Evolution and the Upcoming Challenges of a Predictable Landscape

Cover Book Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016In Chapter Nine of Measuring the Evolution Controversy, we ask: what will be the societal setting in which science/evolution and religion interact in the future? Early in the narrative of the book, before addressing this question, we remark that societal interactions between science and ideology are intricate, and subject to public policy, law, and abrupt socio-economic change. In addition, we sketch a probable world socio-cultural environment —based on statistical demographic projections— in which acceptance of science and evolution could take place in the future. By the 2050s or 2060s, we argue, the world societal dynamics will be quite different in respect to today’s, particularly in four relevant landscapes associated with attitudes toward science and evolution: distribution of wealth, education, migration, and demographics of religious groups. — Guillermo Paz-y-Mino-C

Promotion Measuring the Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

Chapter Nine is titled Evolution and the Upcoming Challenges of a Predictable Landscape. Here is a synopsis of the main points discussed therein (note that the chapter is 26-pages long; it includes two text-boxes, 6 figures, one table, and 6 pages of references; do not expect the outline below to be comprehensive in any way, the purpose is to give readers of EvoLiteracy a broad idea about how Chapter Nine is structured):

Distribution of Wealth

Wealthier nations, which offer means to their citizens, higher quality of education, and happen to be less religious, embrace higher public support to evolution (70% and up) than their counterparts at the bottom of the spectrum. Exceptions, like the U.S., where acceptance of evolution is low for its level of wealth (≈40%, measured as function of per capita gross domestic product, GDP), can and do occur. The U.S. is exceptionally religious for its level of economic prosperity in contrast to other highly developed countries. And higher religiosity correlates with lower public acceptance of evolution.

Improvements in levels of economic prosperity, therefore, should translate into a nation’s generalized progress, particularly in education. High-quality science/evolution schooling should lead students, parents-to-be, and ultimately the general public to support science/evolution; but keep in mind that if religiosity remains high, it shall continue to correlate with opposition to evolution.

Education

Worldwide, there is a positive association between level of education and acceptance of evolution. In the U.S., for example, public support to evolution increases from the high school (21%), to the some college (41%), college graduate (53%), post-graduate (74%), and university professor levels (95%). Note that educational attainment, like overall wealth, also correlates positively with per capita GDP.

In the future, we can only expect significant increase in evolution’s acceptance in nations that improve —and sustain the improvement during several decades— their school life expectancies to 15-to-20 years (i.e. college and university education). Keep in mind, however, that in most countries the average general public still remains at the level of high-school or some-college education, which suggests that major progress in the mean-value of public support to evolution shall be achieved chiefly via quality high school —science/evolution— education.

In other words, major contributions to increasing evolution’s acceptance nation-by-nation shall mainly come from meaningful improvements to the excellence in high school schooling (i.e. still the prevalent 10-15-year school life expectancy in most countries), rather than from recruitment of tertiary educated professionals (colleges/universities) from the global pool. Of course, good science/evolution education cannot occur in isolation, both depend on schools offering good-quality general education –possibly under a liberal-arts-and-sciences format.

Fig 3 Centerfold Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

Science and evolution knowledge have a negative association with religiosity; both decline with increasing religious beliefs, as documented for New England researchers, educators of prospective teachers in the U.S., and New England college students (a-b). Note how evolution knowledge increases with increasing science knowledge in the three groups (c), a positive association of variables.

Migration

This is a complex topic. In the book we start this section by highlighting that migration can stimulate the integration of ethno-cultural diversities and increase wealth and prosperity (particularly in science and technology –although not restricted to them), but it can also generate societal tensions, segregation of migrants, exploitation of their labor, inequality and poverty.

In scenarios in which the nature of immigration/emigration changes significantly the cultural-demographic composition of a nation (e.g. in the book we contrast Spain versus the U.S. and make projections about future rates of public acceptance of evolution in both countries), attitudes toward evolution and acceptance of evolution could be influenced by the migration process. Alternatively, in scenarios where immigration/emigration do not influence considerably the in-house cultural-demographic composition of a population, we shall expect minor, or no fluctuations in the public support to evolution associated with migration.

But, again, in Chapter Nine we are cautious about these generalizations and clarify that: “…the societal struggles around evolution’s acceptance [are] multi-factorial… including the variables: (1) religious beliefs, pro-life beliefs and political ideology; or (2) political activity, political and religious conservatism, knowledge about evolution and its relevance, creationist reasoning, evolutionary misconceptions, and exposure to evolution; or (3) religious affiliation, frequency of attendance to religious services, college academic level, exposure to evolution in high school, and college major…” These factors have been comprehensively analyzed in the literature. What we do in Measuring the Evolution Controversy is to associate these variables to diverse contexts of human migrations and, for that, we compare Spain and the U.S.

United States Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

The U.S. will experience substantial population growth during the next forty years, from 310.4 million, in 2010, to 394.4 million by 2050 (a 21.3% increase). The current Christian majority will decrease by 2050 (from 77.4% to 65.8%) and the unaffiliated will increase during the same time period (from 17.1% to 25.6%). The fertility rates (2010 – 2015) will continue to be higher among the religious vs. the unaffiliated (Muslims 2.7, Christians 2.1, Hindus 2.1, Buddhists 2.1, Jews 2.0, and unaffiliated 1.6). The U.S. shall become less religious primarily due to the rise of the unaffiliated. Thus, public acceptance of evolution —excluding humans— will increase in the U.S. above its current ≈40%.

Demographics of Religious Groups

In Chapter Nine, we examine how, by 2050, the world’s religious profile will be driven, primarily, by differences in fertility rates, the proportion of youth among the religious populations, and by people switching religions. Something not unusual since these factors are at play constantly, but we examine how the phenomenon of the evolution controversy shall take place —by 2050— in a different global demographic and religious landscape, or landscapes, than today’s.

For example, based on data gathered by the Pew Research Center, we explain that although by 2050 Christians will continue to be the largest group (expected growth from 2.17 billion, in 2010, to 2.92 billion by 2050), Muslims will be growing faster than all major faiths (from 1.6 billion, in 2010, to 2.76 billion by 2050). These trends shall lead to different interaction dynamics, than today’s, among world citizens affiliated with religious groups, which future representation in the global population will change rapidly. In addition, we also point out that the unaffiliated (i.e. not associated with formalized religions, agnostics, non-believers or atheists –whose support to evolution is usually the highest) will increase worldwide by 100 million during the next four decades (from 1.13 billion, in 2010, to 1.23 billion by 2050). However, their representation in the world population shall decrease (from 16.4%, in 2010, to 13.2% by 2050) due to the faster population growth rate among Christians and Muslims in respect to the unaffiliated.

In the book, we use these statistics, as well as data about evolution’s acceptance by the diverse religious denominations (consistently less accepting of evolution than the unaffiliated), to envision possible scenarios in which the evolution controversy will take place. The statistical future may not be as promising as it may seem today. Although in some nations, like the U.S., public acceptance of evolution shall increase (parallel to a rise in secularization), in others the opposite could probabilistically happen. The book examines this.

Conclusion

We end Chapter Nine by reexamining acceptance of evolution in the context of the Incompatibility Hypothesis (IH — the conceptual foundation of the book, which is introduced to readers in Chapters One and Two) and by linking IH to two additional theoretical frameworks: the secularization hypothesis (i.e. the idea that, over time, science and reason will replace religion and faith, or that modernization, which includes human development, will lead to a decline in the belief in supernatural causality) and the religious market models (i.e. the raw supply and demand of anti-evolution beliefs in the market-landscape of ideas). These conceptual frameworks are intensely debated by scholars, something we examine succinctly in the book. But that is material for a future post. — GPC — EvoLiteracy © 2016.

ABOUT THE BOOK – Measuring the Evolution Controversy, a 210-page hardback volume (>100 data figures, maps, tables and explanatory boxes), can be ordered directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Amazon US, or Amazon CA . The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance.

