Washington Post: Creationism’s Latest Mutation

| 167 Comments

The Washington Post has an excellent editorial on the recent attempts by Intelligent Design Creationists to ‘teach the controversy’ and ‘academic freedom’, observing that

Red-herring arguments about ‘academic freedom’ can’t be allowed to undermine the teaching of evolution.

The editorial points out how these efforts to undermine science are at best misguided.

NO ONE would think it acceptable for a teacher to question the existence of gravity or to suggest that two plus two equals anything but four. It’s mystifying, then, that a movement to undermine the teaching of evolutionary biology is attracting some support. Equally perverse is that this misguided effort is being advanced under the false guise of academic freedom.

The WP shows that they understand the issues and that while ‘academic freedom’ may sound appealing to the layperson, the reality is that there are no controversies about the fact of evolution. At best there are disagreements about the relative importance of mechanisms of evolution or there are areas where our ignorance does not allow us to provide satisfactory explanations. The absence of such explanations because of our ignorance is abused by Intelligent Design to create the impression of ‘design’ but the readers of this blog should know by now that in ID speak, design means nothing more than a measure of our ignorance.

What’s insidious about these measures is that at first blush they appear so harmless. Isn’t everyone in favor of academic freedom? What’s so wrong about allowing all sides of an issue to be heard? Why should teachers be punished for speaking their minds? Those arguments might have standing if there were any doubt about the reality of evolution, but, as an official with the National Academy of Sciences told the Wall Street Journal, “There’s no controversy.”

Indeed, ask any ID Creationist how they explain the Cambrian Explosion, the origin of life or the origin of the bacterial flagellum. They either will remain quiet or they will respond that such a request is just ‘pathetic’ and that ID should not be held to such silly standards of science.

And the WP also understands that there is a good reason why there is no ‘academic freedom’ for elementary and secondary education. Teachers have to follow the accepted curriculum and lesson plans just to avoid the undermining of education.

Consider, also, that there really is no such thing as academic freedom in elementary and secondary education. A teacher can’t deviate from the accepted curriculum to present alternative lesson plans or to offer his or her own notions. The Florida teachers association opposed the bills, though ostensibly they are meant to benefit educators. Clearly, the strategy is to devise an end run around legal decisions – going all the way to the Supreme Court – that restrict the teaching of creationism in public classrooms.

It’s clear to all of us and yet I am sure ID Creationists are still left denying the obvious. Par for the course I’d say.

167 Comments

We have the fossils… we win!

Yet another transitional fossil turns up. It’s a frogamander! Amphibians have evolved more than Creationists arguments and are far more interesting.

Gerobatrachus hottoni was probably smarter than any of the “academic freedom” proponents, come to think of it.

NO ONE would think it acceptable for a teacher to question the existence of gravity

Have a look at this month’s “The sky at night” programme from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/[…]oginfo.shtml

Entitled “what we just don’t know” (a phrase coined by Sir Patrick by the way) it’s a fascinating discussion on astronomy and cosmology. Cosmology is one of those subjects that the more facts we discover, the more questions arise. At one point the discussion centres on “dark matter” and the fact that there really is a lot of the Universe that we just can’t see. One of the guests correctly says that it isn’t in fact dark matter but transparant matter (if it were dark we wouldn’t be able to see anything at all). He then went on to describe what dark matter was and wasn’t. At this point another guest admits “Either that or it could be that our theories on gravity could be completely wrong” Great science from the BBC and well worth watching.

Incidentally, the creation museum had it’s four hundred thousandth visitor yesterday:

http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/m[…]05/21/400000th-guest-arrives-at-the-creation-museum/

With this number of YEC’s flocking to AiG’s creationist icon I don’t know why the ID crowd even bother. I can’t see attendance at the museum tailing off any time soon either. The sad thing is that YECism is taught as science in most Christian schools, by most home schooling parents, and by Christian universities (Cedarville, Liberty etc.) in the US and there doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do about it. Judging by the numbers flocking to the museum it’s obviously having some impact.

PvM Wrote:

Indeed, ask any ID Creationist how they explain the Cambrian Explosion, the origin of life or the origin of the bacterial flagellum. They either will remain quiet or they will respond that such a request is just ‘pathetic’ and that ID should not be held to such silly standards of science.

Heck, just ask them in front of their target audience when the Cambrian Explosion occurred, and watch them weasel. Then if they keep trying to change the subject to how the CE refutes “Darwinism” just thank them for not challenging Michael Behe, and thus admitting that humans and fish are all descended from that first chordate.

