Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Darwin's "Golden Retriever"

Science ran an interview last week with Eugenie Scott, who has called herself "Darwin's Golden Retriever", and I found it quite insightful. Science link here (subscription needed). Nation Center for Science Education reprinted here. Skeptical link I found to the NCSE page here.

My favorite questions and Eugenie's responses were:

Q: Why is it important to teach evolution? Can't doctors and most life scientists do their jobs without accepting evolution?
E.S.: You can be a mechanic without understanding the niceties of the internal combustion engine. [But] wouldn't you rather go to a mechanic who has the big picture?


Q: What should scientists do to help the cause?
E.S.: Universities need to do a better job of teaching evolution because that's where high school teachers get their training. Evolution needs to be brought into every course of biology instead of getting tacked on as a unit to the intro class.
What university scientists should not do is to force students to choose between religion and science. If a professor were to say that evolution proves there is no God, that's not just bad philosophy of science, it ensures that a significant number of students will stick their fingers in their ears.
When explaining biological questions, such as the evolution of the eye, there is no need to say that God had nothing to do with it. It's an irrelevant comment. I don't think a classroom is an appropriate place to try to create more atheists any more than it is an appropriate place to create more fundamentalist Christians. (emphasis added)

Too many rabid Fundamentalists and their rabid Atheist counter parts miss this very important point!

Of course, I was amused by the religious fundamentalists who try and discredit Eugenie Scott's work. There's no shortage of these justifying psuedo-scientists whose faith is so shaky and has no real world foundation to stand upon that they have to literally interpret all the stories (legends, myths) of the Bible.

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