RE: Jonathan Well's Icons of Evolution

From: Hofmann, Jim (jhofmann@Exchange.FULLERTON.EDU)
Date: Tue Apr 10 2001 - 15:20:27 EDT

  • Next message: Hofmann, Jim: "RE: Jonathan Well's Icons of Evolution"

    Regarding the claim that textbook authors are oblivious to these issues,
    checkout textbook author Kenneth Miller's comments on the links below.
    Sorry, the URL's are so long that they probably wrap.

    Jim Hofmann

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Adrian Teo
    Sent: 4/10/2001 11:31 AM
    Subject: Jonathan Well's Icons of Evolution

    Jonathan Wells, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute, presented at
    Whitworth College on his new book, Icons of Evolution, last night. I
    thought it was a polished presentation, and he did not go into the ID
    argument at all. His point was that the majority of evolutionary biology
    textbooks used discredited examples to support the Darwinian claims of
    common descent and modification. For example, the widely used peppered
    moths example to illustrate natural selection is based on doctored
    photos and the mistaken understanding that those moths actually rested
    on the tree trunks. The so-called Darwin's finches used as examples of
    speciation was based on extrapolation of data, and in actual fact, the
    data showed no net evolutionary changes, but rather, minor variations.
    He also talked about the well-known (among biologists but apparently
    still in textbooks) Haeckel drawings of embryos in different stages of
    development. Archaeopteryx was another example of misinformation. Wells
    made the claim that many professional biologists are not even aware of
    these problems because they have been trained with these textbook
    examples as well and never thought to question them. I am wondering if
    these perceptions of Wells are accurate, and if so, this is a major
    problem. Can ASA do something about this? Should publishers be persuaded
    to be more careful with what they put out?

    One parent asked a very good question of what she could do, given that
    the school district spent thousands of dollars on these textbooks and
    that some science teachers have been quite reluctant to admit nor see
    the errors in these books (applies to physics texts as well). Wells did
    not really have an answer for her.


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