What Darwin didn't know

June 8, 2011, University of Utah
University of Utah anthropologist Alan R. Rogers is the author of a new book, "The Evidence for Evolution." Credit: Lee Siegel, University of Utah.

University of Utah anthropologist Alan R. Rogers has written an evolution book that fills in pieces that were missing from Darwin's argument.

In "The Evidence for Evolution" – published this month by the University of Chicago Press – the anthropology professor tries to lay to rest what he says are persistent and inaccurate anti-evolution arguments with scientific evidence that was unavailable in Charles Darwin's day.

Rogers points out that didn't know about genetics, continental drift or the age of the Earth. He had never seen a species change. He had no idea whether it was even possible for a species to split in two. He knew of no transitional fossils and of almost no human fossils.

"That evidence might have gone the other way," Rogers says. "It might have refuted Darwin's theory. But instead, we have 150 years of evidence, all of which supports his theory. My book tells the story of these discoveries."

Rogers has been teaching courses on evolution since the 1980s, but for most of that time he didn't talk much about the evidence that evolution actually happens. That issue was settled scientifically more than a century ago, and scientists are interested in the unknown and newly discovered. So, classes and textbooks tend to emphasize the mechanisms of evolution that are still subjects of active research.

Rogers changed his approach in 2006 after he read a poll reporting that only about half of Americans believe humans evolved. "It occurred to me after reading this poll that it didn't make much sense to teach students about the intricacies of evolution if they don't believe that evolution happens in the first place. So, I decided that my introductory classes henceforth were going to have a week or two on the evidence for evolution, and I started looking for a text."

Existing texts either were too long or seemed to expect the reader to take the author's word for things. Rogers was determined not to ask that of his students. To fill the void, he wrote his own easy-to-read book that supports evolution with modern science.

"I'm trying to convince skeptics that evolution really happened. If they're skeptics, then as soon as I get to the point where I say, 'trust me,' they're going to say 'no. The reason I'm skeptical is because I don't trust you.'"

Rogers believes his book will be valuable to evolution skeptics and those who are already convinced. Evolutionists, he says, should be prepared to offer evidence when challenged, and even people familiar with biology will have something to learn. Despite spending 30 years studying evolution, Rogers still included material that was new to him.

He hopes "The Evidence for " will encourage people to think critically.

"All scientists are skeptics if they're any good, but they're not stubborn about it. In science, you have to be able to change your mind when confronted with evidence. It seems to me that learning that skill is important, not only for scientists, but for everybody. It makes us better citizens."

Explore further: Zogby poll on evolution is released

More information: press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/b … ago/E/bo5941109.html

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18 comments

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SCVGoodToGo
5 / 5 (1) Jun 08, 2011
What say you, kevin?
Peteri
not rated yet Jun 08, 2011
Please, don't encourage him, he's bad enough as it is! ;-)
DavidMcC
not rated yet Jun 10, 2011
Peteri, I suspect that SCV was fishing for some more entertainment from Kevin! :)
breadhead
1 / 5 (5) Jun 19, 2011
Every bit of the so-called mentioned evidence, as briefly commented on in the article, can be interpreted differently based upon one's worldview. What Darwin does know now, is that there is a God, because he has met Him. The word "Evolution", as used in this article, appears to describe the variations within a kind, as well as, the "fungus to Human" meanings. There are many dog variations, big to little etc, that does not prove evolution. No one can prove macro evolution, it is a faith. What is the drive that causes someone to write a book to try to convince others that we came from mold? Does this help stimulate morality in society? If we evolved, then from where came love, uniformity of nature, logic? What distinguishes good from bad behavior? If I am just dirt, then why should I care about anything but me?
Thraxzer
5 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2011
Because it is awesome to see how far we have come, and I for one am excited about how far we will go, both evolutionally and technologically.
DavidMcC
5 / 5 (3) Jun 24, 2011
What Darwin does know now, is that there is a God, because he has met Him.

Oh, really? Have you been to heaven or hell yourself, to confirm this extraordinary claim? You see, I think you're making it all up.
J-n
5 / 5 (3) Jun 24, 2011
What is the drive that causes someone to write a book to try to convince others that we came from mold?

What is the drive that causes someone to write a book to try to convince others that we came from a sky fairy?

Does this help stimulate morality in society?

Not the job of science.
If we evolved, then from where came love, uniformity of nature, logic?

Love is a chemical responce in the brain, Not sure what you mean by uniformity of nature, and logic was created by humans.

What distinguishes good from bad behavior?

Soceital Norms are what distinguishes good from bad behavior. Slavery used to be Good enough to include in the old and new testament, now not so good.
If I am just dirt, then why should I care about anything but me?

Strangely enough, most people intrinsically understand that caring about others eventually helps themselves. True Altruism is VERY rare, the motivations people have to care about others usually starts with self benefit.
Javinator
5 / 5 (4) Jun 24, 2011
Every bit of the so-called mentioned evidence, as briefly commented on in the article, can be interpreted differently based upon one's worldview.


I'm sure it seems that way when you haven't actually looked at or attempted to address any of the evidence and immediately dismiss it as "so-called".

What distinguishes good from bad behavior?


