Darwin's in the Details

Friday, April 03, 2009

Transcript

For two decades, critics have argued that the Texas Board of Education's science standards have allowed creationism to creep into public schools and textbooks. Last week the board changed the language, creating the latest arena in the clash between creationists and the scientific community. Both sides explain why the subtle language change may greatly affect how evolution is taught in Texas and the rest of the country.

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Comments [39]

Dale Heltzer from Rochester, MN

We do seem to have strayed from the topic of Darwinian theory of evolution - Creationism. Let's step away from attacks on and apologetics for Christian/Jewish Scripture alone, and get back to comments on topic. I still maintain it isn't enough that Creationists claim shortcomings in Darwinian theory; let's have some posit-ive statements. I *still want to know where the Satan-as-Creator of now-extinct species idea comes from (See Mr. Lax's comment above) or why we don't find extinct species alongside modern species in the frossil record.

Apr. 10 2009 07:24 PM
Doug

Re slavery: groups of people have been oppressing other groups for all of recorded history. Trying to link the theory of evolution with evils such as slavery is as ridiculous as trying to link atomic theory or germ theory with slavery.

Also, if the Bible is one’s guide to ethics, then the conclusion must be that slavery is not immoral. Rather than having exhortations to free slaves, there are rules on how to treat them. E.g., it’s ok to beat them severely, as long as they survive the beating for at least a day or two (Exodus 21:20). Or in the New Testament: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” (Ephesians 6:5)

Apr. 09 2009 10:39 PM
Dale Heltzer from Rochester, MN

Mr. Lax: From which Scripture do you base your assertion that Satan created *anything, let alone animals now extinct? I'm no Biblical scholar, but I don't recognize any such scenario, and I can't readily imagine how you could infer it from any of the texts with which I'm familiar. Without some credible reference, the Satan-based Creationism seems rather like a grasping at straws. Enlighten me.

Apr. 07 2009 10:44 PM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

Indeed I use my full real name and do not feel in any way intimidated by those who do not accord me any measure of respect, but thank you for the expressing the sentiment Mr. Gray. As for all of the extinct species which are found interred at various depths the obvious reason for that as well as the fact that they are all extinct is that they were components of a completely defunct bio-system which Satan certainly had many millions of years to unsuccessfully try to get working in a somewhat stable state. Unforntunately for him the earth was too radioactively hot to allow for that without unsustainable amounts of debilitating mutation. All of these species obviously were unsuccesful at adapting to their environments (random mutations notwithstanding) or they would still be living among us today. When Darwin visited South Africa he was "appalled" to witness slavely there but one wonders why since it was not only convenient to the Boer economy but also had the scientific credentials of being the quite logical extention of his theory - "social Darwinism".

Apr. 07 2009 02:28 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

You have to love that notoriously free thinking Jefferson for throwing in that curiously ambivalent, religiously and culturally encompassing word, "Creator," into the Declaration and which, now, is so fervently embraced by doctrinaire religious fanatics as, indeed, scary as the Taliban in their intolerance and ignorance.

Unfortunately, they are leading the approximately 60% of the United States' population who agree with them, non-withstanding the scientific consensus!

Apr. 07 2009 11:18 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Hmm? I didn't even accord him a "Mr.", as I do most anyone who uses their full, apparently real name. Must mean something.

Apr. 07 2009 10:41 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Yup, and anything else I have to say on the subject is on the page for the next segment.

It's not likely that Don Lax even listened to it, since he seems as if he just wanted to pontificate on this subject and zoomed in it from a search engine.

Apr. 07 2009 10:33 AM
Dale Heltzer from Rochester, MN

Creationists would do much better by actually demonstrating a superior model of biology than Darwinian theory does. Specifically, if they could come up with fossil evidence of, say, trilobites, modern fish, and modern whales *all in the *same Geological *strata; dimetrodon, tyrannosaurs, and mammoths coexisting, *then they'd have positive evidence for the assertion of individual creation (in contrast to Darwinian evolution). There are enough people of faith in the life sciences, that I believe such findings would have been announced, indeed trumpeted from the rooftops - if only they *existed. But, thus far, there isn't evidence to believe that they do. Darwin does better.

