“Darwin's doubts revealed in his letters to friends”
The above-linked article tells about the publication of the correspondence of Darwin and Asa Gray, the Harvard botanist who presented Darwin’s ideas in the United States. This article is interesting because in describing the contents of the letters, it highlights the challenges Darwin faced in convincing his fellow scientists of mechanistic evolution; many of them were religious and unwilling to accept a scientific theory that eliminated God as the designer of species. It also shows that some of those scientists still supported Darwin’s theory because they recognized that it was well grounded in scientific evidence, and that therefore it was most likely true. The article also mentions that a play has been written based on those letters. I was amused by the mention of the play because it shows how creative people can be when trying to teach history. Hopefully the play can help raise awareness of and respect for Darwin’s ideas; if introduced in this country it could help reverse the trend towards anti-evolution views.
On another note, here is the link to the website I mentioned last week that contains all of Darwin’s published works: http://darwin-online.org.uk/
And another tangentially related link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=2cpNjyVvqK0
This is a video segment called “Evolution vs. Creation” that starts out making a valid claim: that before blindly accepting evolution, we should learn the facts for ourselves. It deplores the tendency to believe in anything a person in a lab coat tells us, but does something just as dangerous as couching false statements in the guise of science. While claiming to be presenting the facts that people need in order to form their opinions on evolution and urging us to approach the information with an open mind, the woman in the segment clearly does not have an open mind herself. She says that everything in the Bible is accurate and can be taken for fact (an odd claim given that various portions of the Bible contradict each other) and claims that there is no empirical evidence for evolution. The segment also quotes a man who is supposedly a science teacher who says that he does not accept evolution because the accepted mechanisms and information keep changing, but that he accepts religion because the word of God has not changed in 2000 years. He cannot be much of a science teacher if he does not recognize that by necessity science constantly changes. It looks like this is only one in a series of similar segments. I find this segment quite worrisome because it shows how easy it is to trick people into believing false claims. With the existence of segments like this one, it can be no surprise that otherwise reasonable people can be persuaded to discount evolution in favor of creation.
Here is the link to my amazon review: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/0393310698