In general, "good" behavior is generally behavior that helps and "bad" behavior is behavior that hurts others. It's pretty simple. From an evolutionary point of view, good behavior promotes the survival of the species as a whole and is generally rewarded because of it.

If I am just dirt, then why should I care about anything but me?


How do you get that, from evolution, you are dirt? It shows you don't understand what you're arguing against.

Also, people who require the fear of hell not to act badly scare the crap out of me.
breadhead
1 / 5 (4) Jun 28, 2011
Can you prove that Darwin has not met God?
Are logic, mathmatics, gravity, physics... all derived from your evolutional processes?
Survival of the fittest would not allow for mercy or love, how could it, if "Me" is all that matters?
What is "Good"?, What is "Bad"? On what basis is it judged? Is "Good/bad" subjective or objective?
Deesky
5 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2011
Are logic, mathmatics, gravity, physics... all derived from your evolutional processes?

That question makes no sense whatsoever. All the things you have listed are certainly open to scientific enquiry.

Survival of the fittest would not allow for mercy or love, how could it

Simply by evolving cognitive capacity, abstracting and adapting basal behaviors and living in large cooperative social groups.

if "Me" is all that matters

Straw man. See above.

What is "Good"?, What is "Bad"?

Good is behavior that benefits your immediate family and the wider community as a whole or doesn't cause harm. Bad is the opposite.

On what basis is it judged?

See above.

Is "Good/bad" subjective or objective?

It's ultimately subjective. However it does coincide with my above definition, which tends to be shared by most of humanity.
breadhead
1 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2011
If what is good or bad is subjective, then 10 people in your world could decide that you shouldn't exist. How do you feel about that? All of the subject matter presented on this evolution site can be considered straw man arguments. How is "harm" determined? How is "benefit" determined? Are these all subjective in your world?
Google-> The evolution cruncher
breadhead
1 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2011
Let me make the 1st question more simple; How do you explain the origin of logic, mathmatics, gravity, physics? Explain how atoms came to be. From where came magnetism? Explain how nothing exploded and made everything. All these things exist today, how did they evolve?
Deesky
4.4 / 5 (7) Jun 29, 2011
If what is good or bad is subjective, then 10 people in your world could decide that you shouldn't exist. How do you feel about that?

Read carefully what I said above.

All of the subject matter presented on this evolution site can be considered straw man arguments.

Only if you know nothing about science and refuse to learn.

How is "harm" determined?

Are we to get bogged down in semantics and definitions? Well, okay. As there can be ambiguity in definitions, there can be ambiguity in definitions of morality - it differs from person to person in detail (but with broad societal overlap revolving around harm minimization and the golden rule, if you will).

Google-> The evolution cruncher

Why would I bother? You don't appear to have anything of value to contribute, going by your posts so far.
Deesky
4.4 / 5 (7) Jun 29, 2011
Let me make the 1st question more simple; How do you explain the origin of logic, mathmatics, gravity, physics? Explain how atoms came to be. From where came magnetism? Explain how nothing exploded and made everything. All these things exist today, how did they evolve?

Huh? You want me to explain everything? What's that got to do with Darwin or morality for that matter?
breadhead
1 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2011
What you said above are incomplete statements, arbitrary reasoning. Which is my point. If your morality is subjective, then it is arbitrary. You have no basis to say what is good or bad, or harmful etc. I could also say that you have no value to contribute either, but that is just an ad-hominim attack. My discussion began with how the macro evolution fairy tail is unscientific in itself. It cannot explain origins of any of the things I mentioned. It is just a diversion from admiting that something outside the universe is involved with our existance. Someone writing a book to add to what Darwin said, is just adding more trash to the can.
Deesky
5 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2011
What you said above are incomplete statements

How so?

arbitrary reasoning

I thought it was fairly well reasoned. Can you fault anything in particular?

If your morality is subjective, then it is arbitrary.

Again with the straw man. Subjective does not mean arbitrary. And if you still cannot comprehend what I've actually said to you in simple terms, well, what can I do?

You have no basis to say what is good or bad, or harmful etc.

I do. I've outlined my thoughts above. Life's experience and an interest in science, cause and effect, gives me a basis for comment.

I could also say that you have no value to contribute either, but that is just an ad-hominim attack.

Sure, but one's posting history can determine the validity of a tactical ad-hom.
Deesky
5 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2011
My discussion began with how the macro evolution fairy tail is unscientific in itself

First, there is no 'macro' evolution, simply evolution. Second, it's fairytale not 'fairy TAIL". Third, asserting that a spectacularly successful scientific discipline of some 150 years standing is unscientific, is the height crackpottery.

It cannot explain origins of any of the things I mentioned

It can explain what it was devised to explain - it has nothing to do with the origins of gravity, for example. Straw man.

It is just a diversion from admiting that something outside the universe is involved with our existance.

Now THAT is the definition of an unscientific statement. Or, if you wish to make random guesses, perhaps it was the flying spaghetti monster?
Deesky
5 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2011
Someone writing a book to add to what Darwin said, is just adding more trash to the can.

The need for such a book to be written is precisely because of dunderheads like you and your brethren who refuse to be educated and drag the rest of society down. I call that immoral behavior.

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