Islam, Charles Darwin and the denial of science
By STEVE JONES - THE TELEGRAPH
Added: Wed, 07 Dec 2011 19:16:15 UTC
This issue was originally reported and discussed on RDFRS in a link to a Daily Mail article here
A growing number of biology and medical students are rejecting the very basis of their chosen subject in favour of creationism.
'I have had plenty of verbal complaints from undergraduates that I am demeaning religion,’
says Steve Jones, pictured at the Grant Museum in UCL
Photo: RICHARD CANNON
A few years ago I had an operation to repair a hernia. In that I shared the experience of about one in four British men of my age, in whom a section of intestine breaks through the body wall to form an unpleasant, and potentially dangerous, bulge in the groin. The job was done quickly and efficiently by a surgeon who had, no doubt, done it hundreds of times before.
But why is that procedure needed so often? The story began long ago, when our ancestors were fish. In those happy days the testes were deep within the main body mass, close to the liver (as they still are in our marine cousins). They were connected to the outside world by a pair of straight tubes. Then came the move on to land and the shift from cold blood to warm. That had lots of advantages, but faced the unfortunate male with a problem, for the delicate machinery for making sperm works best at low temperatures, perhaps to reduce the number of errors made as DNA is copied.
The solution was a messy compromise in which the testes migrated south and emerged in their present form in an elegant external sac (which makes them, as I never fail to point out to students, both literally and figuratively the coolest part of any man’s body). To make the journey, the tubes had to loop around some of the bones of the pubic girdle and to pass close to the surface of the body to make a weak point where, now and again, the intestine makes a break for freedom.
Steve Jones was until recently Professor of Genetics at University College London and is President of the Association for Science Education
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