Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sound Off 02-12-09 (Darwin Day)

Today's question does not require any introduction other than that, in honor of Darwin Day, we think it fitting to ask the following:

How would the world be different today had Darwin not been born on February 12, 1809? How would science be different?

26 comments:

  1. People have found someone else to blame for slavery and would have found someone else to blame for whatever Christians commonly blame him for. Evolution has a lot of logic to it and I'm confident logical people would have come to the conclusion of evolution. Perhaps evolution would have more universally recognized without being associated with primarily one person.

    If he'd been born on a day that I didn't have my kids I probably would go to Chicago for your party.

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  2. That has to be one of my worst comments grammar wise ever. Anyone want to jump on the fail boat that I'm driving?

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  3. Did he actually contribute anything that someone else would not have? From a science standpoint, the theory of evolution was the next logical step. It may have taken a bit longer to get there but I doubt he was the only one saying it.

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  4. Granddaddy Darwin had a theory of evolution, yet not as detailed as ol' Chuck's.

    Others hinted at evolution, too.

    Funny, Darwin didn't know much about genetics. He was sitting around racking his brains wondering how species passed on their traits.

    Meanwhile, Gregor Mendel was doing his genetics experiments. Mendel even had a copy of Darwin's book. A museum has a copy of it. Mendel's hand written notes are in his copy of Origin of Species. He didn't seem to ever realize his had the discovery that Darwin was seeking to help solidify his theory.

    Mendel didn't think to hook up with Darwin and help him out. So, that put a delay on the development of genetics for a while.

    So yeah, I guess evolution would have still come about without the credit falling on one persons shoulders.

    But we who are atheists wouldn't have a false god to worship, now would we?

    :-D

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  5. Zogby Darwin Day poll shatters stereotypes.......

    A large majority of respondents (80%) agree that teachers and students should have academic freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution as a scientific theory, with more than half (54%) saying they strongly agree. Only 16% disagree.

    Although the media consistently portray support for the freedom to discuss both sides of the evolution debate as coming primarily from conservative Christians, these poll results show something far different and will shatter some preconceptions about who supports letting students hear a balanced presentation on Darwinian evolution.....

    More here:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/02/poll_shatters_stereotypes_with.html#more

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  6. Additional points to ponder in my protest of Darwin Day:

    ......The effort to separate religion and science is disingenuous. All major scientific theories have religious implications, and all religious beliefs have implications for science. The court-imposed Darwinist monopoly on public education has had profound impact on religious belief and discourse in this country, and it is a major factor in the culture war. The effort by the NAS and many other Darwinists to separate religion and science and to advocate the compatibility between religion and Darwinism is to deny the profound religious motivation and consequences of their own largely atheist ideology — an ideology that candid Darwinists/atheists, such as Dawkins, Dennett, Coyne, Myers, and Moran, are delighted to proclaim. The faux-separation of science from its inherent religious origins and implications is an effort to mitigate the legal and public relations backlash against the obvious atheist proselytizing in our science classrooms.

    Either our natural world is the product of intelligent agency, or it is not. And that’s a scientific question. Using court-ordered censorship, Darwinists have succeeded in establishing a monopoly on instruction about biology and human origins in public schools. That instruction is inherently religious, because all scientific theories begin with religious (metaphysical) premises and draw religious (metaphysical) conclusions. Ideas have premises and consequences.

    The NAS is right to assert that religious belief and science are compatible, but they are compatible not because they address entirely separate aspects of human experience. They are compatible because they they overlap. Scientific understanding is based on metaphysical understanding, which is religion. Science and religion are indispensable to one another. The question is whether practitioners of science and religion, which describes all of us to a greater or lesser extent, are honest about the religious foundations and implications of our scientific opinions.

    For Darwinists, the assertion that religion and science are separate magesteria serves a polemical purpose. It justifies the advancement of their ideology, cloaked as disinterested science, in public forums and particularly in public schools without their admission that Darwinism intrinsically advances atheism. Darwinist censorship in academia and in public schools of any meaningful criticism of Darwinism has given one side of this religious argument a monopoly on the public education of our children. Darwin’s theory has been ideologically potent far in excess of its scientific vacuity. Its ideological potency in our culture is mostly a consequence of educational monopoly and censorship of criticism.

    Many Americans are beginning to understand that Darwinism is a religious worldview — it is the creation myth of atheism — and that it has a monopoly on public education. As public opinion polls show, there is massive public support for open discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism in public schools, and for an end to censorship in science.

    The assertion by the NAS that science and religion address separate aspects of life is witless. Truth is unitary. Obviously it matters whether or not God exists, and whether or not He created the universe and man. It matters theologically, it matters philosophically, it matters historically, it matters ethically, it matters politically, and it matters scientifically. It matters scientifically because science is the search for truth about the natural world, and if it was designed by an intelligent agent, that’s the truth about it, and it’s a scientific truth, and it matters

    More at:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/02/reviewing_jerry_coyne_part_3_t.html#more

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  7. Hello Tandi,

    You quote:
    "A large majority of respondents (80%) agree that teachers and students should have academic freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution as a scientific theory, with more than half (54%) saying they strongly agree. Only 16% disagree."

