Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

Darwin in Indian biology textbooks (the absence of)

March 31, 2008

Prof. Balaram, in his latest editorial at Current Science, brings some disturbing news to our attention (pdf):

 … I wondered how much are our children are taught about Darwin. I took a clandestine look at a X standard biology textbook and found a picture of Gregor Mendel, but no mention of Darwin. There were sections on cell structures, genetics, respiration, nervous and reproductive systems, population and health, but surprisingly not even a passing mention of the origins of biological diversity. On enquiry, the owner of the textbook was dismissive: “Only you and the BBC are interested in Darwin”.

Considering the accepted importance of evolutionary  concepts in biology, the cavalier treatment meted out to Darwin in the high school textbook puzzled me. But, I quickly discovered that “evolution” is a word that is avoided elsewhere too.

Till I read the editorial, I was under the impression that in India at least, we did not have any problems with teaching evolution. May be my impression was incorrect; may be the biology textbooks that we perused also did not have any reference to Darwin, and all of what I know about Darwin and his work stem from my non-textbook reading. In any case, I only hope that Prof. Balaram’s editorial will be a starting point for the revision of the textbooks!

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What the fossils say

November 26, 2007

Afarensis reviews Evolution: what the fossils say and why it matters:

Overall, the book is well written, well organized and makes a powerful case for evolution. It is definitely a worthy addition to the anti-creationist literature and fills a much needed gap. It is also an excellent book for the average lay person interested in evolutionary biology and paleontology.

Generally, I find anti-creationist books to be not of much interest to me, personally. However, since Afarensis specifically mentions “average lay person interested in evolutionary biology and paleontology“, I think I should take a look at it; may be you too, if you are interested in these areas.