Re: BIO: Help wanted explaining evolution to students

Bart Troyan (
Wed, 17 Sep 1997 02:20:52 -0400

Max More wrote:
Is there a compact source of such points that I can use,
and perhaps copy for my students? There are a bunch of
creationists in the classes, so the more solid examples
I have at hand the better.

My reply:
I don't have a specific suggestion for where to look in the literature,
but concrete examples of observable evolution in action are easy to come
up with on-the-fly. Take something right out of the news today, say:

The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a pretty clear-cut
example of natural selection in action. All you need to get from there
to proving that the theory of evolution *can* fully account for the
diversity of life, is the occurrence of random mutations in the genetic
code. Convincing the creationists that evolution *does in fact* account
for the diversity of life on this rock is going to be a bit harder, but
I am of the opinion that professors (especially those of philosophy)
shouldn't be telling their students what is right, but instead should be
teaching them the skills to critically analyze the ideas independently
and decide for themselves which one is correct.

I'm also curious about something--how can one justify having any sort of
religious faith at all, if one takes a pancritical rationalist approach
to existence?

Bartley Troyan
Carnegie Mellon University