Skip to comments.Huge crowds extend Darwin exhibit in New York
Posted on 03/22/2006 6:22:07 PM PST by Central Scrutiniser
Huge crowds extend Darwin exhibit in New York
Wed Mar 22, 2:54 PM ET
NEW YORK (AFP) - A monumental Charles Darwin exhibition in New York has been extended by five months amid an overwhelming public response to what was touted as a scholarly rebuke to opponents of teaching evolution in US schools.
The American Museum of Natural History said Wednesday that nearly 200,000 people had visited "Darwin" since it opened three months ago.
Originally slated to close at the end of this month, the exhibition will now run through August 20, said museum spokesman Joshua Schnakenberg.
"Darwin" had opened amid furious debate in many school districts over the teaching of the 19th century naturalist's evolutionary theory and the first trial on the teaching of the God-centered alternative favoured by many religious groups, "intelligent design," or ID.
That trial, in Pennsylvania, ended in defeat for the evangelical right with the judge in the case decrying the "breathtaking inanity" of the school board in the town of Dover which backed the concept that nature is so complex it must be the work of a superior being.
"Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom," the judge said in his ruling in December.
An early section of the New York exhibit is devoted to the question, "What is a Theory?" and seeks to clarify the distinction between scientific theories and non-scientific explanations about the origins and diversity of life.
"This is really for the schoolchildren of America. This is the evidence of evolution," said the exhibit's curator, Niles Eldridge.
In a Gallup poll released last October, 53 percent of American adults agreed with the statement that God created humans in their present form exactly the way the Bible describes it.
Thirty-one percent stood by the "intelligent design" stance, while only 12 percent said humans have evolved from other forms of life and "God has no part."
Disprove invisible elves live on the far side of the moon.
Shall we include that into our science classes as well?
You make just about as much sense.
I can imagine no practical difference, other than simply seeking the truth. If ANY of the theories can ever be PROVEN, then we can lay the arguments about it to rest, which would be a worthwhile thing, probably.
I just believe that no halfway reasonable theory should be discounted and discarded until it can be disproven.
Okay, I just have to stop you there. This is exactly why I said we were going to need a refresher course in the meanings of words.
No theory is ever proven. None. Ever.
Not the theory of gravity.
Not germ theory.
Not the Theory of Evolution.
No theory. That's not what a theory is.
Time once again to review our terms:
Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"
Theories are never proven. They may be disproven - in fact, the possibility of evidence arising to contradict it is essential. In the case of the Theory of Evolution, that would be something like finding a eight million year-old Homo Sapiens skeleton. That would prove the ToE is wrong. This is called "Falsifiability".
There is no conceivable piece of physical evidence that would disprove the existence of a Designer. That means that ID fails to meet the basic criteria for being a scientific theory.
In our search for truth, I would hate to see us overlook the significance of any evidence we may someday encounter, simply because what it is telling us is something we already ignored because it seemed too far fetched. Many great minds, for instance, think it is very far fetched that we will ever encounter intelligent life out there, even if it exists. But I would hate to see someone ignore a coherent signal we got from space just because we refuse to believe anyone is out there.
I have no disagreement with this statement. The problem is: after centuries of postulating, no creationist has been able to supply even the smallest piece of physical evidence. Not one.
No scientist will ignore evidence. If a creationist ever finds some to support, then ID will be worth discussing.
That's a little extreme, IMO. Actively exposed as frauds and berated, yes, but locked up? As fired up as this perpetuation of ignorance makes me, I still believe the 1st Amendment guarantees one's right to be willfully ignorant, and if one wants to raise his/her kids that way, it's not the government's place to interfere. (That would be a very slippery slope to walk on...)
Now, on the other hand, if a parent unwittingly paid Ken Ham to educate their kid in science, they might have a good case for a class-action lawsuit for parents to get a full refund on their investment...
These are the same things. Why is it that you cannot see this? Saying "God did it" is just another species of "that's the way it happens to be."
With the exception of pure mathematics (without any real physical parameters).
Let me post my own example of gravity:
A little history here:
Newtons Law of Universal Gravitation
Every object in the universe attracts every other object with a force directed along the line of centers for the two objects that is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the separation between the two objects.
F equals the gravitational force between two objects
m1 equals the mass of the first object
m2 equals the mass of the second object
R equals the distance between the objects
G equals the universal constant of gravitation = (6.6726 )* 10-11 N*m2/kg2 (which is still being refined and tested today)
(BTW this is a simple form of the equation and is only applied to point sources. Usually it is expressed as a vector equation)
Even though it works well for most practical purposes, this formulation has problems.
