Re: Final Textbook Insert

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Tue, 02 Dec 1997 12:17:33 -0500 (EST)

At 10:20 PM 11/25/97 -0600, Bill Payne wrote:
>Hey ya'll,
>Following is the "final" version of the suggested biology textbook
>insert which may be used in all of the states. Hopefully, this is a
>statement with which scientists of all persuasions can agree, and
>hopefully, all of the states will adopt it.
>Thanks for the constructive comments which some of you offered in the
>past couple of weeks. All of them were forwarded to a member of the
>group working on this insert.
>God bless!
>Bill Payne
> * * * * * * * * *
>Suggested Textbook Insert November 24, 1997
>WHEREAS, one of the major purposes of science education is to teach the
>skills of objective scientific inquiry; and
>WHEREAS, in the areas of biological origins, most textbooks have failed
>provide the correct and/or necessary information for students to assess
>validity (strengths and weaknesses) of evolutionary theory; therefore
>BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the following corrective insert be pasted into the
>inside front cover of all biology textbooks that deal with the question
>biological origins:
>A MESSAGE FROM THE _________________________________________________
>This textbook discusses the controversial theory of evolution. As you
>this material please keep the following in mind:
>Although your textbook may give you the impression that scientists
>how complex biological molecules formed and evolved into cells, the
>truth is
>that the atmosphere of the early earth did not favor the formation of
>molecules, and how they became organized into cells remains one of the
>unsolved mysteries in science.
>Although your textbook may suggest that all animals evolved gradually
>from a
>primitive ancestral form, the truth is that almost all basic animal
>("phyla") appeared in the fossil record within a relatively brief
>known as the "Cambrian explosion," and that their presumed common
>have not been found.
>Although your textbook may give you the impression that similarities
>early embryos provide evidence for Darwin's theory, the truth is that
>are significant differences among these embryos, especially at the
>Although your textbook presents evidence that the Darwinian mechanism of
>natural selection operating on random mutations has produced minor
>such as variations in the colors of moths and the sizes of finch beaks,
>controversial question is whether the same mechanism can account for
>innovations such as the origin of insects, birds, and scientific
>observers in
>the first place.
>Study hard and keep an open mind. Someday you may contribute to
>theories of
>how living things appeared on earth.

Dear Bill,

I am a late comer to this discussion but have been away from my terminal. I
believe one should know the specific content of a text and make specific
comments on what is written. I do not think that a generic comment is as
useful. One ought to also deflate the hot air balloon of those who claim
that all is known about how we got here and the mechanism which brought it
about. As a physicist I find some of these claims a bit over blown. Somehow
the philosophical/theological issue must be raised by making it clear that
the question of origins may not be a scientific question. Therefore, the
answer may not be given by science.