[extropy-chat] Reverse Evolution ?
kevin at kevinfreels.com
Wed Mar 1 05:18:07 UTC 2006
The problem here is that teachers are so scared to teach evolution properly,
they fail to convince the students. I did a paper on this once in college
and if I can dig it up I'll post it somewhere. I don;t remember the exact
numbers, but something like 9 of 11 science teacher I spoke with were afraid
to teach evolution and only skirted the basics. Common descent and natural
selection were barely touched. Genetic mutation was covered, but it was all
glossed over quickly and then they moved on to other things. Some even
claimed to qualify every statement with "some scientists believe" when
speaking about evolution. Can you imagine teaching chemistry like this?
So yes, the average person has this half-baked idea of how evolution works.
They see it as a progression from less complex to more complex. They have no
concept of the vast amounts of time involved or the number of steps between
various species. They picture a fish getting up and waling and wonder why
there are still fish in the seas. To them, the common ancestor of Chimps and
humans is a chimp, or worse, a gorilla. They don;t know that the creatures
from 500 million years ago were "fish like" or that the common ancestor of
humans and chimps was only rudely similar to us both. Once I actually had a
family member at Christmas ask me "You don;t really believe we came from
Apes do you? I mean, if apes had human babies back then, why ain't they
still having them now?"
But that is changing. Some of these people watch Discovery channel and will
watch "American Chopper" and then stay on the same channel to see some great
programming such as "Walking with Cavemen" or "The Future is Wild". They are
quite basic in their concepts but they do a good job explaining things in
So go ahead and print the sheet of paper and get it out there. But stick
with the basics straight from Darwin's "Origin"
If there are organisms that reproduce, and
If offspring inherit traits from their parents(s), and
If there is variability of traits, and
If the environment limits the size of natural populations,
Then those members of the population with maladaptive traits (as determined
by the environment) will die out or reproduce less, and
Then those members with adaptive traits (as determined by the environment)
will survive to reproduction or reproduce more
The result is the evolutionary change of populations and eventually of
----- Original Message -----
From: "Brandon Reinhart" <transcend at extropica.com>
To: "'ExI chat list'" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:58 PM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Reverse Evolution ?
> > Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to explain evolutionary
> theory to the layman using the amount of text that would fit on one side
> one sheet of printer paper, using language not out of reach of the average
> eighth grader. Ready set go.
> This frustrates me. People are not so dumb. When inclined, any average
> layman is capable of great feats of understanding. The real motivator is a
> desire to learn. If a person is dead set against evolution, no simple
> explanation will catch their imagination. I would think it would be more
> likely to reinforce their opinion of "condescending, brash scientist
> Rather, I suspect that an artful, insightful explanation would be more
> effective at peaking interest. What is missing is not a simple, eighth
> explanation of evolution. What is missing is the explanation of the
> picture: the world view in absence of a creator; the reasoning for a moral
> framework without god given ethics.
> I think the "one side of one sheet of printer paper" explanations are the
> reason for so a poor understanding of evolutionary theory. What we should
> is say "before you criticize, educate yourself." We should encourage
> to read Darwin. I would be willing to bet that the majority of those who
> oppose evolutionary theory, or have a weak grasp of the principles, are
> well read on the subject.
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