Ten Questions to Ask your Students about the PBS Evolution Series

Casey Luskin of the IDEA Club (idea@ucsd.edu)
  1. EYE EVOLUTION (Episode 1). Zoologist Dan-Eric Nilsson claims to have created a model to evolve the human eye in a step-by-step manner -- but what evolutionary jumps are shown during his demonstration of the eye-evolution model?
  2. ORIGIN OF BODY PLANS (Episode 2). If special master control genes can be used to "manipulate" "packets of information" to evolve new body plans, exactly what are these "packets of information" and how did they originate?
  3. MUTANT FRUIT FLIES (Episode 2). If induced mutations on fruit flies are deadly, weakening, or disadvantageous for survival (i.e. legs growing out of the head), what are the implications for the statistical chances of advantageous mutations arising in the wild?
  4. TRANSITION TO HUMANS (Episode 2). The evolutionary transition which led to humans is said to be the same as all the others. What fossils are shown documenting the alleged evolutionary transition from the chimp-like ape ancestor to humans?
  5. EXTINCTION! (Episode 3). Conservationist Alan Rabinowitz claims that "evolution is going on all around us." What exactly is this evolution and what are its implications for the origin of new species?
  6. THE EVOLUTIONARY ARMS RACE (Episode 4). Humans with the special gene to fight off HIV are said to have lost receptors on their immune-system cells. What degree of change is typically necessary to bring about anti-biotic resistance in microorganisms or disease-resistance in large animals?
  7. WHY SEX? (Episode 5). People are said to find some features attractive (smell, facial features) because they are linked to actual fitness for survival. What aspects of human intellectual or artistic ability might there be which would confer no selective advantage for survival?
  8. THE MIND'S BIG BANG (Episode 6). What is the primary difficulty presented by the archaeological record for the supposed hundreds of thousands of years that are given as necessary for the evolution of the precise wiring giving intelligence to the human brain?
  9. CINEMATOGRAPHY AND TYPECASTING (Episode 7). In "What about God" (episode 7), what cinematic techniques, narrator diction, or excerpts from interviews are used to typecast opposition to evolution as anti-intellectual?
  10. OPTIONS FOR RELIGIOUS PEOPLE (Episode 7). Besides anti-intellectual young-earth creationism or full acceptance of evolutionary theory, what other scientific and religious options of belief about evolutionary theory, which are not portrayed in Evolution, are possible for a person?

We recommend you read “Getting the Facts Straight A Viewer’s Guide to PBS’s Evolution” by the Discovery Institute for a more complete review of the series. To download this guide for free or order the guide, visit the Discovery Institute website at: http://www.reviewevolution.com/.