“Science, Evolution, and Creationism” available for free.

The folks at the National Academy of Sciences have put together a book titled Science, Evolution, and Creationism which looks to be a much needed resource for all the evolution deniers out there (if you can get them to read a book). They’re offering to sell you a copy or you can download a free PDF edition to print out and shove at one of the (several) Presidential candidates who don’t accept the Theory of Evolution. Here’s the full press release:

Date:  Jan. 3, 2008
Contact: Maureen O’Leary, Director of Public Information
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail news@nas.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Scientific Evidence Supporting Evolution Continues To Grow; Nonscientific Approaches Do Not Belong In Science Classrooms

WASHINGTON—The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) today released SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM, a book designed to give the public a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the current scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom.  Recent advances in science and medicine, along with an abundance of observations and experiments over the past 150 years, have reinforced evolution’s role as the central organizing principle of modern biology, said the committee that wrote the book.

“SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM provides the public with coherent explanations and concrete examples of the science of evolution,” said NAS President Ralph Cicerone.  “The study of evolution remains one of the most active, robust, and useful fields in science.”

“Understanding evolution is essential to identifying and treating disease,” said Harvey Fineberg, president of IOM.  “For example, the SARS virus evolved from an ancestor virus that was discovered by DNA sequencing.  Learning about SARS’ genetic similarities and mutations has helped scientists understand how the virus evolved.  This kind of knowledge can help us anticipate and contain infections that emerge in the future.”

DNA sequencing and molecular biology have provided a wealth of information about evolutionary relationships among species.  As existing infectious agents evolve into new and more dangerous forms, scientists track the changes so they can detect, treat, and vaccinate to prevent the spread of disease.

Biological evolution refers to changes in the traits of populations of organisms, usually over multiple generations.  One recent example highlighted in the book is the 2004 fossil discovery in Canada of fish with “intermediate” features—four finlike legs—that allowed the creature to pull itself through shallow water onto land.  Scientists around the world cite this evidence as an important discovery in identifying the transition from ocean-dwelling creatures to land animals.  By understanding and employing the principles of evolution, the discoverers of this fossil focused their search on layers of the Earth that are approximately 375 million years old and in a region that would have been much warmer during that period.  Evolution not only best explains the biodiversity on Earth, it also helps scientists predict what they are likely to discover in the future.

Over very long periods of time, the same processes that enable evolution to occur within species also can result in the appearance of new species.  The formation of a new species generally takes place when one subgroup within a species mates for an extended period largely within that subgroup, often following geographical separation from other members of the species.  If such reproductive isolation continues, members of the subgroup may no longer respond to courtship from members of the original population.  Eventually, genetic changes become so substantial that members of different subgroups can no longer produce viable offspring.  In this way, new species can continually “bud off” of existing species. 

Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution, opponents have repeatedly tried to introduce nonscientific views into public school science classes through the teaching of various forms of creationism or intelligent design.  In 2005, a federal judge in Dover, Pennsylvania, concluded that the teaching of intelligent design is unconstitutional because it is based on religious conviction, not science (Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District).  NAS and IOM strongly maintain that only scientifically based explanations and evidence for the diversity of life should be included in public school science courses.  “Teaching creationist ideas in science class confuses students about what constitutes science and what does not,” the committee stated.

“As SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM makes clear, the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith.  Science and religion are different ways of understanding the world.  Needlessly placing them in opposition reduces the potential of each to contribute to a better future,” the book says.

SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM is the third edition of a publication first issued in 1984 and updated in 1999.  The current book was published jointly by the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine, and written by a committee chaired by Francisco Ayala, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, department of ecology and evolutionary biology, University of California, Irvine, and author of several books on science and religion.  A committee roster follows. 

The book was funded by the NAS, IOM, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, the Biotechnology Institute, and the Coalition of Scientific Societies.
                                                                                                                           
Copies of SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM will be available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242, or on the Internet at www.nap.edu/sec, for $12.95; a PDF version is FREE.  Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contact listed above).  In addition, a podcast of the public briefing held to release this publication is available at http://national-academies.org/podcast. The NAS’ evolution resources Web page, http://national-academies.org/evolution, allows easy access to books, position statements, and additional resources on evolution education and research. 

The National Academy of Sciences is an independent society of scientists, elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to their field, with a mandate from Congress since 1863 to advise the federal government on issues of science and technology.  The Institute of Medicine was created in 1970 by the NAS to provide science-based advice on matters of biomedical science, medicine, and health. 

[This news release and book are available at http://national-academies.org ]

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE

I know of at least two people I’m going to be pointing to that page after I finish reading it myself. Never hurts to brush up.

14 thoughts on ““Science, Evolution, and Creationism” available for free.

