U.S. Newswire, September 26, 2000, Tuesday
SECTION: NATIONAL DESK
HEADLINE: F' is for Fordham: Report on Evolution Ignores Real Problems,
Says Discovery Institute
DATELINE: SEATTLE, Sept. 26
BODY: A report titled "Good Science, Bad Science: Teaching Evolution
the States," just released by the Thomas Fordham Foundation, fails to
point out that biology students are being "systematically misled about the
scientific evidence," say Dr. Jay Richards and Dr. Jonathan Wells, both
Senior Fellows of Seattle's Discovery Institute, "thereby encouraging
precisely the sort of bad science it pretends to criticize."
Authored by Lawrence Lerner, the report criticizes the "disgraceful"
treatment of evolution in nineteen states, giving many of them a grade of
"F." "But the really serious issue in science education", says Wells, a
Berkeley-trained biologist, "is the systematic misrepresentation of
evidence for Darwinism in biology textbooks."
For example, most textbooks have pictures of light and dark peppered
moths resting on tree trunks. This textbook example of Darwinian natural
selection supposedly shows that dark moths are better camouflaged on
pollution-darkened tree bark, and thus less likely to be eaten by
predatory birds. But since the 1980s scientists have known that the moths
do not normally rest on the tree trunks. "The story is deeply flawed,"
says Wells, "and students deserve to learn that the pictures in their
textbooks were staged--often with dead moths."
Drawings of similar embryos of fish and
demonstrating their common ancestry, are another example of how students
are misled about the evidence for evolution. "The drawings have been
repeatedly exposed as fakes since they were produced over a century ago,"
says Wells, "yet most biology textbooks still carry them."
The Lerner report faults several states for not teaching enough about
evolution, but it completely ignores these and other falsehoods. "The
report thereby implicitly condones scientific misconduct," according to
Richards, "not the sort of truth and accuracy that we have a right to
expect in science education."
Richards emphasizes that biology students need to learn about
evolution, but insists that the subject be taught with due regard for the
evidence. "The Fordham Foundation normally does fine work on educational
reform. But in this case, they are getting terrible advice."
Wells discusses the moths and embryos and other textbook
misrepresentations in a new book, Icons of Evolution (Regnery, 2000).
For more information Dr. Jonathan Wells and his work visit
http://www.iconsofevolution.com. For media inquiries or to schedule an
interview with Dr. Wells, call Mark Edwards at 206-292-0401 ext. 107, or
send e-mail to medwards(At)discovery.org.
Discovery Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy
think tank headquartered in Seattle and dealing with national and
international affairs. For more information, browse Discovery's Web site