You can contact Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C via email at guillermo.pazyminoc@gmail.com — Follow us on Twitter @gpazymino and Facebook.

D - Headline Book Measuring the Evolution Controversy 2016

Suggested Readings and Related Links

The Incompatibility Hypothesis: Evolution vs. Supernatural Causation

Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars

Darwin’s Skepticism about God

Evolution Wars: Debunk II

*  *  *  *  *       *  *  *  *  *       *  *  *  *  *

Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars (2013). By NOVA Publishers, New York Soft Cover. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK.

Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEG“The sweet spot of this collection of essays is the interface of science, history and literacy. Paz-y-Miño-C is, in essence, a champion of rationalism and a passionate defender of literacy standards. His essays deftly weave hard survey data and memorable turns of phrase with evocative imagery… While the essays in this collection are vast in coverage —from climate change to energy policy, stem cell research, vaccinations and, especially, evolution— a clear underlying theme emerges: [the author’s] goal is no less than to counter, through the lens of history and the majesty of rationalism, social forces that sanction ignorance, celebrate denial and… continue to diminish our global status in the fields of science and technology.” Jeff Podos, PhD, Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

“Paz-y-Miño-C  is a firm believer in evolutionary processes. He would like to see decisions made on the basis of facts, not unsupported opinion. He abhors and fears irrational thinking, especially ‘the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science.’ He marvels at the intricacy and diversity of life, and how it came about through natural selection… and is clearly frustrated by the unwillingness of so many to see the beauty and majesty in this view of the world and all that it explains.” – Jan A. Pechenik, PhD, Professor of Biology, Tufts University, USA, author of The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, as Edited for Modern Readers.

Typos and Errors – Measuring The Evolution Controversy

Last Update: May 22, 2016

Measuring The Evolution Controversy - FourBooks - Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

In this post —to be updated with alerts about typos and/or errors that we get to identify in Measuring The Evolution Controversy— readers will have the opportunity to learn about such cases as colleagues and readers help us spot mistakes. The book shall be released officially by Cambridge Scholars Publishing on June 1, 2016. However, as per the third week of May, 2016, we have already received a few hard-copies (i.e. the book is in the market). The manuscript was, of course, proof-read numerous times before it went to the press, but it shall not be unusual to identify mistakes that were made during the preparation of the text (210 pages), the formatting of more than 100 data figures, maps, tables and explanatory boxes, and the revision of the proofs and statistical notation. We will continue to improve the book in future editions. – GPC

ABOUT THE BOOK – Measuring the Evolution Controversy can be ordered directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Amazon US, or Amazon CA . The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance.

Typos and Errors Updates

Update: May 22, 2016 (older updates are shown below)

Page 45, bottom paragraph, last line, reads “…Further details are available in Appendix One.” It should read “…Appendix A.”

Page 48, second paragraph, line three, reads “…Appendix One…” It should read “…Appendix A.”

Update: May 19, 2016

Page 74, top paragraph, line 5, reads “…science/non-science school track (the major) on the independent variable…” It should read “…dependent variable…”

*  *  *  *  *       *  *  *  *  *       *  *  *  *  *

BOOK small format - Measuring the Evolution Controversy 2016Measuring the Evolution Controversy can be ordered directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Amazon US, or Amazon CA . The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance.

How to cite the book:

Paz-y-Miño-C, G & Espinosa, A. 2016. Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-4438-9042-1, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-9042-7.

You can contact Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C via email at guillermo.pazyminoc@gmail.com — Follow us on Twitter @gpazymino and Facebook.

Measuring the Evolution Controversy — 2016 book

A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities – Cambridge Scholars Publishing UK

Small-Cover Book Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

“The reality of evolution is indisputable and, based on current scientific evidence, all people in the world should accept it. Yet, only 41% of adults worldwide embrace evolution, and they do it under the premise that a deity created humans. One in every three people are strict creationists who believe in religious scriptures concerning the origin of our universe and of humans, and explicitly reject that Homo sapiens is an ape —when, in fact, science informs us that humans’ closest relatives are chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. Indeed, we are all apes.”

Our new book is out. It includes 210-pages, more than 100 data figures, maps, tables and explanatory boxes. In addition, a color-page centerfold (“Image Resources of Didactic Relevance“) is also provided. Below, I summarize information shared by the Publisher, Cambridge Scholars Publishing – United Kingdom, including endorsements, book description, table of contents, exemplar figures (from the centerfold) and text excerpts (Preface). Hope the readers enjoy it! – GPC

Endorsements

Many thanks to Niles Eldredge and Barbara Forrest for their kind statements about the book:

“The great contribution of ‘Measuring the Evolution Controversy’ is the rich content of data and analysis that asks detailed questions about the social, economic and political backgrounds of those who tend to reject evolution vs. those who accept evolution as science. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa deftly analyze their data drawn from institutions of higher learning in the United States and particularly New England —which stands as a microcosm of the rest of the country, and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is their scientific approach to these issues which makes this book stand out as a uniquely original contribution.” — Niles Eldredge, PhD, Curator Emeritus of Paleontology at The American Museum of Natural History, New York.

“Pro-science activists and educators constantly bemoan the resistance to the teaching of evolution in the United States. All of us have anecdotes about encounters with the public, parents and students who are misinformed by their churches, Religious-Right groups, and creationist organizations. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa present hard data that support the anecdotal evidence. They also show that although anti-evolutionism typically begins with religion, it is a multi-faceted problem that intersects with political and cultural ideologies. Gathered through careful research over a period of years, their data will enable scientists and defenders of science education to comprehend the roots of the evolution controversy and counteract resistance to evolution more strategically and effectively.”Barbara Forrest, PhD, co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (2007), and expert witness for plaintiffs, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005).

D - Headline Book Measuring the Evolution Controversy 2016

Why do people not accept evolution?

“In Measuring the Evolution Controversy, Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C and Avelina Espinosa postulate that the debate over evolution-and-science versus creationism is inherent to the incompatibility between scientific rationalism/empiricism and the belief in supernatural causation (religion and faith). Belief disrupts, distorts, delays or stops the comprehension and acceptance of scientific evidence. The authors refer to this proposal as the incompatibility hypothesis (IH), the conceptual foundation of this book.”

Cover Book Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016“Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa explain that the evolution controversy is not only measurable, descriptively, but also testable as in an ordinary field of science. To accomplish this, they examine three predictions of IH. First, chronological-conflict-and-accommodation (i.e. the historical re-emergence of antagonism between evolution and religion when advances in science continue to threaten the belief in supernatural causation; in such situations, creationists’ rejection of and subsequent partial acceptance of the new scientific discoveries are expected). Second, change in evolution’s acceptance as function of educational attainment (i.e. the positive association between acceptance of evolution and level of education). Third, change in evolution’s acceptance as function of religiosity (i.e. the negative association between acceptance of evolution and level of religious beliefs). By relying on an ample assessment of the attitudes toward evolution by highly-educated audiences (i.e. research faculty, educators of prospective teachers, and college students in the United States) the authors characterize their understanding of science and evolution, personal religious convictions, and political ideology.”

“The authors make recommendations for improving science and evolution literacy, as well as evolution’s acceptance. They end the book by forecasting a probable world-socio-cultural landscape in which acceptance of science and evolution will take place.”

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements

Preface

Chapter One – Why Do People Not Accept Evolution?

Chapter Two – The Incompatibility Hypothesis: Evolution vs. Supernatural Causation

Chapter Three – A Conceptual Landscape to Depict Acceptance of Evolution

Chapter Four – Educators of Prospective Teachers Hesitate to Embrace Evolution: A National Sample in the United States

Chapter Five – Influence of Political Ideology on Acceptance of Evolution

Chapter Six – Comparisons: Researchers vs. Educators vs. College Students

Chapter Seven – Comparisons: Students at Public vs. Private vs. Religious Institutions

Chapter Eight – Recommendations and the Future of Evolution’s Acceptance: The U.S.

