Professor Irwin Corey Explains Evolution

Sorry. Irwin Corey is now 100 years old and opted for a nap rather than appear on this site. But even though this is not a post about the world’s foremost authority, I found this interesting video on YouTube … presenting Professor Irwin Corey on his 100th birthday:

Bill Nye, the Science Guy, isn’t Professor Irwin Corey but after reading Nye’s newest book (Undeniable) and seeing the Science Guy on television, I couldn’t help make the connection: both are authorities and both pontificate with a lot of humor.

First, it’s important to understand that Bill Nye knows what he’s talking about; whereas Irwin Corey is a true comedian. Bill Nye gives us a detailed and wide-ranging view of the scientific study of life. I certainly understood more about evolution and its almost total immersion in all of life. Clearly, life does not exist without evolution.

universeNye references his debates with Creationists and makes it clear where the arguments in favor of an Intelligent Designer are pure fantasy. Although Bill indicates his respect for others’ religious views, he’s firm on calling a primitive stone-age myth just what it is: a primitive stone-age myth with no possible connection to the realities of life in our universe. And then he proceeds to demonstrate the evidence—the processes of evolution over unthinkable spans of time—and the conclusions reached are extremely clear and satisfying.

Nye makes a point that I have heard elsewhere but it is both true and effective: Science allows for new discoveries and vital questioning to progress and allows our lives and knowledge of our place in the universe to always be growing and enriching whereas Creationism is a pat explanation where nothing can change and nothing can be questioned. That makes Creationism sound bad and when you understand that it is just a lot of hooey, it’s easily dismissed.

Another point Nye makes (in several variations) is that living creatures spend most of their lives procreating. In fact, the ability to pass one’s genetic material on to the next generation is the central operative of evolution, whether you’re a humanoid or a whelk. It is variations in this genetic material, possibly caused by photon bombardment (Plan 9) or more probably by little screw-ups in nature (you know how to walk but you never trip?) that over millions of years brings about changes in the life-form or possibly even a completely new species. Nye emphasizes over and over that these changes are neutral—neither good or bad—and the changes may survive (be selected) if they are even a small bit beneficial. Nature doesn’t design anything perfect, despite what Kurt Cameron may think, but subscribes to the excellent measurement of being just good enough.

The human eye is often given as a clear sign that Intelligent Design must have created it but the human eye isn’t even as good as the eye of the average raptor. It’s good enough for humans, though. So many things are poorly designed in the human body that any self-respecting god would have to turn in his (or her) ID badge.

DNATowards the end of the book, Nye gets into some of the interesting, but often problematic directions science is taking: Stem Cells are good and may revolutionize medicine in the future; cloning is not so good and doesn’t work like science fiction suggests; etc.

Unlike school textbooks, Bill Nye’s book is easy to read, informative, and often fun. You will increase the value of Undeniable if you stop and rethink some of the concepts Nye introduces in the chapters: Undeniable reads so easily and fast, it’s a good idea to let it all sink in before rushing off to another concept. All in all, Bill Nye (the Science Guy) has written an good little book on science and evolution. I recommend it highly: Undeniable:  Evolution and the Science of Creation.

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