Pass along a news tip by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cincinnati Area Creation Museum: Researchers Fight Back With New Evolution Science Journal

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A new scientific journal called Evolution: Education and Outreach has made its debut online, appearing about a month ahead of the print publication date. Its unabashed goal is to challenge those who believe Charles Darwin's theory is a fraud. The editors say they are "dedicated to the development, dissemination and education of evolutionary science." Niles Eldredge is a paleontologist and evolutionary biologist at the American Museum of Natural History; his son, Greg, teaches at John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx. They said they intend to produce riveting issues that contain lively writing and solid science.

Meanwhile, at the 60,000-square-foot Creation Museum, the Biblical story of Genesis holds sway. Science takes a back seat to the what the founders say is their literal interpretation of the Scriptures -- that man was made in God's image and evolution played no role. The museum opened in a Cincinnati suburb on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River earlier this year and has drawn a steady stream of visitors. They see exhibits contending dinosaurs walked the Earth with humans. The planet itself is portrayed as being about 5,000 years old. The museum is built on the theme that God made things the way they are, and that Darwin's notions about evolution are ridiculous and unproven.

The premiere issue of the new scientific journal has what could be a retort -- it chides the scientific community for using weasel words in research articles when they should write "evolution." John Thompson, the author, is with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He says quit using euphemisms.

"Part of the problem is that we often fail to use the word evolution even when we mean exactly that. Instead, we have developed a rich vocabulary of alternatives that take the place of the word evolution if much scientific and popular writing. These alternatives or euphemisms are so common that they seem natural to us . . ."

"You and I know that phrases such as 'emergence of disease resistance' or 'overcame defenses' mean evolution, but non scientists often do not. When I have asked non scientists what they think happened when a pathogen species 'overcame resistance' in a new crop variety, or a new antibiotic, they often respond by saying that, well, the pathogens changed. When I have asked them if they think that means the pathogens evolved, they often give me a puzzled look. We make the connection or translation, but non scientists and students do not. We could therefore have a large effect on society's perception of evolution simply by using the word evolution when we mean it. We should skip the euphemisms or use them sparingly. Pests evolve resistance, to new crop varieties, pathogens evolve resistance to new antibiotics, and the traits of introduced species evolve in their new environments . . ."

"Evolution is a good, clear word and does not need euphemisms to make it more interesting."

Adirondack Journal has taken a look at the first issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach and says all 21 articles are worth reading. More advice: Teachers should bookmark the site.

No comments:

Post a Comment