Peter Henderson said: Have a look at this month’s “The sky at night” programme from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/[…]oginfo.shtml

Entitled “what we just don’t know” (a phrase coined by Sir Patrick by the way) it’s a fascinating discussion on astronomy and cosmology. Cosmology is one of those subjects that the more facts we discover, the more questions arise. At one point the discussion centres on “dark matter” and the fact that there really is a lot of the Universe that we just can’t see. One of the guests correctly says that it isn’t in fact dark matter but transparant matter (if it were dark we wouldn’t be able to see anything at all). He then went on to describe what dark matter was and wasn’t. At this point another guest admits “Either that or it could be that our theories on gravity could be completely wrong” Great science from the BBC and well worth watching.

I watched that episode as it was transmitted, and thoroughly enjoyed it. What you seem to have omitted is that Sir Patrick made a big deal out of the fact that it was the 666th edition of The Sky At Night, which I thought was mildly amusing.

Good for journalism, and good for science! I’m glad some journalists can go beyond “he said, but she said” neutralism as it becomes childish in the face of facts. (Or reliable experts, for that matter.)

Mike O’Risal said: Yet another transitional fossil turns up. It’s a frogamander! Amphibians have evolved more than Creationists arguments and are far more interesting.

Yes. I wish cdesign proponentsists and their descendants had croaked as nicely.

Peter Henderson said: At one point the discussion centres on “dark matter” and the fact that there really is a lot of the Universe that we just can’t see. One of the guests correctly says that it isn’t in fact dark matter but transparant matter (if it were dark we wouldn’t be able to see anything at all). He then went on to describe what dark matter was and wasn’t. At this point another guest admits “Either that or it could be that our theories on gravity could be completely wrong”

Nice example, but I have a few nitpicks.

Dark matter is seen as in observed, directly now in a few cases as in the Bullet cluster.

Transparency means a material directly interacts with EM radiation passing through it, it can still have a different refractive index for example. But the point with dark matter is that it doesn’t seem to interact strongly, hence “dark”. (As opposed to black, which absorbs light.) It bends light through gravity interaction, but any density where it is still dark matter as opposed to black holes would permit a light albeit strange looking sky. As dark energy is also indirectly interacting with EM through cosmological expansion, “dark” seems to me rather aptly chosen.

Not a nitpick, as I haven’t taken time to watch the program, but I wonder if it is dated as the alternative gravity theories explaining dark matter observations AFAIU were ruled out as of -07 or so, by the Bullet cluster observations among others.

Dear Mike O’Risal:

That’s the same quote I heard from Ken Miller during his brief talk at AMNH exactly two weeks ago. Obviously it is one I agree with, and moreover, note that no “scientific creationist” “scientific theory” has attempted to explain the significance of mass extinctions, paleoecological recovery and “adaptive radiations” in the aftermath of mass extinctions, or paleobiogeographic distributions of fossils. Indeed, I asked Behe via e-mail last summer how Intelligent Design could explain these interesting paleontological observations, and, not surprisingly, didn’t get an answer.

Regards,

John

Correct me if I’m wrong: there is no theory of gravity, is there? Isn’t it an enigma? Has anyone ever done the maths of why objects attract each other?

This is off-topic, but I personally come from a biblical perspective. The Bible doesn’t ignore gravity. You can tell the astro-physicists now, that gravity will never be fully explained, mathematically. But it won’t be doing anything capricious, either. That’s another topic.

I have, by mail, and personally, lobbied Ken Ham/AIG, and the leading home schooling program, A.C.E., to fix their origins content. I got some attention from A.C.E., but the hard line AIG - type influence is strong. Personally, I would prefer an origins course from, say, NCSE, than from AIG. Common Descent Evolution can be passed off as humoring a bunch of confused scientists. Hard line Youngearthism actually purports to be biblically compatible - which it isn’t - so teaching it makes the Bible look foolish.

If you wish to cut those numbers going to that museum - simply get something that contradicts neither the Bible nor science, and provide a real alternative. I endeavour to do so, via my site.

There’s an excellent article on the Smirking Chimp: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/14768 , called “Jesus Arm-Wrestled with Dinosaurs.” Despite the snarky title and occasional other bits of sarcasm, it’s essentially very serious. Well worth reading.

