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
Then where is the evidence that the beginning of life on Earth was an accident?
however even with extensive compelling evidence validating a theory, scientific claims are always subject to change should contradictory evidence suddenly arise.
How much evidence is required by the scientific community before it's considered 'compelling' or 'contradictory'?
IMHO, however true Darwin's theory is that the natural world evolves over time, I'm just not willing to forgo my innate beliefs and awe for the complexity of life on the say so of an amateur naturalist on a cruise.
Creationism relies on no evidence at all, and many of its proponents insist that no amount of real-world observations will make them change their views.
Yep... It's called faith.
Or, he decided that a simple wording change could solve a silly legal challenge, saving time and headaches without causing him to have to change his behavior at all, and he did so.
Like if I called some black friends the 'N' word (meaning 'dude', the way black guys use it). I don't *mean* it as a put-down, but if someone objected, I wouldn't use it with them. Not cuz I meant to be insulting, but cuz I'm a nice guy who tries to accomodate others.
And you *still* haven't addressed my point . . . this is a *personal* letter written by him for whatever reasons he wants to.
This is about his *personal* reputation that will follow him even after he retires, goes to another school, etc. He has his own requirements.
And *what* is your complaint about him having his own requirements for that?
It's firstname.lastname@example.org but I have to warn you he uses quite a badass spam filter...
Oh puh_leez. There is not even agreement in the scientific community Neanderthals are our ancestors or not. There are more questions than answers. To say that the origin of humans is not tentative is just plain nuts.
Do you believe that God cannot operate out of Time?
Is God constrained to operate within the Time that He himself created?
No. It could very well be that God counted himself 7 days, but that millions or even billions of years were passing.
Here's an analogy. Imagine you are sitting in front of a VCR player. You press the fast-forward button and mark the time on your watch. Once the tape has finished, a few minutes of time has passed on your watch. But inside the tape, hours and hours of time passed.
To prove he wrote it, he is who he is. Not to say, "This is the opinion of this University" -- obviously, I'd say.
He is not writing the letter as an agent of the university in the name of the university.
It is his *personal* reccommendation, correct? Him writing a letter to some school saying, "I'm this person, and I think this student would be a good doctor".
That's it. And you folk are trying to force him to give a personal reccommendations to people he does not want to, using the courts to try and abridge his free speach.
####At what point do you require that physical processes require continuous divine intervention? Can you name the process involved in evolution that specifically requires divine intervention?####
At least some part of it would have to require divine intervention for humans to be created in God's image. Either God created the first living cell and guided it upward to create all the various life forms, with man as a special creation at the top, or God programmed the first cell to evolve upward into man. It seems hard from a theological standpoint to maintain that A) the universe is here "on its own", B) the first living cell came into existence "on its own", C) this cell evolved through random mutations "on its own" into the millions of species we see on earth, including man, but D) man is still created in the image of God.
Why do you make things so complicated when they aren't? Does it make you feel smart to dig and dig for answers.
READ " THE BOOK " - the answers are all there. When you purchase a car, do you look at the instruction manual that the manufacture suggests you do? You know, the creator of the auto. Same thing applies to Our Creator - He gave us all the answers.
this only by saying 'God did it"
BECAUSE HE DID! If you don't believe in God, I understand why you aren't 'getting it'.
That's a nice definition. Here's another one.
affirmation - (religion) a solemn declaration that serves the same purpose as an oath
I see an affirmation as an oath, you see it as a simple assertion. I think 'assertion' is a very weak replacement for an 'affirmation'.
Wouldn't you know it....a government employee.
Announce on your university website that any student who self identifies as a creationist can not get a recommendation from you no matter the grade they got in your class.
Or better yet announce on your website that creationists can not go to med school.
What the hell, maybe its time to give the private sector a shot.
What churches are they asking to back Evolution?
Christians, Jews and Muslims will have none of this.
Perhaps the church of the white witches, wicka, druids... get the point. This is not a threat.
The threat is that Christian churches are Biblically illiterate and do not know how to defend Creation.
