The march of progress ...

Aug 05 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

This will be my last post here at Scientopia. I've enjoyed my time here. Thankyou for reading my posts — I  hope you have learned something new in the past two weeks. Now that my guest fortnight is over, I will be returning to my Blogspot account at the Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks. Please drop by, especially on Mondays, when there might be something of more general interest.

In my posts here I have written much about the essential difference between transformational and variational evolution. I pointed out that the former inappropriately supports a "march of progress" story, in which "primitive" organisms evolve into "more advanced" ones. This is a particularly appealing story if you are a human being and happen to think that humans are the peak of evolution; but it is wrong as far as biological science is concerned.

I am very sorry to report that the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which describes itself as "the policy voice of biological and biomedical researchers" in the U.S.A., has not only heard of this story but apparently believes in it. This image of an Advocacy Card is taken from their web site:

You can see that FASEB supports evolution as a science but apparently does not understand it. Actually, I am sure that FASEB does have thousands of members who understand evolution, it's just that none of them saw this Card before it was produced. Still, there is little practical use to having FASEB advocate evolution education if they can't even get their ads right. They need to educate themselves first.

Even worse, as far as I am concerned, is that FASEB was giving away these bumper stickers at the recent 20th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB - July 2012, in Long Beach):

This ironic circumstance was drawn to my attention by the Byte Size Biology blog, which discusses the "march of progress" misconception in more detail.

 

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