RE: Jonathan Well's Icons of Evolution

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Fri Apr 13 2001 - 12:17:07 EDT

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    Yes, Bert, they are not systematic errors, but they are nevertheless errors
    that are all too common. In the other report (which I can't recall the
    source), some of the errors were quite substantial ones. I see similar
    errors in psychology textbooks as well, such as embellishment of the "Little
    Albert" study and propagating the myth that Eskimos have many (sometimes a
    few hundred) more words for snow than English. Such frequent errors in
    textbooks should be a concern for all, regardless of whether they were
    intended or not, systemic or not.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Bert M []
    Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2001 5:51 PM
    To: Adrian Teo;
    Subject: Re: Jonathan Well's Icons of Evolution



    these are mistakes not connected to each other.

    They are not presented as a basis to support a scientific or philosophical



    Adrian Teo wrote:

     Hello Bert,Check this out:
    <> There was also an article in
    our local papers several months ago about a team of physicists who went
    through several textbooks and found some really ridiculous errors, and some
    pretty substantial ones as well. Problem is I don't remember who did that
    survey and where to find it. Sorry.Adrian.-----Original Message-----
    From: Bert M [ <> ]
    Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2001 3:30 PM
    To: Adrian Teo
    Subject: Re: Jonathan Well's Icons of Evolution


    Quite familier with Wells book and it is a good one.

    I am curious what you meant by

     (applies to physics texts as well).

    Bert Massie

    Adrian Teo wrote:


    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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