Apr. 07 2009 09:32 AM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

How lucky was Darwin indeed! He showed up at just the right time to observe "newly evolved" large beak finches outcompeting their small-beaked brethren for scarce food supplies. It it not more likely that small and large beaked finches have always been possible within the gene pool of the birds because they have ALWAYS had that amount of potential variability. What is the likelihood that for the (choose any fanciful number) "x" millenium that the birds have been in existence and on the island that the few years during which Darwin made his observations were the first and only time in history that a shortage of small edible seeds ever occured there? If as is far-more probable that not was the case, then the question would be moot because the "unevolved" small beaked birds would have died out long before any "evolution" could have occured. What the story of the finches also ingores is that fact that what Darwin actually thought he was observing was the evolution of a finch into - A FINCH. Only breed variation is actually being discussed here - not differentiation across species(much less genus) taxonomic boundaries. If that were not true then humans with different shaped noses or mouths then others would be considered not to be of just a different race but in fact of a different species based solely on those differences. Sounds Nazi eugenic to me.

Apr. 07 2009 09:17 AM
Immer Sion

If Don Lax's use of "epidemiology as disproving abiogenesis" exemplifies the rest of his reasoning, then I would say it casts serious doubt on the soundness of his diatribe and that his use of high fallutin' prose is a smoke screen demonstrated by the barratement he casts on whomever dares challenge his (voluntarily?) obscure equivocations.

The epidemiology debate dates back to the 17th century and was actually a brilliant demonstration of the scientific method. The original posit was that life sprang spontaneously out of inert matter. The typical examples was that flies seem to be born directly from rotten meat. The scientists (philosophers) of the time argued against it and the debate ended with Pasteur's famous S-shape flask experiments. Tthough a bunch of die-hards still held on to that theory for a while. (Sound familiar?)

So even if it is a quasi-tautology that you would be hard pressed to find an epidemiologist today who believes that maggots arise spontaneously from carrion, I would venture that the vast majority of them do believe that the initial forms of life did originate from non-organic matter. Exactly how, I will agree is still up to some speculation but most will agree that it occurred some 3.5 billion years ago.

To mix the two up for somebody of Mr. Lax's intellectual caliber could only be voluntary and motivated by a desire for obfuscation.

And as I just demonstrated, it is quite easy to poke holes in anybody's elaborately constructed arguments by cherry-picking a single item.

I will leave the rest of the deconstructing as an exercise to the readers.

Apr. 06 2009 05:50 PM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

Alan:
Please pay attention to the period and space which are interposed between the first and second statements in the Gesesis account. They are there for a reason. The first sentence before the first period ALONE describes anything about the "creation of the universe". The space thich follows the period represents the time during which God did nothing of any relevance worthy to be included in the narrative. Certainly the earth took many millenium to cool from molten form to gain a solid crust and even longer for radiation levels to subside to the point where it could sustain life free from massive genetic damage and harmful random mutations. Unfortunately Satan did not realize this and was free to "make" (not "create") all various failed (mutating?) life forms which we now call extinct species. Any similarity which exists between those and modern organisms created by God is not due to the one "evolving into the other" but rather simple outwardly appearing similarity of design. The darkness which in first described in Genesis is the result of the most recent mass extinction event to have occured before God commenced elaborating the life forms we now see.

Apr. 06 2009 04:23 PM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

For Ed:
Variability WELL WITHIN SPECIES fixed species is NOT the changing of one species into another. If the flies that are resistant to certain pesticides or the bacterium or viruses that are resistant to certait vaccines are different SPECIES (rather than simply different breeds) then they would not be interfertile with those individuals who have no such resistance. Spcipture doesn' t have to provide a detailed technical expanation of the taxomonic limit of what constitutes a "kind" to assert the obvervably the true fact that currently existing living things invariably reproduce "after their own kind". Pointing out freak anomalies to universal law will not prove the contrary. Are people who are allergic to shellfish or peanut protien or certain antibiotics not of the human
"species"? It is EXACTLY the same thing as trying to employ the faulty logic of saying that organisms to which certain things are toxic are of a different "species" from those who are not adversely affected by them. - What utter silliness comes from denying the self-evident truths revealed by the Creator!

Apr. 06 2009 03:50 PM
Alan Balthrop from Plano, Texas

P.S. to my last post:

My personal opinion on the evolution/creationist debate is this: Genesis tells us that God created the universe in six days. It did not give details. It is theorhetically possible that "creation is what, evolution is how."

