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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

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.


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: 


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: 

For Understanding Evolution, visit: 

Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution education and threats to it.


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

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