Education or Indoctrination?
Analysis of Textbooks in Alabama
A fairly advanced book, heavy on chemistry, and heavy on evolution.
F "No longer could humans regard other forms of life as merely neighbors on Earth. They are, in fact, our kin." (p. 1)
F "For instance, human beings evolved from now-extinct animals that looked something like apes, and this happened through accumulation of changes from generation to generation." (p. 3)
T "A hundred years ago, it would have been accurate to describe as a theory, supported by several lines of evidence, the idea that the organisms on Earth have arisen by evolution. Today, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. We shall see in this book that we can actually observe evolution happening around us. Evolution is no longer merely a theory." (p. 10) The text draws an unreasonable conclusion by not making a distinction between micro-evolution which is an observable process and macro-evolution which is an unobservable process.
F,R "... neither human nor divine agency is needed for evolution to occur." (p. 371)
I "There have always been those who resisted the appeal of evolution and every now and then declare 'Darwin was wrong,' in the hope of some profitable publicity, usually revealing that they do not understand Darwinism." (p. 371)
I,F Family tree showing a Gibbon, Orangutan, Chimpanzee, Gorilla and Human. This diagram is degrading to women, especially African and African-American women. (p. 469. See Appendix E)
SA "In 1988 about half the world's people lived in countries where legal abortions were freely available. However, in the United States about 83% of women do not have access to legal abortion because so few clinics perform the procedure." (pp. 789-790)
A very evolutionary book.
F "Evolution, the core theme of Biology, is even more pervasive in this edition... The overarching theme is evolution, which accounts for the unity and diversity of life and integrates the book's other themes." (p. vii)
F "Evolution is the one theme that surfaces in every part of Biology." (p. viii)
P "Any population of a species has the potential to produce far more offspring than the environment can possibly support with food, space, and other resources. This overproduction makes a struggle for existence among the variant members of a population inevitable." (p. 14) Note the confusion between what is potential and what is normally and practicably realizable. This semantic slight-of-hand gives a false degree of support to Darwinian evolution.
P "So much additional evidence has accumulated since Darwin's time that nearly all biologists now see evolution as an extensively documented feature of life, much as historians who did not personally witness the U.S. Civil War are convinced, based on an accumulation of evidence, that the war really happened." (p. 12) The critical difference is that no written documents exist for evolutionary descent.
T,P "Some people dismiss Darwinism as 'just a theory.' This tactic for nullifying the evolutionary view of life has two flaws. First, it fails to separate Darwin's two claims: that modern species evolved from ancestral forms, and that natural selection is the main mechanism for this evolution. The conclusion that life has evolved is based on historical facts - the signs of evolution discussed in the previous section. For example, to ignore all the evidence that mammals evolved from reptiles just because none of us was there to observe the transition would be like denying that the American Revolution happened because none of us saw it." (pp. 435-436. See Appendix F) The analogy is not a good one, because there were human observers of the American Revolution.
E,R "Darwin gave biology a sound scientific basis by attributing the diversity of life to natural causes rather than supernatural creation. Nevertheless, the products of evolution are elegant and inspiring in their variety and harmony. As Darwin said in the closing paragraph of The Origin of Species, 'There is grandeur in this view of life." (p. 436) This quotation is incorrectly cited. Darwin's complete quote actually reads: "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one;" (The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, Mentor Edition, 1958, p. 450)
R "Contingency doesn't just apply to the big changes; it is equally strong for detail of life's history, and we're a detail." (p. 502, Interview with Stephen J. Gould)
R "The Old Testament account of creation from the Judeo-Christian culture fortified prejudice against evolution..." (Instructor's Guide, p. 330)
183 pages, or 23%, of the book deals with evolution.
E "The special creation hypothesis...proposes that organisms are perfectly adapted to their environments because they were created by a fully rational, beneficent, omnipotent creator." (p. 308)
F "All organisms share certain common characteristics because they are descended from a common ancestor." (p. 314. See Appendix D)
P "All the Amish with this genetic syndrome can trace their ancestry back to a single couple (the Kings) who immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1744. They and their offspring had by chance large families, and therefore the rare allele became concentrated in the population." (p. 324) Isn't this carrying the application of "chance" too far?