Chapter Nine – Evolution and the Upcoming Challenges of a Predictable Landscape

Appendix A – Survey Methods

Appendix B – Supplementary Figures to Chapter Four

Authors’ Bionotes

Exemplar Images

Fig 5 Centerfold Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

Above: Acceptance of evolution or creationism among educators of prospective teachers in the United States. The majority of educators accept evolution openly; creationism is accepted openly mainly in the South and West of the country.

Fig 3 Centerfold Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

Above: Science and evolution knowledge have a negative association with religiosity; both decline with increasing religious beliefs, as documented for the New England researchers, educators of prospective teachers in the U.S., and New England college students (a-b). Note how evolution knowledge increases with increasing science knowledge in the three groups (c), a positive association of variables.

Fig 4 Centerfold Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

Above: Science and evolution knowledge among the non-religious (top; religiosity index = 0.0) and the deeply religious (bottom; religiosity index = 3.0). The non-religious New England researchers, educators of prospective teachers in the U.S., and New England college students score highest in science/evolution knowledge: values ranging from 2.59 (high) to 1.67 (low). In contrast, the deeply religious, score lowest in science/evolution knowledge: values ranging from 2.0 (high) to 1.35 (low).

Excerpts from the Preface

“In Chapters One to Three, we introduce the reader to the conceptual premises to studying the evolution controversy as a scientific field of investigation. In Chapters Four and Five, we examine acceptance of evolution in our case-study population of educators of prospective teachers in the U.S.; we explore their overall understanding of science/evolution, and the effects of distinctive levels of religiosity on their views about science and evolution. We also discuss the influence of political ideology and conservative thinking on these educators’ perceptions of evolution.”

“In Chapter Six, we compare acceptance of evolution among New England researchers (affiliated with some of the elite universities in the U.S.) vs. the educators of prospective teachers in the U.S., and vs. our samples of New England college students. In Chapter Seven, we contrast views about science/evolution among college students at public vs. private vs. religious institutions. And, in Chapter Eight, we provide recommendations for improving science and evolution literacy, as well as evolution’s acceptance, by each of these populations. We close, in Chapter Nine, with a forecast of a probable world-socio-cultural landscape in which acceptance of science and evolution will take place in the future.”

The Future of Evolution’s Acceptance

“Because the U.S. is projected to become slightly less religious and more unaffiliated by 2050 (primarily due to faith switching and secularization of the “nones” –non-believers, agnostics and atheists), we speculate that acceptance of evolution in this nation will increase during the next four decades. However, America’s fascination with reinventing variants of creationism (e.g. theistic evolution, creation science, young earth creationism, Intelligent Design, BioLogos, evolutionary creation) to challenge evolution, or insert a Creator or Designer in the background of causality (distant creationism), shall probably continue in the future, although in an improved, more-favorable-to-evolution landscape. A forecast that we make with cautious optimism.”

United States Measuring Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C & Espinosa 2016

Above: The U.S. will experience substantial population growth during the next forty years, from 310.4 million, in 2010, to 394.4 million by 2050 (a 21.3% increase). The current Christian majority will decrease by 2050 (from 77.4% to 65.8%) and the unaffiliated will increase during the same time period (from 17.1% to 25.6%). The fertility rates (2010 – 2015) will continue to be higher among the religious vs. the unaffiliated (Muslims 2.7, Christians 2.1, Hindus 2.1, Buddhists 2.1, Jews 2.0, and unaffiliated 1.6). The U.S. shall become less religious primarily due to the rise of the unaffiliated. Thus, public acceptance of evolution —excluding humans— will increase in the U.S. above its current ≈40%.

Measuring the Evolution Controversy can be ordered directly from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Amazon US, or Amazon CA . The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance. — GPC — EvoLiteracy 2016.

How to cite the book:

Paz-y-Miño-C, G & Espinosa, A. 2016. Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-4438-9042-1, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-9042-7.

You can contact Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C via email at guillermo.pazyminoc@gmail.com — Follow us on Twitter @gpazymino and Facebook.

Suggested Readings and Related Links

The Incompatibility Hypothesis: Evolution vs. Supernatural Causation

Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars

Darwin’s Skepticism about God

Evolution Wars: Debunk II

*  *  *  *  *     *  *  *  *  *     *  *  *  *  *

Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars (2013). By NOVA Publishers, New York Soft Cover. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK.

Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEG“The sweet spot of this collection of essays is the interface of science, history and literacy. Paz-y-Miño-C is, in essence, a champion of rationalism and a passionate defender of literacy standards. His essays deftly weave hard survey data and memorable turns of phrase with evocative imagery… While the essays in this collection are vast in coverage —from climate change to energy policy, stem cell research, vaccinations and, especially, evolution— a clear underlying theme emerges: [the author’s] goal is no less than to counter, through the lens of history and the majesty of rationalism, social forces that sanction ignorance, celebrate denial and… continue to diminish our global status in the fields of science and technology.” Jeff Podos, PhD, Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

“Paz-y-Miño-C  is a firm believer in evolutionary processes. He would like to see decisions made on the basis of facts, not unsupported opinion. He abhors and fears irrational thinking, especially ‘the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science.’ He marvels at the intricacy and diversity of life, and how it came about through natural selection… and is clearly frustrated by the unwillingness of so many to see the beauty and majesty in this view of the world and all that it explains.” – Jan A. Pechenik, PhD, Professor of Biology, Tufts University, USA, author of The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, as Edited for Modern Readers.

World Visitors to EvoLiteracy

EvoLiteracy News 02 17 2016

World Visitors to EVOLUTION LITERACY – Readers from 103 countries visited EvoLiteracy during 2015. Three in every four readers were from the United States. About one in every five visitors were from Brazil, Canada, UK, Germany, India, Ecuador, France, Australia and Spain. And one in every ten cyberworms came from 93 other countries. EvoLiteracy is growing thanks to our world friends and followers. – Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C.

UPDATE – a supplementary post to this one is available at EvoLiteray January 1, 2017.

World Visitors to Evolution Literacy 2015

There are 190+ countries in the world (member states of the United Nations). EvoLiteracy reaches half of them (52%). The image below includes flags of nations, which total 230+. We still need to reach as many nations as possible. Please share EvoLiteracy with others.

Flags of the World

Flags of 230+ nations in the world. Click on image to enlarge. Source Danilka’s Blog.

Top 25 Most Read Posts of 2015

Here are the most popular postings of 2015. I was glad to discover that the biology science videos made much of an impact, particularly among science educators. I also liked that three crucial postings about higher education (marked with an asterisk * below) were well received. To my surprise (and I thank the readers for liking it), the posting about Ecuador’s Academy of Science was ranked top 10. My personal favorite was Science Challenges Golden Age of Violin Making, and this is because I am fascinated with string instruments (classic guitars, ukuleles, charangos); I learned much while investigating the violin ancestry. But I cannot close without admitting how much pleasure gave me to see our readers liking Evolution Wars Debunk II (ranked 13th, a lucky number). Plus the most commented story was Shroud of Turin, Poor Science, and the Persistence of a Myth, which was reposted in various blogs and generated two weeks of discussions. Thanks to all for supporting EvoLiteracy. – GPC

EvoLiteracy – Biology and Science Videos

Photography – Wildlife – Fossils – Landscapes – Museums – Monuments – Cities

GPC Scientific Publications

Evolution Controversy and the Incompatibility of Science and Religion

5 GPC BioArt

EvoLiteracy News 10 26 2015 Shroud of Turin, Poor Science, and the Persistence of a Myth

A Secular Humanist’s Plea for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Life

2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Goes to Curiosity-Based Research

Antivaxxers and the Educated-Public-Herd Effect

10 Ecuador’s Academy of Sciences Earns International Recognition

11 Science Challenges Golden Age of Violin Making

12 The “Jackprot Simulation”

13 Evolution Wars: Debunk II

14 EvoLiteracy News 05 08 2015 Should scientific journals request authors to change their practices for presenting continuous data in small sample size studies?

