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Cornell president condemns intelligent design
©2005 Syracuse.com ^ | 10/21/2005, 12:03 p.m. ET | By WILLIAM KATES

Posted on 10/21/2005 10:26:36 AM PDT by Behind Liberal Lines

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University Interim President Hunter Rawlings III on Friday condemned the teaching of intelligent design as science, calling it "a religious belief masquerading as a secular idea."

"Intelligent design is not valid science," Rawlings told nearly 700 trustees, faculty and other school officials attending Cornell's annual board meeting.

"It has no ability to develop new knowledge through hypothesis testing, modification of the original theory based on experimental results and renewed testing through more refined experiments that yield still more refinements and insights," Rawlings said.

Rawlings, Cornell's president from 1995 to 2003, is now serving as interim president in the wake of this summer's sudden departure of former Cornell president Jeffrey Lehman.

Intelligent design is a theory that says life is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying a higher power must have had a hand. It has been harshly criticized by The National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which have called it repackaged creationism and improper to include in scientific education.

There are brewing disputes involving evolution and intelligent design in at least 20 states and numerous school districts nationwide, including California, New Mexico, Kansas and Pennsylvania. President Bush elevated the controversy in August when he said that schools should teach intelligent design along with evolution.

Many Americans, including some supporters of evolution, believe intelligent design should be taught with evolution. Rawlings said a large minority of Americans — nearly 40 percent — want creationism taught in public schools instead of evolution.

For those reasons, Rawlings said he felt it "imperative" to use his state-of-the-university address — usually a recitation of the school's progress over the last year — to speak out against intelligent design, which he said has "put rational thought under attack."


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: New York
KEYWORDS: academia; atheist; cityofevil; cornell; crevolist; evolution; hellbound; intelligentdesign; ithaca; scumbag
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To: Coyoteman

My sister is predominantly of Central American Indian (Honduran) ancestry, but she has enough European blood in her that she can get sunburned without protection.


251 posted on 10/21/2005 3:13:58 PM PDT by RightWingAtheist (Free the Crevo Three!)
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To: Ichneumon

More people believe in God than evolution so you are still on the losing end. And I am confident that some day there will be proof (more than we have now) that humans were created separately from other animals. Until that time we will all just have to keep arguing I guess.


252 posted on 10/21/2005 3:24:48 PM PDT by mlc9852
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To: AndrewC
Everything has a temperature.

Nah. Only things with a well-defined Boltzmann distribution of states have a temperature.

253 posted on 10/21/2005 3:31:02 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Right Wing Professor
Nah. Only things with a well-defined Boltzmann distribution of states have a temperature.

Good old Boltzmann, without him we would not have a universe.

254 posted on 10/21/2005 3:32:59 PM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: RightWingAtheist

I'm torn. On one hand I see his point. on the other, why use a traditionally apolitical speech to make this point? also I wish Rawlings and others would apply the same healthy skepticism to similarly dubious but politcally liberal theories such as global warming


255 posted on 10/21/2005 4:00:23 PM PDT by Behind Liberal Lines
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To: mlc9852
More people believe in God than evolution so you are still on the losing end.

Luckily, science isn't a popularity contest.

256 posted on 10/21/2005 4:04:12 PM PDT by Wormwood (Iš! Iš! Cthulhu fhtagn!)
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To: shuckmaster

Glad you enjoyed it! ;-)


257 posted on 10/21/2005 4:04:23 PM PDT by daviscupper
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To: Wormwood; mlc9852
[More people believe in God than evolution so you are still on the losing end.]

Luckily, science isn't a popularity contest.

More to the point, neither is truth.

258 posted on 10/21/2005 4:19:57 PM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: Bigh4u2
I found the larger post I did yesterday on human variation. Here is the link:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1505777/posts?page=56#56

259 posted on 10/21/2005 4:30:57 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: mlc9852; Wormwood; narby; dmz; PatrickHenry; Dimensio; Coyoteman
More people believe in God than evolution so you are still on the losing end.

Wow! You started out claiming "irrefutable proof" for God, then when asked for that proof you retreated to saying that's how you "interpret" the evidence, and then when it's pointed out that "interpretation" is a far distant thing from "proof", or even validated interpretations, you retreat even further to "more people believe one than the other, nyah nyah".