Apr. 06 2009 12:14 PM
Alan Balthrop from Plano, Texas

I was disapointed in ths OTM story, not because of the subject matter or the slant of the coverage. It's an NPR piece, therefore anyone questioning the teaching of evolution is going to be considered holding the "incorrect/uninformed" opinion.

What bothered me was the venue. If the piece that ran on On the Media was about newspaper or television coverage of the issue rather that the content of the textbook, that would have been acceptable. When did the program become "On the Textbook?"

Apr. 06 2009 12:05 PM
paul moessinger from pittsburgh

The most important issue is what is science and how does science determine truth from falsehood? Karl Popper solved this issue a long time ago. The difference between scince and non science is whether a hypothesis is testable using empirical evidence. Since the God hypothesis or the intellgent designer hypothesis is not testable in an empirical way it is not a hypothesis that science can deal with. Therefore this issue is out of bonds in a scientific classroom. Science cannot answer why something occurs only how in terms of the Darwinian debate.

Apr. 06 2009 11:33 AM
Marty M from St. Louis, MO

All that any creationist or ID proponent has to do is provide an equally viable, observable, testable, alternative THEORY (in the scientific sense, not the layman sense) to evolution. What is it? What do you have? Poking "holes" in evolution does not provide another alternative. If you have some evidence that you think is a "weakness" or is in opposition to evolution, then what other scientific theory does it support. If it doesn't support evolution, then it must be support, ie. be reproducible, testable evidence for another scientific (in the sense of scientific methods) theory. Name it! Until then, evolution is the ONLY scientific theory we have right now and is the only idea that can be honestly taught in science class.

Apr. 06 2009 10:13 AM
Jack from Chicago

Great discussion, frankly I think it could go either way; despite the fact that it was presented in such a biased and labored manner. Moreover, it's too bad the internet has dulled my mind to the point where I can't complete

Apr. 05 2009 10:55 PM
Ed Darrell from Dallas, Texas

Postscript to last post:

Weiner details one of the classic cases of evolution in action that should be beyond controversy, but that creationists will deny if they think they can get away with it. DDT prompted the rapid evolution of new alleles in mosquitoes, starting in the 1940s. Most mosquitoes in the world today have several copies of the A1 and A2 alleles that allow them to digest DDT instead of dying from it.

Malaria exists today, killling a milllion kids a year, Don, largely because of the operation of Darwinian evolution exactly as you deny it can happen. Creationist denialism is a real killer.

Apr. 05 2009 09:52 PM
Ed Darrell from Dallas, Texas

Don said: "If speciation in the Darwinian sense of the word is currently active surely at least one of the myriad existing types would be doing it right now for all to clearly see."

You should spend some time with the fly researchers. Fly researchers for years have had the problem of trying to keep their captive, laboratory populations from speciating. They do it all the time -- and that's a problem. If you're working to make a pesticide to kill fruit flies, for example, you need to have the same species in the lab to test it, that is found in the wild. For medical research, same issue.

Speciation is all around, us, happening all the time. If you want to see speciation, take a stroll down the produce or meat aisle of your supermarket. Artichokes, grapefruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, radishes, Turkey Red wheat, tomatoes, lettuce, beef, chicken, lamb and pork are all coming from animals or plants much different from their forebears -- and in most cases, from completely different species than those that were domesticated originally. The aurochs was the parent species of all modern beef, which had speciated by about 1,000 years ago. The last aurochs was poached from a nobleman's pen in Poland, about 1,000 years ago -- by a creationist who then proclaimed that there was no "transitional species" to modern beef, I presume.

Get a copy of the 1994 Pulitzer-winning book, *The Beak of the Finch, a story of evolution in our time,* by Jonathan Weiner. He tells the story of Peter and Rosemary Grant, who have assembled the most solid evidence of speciation in a series of species for which they have tracked literally every individual over the last 30+ years. It's hard research, published since 1970, and therefore probably too new for creationists to know about, though everyone else can read about it in their library.

Apr. 05 2009 09:52 PM
Ed Darrell from Dallas, Texas

Greg, even were there 750 bona fide biologists who each published a paper raising issues against evolution, there are 80,000 professional, advance-degreed, practicing biologists in the U.S. Their 750 would be less than 1%.

