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. Among the highlights are Ian Tattersall's "Becoming Modern Homo sapiens," a trio of papers expounding the evolution of morality and arguing for its place in the curriculum by Douglas Allchin, T. Ryan Gregory's "The Argument from Design: A Guided Tour of William Paley’s Natural Theology (1802)," Shelley L. Smith and Raymond A. Eve's "Texas Biology and Biological Anthropology Faculty Express Their Views on Teaching Evolution," and Ulrich Kutschera's "Darwin’s Philosophical Imperative and the Furor Theologicus." And there is a flock of reviews, too: Andrew J. Petto, a member of NCSE's board of directors, reviews Louis I. Held Jr.'s Quirks of Human Anatomy, Stephen W. Paddock reviews Evolution: The First Four Billion Years, edited by NCSE Supporter Michael Ruse and Joseph Travis, Paula Ann Spaeth reviews Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True, and Adam M. Goldstein reviews Richard Milner's Darwin's Universe.

Also included is NCSE's regular column for Evolution: Education and Outreach, Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education. In "Homology: Why We know a Whale is not a Fish," Andrew J. Petto and NCSE's Louise S. Mead argue, "Homology is a fundamental concept in comparative and evolutionary biology and yet often the focus of antievolution challenges. In describing structural similarity that is the result of common ancestry, hypotheses about homology require rigorous testing and form the basis for making predictions about anatomy and physiology as well as the fossil record. Communicating the basics of homology to students is essential for a high school biology curriculum." They conclude, "textbooks could stand to be clearer on the definition of homology versus diagnosis, the descriptive and predictive nature of hypotheses, and the fact that hypotheses of homology are not just a matter of overall similarity of gross morphology, but emerge from development, biochemistry, genetics, and ecology. ... Organisms are never classified biologically by a single criterion or a single feature, but on the basis of mutually reinforcing and concordant patterns at multiple levels of analysis — and this is the essential concept for teaching homology in biology classes."