Children’s Book On Evolution, Not Published In The US, Gets An Award in Canada
By on September 19th, 2011

History seems to repeat itself once in a while; it’s just that during the intervening time the weaker side might have gotten stronger. A children’s book on Evolution which could not be published in the United States, has just won an award in Canada for best science book for children. Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came To Beby Daniel Loxton has won the 2010 Lane Anderson Award  in the young reader category in the field of science. It was also a finalist for the Silver Birch Award for non-fiction, one of the most prestigious book awards. Loxton is Canadian.

Kids Can Press Webpage for the book:  http://www.kidscanpress.com/Canada/Evolution-P5913.aspx

The Cover of the Book

Teaching a Scientific Fact

Loxton’s book speaks of evolution and intends to explain it to children between the ages of 8 and 13. This follows a string of wonderfully accessible books for the public written by eminent evolutionary biologists, like Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth’ and Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True’. The decision to not publish this book in the US is due to the powerful Christian creationist lobby sitting in the various corridors of power. They are well-funded, politically powerful and extremely motivated, ready at a moment’s notice to take steps against anything deemed remotely anti-Christian.

No Rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian

Evolution has sparked many debates since the time of Darwin, who explained the mechanism using Natural Selection as the primary (but not only) driving force in his ‘Origin of Species’, published in 1859. It was immediately slammed by religious apologists, who believed that the Genesis Creation story was literally true. Despite Darwin not responding in kind to the insults hurled at him, evolutionary theory has continued to grow, just as scientific truth does. Darwin’s 30 years of evidence collection supporting his own hypothesis was followed by 150 more years and counting. Not one piece of evidence has disproved evolutionary theory, despite there being extremely easy ways to do so (Just find a fossil rabbit in the Precambrian, as J.B.S Haldane put it). Evolutionary theory is as grounded a theory as Newton’s gravitational theory. Creationists are worried that a book aimed for the young minds will be indoctrination rather than science training. Seriously? Indoctrination?

“We Have Fossils, We Win” Wait, we have the Genes, too

Loxton discusses the concept of fossils in his book, giving importance to the geological time scale. The fact that fossils of increasingly complicated creatures are found in increasingly new rock strata provides compelling evidence for evolution. But, evolutionary theory would still be complete were the entire fossil evidence to disappear off the face of the Earth suddenly. Loxton explains DNA, mutations and genetic structure, which tell us more about the relationship between species than fossils have ever did. Using these, he explains the meaning of ‘drug resistant’ microbes (superbugs) and why the influenza vaccine needs to be renewed every couple of years. Even the genetic family tree constructed would be impossible had evolution been false.

Being Plain Wrong

This is not new. Creationism, along with its rechristened avatar Intelligent Design’, has tried to tacitly enter school classrooms and curricula numerous times. Well funded and politically backed, creationists have been rooting for public debates’ on the science for evolution. Their motto is simple and effective – “Teach the Controversy”. A quick look at these debates reveals the fact that these are merely attempts to malign the scientists who participate in them. As Dawkins said, the very format of a debate means that two sides have some equally respectable point of view. That’s not true in this case one side can be plain wrong.

Loxton has reported receiving hate mails asking as to why his book doesn’t give equal timeto Intelligent Design. Loxton, an editor of the Skeptic magazine, has the answer ready the book is about science and not religion.

No, the Jesuit priest saying Give me the boy and I’ll give you the man’ is indoctrination. This is opening children’s minds and teaching them science.

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Author: Debjyoti Bardhan Google Profile for Debjyoti Bardhan
Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.

Debjyoti Bardhan has written and can be contacted at debjyoti@techie-buzz.com.
  • David

    Daniel Loxton is editor of Junior Skeptic, a youth supplement included in
    each issue of Skeptic, a magazine that “examines extraordinary claims.”

    Why is evolution the one subject skeptics aren’t skeptical about?

    Regarding vertical evolution (information-building evolution), can
    evolutionists give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary
    process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?

    From Loxton’s book, “Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be”:
    http://ncse.com/files/pub/evolution/Evolution–KidsCanPress–FB.pdf

    Page 13:

    “On one island, the [Galapagos] finches had large beaks for cracking tough
    seeds. On another, they had long thin beaks for catching insects and so
    on. But if that was true–if one species could turn into several new
    species–how did it happen?”

    Jonathan Weiner (“The Beak of the Finch”, 1994) said beak changes during a
    severe drought (1977) was “evolution in action”, even though the changes
    were reversed after the drought ended, and no net evolution occurred. The
    beak changes can be more accurately described as “minor variation in
    action”.

    Page 21:

    “Most of these insects [peppered moth] were light colored with dark
    pepperlike speckles, while a rare few were dark all over….Within a
    hundred years, almost all the moths were dark colored. A change in the
    environment led to a physical adaptation in the moths. That’s natural
    selection and evolution in action!”

