Skip to comments.A Nationwide Day for Honoring Charles Darwin, but Handled With Caution
Posted on 02/16/2011 10:13:39 AM PST by SeekAndFind
There was trepidation on both sides when a squadron of biologists set out to celebrate Darwin Day in rural America during the weekend.
The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, N.C., which instigated the road trip in the name of scientific outreach, first held a workshop where seven of its Ph.D.s staged role-playing games and practiced debunking misconceptions about evolution without sounding confrontational.
The groups small-town hosts took their own precautions. A high school principal in Ringgold, Va., sent out permission slips so parents could opt out of sending their children to the event (two did). A museum vice president in Putnam, Iowa, publicized the festivities only to teachers, rather than risk riling members of her conservative Christian community.
Darwin Day, conceived as a way to promote science on the 202nd anniversary of Charles Darwins birth he was born Feb. 12, 1809 had until this time been commemorated mostly by those inclined to science, at natural history museums, by secular humanist groups and in university biology departments.
Maybe this year, Jory P. Weintraub, the education director at the evolutionary synthesis center, proposed to his colleagues last fall, we should try to go to places that wouldnt otherwise have a Darwin Day.
Craig McClain, a marine biologist at the center who studies giant squid, was initially opposed.
You want to send evolutionary biologists out to rural America? Dr. McClain asked. On purpose?
He recalled previous clashes between scientists and religious conservatives in some rural communities over Darwins theory of evolution.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Coincidentally, the same day as Lincoln’s birthday.
If you had to pick a single historical figure in the history of the world, whose never having been born or having shot through the head the day after he was born would have done the world the most good, my choice would be Chuck Darwin.
I don’t think Chuck intended a lot of his followers to be so devoted to his ideas that they would it to mean anything they want — from selective euthanasia to genocide.
TYPO: that they would TWIST it to mean anything they want
“Darwin Day? That’s not so bad. After all we celebrate Newton Day, Galileo Day, Copernicus Day, Einstein Day, and Pasteur Day right? I mean its not like there is an agenda here.”
—I’m not sure if I like the idea of “Darwin Day”, but if any of them were attacked the same way Darwin is (see Wendy’s comment above), they probably would have a day as well.
If it were causal to derision, we’d have a Ronald Reagan Day, George W. Day, and Winston Churchill Day.
Evolutionary scienists run amok only when they start to pretend that they know causal elements (that always cracks me up) and that certain things are facts, when they are in truth just reasonable assertions based on a lack of contrary evidence. I blame it on “publish or perish” in fields where nothing (or very little) truly new information has been uncovered in 100 years.
There is plenty of people around (like me) who think very little of Darwinian scientists, based not on evolution, but on their insistance that evolution is both chance and purposeful (it can’t be both), depending on which side of the coin helps them make their case. Not unlike many fields of science at the moment.
Darwin Day smacks of self-importance, but maybe that’s just me. My attitude might evolve.
Oops, typoed the link (should test before hitting “Post”):
Presumably, all evolution from one species to another must rely on mutation, as it is impossible to selectively breed a dog to be a turtle. With mutation, there is no reason to believe that anything evolves "in order to do something". Species simply mutate and that mutation is either good, bad, or neutral in relation to increasing its share in the gene pool.
There is no reason to believe that Giraffes evolved long necks in order to better compete. A bazillion animals graze/forage below the 6' level and there is nor reason to believe that the giraffes ancestors just couldn't survive without adapting. It makes more sense to presume that their was a mutation that caused longer and longer necks, and the species learned to adapt to it, as it didn't significantly prevent it from reproducing. This linear mutation is also a far better explanation of something like the giraffe's neck than natural selection is, as minute differences (1 mm longer) have no measurable natural advantage. Likewise a wild mutation would likely never get into the gene pool, and if it did, it would be quickly dispersed.
That is what I mean, when I say that you can't presume purpose in evolution, only known outcome. I concede that a purpose driven mutation mechanism might exist, that would be non-Darwinian in nature, but that is an unknown.
I once saw a batter hit a softball and strike the top of the outfield post. It bounced straight up, and eventually came to rest right on top of that 12' outfield post. There was nothing special about that ball's trajectory, unless you considered the place that it came to rest special. I think evolutionary scientists tend to see every current outcome as being the top of that post, wherein truth every ball's flight can be seen as a very complicated and one of a kind occurence.
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