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Dobzhansky Vs Bergman

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Theodosius Dobzhansky was a Russian-American geneticist and evolutionary biologist, and critical in the field of evolutionary biology for his work in reconciling modern genetics with Darwinian natural selection. In 1973, Dobzhansky wrote his famous essay: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Dobzhansky (1973) summarizes numerous facts that make logical sense only under the theory of natural selection as an argument against supernatural creationism.

Jerry Bergman has written several anti-evolution articles posted on the creationist website trueorigin.com. He attacked Dobzhansky’s article in his 2006 article titled “The ‘Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution’ Myth: An Empirical Study and Evaluation. Bergman reviewed college-level life-science textbooks and found that “Darwinism was rarely mentioned.” From this, he concludes that the claim “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is not true. The word “Darwinism” appears 18 times in his essay. Bergman appears to equate modern understandings of evolution with “Darwinism” and then notes that “Most biochemistry/ molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology texts we have used never, or hardly ever, mentioned Darwinism…. None of the anatomy and physiology textbooks we have used ever mentioned evolution. He writes:

a person who rejects Dobzhansky’s claim can be a better biologist than one who accepts it uncritically. The distinctive feature and greatest virtue of natural science, we are told, is its reliance on evidence. Someone who starts with a preconceived idea and distorts the evidence to fit it is doing the exact opposite of science. Yet this is precisely what Dobzhansky’s maxim encourages people to do.

Read their documents, both posted, and answer the following questions in essay format using the instructions provided above.

Dobzhansky, T. (1973). Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of

evolution. American Biology Teacher, 35, 125–129

Bergman, J. (2006) The “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of

Evolution” Myth: An Empirical Study and Evaluation. On-line at https://www.trueorigin.org/biologymyth.php

What do you think the key point Dobzhansky was trying to make in postulating that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”?

What do you think the key point Bergman was trying to make in postulating that “it is a myth that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”?

How do Dobzhansky and Bergman define “Darwinism”?

What kinds of evidence do these authors provide to support their conclusions?

How good is the evidence in each case?

Has any of the cited evidence been independently replicated?

If relatively few textbooks cited by Bergman discuss Darwinism, how might this be explained?

Where were each of the articles published and why is that an important consideration to the scientific community?


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