With “that old serpent”, the “Dragon”, you mean. It was no contest. The problem he had on Man’s behalf because Man listened to the dragon, is a different matter. How weird are some titles?

Mr. Heywood -

Before a real scientist explains to you the various ancient and modern theories of gravity, perhaps could clear up some potential confusion by telling us what you think a theory is. I suspect that your concept of a theory is rather different from that of the people who will attempt to answer you.

And could you explain, ideally with an example, how maths [sic - Brit?] can explain “why” something happens. Again, I suspect that your concepts of “maths” and “why” are rather different from those of professional scientists.

Philip Bruce Heywood Wrote:

If you wish to cut those numbers going to that museum - simply get something that contradicts neither the Bible nor science, and provide a real alternative. I endeavour to do so, via my site.

No such compromise exists, sadly. A literal reading of the Bible is directly contradicted by many facts. For instance, locusts have 6 legs (not 4); there has never been a global flood; and species arise by descent with modification from ancestral species (and are not “each [created] unto its kind”).

The only way in which science and the Bible coexist is if one first acknowledges that the Bible should not be read literally.

Philip Bruce Heywood said:

The Bible doesn’t ignore gravity.

Pray tell: Where in the Bible is gravity mentioned?

“Pray tell: Where in the Bible is gravity mentioned?”

The Fall of Man? ;-)

Though I guess ascending into Heaven cancels that…

PvM said:

The Washington Post has an excellent editorial on the recent attempts by Intelligent Design Creationists to ‘teach the controversy’ and ‘academic freedom’…

But that won’t have any effect on the True Believers because

Conservapedia sez:

The family of Katharine Graham remain large shareholders, and ensures the (Washington Post) never strays far from its liberal point of view.

(http://www.conservapedia.com/Washington_Post)

(For those unfamiliar with the conservative mutation of Wikipedia, check out such jewels as “Baraminology” and particularly the “Origins” section of the “Kangaroo” article.)

What you seem to have omitted is that Sir Patrick made a big deal out of the fact that it was the 666th edition of The Sky At Night, which I thought was mildly amusing

Did realise this Nigel (check my thread over at the forum)

Torbjörn: They did make the point that ordinary matter “shines” i.e. the stuff that you and I are made of. They also stated that all our current theories fit with what we observe.

One of the best sky at nights in the entire series, in my opinion.

Okay, “bigbang,” I’ll bite. Give a specific example of an aspect of paleobiology that evolutionary theory fails to account for, and then explain how ID does a better job of accounting for it. Also, please explain how ID is falsifiable.

bigbang

The only, and I dare say only design proponents who are not YEC or OEC is Behe.If you read the textbooks churned out by the institute or supported by it you will see that their main idea is that.

“Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc.” Of Pandas and People

Does that sound like Common descent to you? I don’t think so, Look up quotes by Wells, Dembski or Meyer and you will see what they believe.

I know that you have doubts and are a skeptic, but your problem is the thinking that only people who disagree with the current theory is the undiscovery institute.

Truth is, there are scientists the world over looking for an alternative hypothesis or better explanation (Gould’s equilibrium to name one) and they are actually researching something, not quote mining journals without any real knowledge like Behe does.

And you are misquoting Ken miller, he doesn’t believe that there are any divine hand involved in evolution and neither does Francis Collins, to say about the BB or physics and connect it to evolution is not wrong by a degree, it’s a different field entirely.

I really hope you are not a troll bigbang.

Not to mention that the evidence so far, when looked into objectively overwhelmingly support evolution.

Perhaps in your mind the current answer is not enough but let me say this to you, let real scientist(Many of them theist and are not out to destroy your precious Christian religion) continue to do their work along the line set out by the scientific method, not impede them by stopping in front of a gap as worship it like ID people does.

Meanwhile, over at Uncommon Dissent, Dr Dr Dr Dembski disabuses us of our silly misunderstanding:

The Washington Post has a ridiculous editorial that elevates evolutionary theory to the same status as gravitational theory and the truths of mathematics

So there. Shame on you for thinking the WaPo might know what it’s talking about…

Philip Bruce Heywood said:

Correct me if I’m wrong: there is no theory of gravity, is there? Isn’t it an enigma? Has anyone ever done the maths of why objects attract each other?

The idea that gravity is “an enigma” is something YOU made up. Sort of like the often quoted but never attributed ‘bumblebee which shouldn’t be able to fly because the math can’t explain it.’ And while we’re on the subject: its MATH, not “maths” when referring to a series of equations. English is funny that way.