I regret OTM didn't talk about NCSE's own letter project. They are collecting signatures of scientists who say evolution is solid and should be taught straight, no disclaimers. That list has the signatures of more than 1,000 practicing scientists (I can't sign it, for example, though I could sign the Discovery Institute list). The catch: NCSE's list only accepts scientists who are named "Stephen" or some derivative of that name -- a humorous tribute to Stephen Jay Gould. Surveys show that far less than 1% of the population has such a name, so it should be less than 1% of the scientists . . . there are at least a couple of Nobel winners who have signed the NCSE letter, none on the Discovery Institute letter.

But if DI can't get more people to sign their list than the list of scientists named Steve, then it should be clear that there is no substantial support for DI's position.

Were Luskin addicted to honesty, he'd note that.

Apr. 05 2009 09:40 PM
Greg from Wisconsin

I'm glad you brought the 700 up Ed. I was suspicious of that claim. Some global warming deniers have also tried to make it look like they have numbers on their side as well with a bogus petition of scientists, who are defined by the creators of the petition, first of all, as anyone with any sort of Bachelor, Masters, or Doctoral degree in science, any science (e.g., history, psychology). There are thorough critiques of the petition online. I don't need to go into it here. See the Petition Project, also called the Global Warming Petition Project.

But this is really off the topic, and maybe OTM felt it wasn't really a media issue. Although, using phony petitions in a PR campaign could be considered a media issue...

Apr. 05 2009 09:31 PM
Ed Darrell from Dallas, Texas

I'm curious why OTM let Casey Luskin get by with that whopping falsehood about 700+ scientists who question evolution. That's not what the statement says. Luskin's tally does not account for those who have asked that their names be removed after discovering how Luskin is misrepresenting the statement, nor does it account for the fact that not a single signatory has published any paper questioning Darwin's theory in any serious fashion.

Here is what the statement actually says: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

It's not just cherry picking, it's fabrication. None of the signatories has "scientific doubts about evolution."

And, just to put icing on the scam aspect of Luskin's statement, most of the signatories are not biologists and have nothing whatever to do with teaching evolution in science.

Luskin's statements are demonstrably wrong.

Apr. 05 2009 08:09 PM
Ed Darrell from Dallas, Texas

Don said: "Science has not only not created life in a laboratory. It has also failed to provide any evidence which cannot be interpreted as supporting intelligent creation."

What do you call Sidney Fox's protocells, Don? How are they not life in a laboratory?

Clearly you need to spend a few months catching up with the field of astrobiology -- check out the Astrobiology magazine site at NASA. You're a few decades behind on what the science is, and you're banking on things not happening which have already been discovered.

But critically, why are you tossing this red herring into this discussion? The origins of life are not part of evolution theory, and intelligent design is particularly stupid and mute on the issue. How life started is completely separate from the issue of evolution.

Apr. 05 2009 07:55 PM
Greg from Wisconsin

The whole ID claim ultimately rests on a conspiracy theory regarding suppression of free scientific enquiry by ... I don't know who, frankly. A conspiracy theory. It's the same one used by global warmer deniers, as I'm sure most everyone has noticed. Given that, it's really pointless to even discuss the matter, and yet we have to continue to fight this state by state, city by city. It's as if we have to argue the existence of Bigfoot and UFO's in federal court, as if Art Bell suddenly demanded equal time in the classroom. Please creationists, if you want your beliefs taught, use your churches. That's what they're there for. Are your teachings so feeble that they can't stand up against a rote lecture by a high school biology teacher? If not, work on your message. Don't try to cripple the poor teacher.

Apr. 05 2009 06:58 PM
Sean

There is real scientific evidence that a giant Flying Spaghetti Monster created the earth and everything on it. I hope you understand how important it is that students have a chance to hear these ideas, indeed, it is at least as important as learning about other alternate theories on the origin of the universe. Find out more at http://www.venganza.org/about/

Apr. 05 2009 06:37 PM
Doug


The creationist on the program wants to make it sound that there is a real scientific debate about the validity of the theory of evolution. He said that there is a list of over 750 PhD scientists who have doubts about evolution.

The NCSE, with its Project Steve, has signed up over 1000 PhD scientists in support of evolution – but these scientists all have the first name Steven, Stephanie, Esteban, etc. Since Steves represent about 1% of the population, this translates to about 100,000 scientists. A scientific truth is not determined by voting, but it is clear that evolution is not controversial among the vast majority of scientists.