15 The Incompatibility Hypothesis: Evolution vs Supernatural Causation

16 At The Down House: Darwin’s Home

17 The Art Of Nature: Sculptures Of Dinosaur Tracks and Traces

18 College Educated But Deeply In Debt For An Overpriced Degree *

19 New Book: Why does Evolution Matter? The Importance of Understanding Evolution

20 Imminent Collapse of Basic Science Under For-profit Model *

21 Dehumanizing Academia by Dismantling the Humanities *

22 EvoLiteracy News 03 19 2015 US Senator Ted Cruz Distorts NASA’s Mission Budget

23 Hiking among Trilobites, Ancient Whales and Dinosaurs

24 EvoLiteracy News 09 09 2015 Protisto-Biologists Flock to Seville for ECOP-ISOP Scientific Meeting

25 Reviews of Book Evolution Stands Faith Up – Reflections on Evolution’s War

Today: International Darwin Day 02 12 2016

EvoLiteracy News 02 12 2016

“Darwin Day… signifies the celebration of the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge. The igniting moments in human history when light was brought into our own origins, when understanding that ordinary apes, like Homo, were capable of the extraordinary, of discovering the truth and debunking obscurantism; yet we still struggle to make science the sole guiding star in our survival decisions, the reliable source of concern and joy, the toolkit to plan our departure from Earth –before our Sun in agonizing heat engulfs its nearest orbiting planets– and seek home somewhere else in the cosmos”Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C

A few images and Evolution-Literacy links to celebrate International Darwin Day. — An update on our New England Science Public Series Evolution Volumes 1 and 2, including open access to the studies on acceptance of evolution in the United States. — Links to our Incompatibility Hypothesis papers (evolution versus supernatural causation). — A recount of a visit to the Down House (Darwin’s home). — And an article, from 2013, about the “history of Darwin Day” at the US Congress. Enjoy. – GPC

Here are some photos of Darwin’s statue at the British Museum of Natural History in London, taken back in 2010.

A - Darwin British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: an overall view of Darwin’s statue (marble) at the British Museum of Natural History in London.

B - Darwin British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: a close up of Darwin’s rostrum.

C - Darwin British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: and another close up of this beautiful carving on marble.

E - Darwin British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: the main hall at the British Museum of Natural History in London. Darwin’s statue is in the back, just at the end of the first level of the stairs.

F - British Museum Nat Hist - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2010

Above: the outdoors of the British Museum of Natural History in London.

Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEGNOVA Publishers (New York) used one of these images for the cover of our book Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars (2013). “Paz-y-Miño-C doesn’t ask the reader to ‘believe’ in evolution. He provides overwhelming evidence, clearly written, that shows how scientific inquiry leads to important and practical results, while superstition and faith lead nowhere. Although we may not be able to reason someone out of what they were never reasoned into, the author presents a roadmap for those whose minds are open to discover the wonders and beauty of science.” – Herb Silverman, PhD, author of Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt. Find Evolution Stands Faith Up at NOVA: Soft Cover, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK.

Update on NESP Series Evolution

The open access New England Science Public Series Evolution continues to be highly downloaded. Here are some updates:

NESP Series Evolution Vol 1 No 1 20131,670+ downloads of Volume 1, Number 1: Paz-y-Miño-C G & Espinosa A. 2013. Attitudes toward Evolution at New England Colleges and Universities, United States. New England Science Public: Series Evolution 1(1): 1-32 (ISSN: 2326-0971). The authors compile the most significant results of their conceptual and quantitative studies on the patterns of acceptance of evolution at New England colleges and universities, conducted between 2009 and 2012. They examine the views of New England Faculty and Educators of Prospective Teachers (higher-education faculty themselves, specialized in training future teachers) from 35 colleges and universities, as well as a representative sample of College Students from a Public, Private and two Religious institutions who were polled in three areas: the controversy over evolution versus creationism versus Intelligent Design; their understanding of how science and the evolutionary process work; and their personal convictions concerning the evolution and/or creation of humans in the context of their religiosity… Read MORE open access.

NESP Series Evolution Vol 2 No 1 2014430+ downloads of Volume 2, Number 1: Paz-y-Miño-C G & Espinosa A. 2014. Acceptance of Evolution by America’s Educators of Prospective Teachers. New England Science Public: Series Evolution 2(1): 1-92 (ISSN: 2326-0971). In NESP Series Evolution Vol 2 No 1, Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa use the conceptual framework of the Incompatibility Hypothesis (i.e. science/evolution and belief in supernatural causation are incompatible) to document the patterns of acceptance of evolution of 495 Educators of Prospective Teachers affiliated with 281 colleges and universities widely distributed in 4 regions, 9 divisions, and 50 states in the United States. These higher-education professionals (65% PhD-, 22% doctorate-holders) were polled in five areas: (i) their views about evolution, creationism and Intelligent Design, (ii) their understanding of how science and the evolutionary process work, (iii) their position about the hypothetical ‘harmony or compatibility’ between science/evolution and supernatural causation, (iv) their awareness of the age of the Earth, its moon, our solar system and the universe, and the application of the concept of evolution to the cosmos, and (v) their personal convictions concerning the evolution and/or creation of humans in the context of the educators’ religiosity… Read MORE open access.

The Incompatibility Hypothesis: evolution vs. supernatural causation

Incompatibility Hypothesis Paz-y-Mino-C Espinosa

“Like the oil vs. water experiment, evolution and supernatural causation don’t mix. Evolution raises to the surface.”

Supernatural causation (i.e. the belief in a Supreme Being, creator and sustainer of the universe, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient) is a cultural pollutant, incompatible with empirical reality. “Belief” disrupts, distorts, delays and/or stops (3Ds+S) the correct comprehension and acceptance of evidence. We have postulated that the controversy over evolution-and-science versus creationism is inherent to the incompatibility between scientific rationalism/empiricism and the belief in supernatural causation. This hypothesis (= incompatibility) helps us understand and explain the everlasting and fluctuating antagonism –in cycles, from moderate to intense opposition during human history– in the relationship between science/evolution and religion… Read MORE and access free PDFs of scientific articles, including  Evolution Controversy: A Phenomenon Prompted by the Incompatibility between Science and Religious Beliefs published in the International Journal of Science in Society (abstract below) [PDF].

Cover Int Journal Science Society Paz-y-Mino-C and Espinosa 2015Evolution Controversy – Science in Society: Paz-y-Miño-C G & Espinosa A. 2015. Evolution Controversy: A Phenomenon Prompted by the Incompatibility between Science and Religious Beliefs. Int. J. Sci. Soc. 7(2). ISSN 1836-6236. The incompatibility between science and the belief in supernatural causation helps us understand why people do not accept evolution. Belief disrupts, distorts, delays, or stops (3Ds + S) the acceptance of scientific evidence. Here we examine the evolution controversy under three predictions of the incompatibility hypothesis. First, chronological-conflict-and-accommodation, which explains the historical re-emergence of antagonism between evolution and religion when advances in science continue to threaten the belief in supernatural causation; in such situations, creationists’ rejection of and subsequent partial acceptance of the new scientific discoveries are expected. Second, change in evolution’s acceptance is a function of educational attainment, which explains the positive association between acceptance of evolution and level of education. And third, change in evolution’s acceptance is a function of religiosity, which explains the negative association between acceptance of evolution and level of religious beliefs… We emphasize that harmonious coexistence between science and religion is illusory. If co-persisting in society, their relationship will fluctuate from moderate to intense antagonism. Read MORE open access [PDF].

At the Down House: Darwin’s Home

Down House Side View from gardens“I visited the Down House, Darwin’s Home, in July 2010. Here are a few pictures I wanted to share in celebration of the International Darwin Day, February 12. Prior to visiting the Down House, which is located just a few miles South East of London, I went to Canterbury, Kent, to attend the International Society of Protistologists (ISoP) annual meeting, at the University of Kent. Coincidentally, back in 1991, as an undergraduate student, I obtained a Diploma in Endangered Species Management from the University of Kent, which offered such certification in partnership with the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (nowadays Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)”… Read MORE.

