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The latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach

The latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach — the new journal aspiring to promote accurate understanding and comprehensive teaching of evolutionary theory for a wide audience — is now available on-line. Throughout 2009, the journal will celebrate the life and work of Charles Darwin. Featured accordingly in the latest issue are articles on Darwin: "Why Darwin," "Artificial Selection and Domestication: Modern Lessons from Darwin’s Enduring Analogy," "Charles Darwin and Human Evolution," "Experimenting with Transmutation: Darwin, the Beagle, and Evolution," "Darwin's 'Extreme' Imperfection," and "The 'Popular Press' Responds to Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species and His Other Works." Studies of teaching and learning are presented as well: "Assessment of Biology Majors' Versus Nonmajors' Views on Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design," "Educational Malpractice: The Impact of Including Creationism in High School Biology Courses," "Teaching Evolution in Primary Schools: An Example in French Classrooms," and the late Michael E. N. Majerus's "Industrial Melanism in the Peppered Moth, Biston betularia: An Excellent Teaching Example of Darwinian Evolution in Action." There are also reviews of Michael Shermer's Why Darwin Matters and Rob DeSalle and Ian Tattersall's Human Origins.

Also included is the latest installment of NCSE's regular column for Evolution: Education and Outreach, Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education. NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott and deputy director Glenn Branch argue that in the bicentennial of Darwin's birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of On the Origin of Species, it is especially important not to overemphasize Darwin while talking about evolutionary biology in general. In the abstract, they summarize, "Evolutionary biology owes much to Charles Darwin, whose discussions of common descent and natural selection provide the foundations of the discipline. But evolutionary biology has expanded well beyond its foundations to encompass many theories and concepts unknown in the 19th century. The term 'Darwinism' is, therefore, ambiguous and misleading. Compounding the problem of 'Darwinism' is the hijacking of the term by creationists to portray evolution as a dangerous ideology — an 'ism' — that has no place in the science classroom. When scientists and teachers use 'Darwinism' as synonymous with evolutionary biology, it reinforces such a misleading portrayal and hinders efforts to present the scientific standing of evolution accurately. Accordingly, the term 'Darwinism' should be abandoned as a synonym for evolutionary biology."