Btw, it is odd how creationists claim to be sincere believers, and yet many of them have no problem in being untruthful. The claim that there is a real scientific debate is one example, as is the notion that creationism is a promising new scientific paradigm, although it is a prescientific concept from the Old Testament. Another example is how the two main creationists on the Dover school board committed perjury in the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial in 2005.

Apr. 05 2009 05:31 PM
Dan Krzykowski from Saint Paul, MN

Let's explore some of the consequences of this policy, many of them unintended.

1.) What if I, as a theoretical parent, supply my child with the facts of creation as theorized by L. Ron Hubbard? Is the school now required to entertain such a counter-argument to evolution? What about the flying spaghetti monster?

2.) What if I, as theoretical teacher, am not a Christian? Would a majority Christian school district hire me? If this is an attempt by Christians to place their theology in schools, will they now discriminate in the hiring of teachers based on religious affiliation?

I predict that a pair of atheist parents in the Austin area will INSIST that their child's belief in Scientology's teaching be discussed seriously in school, and that it will be hilarious.

Apr. 05 2009 04:58 PM
Lucien J. Jacquet from Dover, DE

I was disappointed by the quality of NPR's reporting on this story. I wanted some real journalism: fact-checking and explanations. In the last part of the story, concerning Ms. Comer's dismissal from the Texas Education Agency, we heard nothing from that Agency regarding the circumstances of her dismissal. Did the Agency really evacuate the entire floor during her dismissal? If so, why?

I also objected to the inclusion of the common assertion that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution "prohibits" the teaching of a religious idea such as Creationism in a public classroom. The First Amendment prohibits *Congress* from enacting any *law* that either (1) establishes an "official" state religion (analogous to the Church of England), (2) promotes or prefers one religion, or (3) prohibits the free exercise of religion.

Every culture and civilization, on every inhabited continent on the planet, has at least one "creation story", so teaching these as part of a discussion on natural origins is not and should not be seen as a violation of this Amendment. These stories existed long before the modern notion of science, and so cannot be expected to be couched in rigorous "scientific" language. In a similar vein, even the most fervent supporters of evolution will admit that not all of the pieces and mechanisms are known; just that the "theory" (a word which did receive a decent explanation in the piece) seems to work well in explaining the facts that are known. As long as there are both secular and religious citizens in this country, as long as the First Amendment stands AS WRITTEN AND INTENDED BY THE FOUNDERS, and as long as the most knowledgeable and devoted of our scientists are at a loss to explain certain parts of the process, then it only makes sense to allow, if not require, that our schools teach competing theories.

NPR owes us a follow-up report that actually tells the story/ies here instead of just providing an unchallenged podium for each side of the issues.

Apr. 05 2009 04:47 PM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

As for your curious claim Rob, all you need to do to convince me (any theist) that Darwinian claims regarding origins should be taught TO THE EXCLUSION OF ANY and ALL OTHER EXPLANATIONS (which is what the radical atheists are clearly arguing for) is to offer empirical proof rather than half-baked speculations (that a cowed "consensus" of people who attempt to lay claim to the "scientific method" while acting false to it's requirements of proof may assert). I have no interest in
convincing anybody whose mind is completely closed to considering evidence of anything and neither do I have
any inflated sense of my own abilities to do so. Even the
Lord Jesus himself knew better than to hope to do that.
I had no idea (or care) that you were an atheist until you yourself said as much. I can and will however insist that when one theory is no more empirically provable than another, both should be accorded equal treatment.

Apr. 05 2009 03:53 AM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

Very good Dianne... "and a thousand years as a watch that passes in the night." Dissemblers who are quick to criticize revealed scriptural truths are amazingly - even
fanatically doctrinaire in summarily rejecting even the most reasonable interpretations of of scripture which actually contain the instructions for their proper interpratation right in the text itself! Simply because a parable or allegory is sometimes used those who seek to mimimize and so "spiritualize away" even the most straighforward, self-evident declarative revealed truths - ones will contrarily insist that only the most obviously untenable interpretation be considered and used as a bad faith excuse for rejecting the authority of the Creator. We cannot positively know whether the
"thousand years as a day" or the "day for a year" way of reckoning time was relevant to the Creation week and it doesn't even matter. People living near the Arctic circle well know that a "period of darkness followed by one of light" is a year long - not a "day" in the "usual" sense.