Some History about Darwin Day at the US Congress

Paul Broun R Georgia on Evolution

Click on image to watch video. Paul Broun (R) “All that stuff I was taught about evolution… all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell”

“…Bill H.Res.41, itself, embodies the never-ending battle against irrationalism, the latter vividly present in the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science. Take, for example, last year’s remarks by congressman Paul Broun (R), from Georgia, a physician and member of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology (the very Committee to which the “Darwin Day bill” was referred), who declared: “God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell.”

And Mr. Broun went on, as documented in video watched worldwide: “It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.” “You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth.” “I don’t believe that the earth’s but about 9,000 years old.” “I believe it was created in six day as we know them.” “That’s what the Bible says.” Read MORE.

Related Stories

Darwin’s Skepticism about God

Evolution Wars Debunk II

Why the Notion that “The Theory of Evolution is Not an Explanation for the Origin of Life” is Wrong

Evolution Stands Faith Up – On Francis Collins’ and Karl Giberson’s “The Language of Science and Faith”

Lucy’s Pride 3.2 million years later

Lucy’s Pride, an open-minded Australopithecus, as it was casual 3.2 million years ago. We finally evolved, or did we?

— © 2015 by Evolution Literacy all rights reserved

Lucy's Pride Australopithecus afarensis - Photo G-Paz-y-Mino-C 2015

Related Postings:

Evolution Controversy and the Incompatibility of Science and Religion

Evolution Wars: Another EpisodeEvolution Wars: Episode II

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Just Published: Evolution Controversy and the Incompatibility of Science and Religion

Cover Int Journal Science Society Paz-y-Mino-C and Espinosa 2015

Click on image to be redirected to the International Journal of Science in Society

Published in The International Journal of Science in Society — Paz-y-Miño-C & Espinosa (2015). Evolution Controversy: A Phenomenon Prompted by the Incompatibility between Science and Religious Beliefs. Int. J. Sci. Soc. 7(2). ISSN 1836-6236. -May 14, 2015.

The complete article, which includes 23-pages, 11 figures and 59 references, can be downloaded —for free— from the International Journal of Science in Society. Click on the image (left) to go to the journal website to download the PDF.

A media-friendly summary can be read HERE.

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Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars By NOVA Publishers, New York Soft Cover. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK.

Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEG“The sweet spot of this collection of essays is the interface of science, history and literacy. Paz-y-Miño-C is, in essence, a champion of rationalism and a passionate defender of literacy standards. His essays deftly weave hard survey data and memorable turns of phrase with evocative imagery… While the essays in this collection are vast in coverage —from climate change to energy policy, stem cell research, vaccinations and, especially, evolution— a clear underlying theme emerges: [the author’s] goal is no less than to counter, through the lens of history and the majesty of rationalism, social forces that sanction ignorance, celebrate denial and… continue to diminish our global status in the fields of science and technology.” Jeff Podos, PhD, Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

“Paz-y-Miño-C  is a firm believer in evolutionary processes. He would like to see decisions made on the basis of facts, not unsupported opinion. He abhors and fears irrational thinking, especially ‘the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science.’ He marvels at the intricacy and diversity of life, and how it came about through natural selection… and is clearly frustrated by the unwillingness of so many to see the beauty and majesty in this view of the world and all that it explains.” – Jan A. Pechenik, PhD, Professor of Biology, Tufts University, USA, author of The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, as Edited for Modern Readers.

Evolution Controversy and the Incompatibility of Science and Religion

Published in The International Journal of Science in Society — Paz-y-Miño-C & Espinosa (2015). Evolution Controversy: A Phenomenon Prompted by the Incompatibility between Science and Religious Beliefs. Int. J. Sci. Soc. 7(2). ISSN 1836-6236. -May 14, 2015.

Why do people hesitate to embrace evolution? What triggers the controversy evolution-and-science versus creationism? What factors characterize the evolution wars? Will the conflict evolution-and-science versus religiosity ever end? In a latest study published in the International Journal of Science in Society, Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C and Avelina Espinosa address these questions under the conceptual framework of the Incompatibility Hypothesis, which the authors have proposed  — EvoLiteracy.

In previous publications, ranging from 2009 to 2014, Paz-y-Miño-C & Espinosa have formally examined the Incompatibility Hypothesis (IH), a conceptual, theoretical framework to explain the foundations of the “evolution wars,” as well as the societal struggles between science and faith. In their most recent article, published in The Int. J. Sci. Soc. Vol. 7 No. 2 (May 14, 2015), the authors state:

Evolution Controversy Int J Sci Soc May 14 2015 Paz-y-Mino-C Espinosa

Click on image to enlarge

“The observable phenomenon in society, which we aim at examining academically, is the controversy over acceptance of evolution, the conflicts that emerge when facts organized in a rational interpretation of the empirical reality (i.e. the science of evolution) challenge belief-based answers to questions about the origin of the universe and life. [The incompatibility proposal] IH is an ultimate-level [of analysis] hypothesis, rather than a proximate one. IH explains the cause of the controversy, its fundamental reason. IH addresses directly the inquiry: what elicits the controversy evolution-and-science versus creationism? And it offers an educated answer: their intrinsic and opposing approaches to assess reality, i.e. science by means of testing hypotheses, falsifying and/or testing predictions and replication of experiments; creationism, in contrast, via belief in supernatural causality.”

The authors acknowledge and value alternative approaches to examining the evolution controversy, which they consider “proximate levels of analysis of the [societal conflicts], including the detailed and simultaneous characterization of multiple factors that can influence an individual’s acceptance of evolution and scientific evidence, e.g. religious beliefs, pro-life beliefs and political ideology; or political activity, political and religious conservatism, knowledge about evolution and its relevance, creationist reasoning, evolutionary misconceptions, and exposure to evolution; or religious affiliation, frequency of attendance to religious services, college academic level, exposure to evolution in high school, and college major.” The authors themselves have examined some of these variables in their research, however, they highlight that “from a research program perspective, the proximate-level studies, or descriptions of the evolution controversy, are auxiliary in essence, while IH [plays the role of] a central hypothesis, as a guiding ultimate level of [scrutiny].”

Here is the abstract of the 2015 study:

“The incompatibility between science and the belief in supernatural causation helps us understand why people do not accept evolution. Belief disrupts, distorts, delays or stops (3Ds + S) the acceptance of scientific evidence. Here we examine the evolution controversy under three predictions of the incompatibility hypothesis:

Cover Int Journal Science Society Paz-y-Mino-C and Espinosa 2015

Click on image to be redirected to the International Journal of Science in Society

(1) Chronological-conflict-and-accommodation, which explains the historical re-emergence of antagonism between evolution and religion when advances in science continue to threaten the belief in supernatural causation; in such situations, creationists’ rejection of and subsequent partial acceptance of the new scientific discoveries are expected.

(2) Change in evolution’s acceptance as function of educational attainment, which explains the positive association between acceptance of evolution and level of education.

And (3) change in evolution’s acceptance as function of religiosity, which explains the negative association between acceptance of evolution and level of religious beliefs.

We rely on an ample assessment of the attitudes toward evolution by highly-educated audiences (i.e. research faculty, educators of prospective teachers, and college students in the United States) to characterize the associations among understanding of science and evolution, personal religious convictions, and conservative ideology. We emphasize that harmonious coexistence between science and religion is illusory. If co-persisting in society, their relationship will fluctuate from moderate to intense antagonism.”

The complete article, which includes 23-pages, 11 figures and 59 references, can be downloaded —for free— from the International Journal of Science in Society. Click on the images below to enlarge, or go to the journal website to download the PDF.

