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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2009/01/02

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

The journal Nature provides a new resource summarizing fifteen lines of
evidence for evolution by natural selection.  Meanwhile, Expelled makes a
brief and inglorious appearance in newspapers again, and the Geological
Society of Australia reaffirms its stance against creationism.


"15 Evolutionary Gems" is a new resource summarizing fifteen lines of
evidence for evolution by natural selection, provided by the journal
Nature.  The editors explain, "About a year ago, an Editorial in these
pages urged scientists and their institutions to 'spread the word' and
highlight reasons why scientists can treat evolution by natural selection
as, in effect, an established fact ... This week we are following our own
prescription.  In a year in which Darwin is being celebrated amid
uncertainty and hostility about his ideas among citizens, being aware of
the cumulatively incontrovertible evidence for those ideas is all the more
important.  We trust that this document will help."

The fifteen evolutionary gems, as Nature describes them, are in three
categories:  gems from the fossil record (land-living ancestors of whales,
from water to land, the origin of feathers, the evolutionary history of
teeth, and the origin of the vertebrate skeleton), gems from habitats
(natural selection in speciation, natural selection in lizards, a case of
co-evolution, differential dispersal in wild birds, selective survival in
wild guppies, and evolutionary history matters), and gems from molecular
processes (Darwin's Galapagos finches, microevolution meets macroevolution,
toxin resistance in snakes and clams, and variation versus
stability).  References and links to relevant resources are provided.

For "15 Evolutionary Gems" (PDF), visit:

For the editorial introduction, visit:


As 2008 drew to a close, the good news for the producers of Expelled:  No
Intelligence Allowed was that their creationist propaganda movie was
getting a bit of press again.  The bad news is that it was in the lists of
the worst movies of 2008.  The Onion's A.V. Club (December 16, 2008), was
quickest out of the gate, commenting, "There are terrible movies, and then
there are terrible movies that cause harm to society by feeding into its
ignorance.  Nathan Frankowski's odious anti-evolution documentary belongs
in the latter category. ... Few moments in cinema in 2008 were as shameless
and disgusting as the Expelled sequence where Stein solemnly visits a Nazi
death camp and unsubtly links 'survival of the fittest' theory to the

John Serba of the Grand Rapids Press (December 26, 2008) wrote, "Ben Stein
hosts this pro-Intelligent Design documentary that forgets to include a
compelling argument for this viewpoint, and instead chooses to equate
Darwinism and its legions of rational scientist followers with Nazis and
the Holocaust.  Facts rooted in reality are at a premium in this insidious,
crassly manipulative dreck."  Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel (December
26, 2008) commented, "Ben Stein's documentary was a cynical attempt to
sucker Christian conservatives into thinking they're losing the
'intelligent design' debate because of academic 'prejudice.'"  Stephen
Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger (December 27, 2008) described Expelled as
lifting "its nonsensical knowledge of early man from an Alley Oop comic and
its sense of honest inquiry from a snake-handling preacher."  In the LA
City Beat (December 30, 2008), Andy Klein wrote, "Stein's 'intelligent
design' documentary has all the red flags -- inadequate or misleading
identification of interviewees, aggressively manipulative editing,
extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence, and extreme leaps of
logic ... particularly suggesting guilt by association, even to the point
of laying blame for the Holocaust on Darwin."  And Ken Hanke of the
Ashville, North Carolina, Mountain Xpress (December 31, 2008) said that
Expelled was "as corrupt a piece of work as you'll ever encounter."

Expelled fared no better north of the border.  Jay Stone of the Canwest
News Service (December 26, 2008) described Expelled as "a masterwork of
intellectual dishonesty."  And Richard Crouse of Canada AM (December 30,
2008) commented, "Wrapping his thesis in good old American jingoistic
rhetoric -- remember this guy used to write speeches for Nixon -- Stein
repeatedly compares Darwinist scientists to communists by the suggestion
that the only way they can get funding for research is to be good Darwinist
'comrades' and even makes the outrageous connection between Darwin's theory
and Nazism."  Crouse added, "Perhaps it isn't just a coincidence that the
host's initials are B.S."

For the various lists and articles, visit:\

For NCSE's Expelled Exposed website, visit:


The Geological Society of Australia recently updated its policy statement
on science education and creationism.  A previous version of the statement
(reprinted in the third edition of NCSE's Voices for Evolution) from 1995
read, in part, "The Geological Society of Australia considers that notions
such as Fundamental Creationism, including so called 'Flood Geology', which
disregard scientific evidence such as that based on repeatable observations
in the natural world and the geological record, are not science and cannot
be taught as science ... The Society states unequivocally that the dogmatic
teaching of notions such as Creationism within a science curriculum stifles
the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind and
seriously compromises the best interests of objective public education. ...
the Society dissociates itself from Creationist statements made by any
member."  The 2008 update differs from the 1995 version only in specifying
that the statement applies to "intelligent design" and in bearing the
endorsements of all of the presidents of the society from 1994
onward.  Established in 1952, the Geological Society of Australia is a
non-profit organization that seeks to promote, advance and support the
earth sciences in Australia.

For the GSA's statement (PDF), visit:

For information about Voices for Evolution, visit:


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Thanks for reading! And as always, be sure to consult NCSE's web site:

where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and
threats to it.

With best wishes for the new year,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

Not in Our Classrooms:  Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools

Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism

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