I Read it in the New York Times

A lot of folks have commented on the recent series of articles on Intelligent Design in the New York Times. A wrap up can be found at Pharyngula. The articles can be found here, here and here.

The author of the second paper showed up and replied here.

Pharyngula has linked to a much better article than the three New York Times articles. It can be found here. It also discusss Intelligent Design. To me this:

But legislation to require that creationism be taught as a counterpoint to evolution is being discussed in Colorado and across the country. And if history is any guide, we all should be very afraid of politicians legislating science education.

Mitton recalled an Indiana legislator’s attempt in 1897 to require that schools simplify pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter) from the clumsy but accurate 3.141592… to 3.2.

If this had been enforced and the products of Indiana schools tried to apply it, he said, “bridges would fall down, structures couldn’t be built,” engineering would be impossible.

It’s simple: Without pi, there is no mathematics.

And without the teaching of evolution, biology doesn’t have a prayer.

Was the best quote in the article. The best thing about it was that there is none of the he said/she said style of journalism. The article educated and informed people about an important issue making news – and did not pull any punches.

6 Responses

  1. And without the teaching of evolution, biology doesn’t have a prayer.

    I especially like this little part. How true it is!

  2. The Denver Post article is indeed a good one. I’m not sure that widespread biological education will do the trick by itself. As I think PZ pointed out, most professional creationists know the basics of biology. They just don’t like them. In addition to increased emphasis on better education, the general public needs constantly to be exposed to what is actually going on in science. Scientists are, for the most part, reluctant to toot their own horns. However, I believe that every time a scientific paper is published (not written or accepted but published) that has any bearing at all on evolution, it should be accompanied with a press release having a headline something like, “New research into X further supports modern evolutionary theory.” And press interviews with science friendly editors should be followed the press release. The press will not print everything but the public and the press needs to see science in action and the creationists need to be put on the defensive. Scientists need to get to know their universities PR department. It is their job to sell the story. Their need more stories to sell.

  3. I was discussing “Intelligent Design” vs Evolution with my 7th grade daughter last night and the reasons why people want one taught in school along with the other. She as usual brought it down to very simple terms, and let me know how much more knowledge she had than I think she does. She said of course we evolved, our DNA codes are almost exactly like apes. It is silly to assume otherwise. Smart kid.

  4. Rugo- it’s even more interesting than that. Take the DNA that is found in the human and chimp liver – they are virtually identical (not surprising since they perform simililar functions on roughly similar diets). DNA that controls the creation of the brain, however, does shoe some differences between the two (I’m actually working on a post concerning this).

    Duane – press releases are becoming pretty common (the Trinkaus post was based on a press release – Science Daily usually provides a link to them), unfortunately, the MSM doesn’t usually pay much attention to them. I think the biggest problem is that unless you are really in to evolution and spend a lot of time learning about it you are not going to hear much about it – which is why ID and creationism can appear so credible.

  5. “[‘microevolution,’ etc.] It’s the concept of macro-evolution – the study of changes over eons – that sparks objections.

    “That’s like saying, ‘I believe in feet but not miles,”‘ said Jeff Mitton, chairman of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at CU”

    Ooh, sweet.

  6. “That’s like saying, ‘I believe in feet but not miles,”‘ said Jeff Mitton, chairman of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at CU”
    That was great too.

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