F Figure 21.11 (p. 342). This figure presents as fact the evolutionary relationship of humans to selected primates.
SA "...parental love is clearly selfish in that it promotes the likelihood that an individual's genes will be present in the next generation's gene pool." (p. 741)
SA "The fact that sex is continuously available may help assure that the human male will remain and help the female raise the young." (p. 741)
I Figure 14.5: A clinical photograph showing male and female nudity. Not appropriate for high school. More disruptive than instructive. (p. 219)
A very mundane and uninteresting book. This book takes pains to try to separate the supernatural from true science. Takes a very "politically correct" approach to contraception. Poorly written - uses awkward sentence structures. An unacceptable book.
R "Every so often, scientists stir up controversy when they explain part of the world that was considered beyond natural explanation - that is, belonging to the 'supernatural.' This is sometimes true when moral codes are interwoven with religious narratives... Today, as then, society has its sets of standards. Today, as then, those standards may be called into question when a new, natural explanation runs counter to supernatural belief... Systematic observations, hypotheses, predictions, tests - in all these ways, science differs from systems of belief that are based on faith, force, or simple consensus." (p. 13)
D "So, when you hear someone wonder about whether 'evolution' occurs, remind yourself that evolution simply means change through time." (p. 191)
F,N "Our 'uniquely' human traits emerged through modification of traits that had already evolved in ancestral forms." (p. 234)
SA "Even before sperm and egg merge by chance and establish the genetic makeup of a new individual, they are as much alive as any other form of life. It is scarcely tenable, then, to say 'life begins' when they fuse." (p. 528)
SA "Vacuum suctioning and other methods make abortion relatively rapid, painless, and free of complications when performed during the first trimester." (p. 530)
SA "The motivation to engage in sex has been evolving for more than 500 million years... The most effective method of birth control is complete abstinence, no sexual intercourse whatsoever. It is unrealistic to expect many people to practice it." (p. 528)
F,R "We have documented the role of change in shaping the vast diversity of life. We have also chronicled the role of chance. Chance has affected the evolutionary process in the generation of genetic diversity through mutation. Chance has also played a role at every major milestone in the history of life." (p. 390)
F "The human story begins with our primate heritage." (p. 744)
F "Apes are our closest relative." (p. 746)
F,P "Evolution, recall, can proceed only within existing populations of species. Therefore, a continuity of relationship must connect all species that have ever appeared on earth. This principle of evolution guides efforts to make sense of scattered and sometimes puzzling scraps of evidence of past life." (p.301) Note the circular reasoning - you must assume evolutionary relationships to prove evolutionary relationships.
P "Early in the developmental program, embryos of different lineages proceed through strikingly similar stages. (Take a look at Figure 20:4. Without the labels, would you know which embryo is from a fish, frog, chicken, or human?)" (p. 304) The figure referred to is a drawing of four embryos from different species with no scale or developmental age given. The embryos pictured have all the anatomical detail of battered fried clams. No significant differences can be seen. The purpose behind this figure becomes apparent when this drawing is compared to the drawings in Figure 44.4, page 757. The point being made by Figure 44.4 is that: "Each stage of embryonic development builds on structures that were formed during the stage preceding it. Development cannot proceed properly unless each stage is successfully completed before the next begins." (p. 756) Figure 44.4 is drawn to show the significant differences between stages of development, from fertilization to advanced embryo, in four difference species. What is interesting about these drawings is that each of the four species shows significant differences from each other at each stage of development. Obviously, similarities are pictured only when it serves the authors' purpose to use embryology in proving common ancestry.
F "By the dawn of the Oligocene, 35 million years ago, tree-dwelling anthropoids had evolved in the forests. The ancestors of monkeys, apes, and humans were among them." (p. 475)
D "Change within a line of descent over time. A population is evolving when some forms of a trait are becoming more or less common, relative to the other kinds of traits. The shifts are evidence of changes in the relative abundances of alleles for that trait, as brought about by mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, and gene flow." (Glossary) Note how confusing this definition is. It mixes concepts of "descent" with minor variations.
Copyright © 1995 Norris
Anderson. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
File Date: 12.22.95