    To this I respond: teachers and students *do* have academic freedom to "discuss the controversy." If in my public biology class I encouraged (not compelled) my students to do a research project on ID and evolution and to present their findings to the class, that would be fine. Their is nothing illegal about that. The issue is compulsory teaching of side issues. And this leads to the next point.

    Science is not democratic. The findings of science are not bound to democratic values in which the majority vote gets the right science. If the majority vote was for teaching Hindu creationism to the exclusion of Christian creationism, you would object. The only way to exclude one is to exclude all.

    When I was a manager with my previous company, I had to implement and make policy. One of the workers began to put gruesome zombie pictures on his computer desktop. Instead of putting out a notice banning zombie pictures on the desktop or addressing just him, I put out an office memo stating that only the company logos could be displayed on their computer screen desktops. This way, I was not being partial against just this one employee's taste; instead, I banned all non-professional expressions.

    Science is different than dogma. Evolution, contrary to the petty thoughts of some, is not dogma, it is one of the attested theories of all time, but it is falsifiable. Dogma cannot be falsified. Dogma has can be compulsory in the classroom. And, just as you would resist the inclusion of Hindu creationism (if it was the exclusion of your creationism), so must the all forms of creationism be excluded.

    Also, ID has yet to construct itself into a scientific model. I have read the literature from both sides. ID proponents do not have a scientific model that offers explanations. They simply poke holes in methodological naturalistic findings and then place cervical caps on them from being a source a further research.

    I will teach a degree of the controversy in my classroom, because I know that teaching more than one perspective will better my students' understanding of evolution. But, I plan do to this democratically--through the representation of actual student creationists in the classroom. And, of course, the delivery will be multi-modal. :0)

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  8. Scriptulicious wrote: "Science is not democratic."

    My thoughts exactly. Science has no regard for what we wish, want, or have faith in, only in what can be evidentially substantiated. If there were anything scientific about ID or creation "science", then scientists would be all over it. The fact that they aren't is not because of some conspiracy of censorship, but because it's not science.

    How many creation myths should science teachers teach in the classroom, Tandi? Let's be fair now, because there are hundreds of them: click here to see a couple dozen. Which ones of these unscientific myths should we teach in science class? Which ones should not be taught in science class? Shall we take a vote on it while the American education system spirals down the toilet?

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  9. A while back Philosobot made this statement:

    I consider the Biblical account of creation a story which may or may not have some metaphorical meaning (depending on whether or not you believe in God). But it fails as a scientific hypothesis because a)it adds a supernatural cause, and science can only speak of natural causes, and b) it cannot be falsified. If you find evidence that falsifies creationism, the proponents of creationism would add an ad hoc explanation for the observed evidence.

    An example of this unfalsifiability happens when you talk about light reaching earth from a distant galaxy, megaparsecs away from earth. If God created the universe 4000 years ago, where (and when) did this million-year-old light come from? Instead of accepting the falsification, the creationist would add another unfalsifiable qualifier like "the speed of light has slowed down over the years"

    I asked Daniel Gregg to comment in response. His responses are now posted and linked to at my blog.

    "What is Science" also answers some of the points that Scriptulicious has made above.

    "Starlight and the Heavens" addresses the Light question.

    By the way, Philo, it was 6000 years ago, not 4000. Date of Creation 4140 BC to be exact. Those who love Sudoko will love Dan's Bible Chronology. He has connected the dots well. Available online at torahtimes.org

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  10. You know the date of creation exactly!?!?!?! Sweet. What month was it?

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  11. Hello Scrip,

    I will ponder "what is Darwinism" before I respond later today.

    I wonder if you would be allowed to question Darwinism in the public school classroom. I have heard of teachers who were not allowed to do so in some states. Intelligent Design is not allowed to be discussed or presented as a voluntary student project. This is the whole impetus behind "Academic Freedom Day" protests in response to "Darwin Day."

    Ben Stein became the latest victim of the silencing of dissident voices. His selection as Commencement Speaker at the University of Vermont was protested so vociferously (led by Dawkins) that he had to withdraw.

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  12. Hello Zee,

    You will have to check out the book yourself to find out what season of the year it was. : )

    You will also discover the birth date of Jezus as well. You will be astounded.

    Click on "Online book here" at torahtimes.org

    There is a table of contents to get you to any pages of interest.

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  13. Hello Tandi,

    First, I do not teach nor espouse Darwinism. I don't even know what Darwinism is, quite frankly, as the only people I read using it are misusing it. Second, I would not be questioning evolution; rather, I would be encouraging students to think critically while appreciating the fabric of ideas against which evolution contrasts. Critical thought and ideological contrasts strongly encourage long-term learning.

    One assignment that I am considering, if I ever teach beyond sixth grade science, would be to have students debate creationism (or ID) and evolution. I would, however, have the students take on the position that they disagree with. In so doing, they would be graded for how well they demonstrate a knowledge of the other perspective. So, in such a classroom, the creationists or ID inclined would ideally be asked to defend evolution and those in favor of naturalistic evolution would be asked to argue in favor of ID or creationism. I say "ideally" because it would necessarily be difficult to segregate between students in either category without being invasive. but, I think it is more than possible.

