This is the irresponsibly sensationalist cover of New Scientist for the new issue. I think we all know what will happen next, yes?

If anyone follows the debate about the genetics research into early, early life such as bacteria, simple eukaryotes, etc., it will come as no shock that a literal interpretation of Darwin's Tree of Life is no longer a working model. Indeed, evolution is far more complicated than the old boy thought. What a shock, eh? 150 years later, millions of scientist-hours of research have found refinements to make in Darwin's theories.

Be prepared for a whole new wave of IDiots and pure creationists to wage their unholy war with even more blind vigor.

Tags: Darwin, Life, Tree, genetics, microbiology, of

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I think irresponsible sums it up.

Because there have been 150 years of advancement in terms of scientific understanding, neither invalidates nor contradicts Darwin about the tree of life in the same way that Newton isn't wrong about gravity just because Einstein turned up.

Actually it's a bit more complex than that, because the tree of life is strictly speaking an inadequate metaphor, as taxonomists with a working knowledge of cladistics will tell us but the idea of the interconnectedness of life, decent with modification, and natural selection, are just as valid now as then, all have their genesis with Darwin and our understanding of these things has only improved and deepened with time.

Darwin was wrong is shameful sensationalism in my view, a gift for the opposition and perpetuates less not more understanding for those who pass by the newstands; never destined to crack open the pages of NS.
This is reckless thoughtless stupidity from a science magazine.
Is there some gormless ID editor running New Scientist these days? Or is it, rather, the lure of money----trying to ensure that bible-bashers will go and buy a science magazine for a change?

Darwin's work was masterly for his period. He was working with great difficulty at the frontiers of science. If he had lived another 150 years in good health, he would have continued at the forefront in advancing evolutionary knowledge.
the real problem is that IDers will not buy the magazine and read the article. they will download a jpeg of the cover and use it in their next bit of youtube propoganda.

something like this, perhaps:
"even new scientist, a leading evolutionary science magazine now admits that darwinism is a dead theory full of wholes. it's been 150 years since darwin's drivel was published and we still haven't found a single transitional fossil!!!"
As Richard and JC point out, the real problem is that few will read the article. I worry about those doubters at the margin among whom progress can be made.

And the battle to enlighten continues...
I wonder if it isn't a show of strength among scientists to admit that Darwin was/could be wrong, that -- in science -- it is a _good_ thing to question authority, that further contributions to our scientific understanding of the world and how it works is still possible, and always will be. I wonder if this magazine cover doesn't represent yet another opportunity to show how very different science and religion are, with respect to authority and belief.

I agree with the Christian fundamentalists in the sense that the evolution/creationism debate boils down to a question of morality, because -- for most of us -- the scientific facts or the mythology have less applications to our everyday problems than the moral implications. Which approach to authority (scientific or religious) is more compatible with a modern, democratic society? How should a jury consider the evidence (or lack of evidence) in a case? If we can tackle the problem this way, I think that we can show how the argument for faith-based belief is comparable to the argument for fascism; that understanding of the scientific _process_ can help us to build a more ethical, democratic, and sustainable society.
Now that is an interesting approach, Andy. I wish I had adequate time to give it it's due but frankly, I have happy hour (with a bunch of staunch Southern Baptists no less). In any case, the continuation of this discussion might be best addressed in a group that is more tuned to the morality side or the Theist/Religion type group. I'll look for one tomorrow and post up your thoughts (or you can do it) in a more appropriate place. I really like your second paragraph's emphasis.

Regards,
P.S. If you copy that thought elsewhere, let me know where. Thanks.
One other note Andy. Concerning your first paragraph....I think that's rather optimistic. I think they put that on the cover to sell magazines. :)

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