Philip Bruce Heywood said: This is off-topic, but I personally come from a biblical perspective. The Bible doesn’t ignore gravity. You can tell the astro-physicists now, that gravity will never be fully explained, mathematically. But it won’t be doing anything capricious, either. That’s another topic.

When do you want us to go tell the astro-physicists that they’re wasting their time studying gravity? Tomorrow at 12 pm? Gravity won’t be playing any tricks on us? Oh man, thats a relief. All I have to worry about are banana peels now.

Philip Bruce Heywood said: Hard line Youngearthism actually purports to be biblically compatible - which it isn’t - so teaching it makes the Bible look foolish.

We don’t want to hurt a books feelings, especially the–The Bible’s.

Philip Bruce Heywood said: If you wish to cut those numbers going to that museum - simply get something that contradicts neither the Bible nor science, and provide a real alternative. I endeavour to do so, via my site.

How about the flying Spaghetti Monster?

And while we’re on the subject: its MATH, not “maths” when referring to a series of equations. English is funny that way.

Off-topic, but to be fair the use of “maths” in this way is a valid Britishism.

For instance I’ve heard a native speakers say “I’m terrible at maths” or “We need to find somebody that can handle the maths of this problem.”

English is funny that way.

THE BIGGER PICTURE IN THE DEBATE ON DARWINISM IS NOT INTELLIGENT DESIGN. The reason is elementary: the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents leave out the Triune God, Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Richard Dawkins can make the case for “aliens” seeding the earth. There is a better way. The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view. A review: “I am amazed at the breadth of the investigation - scientific history, biblical studies, geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and so forth - and find the style of writing to be quite lucid and aimed clearly at a general, lay audience.” ― Mark Roberts, former Editor of Biblical Reference Books, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Quest for Right series of books, based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect, has effectively dismantled the quantum additions to the true architecture of the atom. Gone are the nonexistent particles once thought to be complementary to the electron and proton (examples: neutrons, neutrinos, photons, mesons, quarks, Z’s, bosons, etc.) and a host of other pseudo particles. To the curious, scientists sought to explain Atomic theory by introducing fantastic particles that supposedly came tumbling out of the impact between two particles, when in fact, the supposed finds were simply particulate debris. There are only two elementary particles which make up the whole of the universe: the proton and electron. All other particles were added via quantum magic and mathematical elucidation in an attempt to explain earthly phenomena without God. Introducing the scheme of coincidence, which by definition, “is the systematic ploy of obstructionists who, in lieu of any divine intervention, state that any coincidental grouping or chance union of electrons and protons (and neutrons), regardless of the configuration, always produces a chemical element. This is the mischievous tenet of electron interpretation which states that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an “i” from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being. The Quest for Right is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a consequence, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline. More info: http://questforright.com

GuyeFaux said:

And while we’re on the subject: its MATH, not “maths” when referring to a series of equations. English is funny that way.

Off-topic, but to be fair the use of “maths” in this way is a valid Britishism.

For instance I’ve heard a native speakers say “I’m terrible at maths” or “We need to find somebody that can handle the maths of this problem.”

English is funny that way.

There are many Americans who say: “I gots to get me some softwares at the mall.” Just shows that the Great Unwashed are everywhere. Feh!

C. David Parsons said:

THE BIGGER PICTURE IN THE DEBATE ON DARWINISM IS NOT INTELLIGENT DESIGN. The reason is elementary: the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents leave out the Triune God, Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Richard Dawkins can make the case for “aliens” seeding the earth. There is a better way.

etc. etc…

That is really the most amazing parody I’ve ever seen. Or, you have my deepest sympathy on the return of your psychiatric symtoms. Not sure which…

There are only two elementary particles which make up the whole of the universe: the proton and electron.

What about the mote in your eye?

Mike O’Risal said:

We have the fossils… we win!

Yet another transitional fossil turns up. It’s a frogamander! Amphibians have evolved more than Creationists arguments and are far more interesting.

(Caveat. I am not a biologist, just a plain software engineer who learnt biology from popular press.)

