Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

White House to honor prominent evolutionist
Orange County Register ^ | May 9, 02 | Gary Robbins

Posted on 05/09/2002 3:18:41 PM PDT by laureldrive

UCI's Ayala wins National Medal of Science

Researcher famous for work in genetics, evolutionary biology.

By GARY ROBBINS

The Orange County Register

May 9, 02

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The National Medal of Science – the most prestigious award given for lifetime achievement – will be bestowed upon a University of California, Irvine, researcher who has done pioneering work in genetics and evolutionary biology, the White House announced today.

Francisco Ayala, 68, is one of 15 scientists and engineers who will receive the medal from President George W. Bush during a ceremony expected to be held in mid-June in Washington, D.C.

Ayala will receive the medal along with such eminent figures as Harold Varmus, the Nobel laureate who formerly headed the National Institutes of Health, and Charles Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, a leader in global warming research.

"Each one of these individuals has helped advance our country's place as a leader in discovery, creativity and technology," President Bush said in a statement. "Their contributions have touched all of our lives and will continue to do so."

Ayala is the second UCI professor to win the National Science Medal. The late Frederick Reines, the "father of neutrino physics", was honored in 1983. A medal also was given to Corona del Mar instrument inventor Arnold O. Beckman in 1989.

Ayala is a former Dominican priest who left the clergy to study evolution and genetics. He achieved fame partly because of his work on the "molecular clock," a field in which scientists can date when some species diverged from a common ancestor. The timing of the clock involves analysis of DNA.

The Spanish-born biologist also is well-known for determining that some organisms have more genetic variation than predicted by sophisticated mathematical models.

Ayala was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1980. A year later, he and famed Harvard scholar Stephen Jay Gould testified for the defense in McLean v. the Arkansas Board of Education, the so-called "balanced-treatment law." A federal judge ruled on behalf of the plaintiff, saying that it was unconstitutional for Arkansas to require teachers to devote equal class time to creationism and evolution.

He joined the UCI faculty in 1987, raising the university's profile in evolutionary science. Fellow biologist Walter Fitch says Ayala's presence was a main reason that he joined the faculty the following year.

More recently, Ayala helped recruit Douglas Wallace, a world-renowned geneticist from Emory University. Irvine recruited Wallace with a $3 million package in February.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; culture; religion; science
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-152 next last
Note this on Ayala debunking intelligent design, in a recent San Francisco Chronicle story:

"The most sustained criticism of intelligent-design theory comes from Francisco J. Ayala, a widely respected evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Irvine. Ayala refused to come to Berkeley in 1991 to debate Johnson when "Darwin on Trial" was published, a refusal that still rankles Johnson.

"Ayala says that Johnson's argument that a superior being designed human organs and other parts of the anatomy amounts to blasphemy. "If our organs have been designed by somebody, that person was very clumsy, outright stupid, and much worse than any human engineer," says Ayala.

"Take the human jaw. The jaw is simply too small for all our teeth, Ayala notes. The reason is that 2 million years ago, through natural selection, our brains started to become larger. The head grew -- and something had to give because the birth canal is not big enough to allow a larger head to pass through. So, again through natural selection, the human jaw became smaller. The larger brain has also made childbirth extremely painful.

"Millions of babies continue to die as a result of the mother's birth canal not being big enough for the head. What engineer would do such a lousy job? I would not want to do anything with a God who would design things so badly," Ayala says. ""

The story's at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/04/21/IN214026.DTL

1 posted on 05/09/2002 3:18:42 PM PDT by laureldrive
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
Well, ID'ers appeal to the notion of the infinitely perfect designer -- so they're open to every criticism of the design -- the jaw, the weak back, the knee problems, useless organs like the appendix, etc.
2 posted on 05/09/2002 3:25:32 PM PDT by jlogajan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
"Millions of babies continue to die as a result of the mother's birth canal not being big enough for the head. What engineer would do such a lousy job? I would not want to do anything with a God who would design things so badly," Ayala says. ""

Point of order... Mr. Ayala.....why hasn't evolution allowed mother's birth canals to develop large enough for the increased brain size?

3 posted on 05/09/2002 3:26:55 PM PDT by Seeking the truth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
"Millions of babies continue to die as a result of the mother's birth canal not being big enough for the head. What engineer would do such a lousy job? I would not want to do anything with a God who would design things so badly," Ayala says.

I guess Ayala hasn't heard the final word on the subject.

God inflicts the pain of birth on women to punish them for Eve's sin. Of course in those days everyone lived a thousand years.
4 posted on 05/09/2002 3:27:03 PM PDT by Belial
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
With comments like these, the guy probably does deserve some kind of an award. I recommend our own Darwin Award.
5 posted on 05/09/2002 3:27:08 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Seeking the truth
Excellent question!
6 posted on 05/09/2002 3:27:25 PM PDT by laureldrive
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Seeking the truth
why hasn't evolution allowed mother's birth canals to develop large enough for the increased brain size?

That's more criticism against your "intelligent designer", you know.

7 posted on 05/09/2002 3:28:37 PM PDT by jlogajan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Seeking the truth
why hasn't evolution allowed mother's birth canals to develop large enough for the increased brain size?

Evolution doesn't require perfection. God, on the other hand...