A few of the problems are:
It shows the change is gravitational force is transmitted instantaneously (Violates C), assumes an absolute space and time (this contradicts Special Relativity), etc.
Enter Einsteins General Theory of Relativity
In 1915 Einstein developed a new theory of gravity called General Relativity.
A number of experiments showed this theory explained some of the problems with the classical Newtonian model. However, this theory like all others is still being explored and tested.
From an NSF abstract:
As with all scientific knowledge, a theory can be refined or even replaced by an alternative theory in light of new and compelling evidence. The geocentric theory that the sun revolves around the earth was replaced by the heliocentric theory of the earth's rotation on its axis and revolution around the sun. However, ideas are not referred to as "theories" in science unless they are supported by bodies of evidence that make their subsequent abandonment very unlikely. When a theory is supported by as much evidence as evolution, it is held with a very high degree of confidence.
In science, the word "hypothesis" conveys the tentativeness inherent in the common use of the word "theory.' A hypothesis is a testable statement about the natural world. Through experiment and observation, hypotheses can be supported or rejected. At the earliest level of understanding, hypotheses can be used to construct more complex inferences and explanations. Like "theory," the word "fact" has a different meaning in science than it does in common usage. A scientific fact is an observation that has been confirmed over and over. However, observations are gathered by our senses, which can never be trusted entirely. Observations also can change with better technologies or with better ways of looking at data. For example, it was held as a scientific fact for many years that human cells have 24 pairs of chromosomes, until improved techniques of microscopy revealed that they actually have 23. Ironically, facts in science often are more susceptible to change than theories, which is one reason why the word "fact" is not much used in science.
Finally, "laws" in science are typically descriptions of how the physical world behaves under certain circumstances. For example, the laws of motion describe how objects move when subjected to certain forces. These laws can be very useful in supporting hypotheses and theories, but like all elements of science they can be altered with new information and observations.
Those who oppose the teaching of evolution often say that evolution should be taught as a "theory, not as a fact." This statement confuses the common use of these words with the scientific use. In science, theories do not turn into facts through the accumulation of evidence. Rather, theories are the end points of science. They are understandings that develop from extensive observation, experimentation, and creative reflection. They incorporate a large body of scientific facts, laws, tested hypotheses, and logical inferences. In this sense, evolution is one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have.
But don't you see? ANY test result is consistent with the hypothosis "an all-powerful creator exists" and no test result can establish the hypothosis "an all-powerful creator doesn't exist," for the simple reason that the proposed entity, if it exists, could make the test results appear negative. There is no way to avoid that fact, regardless of how the test is structured, because it is inherent in the premise. As such, the hypothesis itself is outside the realm of science.
No. That's not correct. "Intelligent design" explicitly bases it's key inferences on the (purported) insufficiency of "natural causes" to explain this or that phenomena. Therefore divine employment of natural cause is not "intelligent design".
Since the Bible presents God as governing all of nature, including it's mundane and regular aspects, it is certainly theistic, yet excluded from ID, to argue and understand that what God accomplishes through natural phenomena is part and parcel of His manifestation as Creator.
I would argue that ID isn't even theistic, but rather deistic. It wants to make God (in the guise of the "intelligent designer") the author of this or that aspect of creation. Theism (IMHO) must hold that God is author of all creation.
I was looking for a proximate explanation, not a vague feeling that somehow, there's a higher power behind it all. You know, the kind of thing we teach in physics class: rotation of the earth, etc.
Others believe otherwise. That's their right to believe that, but it doesn't mean their position is any more scientific. It's just their biased default position as opposed to our biased default position.
No; the explanation that the sun appears to rise because that point on the earth is for the moment rotating in a direction away from the sun is not an equally valid explanation as a 'feeling this couldn't have happened by chance'. One is direct, immediate and predictive; the other is subjective and irrational.
Atheist does not automatically = supporter of the TOE, any more than Christian automatically = believer in Creationism.
I mean, towards. Yikes!
Yes, he is.
Like churches and religious masses?
LOL, okay, so it's not a fully thought-out policy proposal. But, I don't have a problem if a parent says, "Here's what the science is, but we don't want to believe it because we find it religiously threatening grounds," and someone who just lies about what the science is ("science proves Noah's flood happened" and so forth) or who (like the Ham-ster, here) teach their children to be ignorant. I think that's the part that gets me. They are basically saying "don't learn this, make yourself ignorant." Anyone who does that has no business being a parent. Locking them up may be a bit extreme, but not by much, IMO.
