Evolution Sunday: The Day After

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The initial reports are starting to trickle in about classes, sermons and other activities related to Evolution Sunday.

19 Comments

Although it wasn’t tied specifically to Darwin Sunday, there was an excellent story in the Chicago Tribune today on Miller, Behe, and the flagellum.

Chicago Tribune Wrote:

Perhaps the strongest rebuke to ID in the Dover case concerned the claim by Behe and others that it would be impossible for evolution to produce the immune system. Miller testified that since Behe wrote his 1996 book, evolutionary biologists have built a rich account of the immune system–a point Judge Jones highlighted in his ruling.

“[Behe] was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system,” Jones wrote, “however, he simply insisted … that it was not ‘good enough.’”

Behe still staunchly defends ID, saying Miller and other biologists have yet to show how evolution originally produced any complex biochemistry.

“They’re saying part of the flagellum looks like some other part of the cell,” Behe said. “None of that says what the first step would be in trying to construct the flagellum.”

Proponents of intelligent design clearly are refusing to play by the normal rules of scientific evidence, Miller responds.

Behe’s dismissal of the immune system research “tells you right away, ain’t nothing gonna convince this guy,” he said.

More here, registration required.

While the east coast blizzard prevented Eric Rothschild and Tammy Kitzmiller from making it to the Ohio party yesterday, Rothschild spoke for an hour via audio link to a crowd of over 100 at Congregation Tifereth Israel, his powerpoint slides being shown as he spoke. Dr. Hillel Chiel, Professor of Biology, Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering at Case Western and three members of the Ohio Sate Board of Education also spoke. At the reception afterward we had a Darwinian birthday cake, suitably decorated, and lots of brownies! (I love brownies.)

RBH

Any chance to post the powerpoint presentation by Rothschild (or even the audio)?

Chicago Tribune link:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/featu[…]554322.story

does not work. Extra space/”%20” before “feb13”.

Correct link is: http://www.chicagotribune.com/featu[…]554322.story

I don’t have the video or the audio to yesterday’s presentation w/ Rothschild but here’s a quick summary of what I saw (I had to leave right after Sam Schlomer spoke). I’d be interested in knowing some details of what I missed.

I thought Dr. Chiel’s talk was really excellent. He very clearly laid out how, as a neuroscientist, he uses evolutionary theory to frame questions, construct experiements and develop models (he constructs neural networks via evolutionary algorithms.) He proceeded to discuss how evolutionary theory didn’t lead one to atheism–mentioning that some people confuse correlation with causation when their teenage kids get rebellious at about the same time they start taking serious science classes!–and the pitfalls of a literalist interpretation of Genesis. Very engaging. Oh, and he also spent some time discussing what we’d do if Holocaust revisionists wanted to “teach the controversy.” Godwin’s Law doesn’t hold in synagogue. ;)

Rothschild was of course wonderful as well, especially given the impromptu cell-phone link he had to communicate over. It was rather sad–he spent quite a bit of time explaining how the Dover board utterly failed in their legal argument that ID wasn’t creationism because it didn’t use that actual word, and immediately after his talk an unidentified woman (friend or family of a pro-ID Board of Education member, I suspect) got up to explain that the current Ohio lesson plan isn’t favoring ID because it doesn’t use that actual word! I don’t think she was really listening to him previously.

Incidentally, the three Board members who spoke all opposed the plan. I was quite impressed by their courage and determination–these were laypeople, admittedly unfamiliar with science, who had had to figure out for themselves that the other Board members were trying to snow them. Fortunately, by this point they were well aware that scientific consensus pointed in the other direction.

The next Board meeting’s tomorrow…should be interesting to attend. Apparently a lot of creationists are busing in to cheer for the pro-ID side.…

I was quite impressed by their courage and determination—these were laypeople, admittedly unfamiliar with science, who had had to figure out for themselves that the other Board members were trying to snow them.

That should be “other Board members,” not “the other Board members,” since it’s split about half and half at the moment.

A good reminder by Augustine who wrote over 1600 years ago in “The Literal Meaning of Genesis”

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.… Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by these who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

(Augustine, “De Genesi ad Litteram” On the Literal Meaning of Genesis, pp. 42-43).

And a quote mined from the same which seemed somewhat relevant given a recent discussion

The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell. * II, xvii, 37

Anyone know of an online source?

Cassandra wrote

I don’t have the video or the audio to yesterday’s presentation w/ Rothschild but here’s a quick summary of what I saw (I had to leave right after Sam Schlomer spoke). I’d be interested in knowing some details of what I missed.

I’ve got noisy audio. Since I had to tend the phone link I couldn’t control the recorder. If I can get it cleaned up and edited some, I’ll post it for your listening enjoyment.

RBH

Too bad about the timing…

Across the US - the second Sunday in February traditionally is “Scout Sunday” - so we lost an opportunity to do some Darwin work in an awful lot of Methodist churchs where a lot of Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups reside.

And United Methodists are very open to science - we’ve got the quadrilateral afterall.

Maybe make Darwin Sunday the week before his birthday…

Wow PvM good Augustine quote ! Even an athiest could have written that !

And a quote mined from the same which seemed somewhat relevant given a recent discussion

The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.

Speaking as a mathematics student: oi! On the whole, we do not make covenants with the Devil!

We make covenants with lawyers instead. They’re much scarier.

The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.

I am given to understand that “mathematician” would be better translated as “astrologer” here, and we all know about the relationship between astrology and ID. The conclusion is obvious.

Isn’t Dembski a mathemetician who spews empty prophecies?

Sounds like a prophecy from Augustine!

At the reception afterward we had a Darwinian birthday cake, suitably decorated, and lots of brownies!

All of this adulation of Darwin is positively obscene.

We now know that Darwinism is in fact a religion – it even has its own founding prophet, Charles Darwin. We now have another “church of latter-day saints” in addition to Mormonism.

Why are all these houses of worship worshiping Darwin ? What does Darwinism have to do with traditional religions ? Absolutely nothing !

I think that “Darwin Day” is just a publicity stunt by the churches to try to counter the bad image created by that fatheaded crackpot Pat Robertson when he said that god would not help Dover because the voters there voted out the pro-ID school board members.

Why are all these houses of worship worshiping Darwin ? What does Darwinism have to do with traditional religions ? Absolutely nothing !

why do we have a presidents day there, larry?

isn’t that just the idol worship of politicians?

what does Lincoln’s birthday have to do with traditional politics?

it’s utterly amazing how focused on the issue of evolution you are, to the complete and totally irrational exclusion of everything else in the world.

why DO you persist?

Larry et al.:

the churches … try to counter the bad image created by that fatheaded crackpot Pat Robertson when he said that god would not help Dover because the voters there voted out the pro-ID school board members.

Newsflash!! Larry and the Real World Accidentally Intersect!

Illustrating that, indeed, even a broken clock shows the correct time twice a day.

You guys are the 56452 best, thanks so much for the help.

You guys are the 56452 best, thanks so much for the help.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on February 13, 2006 4:30 PM.

Mutation, selection and complexity was the previous entry in this blog.

Interview with an Evolutionary Biologist is the next entry in this blog.

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