I was under the impression salamanders were simply immature frogs that extended their neotany and started reproducing as juveniles, that some salamaders would actually turn into frogs if growth hormones were applied to them, that such an experiment was actually done that made the salamanders frogs. Read that there is a nice science fiction based on the observation Homo sapiens seem to be spending their entire life in neotany as juvenile apes: some scientist extends the lifetime of himself beyond 100 years and actually matures into an ape! So how does one really tell a salamader fossil from a juvenile frog fossil? (I know, I know. The question is ripe for quote mining and giving ideas to IDiots, but to hell with them. I just want to learn.)

George-O said:

GuyeFaux said:

And while we’re on the subject: its MATH, not “maths” when referring to a series of equations. English is funny that way.

Off-topic, but to be fair the use of “maths” in this way is a valid Britishism.

For instance I’ve heard a native speakers say “I’m terrible at maths” or “We need to find somebody that can handle the maths of this problem.”

English is funny that way.

There are many Americans who say: “I gots to get me some softwares at the mall.” Just shows that the Great Unwashed are everywhere. Feh!

Now that’s just begging for a reference to the “Unwashed States of America”.…. :)

Actually, GuyeFaux understates the case. In British English “maths” (as a contraction of “mathematics”) is the only correct form. “Math” is as disconcerting as the distinctly peculiar usage “different … than”.

Without the invention of the telegraph do you think that we’d have observed linguistic speciation by now?

Draconiz says: “to say about the BB or physics and connect it to evolution is not wrong by a degree, it’s a different field entirely.”

.

Nonsense. All of science is inextricably linked. If the universe were not as it is, if entropy had not been as inexplicably low as it was at the beginning, 14 billion years ago, life and we would not even be a possibility, let alone here to ponder such things.

Theists/deists like neo-Darwinians Miller and Collins, since they are, after all, theists/deists, obviously believe that God created (i.e. designed) the universe and the laws of nature/physics, but apparently feel that God left the rest of it up to chance, evolution by RM+NS—-the only real difference between them and ID proponents like Behe is a matter of degree, since Behe believes that design extends further into nature and life, and more specifically that RM+ NS has only a limited role in the evolution of life.

And finally, virtually everyone believes in the evolution, or the unfolding, as it were, of life. The only issue is how much of that evolution can reasonably be expected to have resulted via RM+NS in the less than 10^40 cells in Earth’s 4 billion year history

Wow! James Chadwick might be a little surprised that his Nobel prize for the discovery of the neutron was based on a nonexistent particle. Dr. Parsons (I’m assuming you have your PhD in Physics), please explain “beryllium radiation” using only the proton and the electron.

C. David Parsons said:

THE BIGGER PICTURE IN THE DEBATE ON DARWINISM IS NOT INTELLIGENT DESIGN. The reason is elementary: the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents leave out the Triune God, Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Hence, Richard Dawkins can make the case for “aliens” seeding the earth. There is a better way. The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view. A review: “I am amazed at the breadth of the investigation - scientific history, biblical studies, geology, biology, geography, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology, and so forth - and find the style of writing to be quite lucid and aimed clearly at a general, lay audience.” ― Mark Roberts, former Editor of Biblical Reference Books, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Quest for Right series of books, based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect, has effectively dismantled the quantum additions to the true architecture of the atom. Gone are the nonexistent particles once thought to be complementary to the electron and proton (examples: neutrons, neutrinos, photons, mesons, quarks, Z’s, bosons, etc.) and a host of other pseudo particles. To the curious, scientists sought to explain Atomic theory by introducing fantastic particles that supposedly came tumbling out of the impact between two particles, when in fact, the supposed finds were simply particulate debris. There are only two elementary particles which make up the whole of the universe: the proton and electron. All other particles were added via quantum magic and mathematical elucidation in an attempt to explain earthly phenomena without God. Introducing the scheme of coincidence, which by definition, “is the systematic ploy of obstructionists who, in lieu of any divine intervention, state that any coincidental grouping or chance union of electrons and protons (and neutrons), regardless of the configuration, always produces a chemical element. This is the mischievous tenet of electron interpretation which states that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an “i” from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being. The Quest for Right is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a consequence, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline. More info: http://questforright.com

Kevin B said:

George-O said:

GuyeFaux said:

And while we’re on the subject: its MATH, not “maths” when referring to a series of equations. English is funny that way.

Off-topic, but to be fair the use of “maths” in this way is a valid Britishism.

For instance I’ve heard a native speakers say “I’m terrible at maths” or “We need to find somebody that can handle the maths of this problem.”

English is funny that way.

There are many Americans who say: “I gots to get me some softwares at the mall.” Just shows that the Great Unwashed are everywhere. Feh!

