NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2010/08/27
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear Friends of NCSE, NCSE's Steven Newton takes on the latest crop of misleading headlines. Plus a preview of Iain McCalman's Darwin's Armada.
"DARWIN WAS NOT WRONG" Writing at the Huffington Post (August 26, 2010), NCSE's Steven Newton debunked the latest round of "Darwin was wrong" sensationalism in the media. A recent paper in Biology Letters, Sarda Sahney, Michael Benton, and Paul Ferry's "Links between global taxonomic diversity, ecological diversity and the expansion of vertebrates on land," was widely proclaimed as showing that Darwin was wrong. But Newton commented, "These reporters really should have 1) talked to the authors, 2) read the Biology Letters paper, and 3) familiarized themselves with what Darwin wrote. When I talked to lead author Sarda Sahney, of the University of Bristol, she told me unequivocally: 'We are not in any way suggesting Darwin was wrong.'" After briefly describing the real significance of the paper, which represents "a refinement of the details of how evolution happens," Newton lamented the prospect of these misleading reports fueling creationist efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution: "Once misguided, sensationalist headlines such as these start to spread, this poisonous misinformation -- despite all the hard work and research of scientists -- becomes a tool for those who reject science." For Newton's article, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-newton/darwin-was-not-wrong--new_b_696132.html EMBARK WITH DARWIN'S ARMADA NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Iain McCalman's Darwin's Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution (W. W. Norton, 2009). The excerpt discusses Alfred Russel Wallace's voyages, culminating with his insight about natural selection: "Whatever it was that triggered Wallace to think about Malthus, it had given him the key to the mechanism that drove evolution. He was not to know that Malthus had done exactly the same for Charles Darwin in 1837-38, when Darwin reread Principle of Population after returning from his Beagle voyage. 'The more I thought it over,' Wallace recalled, 'the more I became convinced that I had at length found the long-sought-for law of nature that solved the problem of the origin of species.' He had found the motor that explained how varieties were driven to become new species, in competition with the parent species that had originally produced them." According to the New York Times Book Review, "[McCalman's] narratives are as much bildungsroman as scientific analysis, showing how the four voyagers were steeled and transformed by the demands of the sea and the wondrous unfamiliarity of life on distant shores." For the excerpt from Darwin's Armada (PDF), visit: http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/Excerpt--DarwinsArmada.pdf For information from the publisher, visit: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/Darwins-Armada/ Thanks for reading! And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncse.com -- 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://ncse.com 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://ncse.com/membership