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Defending the Theory of Evolution Still Seems Needed

Judith S. Weis, a biology professor who serves as president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is leading a nationwide effort to "defend" the theory of evolution. Weis leads the effort in the face of what the institute views as opposition and indifference from school boards and government entities.

The Institute believes that the teaching of evolution in America is being diminished by the teaching of creationism as well as by an overall lack of teaching Darwin's theory in high school. "There's nothing that requires schools to teach evolution. Sometimes teachers in high schools just leave it out. However from the point of view of biologists, evolution is the central theory of biology upon which everything is based," said Weis. "Unfortunately, teaching evolution has become a political issue in many parts of the country and AIBS, as a representative of biologists, wanted to be a major force speaking out in favor of its teaching. "

Weis said the institute is working together with the American Geological Institute and the National Association of Biology Teachers and its 80-plus member organizations to address" the political and legislative threats to teaching evolution. In states challenging its teaching, the institute responds by sending letters to school boards and state legislatures, by providing testimony at public meetings and by notifying members and affiliated organizations. AIBS, with more than 80 member societies and 250,000 members, has established an email system enabling scientists and teachers in each state, and member societies, to keep each other informed about threats to the teaching of evolution.

Darwin's theory of evolution holds that living things change and adapt to their environment and that present-day species ( including human beings) are descended from earlier species through modification by natural selection. The theory has been accepted by scientists for nearly 100 years, Weis said, and has been refined, extended and strengthened over the years by findings in paleontology and developmental biology. Discoveries in genetics, molecular biology and genomics—all of which provide significant benefits for human health—would not be possible without the underlying knowledge of evolution. And, Weis adds, "modem molecular biology and genomics have increased our understanding of how evolution works." Nonetheless, evolution remains a politically, if not scientifically, controversial issue.

Weis said that this year alone, seven states have had either local or statewide efforts to water down the teaching of evolution, or "balance" it with the teaching of creationism—a religious belief that different species were created separately by a higher power, such as God. "Rarely does anyone now use the word ' creationism, ' because that's too obvious," Weis said. "The current terminology is ' intelligent design. ' "

According to the first paragraph, which of the following statements about the theory or evolution is true?

A.Government entities support AIBS's effort to defend the theory of evolution.

B.School boards oppose AIBS's effort to defend the theory of evolution.

C.AIBS and school boards advocate the teaching of the theory of evolution.

D.The theory of evolution and that of creationism co-exist peacefully in schools.

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  • AIBS's is composed of ______.

    A.more than 80 societies and 250,000 members

    B.250,000 biologists

    C.80 member organizations

    D.more than 250,000 members and 80 member societies

  • A.city

    B.year

    C.person

    D.country

  • According to Weis in the 5th paragraph, the theory of evolution ______.

    A.is fundamental to the development of modem genetics, molecular biology and geonomics

    B.is a political issue

    C.is based on genetics, molecular biology and geonomics

    D.has increased our understanding of human health

  • Why do people replace the term creationism with the term intelligent design nowadays?

    A.Because "intelligent design" represents the modified theory of evolution.

    B.Because they believe God created different species.

    C.Because the term creationism is unscientific.

    D.Because the term creationism is too direct.

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