Truth in Science

Truth in Science
Biology for You - Nelson Thornes PDF Print E-mail

Biology for You, Gareth Williams, Nelson Thornes, 2002

Revised National Curriculim Edition for GCSE

Evidence for evolution

The chapter on evolution starts off by likening the theory of evolution to the development of machines such as bicycles:

Evolution is about change.
Things tend to change with time.
Think about cars, bicycles or aircraft.
How have they changed over time?
They have gradually improved. (p. 296)

Cars, bicycles and aircraft have improved as intelligent designers have gained knowledge. The theory of evolution only invokes undirected, unthinking processes of chance mutation and natural selection. Therefore this is misleading and the comparison does not help pupils to understand the theory of evolution.

The Galapagos Finches are given as an example of several species evolving from a common ancestor (page 299).

Insecticide resistance in insects, warfarin resistance in rats and antibiotic resistance in bacteria is used as a case of natural selection in action (page 300). For a reasoned analysis of this see: Development of Biological Resistance. Tolerance to toxic metals by some grasses must have evolved over time (page 306).

The Peppered Moth is also used as an example of natural selection, with no mention of the doubts which scientists now have about the story. The book says that the moths…rest on tree trunks during the day (page 301).

Fossils can give us evidence for evolution.
(page 302)
The book claims that the fossil record shows us that: the variety of life on earth did not arise all at once; the first life was in the water; and as new types evolved, old ones declined. Archaeopteryx is described as
...a link to show that reptiles and birds evolved from a common ancestor (page 302).
This textbook does not mention the problem that the sudden appearance of fully formed organisms in the fossil record poses to evolution.

The book states that rocks can be dated by measuring their radioactivity, but it does not give further details of this method (page 302), nor of its assumptions.

This textbook devotes a page to Horse Evolution (page 304), with a diagram showing gradual increase in body size, and changes in the skeleton of the foot over 60 million years. This is presented as a response to a change of living conditions from marshland to grassland.

Teaching the controversy?

The only alternative idea about origins mentioned by this book is from before Darwin:

Most scientists used to think that all living things had remained the same since the Earth was created. (p. 298)
This view is outdated, even among creationists.

There are many scientists today who have scientific doubts about Darwinism. These are not mentioned.



It is wrong that any debate, especially on so momentous a subject as the origin of species, and the human race above all, should be arbitrarily declared to be closed.
Paul Johnson (The Spectator, 27 August 2005)


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