Figures Evolution Controversy Paz-y-Mino-C and Espinosa IJSS 2015

Suggested Readings where The Incompatibility Hypothesis is discussed:

BOOK small format - Measuring the Evolution Controversy 2016Book: Paz-y-Miño-C., G & Espinosa, A. 2016. Measuring the Evolution Controversy: A Numerical Analysis of Acceptance of Evolution at America’s Colleges and Universities. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-4438-9042-1, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-9042-7. The publisher has made available a “VIEW EXTRACT” (in PDF), which includes the first 30-pages of the book: Cover, Table of Contents, Acknowledgments, Preface, Chapter ONE and the beginning of Chapter TWO. For PDF of color illustrations go to Image Resources of Didactic Relevance. — Mini Reviews: “Isaac Newton is said to have been a seriously religious man. Yet it is primarily due to Newton’s influence that science, unable to test propositions concerning the supernatural, focuses instead on finding natural causes for natural phenomena. Thus science is not a “belief,” but rather an epistemology aimed at understanding the natural world. In their welcome book, Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa succinctly draw the distinction between real science and the religiously-inspired belief in supernatural explanations for natural phenomena—including the origin and history of life. Why does the resistance to evolution persist in this modern day and age? The great contribution of “Measuring the Evolution Controversy” is the rich content of data and analysis that asks detailed questions about the social, economic and political backgrounds of those who tend to reject evolution versus those who accept evolution as science. The authors deftly analyze their data drawn from institutions of higher learning in the United States and particularly New England—which stands as a microcosm of the rest of the country, and indeed elsewhere in the world. It is their scientific approach to these issues which makes this book stand out as a uniquely original contribution.” Dr. Niles Eldredge, Curator Emeritus of Paleontology at The American Museum of Natural History, New York. — “Pro-science activists and educators constantly bemoan the resistance to the teaching of evolution in the United States. All of us have anecdotes about encounters with the public, parents and students who are misinformed by their churches, Religious-Right groups, and creationist organizations. Paz-y-Miño-C and Espinosa present hard data that support the anecdotal evidence. They also show that although anti-evolutionism typically begins with religion, it is a multi-faceted problem that intersects with political and cultural ideologies. Gathered through careful research over a period of years, their data will enable scientists and defenders of science education to comprehend the roots of the evolution controversy and counteract resistance to evolution more strategically and effectively.” Dr. Barbara Forrest, Co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (2007), and expert witness for plaintiffs, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005).

Journal Book Covers Incompatibility Science Religion - VERTICAL

Click on image to enlarge

Book-Chapter: Paz-y-Miño-C., G. & Espinosa A. 2014a. The Incompatibility Hypothesis: Evolution vs. Supernatural Causation. Pp. 3-16. [PDF] In G. Trueba (Ed.) Why Does Evolution Matter? The Importance of Understanding Evolution. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ISBN (10): 1-4438-6518-4, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-6518-0.

Scientific Article: Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa A. 2014b. Acceptance of Evolution by America’s Educators of Prospective Teachers: the disturbing reality of evolution illiteracy at colleges and universities. New England Science Public: Series Evolution Vol. 2, No. 1. [PDF] The complete 92-page study includes 23 figures, statistics, 34 maps, 12 tables, and a companion slide show ‘Image Resources’ for science journalists, researchers and educators. The supplementary materials include 15s figures and 25s tables. This article has been featured in the Richard Dawkins Foundation Newsletter and website. RDF has also posted a note in its Facebook page.

Book-Chapter: Paz-y-Miño-C., G. & Espinosa A. 2013a. The Everlasting Conflict Evolution-and-Science versus Religiosity. pp. 73-97 [PDF]. In G. Simpson & S. Payne (eds) Religion and Ethics NOVA Publishers, New York. Download OPEN ACCESS at NOVA.

Scientific Article: Paz-y-Miño-C., G. & Espinosa A. 2013b. Galapagos III world evolution summit: why evolution matters. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 6:28. [PDF]. Open Access.

Scientific Article: Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa A. 2013c. Attitudes toward evolution at New England colleges and universities, United States. New England Science Public: Series Evolution 1: 1-32. [PDF]. Read commentaries in Happy Birthday Charles Darwin – The Boston Globe and Basic Knowledge of Darwin’s Theory Lost in Some Classes – The Boston Globe Metro. The Standard Times of New Bedford published the note Evolution Misunderstood By Students, Faculty.

Scientific Article: Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa, A. 2012a. Introduction: Why People Do Not Accept Evolution: Using Protistan Diversity to Promote Evolution Literacy. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 59:101-104. [PDF].

Public Talks, Interviews, and Discussions where The Incompatibility Hypothesis is addressed:

Interview by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (April 1, 2014) where both the book Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars, and the Incompatibility Hypothesis is discussed.

Disproof Atheism Society, Boston University (February 2014).

Atheists Alliance of America 2013, National Convention in Boston (watch and/or DOWNLOAD VIDEO from the AAA website).

Atheists Alliance of America 2013 (watch video in YouTube posted on September 2, 2013).

 

Other Scientific Publications Related to Acceptance of Evolution in the US and the World:

Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa A. 2012b. Educators of prospective teachers hesitate to embrace evolution due to deficient understanding of science/evolution and high religiosity. Evolution: Education and Outreach 5:139-162. [PDF]. Follow a discussion on this study in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Paz-y-Miño-C, G., Espinosa A. & Bai, C. 2011a. The Jackprot Simulation couples mutation rate with natural selection to illustrate how protein evolution is not random. Evolution: Education and Outreach 4:502-514 [PDF] Visit The Jackprot Simulation website to access computer program and tutorials.

Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa A. 2011b. On the theory of evolution versus the concept of evolution: three observations. Evolution: Education and Outreach 4:308–312 [PDF].

Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa A. 2011c. New England faculty and college students differ in their views about evolution, creationism, intelligent design, and religiosity. Evolution: Education and Outreach 4:323–342 [PDF].

Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa, A. 2010. Integrating horizontal gene transfer and common descent to depict evolution and contrast it with “common design.” J. Eukaryotic Microbiology 57: 11-18 [PDF].

Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa, A. 2009a. Acceptance of evolution increases with student academic level: a comparison between a secular and a religious college. Evolution: Education & Outreach 2:655–675 [PDF].

Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & A. Espinosa. 2009b. Assessment of biology majors’ versus non-majors’ views on evolution, creationism and intelligent design. Evolution Education and Outreach 2: 75-83 [PDF].

Related Readings:

Book: Paz-y-Miño-C., G. 2013. Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars. NOVA Publishers, New York.

Popular media article: Paz-y-Miño-C, G. & Espinosa A. 2012c. Atheists’ knowledge about science and evolution. Secular World 8(1): 33-36 [PDF].

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Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars By NOVA Publishers, New York Soft Cover. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK.

Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEG“The sweet spot of this collection of essays is the interface of science, history and literacy. Paz-y-Miño-C is, in essence, a champion of rationalism and a passionate defender of literacy standards. His essays deftly weave hard survey data and memorable turns of phrase with evocative imagery… While the essays in this collection are vast in coverage —from climate change to energy policy, stem cell research, vaccinations and, especially, evolution— a clear underlying theme emerges: [the author’s] goal is no less than to counter, through the lens of history and the majesty of rationalism, social forces that sanction ignorance, celebrate denial and… continue to diminish our global status in the fields of science and technology.” Jeff Podos, PhD, Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

“Paz-y-Miño-C  is a firm believer in evolutionary processes. He would like to see decisions made on the basis of facts, not unsupported opinion. He abhors and fears irrational thinking, especially ‘the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science.’ He marvels at the intricacy and diversity of life, and how it came about through natural selection… and is clearly frustrated by the unwillingness of so many to see the beauty and majesty in this view of the world and all that it explains.” – Jan A. Pechenik, PhD, Professor of Biology, Tufts University, USA, author of The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, as Edited for Modern Readers.

Mini-reviews of Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars

Paz-y-Mino-C_Book_Cover_Evolution_Stands_Faith_Up_JPEGBy NOVA Publishers, New York Soft Cover. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.comAmazon UK

In preparation for “the sequel”… Here are some mini-reviews of Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars. I thank Greg M. Scott, Herb Silverman, Jeff Podos, Jan A. Pechenik, George A. Lozano and Stan Braude for their generous statements about the book – GPC. More in-depth reviews are posted at EvoLiteracy Book Reviews.

