Re: Guide for Teaching Evolution

RDehaan237 (
Sun, 12 Apr 1998 07:27:19 EDT

In a message dated 4/10/98 7:43:42 PM, wrote:

<<The National Academy of Science has its new guide for teaching
evolution on this web page:

Anybody see anything they don't like?


Thanks for the posting the address of the NAS booklet on the web. It gives us
a chance for a preliminary look-see. I haven't read the entire contents and
probably won't until I receive the hard copy of the book which I ordered. But
here are my answers to your question--What don't I like about what I have read
so far?

I don't like the brief history of the rise of science given in chapter 3, do
you? There is no recognition whatsoever of the positive role that
Christianity played in the rise of science. The emphasis is only on the
mistaken, naive ideas that the church held about the structure and operation
of the universe. That's hardly a balanced treatment of the history of

A second thing I don't like is the assumption that the theory of evolution is
above criticism. I take it the book is about teaching scientific or critical
thinking. In theory, no scientific theory is above skeptical, critical
examination. No mention is made, however, of the fact that science has not
cracked the mystery of how life originated; that there is no scientific
explanation of why there is a universe at all; why there was a Big Bang; how
did multicellular organisms come into being so suddenly when they did; why
human beings are so far advanced over our primate cousins, despite the fact
that we share 99% (or so) of the chimps' genome. Maybe these puzzles will
eventually be solved. But frank acknowledgement that they exist at the
present time would be a healthy thing. The educational experiments that
students are given seemed designed to confirm evolution rather than take a
critical look at it.

My preliminary criticism of the book is for what it omits. What I think
should have been included are a more balanced presentation of Christianty's
role in the rise of science, and a presentation of what evolution has not
explained even after over a century of trying.

As I say, I have not read the entire booklet with care. My questions arise
from a preliminary skimming of the book. I am prepared to stand corrected if
anyone finds something that escaped my attention.

What are your comments on the book, Dick?