Darwinism

15 Evolutionary Gems – or zircons that are bound to anger a fiancee?

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Here’s something worth knowing if you don’t want your kids spending a lot of time on Darwin worship when they could be learning something useful:

Last year, during the bicentennial anniversary of Darwin’s birth, Nature released a free online packet titled “15 Evolutionary Gems.” Its subtitle was “A resource from Nature for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection.” It might have been better subtitled ‘A evangelism packet for those wishing to spread the good news about Darwinism.’ After all, when Nature announced the packet, they said they were heeding a prior call which “urged scientists and their institutions to ‘spread the word'” about evolution and “highlight reasons why scientists can treat evolution by natural selection as, in effect, an established fact.” The packet is to be used not just in schools, but also in home evangelism or relationship evangelism.

[ … ]

The packet is simply an extension of Nature’s “campaign” for Darwin. But it is quite useful in one important respect: the packet is from the world’s top scientific journal and purports to show us “just what is the evidence for evolution by natural selection.” So if the evidence isn’t very strong, then that should tell you something.

As we’ll see, far from being “incontrovertible,” most of the “evolutionary gems” in the packet do not show any significant amount of evolution and might be best views as “microevolutionary” gems. A couple of the “gems” have little to do with evolution, but an evolutionary interpretation is added in after-the-fact.

Right now, Darwinism is right up there with “recovered memories” in believability, which is the main reason I would want it minimized in tax-funded schools.

Maybe my local used car salesman can spout it, along with retailing the glories of the used Lada he is trying to unload before it falls to pieces on the sales lot.

4 Replies to “15 Evolutionary Gems – or zircons that are bound to anger a fiancee?

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Mrs O’Leary:

    Perhaps, this excerpted quote from ENV is the most revealing of all, exposing as it does the roots and original agenda of the journal Nature itself:

    _______________

    >> By exploiting their position in this network, Huxley and his friends ensured that Darwinism had come to stay. (Ruse, 1979a). They controlled the scientific journals — the journal Nature was founded in part to promote the campaign — and manipulated academic appointments. Hull (1978) has stressed how important these rhetorical and political skills were in creating a scientific revolution. The Darwinists adopted a flexible approach which deflected opposition, minimized infighting among themselves, and made it easy for others to join their campaign. Many, like Huxley himself, were not rigidly committed to the theory of natural selection; they were simply anxious to promote the case for evolution.

    (Peter J. Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea, p. 185 (University of California Press, 3rd ed., 2003).) >>
    _________________

    What we are seeing has been going on for a long, long long time.

    Time for a bit of delayed spring cleaning.

    GEM of TKI

  2. 2
    ellazimm says:

    Well, it looks like they picked examples from different realms of evolution and that they were picked to be illustrative.

    Gems from the fossil record

    1 Land-living ancestors of whales
    2 From water to land
    3 The origin of feathers
    4 The evolutionary history of teeth
    5 The origin of the vertebrate skeleton

    Gems from habitats

    6 Natural selection in speciation
    7 Natural selection in lizards
    8 A case of co-evolution
    9 Differential dispersal in wild birds
    10 Selective survival in wild guppies
    11 Evolutionary history matters

    Gems from molecular processes

    12 Darwin’s Galapagos finches
    13 Microevolution meets macroevolution
    14 Toxin resistance in snakes and clams
    15 Variation versus stability

    I am surprised they didn’t include any pictures. 🙁 But there are examples of ‘macroevolution’ certainly.

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    Ellazimm, quit putting us on.

    All that these cases show is that Darwinism either is not important in evolutionary history or – were it the true cause – is important only in a few cases. And how do we know it is the true cause?

    It is not your fault that your Darwinst forebears greatly overhyped their claims, and you are left with a mess, but I would advise you to scale the claims all back if you want respect from the public.

  4. 4
    ellazimm says:

    You may be right! Let’s pick a case and dive in a bit deeper! I don’t KNOW the answer but it’s good to have competing ideas. I’m not claiming anything; let’s pick a case and see what the differing views offer up. I want to hear everyone’s opinion.

    All knowledge is provisional so getting to the ‘true’ cause . . . well, we might not ever know. But we might get closer by examining evidence and conflicting ideas.

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