Now that’s just begging for a reference to the “Unwashed States of America”.…. :)

Actually, GuyeFaux understates the case. In British English “maths” (as a contraction of “mathematics”) is the only correct form. “Math” is as disconcerting as the distinctly peculiar usage “different … than”.

Without the invention of the telegraph do you think that we’d have observed linguistic speciation by now?

So it would be correct to say “I’m going to the mall to get some underwears?”

Wallyk Wrote:

Instead of stressing that “most biologists accept evolution” (even though true), just explain the basic reasons for acceptance of the theory.

Actually, Wally, I don’t think that any high-school science class should simply hammer a concept home with such phrases as “most biologists accept such-and-such”. I think that all high-school science classes should teach at least some lines of evidence that indicate how scientists arrived at evolutionary theory. It is, after all, the unifying concept of the field.

wallyk said:

Rilke’s granddaughter said:

most creationists hold the irrational position that acceptance of evolution and faith are incompatible. This always stems from lack of understanding what the science says.

I have to disagree. The Christian religion does contain some historical claims, and those can conflict with scientific findings. Over time, they may decide that those claims are not really necessary to the core religious faith, and drop the cliams. Or, they may decide that doing so is giving too much away. It’s hardly irrational.

Actually, if the religionists cling to claims that are at variance with reality, then, yes it is irrational.

And if a person has to choose between his religious beliefs and modern science, it seems to me that he would find his religious beliefs more important to his own life.

Which is why we need to have high school teachers that can instil an understanding of the basic concepts into all students, and why we need for pastors, ministers, etc. to remind their flocks that there is no conflict. The Bible is full of parables and fables, each of which has some lesson for us - but the stories themselves are the medium of the message, not the message itself.

A little perspective might help. Remind people of faith that religous ideas have changed over time. Of course, they may feel that this is the problem.

Yes, I guess they have. And there are dozens of different interpretations of Christianity even now. Usually, when religious thought has changed in the past, it has been in response to a new discovery about the world in which we live.

bigbang said:

Granddaughter says: “your rudeness and utter ignorance of both evolution and Christianity is striking. Evolution is orthogonal to faith.”

.

I do agree with your sentiments regarding Dawkins’s rudeness and ignorance. Regarding neo-Darwinism being orthogonal to faith, well yeah, I suppose one could say that neo-Darwinism is orthogonal to a lot of things, including the hard science of physics and the mathematical explanations of the universe.

.

Stanton asks: “Tell me who told you that Dawkins … actively seeks to destroy the faith of other scientists?”

.

You’re joking, right? If you’re not, then you simply must watch Ben Stein’s Expelled where Dawkins spills his guts.

Notice, dear PT readers, how bigbang avoids actually answering either of the quoted pieces.

So, bigbang, Rilke’s Granddaughter quite rationally contends that MET is orthogonal to religious faith. Since you have failed thus far to present any evidence that MET “unavoidably” undermines faith, perhaps you’d care to answer this point, rather than simply sneering at it?

As for your and Stanton’s contentions about Dawkins, it should be easy enough for you to find some quotes from his writing in which he exhorts all scientists to abandon their faith. That is, assuming that you are right and Stanton is not. If you cannot do this simple thing, then maybe you should acknowledge that, whatever Dawkins says about his own lack of faith in anything divine, he never actually tries to proselytise his atheism directly to other people. Instead, I contend that he writes about it and leaves others to make up their own minds.

C. David Parsons - have you not ever heard of paragraphs? They make text significantly easier to read.

C. David Parsons said:

[something incoherent on denying neutrons, instead of on creationism]

Neutrons are detected daily in all sorts of events, from nuclear reactors to accelerators.

Nigel D said:

As for your and Stanton’s contentions about Dawkins, it should be easy enough for you to find some quotes from his writing in which he exhorts all scientists to abandon their faith. That is, assuming that you are right and Stanton is not. If you cannot do this simple thing, then maybe you should acknowledge that, whatever Dawkins says about his own lack of faith in anything divine, he never actually tries to proselytise his atheism directly to other people. Instead, I contend that he writes about it and leaves others to make up their own minds.

Technically speaking, bigbangBigot was quotemining my (rhetorical) question of

Tell me who told you that Dawkins was made the Pope of Evolutionary Biology and who told you that he actively seeks to destroy the faith of other scientists?

