Confronting the ant-evolution attack on Education


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This presentation presents the problems faced by educators caused by Creationists and other anti-evolution persons and discusses means to refute anti-ev claims

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  • Items that will be discussed
  • These are radically differeing views – only one can ve true
  • This wed site summarizes news items quite well
  • A review of how understanding “eveolved” clarifies why there are 3 world views
  • Assuming the brain eveolved, growing awareness must have been somewhat like coming out of a fig
  • A major problem in gaining an uderstanding of any complex item is the impediments in the way. There are more, here are 3 of the more important
  • Need to begin with Genesis as an uncritical acceptance of ensis it is one of the key impediments. Important, relig invented to explain gthe unexplainable – came up with some, ultimately, poor explantations. Big problem, relig explan have taken on sacred position, unchallengeable to some. Can’t accept that we have learned something in the last 3000 years
  • Solving the first impediment removes the illusion that man is at the center of the universe
  • Realized if challenge to dogma not rebuffed, all dogma might come into question. This is key for these reasons: Illustration of the power of the conflict with authority, beginning of the end of geocentric view which displaced man from the center of the universe to a minor planet circling a minor star
  • Solving this illusion is one of the major keys. Since people don’t “see change” they think there is no change. Problem is they don’t know how and where to look. Also, re this slide – Lyell and associates don’t receive the credit they should. Without an understanding of the age of the earth, Darwin would not have understood that the process he discovered is real since Darwin knew it rewuired much time
  • Key here is that if D hadn’t discovered, someone else would have. Also, Darwin was influenced by Malthus re the effects of B>>D. Re the last point, since rep not rq for individual survival, sex must occaisionally become dominant. This we observe in all multicelled animals. A problem for humans is that once sex maturity is reacehd, the need for sex assumes a dominant role quite often despite our puritanical desire to suppress it/
  • The Origin was an enormously important step, but it was only the first of many. Darwin launched a revolution, but his only real contribution was launching. He only understood that repro led to po growth which eventually invoked nat sel. It took another 150 years to fully determine how ev works
  • This contains some of the meat- copernicus displaced us from center – that was bad, Darwin displaced us from a special creation of God – that, for some, is unacceptable – hence the struggle
  • Need to review as there is confusion even among those who should uinderstand
  • Don’t think I have seen the underlined anywhere.
  • There is controversy re micro and macro ev. Clealy mitosis is not sufficient for ev, otherwise sex repro would not have evolved, see next slide
  • The fact that it took 1 b yrs for repro to evolve from single celled to multi celled is a strong indication that sex repo is complex and required
  • This is a major slide. This is also something Darwin did not know about
  • Since repro req time, a major assault on ev is the denial that the earht is more than 10 k yrs. These and many other web sites provide a mountain of evidence demonstrating to all but the most ardent creationist that there was en ough time for ev
  • There are more, but most fall into these categories. A big problem with the ev vs cr debate is that the debate is set up such that one must prove god does not exist and if you can’t prove then he must exist. Very specious, but many cling to this. Better – if can’t prove exists, then must not
  • Cannot answer all True beleiver will be unconvinced regardless – this is directed to those still questioning. Argument that tere is design in ev can be developed into apaper
  • Behe is a prominent anti-ev person. For thos that claim that the bible is ulrimate truth, they want this truth taught to their children
  • Peop for am way have some good stuff
  • It’s a tough job. Even thos schools claiming tio teach ev do a poor job
  • It all comes down to the question “Does God Exist?” argument shouod be framed such that one must prove God exists, which of course one can’t. On the other hand can’t really prove God doesn’t’ - it’s like the safety argument. If can’t prove safe, may be unsafe, should be if can’t prove unsafe then must conclude safe. So, it all comes down to belief. Interesting, one doesn’t say I believe or don’t believe in electricity sonce existancce of elec can be demonstrated. Since existance of God can’t be demoned must be a bleief
  • Confronting the ant-evolution attack on Education

    2. 2. Presentation Outline Complex, controversial subject Review highlights Development of our understanding of ourselves and our world/universe – Process of Evolution: Micro- and Macro- Evolution Arguments against Evolution and counter arguments Suggestions re what scientists should do Different understandings are central to issue Overview of the Issues