    Edward Blyth, English chemist/zoologist (and creationist), wrote his first
    of three major articles on natural selection–although not using the
    specific term–in The Magazine of Natural History, 24 years before
    Darwin’s “Origin of Species” was published. Why then do evolutionists
    think of natural selection as Darwin’s idea?

    As for peppered moths, did a new species emerge, or did it already preexist?

    Page 44:

    “How could evolution produce something as complicated as my eyes?….It’s
    just not true that eyes need all those parts [lens, iris, muscles, etc.]
    to work. As Darwin pointed out, nature today is full of eye designs much
    simpler than ours.”

    Ian T. Taylor writes: “If Darwin turned cold at the thought of the human
    eye at the end of the evolutionary cycle, what, one wonders, would he have
    thought of the trilobite eye near the beginning?” (“In the Minds of Men”,
    Fifth Edition, 2003)

    For Loxton not to include scientific information that questions evolution
    is to teach evolution as dogma.

    See my online article “Evolution: The Creation Myth of Our Culture”
    http://www.trueorigin.org/evomyth01.asp

    *

    Now that Daniel Luxton has won $10,000 for winning the Lane Anderson
    Award,

    http://www.bookcentre.ca/news/evolution_wins_lane_anderson_award

    he can try to double his money by agreeing to participate in the
    Life Science Prize:

    http://www.lifescienceprize.org/

    I recently learned that on Sept. 14 Luxton was formally challenged and has
    until Oct. 5 to decide.

    From the Sept. 14 email Luxton was sent:

    [snip]

    Your son and the thousands of children who read your book (and your Junior
    Skeptic magazine) will admire you for putting your money where your mouth
    is. After all, they just might use that “critical thinking” you urge them
    to use.

    [snip]

    The Life Science Prize is based upon the claim that evolution is an
    inverted-fantasy religion that does not exist, never has, and never will
    because it is based on vitalism superstitions 2,500 years old completely
    outside the realm of science, the exact opposite of reality, and taught by
    frauds and forgeries in the public schools in violation of the First
    Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. This claim
    is addressed to every evolutionist worldwide bar none. If you do not
    answer this claim by contending for the Life Science Prize by the deadline
    below, then you will be put on the Debate Dodgers (default-judgment) List
    (see http://www.lifescienceprize.org/).

    Life Science Prize Rules

    1. The evolutionist puts $10,000 in escrow with the judge. You may team up
    with Shermer, Scott, Myers, and any amount of evolutionists.
    2. The creationist puts $10,000 in escrow with the judge.
    3. If the evolutionist proves evolution is science and creation is
    religion, then the evolutionist is awarded the $20,000.
    4. If the creationist proves creation is science and evolution is
    religion, then the creationist is awarded the $20,000.
    5. Evidence must be scientific, that is, objective, valid, reliable and
    calibrated.
    6. The preponderance of evidence prevails.
    7. At the end of the trial, the judge hands the prevailing party both
    checks. 8. The judge is a superior court judge.
    9. The venue is a courthouse.

    Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo will contend for the creationists and has his
    $10,000 ready to hand the judge.

    [snip]

    • David (yet another)

      *Every* spontaneous mutation that is not already present in the gene pool is an increase in the amount of genetic information present present in the population. Natural selection is a driving force for decreasing the information present in the gene pool. Anyone who says otherwise does not understand information theory.

    • http://TheSteelGeneral.blogspot.com Jack Myswag

      why would anyone debate creationists? there’s no basis in fact for their assertions. debating them would be like debating incest advocates

  • http://awesomewallpapers.wordpress.com Ben

    I have two problems with this article:
    (1) What does this post have to with technology? This blog, after all, is a tech site, not a science site.
    (2) In no way is the the “theory” of evolution a fact.

    • Lee Brewer

      Ben, as I am sure you must be aware, you are seeing what has been the typical degradation of true science since the late 60′s. The media gets involved and push their agenda. You are right, this is no place for techie news. Just like National Geographic (which i have renamed National Propagandic) used to be a good magazine of facts. If you want to study a course in propaganda, all you have to do is take a highlighter and highlight the amount of times global warming and evolution are mentioned even in unrelated articles throughout this publication.

      They even recently did an article showing some country where people were supposedly already living in ankle and knee deep water and tied it into global warming. There was one statement which said the article wash showing typical flood conditions, and the rest of the article was heavily peppered with global warming causig sea levels to rise. I noticed in later “letters to the editor” that people made comments showing the propaganda had worked well b/c the people making comments had been suckered as their comments made it seem like they believed the pictures were actual effects of global warming.
      The modern media mantra is to make up facts if you cannot scientifically find them. Then shove them in everyones’ faces until they have heard it so much they believe it.
      Part two of their agenda is to constantly seek out new venues for pushing the propaganda.

