NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2009/10/23
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, Kevin Padian discusses "Ten Myths about Charles Darwin" and Understanding Evolution is recruiting college instructors of introductory biology to serve on a teacher advisory board.
TEN MYTHS ABOUT CHARLES DARWIN Kevin Padian discusses -- and debunks -- "Ten Myths about Charles Darwin" in the October 2009 issue of BioScience. "Charles Darwin is one of the most revered (and at times reviled) figures in Western history. A great many 'facts' about him and his ideas are the stuff of textbook myths, others are inaccuracies spread by antievolutionists, and still others are conventional historical mistakes long corrected but still repeated," he writes. "I present 10 such misconceptions, and some quick and necessarily incomplete rebuttals. New scholarship is rapidly clearing away some of these myths." Addressed are: * As a boy Darwin was good only for "shooting, dogs, and rat-catching" * Darwin was a "mere companion" to Captain Robert FitzRoy on the HMS Beagle * Darwin's epiphany about natural selection came while visiting the Galápagos Islands * Darwin stole the credit for natural selection from Alfred Russel Wallace * Population thinking * Dual criteria for classification: Genealogy and similarity * Gradual change is slow and steady * Human evolution was shaped mainly by natural selection * Sexual selection is all about how many offspring you leave * Darwin was a confirmed atheist who had a deathbed conversion to Christianity Padian concludes, "Myths will always arise and abound ... It is hoped that this myth-busting scholarship will soon filter down to revisions of textbooks that discuss Darwin and to public discourse about his life and work." President of NCSE's board of directors, Padian is Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California at Berkeley and also Curator of Paleontology at the University of California Museum of Paleontology. (Thanks to BioScience for graciously making Padian's article freely available on-line.) For "Ten Myths about Charles Darwin" in BioScience, visit: http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/full/10.1525/bio.2009.59.9.10 COLLEGE INSTRUCTORS WANTED TO HELP UNDERSTANDING EVOLUTION The University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP), in partnership with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), has received NSF funding to expand the highly successful Understanding Evolution website (UE) with the aim of improving evolution education at the college level -- and college instructors of introductory biology are needed to serve on a teacher advisory board for the project. UE's Undergraduate Library would target college instructors of introductory biology to help them clarify evolutionary concepts in pedagogically sound ways, integrate evolution throughout their teaching, and relate evolution to current research and issues that matter in students' everyday lives. Functionalities built into the site would also encourage community building within this population of instructors. The Library will also include the Evo Lab, an area targeting undergraduate students directly which would aim to provide student-centered, media-enhanced experiences that portray evolutionary biology as useful and a cornerstone of modern biological research. The Undergraduate Library will serve as a one-stop-shop for evolution educators and students at the college level -- an approach that has proven successful for UE's K-12 site. In order to best serve its audience, UCMP is forming a UE Teacher Advisory Board for this three-year project. It is seeking college instructors of introductory biology from a range of institutions (community colleges, four-year colleges, large universities, private and public schools) to serve on this board. Board members will attend two two-day meetings in Berkeley, California, and will receive a stipend for their service, as well as travel reimbursement. If you are interested in serving, visit UE for details and an application form. For the application form, visit: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/tab_application.php For Understanding Evolution, visit: http://evolution.berkeley.edu Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncseweb.org -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and threats to it. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 420 40th Street, Suite 2 Oakland, CA 94609-2509 510-601-7203 x310 fax: 510-601-7204 800-290-6006 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncseweb.org Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncseweb.org/membership