But then, God can defend Himself. Having to explain God is like having to point out the sun.
Define "natural processes"
So if he said that, 'unless you are white, do not seek my recommendation'? Would that be OK?? Or do you favor discrimination against people who believe in creation, but are against discrimination because of skin color?
Your point has been addressed. He is a public employee. His recommendations go out on public letterhead. He cahnged the wording. So either he is loathe to risk losing the public check, he is making a tacit admission that he ran afoul of the constitution or he is trying to help everbody "just get along". My moneys on a or b, you can put yours wherever you please.
The fundamentalist mindset always wants "final answers". Scientists like questions--they are stimulating, and questioning is the motive force of scientific endeavors.
And...there are more questions than answers about what causes cancer, for instance, but that does not invalidate efforts to understand cancer. Or does it in your mind?
Some churches opposed the germ theory of disease--on the grounds that this interferred with god's punishments. However, it turned out that people were not really anxious to go to heaven sooner, and so religious opposition to germ theory quickly lost traction! (Except for Christian Scientists, faith healers, exorcists, and the like.)
It seems to me that the source of the objection to evolution is that some fundamentalist Protests insist upon an absolute literal interpretation of the Biblical account of the 7 days of creation and the story of Adam and Eve.
It does not bother me at all. Teaching evolution does not bother me at all. Studying evolution does not bother me at all. What bothers me is some state-paid professor making students honestly affirm a scientific answer to the origins of humans. That has no place in the class room.
Garbage. The recommendation should be based on the quality and quantity of work the student did in the Professors field and by personal knowledge the Professor has of the students abilities. If that student fails to meet those or other criteria applied across the board no recommendation. Meritocracy is fine.
How is it that ad hominem arguments re: the church so often take these bizarre and obscure "historical examples" and when asked for proof that this stuff really existed, I am told that the poster's great aunt Hephizbah swore up and down it was true and she was a lifetime member of the DoubleDoseHolyGhostTrulyConvertedHighlySanctified sect, so that the poster just assumed "lots of religious weirdos believed it."
I have never heard of this stuff. Anything other than another internet anecdote to back it up?
A summary: Athiests are waging a war on Christianity here.
Exactly -- I picked the 1st one in the dictionary, the most obvious, logical one.
You folk picked the only one that insults you.
And I'd say that is the crux of this entire debate -- you were looking for some way to get at a supporter of evolution on some technicality.
And you *still* haven't answered the core point -- can't he give his personal reccommendation to anyone he wants for any reason? If it turns out he gives a letter of reccommendation to the son of his mistress (assuming he had one!), pure favoritism, unfair in the extreme, wouldn't he still be completely within his rights?
Your side seems to be trying to use the state to infringe upon this man's right to reccommend who he wants for whatever reasons he wants.
I have no idea, as I did not go check.
I figure that if others want to know, they can go look to see if your references are correct.
I am simply going on the fact that all of us, at one time or another, has told a lie.
It could very well be that God counted himself 7 days, but that millions or even billions of years were passing.
God did not try to confuse us. YOU are confusing yourself!
When God says it is the Fifth day - that's what it is. And there was evening and there was morning - How much MORE SIMPLIER could HE have made it. EVEN the simply things confuse the wise!
Isaiah 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.
You see, God knew there would be those that couldn't understand things in their own minds - so they create their own reasoning to things. God has it all covered in His Word. He created the world. Don't let the 'educators' trap you with their piddly little brains - trying to be more intelligent than their own Creator.
As I understand the laws of this country, he would be well within his rights.
(I would not agree with it, of course, as you disagree here. but I would *not* seek govt intervention in a private personal matter.)
For example, he *could* say I only write letters for people with miliatary families. Or I only write letters to people from my home town. And on, and on.
Cuz it's a PERSONAL LETTER.
What is your response to that point?
Do you pay to stay on this forum?
Its obviously not due to your charm that youre allowed to stay.
The lack of scientific evidence supporting creationism quickly dispels it a scientifically valid theory. It is not falsifiable, because the existence of God cannot be proven or disproven.
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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