Maple Grove, MN 55369
Dr. Michael Padilla
Prentice Hall Publishers
Upper Saddle, New Jersey 07458
Dear Dr. Padilla and Prentice Hall Editor:
I wish to comment on a couple items in the new Life Science textbook I have recently been sent for preview. I have taught junior high science for 29 years and have a master's degree from the University of Minnesota in science education. We have used the Prentice Hall texts in our school and district for the last 15 years. We are currently considering them again.
On page 167, the text shows three pictures of embryonic chicken, turtle and rat claiming that this is proof of evolution. Even Stephen Jay Gould has discounted the use of embryos as proof of evolution as Darwin did. As you know Darwin not being an embryologist, depended on Ernst Haeckel's now universally discredited embryo drawings. Darwin put much trust in these diagrams in his theory formulation. Gould has said of Haeckel's embryos that "It looks like it is turning out to be one of the most famous fakes in biology" (March 200 Natural History). Embryologist Adam Sedgewick says "every embryologist knows..., a species is distinct and distinguishable from its allies from the earliest stages all through the development." (Icons of Evolution, Jonathon Wells).
The use of peppered moths on page 154 is also troubling. First this shows nothing more than variation within a species. Also, since 1980, evidence shows that the moths do not rest on tree trunks during the day! Finnish zoologist Kauri Mikkola's study conclusively proved this in 1984. The predation studies that show moths on the bark were staged by gluing dead moths on to the trees to see which were eaten by birds (Icons of Evolution, pg 149). I once wrote a lab manual for Glencoe in which I too used the peppered moth as an example of camouflage.
These are just a couple of concerns I had about the book. I am not doing this just to be critical, but to make the book better. I have enjoyed using the old text book for all these years, and I like the general looks and content of the new one as well. I hope to hear from you and your response.
Osseo Junior High
10223 93rd Ave. N.W.