    Ben Stein created a piece of manipulative film that had nothing to do with science. He never addressed a single example where ID "theory" trumps the theory of evolution. ID is dead dogma...not science. Should he have been able to speak, I don't know. I know that I would not want him speaking for my commencement or graduation ceremony because he represents Dark-Age alchemy and psuedo-science.

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  14. Zee, according to Daniel Gregg, Jesus was born on September 11th, 4BCE. He came to this date before the events of 2001. Superstition leads some to connect this with the terrorist attacks of later year. The changes of Jesus being born on this date, or any date on/near Rosh Hashannah, is like 1:29--not very difficult odds to overcome. Besides, the Jews of that time did not use the Gregorian Calendar. It was not September 11 for them.

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  15. I have no problem with the approximation of when Jesus was born. The exact date of creation is amusing to me. Tandi, how long were Adam in Eve in the garden before the fall? I'll settle for an order of magnitude. Days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, ect ect.

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  16. All knowing Tandi... how come the second account of creation in the Bible is not used in the Creation vs. Evolution discussions?

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  17. Zee wrote: "All knowing Tandi... how come the second account of creation in the Bible is not used in the Creation vs. Evolution discussions?"

    Yes, Tandi, also please explain how god created animals before man in the first account, and then created animals after man in the second account.

    Tandi wrote: "By the way, Philo, it was 6000 years ago, not 4000."

    Oh, well, now it all makes sense.

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  18. Hello Scrip,

    Re: What is Darwinism?

    Is not Darwin the father of modern evolutionary theory? Isn’t that the reason for Darwin Day? So what’s wrong with calling Evolution “Darwinism”?

    “Darwin’s theory is that all living things are descendants of a common ancestor, modified by unguided processes such as random variation and natural selection. Although nobody doubts that variation and selection can produce minor changes within existing species (“microevolution”), Darwin claimed that microevolution leads to the origin of new species, organs and body plans (“macroevolution”)”

    thus....Darwinism. What is your objection to this term?

    I liked the following article very much. This will be my complete essay answer to “What is Darwinism?” I hope I am able to write as good an essay myself someday. I like this kind of writing.

    http://www.origins.org/pjohnson/whatis.html

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  19. Hello Tandi,

    Darwin is not the inventor of the theory of evolution. Satan is...no, really. the transmutation of species was become popular before Darwin. However, it was the function of "transmutation" that remained unsettled until Wallace (before Darwin) and Darwin published.

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  20. Zee, Philo

    I appreciate your questions....they help me learn more as I research the answers. Takes time though....and I am running out of time for today. I do not have time to answer every question you throw my way but I do want to tackle the Genesis 2 creation question.

    Stay tuned for the next episode of "Days of Our Created Lives"

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  21. Tandi,

    I don't understand how one can read the Bible and not have asked themselves those questions already. There are some very logical explanations to support creation in six days as well as support creation in a different time period. I also don't understand how one can be so set that creation HAD to have been one way and not be able to have their reasons why. I'm confident you will search around till you find the answer that you think best fits the conclusion that you have come to and I am happy to help you learn but in my mind you have already lost credibility.

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  22. Asking to define Darwinism is asking what one means when they use it or it is a trick question. Darwinism is a term used for various movements or concepts related evolution and ideas with no connection to the work of Charles Darwin. The term is also increasingly thought of as an inappropriate description of modern evolutionary theory. Darwinism is often used by creationists as a term of disaproval or contempt.

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  23. Zee

    I have asked these questions over the years and found answers to my satisfaction. I am researching in order to develop answers to your satisfaction.....you are the ones needing convincing and challenging the integrity of Scripture, not me. I only recall bits and pieces of things I have read concerning Genesis 2 for example. I remember the answers were satisfying in resolving the supposed conflict.

    In years past, the question of origins never entered my thoughts. I never read much Creationism or Evolution literature. It was not a topic that interested me. Science is not my forte. It only became of vital interest when I discovered that people were losing their faith in God because of this issue.

    Credibility? I don't have any to lose. Just sharing what I believe to be true. Rejection and mockery expected.

    Darwinism is not a contemptuous term. It could be used that way, just as fundamentalism is used contemptuously, but the term itself is not. It is now common parlance in the media, etc. Wikipedia has a good article on Darwinism and its various uses.

    No offense intended in other words.

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  24. In answer to the original question on this sound-off.......

    Without Darwin's theories impacting Medicine, more people would have kept their so-called "vestigial" appendix. It has recently been discovered that the appendix is a safe house for beneficial bacteria and not a "worthless rudimentary organ left over from man's herbivorous ancestors."

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  25. Tandi says, "you are the ones needing convincing and challenging the integrity of Scripture, not me."

    I am convinced of thet integrity of Scripture. Sure I'm not so shallow to believe that the KJV of the Bible is perfect but I know the Bible is 100% true. I understand you think I pick and choose but I think its important to look at Biblical passages in context. Without looking at context how do you justify contributing here with 1 Timothy 2:11-14? With your tunnel vision I would have thought you would read it instructing you to shut up and make babies.

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