I received an interesting spam e-mail the other day.
We posted an article that we thought you and your readers might be interested in having a look at, "Yay or Nay: 20 Sites Debating Evolution vs Creationism" ( [link removed - jrl] ). Just thought I'd let you know that you would be interested in featuring or mentioning it in your blog.
Thanks for your time!
It looked superficially honest enough. Only the included url (that I deleted) gave it away. It was to a site called 'change of address dot org' (with spaces removed and the dot as a '.'). They'd thrown together a handful of links on the topic, with the pretense of it being a useful resource, but it was obviously just a hook to try to bring eyes to their site so that they could sell you something.
I'm not going to link to that site, since that would reward their practices with an improved Google ranking. However, if you want to see it for yourself, just do a Google search for 'Yay or Nay: 20 Sites Debating Evolution vs Creationism', and it will pop up along with its clones.
First of all, it's set up as if there's a legitimate debate on the issue, with 8 pro-evolutionary science sites, 8 pro-creationism sites, and 4 'Middle of the Road Options'. Now, that's fine if you're trying to understand the culture of the debate, but it's not very useful for getting at the truth. There's no real scientific question over the truth of evolution - it's entirely a cultural issue, with people refusing to accept evolution for other reasons (such as religion).
But even looking at their links to pro-evolution sites is a bit odd. I've been rather caught up in the evolution/creation debate for several years now, so I know some of the better websites that deal with the issue. Their links left off some of the best. Here are the links they chose, in the order they presented them:
None of those are bad sites. In fact, if I had to make a list of the 8 best evolution sites that I knew of, I'd probably include a few they mentioned (especially The Panda's Thumb). But where is The TalkOrigins Archive? How can you possibly mention the evolution/creationism debate without including that site? In my opinion, it is the best resource for people who misunderstand evolution because of misinformation from creationist leaders. And what about Berkeley's Understanding Evolution site, PBS: Evolution, or even the National Center for Science Education?
Their pro-creationism sites were also odd. They included a link to the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and Answers in Genesis, which I fully expected, but left off links to the most prominent Intelligent Design sites, such as Uncommon Descent and The Discovery Institute.
Oh well. I get lots of spam, and I hardly ever mention it on this blog. And this entry ended up turning into something longer than the e-mail actually deserved. It's just a bit irritating to get an e-mail that initially looks like something that may be worth posting, only to discover that it's a scam. Plus, this was a decent opportunity for me to post links to some good resources on evolution.
For a post that I didn't consider terribly interesting, this one has already gotten a troll in the comments, and an e-mail from Robert Luhn of the NCSE (that's a lot of traffic for me, so back off </Billy Madison voice>). I may respond to David Buckna in the comments, but I thought I'd include up here two more evolution resources from the NCSE e-mail.
We've excerpted a ton of evolution books on our site. Check out our archive here:
Another good resource: our Antievolution Legislation Scorecard at:
Those are good resources worth taking a look at.
Update 2012-03-07 - If you happen to be reading this on one of the archive pages on this site, note that there was a rather long exchange between a reader and me in the comments section. You may want to click on the 'Read more' link to read the comments.