I don't think Ham realizes it, but his views on reality and history is very close to what is taught in uber-left wing liberal arts departments around this country.
The popular view these days among liberal academics is that the only legitimate way to view history is through one's own experiences, and that the viewpoint of an illiterate laborer is just as valuable in the historic record as, say, Abraham Lincoln's.
Politics is a closed universe - go too far off the right end and you emerge on the far left.
(Nice treatise on gravity & science, R.A.)
grrrr..... you beat me to it...
No theory is ever proven. None. Ever.
With the exception of pure mathematics (without any real physical parameters).
Thank you for the correction. I should have said "no scientific theory is ever proven." Which is, of course, the subject at hand.
The Field Museum of Natural History here in my very own adopted city of Chicago has opened a new permanent exhibit called the Evolving Planet. I'm planning on going soon. They've got some great stuff online though too, here's the link:
Yep! Bringing Up Baby! Though I think it may have been a brontosaurus in the movie, not a T.Rex. Either way, I love that movie!
An observation is not the same thing as an explanation.
Suppose a plane crashes, and the FAA sends a team to find out why. The team comes back and says, "The plane crashed". That's an observation, not an explanation.
Your description of how the sun rises (the earth rotating away from the sun, etc.) is an observation. It doesn't explain where the earth or sun came from, where the laws came from that govern orbits and rotations, etc.
You're a chemist. I'm sure you can describe all the elements, their properties, the effects of combining them in different quantities (H2O = water), and so forth. But that's not an explanation for how those elements exist or why they behave the way they do. No one can objectively explain the "whys" of those things.
There are two popular subjective explanations around here for those things. One is that God created those elements and the laws which govern their behavior. The other is that those elements just happen to exist and just happen to behave that way. Neither can be proven, disproven, tested, falsified, and so on. It isn't scientific and tangible to believe that things just happen to exist and work in certain ways. It's simply a subjective belief system, a "gut feeling", not anything qualitatively different from faith in God.
How do all the apparently bizarre meanderings that we believe occur at the sub-atomic level somehow produce the observable universe that we all see? Who can know for sure? Did God design and program it? Or does it just happen to exist and work that way? Can you scientifically demonstrate either one?
In other threads I've suggested that the Dover case would had been better fought in state court, on fraud charges, and in the PA Legislature, on high crimes and misdemeanors.
Specifically, claiming that ID is science is a fraud upon the students. The taxpayers paid to get a science education, and instead they're getting pseudoscience.
I'm assuming that PA is like VA, in that the Legislature has passed laws mandating the formation of school boards, and mandating that these boards draw up curricula. By including pseudoscience in the science curriculum, these elected officials are violating the requirements of their office. That's the definition of high crimes.
The advantage of this approach is that applies to subjects that have no establishment clause entanglement, like Ebonics-as-Engllish, or Afrocentrism-as-History.
What makes you think I would disagree with you on this?
I do think that the FTC should more thoroughly prosecute people who are peddling products based on demonstrably false claims under the pretense of science and/or medicine. Products & services sold by Ken Ham, Kent Hovind, et.al. should be subject to the same legal scrutiny as the virulent fraud of that pharmaceutical conspiracy nut Kevin Trudeau.
These people are guilty of scientific fraud, plain and simple - they have the right to say what they want, but they cross a line when they begin charging people for their fraudulent "knowledge".
Remember that Behe said that his version of ID is compatible with a designer that's been dead for millions of years.
Yes, you're right in your description of the tenets of the specific ID concept proposed by men such as Behe.
All I was arguing was that Theistic Evolution is a form of intelligent design (not the specific ID concept of Behe, etc.). In order for evolution to be theistic, God would have to be involved with it in some way, but that would make it intelligent design, though not necessarily **THE** prevailing ID concept as proposed by Behe and others.
That would be a tough case, I think. The Dover debacle amounted to a one minute statement read once a year in a science class - it would be difficult to make the case that this exercise costs the taxpayers anything significant.
I'm just glad that a conservative, religious judge made the final call (if a liberal or atheist judge had done so, the public perception of the result may have turned out quite differently).
Don't worry. I made the same error in answering you! :-)
I was referring to the use of the word in my post that he objected to... or in other words, was rephrasing something I had earlier said. I never suggested that the scientific community change the meaning of any words. I suggest you back up and figure out what is being discussed in a thread before commenting on it. You merely make yourself appear stupid, otherwise.
"Proof" as in "Proof of Quadratic Reciprocity" is only possible in math and logic.
"Proof" as in "beyond a reasonable doubt" or "proponderance of the evidence" is the best we can hope for in the real world. Things like germ theory, atomic theory, the theory of evolution, and so forth, are "proven" in this sense of the word.
