Recently a California teacher requesting help from NCSE wrote:
I am a high school biology teacher trying to find information on the official position of Christian denominations and other major world religions on evolution for use in my classes. I have many creationist students in my classes who assume anyone who believes in God agrees with the literal creationist beliefs on this. Can you help?
This teacher also felt he needed more information about the legal rights and responsibilities of teachers who are teaching evolution.
These are questions which arise for teachers+ read
In this issue find:
- Taking the Temperature of Climate Change Education
- Updates from across the country
- What Does NCSE's Survey Mean For NCSEteach?
- Science Booster Clubs: News from the First Expansion
- and more...
In February 1870, Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-founder with Charles Darwin of the concept of natural selection, responded to an advertisement in a journal entitled Scientific Opinion placed by members of the Flat Earth Society. The event, most recently told by Ross Slotten in his biography of Wallace (The Heretic in Darwin’s Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace, New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), was described by Wallace as “the most regrettable” incident in his life. The ad enticed Wallace because, short on funds, he saw an easy way to make
Anti-evolutionists get a lot of mileage out of this chestnut because it uses scientific terms like “thermodynamics” and “entropy” to bolster their contention that evolution is unscientific. In fact, local increases in complexity/order are not only completely consistent with thermodynamics, but even expected by the theory. Nevertheless, anti-evolutionists contend: “Evolutionary theory stands in obvious defiance of the Second Law” and “Evolution teaches that life increases in complexity, and therefore defies the second law. …The second law says that everything in our world
In the March 25, 2005, issue of Science, paleontologist Mary Schweitzer and her co-authors reported the discovery of intact blood vessels and other soft tissues in demineralized bone from a 65- million-year–old specimen of Tyrannosaurus rex housed at the Museum of the Rockies (MOR). Scientists’ reaction to this discovery has been cautious; Schweitzer and others have not provided the biochemical data necessary to decide whether or not the “flexible vascular tissue that demonstrated great elasticity and resilience” is, in fact, T rex soft tissue. But while+ read
Pseudoscientists love to use "abracadabra" words to dazzle an ill-informed audience, and for creationists, the word "entropy" fills the bill nicely. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that, in an isolated system, the entropy tends to increase. As entropy may be considered a measure of disorder, the orderliness of living systems and the complexity of organic molecules are taken by creationists to be a violation of this law of physics, requiring divine intervention.
An example of this sort of thinking is provided by Henry Morris (1989: 32, emphasis in
In 1965, the young American scientist Leland Hartwell had to make a decision crucial to his research on understanding how cells divide, a key step toward curing cancer.
Hartwell had to decide whether to place his bet on simple single-celled organisms like baker's yeast, which were easy to study but might be too distantly related to humans for the information to matter. Or he had to cast his lot on cells from humans and mice, which were clearly relevant but difficult to study. Hartwell gambled that over the course of evolution, certain genes would be so important that natural
The emergence of the new, highly virulent bird flu is just the latest example of how the microscopic world is constantly evolving into new forms that threaten to devastate the human population. The seriousness of the threat was underscored yesterday by President Bush's announcement of a new $7.1 billion national preparedness plan.
To fight off this threat, we need to understand everything we can about the influenza virus. But even if we succeed completely in defeating the flu today, the problem is not going away. Not only will flu pandemics continue, but also we never know when
During a press conference with a group of Texas reporters on August 1, 2005, President George W Bush responded to a question about teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools. The reporter referred to "what seems to be a growing debate over evolution versus 'intelligent design'" and asked, "What are your personal views on that, and do you think both should be taught in public schools?" In response, Bush referred to his days as governor of Texas, when "I said that, first of all, that decision should be made to local school districts, but I felt like both sides ought to be properly+ read
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