Two scientists who read the second reply to John Timmer complained (one publicly, the other in an email) that I had neglected to inform readers about the refutation of one of Christian Schwabe’s claims about the protein relaxin. Their complaints, while in my view misdirected, raise some interesting questions that I’ll discuss in my next blog entry.
This is the third in a blog series responding to John Timmer’s online review of the supplementary biology textbook Explore Evolution. The first part is here, and the second here. 3. Open Your Catechism to Page One: The Fact of Evolution So what is the “fact” of evolution? Timmer argues that “aspects of the theory [of evolution] can be safely treated as fact,” and in support of this point, cites a paper by the Canadian geneticist T. Ryan Gregory, entitled “Evolution as Fact, Theory and Path.” Here is how Gregory (2008, 49) defines the “fact” of evolution:
This is the second in a blog series responding to John Timmer’s online review of the supplementary biology textbook Explore Evolution. The first part is here. 2. Much Ado About A Footnote Citing Christian Schwabe One theme of EE addresses differing views among evolutionary biologists about Darwin’s Tree of Life, i.e., the theory of the universal common ancestry of all organisms on Earth: more precisely, the monophyly of terrestrial life, rooted in the Last Universal Common Ancestor, or LUCA. While the majority position within evolutionary biology endorses monophyly, a growing minority of workers argue for multiple independent origins, or polyphyly (see below). It’s an important controversy, well worth the attention of textbooks.
This is the first in a series of blog entries replying to John Timmer’s online critique of the supplementary biology textbook Explore Evolution, posted by Paul Nelson on behalf of the book’s production team. 1. Introduction: Sending Him the Book Didn’t Help On September 24, 2008, biologist and science writer John Timmer published an online review of the supplementary biology textbook Explore Evolution (EE). Timmer had previously written about EE without having read it, so Discovery Institute sent him a copy.
Does the biology textbook Explore Evolution manufacture false controversies about evolution, while ignoring real ones? That’s what biologist and science writer John Timmer claimed in a post earlier this week at Ars Technica. Timmer attended a two-day symposium on evolution at Rockefeller University and noted the many debates brewing there. “Evolution clearly has no shortage of controversies,” he concluded . But those real controversies have “no overlap,” he claimed, with the “ostensible” (i.e., fake) controversies supposedly “manufactured” by Explore Evolution. Bottom line for Timmer: while students may, or may not, need to learn about controversies in evolution — he leans strongly towards “not” — Explore Evolution is misleading at best, and the academic freedom bills being introduced around the country Read More ›