Skip to comments.Evolution's Trap
Posted on 05/24/2007 10:39:18 PM PDT by neverdem
Crucial presidential debates are coming soon. For Republicans they can be a problem, especially when it comes to evolution. Often reporters ask questions designed to do irreparable harm to conservative candidates. That was exactly the intent of the evolution question in the first GOP candidate forum on MSNBC on May 3.
Here's what I believe the best answer would have been to the evolution trap:
"I can't answer until I understand your question. Are you asking about microevolution or macroevolution?"
This forces an airing of the...
"Well, if you mean microevolution, where an organism adapts to its environment with the flexibility already built into its existing DNA, then yes I believe in that; we see it every day in nature. But if you mean macroevolution, where mutations stack on one another to create entirely new organ systems and transform one species into a totally different species, then I, along with many well-credentialed scientists, have serious problems with that theory."
And there are scientists who express such concerns. Models like the doctrine of irreducible complexity simply explain that certain organs like the eye require dozens of different component parts, each made of millions or billions of complex cells, all working together to function. It argues such organs cannot evolve over time because even if such an organ is 99% complete, it still has 0% function, and thus does not do anything to help the species. This model suggests organs must be entirely present and perfectly placed together or they do not work. Modern theories of macroevolution have no explanation for how such organs can come about. Regardless of what you believe, it's a fair point for a rational person to make and that does not rely on any religious belief. It's a scientific objection, not a religious one.
(Excerpt) Read more at nysun.com ...
Good read...in the NY Sun?
Sophistry on display.
“Microevolution” is a term unknown to science.
The Evolution question is an unfair one at best as the theory has a great many components. It is not just one entity but many and the many do not necessarily make the one. Natural selection, macroevolution, to which specific part of evolution is the question intended? What has any of it to do with a political debate? I suppose the man from monkey is the aspect most think of when evolution is discussed. The evolution chart of man has more to do with creative illustrators than empirical scientific fact. Yet, in a political forum the topic is best left alone because it always comes down to religion vs religion, as evolution much like global warming has become a religion,and so much GIGO in both, so why even bring it up in a political debate?
Better answer would be “that’s not a public policy question and hence a distraction to the real debate.
... you can follow up with.
“But if you want to debate soemthing regarding scientific theories, what is your opinion of the Reimann Hypothesis? Do you think P = NP? and is it wrong to teach the Bohr model of the atom to high schoolers, knowing it is flawed? I await your answer on these!”
Right. This is solely a liberal question designed to smoke out the “Fundies versus the rest of us”.
You might want to let them know about that at Berkeley.
What's wrong with the NY Sun? Don't you recognize Ken Blackwell? I wish it had the NY Times' resources.
The author explained why at the beginning of this OpEd. The secularist left insists on it. They believe it shows themselves to be informed and the right as ignorant.
In politics it can have some rather deep and sweeping ramifications - for example, Nazi officers trying to help Darwin along by eliminating those they deem less fit for survival. Some would say this has modern application in the quest for embryonic stem cell research as well, to wit, "Since there is no God, since therefore there is no meaning, since therefore we're an accident, what's the big deal?"
(Naturally, seldom considered are the basis of the very truth axioms on which the structure of science itself rests.)
If you don't believe in evolution just tell people, "I'm a person of faith and my religious beliefs do not allow me to accept the theory of evolution." 90% of us can accept that as a reasonable answer.
Better answer would be thats not a public policy question and hence a distraction to the real debate.
Except that the teaching of the theory of evolution in public schools has been a public policy question for almost a century. It's a pity that it was wrapped around the axle with the grades K - 12 curricula.
As theory, it's not that bad until it conflicts with a literal interpretation of someone's Bible. Teaching it should have been left to colleges and universities, and you wouldn't have all this grief. As a practical matter, it doesn't do much good except offer an explanation for various disciplines of science.
The left has made such a mess of public education, with the theory of evolution they can distract from all the harm they have caused to the rest of basic education in grades K - 12. We have folks who don't understand diddly squat voting on Election Day, not to mention the demented, a personal observational from working at a nursing home.
The real debate is the poor quality of our schools, and the Democrats’ failure to allow accountability, choice, metrics, and high standards in the education system.
I think any answer to the question of school curriculum should refocus on those key points.
Fighting over one topic, when we have so many areas of mis-guided pedagogy is a travesty.
How do you know that?
Because if I remember right something like 90% of Americans profess to have a belief in God. Now of course that doesn’t mean that 90% of Americans reject evolution, but it does mean that we are open to the belief in a higher power that directs the universe and are at least somewhat likely to accept someone else’s mainstream religious views.
Yes I read that I suppose I should have been more clear. I understand the sinister motives behind leftists wanting the question asked. The left simply wants the opportunity to brand the opposition as knuckle-dragging, flat-earth types or either get them at odds with their base. I have no misconceptions at all as to why they would want the question asked. The point of my question was to express my personal view and that, for me at least, the answer has little significance in choosing a candidate for political office. I have less concern with their views on how things came to be and more on what they intend doing with things now that they are. If as a candidate I even answered the question it would be in this way. It’s one of those questions like “are you a compassionate conservative?” that is not deserving of an answer. The question assumes conservatives are somewhat other than compassionate, and is an affront especially since the facts show conservatives are more charitable than liberals. I agree with the author in forcing the person asking the question to state with specificity what he/means by evolution. Not too much to ask since Clinton isn’t quite sure what the meaning of is...........is. :)
heh, I like your follow up question. They would blow a headpipe trying to dig out of that one unscathed. :)
"Which theory of evolution are you talking about?