      We have to ask ourselves if emotional ties (which we might not even know we have) are involved when media crosses into other areas and puts subject matter into an unrelated area.

      • http://awesomewallpapers.wordpress.com Ben

        Very true. I could have said a lot more along the lines of what you said, but I didn’t want to get into a long-winded argument with some evolutionist:)

    • David (yet another)

      That species adapt and evolve is a fact. i.e. evolution is a fact. What people are arguing about is the explanation or theory that explains the fact of evolution. Some people say that a supernatural being caused it to happen. Others say it is the result of natural selection aka “survival of the fittest”. The people in the first group have no way of demonstrating that their theory is correct as it relies on the assumption of a force outside of physically measurable reality. The people in the second group have conducted many experiments that confirm predictions their theory makes. The predictive power of the theory of natural selection is what makes it valuable.

    • http://TheSteelGeneral.blogspot.com Jack Myswag

      Ben,
      In no way is a creationist a Christian. Creationism attempts to PROVE the existence of God. This is purest blasphemy I’ve ever heard. God is a matter of faith. If you try to PROVE his existence scientifically, you are faithless. It’s like saying: “Hey God, i don’t know if you exist, that’s why I’m gonna try and prove it”
      There isn’t a more insulting thing to say to God.

  • Lee Brewer

    LOL! Darwin himself said if the missing links were never found that his theory would fall apart. Oh well.

    We live in a sad day where the word “science” is thrown at theories. Since the definition of science is the OBSERVATION of facts to collect data and make hypothesis – and nothing/no one but pond scum or God (depending on which theory you put your faith in) was present at the time the actual facts were happening – no observation took place and all will forever be based upon the way people CHOOSE to interpret the data.

    The main problem is that too many people get too emotionally attached to their own wants/desires/ego.

    Don’t believe it? Watch what happens to this posting – unless people do their homework and thinking, the following responses will be ad hominem in nature.

    I have yet to see a modern evolutionist who is not susceptible to bringing their emotions into the debate. I have seen some intelligent design advocate who are able to though.

    • Kay

      Sans the god, sure. However, that’s not the definition of science, in fact, it’s entirely backwards. The scientific method has 5 primary permutations, none of them are purely empirical, and the hypothesis is the first step, asking the question. The scientific method and science are defined as the ability to produce results through experimentation and observation of those experiments that are reproduceable by other people. Many times science is highly suspect and subject to fudge factors and guesswork (anti-gravity, wormholes, black holes, etc), but there’s some things which are just blatantly obvious if you have an understanding of math greater than the pathetic rote memorization techniques they employ in schools.

      Just because Jesus didn’t come down and show us that molecules exist, doesn’t mean that we can’t measure the rate of molecular decay in isotopes, and from that determine something’s age. We can also reproduceably demonstrate the purpose of genes. You can attempt to pigeon-hole it all you want, but that only serves to make you look ignorant. Indeed I’m quite certain the response (if any) will be haughty dismissal based on my ‘emotional argument’ and then a recitation of party-line rhetoric that has been finely honed over the course of years of pedantry and propogration of misinformation, eventually resorting to grammatical whittling and last but not least the faith trump card.

      In the end, it’s a discussion not worth having because to discuss or argue a point, there has to be a basis that is reasoned. Faith can’t be argued because it requires no factual basis and therefore does not change based on new information. It’s an abstract that can only be overcome by undermining the credibility of the source that introduced it, and only then if it hasn’t evolved to a point where it’s a fundamental piece of someone’s thought process.

      In short, why did you bother replying to the subject at all?

      • Greg

        Kay, I agree with you, but that won’t stop these folks from mindlessly reacting to anything that doesn’t support their dogma. It’s what they DO.

    • http://TheSteelGeneral.blogspot.com Jack Myswag

      Lee said:
      “We live in a sad day where the word “science” is thrown at theories. Since the definition of science is the OBSERVATION of facts to collect data and make hypothesis”

      I am glad a fellow Christian denounces creationists too

      “nothing/no one was present at the time the actual facts were happening – no observation took place and all will forever be based upon the way people CHOOSE to interpret the data.”
      untrue. we observe fossils NOW, dna and we’ve applied logic and the C14 method to it, and evolution is the best system of facts that goes with that.
      Also, don’t confuse speculation and theory.

  • http://TheSteelGeneral.blogspot.com Jack Myswag

    It’s no more useful debating creationists than debating proponents of incest. Oh wait. They’re “Christian” nutcases, so unclefucking is completely normal to them ….
    Creationism is blasphemy. Just like these Reichwing Teabaggers.
    In fact, there’s more truth to the statement “Incest will not destroy you forever” than to “creationism is true”.

 
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