Precisely so. Want another good example? Look how many attend football games as opposed to how many watch chess tournaments.
If you scroll back, you will find that I already addressed the level of my interest, or lack thereof, in church and religion. Perhaps the advice I gave to the other guy in my last post applies to you as well.
ID is a completely different debate than theistic evolution vs. non-theistic evolution.
ID is really creationism wearing a funny hat.
You place a lot of weight in the words of wikipedia, which may or may not be correct as it is filled in by just about anyone who chooses to add to it (I think wikipedia has had some controversy lately over that very thing). Theories are not proven. LAWS are proven. Theories can, however, be tested, make predictions, and results repeated.
The ID espoused by Behe, Denton and several FReepers is almost indistinguishable from Deism. Set the clock in motion, and off it goes.
So am I.
The Dover debacle amounted to a one minute statement read once a year in a science class - it would be difficult to make the case that this exercise costs the taxpayers anything significant.
The fraud isn't the cost (heck, the "Pandas" books were donated), it's the misrepresentation. Singling out Evo as though it were less well-grounded that electromagnetism or geology or whatever.
I approve of stickers in biology books, a la Cobb Co. Georgia, as long as they 1) are also in all the other science texts, and 2) include the names of all the responsible elected officials.
Who says the "creator" IS all powerful? Sure, some religious people.. but in the end, how can we know? For all we know, some "creator" kind of force existed once and is now dead. As I said earlier, perhaps that "Creator" is a different thing entirely... such as alien entities of some form. I love the arrogance of the scientific community, and how that particular church has you folks wrapped around it's finger. Sorry I commited heresy against your particular "church". You have merely proven my point about how science has itself become a religion, complete with professions of infallability. No dissenting views allowed or wanted, or they break out the stakes and light the fires. Except they are still at a loss to deal with how a universe expansion could be accelerating, violating all known laws of physics. Religion is being taught in schools.. they simply hide that fact by calling it "science".
Neither are ever proven, and laws get superceded by more inclusive laws.
Atheist does not automatically = supporter of the TOE, any more than Christian automatically = believer in Creationism
True, but the ones in each camp who do not do so are so few in number as to be almost non-existant. Not all serial killers are men either... but it turns out to be true with such regularity that it is usually quite predictable.
Like churches and religious masses?
Already asked and answered.
One of the big differences between ID and Darwinian evolution is that we can see evolution happening. All the processes necessary for evolution to work are readily observable and easily available for study.
Id proposes no processes, has no hypotheses.
Darwinism belongs in museums...an interesting archane exhibit.
Neither are ever proven, and laws get superceded by more inclusive laws.
really? Take Newtons Laws of Thermodynamics, for instance. Originating with "An object at rest will tend to stay at rest, and an object in motion will continue to remain in motion, in a straight line, until acted upon by an outside force".. it has been added to and expanded, but that basic concept has NEVER been superceded. More inclusive means something was added to it.. but not that the original remains.. and remains factual. (I say factual since some here get all worked up about morality if I use the word "true". I wonder how they ever managed to take an examination where they had to give true or false answers.)
Not true at all. Laws are parameterized. A law only holds if certain conditions (which are often not perfectly known), consistent with the framework of observation, are met. Newton's Laws were not ever proven, they were approximated from limited observations. The approximation of Newton's Laws doesn't work well for the very fast, very dense, very large or very small. (Curiously, of Newton's 3 laws, only the third is really a "law" in the scientific sense - the others are merely clever definitions used to declare what a "force" and "reference frame" is.)
Ohm's Law is an example of law that doesn't actually work at all for most substances. Laws are not "proven" at all.
Pay no attention to this article that attempts to show public support for GODLESS EVOLUTION!!!!
The Earth is hollow!!!!!!!!!!!
I read it on the Internet therefore it must be true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Bible says so too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..........
Isa 40:22 "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."
.......and we all know that the Bible is the literal Word of God!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lets all get together and get this into our Godless Public School System as a viable alternative to what the Godless Geologists profess!!!!!!!!
Who's with me?
And now a word from the illustrious founder of the Hollow Earth Society:
Would that be Newton's First Law of Thermodynamics, or his Second?
Really? Well then I guess all study into evolution has ceased within the scientific community since they have it all figured out, and there are no holes or inconsistancies in their theory which require study. Readily observable and easily available for study? Well, then I wonder why millions of humans over the centuries never figured it out until Darwin. No wonder so many practically worship him as a god and will brook no dissenting ideas.