"...What is the significance of such a theory? To address this question is to enter the field of epistemology.
A theory is a metascientific elaboration distinct from the results of observation, but consistent with them. By means of it a series of independent data and facts can be related and interpreted in a unified explanation. A theory's validity depends on whether or not it can be verified; it is constantly tested against the facts; wherever it can no longer explain the latter, it shows its limitations and unsuitability. It must then be rethought.
Furthermore, while the formulation of a theory like that of evolution complies with the need for consistency with the observed data, it borrows certain notions from natural philosophy.
And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution.
On the one hand, this plurality has to do with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based.
Hence the existence of materialist, reductionist, and spiritualist interpretations. What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology.
Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider _the spirit_ as emerging from the forces of living matter or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter are incompatible with the truth about man. Nor are they able to ground the dignity of the person. ..."
Theories of Evolution
John Paul II
Copyright (c) 1997 First Things 71 (March 1997): 28-29. Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996
Smart guys, those popes, eh? I find more and more respect for the teachings and speeches of the Popes of the Catholic Church the older I get.
Especially, now, the statement (may not have been by a Pope, but what the heh!) “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”
“Smart guys, those popes, eh? I find more and more respect for the teachings and speeches of the Popes of the Catholic Church the older I get.” ~ AFPhys
They have some bad soteriology, etc., but other than that I give them high marks.(Not high enough to join the RCC, however :)— and no, I’m not “Baptist”, either)
Here are some other items you might find interesting.
Evidence for Evolution and an Old Earth, a Catholic Perspective
Kurt Wise: “Given what we currently think we understand about the world, the majority of the scientific evidence favors an old earth and universe, not a young one. I would therefore say that anyone who claims that the earth is young for scientific evidence alone is scientifically ignorant. “
Towers Online - The News Service of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary http://www.towersonline.net/story.php?grp=news&id=344
April 13, 2006 By Jeff Robinson
Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said the new study centers aim at equipping pastors and church leaders to think biblically about pivotal issues which dominate contemporary culture.
“One of the ways we want to lead Southern Baptists is through helping evangelicals and Southern Baptists in particular to engage some of the most critical issues of our day,” Mohler said.-
“This is not a time for Christians to be out-thought by the world, but in general that is what happens. We find the church behind the times in thinking about some of the most crucial issues of our day.”
Mohler also announced the appointment of two new faculty members to lead the centers. [snip] ...
...Mohler also named Kurt Wise as the new director for Southern’s Center for Theology and Science, and professor of theology and science. Wise currently serves on the faculty of Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., where he is also director of the Center for Origins Research.
Wise earned both a doctor of philosophy and master of arts in paleontology from Harvard University. He and his wife Marie have two daughters.
Wise replaces William Dembski, who is leaving Southern Seminary to join the faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary so he can be closer to his family.
“With the addition of Kurt Wise, we are recognizing that creation is a ground zero theological crisis point right now in American culture and even in our churches,” Moore said. [snip] ..
A couple of interesting items on the web regarding Kurt Wise:
 7/3/2003 http://www.christianforums.com/t43741&page=12 “Ok, I just got a email from Dr. Wise. This is what he said:
“I am a young-age creationist because the Bible indicates the universe is young. Given what we currently think we understand about the world, the majority of the scientific evidence favors an old earth and universe, not a young one. I would therefore say that anyone who claims that the earth is young for scientific evidence alone is scientifically ignorant. Thus I would suggest that the challenge you are trying to meet is unmeetable.” ~ Kurt Wise
 December 19th 2004 http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?t=44017 Theologyweb.com
Post # 7:
“...there is new breed of YEC out there, of which Kurt Wise is an example, who recognize that there are scientific problems with their Weltanschauung. I knew Kurt was exceptional, but there are more of his stripe. Affectionately, I’d like to refer to them as neo-YECs, as opposed to the Wieland-Ham-Morris-Safarti-Jorge YECs for which I would propose the oxymoronic moniker paleo-YECs.”
Yes, that's true. More folks in America are supposed to believe in God than any other country according to the DBM and their polls. I don't have a problem with it.
How do you know that?
I agree with the poster. I also believe in evolution and would not base my choice of President on a belief or non-belief of evolution.
I am much more concerend with the Islamofascists than I am with someone's philosophical musings.
I'm not so sure about that. Bashing the Catholic Church is too common these days. I just don't like folks who believe in God, especially someone who I'm most likely to vote for in November 2008, getting pigeon-holed as scientifically ignorant.
P.S. Thanks for your comments and links.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science or stem cell ping lists.
Evolution’s history was influenced by nature; its future is influenced by man.
Thanks so much for all your input and civility.
It would be an interesting correlation study to determine what percentage of Republicans who vociferously defend macroevolution theory are also Guiliani supporters.
That's because "scientists" since Darwin and Huxley have made a fundemental, unspoken leap in logic from the observable to the unseen. What bridges that gap for them is "blind faith". Now they're getting called on it, so they resort to ad hominem argumentation-- a sure sign of faulty logic.
I think we should let Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan argue these questions. The Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton, Tennessee might be a good venue.
If you want to read about such an “argument” go here...
Because ALL demonCrats believe in darwinism totally but some Republicans (especially biologists who make a living investigating evolution) still believe in darwinism, and this can cause a split. This is what the Dems in the media would like.
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