  1. I’m still mortified that respected scientists even need to address all that ID drivel.  How sad that in this day and age time and resources need to be diverted to combating willful ignorance.

  2. Willingness to understand correlates to ability to understand, unfortunately, as it kinda diverts knowledge from those who most need it

  3. Actually the PDF is free. You just have to click the right link and fill out a small registration. It’s a 3.2MB download. I have a copy sitting on my PC as I type.

    And if you don’t mind reading it online then you don’t even need to register with them. Just click here for the HTML version.

  4. I just downloaded it for free, but the link that was provided above is wonky.  The link takes you to the correct page, put after you enter your email and a few other things, the “Click Here to Download” (or something like that) button returns you to this page on SEB. 

    Instead of clicking on the “Click Here to Download” button; Copy the book name and paste it into the search block, click on the book in the resulting list, then download the pdf.

  5. They’re probably using a simple return-to-the-page-that-sent-ya HTML tag. Not my fault. grin

    Anyway, if you look on the main page I linked in the original article you’ll find a section right under the “order the book” box that says PDF: Sign in to download free PDF.

    That’s where you want to click.

  6. I didn’t mean to blame your link, it worked fine; I just wanted to give a heads up.

  7. First of all Creationism and Intelligent Design are two different things religionists hijack intelligent design. Creationists believe that god created the universe in 6 days does intelligent design say that NO it says that intelligence need not be underestimated also finely tuned universe NO scientist ignores this argument Richard Dawkins doesn’t no one does there are two ways to explain it one god or infinite number of parellel universe. Now which one of them seem more reasonable to you?

  8. Leo

    1) Punctuation is your friend.  If not your’s, then your readers’.

    2) There is no scientific support for any form of design.  Evolution has been observed.  Evolution makes predictions on animals before they are found.

    3) ID is creationism with scientific veneer- an attempt to disguise what it is.

  9. I understand that no support for design? So was is our universe so habitable? What about the apparent fine tuning of the universe?. Yes evolution has been observed but what you fail to understand is Intelligent Design is not about rewriting all the evidence for fossils etc. It’s about if it can explain the whole of reality which it can’t

  10. Leo:  Our little slice of the Universe is habitable because life adapts to its surroundings.  There is water on Mars, and considerable evidence to indicate that Mars once had an atmosphere.  We’re not so unique, planet-wise.  Creationism and Intelligent Design both are exercises in navel-gazing, holding up Mankind as some cosmic Q.E.D.  That makes them both distasteful enough in my book.

    But I could let that sort of philosophical disagreement slide, except that the flim-flam artists at the Discovery Institute keep trying to call themselves scientists when they don’t adhere to the inherent disciplines of science.  Not to mention the fact that they can’t firewall religion, politics and reality.  Have you read the Disco. Institute’s “Wedge Document”?  That alone is pretty damning.  They’ve been political from the get-go.  And it hasn’t changed since then. 

    Cases in point:  Wm. Dembski acting as consultant for Ann Coulter’s latest batch of kitten-blood recipes.  The fact that the Disco. Institute is bankrolled by a Dominionist who wants to create a Christian Taliban-style government in which non-Christians can be put to death.  The fact that the only substantive difference between the Intelligent Design version of “Of Pandas and People” and its earlier Christian edition is the substitution of the word “Designer” for the word “God.”  The fact that, on the stand in Dover, PA, the D.I.‘s Michael Behe admitted that by his definition of “science” there was no difference between astronomy and astrology.

    Bottom line:  The DI Just. Doesn’t. Get. It.  When they actually get their hands dirty, make some testable, falsifiable predictions, and produce the data to support those predictions, they can call themselves “scientists.”  Until then, calling anything they can’t explain “designed” is an exercise in shoddy philosophy at best. 

    And it just pisses me off that our politicians can wring their hands about the loss of U.S. leadership in math and the sciences, about how China’s gonna eat our lunch in technology, and at the same time give the time of day to these charlatans.  Not to mention help GW Bush destroy the public education system with more unfunded mandates and fork over money to charter schools who wink-wink-nudge-nudge poison kids with this kind of crap.

    Leo, if you want your grandkids to spend their days on the phone doing tech. support for the fat, dumb and happy Chinese middle class thirty or forty years from now, by all means keep plugging for this swill to be passed off as science.  If that’s not how you want to imagine the future, stop doing your part to dumb down Canada.

  11. Cubiclegrrl – don’t forget the Vise Strategy – that also lays out clearly that if they can only get those damned Darwinists to stumble somewhere, they can jump all over it like it’s a victory!

    It sounds eerily similar to the prosecution process of Joan of Arc

  12. Cubiclegrrl- right on.  You said it better than I could have.

    Coming up: Feb. 12, 2008, is Abraham Lincoln’s and Charles Darwin’s 199th birthday!

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