 Nov/Dec; 19 (6): 42–3.
Shapiro HL. Peking Man. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1974.
Weidenreich F. On the earliest representatives of modern mankind recovered on the soil of East Asia. Peking Natural History Bulletin 1939; 13: 161–74.
Weidenreich F. The skull of Sinanthropus pekinensis. Palaeontologia Sinica 1943, new series D, nr 10.

About the Author(s): 
Colin Groves
Department of Archaeology & Anthropology
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 0200
Australia

Review: A Kansan's Guide to Science

Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Volume: 
20
Year: 
2000
Issue: 
6
Date: 
November–December
Page(s): 
30–31
Reviewer: 
David C Kopaska-Merkel
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.
Work under Review
Title: 
A Kansan's Guide to Science
Author(s): 
Paulyn Cartwright, Roger L Kaesler, Bruce S Lieberman, and Adrian L Melott
Lawrence (KS): Kansas Geological Survey: 2000. 20 pages.
The Kansas Geological Survey is one of the nation's largest geological surveys and has a well-deserved reputation for excellence. It was therefore with some measure of excitement that I wrote away for a copy of this new science-education publication. My anticipation was honed to a sharper edge by the recent successful battle to keep science in the newly revised K–12 science standards for Alabama.

Not long ago, Kansas scientists and educated persons everywhere received a wake-up call from the Kansas Board of Education (BOE). Responses varied. Some Kansas responded with their votes, and the election of new members to the Kansas BOE resulted in dramatic improvements to the state's science standards. Some scientists responded by writing this book. As the authors put it: "the challenges to the immensity of geologic time, the nature of evolution, and the origin of the universe that motivated the BOE decision [to eliminate or de-emphasize these topics in the Kansas public school curriculum] were ... not backed up by any actual data." The authors of this book (two of whom, Adrian L Melott and Roger L Kaesler, are NCSE members) set out to create a resource that would help nonscientists learn about science and specifically about evolution. If their goal was to produce a concise, clear, and accurate account, then they succeeded.

The book contains four chapters: "The nature of science", "Understanding evolution", "The history of the earth and the history of life", and "The origin of the universe". In "The nature of science", the authors explain the scientific method, making clear the distinction between the experimental and historical sciences, but also drawing attention to their similarities. For instance, both depend on the development of testable hypotheses. Pseudoscience is contrasted with legitimate science: "Creation science, unlike legitimate sciences, does not seek to derive explanations through observations and testing of the natural world but instead begins with a belief system and then seeks to find evidence to support this view."

The second chapter, "Understanding evolution", addresses topics such as the nature of evolution, facts and theories, and the evidence for evolution. The authors make some important points: for example, that "people ask scientists and teachers, in the interest of fairness, to present the evidence against evolution. Scientists and teachers do not present such evidence because there simply is no such evidence". I think that the authors miss the boat in their otherwise excellent discussion of microevolution and macroevolution. They make no mention of historical examples of macroevolution, of which there are many (for example, Grant 1966; Filchak and others 2000; Greene and others 2000; Hendry and others 2000; Pfrender and others 2000).

"The history of the earth and the history of life" covers just that, with an emphasis on what was happening in Kansas. Despite the regional focus, the chapter is comprehensive and its contents are relevant globally. In "The origin of the universe", the authors summarize the history of the universe in 1.5 pages. The Big Bang theory is really the only topic treated adequately in this section, but it is the most important in the context of the creationist opposition to evolution. The book ends with a short list of references, a brief glossary, and suggested readings and educational resources.

A Kansan's Guide to Science obviously draws heavily on other recent publications about the nature of science. It would be a good model for anyone contemplating writing a booklet on the subject. The book's strengths include a low price, conciseness, and clarity. Its chief weakness is also one of its strengths: brevity. I recommend this book especially for people who know little about science and want a quick introduction. If you know a little and want to know a lot more, this is not for you.

Acknowledgments

The references on historical speciation were given to me by the evolutionary biologists Victor Albert and Brian Axsmith.

References

Filchak KE, Roethele JB, Feder JL. Natural selection and sympatric divergence in the apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella. Nature 2000 Oct. 12; 407: 739–42.
Grant V. The origin of a new species of Gilia in a hybridization experiment. Genetics 1966; 54:1189–99.
Greene E, Lyon BE, Muehter VR, Ratcliffe L, Oliver SJ, Boag PT. Disruptive sexual selection for plumage coloration in a passerine bird. Nature 2000 Oct 26; 407: 1000–3.
Hendry AP, Wenburg JK, Bentzen P, Volk EC, Quinn TP. Rapid evolution of reproductive isolation in the wild: evidence from introduced salmon. Science 2000 Oct 20; 290: 516–9.
Pfrender ME, Spitze K, Lehman N. Multi-locus genetic evidence for rapid ecologically based speciation in Daphnia. Molecular Ecology 2000 Nov; 9: 1717–35.
[Copies of this publication are available from the publications office of the Kansas Geological Survey (785-864-3965). The cost is $7.50 per copy, plus $3.00 postage and handling. Kansas residents should add 6.9% sales tax.]

About the Author(s): 
David C Kopaska-Merkel
Geological Survey of Alabama
PO Box 869999
Tuscaloosa AL 35486-6999
davidkm@gsa.state.al.us