Darwin Day has Arrived!

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On this auspicious occasion - the 200th birthday of English naturalist Charles Darwin - hundreds of groups around the world are pausing to celebrate his accomplishments and his impact upon science and society. Darwin has been featured in numerous magazine , internet and televised specials.

What is happening in your area? Here in New Mexico, we got an early start on Wednesday 11th with a splendid talk by Anne Weaver, author of the young reader’s book “Voyage of the Beetle,” and an avid evolution educator. Anne explained that most people of the time were mired in “Essentialism” - the idea that all things, including species, are immutable, unchanging “essences.” She explained that Darwin came to realize that it was the individuals who stayed the same for most of their life, and had children that shared their characteristics. Between individuals of the same species, however, there can be a lot of variation. Species are not immutable; individuals vary; it is populations that evolve, as natural selection shapes the aggregate gene pool. Of course, biology has advanced tremendously since Darwin’s publication of the Origin; but this cautious naturalist got the Big Idea right, and for that he is rightly celebrated.

If you’re in New Mexico, there are Darwin Day events this week at UNM (Albuquerque), NM Tech (Socorro) and those Freethinkers. I’ll be talking about the Age of the Earth Friday 13th, in Socorro- come on down! I’ll be discussing how I helped Professor Steve Steve disprove creationist flood theory.

What is everyone doing to commemorate the day?

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Today Charles Darwin would be 200. But he won't be because he is dead.So that leads us to the question: If Charles Darwin came up with such an important theory then why is he dead?Ok, so it doesn't.Bu... Read More

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We opened an exhibit on Darwin and evolutionary theory today here in Beijing at the IVPP. I’ll be blogging about it when I get home thins evening (which is only a couple of hours away for me). Hopefully just one of many around the world.

Darwin day has arrived here in the UK and its a lovely sunny day where I am! Happy Birthday Chuck!

In Raleigh North Carolina we have a speaker coming to our museum to speak on the topic of evolution. I just happen to be taking evolution as a class now. If I write an essay on this speech I can skip an assignment. Hopefully I will also blog about the speech if I make it there.

Happy 200 Chuck!

And if you are in Georgia please join us for Darwin Day at UGA

www.uga.edu/darwinday

Meanwhile, over at UD they are celebrating Darwin Day by showing that they can’t even quote-mine competently. In today’s post ‘Frustrating “Evolution” Polls’, the quote at the end attributed to Stephen Jay Gould (“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seems to happen. … etc.”) is actually taken from Niles Eldredge. (See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quo[…].html#quote3.13).

With a little amateur photoshopping. Happy Darwin day :)

I saw some excellent presentations by Ken Miller, Jerry Coyne and others at Penn.

NPR had a story this evening (2-13-09) on a (sigh, yet again) creationist teacher named “Pennington” who wants to teach his students “critical thinking” in science. He mentioned Ernest Haeckel’s “faked” embryo drawings, I guess this teacher seeks to disprove the entire theory of evolution based on some errors made by a 19th century scientist, in no way relied upon by Darwin in formulating his theory published some 15 years prior to Haeckel. The primitives in a former slave state continue to rely on the Buy-Bull for their science.

I’m a New Mexico Tech alum, and it’s nice to know that stuff is happening there. Thanks for speaking!

John Nernoff Wrote:

NPR had a story this evening (2-13-09) on a (sigh, yet again) creationist teacher named “Pennington” who wants to teach his students “critical thinking” in science. He mentioned Ernest Haeckel’s “faked” embryo drawings,..

True critical thinking would include a thorough examination of mainstream science’s responses to “Haeckel’s Embryos” and many other long-refuted arguments “designed” solely to promote unreasonable doubt of evolution. If he truly wanted to teach critical thinking about those arguments the perfect book would be Mark Isaak’s “The Counter Creationism Handbook.” I only wish that it had the more neutral-sounding title of it’s accompanying web site, " rel="nofollow external ">“Index to Creationist Claims.” But of course no anti-evolution activist would dare use that book, because they don’t advocate true critical thinking.

Link didn’t work. 2nd try: Index to Creationist Claims.

“But of course no anti-evolution activist would dare use that book, because they don’t advocate true critical thinking.”

What we don’t advocate is historical speculation. The debate is about history, not science. You can call it critical thinking, but it’s guessing what happened in history. Most people disagree about the last 2000 years of written history. Imagine those distortions times 1 million.

Chas said:

“But of course no anti-evolution activist would dare use that book, because they don’t advocate true critical thinking.”

What we don’t advocate is historical speculation. The debate is about history, not science. You can call it critical thinking, but it’s guessing what happened in history. Most people disagree about the last 2000 years of written history. Imagine those distortions times 1 million.

There is more to learning about past events than simply guessing. Events have consequences. Living things leave remains, some of which can be fossilized and preserved. Earthquakes move mountains. Asteroids make craters. These observations, and many, many more, can be lumped under the general term “evidence.”

Dismissing the study of the past as “guessing” is a pathetic creationist ploy to distract people from the abundant evidence that Darwin got it mostly right.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on February 12, 2009 1:53 AM.

New Evolution: Education and Outreach Online was the previous entry in this blog.

Google.ca Celebrates Darwin, Google.com? Not So Much is the next entry in this blog.

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