“This is an inspiring, readable collection of essays of reflective value to everyone. Paz-y-Miño-C points to the vain attempt by many to try and accommodate scientific rationalism with supernatural beliefs. They are simply incompatible. The author has a marvelously eloquent style of writing, full of inspiring metaphors and lateral observations that reinforce connections to the foundations of scientific inquiry and to biological evolution in particular. These thoughtful essays… are inspiring… [and] help clear the fog in our communities and arm our neighbors [with arguments] against theistic anti-science, medical quackery and other irrational nonsense.” – Greg M. Stott, PhD, Geoscientist with the Ontario Geological Survey, Canada.

“Paz-y-Miño-C doesn’t ask the reader to ‘believe’ in evolution. He provides overwhelming evidence, clearly written, that shows how scientific inquiry leads to important and practical results, while superstition and faith lead nowhere. Although we may not be able to reason someone out of what they were never reasoned into, the author presents a roadmap for those whose minds are open to discover the wonders and beauty of science.” – Herb Silverman, PhD, author of Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt.

“The sweet spot of this collection of essays is the interface of science, history and literacy. Paz-y-Miño-C is, in essence, a champion of rationalism and a passionate defender of literacy standards. His essays deftly weave hard survey data and memorable turns of phrase with evocative imagery… While the essays in this collection are vast in coverage —from climate change to energy policy, stem cell research, vaccinations and, especially, evolution— a clear underlying theme emerges: [the author’s] goal is no less than to counter, through the lens of history and the majesty of rationalism, social forces that sanction ignorance, celebrate denial and… continue to diminish our global status in the fields of science and technology.” Jeff Podos, PhD, Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

“Paz-y-Miño-C  is a firm believer in evolutionary processes. He would like to see decisions made on the basis of facts, not unsupported opinion. He abhors and fears irrational thinking, especially ‘the views of those who see evil in truth and menace in the realities discovered by science.’ He marvels at the intricacy and diversity of life, and how it came about through natural selection… and is clearly frustrated by the unwillingness of so many to see the beauty and majesty in this view of the world and all that it explains.” – Jan A. Pechenik, PhD, Professor of Biology, Tufts University, USA, author of The Readable Darwin: The Origin of Species, as Edited for Modern Readers.

“Many scientists would probably agree that the struggle against creationism as an alternative to science is a war that must be waged. However, we all know it is a difficult fight… After all, how does one produce a coherent, logical and intelligent argument against an opponent whose very aim is to create confusion, to deny reality, and to promote ignorance? Few among us have the audacity. With this book, Paz-y-Miño-C establishes himself as a clear, lucid, and refreshingly candid fighter of creationism and defender of evolution.” – George A. Lozano, PhD, Estonian Centre of Evolutionary Ecology, Estonia.

“Too many of our colleagues work so hard to appear open minded that their brains seem to have fallen out. When they teach our students that they can pick and choose when to be logical, critical thinkers, they are modeling the type of reasoning that leads to the politics of convenience and its bridesmaids: racism, sexism, and the whole host of xenophobias. Paz-y-Miño-C is a prolific essayist, he does not pull any punches, but when he cuts to the core of an argument, he does it with the flare of a true artist.” – Stan Braude, PhD, Professor of Practice in Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, USA.

Imminent Collapse of Basic Science Under For-profit Model

By Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C PhD — © 2015

New England Science Public – An Initiative for the Public Understanding of Science – on Twitter @EvoLiteracy@gpazyminoResearchGateAcademia.edu

Imminent Collapse of Basic Science Under For-profit Model

[click on subtitle to be redirected to The Standard Times]

“…A collapse of America’s world-leading research is imminent if higher education adopts a purely for-profit financial model… And I caution the reader to distrust when the word ‘evolution’ is deployed to advertise laissez-faire investments in academia.”

Each time my students insist that natural selection, “Darwin‘s Theory” of 1859, is the “survival of the fittest,” I correct them, but futilely –in some cases— since this misconception has permeated into popular culture as an infectious catchphrase, an adverse “meme,” which continues to be reinforced by inadequate education.

Herbet Spencer

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), British intellectual, author of Principles of Biology (1864); in his book, Spencer used the phrase “survival of the fittest” in reference to Charles Darwin’s concept of natural selection (1859). Image by Deansta.

It was polymath Herbert Spencer, not Charles Darwin, who, in 1864, introduced the expression “survival of the fittest” in Principles of Biology, one of Spencer’s many books in multiple fields, including philosophy, economics, sociology and politics.

Although Darwin did use Spencer’s term in the fifth edition of the Origin of Species (1869), for “accuracy” and “convenience,” since survival of the “most fit” paralleled nature, where the highly adapted organisms to the environment endured and left descendants, he never advocated for the abuse of the concept of natural selection in human affairs. Darwin knew better and alerted how the struggle for life could lead to the extinction of entire populations and species.

The cut-throat economists of the late 19th century in the United Kingdom, United States and Western Europe, however, did see in Darwin’s work the “biological, natural foundations” to justify “laissez-faire capitalism,” or the freedom to do as they will in the market; to become most financially robust, via “competition,” and, thus, overpower the “unfit,” whose survival became their own fiscal responsibility. This twisted view of social existence, popular among Victorian financiers of the 1870s, still sanctions the contemporary accretion of wealth by the top 0.1%, which, in the United States, is almost the same as the entire bottom 90%.

The reality above concerns me as a citizen of our interdependent world since laissez-faire economic policies have generated the most inequality in the United States since the 1940s. But what further worries me, as an evolutionary biologist, is the current and contagious misuse of Darwinian terminology to characterize trends of institutional development at colleges and universities. And I caution the reader to distrust when the word “evolution” is deployed to advertise laissez-faire investments in academia.

A collapse of America’s world-leading research is imminent if higher education adopts a purely for-profit financial model (watch documentary Ivory Tower). I will restrict my analysis of this complex phenomenon to highlighting some crucial points.

According to the National Science Foundation Enterprise Information Systems, more than 70% of the research awards (by amount received) are granted annually to the top 100 academic institutions in the United States. The top 50 institutions take more than half of the awards; the top 10 take about 15%; and all other institutions take roughly 25%. This trend has remained steady from 2005 to 2013. In essence, the non-ranked institutions have low probability of capturing meaningful, competitive extramural support –one quarter of it is “catchable” via competition among all such institutions in the country.

NSF Awards to Academic Institutions 2013

Percentage of Awards to Academic Institutions (by amount received). On average, more than 70% of NSF awards go to the top 100 academic institutions in the United States. Source: NSF Enterprise Information Systems – October 1, 2013

Within the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) at NSF, which oversees funding in the bio-sciences, there was a 43% increase in the yearly amount of grants submitted from 2001 (less than 1,500 proposals) to 2010 (just above 2,000 proposals). Yet IOS-NSF decreased funding by 14% during the same decade. In fact, by 2014, the IOS-NSF overall success rate of awarded proposals was 8.2%.

IOS Proposal Submissions and Awards 2001 to 2010

Integrative Organismal Systems Proposal Submissions and Awards: 43% increase in proposal submissions and 14% decrease in funding (2001 to 2010). Source: IOS-NSF

IOS-NSF funding trends

Analysis of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) Preliminary Proposal Submission System at NSF. Rationale of data: 29.8% = 547 / 1,836; 27.6% = 175 / 634; and 8.2% corresponds to 150 projects ultimately awarded by NSF (= 150 / 1,836). Source: IOS-NSF

The situation for under-represented minority investigators, who conduct research in fields within the IOS-NSF sponsoring scope, continues to be disturbing: while success rate in funding increased from 4% to 7%, from 2008 to 2011, respectively, it decreased to below 6% in 2012 and 2013.

