Monday, June 18, 2007

Wells Worried Students Still Being Shown PBS's Evolution Series

In a recent article in Evolution News & Views, there is an edge of desperation in Jonathan Well’s concern that public school students are still being shown the PBS Evolution series in the classroom. I suppose he should be desperate - it is a wonderful teaching tool for helping explain to students some of the most important concepts in the theory of evolution, a science Wells refuses to accept because of its implications for his personal worldview. Wells would apparently prefer that students read the Discovery Institute’s Viewer’s Guide To PBS’s Evolution, which explains how, in Wells’ words, the PBS “…propaganda extravaganza — like most modern biology textbooks — distorts and exaggerates the evidence to convince people that Darwinism is true”.

Like all creationists, however, what Wells and the Discovery Institute don’t tell you about evolutionary theory is far more revealing than what do say. Strip the DI Viewer’s Guide of its fabrications, out-of-context quotes from prominent scientists and selective use of technical information meant to convey not just a contrary, but often opposite, meaning than that in the original, and you have very few complete sentences in the English language. The National Center for Science Education’s own guide, A Response To Creationist Misinformation, is also worth a student’s reading as it exposes the DI’s attempts to create a controversy where none exists, turn engineers and medical doctors into the professional equals of geologists, paleontologists and anthropologists, and lets the reader know what information the DI is keeping from them. The NCSE Guide reads like a scientific response from the pages of American Scientist; the DI Guide reads more like a presidential swift-boating campaign.

Despite Well’s hysteria, I certainly intend to continue using the PBS Evolution series in my own classroom. I have found that students enjoy the series and they become far better equipped to be suspicious of claims made by Wells and other creationists.


Looney said...

Last I checked, the admission scores for doctors and engineers were far in excess of biologists. Curiously, engineers are paid to do intelligent design, which biologists have proven is impossible. This is no problem at all to intellectuals and scholars who make up explanations of reality as they go totally oblivious to everything - including the ID technology that they employ to deny ID. Fortunately most of the children will see through the insanity and reject evolution anyway.

Anonymous said...

intelligent design, which bio logists have proven is impossible

Er, no. what they have done is show that there is no evidence for intelligent design in any animal studied thus far, genotype or phenotype. There is the appearence of design, but no evidence that it was design - and ample evidence for mutation and natural selection...
It's possible they'll be shown some real evidence but on what we know so far seems unlikely.

and saying "its complicated, guess God did it" is not evidence.

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