Re: [asa] Ditch Darwin To Advance Theory of Evolution, says Professor of Evolutionary Biology

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Mar 01 2007 - 12:35:40 EST

He's right. Emphasis on Darwin as an individual, the use of the term "Darwinism" and (what was discussed at one AAAS session) the coupling of "Evolution Sunday" with Darwin's birthday serve to antagonize conservative Christians and keep them from giving evolution a fair hearing. Of course Darwin's name needn't be avoided studiously, but there's no need to inflate his role either. Evolution can be discussed without talking about the histopry of the subject, just as classical mechanics can be presented without talking about Newton. & to the extent that the history is discussed, giving Wallace partial credit can help.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: (Matthew) Yew Hock Tan
  Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2007 12:16 PM
  Subject: [asa] Ditch Darwin To Advance Theory of Evolution, says Professor of Evolutionary Biology

  The theory of biological evolution as it is presented today is dogmatic ideology? This professor has called for scientists to de-emphasize Darwin. It is significant that he made this call at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in San Francisco.
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  The Chronicle of Higher EducationMonday, February 19, 2007

  De-emphasizing Darwin Might Advance the Argument for Evolution, Biologist Says at Scientists' Meeting
  In his controversial book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins insisted that scientists should work to dispel the idea that God exists. Without religion, Mr. Dawkins has said, the conflict between scientists' beliefs about evolution and the fundamentalist religious belief that a supernatural intelligence created all life would vanish. Now an evolutionary biologist has proposed a different tack. In a meeting last weekend in San Francisco, he suggested scientists might win the argument by ditching Darwin.


  Mr. Kutschera, a professor of plant physiology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kassel in Germany, said scientists should emphasize that evolution is a fully formed field of biological study "built up by generations of non-dogmatic scientists." Terms like Darwinism can make evolutionary biology seem like an ideology, rather than a focus of empirical work, he said.
  Few think that Darwin himself is such a divisive figure. But at a session on growing anti-evolutionary sentiment in Europe, scholars from both sides of the Atlantic agreed that scientists should change the way they present their views.
  Pressure from religious groups to teach alternatives to evolution, such as intelligent design, in science classes once seemed mostly an American problem, but that is no longer true.

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Received on Thu Mar 1 12:36:32 2007

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