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FW: Scientists hit back at Dover video and Transripts of Trial Online -- AND FREE!

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@Ohio.edu] Sent: Monday, October 17, 2005 10:22 PM To: Science Education Subject: Scientists hit back at
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 18, 2005
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@...]
      Sent: Monday, October 17, 2005 10:22 PM
      To: Science Education
      Subject: Scientists hit back at Dover video and Transripts of Trial
      Online -- AND FREE!

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      Dear Colleagues,

      There are transcripts of the Dover trial online at:

      www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscr
      ipts.htm

      The transcripts of Dr. Barbara Forrest testimony is very impressive, and
      I
      highly recommend reading it to see what she has said about the
      Intelligent
      Design Creationists movement and their attempts to reshape the U.S. into
      their
      type of "Christian" nation, starting with "overturning naturalism and
      naturalistic science".

      Best wishes,

      Steve Edinger



      >From the York Daily Record at YDR.COM




      Scientists hit back at Dover video
      Dover board member urged teachers to watch 'Icons of Evolution' to learn
      about
      flaws in Darwin's theory.
      By LAURI LEBO
      Daily Record/Sunday News
      Friday, October 14, 2005

      At the end of the 2004 school year, Bill Buckingham, then a member of
      the Dover
      Area School Board, wanted science teachers to know about what he
      suspected were
      flaws in evolutionary theory.
      So he asked an administrator to give the teachers a videotape produced
      by the
      Seattle-based Discovery Institute, according to court testimony
      Wednesday.

      The pro-intelligent-design organization touts as one of its leading
      resources
      "Icons of Evolution," a book written by one of its senior fellows,
      Jonathan
      Wells.

      The tape has featured prominently in the school board's First Amendment
      battle
      over intelligent design, which resumes today in U.S. Middle District
      Court in
      Harrisburg. The teachers watched it, as they were instructed. But that
      didn't
      keep them from opposing the school board's decision to include the
      concept of
      intelligent design in the district's biology curriculum.

      The videotape, based on Wells' book of the same name, points to what it
      says is
      the "growing scientific controversy over Darwin," raising questions
      about
      Galapagos finches, among other "false icons" used to teach children
      about
      evolution.

      But while Buckingham may have considered the work illustrative of gaps
      in
      evolutionary theory, scientists say it is inaccurate and misleading.


      One of the work's chief critics, Kevin Padian, a biologist and Museum of
      Paleontology curator at the University of California-Berkeley, takes the
      stand
      today. While Padian's testimony will focus on a different pro-
      intelligent-design work, the textbook "Of Pandas and People," he
      previously
      wrote about "Icons."

      In a 2002 review in "The Quarterly Review of Biology," he and Alan
      Gishlick, a
      paleontologist, wrote that the book version of "Icons of Evolution"
      distorts
      facts through omission of key information.

      The title of the review is "The Talented Mr. Wells," and the two
      scientists
      write that "Icons" "can scarcely be considered a work of scholarly
      integrity."

      "Wells's book is aimed at a public that is largely ignorant of
      scientific
      issues, and it is being marketed aggressively," they wrote.

      Discovery's Web site offers a free copy of the DVD to people who want to
      become
      members of the organization.

      Other scientists have also written unflattering critiques of Wells'
      work. In
      the analyses, one of the arguments cited as being the most "poorly
      conceived"
      is regarding his conclusions on Darwin's finches, a group of 13
      closely-related
      bird species on the Galapagos Islands.

      The finches played a role in the formulation of Darwin's theory,
      illustrating
      how Darwin concluded natural selection could lead to continued changes
      over
      time until the birds eventually evolved into different species.

      While Wells acknowledges the finches are a great example of natural
      selection
      at work, he argues that the small changes witnessed through
      environmental
      adaptation don't make a case for macroevolution, the change from one
      species to
      another.

      He points to a mid-1990s study in which, during periods of drought, the
      finches' beaks became bigger from season to season, adapting to the
      tougher
      nuts that grew on the island.

      But he discounts natural selection by saying that when the rains return,
      the
      beaks tend to grow smaller again, or more varied, from generation to
      generation. The result is that there has been no "net" evolution, he
      says.
      Rather, the changes are "washed out," he says, because the beak sizes
      oscillate
      back and forth depending on the amount of rain over the years.

      But his critics point out that Wells fails to mention that in a
      sustained
      drought, the beak size would remain large as the finches adapted to
      their new
      environment.

      "It is not unreasonable to extrapolate that if just a couple of years of
      drought can have that significant an effect on beak size, then extended
      droughts could cause such variations to become fixed in a population,
      and lead
      to speciation," Gishlick wrote in a piece for the National Center for
      Science
      Education.

      But Wells said Thursday that his assertion is correct and if the drought
      continued, macroevolution could still not occur.

      "All the birds would have died," Wells said. "Period. End of story. No
      evidence."





      Please see the Ohio Citizens for Science's web page at:


      http://OhioScience.org



      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---
      Steven A. Edinger, Physiology Lab Instructor

      064 Irvine Hall
      Department of Biological Sciences
      steven.edinger.1@...
      Ohio University Office: (740) 593-9484
      Athens, Ohio 45701-2979 Fax: (740) 593-0300
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---

      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************




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      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************
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