NSF funding Under Represented Investigators

Awards to Under-Represented Investigators. Less than 6% of the awards go to minority researchers. Source: IOS-NSF

But the major problem goes beyond the historically scarce funds for research. Instead, it relies on shifting from basic science –which generates new knowledge, is profound, bold, risk-taking and impactful long-term— to valuing mostly applied, profitable, safe translational work (= development spending) that benefits society in the short-term and can be “sold” to the taxpayer under the slogan that higher education and its research are “evolving” in such worthy direction.

Why should such a model of promised prosperity work at academic institutions when it already failed at the national market-oriented economy, and at a rate of 0.1% (top) versus 90% (bottom)? Why would it create sustainable research at non-ranked universities if it is destined to benefit the top 100, and at a rate of 70% (top) versus 25% (bottom)? It does not make scientific sense to imitate such a path under the vision of “survival of the richest.” But it can, of course, create the illusion that, as long as we believe in it, or try it, most of us will join the elite.

And, as per “evolution,” let us evoke it when we actually understand the concept of gradual change with modification and ancestry, driven by the laws of nature, and explained to our students and the public by competent scholars, not by the whim of the wealthy. — © 2015 by Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C. all rights reserved.

Suggested Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals, plus an undergraduate honors thesis (!):

Unlikely Funding – BioScience 2014

Reforming Science: Structural Reforms -IAI Journal 2012

Funding Troubles for Evolution and Ecology – Current Biology 2011

Lost in Translation: Basic Science in the Era of Translational Research – IAI Journal 2010

And my favorite, an Honors Thesis by undergraduate Sam Shapiro Federal R&D: Analyzing the Shift from Basic and Applied Research toward Development – Department of Economics, Stanford University 2013

Recommended Documentary & Books:

Books About Ivory Tower

Related Articles:

Dehumanizing Academia by Dismantling the Humanities

Fragmentary Truths and the Intellectual Imbalance in Academia

Evolution Illiteracy at America’s Colleges and Universities

Massachusetts Gets an A- in Science Standards

The Incompatibility Hypothesis: Evolution vs. Supernatural Causation

Reviews of Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars

Dehumanizing Academia by Dismantling the Humanities

Dr. Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C — © 2014

New England Science Public – An Initiative for the Public Understanding of Science – on Twitter @EvoLiteracy@gpazymino

Dehumanizing Academia

[click on subtitle to be redirected to The Standard Times]

“…our history and future survival as prosperous civilizations will depend on the integration of what we discover about ourselves via science, about our bodies, brains and cultures, and on what we internalize from such discoveries via the humanities, the sentinels of knowledge in society…”

Edward O Wilson BBC2 Evolution Literacy Paz-y-Mino-C

Harvard Professor Edward O. Wilson during the interview posted online by BBC2’s Newsnight

In his latest book (2014), “The Meaning of Human Existence,” Harvard Professor Edward O. Wilson, 85, makes an unwise remark: he calls Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins, 73, an “eloquent science journalist.” If Wilson’s intention had been to plea for higher standards in contemporary media reporting, then Dawkins’ exquisite communication skills, proficiency in science, sharp intellect, and always controversial presence (in the right journalistic sense), would have made him a robust role model for investigative journalism. But Wilson aimed at demeaning Dawkins by invoking the character of a profession, one that has given coverage to Wilson’s career during half a century.

The Guardian (U.K.) titled the Wilson vs. Dawkins exchange a “biological warfare.” Perhaps by now the reader realizes how journalistically treasured are these scuffles. But The Guardian’s story itself fed on a previous BBC2’s Newsnight interview, where Wilson reiterated his judgment about Dawkins. Via Twitter, Dawkins responded by reaching out to his one million followers: “anybody who thinks I’m a journalist, who reports what other scientists think –as Wilson described Dawkins’ work— is invited to readThe Extended Phenotype.” The latter, published in 1982, is a follow up to the famous “The Selfish Gene” of 1976; both outstanding scientific contributions to theoretical biology.

Richard Dawkins Evolution Literacy Paz-y-Mino-CBefore going any further, it is indeed imprudent to use the term “science journalist” as a dishonor, to discredit a colleague, and to inattentively belittle a vital occupation.

The Wilson-Dawkins crossfire was triggered by Dawkins’ review of Wilson’s earlier book “The Social Conquest of Earth” of 2012. In it, Wilson drifted away from a well established concept in biology, called Kin Selection, which helps understand why organisms that cooperate with close relatives, more than with strangers, can improve survival and reproduction, thus leaving descendants who carry the traits that make them social and altruistic. The evolution of high sociality, cooperation, altruism and intelligence in the human animal are often explained under kin selection theory (natural selection ultimately favoring kin).

Kin selection is an experimentally documented phenomenon, supported by most evolutionary biologists, to the point that when Wilson and collaborators wrote an article for Nature, in 2010 (which became part of a contentious chapter in “The Social Conquest of Earth”), challenging the kin selection principle and suggesting that high cooperation and altruism can still evolve regardless of kinship, 137 world scientists authored and signed a debunk-letter-to-the-Wilson’s position, which Nature published the following year. [Note that in a paper published in PLoS Biology, March 23, 2015, authors Liao, Rong and Queller completely dismiss the Wilson’s team proposal of 2010; in fact, Liao et al. state that “all… apparently novel conclusions –in the Nature’s 2010 article– are essentially false”].

E O Wilson Books Evolution Literacy Paz-y-Mino-CIn the 2010 paper, Wilson and associates acknowledged that kin selection could still work, but that an alternative scenario based on a combination of individual and group selection, not necessarily closely related members, results in a mathematically sounder model than the “elderly” –ossified– kin selection. The same assertion appeared in Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth,” about which Dawkins –after borrowing words attributed to American poet and satirist Dorothy Parker— declared: “this is not a book to be tossed lightly aside. It should be thrown with great force.” And sincere regret (Dawkins’ emphasis).

“…Creationists, of course, grew excited about the scientists’ disagreement. Not so fast. Evolution is true regardless of the dispute over kin selection…”

Creationists, of course, grew excited about the scientists’ disagreement. Not so fast. Evolution is true regardless of the dispute over kin selection [note that researchers are constantly reexamining hypotheses and paradigms, for example, see discussion about Standard Evolutionary Theory SET versus Extended Evolutionary Synthesis EES in Nature]. And both Wilson and Dawkins, as evolutionary biologists, are secular, openly and vigorously opposed to creationism, including Theistic Evolution, Creation Science, Intelligent Design, and Evolutionary Creation; all represent belief-based views of reality, which impose a Creator or Designer in the background of causality. Wilson and Dawkins have categorically stated that there is no scientific evidence in support of any style of creationism.

“…[the] American universities… seem committed to turning off the humanities, dismantling the social sciences, and replacing them with for-profit, translational research to generate goods for patents and commercialization…”

Unfortunately, the message Wilson sought to convey in “The Meaning of Human Existence” was eclipsed by the exchange with Dawkins; Ed threw unnecessary punches, while Richard diverted them back with customary power; a fight with no winner. And Wilson’s book is crucially important to raise awareness about the current dehumanization of academia at American universities, which seem committed to turning off the humanities (philosophy, history, archeology, anthropology, arts, law, literature and linguistics), dismantling the social sciences, and replacing them with for-profit, translational research to generate goods for patents and commercialization; a path leading to the extinction of curiosity-driven science and risk-taking ideas, which have modernized fundamental scientific work: wisdom driven.

In closing, Wilson makes an excellent connection between human evolution and the humanities. He reasons that our history and future survival as prosperous civilizations will depend on the integration of what we discover about ourselves via science, about our bodies, brains and cultures, and on what we internalize from such discoveries via the humanities, the sentinels of knowledge in society (including journalism, my emphasis). And he envisions the relevant humanities under no faith: “the best way to live in this real world is to free ourselves of demons and tribal gods.” — © 2014 by Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C. all rights reserved.

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Fragmentary Truths and the Intellectual Imbalance in Academia

The Incompatibility Hypothesis: Evolution vs Supernatural Causation

Bill Nye defeats Ken Ham at Creation Museum

Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars

On Francis Collins’ and Karl Giberson “The Language of Science and Faith”