Cling to that if it brings you some comfort. But if you really want to pin your hopes on the notion that truth is determined by some sort of popularity contest, you probably don't want to think too hard about the fact that evolution is believed by more people than the specific type of God-belief known as Christianity.

And I am confident that some day there will be proof (more than we have now) that humans were created separately from other animals.

You are free to believe that someday your beliefs will actually be supportable, if you wish.

Meanwhile, we'll continue to believe what the vast amount of evidence actually already shows, because we're more interested in seeking out what is actually true, instead of what we'd wish to be true. Accepting the results of reality-checks against the real-world evidence is the best known way to do that.

Which position is more intellectually honest, would you say?

Until that time we will all just have to keep arguing I guess.

Or perhaps you'll get around to following the evidence where it actually leads for a change, instead of where you wished it did, or hope it might someday. Or perhaps you won't.

260 posted on 10/21/2005 4:33:30 PM PDT by Ichneumon (Certified pedantic coxcomb)
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To: Bigh4u2
I assume you have piles of questions, so fire away.
261 posted on 10/21/2005 4:36:59 PM PDT by b_sharp (Tagline? What tagline?)
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To: Ichneumon
Reality is a harsh mistress. No rationality, no mercy.

(I'm thinking of that as a tagline.)

262 posted on 10/21/2005 4:38:16 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (No response to trolls, retards, or lunatics)
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To: Bigh4u2; Thatcherite
And if you have trouble understanding what Thatch says, be patient...he's British. Or ask one of us to interpret.
263 posted on 10/21/2005 4:41:48 PM PDT by b_sharp (Tagline? What tagline?)
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To: PatrickHenry
Can you make something out of this?

Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.

Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973

Suggestion underlined.
264 posted on 10/21/2005 4:42:55 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Coyoteman
I guess "harsh mistress" triggered your memory. I grew up on Heinlein's books. One of the greatest American authors.

[Tagline switch]

265 posted on 10/21/2005 4:45:46 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Reality is a harsh mistress. No rationality, no mercy)
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To: mlc9852
I knew some twit would come up with that.

That isn't what he said. Do you understand what a continuum is? Do you understand that the two termini are different enough to be obvious but any single point in between is not?
266 posted on 10/21/2005 4:46:15 PM PDT by b_sharp (Tagline? What tagline?)
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To: mlc9852
I am confident that some day there will be proof

I feel compelled to reply to this comment but, I can't think of anything appropriate.

267 posted on 10/21/2005 4:49:00 PM PDT by shuckmaster (Bring back SeaLion and ModernMan!)
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To: mlc9852
More people believe in God than evolution

If you include the Muslims.

268 posted on 10/21/2005 4:49:01 PM PDT by WildTurkey (I BELIEVE CONGRESSMAN WELDON!)
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To: b_sharp

Believe it or not, I just got back from shopping!

And as far as 'Thatcherite', I figured that out from his screen name (fond of Margret Thatcher)

See! I'm getting smarter all the time!/sarc

Anyway. I have a question about 'natural selection'.

If a species is evolving because of environmental changes, the would natural selection just be a weeding out of the weaker part of the gene pool?

In other words. Would each generation of species the weaker ones in favor of the stronger ones?




269 posted on 10/21/2005 4:49:17 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: Bigh4u2

"Would each generation of species 'EVOLVE OUT' the weaker ones in favor of the stronger ones? "

Sorry about that!


270 posted on 10/21/2005 4:51:05 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: mlc9852

But there are so many who believe in God and yet still believe in evolution...you seem to want to believe that just because someone believes in God, he will not believe in evolution...you may want to believe it, but that will never make it true...people do believe in God and evolution at the same time, and see no conflict...you obviously do see a conflict...however, you cannot speak for others who do believe in God...right here on FR, there are those who say they believe in God and evolution at the same time...and thats just on FR...in the world at large, there are many, many more...

You seem to insinuate that since there are more who believe in God, than believe in evolution, that somehow evolution will eventually 'lose', some battle...I think you will be disappointed...


271 posted on 10/21/2005 4:53:38 PM PDT by andysandmikesmom
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To: Bigh4u2
"Would each generation of species 'EVOLVE OUT' the weaker ones in favor of the stronger ones? "

The weaker ones? More like "die out" than evolve out. They're not going anywhere.

