Joined: Nov. 2005
|Religious critics of evolution are wrong about its flaws. But are they right that it threatens belief in a loving God?|
By Shankar Vedantam
Sunday, February 5, 2006; Page W08
Ricky Nguyen and Mariama Lowe never really believed in evolution to begin with. But as they took their seats in Room CC-121 at Northern Virginia Community College on November 2, they fully expected to hear what students usually hear in any Biology 101 class: that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was true.
As professor Caroline Crocker took the lectern, Nguyen sat in the back of the class of 60 students, Lowe in the front. Crocker, who wore a light brown sweater and slacks, flashed a slide showing a cartoon of a cheerful monkey eating a banana. An arrow led from the monkey to a photograph of an exceptionally unattractive man sitting in his underwear on a couch. Above the arrow was a question mark.
Crocker was about to establish a small beachhead for an insurgency that ultimately aims to topple Darwin's view that humans and apes are distant cousins. The lecture she was to deliver had caused her to lose a job at a previous university, she told me earlier, and she was taking a risk by delivering it again. As a nontenured professor, she had little institutional protection. But this highly trained biologist wanted students to know what she herself deeply believed: that the scientific establishment was perpetrating fraud, hunting down critics of evolution to ruin them and disguising an atheistic view of life in the garb of science.
It took a while for Nguyen, Lowe and the other students to realize what they were hearing. Some took notes; others doodled distractedly. Crocker brought up a new slide. She told the students there were two kinds of evolution: microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution is easily seen in any microbiology lab. Grow bacteria in a petri dish; destroy half with penicillin; and allow the remainder to repopulate the dish. The new generation of bacteria, descendants of survivors, will better withstand the drug the next time. That's because they are likely to have the chance mutations that allow some bacteria to defend themselves against penicillin. Over multiple cycles, increasingly resistant strains can become impervious to the drug, and the mutations can become standard issue throughout the bacterial population. A new, resistant strain of bacteria would have evolved. While such small changes are well established, Crocker said, they are quite different from macroevolution. No one has ever seen a dog turn into a cat in a laboratory.
Read it here.
Crocker's students might want to ask for their money back.