David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Science and Education 12 (8):729-760 (2003)
Creationists who object to evolution in the science curriculum of public schools often cite Jonathan Well’s book Icons of Evolution in their support (Wells 2000). In the third chapter of his book Wells claims that neither paleontological nor molecular evidence supports the thesis that the history of life is an evolutionary process of descent from preexisting ancestors. We argue that Wells inappropriately relies upon ambiguities inherent in the term ‘Darwinian’ and the phrase ‘Darwin’s theory’. Furthermore, he does not accurately distinguish between the overwhelming evidence that supports the thesis of common descent and controversies that pertain to causal mechanisms such as natural selection. We also argue that Wells’ attempts to undermine the evidence in support of common descent are flawed and his characterization of the relevant data is misleading. In particular, his assessment of the ‘Cambrian explosion’ does not do justice to the fossil record. Nor do his selective references to debate about molecular and paleontological phylogenies constitute a case against common descent. We conclude that the fossil and molecular evidence is more than sufficient to warrant science educators to present common descent as a well-established scientific fact. We also argue that diagrams depicting the ‘tree of life’ can be pedagogically useful as simplified representations of the history of life.
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Bruce H. Weber (2007). Fact, Phenomenon, and Theory in the Darwinian Research Tradition. Biological Theory 2 (2):168-178.
Similar books and articles
Paul A. M. Dongen & Jo M. H. Vossen (1984). Can the Theory of Evolution Be Falsified? Acta Biotheoretica 33 (1).
Russell Powell (2012). Convergent Evolution and the Limits of Natural Selection. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):355-373.
Bence Nanay (2010). Group Selection and Our Obsession with the Meaning of Life. The Monist 93 (1):76-95.
Robert T. Pennock (1995). Moral Darwinism: Ethical Evidence for the Descent of Man. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 10 (3):287-307.
Todd R. Long (2007). Is It True That 'Evolution is a Theory, Not a Fact'? International Journal of Applied Philosophy 21 (1):89-108.
Reed Richter (2002). What Science Can and Cannot Say: The Problems with Methodological Naturalism. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 22 (Jan-Apr 2002):18-22.
Massimo Pigliucci (2007). The Evolution-Creation Wars: Why Teaching More Science Just is Not Enough. McGill Journal of Education 42 (2):285-306.
Edward Weinberger (2006). Pragmatic Information and Gaian Development--First Thoughts. Mind and Matter 4 (2):219-234.
Massimo Pigliucci (2001). Intelligent Design Theory. [REVIEW] BioScience 51 (5):411-414.
Massimo Pigliucci (2009). The Overwhelming Evidence. [REVIEW] Science 323:716-717.
Anya Plutynski (2010). Should Intelligent Design Be Taught in Public School Science Classrooms? Science and Education 19 (6-8):779-795.
Alexander Rosenberg (1980). Ruse's Treatment of the Evidence for Evolution: A Reconsideration. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:83 - 93.
Carl Zimmer (2001/2006). Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. Harperperennial.
Added to index2012-11-24
Total downloads180 ( #8,069 of 1,725,622 )
Recent downloads (6 months)126 ( #3,942 of 1,725,622 )
How can I increase my downloads?