(excised text bolded)

Apparently, bigbangBigot was trying to quotemine me in order to make me look foolish, while, simultaneously avoid actually answering my questions, as he always does with everyone’s questions.

Stanton, thanks for the correction. I had returned to the thread after a hiatus and did not pick up on all of the preceding posts. You are right, of course. I would be surprised indeed if bigbang replies in a way that addresses the point.

Your stupidity is laid bare by your comment. Do you think that the author of that article will find any argument against evolution to be other then a “red herring” or some other reason that “evolution must not be allowed to be undermined”?

Did you read this part of the article?

“What’s insidious about these measures is that at first blush they appear so harmless. Isn’t everyone in favor of academic freedom? What’s so wrong about allowing all sides of an issue to be heard? Why should teachers be punished for speaking their minds? Those arguments might have standing if there were any doubt about the reality of evolution, but, as an official with the National Academy of Sciences told the Wall Street Journal, “There’s no controversy.”

In other words there is no reason to allow any dissent from evolution because the matter is settled, evolution is true, there is no controversy, therefore anyone who says there is a controversy about the reliability of evolutionary theory must not be allowed to undermine evolution, must not, must not, must not be allowed, sieg heil comdrade!

Surely, you understand that there is a difference between general dissent and scientific dissent? It is one thing to claim that our current understanding is flawed, it is quite another to support that claim with evidence via scientific rigor.

Any blithering imbecile can claim that one of our numerous theories is false and propose an alternative: e.g. our current understanding of gravity is incorrect, rather God pushes us down on Earth to prevent us from floating into space and dying. However, I think one would have an extremely difficult time supporting that claim with science.

Likewise with IDists/Creationists. They are very good at nit-picking, quote-mining, evidence-twisting, and other such hyphenated terms of dishonesty, to inject doubt into the minds of an uninformed general population. However, I have yet to see their supposed “hypotheses” subjected to any sort of rigorous testing that would qualify as science. Hence, it is merely general, rather than scientific, dissent and does not have any place in a science classroom. Else, teachers would be obliged to “teach the controversy” about GPUD (God Pushes Us Down) vs. Gravity along with ID vs. Evolution. Both have just as much scientific credibility; namely nil.

In other words there is no reason to allow any dissent from evolution because the matter is settled, evolution is true

And once again, I notice that the very concept of evidence escapes these critics. They don’t know what it is, they don’t know where it comes from, and they don’t know what it means. With stonking consistency, they apply the Religious Method, that Making Shit Up causes it to come true. Want a controversy? Make one up. Want to see suppression? Make it up. Keep getting challenged to show the evidence? Ignore it; the request has no meaning.

therefore anyone who says there is a controversy about the reliability of evolutionary theory must not be allowed to undermine evolution

And there it is in all its glory. The idea of showing any problems with evolution is simply incomprehensible - just SAYING it ought to be sufficient. That’s how it works in church.

You are all funny. All you evolutionists and quasi-evolutionists are hilarious! What if there was a global flood? What if all you understood about evolution could be explained by the flood? How does believing in evolution (because it is a theory of origins, not fact) help you sleep at night? I pray for all your souls dear brethren. I pray that the Holy Spirit guide you and that God reveal Himself to you through His creation. Ultimately, it matters not what you believe but Who you believe in. If it makes you feel better to believe that science is telling you that the earth is billions of years old and that we evolved from apes, then have at it. Just the intricacies alone of the human eye are enough to tell me that I was intelligently and fearfully designed and created. Your failed abilities to dismiss creationists and Christians is comical and you all write for the benefit of each other (no doubt hoping to secure . I was honestly seeking an answer about evolution but am now just more convinced that creation needs to be taught MORE, not less. Your disdain for Christianity, God and God’s Word resonates to heaven. I pray that you learn who God is and commit your lives to Him.

You are slightly confused my fellow Christian friend, evolution is not about dismissing Christianity, just the interpretations of some religious people who foolishly ignore what God is telling them and insist on their own personal interpretation being the best.

Trust, me, millions of Christians have no problem with evolutionary theory.

Thank God.

Jesus Saves said: Your failed abilities to dismiss creationists and Christians is comical and you all write for the benefit of each other (no doubt hoping to secure . I was honestly seeking an answer about evolution but am now just more convinced that creation needs to be taught MORE, not less. Your disdain for Christianity, God and God’s Word resonates to heaven. I pray that you learn who God is and commit your lives to Him.

