(Or, how to make every living thing, from Wolves to Cabbages,
using just the tools and bacteria you’ll find around the house)
A Critical Review and some snarky comments by Rent A Friend 2000
Original material from http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_02
The site I am reviewing is called Evolution 101, and will be presented by me with no editing (though plenty of editorials) and in those few places where parts were cut out for brevity, I make note of it being done. The original site is a collaborative project between Berkley, the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education. That it took this many PhD’s to make this web site will become either unbelievable or incredibly sad later on. Their words will appear in normal font. My words in BOLD, with BOLDNESS nearly approaching ZESTY BUFFALO RANCH BOLD! Nearly.
The story is simple; I decided one day to read up on the basics of evolution, and so I Googled (Because that’s a verb now) “Icons of Evolution for Highschoolers.” One of the top search results was this web site which calls itself “Evolution 101”. I saw the URL, evolution.berkley.edu, and decided that I probably could not pick a better representative of the evolutionary sciences, especially now that both Charles “Chuck D” Darwin and Carl “Billion Billion Billion” Sagan are both dead. When I saw the material before me was also due in part to the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education, I was certain of it. Surely a URL from BU, the UCMP and NCSE must be AOK, IMHO- no JK (though once I read their HTML I was all OMGnR! and totally ROTFLOL).
This was the evolutionary sciences right from the people who really believe it with all of their little hearts. This was not a straw version of evolution written by some Young Earth Creationist group. This was made by the people who bake a monkey-shaped cake every Darwin Day, and string lights up on their phylogenetic trees while singing carols to random chance mutations. This is where I would learn what evolution really had to offer. Which, when all was said and done, wasn’t much.
When I was 14, I took an Honors level Biology class, and we were assigned a paper on a topic of our choosing. I wrote on how I thought evolution was not true and provided what I felt were many convincing proofs. I got an A, but more important was the note my teacher wrote in the margins. It said, “I can’t argue with any of your points, but I still think you’re wrong.” A tenured biology teacher in a public high school can’t argue against the points made by a 14 year old? This struck me as rather odd. 14 year old boys don’t tend to be nearly as smart as they think they are. Or, often nearly as smart as the average waffle.
Yet, this man with a college degree, many years as a Biology teacher at the honors level, and a fresh pair of academic khaki pants couldn’t argue with ANY of my points? He was given proofs against evolution, could do nothing to refute me, but stuck to his faith in evolution as fact. “Is this how evolutionists are?” I wondered. Surely a man with a full classroom set of microscopes under his command must know the Evolution as well as a man in khaki pants can know it, right? But maybe he did not. That’s where I figured Berkley could save the day for Chuck D and the old Professor. I thought, if there is anyone who should be able to make a good case for evolution, it is these authors of Evolution 101. Read on, friends, and prepare to be disappointed.
We start next week.