Apple Weighs in: New iPhone App Backs Evolution

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Evolution vs. Creationism -- now there's an app for that.

But it's from the evolution side of the age-old argument. Called "Timetree," the new iPhone application gives a timeline for how monkey evolved into man over the past 30 million years or so.

This is a free app, courtesy of Pennsylvania and Arizona state universities, and is funded by the US National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and NASA.

According to a statement issued yesterday by Penn State:

The new smartphone app for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad gives anyone the power to explore an area at the forefront of comparative biology and to find his or her place in the timetree of life ...

Timetrees are used widely in research in evolutionary biology ... Astrobiologists and geologists also use timetrees to study how life arose and diversified and how organisms affected the Earth's environment, including the atmosphere, throughout time.

"One of the most important things about this knowledgebase," says Timetree scientist Sudhir Kumar, "is that it makes it possible for anyone to see the current agreements and disagreements in the field - immediately."

Some people are seeing this as Apple's way of endorsing evolution over creationism. Apple is very controlling over what is available in its App Store, famously banning porn apps, for example. But so far, Apple has not weighed in on whether it has an official stance on this debate.