    3. 3. Overview - Radically Differing World Views Human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process. ~40% God created human beings pretty much in their current form at one time within the last 10,000 years ~40% Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process. ~20% Young Earth Creationism Intelligent Design Science Summary, Gallup Polls taken of representative Americans
    4. 4. Overview – Anti-Evolution in the News State News on Teaching Evolution * 118 news items from Alabama to Wyoming: 2002 - 2007 $27 Mil, 60,000 sq. ft. Creationism museum opened May 28 Petersburg, Ky. * “ Dover, Pennsylvania school board sued regarding incorporation of ID in curricula, Dec, 2004” ID ruled form of religion, Nov 2006 “ Board of Education Moves Once Step Closer to OKing ID in Kansas Classrooms, Aug 2005”. Corrected, Feb 2007 Eight Odessa, Texas residents, sued their schools superintendent and county school board, May 07 WSJ
    5. 5. title Brief Review DEVELOPMENT OF UNDERSTANDING
    6. 6. Understanding Ourselves and Where We Live How did Understanding Develop? There was a great need to understand Key Question: How did understanding develop? As human brain evolved, slowly became aware of self and surroundings With great difficulty
    7. 7. Understanding Ourselves and Where We Live - Overall Development 1. Apparent motion of sun and stars around Earth Implies Earth is center of universe, Implies probably not very old Had to be made by somebody: 2. Apparent unchanging nature of the Earth Gaining understanding - hampered by impediments: geocentric concept Supernatural Creator O Illusions – things aren’t what they appear to be O Conflict with Authority O Conflict with common sense and intuition
    8. 8. Genesis and Illusions Written approximately 3000 years ago and contains: One of earliest explanations of Origins is Book of Genesis Great Flood Adam’s Lineage Used to explain geological formations Used for age of earth Explanation of Creation by a supernatural being, God Although 3000 years old, “ The Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation!” Main theme [of creation museum], May 2007 Fundamentalists claim Bible still applies
    9. 9. Solving the Sun Around Earth Illusion: Aristarchus of Samos 300 BC Heliocentric system is better explanation than geocentric But, the more powerful Aristotle and associates insisted on geocentric system and Aristotle won First astronomer to understand that illusion Caused by earths rotation and revolution around sun Finalized by Claudius Ptolemy, ca 100 AD and incorporated into Church Dogma Devised bizarre special epicycle orbits for planets
    10. 10. Solving the Sun Around Earth Illusion: Nicolas Copernicus (1473 – 1543) First modern astronomer to understand illusion Realized that would invoke wrath of church Delayed publication until end of his life, 1543 At first church didn’t do anything But, when interest spread, cracked down Burned monk Bruno at stake Forced Galileo to recant heresy Heliocentric solar system better explanation than geocentric But, genie was out of the bottle Today, no one is seriously suggesting that the geocentric concept be taught in public school Heliocentric won Obvious example of conflict with authority
    11. 11. Solving the Unchanging Earth Illusion: Charles Lyell (1797 – 1875) Geologist Lyell and associates among first to deduce that unchanging Earth illusion is due to extreme slowness of geologic processes. Rather than a violent biblical flood, true causes of geologic changes are erosion, sediment deposition, etc. Most important: deduced that earth much older than previously believed Grand Cyn: 10,000 feet deep, approx 7 M yrs = approx 2 inches per century
    12. 12. Solving the Unchanging Earth Illusion: Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) Disciple of Charles Lyell First person to detect and publish Process of Evolution Understood that Evolution was result of reproduction – provided variation needed for improvement Geologist and naturalist Ultimately leads to competition for resources Survival of fittest Practical reproduction, birth rate >> death rate AKA Natural Selection If Darwin hadn’t discovered Process, someone else would have Alfred Russell Wallace Optimum reproduction: birth rate = death rate Consider: Reproduction only needed for Species Survival – not Individual Survival
    13. 13. Solving the Unchanging Earth Illusion Charles Darwin Published findings on Nov 24, 1859 Used Lyell’s deduction of Earth’s relatively long age to “connect the dots” Understood that Evolutionary Process was very slow and required long time Never wrote a document entitled “Theory of Evolution” Understood What Evolution Did, Not How it Worked “ On the origin of species by means of natural selection “ Important: Natural Selection is only part of the Process
    14. 14. Reflection – Some Inconvenient Truths Helio-centric view displaced man from cherished position – center of the universe “… if [evolution is correct] then religion was a fable, Man was just a better beast, …” Evolution displaced man from his cherished position as a special creation of God Charles Lyell wrote This “Inconvenient Truth” has bothered people ever since it’s discovery “ .. No scientific theory has been more difficult for people to accept that biological evolution…” AAAS “Evolution on the frontline .. Guide for Teaching Evolution” begins with
    16. 16. Elements of Biological Evolution Process Evolution is inevitable consequence of Reproductive Genetic Mixing Reproduction is required for species survival All multicelled species have finite lives Hence, species members must replace themselves or species becomes extinct Key question is how? Answer is found in understanding of cell biology
