Skip to comments.Churches urged to back evolution
Posted on 02/20/2006 5:33:50 AM PST by ToryHeartland
Churches urged to back evolution By Paul Rincon BBC News science reporter, St Louis
US scientists have called on mainstream religious communities to help them fight policies that undermine the teaching of evolution.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) hit out at the "intelligent design" movement at its annual meeting in Missouri.
Teaching the idea threatens scientific literacy among schoolchildren, it said.
Its proponents argue life on Earth is too complex to have evolved on its own.
As the name suggests, intelligent design is a concept invoking the hand of a designer in nature.
It's time to recognise that science and religion should never be pitted against each other Gilbert Omenn AAAS president
There have been several attempts across the US by anti-evolutionists to get intelligent design taught in school science lessons.
At the meeting in St Louis, the AAAS issued a statement strongly condemning the moves.
"Such veiled attempts to wedge religion - actually just one kind of religion - into science classrooms is a disservice to students, parents, teachers and tax payers," said AAAS president Gilbert Omenn.
"It's time to recognise that science and religion should never be pitted against each other.
"They can and do co-exist in the context of most people's lives. Just not in science classrooms, lest we confuse our children."
'Who's kidding whom?'
Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, which campaigns to keep evolution in public schools, said those in mainstream religious communities needed to "step up to the plate" in order to prevent the issue being viewed as a battle between science and religion.
Some have already heeded the warning.
"The intelligent design movement belittles evolution. It makes God a designer - an engineer," said George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory.
"Intelligent design concentrates on a designer who they do not really identify - but who's kidding whom?"
Last year, a federal judge ruled in favour of 11 parents in Dover, Pennsylvania, who argued that Darwinian evolution must be taught as fact.
Dover school administrators had pushed for intelligent design to be inserted into science teaching. But the judge ruled this violated the constitution, which sets out a clear separation between religion and state.
Despite the ruling, more challenges are on the way.
Fourteen US states are considering bills that scientists say would restrict the teaching of evolution.
These include a legislative bill in Missouri which seeks to ensure that only science which can be proven by experiment is taught in schools.
I think if we look at where the empirical scientific evidence leads us, it leads us towards intelligent design Teacher Mark Gihring "The new strategy is to teach intelligent design without calling it intelligent design," biologist Kenneth Miller, of Brown University in Rhode Island, told the BBC News website.
Dr Miller, an expert witness in the Dover School case, added: "The advocates of intelligent design and creationism have tried to repackage their criticisms, saying they want to teach the evidence for evolution and the evidence against evolution."
However, Mark Gihring, a teacher from Missouri sympathetic to intelligent design, told the BBC: "I think if we look at where the empirical scientific evidence leads us, it leads us towards intelligent design.
"[Intelligent design] ultimately takes us back to why we're here and the value of life... if an individual doesn't have a reason for being, they might carry themselves in a way that is ultimately destructive for society."
The decentralised US education system ensures that intelligent design will remain an issue in the classroom regardless of the decision in the Dover case.
"I think as a legal strategy, intelligent design is dead. That does not mean intelligent design as a social movement is dead," said Ms Scott.
"This is an idea that has real legs and it's going to be around for a long time. It will, however, evolve."
Among the most high-profile champions of intelligent design is US President George W Bush, who has said schools should make students aware of the concept.
But Mr Omenn warned that teaching intelligent design will deprive students of a proper education, ultimately harming the US economy.
"At a time when fewer US students are heading into science, baby boomer scientists are retiring in growing numbers and international students are returning home to work, America can ill afford the time and tax-payer dollars debating the facts of evolution," he said. Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/4731360.stm
Published: 2006/02/20 10:54:16 GMT
© BBC MMVI
You're side is devoid of common sense. Can a public employee, any public employee (Professors are not yet a protected group) announce that they will withold personal recommendation for advancement based on race, religion or gender?
They were certainly presented close enough that in my uneducated mind, the two were definitely connected.
(I'm not that dang old! :-)
Alas, this is still true today in some cases.
Agreed. Children are impressionable and are, after all, in school to learn. Perhaps a class called The Origins of Life and other Philosophies might be the answer.