In various traits, there is a continuum from one end to the other (say, light skin to dark skin as an example). Under various conditions natural selection will nibble at one end of the range or the other, reducing the population of the end of the range that is less suited to the conditions. The survivors get to pass on their genes. The subsequent generation will be just slightly different, in the direction of better adapted.

Apply a few hundred thousands of years of time to many small, isolated populations, stir well.

272 posted on 10/21/2005 4:59:46 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Bigh4u2
If a species is evolving because of environmental changes, the would natural selection just be a weeding out of the weaker part of the gene pool?

Only in the sense that a weakness relates to the particular enviromental pressure.

273 posted on 10/21/2005 5:02:05 PM PDT by shuckmaster (Bring back SeaLion and ModernMan!)
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To: Behind Liberal Lines

Cornell grad here. Rawlings is awful but I agree with him on this.


274 posted on 10/21/2005 5:02:27 PM PDT by chet_in_ny
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To: Coyoteman

"More like "die out" than evolve out."

Yeah! That's probably the term I should have used.

But basically tho, I'm right about the stronger ones surviving which would be natural selection? Or not?

I'm not sure I'm asking this right, so bear with me.


275 posted on 10/21/2005 5:04:02 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: mlc9852; Ichneumon
Ichneumon has given you serious reasons to doubt your faith. You will no doubt ignore him, but what happens when this evolution conversation reaches a bright Christian in college and their faith is challenged in the same way? My bet is they will likely reject their faith entirely.

This is why the evolution fight is stupid for Christians to pursue. All it can do is tear the best and brightest away from the church and alienate the rest into a persecution complex cult.

The Discovery Institute is doing professional atheists a huge favor.

276 posted on 10/21/2005 5:05:50 PM PDT by narby (Hillary! The Wicked Witch of the Left)
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To: chet_in_ny

My son is also a Cornell grad...and hes quite conservative in many matters...hes not at all the yammering leftist, contrary to what others on this thread seem to believe of all Cornell students...


277 posted on 10/21/2005 5:06:24 PM PDT by andysandmikesmom
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To: shuckmaster

"Only in the sense that a weakness relates to the particular enviromental pressure."

So the stronger ones would survive and weaker ones would die out?

And that would be the explanation of 'natural selection'?

I'm sorry if I'm asking what may seem to be dumb questions, but I usually can rationalize things better if I just repeat what I'm thinking.

Something to do with what my wife calls 'driving me nuts' syndrome!


278 posted on 10/21/2005 5:08:56 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: Bigh4u2
I'm right about the stronger ones surviving which would be natural selection? Or not?

Lemme butt in for a moment. I think the word "stronger" is a problem, or at least potentially misleading. If a creature can survive and breed, its genes get passed on to the next generation. If not, then whatever problems it had will not get passed on. It's as simple as that. "Stronger" isn't required. Maybe faster, better eyesight, better ability to digest a changing vegetation, better ability to adapt to a drier (or wetter) climate, etc. Whatever.

Over time -- lots of time -- these tiny changes in the gene pool will accumulate, and after a great number of generations the population may be quite different from the ancestral stock.

279 posted on 10/21/2005 5:11:17 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Reality is a harsh mistress. No rationality, no mercy)
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To: narby
"All it can do is tear the best and brightest away from the church and alienate the rest into a persecution complex cult."

I don't believe that's true.

I have a profound 'faith' in God, but yet see no conflict between that faith and evolution, as I understand it.

I am more that willing to learn as much about evolution as possible which may even strengthen that faith.

I don't believe faith and evolution are exclusionary of each other.
JMO
280 posted on 10/21/2005 5:15:42 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: RadioAstronomer

All I want is for evolution to be taught with the caveat that there is much to be answered before it is a proved theory. Do you agree?


281 posted on 10/21/2005 5:18:02 PM PDT by torchthemummy ("Dems preach to their moonbat choir while the Pubbies sing to the audience. " - TTM)
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To: AndrewC
Wikipedia is a not a primary source. ("Welcome to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.")

And anyone, including you, can post nearly anything on FreeRepublic. What's your point? Is the Wiki article wrong?

282 posted on 10/21/2005 5:18:10 PM PDT by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: PatrickHenry

"Over time -- lots of time -- these tiny changes in the gene pool will accumulate, and after a great number of generations the population may be quite different from the ancestral stock."

