RE: [asa] personal introduction and a question about textbooks (fruit flies)

From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
Date: Wed Apr 09 2008 - 17:32:12 EDT

Hi Dennis with 2 n's ;-)

 

You said:
" My training is as a developmental biologist and Drosophila
geneticist."

 

I have to ask... is it true, as the ID'ers say, in your opinion, that
these fruit flies can't be made to evolve into anything else over the
numerous lab attempts at trying to do it? All they do is grow
additional wings that are useless, or grow useless legs on their head?

 

In the last chapter of "Mere Christianity" CS Lewis mentioned fruit fly
experiments as a positive proof for evolution, I think.

 

I'm curious as to your opinion since you are an expert in the field.

 

-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of Dennis Venema
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 12:35 PM
To: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: [asa] personal introduction and a question about textbooks

 

Hello everyone,

 

As a recent subscriber to this mail list, I thought a brief introduction

might be in order before I begin to contribute.

 

My training is as a developmental biologist and Drosophila geneticist. I

study pattern formation during development using cell / molecular
biology

techniques and confocal microscopy. I am in a tenure-track faculty
position

at Trinity Western University (Langley, BC Canada) and currently filling
the

role of biology department chair here.

 

I am also interested / engaged with teaching research, particularly with

respect to teaching genetics. More recently, I have been drawn into the

whole discussion of origins. The impetus for this was a request to edit
a

book chapter on biology / faith issues. The "edit" became a major
reworking

of the chapter and also forced me to read deeply / widely on this issue
for

the first time.

 

My personal journey on this issue started with an ambiguous YEC stance
as a

youth, although my particular church didn't focus on the issue. During
my

undergrad and early graduate school days I was enamored with ID without

seriously investigating it or reading critiques of it. Once getting the
job

at TWU I left the issue on the back burner as I focused on teaching and

getting my research program off the ground (no small feat at a small

institution). When the opportunity to edit/revise this chapter came
along I

fell headlong into the debate - and emerged as a theistic evolutionist /

evolutionary creationist, despite my initial pro-ID leanings.

 

As I have read up on the history of this debate my hat is off to those
who

have hoed this hard earth before me - Van Till, Lamoureux, Collins,
Keith

Miller, Colling, the Haarsmas and many others whom I have yet to read.

Denis, as a newcomer I would like to hear more of your story - or, if it
is

in print somewhere, perhaps you could direct me to it. I'm looking
forward

to reading your new book, and your recent article in PSCF was excellent.
I

have a colleague in OT studies here at TWU who introduced me to ANE

cosmology, but having your work in PSCF means I have an easy resource to

direct students to. Thank you.

 

--
 
One small question that has been brewing as I have engaged this debate
is
that in terms of Christian biology textbooks / resources the only ones I
know of are explicitly YEC and present the YEC position as if it were
(a)
scientific and (b) the only "Christian" option for understanding
origins. I
also note that the interim ruling in ACSI vs Stearns may lead to more
universities taking a stand on this issue and barring students from
Christian schools based on their biology texts (note that UC accepted
the
ACSI chemistry texts as well as those in other subjects). Yet the
Christian
school market (and the homeschool market) has no other options that I
know
of. 
 
Perhaps it is time for a high school biology text with sound science
from a
Christian perspective? Has this issue been discussed here previously? Or
do
resources exist that I do not know about?
 
Thanks all, 
 
Dennis
 
 
--
 
Dennis R. Venema, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Chair, Biology Dept.
Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Road
Langley, B.C. Canada
V2Y 1Y1
 
604-513-2121 ext. 3446
dennis.venema@twu.ca
 
http://www.twu.ca/academics/science/biology/faculty/venema/
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Received on Wed Apr 9 17:35:16 2008

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