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The latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach

The latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach — the new journal promoting the accurate understanding and comprehensive teaching of evolutionary theory for a wide audience — is now published. The theme for the issue (volume 5, number 3), edited by Antonio Lazcano, is the origin and early evolution of life. Articles on the theme include "Darwinism and the Origin of Life"; "Prebiotic Chemistry: What We Know, What We Don't"; "Origins for Everyone"; "The Origin and Evolution of Metabolic Pathways: Why and How did Primordial Cells Construct Metabolic Routes?"; "Cenancestor, the Last Universal Common Ancestor"; "Viruses in Biology"; and "The Sorites Paradox, 'Life,' and Abiogenesis." Plus there are various articles on the teaching of evolution (including reports on the state of evolution education in Portugal and Slovenia), book reviews, and commentaries.

Also included is the latest installment of NCSE's regular column, Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education. In "The Soft Underbelly of Evolution?" NCSE's Glenn Branch and Eugenie C. Scott argue, "Evolution and the origin of life are separate, if connected, topics, but they are frequently conflated — especially by creationists. Regarding the natural origin of life as 'the soft underbelly' of evolution, creationists argue that it is impossible, improbable, or insusceptible to scientific investigation. Underlying their arguments is the hope that the failure of scientific research on the origin of life is evidence for a supernatural account. It is crucial for teachers to understand the nature of science in order to be able to explain why appeals to the supernatural are out of place in explaining the origin of life and why scientific research on the origin of life is not intrinsically a threat to faith."