Ok. I understand now.

I was assuming a change based on too narrow a scale of time.

You explanation makes a lot of sense to me.


283 posted on 10/21/2005 5:19:02 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: Bigh4u2
But basically tho, I'm right about the stronger ones surviving which would be natural selection? Or not?

The ones who survive are not necessarily the strongest. It might be the quickest, smartest, darkest skinned, one with most body fat stored up, or whatever.

That's the problem. We (in the distant past) don't know what conditions are coming to where we are, or what conditions we will encounter when we move.

In most traits there is a range of variation. There are hundreds or thousands of traits. Some are visible (skin color), some are genetic (resistance to particular diseases). Some individuals are better able to survive and pass on their genes. The differences are often tiny, fractions of a percent, but with lots of time they can add up.

In time, the range of variation shifts toward one end or the other. When people migrated out of Africa and toward the northern end of Europe, skin color lightened. In Africa selection pressure favored protection from intense ultraviolet radiation, and dark skin was necessary. In northern Europe selection pressure favored vitamin D production, and the skin had to be lighter to pass the correct amount of ultraviolet radiation for vitamin D production. There is a cline, or range of variation between Africa and northern Europe, with skin color becoming lighter as you go north.

The mechanism for this is natural selection in favor of those who are best suited for a region.

It is very complex, with lots of traits involved. We study the results using current populations as well as fossils. We have a lot to learn, but there is a lot that has already been discovered.

284 posted on 10/21/2005 5:19:44 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Jimmy Valentine's brother
it is not being taught as theory but as a natural law

If you think there is an iota of difference you are unfit to discuss science.

285 posted on 10/21/2005 5:22:39 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: js1138
And anyone, including you, can post nearly anything on FreeRepublic.

And FreeRepublic is not a primary source. Is everything on this site true or at least acceptable as an agreed upon point from which to begin a discussion?

Humans are not apes.

286 posted on 10/21/2005 5:22:47 PM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: Bigh4u2
"Ok. But some friends of mine who are black also tan and sunburn.

This quite common, especially if the person is in the sun infrequently. My wife is aboriginal and will burn some years but not others, depending on how long the winter is and how much we get out into the sun.

"Would that be due to the fact that they are living in a temperate (colder) climate?

The colder climate tends to limit exposure to the sun and the amount of tannin in the skin is reduced. All humans experience the same reaction to the sun regardless of their skin colour. There is a range of tannin levels that is generic in nature and may not be enough in extremely hot environs or too much in cold environs. In the areas where the median range of t-levels is not enough to offer protection in much of the population, those with higher levels will, through lower mortality rates, have more children (with their slightly higher upper range) than those with lower t-levels. Eventually the alleles (available alternative genes) that give the higher levels will become fixed (become dominant to the exclusion of all other alleles) in the population. This change would probably take several hundred generations (or ~.5% in each generation).

For an example of how little a change this is try a little mind experiment. Take the skin colour of the darkest person you know, and the skin colour of the lightest person you know, who like me has ancestors that were from northern very cold climes), then fit in 200 people with skin colours that represent a gradual change from the lightest to the darkest. Now pick two in the centre of the range and see if you can tell the difference in colour.

"Do Africans tan and burn as well or is their pigment different enough to shield them from there hotter environment?

See above.

BTW, if someone is interested in why Inuit and Dene (both originally nomadic) are fairly dark skinned instead of pure white, consider the amount of sunlight reflected off of snow cover and what cold dry wind does to skin. Or talk to a skier.

287 posted on 10/21/2005 5:27:08 PM PDT by b_sharp (Tagline? What tagline?)
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To: AndrewC
Wikipedia is a not a primary source.

It references: Primate evolution at the DNA level and a classification which is

288 posted on 10/21/2005 5:27:58 PM PDT by bobdsmith
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To: Bigh4u2
"That was probably my fault with the question I had asked about it!

Don't take ownership of something that was not your fault. We all know where the statement came from. The author has many problems that just happen to surface here.

289 posted on 10/21/2005 5:29:54 PM PDT by b_sharp (Tagline? What tagline?)
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To: Bigh4u2

I agree completely with your post #280...I really do not understand why people think that evolution and belief in God cannot coexist within the same person...