You are all funny. All you evolutionists and quasi-evolutionists are hilarious!

Sounds like nervous laughter. Does this subject make you uncomfortable?

What if there was a global flood?

I would expect there to be geological evidence for its occurance.

What if all you understood about evolution could be explained by the flood?

Irrelevant. It cannot, even in principle. “What if?” games unconstrained by evidence are fruitless.

How does believing in evolution (because it is a theory of origins, not fact) help you sleep at night?

I sleep fine, but I’m curious: why should understanding facts about the natural world be expected to help one sleep?

I pray for all your souls dear brethren. I pray that the Holy Spirit guide you and that God reveal Himself to you through His creation.

F*ck off, hypocrite. Talk to yourself all you want, but leave me out of it.

Ultimately, it matters not what you believe but Who you believe in.

Makes as much sense as any other religious mumbo-jumbo I’ve heard.

If it makes you feel better to believe that science is telling you that the earth is billions of years old and that we evolved from apes, then have at it.

Science certainly is telling everyone that, and belief doesn’t really enter into it. Again we have this curious appeal to feelings. Nature is notoriously indifferent to how we wish things would be. Science is the practice of revealing how things are.

Just the intricacies alone of the human eye are enough to tell me that I was intelligently and fearfully designed and created.

I’ll wager you don’t know a damned thing about the intricacies of the human eye.

Your failed abilities to dismiss creationists and Christians is comical and you all write for the benefit of each other (no doubt hoping to secure .

Did you mean to write a sentence? Your nervous laughter made it hard to understand that last bit.

I was honestly seeking an answer about evolution

Liar.

but am now just more convinced that creation needs to be taught MORE, not less.

I’m glad you lack the native wit and likely the determination to have any effect on education policy at any level, then.

Your disdain for Christianity, God and God’s Word resonates to heaven. I pray that you learn who God is and commit your lives to Him.

Again, leave me out of it. Some here may have disdain for Christianity. The likely culprit is the intellectual dishonesty and atrocious hypocrisy of many fundamentalist Christians.

Whenever a Christian says “I’ll pray for you,” especially in the vicious and petty manner Creationists use when they attempt to win an argument they’ve lost, aren’t they flouting the warning/admonishment God said about how one’s (spiritual) relationship with God was an extremely private affair, and about how people who advertise their (spiritual) relationships are liars and hypocrites?

PvM said:

You are slightly confused my fellow Christian friend, evolution is not about dismissing Christianity, just the interpretations of some religious people who foolishly ignore what God is telling them and insist on their own personal interpretation being the best.

Trust, me, millions of Christians have no problem with evolutionary theory.

Thank God.

Jesus Saves said: Your failed abilities to dismiss creationists and Christians is comical and you all write for the benefit of each other (no doubt hoping to secure . I was honestly seeking an answer about evolution but am now just more convinced that creation needs to be taught MORE, not less. Your disdain for Christianity, God and God’s Word resonates to heaven. I pray that you learn who God is and commit your lives to Him.

Jesus Saves, at an AER of 0.7% Wrote:

What if there was a global flood?

If there had ever been a global flood, there would still be a global flood.

If there had ever been a global flood, there would still be a global flood.

Although there are indications that “snowball earth” happened. If we are willing to consider frozen floods, then indeed there may have been a global flood.

Nigel D said:

Jesus Saves, at an AER of 0.7% Wrote:

What if there was a global flood?

If there had ever been a global flood, there would still be a global flood.

Why should we assume there was a global flood that annihilated all terrestrial life that didn’t get into one boat simply because a 4,000 year old book of religious poetry said so?

More importantly, why is having to believe that an apocalyptic flood occurred, even though no physical evidence of its effects or passage exist, a dire prerequisite for salvation for Christians?

why is having to believe that an apocalyptic flood occurred, even though no physical evidence of its effects or passage exist, a dire prerequisite for salvation for Christians?

But just think of all the interesting puzzles one misses out on by not believing in it! Where’d the water go. Where’d that dove find a fresh leaf. How did 8 people generate several different races in only 4-5 thousand years. How’d the penguins get there and back. How did Antarctica get 100,000 annual layers of ice in 4-5 thousand years. Why didn’t people in Egypt and China notice when they all drowned. See what you’re missing? :p

Henry

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on May 21, 2008 11:22 PM.

From RNA to Humans: A symposium on evolution was the previous entry in this blog.

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