Apr. 05 2009 02:34 AM
Rob from Upstate NY

Don -
I did not say that ANYTHING should be rejected out of hand. YOU put those words in my mouth. All you (or anyone else) has to do to get me (or most atheists) to believe in a theistic claim is to prove its truthfulness. That is all. I have no aching need to not believe in a God.

As far as your scientific claims to the incorrectness of speciation, I have no knowledge of this. I am not a scientist. If all your claims are true, then devote your life to getting those beliefs proven and accepted by the scientific community. That is how it works. If you are having trouble with that, too bad! Change in scientific thought does not come easily. I am sure it was very difficult for those scientists that introduced the germ theory of disease (or other revolutionary ideas) to become accepted. If there is truth behind your claims then they will eventually prevail. And I won't feel bad about it. Really! If it is proven and accepted by the general scientific community, then I will accept it as well.

As far as your saying that it is those who are "overly-anxious to reject absolute, unchanging moral requirements who should beware of being blinded by the moral relativity they desperately desire to be true"..... You know NOTHING about me or the atheists that you believe you are speaking about. You know nothing of my "morality" or my desire for "moral relativity". I do not know of your moral standards, and would hope that you wouldn't make the assumption that you know mine.

Apr. 05 2009 12:24 AM
Dianne Holmes from Alaska

It never fails to amaze me when religious people who proclaim to believe the Bible are so sure the earth cannot be more than 10,000 years old. Much of the evolution discussion could be cut short if people would simply read II Peter 3:8 " . . . one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

Apr. 04 2009 09:39 PM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

I fully agree with Rob up to the point where he seems to suggest that anything which smacks of theism is superstitious and should be rejected out of hand. Maybe a better model would be to provisionally accept only those ideas which are not all but conclusively disproven by ALL existing empirical evidence.

1) Epidemiology flat-out rejects abiogenesis yet atheistic capitulations of Darwinism hold it as an essential tenet.
2) Faulty taxonomy which confuses simple breed variability for evidence of speciation is unrobust.
3) Atypical fossil remains are arguably just as likely to be evidence of TETAROGENIC rather than true mutational anomaly. The fact that some teretogenic defects are more likely to occur than others is adequately demonstrated by thalidomide syndrome.

Several other logical reasons for rejecting continuous speciating change as a viable mechanism are self-evident to any unbiased examiner of empirical facts.
Perhaps it is those who are overly-anxious to reject absolute, unchanging moral requirements who should beware of being blinded by the moral relativity they desperately desire to be true.

Apr. 04 2009 05:54 PM
Rob from Upstate NY

This topic (creationism in the public schools) always comes down to a difference of opinion about how one should approach scientific inquiry.

By that I mean that if one approaches any topic in a "scientific" way, then we are talking about being open to any possibility at any time, depending on what scientific inquiry has been proven based on current accepted models. When better models are produced that become accepted within the scientific community, then they will supplant earlier ones. Creationists, however, are okay with that EXCEPT for the cases of those models ("evolution") that offend their religious beliefs. In that case, they will take that model ("evolution") and say that because there are those that disagree with some or all of its tenets, then it should be singled out officially by the educational community as a model that should be mistrusted.

By doing so, they have ignored the very premise of scientific inquiry. That is, that EVERYTHING is ALWAYS being questioned. There is no one stopping creationists from funding the research to disprove the "evolutionary" model or to provide a PROVABLE, SCIENTIFIC model to replace it. But is that what they are doing? No! They are simply stating over and over that "evolutionary" theory should be questioned. Duh! Of course it should! That and EVERY theory/scientific model that has ever been produced should be rigorously questioned. But they don't want to really get down and dirty with the scientists. They just want to appeal to our ignorance of the scientific method ("It's just a theory!") and our superstitious nature. Our nature that enjoys the comforting dominant belief that a loving God(s) placed man above all of "creation". (And that he wrote that down in a book that, unlike science, can never be questioned......)