I am like you, I strongly belief in God, and also belief in evolution...It does not bother me that some who believe in evolution do not believe in a God...why should it and what difference does it make? What does bother me, is when someone comes along with their brand of Christianity, and tells me that its impossible for me to believe in both evolution and God...and that has happened to me, on a number of occasions...

Belief in God, and belief in evolution can and does coexist..


290 posted on 10/21/2005 5:32:06 PM PDT by andysandmikesmom
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To: Coyoteman; PatrickHenry

Both of you have made some good points and has really helped me in understanding what 'natural selection' is all about.

thank you.

I still wonder tho if a mathematical formula is discovered in our biological makeup that shows a definate pattern for life, would that be proof of ID or would that only confirm evolution is not a 'random' selection but process with a specific pattern.

I only ask because I did see a program about a scientist who claims that our biological makeup seemed to be structured rather than random.

His point was that there seemed to be a definate 'design' to it.

But I still wonder if the design was really the result of evolution and not the result of a 'blueprint'.


291 posted on 10/21/2005 5:32:20 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: lilylangtree
Theory of Evolution is pockmarked with holes and unscientific yet it's being taught.

Exactly. The hypocrisy of the so-called scientific intellectuals is laughable.

God will have the last laugh on these fools.

292 posted on 10/21/2005 5:32:41 PM PDT by Jorge (Q)
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To: andysandmikesmom

My thinking is, if you are able to go through four years of socialist brainwashing and still come out a conservative, then you are battlehardened. I graduated 5 years ago, went to law school for 3 years, which almost made Cornell seem conservative, and I still hate leftist thought.

In their eyes, I'm mentally disturbed.


293 posted on 10/21/2005 5:33:44 PM PDT by chet_in_ny
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To: bobdsmith
It references: Primate evolution at the DNA level and a classification which is

Fine, now show me anything in that source that states humans are apes.

294 posted on 10/21/2005 5:33:50 PM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: narby

I totally disagree. The more I look at nature and the complexity of it and the human body and mind, the more convinced I am of God. It is not logical to think that such variety of life could be a random happening. Randomness usually does not create order and I have not yet seen proof that God did not create the universe and everything in it. Mankind has come so far in just the past 100 years that I have serious doubts than humans have been "evolving" over millions of years. The fact that plants and animals are able to adapt in such a variety of ways definitely makes me think there must be some "intelligence" involved. It just makes sense.


295 posted on 10/21/2005 5:36:28 PM PDT by mlc9852
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To: AndrewC

Each of us is a primary source for our arguments. They stand or fall on their own merits. If you believe an assertion of fact to be in error, then primary sources become more important.

But even primary sources are not without error, as witnessed in the current trial where a superintendent fails to recall something that happened in a meeting, even though his own notes recall the event.

The source is not as important as whether an argument stands up to scrutiny.


296 posted on 10/21/2005 5:37:58 PM PDT by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: chet_in_ny

My son always stands in ground in his beliefs, regardless of what school he may go to...

For his third year he went into the Cornell exchange program, and studied abroad in England...now, his major was Applied Physics Engingeering...but while in England he decided to take a history course, to see how the British were teaching world history and compare that to what world history course he had taken in America...he was rather shocked at what they were teaching and more than once, challenged the professor, and voiced his concerns and views over how the professor was teaching..I have to say, my son did alienate some students, yet the professor did admit, that my son had made some very valuable points, and that they should be considered...

Altho my son and his professor were probably worlds apart in their views, still the prof gave my son an A for the course...one can go to Cornell, and remain true to conservative thought...


297 posted on 10/21/2005 5:39:31 PM PDT by andysandmikesmom
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To: js1138
OK.

Humans are not apes.

298 posted on 10/21/2005 5:40:47 PM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: Bigh4u2
I still wonder tho if a mathematical formula is discovered in our biological makeup that shows a definate pattern for life, would that be proof of ID or would that only confirm evolution is not a 'random' selection but process with a specific pattern.

If evidence that supports ID is discovered, then ID will become a serious scientific idea. Until then, the theory of evolution does the job, without the need to resort to an unidentified, unseen, and unevidenced agency.

299 posted on 10/21/2005 5:40:58 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Reality is a harsh mistress. No rationality, no mercy)
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To: andysandmikesmom

Where do you think God fits in evolution?


300 posted on 10/21/2005 5:41:02 PM PDT by mlc9852
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