Eyeing "ID"


While legislatures focus on antievolution bills, a new video helps students see how evolution works

Oakland, California, May 6, 2008 -- As attacks on evolution education remain in the news, with proposed antievolution legislation in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Missouri in the headlines, a new video rebutting the basic premise of "intelligent design" creationism is now available on www.ExpelledExposed.com.

"Creationism Disproved?" is the third in a series of short videos commissioned by the National Center for Science Education, a non-profit organization that defends the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The video focuses on the evolution of the eye -- a favorite target of creationists.

"It's common for creationists, especially 'intelligent design' creationists, to claim that complex structures like the eye or parts of the cell couldn't have evolved step by step," explains NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott. "It's a tired objection -- indeed, Darwin himself anticipated, and refuted, the argument. But opponents of evolution continue to insist that such structures had to be assembled all at once."

Ken Dill, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco featured in the video, adds: "In fact, complexity can evolve through small steps. We can infer the evolution of a very complex organ, like the eye, by looking at intermediate stages preserved in animals alive today. And just as a baby's eye is built up step by step over nine months in the womb, the eye evolved in small steps over millions of years."

Noting that the latest advances in science have only confirmed Darwin's insights, Josh Rosenau, a biologist at NCSE, observed, "Scientists recently traced the evolution of a protein crucial to vision by comparing the genomes of many species, showing that the molecule, opsin, existed in the common ancestor of hydras, jellyfish, flies, fish, and people. Other researchers have traced the evolution of genes critical to the growth and development of eyes in different branches of the tree of life. All those lines of evidence match the predictions of evolution."

Louise S. Mead, a biologist and teacher who heads NCSE's outreach to educators, hopes that students and teachers will use the video to dispel a common misconception about evolution. "Evolution can be tough to learn and tough to explain, even independently of the prevalence of creationist misconceptions," she explains. "Videos like this can help students see things in a new light."

The National Center for Science Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The NCSE maintains its archive of source material on the history of creationism at its Oakland, California, headquarters. On the web at www.ncseweb.org.

NCSE's other website, www.ExpelledExposed.com, is a resource for journalists, teachers, and curious moviegoers who want the full story behind the creationist movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Eugenie C. Scott, scott@ncseweb.org, 800-290-6006
Josh Rosenau, rosenau@ncseweb.org, 800-290-6006
Louise S. Mead, mead@ncseweb.org, 800-290-6006

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