standard evolution practice / Clavipes sphinx

Bruce Walsh jbwalsh at
Fri Aug 13 11:19:20 EDT 1999

John Grehan wrote "Students (especially university students)
appear to be discouraged from independent thinking - many seem to be
parrots for their teachers or supervisors. The suppression of other views
is standard practice in science, and evolution is no exception"

John is very off-base here.  Science is unique in that we train our
students to QUESTION everything --- why do we think an observation is correct? 
Is the data reasonable?  Is there another explanation that fits all the
facts?    I've taught both introductory biology (1000 students/class) and
Genetics (300 students/class) here at Arizona for over 10 years and we
strongly encourage students to learn how to think for themselves and to think

Perhaps John's suppression of other views deal with topics such as
Astrology and the like, where our "suppression" is simply to ask someone to show
us independent studies/observations that are consistent with PREDICTIONS
these theories make.    Sloppy thinking is not thinking for oneself, and
great care must be taken not to confuse the two.  Alas, given the current
level of scientific literacy, suppression is an easy and emotion-laden
statement that covers up sins of the accuser.


On a Leps matter, the  Clavipes sphinx (Aellopos clavipes) is having a
rare major migration through SE Arizona.  Even saw one in my backyard!   A
photo of this species is on our mothpage, at


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