Thursday, July 07, 2005

Conservative Men Waffle About Evolution, Try To Appease All Readers

Earlier today, I saw a post by Chris Mooney, alerting everyone to this survey of conservative male pundits on TNR.

A bit later, there were more good commentaries on Panda's Thumb, Kevin Drum, TeachEvolution, Electric Commentary, Stcynic, and Telecomtally.

PZ of Pharyngula provides a nifty table and I agree with his classification.

Thom of Societas does a superb job of dissecting the whole issue.

I agree with all of the above that the questions were clumsy and that evolution is not something to be "believed".

One thing that nobody specifically adressed was this:
Whether intelligent design or a similar critique should be taught in public schools: "I think people should be taught ... that there are various theories about how man was created."
Do you see what I see? The question was about the overarching theory that explains the diversity of life on Earth and the curious adaptations of millions of species. Yet the answer was reframed as if the question was about the human origins. Later in the interview they even changed the questions to specifically ask about human evolution.

When I teach evolution, I do not use humans or even mention the word "evolution" until the very end. By the time I get to the end, the elegant logic of the mechanism is so obvious that the students cannot help it but agree. I have heard the response "Ah, THAT is what evolution is. I thought it was the sequence of ever-more upright apes turning into humans".

Update: Todd Zywicki at the Volokh Conspiracy wrote an unbeilavably lame and wrong-headed response, that PZ destroyed with ease and grace and gusto.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 10:37 PM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink