different pathways than would have been the case elsewhere. By studying these evolutionary pathways, biologists have been able to draw powerful conclusions about evolution’s occurrence, mechanisms, and courses.
To give students an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of evolution, this book contains a teaching exercise similar to the ones contained in Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science. Using real genetic data from 18 species of Drosophila flies in Hawaii, students draw evolutionary trees depicting the relationships of the species and investigate the link between speciation and the ages of the Hawaiian islands. By letting students explore the mechanisms involved in the origin of species, the teaching exercise demonstrates how descent from a common ancestor can produce organisms with widely varying characteristics.
This publication has been designed specifically to supplement a broader consideration of evolution. By exploring a particular example in depth, it illuminates the general principles of evolutionary biology and demonstrates how ongoing research is continuing to expand our knowledge of the natural world. A related book, Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 2nd Edition (National Academy of Sciences, 1999), considers at greater length the arguments used by those who oppose the teaching of evolution in public schools. (Science and Creationism is available on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309064066/html.)
The text of this publication was written by Steve Olson with input and assistance from Hampton Carson, Elysse Craddock, and Kenneth Kaneshiro. It was reviewed by a panel of scientists and educators that included Francisco Ayala, Wayne Carley, Gerald Carr, Brent Dalrymple, Timothy Goldsmith, Valdine McLean, Eric Meikle, Kenneth Miller, Leslie Pierce, Barbara Schulz, Rachel Wood, and Peter Vitousek. Erika Shugart and Jay Labov managed the project and contributed substantially to the development of the text. They were assisted by Dimitria Satterwhite, Kirsten Sampson Snyder, and Yvonne Wise. Additional thanks are extended to Rachel Marcus, Will Mason, Dan Parham, and Sally Stanfield at the National Academies Press for their work on the production of this book and Anne Rogers for the design and layout.
The teaching exercise was developed through the collaborative efforts of Hampton Carson and Kenneth Kaneshiro of the University of Hawaii; Elysse Craddock of Purchase College, State University of New York; LeslieAnn Pierce, Diane DeFalco, and Jay Calfee of Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia; Steve Olson; Lyn Countryman of Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Judith Shaw and the students of her Advanced Placement biology class of Auburn Riverside High School, Washington.
The controversy over the teaching of evolution in the United States has been going on for many decades and will not be easily resolved. The opponents of evolution are trying in many ways to undercut evolution’s place in the science curriculum. Those who are committed to the teaching of evolution have much work in front of them to continue to ensure the integrity of U.S. science education.
I have known many scientists during my life who are deeply religious. They see no contradiction between their beliefs and the teaching of evolution and are firmly opposed to introducing religious ideas into science classrooms. The scientific and the religious domains of human life are both important, but they need to remain separate if each is to contribute to a better future.
Bruce Alberts, President
National Academy of Sciences