If the research of abiogenesis makes progress and we have more conclusive data about how life might have arisen naturally then this is going to be taught in science class and theology or philosophy classes aren't going to change that and any criticism thereof has to come from the scientific corner and not the theological or philosophical field.
And there's the sticker.
Science proclaims that the evolutionary origin of life theory is scientifically 'true', yet hold itself only to its OWN standard of proof.
It becomes an elaborate game of 'Because I say so'.
Science cannot *prove* life began as an accident any more than a creationist can *prove* it was on purpose.
It's a stalemate.
Do you believe that everything in the Bible is to be taken absolutely literally?
We could spend a LOT of time chewing the fat over just what THIS means! ;^)
Prepare for the deluge, Noah II
I've just told you that is not my policy.
As it happens, I doubt there would be a problem, but I'm certainly not going to carry out fool experiments to satisfy your curiosity.
No it is not. An assertion by any measure is weaker term than an affirmation. In the context of the professor statement, "If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm", it is a much firmer statement that simply to affirm, and in context it is most certainly more like an oath than an assertion.
He did no such thing. He simply declined to write a letter of recommendation for those who would not.
OK then; in your opinion, in what ways have we changed?
As it happens, you're wrong. Your speech rights are yours to exercise. If you act on those speech rights and run afoul of the constitution as a public employee you'll be exercising your speech rights as a non public employee.
But I am happy to hear that you don't subscribe to such a policy.
He is *not* acting in the name of the University, as a spokesman for the university.
It is a private letter.
He *changed* the wording cuz your whole legal challenge is *silly*. And a simple wording change saved him money, time, and hassle.
While allowing him to continue acting in exactly the same way.
You're wrong, obviously, to paint this as religious discrimination. Much like some black folk I know who see racism in everything.
You even had to carefully select the definition of 'affirmation' away from the common usage.
He writes the letter as a private individual with some level of authority. If he retires, or goes to a different University, he can still write the letters. The letters are not written as an agent of the University in any way, shape or form. He is not saying "The university thinks this student will make a good doctor".
... among the nation's top scientists, between 2/3 and 3/4 are atheistic by conventional definition; 15 - 20% are agnostic, and the rest are theists.
Ok then; thanks!
I should have included you two guys.
Dominic Harr: "As I understand the laws of this country, he would be well within his rights. "
Well I would have to disagree. There is no way a state employee using his title and using state property could ever get away with that. He would be tarred, feathered, and fired within 24 hours.
Well, let's see: Dictionary dot com says,
af·firm v. af·firmed, af·firm·ing, af·firms v. tr.
1. To declare positively or firmly; maintain to be true.
2. To support or uphold the validity of; confirm.
So no, it only means to positively or firmly maintain to be true.
So he just said you can't tell me a scientific origin of humanity that you maintain to be true, then you don't get my reccommendation.
As is his right.
It would also be within his rights to refuse to give letters of personal reccommendation to someone who wasn't against abortion, if he so chose.
Cuz it's a personal letter.
How can you believe in God (capital G as in the God of the Bible) if you don't see Him is Scripture? If it weren't for the Bible and what He revealed to us in it, we would know next to nothing about Him. The Bible, which is what you dismiss as "the ramblings of the primitive people", is the only source of information about Him. And it's hardly *ramblings*. It's written at a level that most people can't even attain these days. Ramblings don't include such specific references to people, dates, and events, and it has found to be historically very accurate. It makes no sense to claim to believe in God and yet reject the very source of the information about Him.
I agree he'd be ostracized, and should be. I myself would join the lynch party. It would be a private matter to be handled by his employer.
But would he have broken any law?
Not as far as I'm aware.
So the idea that he somehow violated the constitution here . . . I just don't see it.
I've been following this a bit and it sounds to me that your position is that a state employee is not permitted to make a 'personal' recommendation at all, at least not in any meaningful way.
If 'personal' recommendations are regulated by the state, how can they be really be 'personal'?
Does the phrase 'truthfully and forthrightly affirm' most closely resemble:
A. an Assertion
B. an Oath
If people were being honest, 80% would choose B.
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