Apr. 04 2009 05:00 PM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

One should not make the mistake of confusing Young Earth Creationism with Intelligently directed creation. The radical atheist contingent is eager to spread precisely that sort of confusion. Scripture does NOT state that the beginning of all material creation took place in 4004 B.C. and neither does it state that the currently existing variety of life was the first and only instance of terrestrial life. It simply asserts that currently existing species (which are all it was ever intended to explain) were created with intelligent intent as distinct types - not constantly changing ones. Any superficial similarity which exists between extinct ones are currently existing ones is not due to "evolutionary change from one into the other" but rather simple general similarity of design. That is why currently existing species do not change from one into another. Only breed variability is being expressed. Brute hominids did in fact exist - they were not created by God and were dead-end. They are not ancestral to any living thing much less mankind which is made in His image.

Apr. 04 2009 03:43 PM
Kahlid from Philly, PA

If the Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) vs Millennium Man (Orrorin tugenensis) debate ever makes its way into a current "Media Cycle", I for one would love to hear a story about it on OTM.

Apr. 04 2009 02:03 PM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

Science has not only not created life in a laboratory. It has also failed to provide any evidence which cannot be interpreted as supporting intelligent creation.
If you do not want fables being taught the first one you should reject is the spontaneous generation myth. The next one is accidental mutational speciation. Things always reproduce according to their own kind or may occasionally produce minor variations which are nonetheless within well-defined species. The only exceptions to this are monstrosities which are called birth defects - not "evolutionary improvements". No one would wish such "improvements" upon any relative of theirs. If there has ever been an observed exception to this rule among currently existing species I have yet to have it pointed out to me. Actual speciation has NEVER been demonstrated.
This reply has been carefully phased in short, tidbit-sized statements so as not to tax the intelligence of anyone who must struggle mightily to get their mind around the concept of the hereditary fixity of species.
If speciation in the Darwinian sense of the word is currently active surely at least one of the myriad existing types would be doing it right now for all to clearly see.
Unless one hopes to discover a cure for Austalo-pithecus cancer, it makes not one iota of difference to research of any practical value to improving the human condition if one accepts the random accident theory of origin or the purposeful design one. Things are as they are irrespective of how they came to be so. What does change is the moral and ethical framework in which one makes other decisions. I prefer not to allow changable human whims inform my moral guidance.
If a totally unconcerned, amoral Creator were being suggested by Intelligent Creation advocates I would suspect there would be very little opposition from the radical atheist contingent. Once a morally concerned Creator is suggested however the curremt debate is
kindled.

Apr. 04 2009 12:24 PM
Petey

Don,
Your statement consists of run-on and fragmented sentences, and convoluted language.

I am left, in effect, wondering what your statement means.

I can't tell if you are for or against creationism being taught in the classroom.

I will say that I don't believe in the absurd fairy tale presented in Genesis.

I am a life-long Texan, and the Texas Board of Education has always been an embarrasment to the state.

I have nothing against Hans Christian Andersen presented to young students as reading material, though teachers can do much better. I do have a problem with fairy tales presented as science.

Science may not have created living matter spontaneously in the laboratory yet, but fairy tales have a much longer way to go than science when trying to explain the origins of life on Earth.

Apr. 04 2009 10:09 AM
Don Lax from Livonia MI

If unbiased scientific inquiry consists of formulating a hypothesis and then being open to additional proof which modifies our understanding then no harm can come from teaching the implications of the Louis Pasteur experiment which began the scientific disproof of the atheistic fallacy of abiogenesis and every other attempt since then to
prove the fundamentally flawed theory all of which have failed to produce living from non-living matter. Even the most cursory examination of the panoply of mutually
exclusive speculations offered by many credentialed
researchers to explain the supposed mechansim by which abiogenesis is imagined to operate will confirm that they are are involved in no more than guesswork of
the rankest stamp.
Singling out "Young Earth Creationists" as if they are the
only contingent to question classical Darwinian assumptions is a crude form of straw man bashing of
unworthy of any honest commentator.
Please do feel free to publish my E-mail information as
I would be most happy to respond to any inquiries on
this subject using only experimentally verifiable facts
to illustrate my contention that the abiogenetic flotsam
which is universally conflated with Darwinian theory in
every textbook I have ever seen on the subject is most
intellectually unrobust and in irreconcilable odds with
the universally accepted ABSOLUTE LAW of biogenesis
which is the foundation of all medicine and epidemiology.

Apr. 04 2009 07:51 AM

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