    17. 17. Understanding Evolution Cell Fundamentals Structure of Cell: Chromosomes Nucleus Chromatin Significant characteristic of cells: ability to divide DNA Double helix structure and location of Genes on DNA not fully solved until 2001 DNA discovered and Genes deduced ca 1860, but
    18. 18. Understanding Evolution Mitosis and Single Cell Reproduction Process whereby cell divides into two new, identical cells Each cell has same number of genes as parent During Mitosis, DNA double helix “unwinds” Double helix rebuilt Copying errors during rebuild: mutations Basis for single celled animal reproduction One helix to each new cell Creationists accept this form of Evolution Termed Micro-Evolution Anti-biotic resistant bacteria Small genetic modifications
    19. 19. Understanding Evolution From Single Cell to Multi Celled Animals Only single celled animals can make a copy – by dividing Evolutionary process obviously required more diversity than single celled reproduction Evolution of Meiotic cell division from Mitotic cell division provided necessary diversity Single celled animals appeared over 2 B years ago Multi-celled animals less than 1 B years ago Hence multi-celled reproduction must start with a single cell Creationist position: Nonsense, earth only 10 K years old ID position: Agree – God did a good job
    20. 20. Understanding Evolution Meiosis and Multi-Cell Reproduction Creation of eggs and sperm Basically same as Mitosis, but has one more division Resultant cells have only one half the genes of an adult When sperm and egg join, complete, unique , genome formed Significant resultant variation: birth defects to Mozart This is reproductive, genetic mixing Major “driver” of Evolution Macro-Evolution ID position: God created this Creationist position: Agree, but, doesn’t prove Evolution, not enough time Large genetic modifications
    21. 21. Understanding Evolution - Age of the Earth * old as time plimer.htm “ There are 5, totally independent , methods of accurately determining the age of a rock. “ Professor Ian Plimer* Proper understanding of Earth age is as important to Evolution as understanding Evolutionary Process Many sources of Earth age info, here are 3 “ There are at least 3 independent ways that the age of the Universe can be estimated.” Professor Edward L. Wright* *http:/ How old is the Earth? A Reply to “Scientific” Creationism * * “Evolutionist vs. Creationists”, AAAS Pacific Div 1984 G. Brent Dalrymple
    23. 23. Creationist and ID Arguments Against Evolution TEN MAJOR FLAWS OF EVOLUTION - REVISED by Randy Alcorn Intelligent Design Web Site Basic approach: Prove Evolution wrong Then Creationism or ID must be correct Creationism and ID don’t explain anything Sources of Arguments against: Assume Creationism or ID or Evolution True
    24. 24. Arguments and Counter-arguments Watch can’t reproduce Biological system can Complex object like pocket watch requires designer Analogy formulated by Reverend William Paley in 1802 Obvious flaw in argument A Design process is active in Evolution Trial and Error Offspring provide trials: Natural selection picks best “design” Supernatural Designer/Creator is not required “ The complexity of living systems could never evolve by chance—they had to be designed and created” Thus, complex object like human requires designer Reproduction is a closed loop process
    25. 25. Arguments and Counter-arguments Fossilization: low probability process Finding fossil: low probability process But there are links - Amphibian Fish Intermediate Amphibian Best evidence of linkage DNA (Low probability) 2 Very, very small number “ Total lack of undisputed examples … of ‘missing links’ “
    27. 27. Summary – Evolution VS Creationism and ID Evolution is supported by vast amounts of data Process is well understood Sufficient time for Process Trial and Error design process eliminates need for Intelligent Designer Presenting the evidence supporting Evolution necessary, but not sufficient Must confront arguments against Creationism and ID use carefully constructed arguments against Evolution to support their beliefs And they want their beliefs taught in Public Schools The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism Michael J. Behe, June 5, 2007
    28. 28. There is Hope “ The public has only limited familiarity with the issues involved.” * “ Although most Americans [appear to] want Evolution taught in the public schools, most are not sure.., that theory, is proven”. “ As a result … the public’s views about how exactly public schools should approach [teaching Evolution]… are not fully formed” * Evolution and Creationism In Public Education, Mar 2000 People For the American Way Foundation, Thus, can be swayed for or against Evolution
    29. 29. Summary – Confronting the Controversy Scientists should/must: assure that proper information is presented in Public Schools “ Scientists believe” Belief sounds like an unsupported opinion “ Scientists have deduced” is better become more involved in School Board member selection Become more assertive and avoid statements like be continually prepared to confront Creationists and ID proponents For Scientists Theory = Explanation For Creationists Theory = Just a guess
    30. 30. Summary – Confronting the Controversy Not an easy task Well organized minority wants science replaced with religiously oriented views Is Science up to the task? “ Evolution: Join AAAS on the Front Line” Regarding AAAS Position A recent e-mail