8 posted on 05/09/2002 3:29:21 PM PDT by mlo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Seeking the truth
Good point.. but another reason why evolution is inperfect vs creationism which should be perfect.. well we'd hope it be anyways. Of course God has a plan for everything right?
9 posted on 05/09/2002 3:32:56 PM PDT by Almondjoy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Seeking the truth
Excellent point .
10 posted on 05/09/2002 3:36:24 PM PDT by wardaddy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
"If our organs have been designed by somebody, that person was very clumsy, outright stupid, and much worse than any human engineer,"

With as "billiant" as evolutionists are it would be nice to see them design a self correcting and self replicating cell.

11 posted on 05/09/2002 3:37:20 PM PDT by week 71
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: week 71
forgive me.. Brilliant
12 posted on 05/09/2002 3:37:47 PM PDT by week 71
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: jlogajan
why hasn't evolution allowed mother's birth canals to develop large enough for the increased brain size?

WHAT increased brain size? I suppose you havent seen this article...

U.S. high school seniors ignorant of country's history

13 posted on 05/09/2002 3:38:50 PM PDT by montag813
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: All
From the web site of the National Medal of Science:

The National Medal of Science was established by the 86th Congress in 1959 as a Presidential Award to be given to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences." In 1980 Congress expanded this recognition to include the social and behavioral sciences. The Committee of 12 scientists and engineers is appointed by the President to evaluate the nominees for this Award.

This award is given by a committee. We do not know who is on the committee, nor do we know how many are leftovers from the previous administration.

Besides all that, are you folks telling me that if anyone believes in evolution, they cannot be a conservative? I believe I might disagree with that stand.

14 posted on 05/09/2002 3:44:07 PM PDT by Miss Marple
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
much ado about nothing.
The guy's a chemistry geek, so what? This is his big moment to shine. Let 'im.
15 posted on 05/09/2002 3:44:27 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Miss Marple
For many people here, jumping to conclusions is the only exercise they'll get (facts notwithstanding).
16 posted on 05/09/2002 3:49:30 PM PDT by mountaineer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Seeking the truth
why hasn't evolution allowed mother's birth canals to develop large enough for the increased brain size?

Because then they couldn't walk. I'm no expert in biomechanics, but if the hips are widened, the gait would be affected.

Any biologists out there who can comment?

17 posted on 05/09/2002 3:50:44 PM PDT by stanz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Miss Marple
I believe I might disagree, too.
18 posted on 05/09/2002 3:52:14 PM PDT by stanz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
Francisco Ayala, 68

Not to worry. At his age it won't be long before he finds out where he came from and where he's going.

19 posted on 05/09/2002 3:52:25 PM PDT by mississippi red-neck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Seeking the truth
Point of order... Mr. Ayala.....why hasn't evolution allowed mother's birth canals to develop large enough for the increased brain size?

Maybe because it's still in the process of doing so; it just takes a long time. If "Millions of babies continue to die as a result of the mother's birth canal not being big enough for the head" as Dr. Ayala says, then those babies are not going to grow up to reproduce. On the other hand, those babies who don't die and do grow up to reproduce are the ones who will have birth canals which are more likely to be big enough for the heads of the next generation of babies.

If increased brain size has been outstripping increased birth canal size, it's because bigger brains are a more positive survival factor overall than bigger birth canals (even if that means a certain percentage of babies have to die from inadequate birth canals). This is proven by the fact that our bigger brains have allowed us to develop modern medicine and Caesarian sections which are quickly obviating the problem of small birth canals altogether. And that in turn means that evolution will stop selecting for larger birth canals, because genes which result in small birth canals will no longer be culled out.

20 posted on 05/09/2002 3:53:15 PM PDT by dpwiener
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: stanz
Well I'll be a monkey's uncle!!

Ask a biologist if he can explain the evolution of reciprocal altruism. Can't - it alone debunks the faith of scientists in their evolutionary god.

But they won't ever mention that.

21 posted on 05/09/2002 3:53:44 PM PDT by Jonathan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Jonathan
What does this have to do with biomechanics?
22 posted on 05/09/2002 3:55:08 PM PDT by stanz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: tr11
Don't you know anything? These evolutionists are bigger crackpots than Galileo or Copernicus.
24 posted on 05/09/2002 4:19:37 PM PDT by Bullah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Jonathan
Actually, there is some research being done on the evolutionary implications of cooperative behaviors.
25 posted on 05/09/2002 4:19:39 PM PDT by spqrzilla9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
A quick look at Democrat presidential hopefuls pretty much refutes ID and confirms Darwin, IMO.
26 posted on 05/09/2002 4:21:10 PM PDT by Ken H
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
The BIG error here is in linking evolution to religon in ANY way. "Religon" was around long before the Christen era. Only man of all life has a "psychological need" for "something" to handle the unknown or what he cannot understand or fathom. Religeon (sp) answers this need. Man will ALWAYS look to it to comfort his "psyche". No matter what science "discovers" it will be around eons from now.
27 posted on 05/09/2002 4:33:28 PM PDT by Waco
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
The difference in amino-acid sequence of the same proteins in different species [crystallin or hemoglobin for ex.] changes at the same rate over time, regardless of population size.

This is the theoretical basis for the molecular clock and according to neo-darwinian theory, it shouldn't exist, as it trivializes the role of natural selection in evolution. What this suggests is that chance plays a greater role in evolution than does natural selection. And, as micro-evolution is essentially a process that only optimizes existing genes according to enviromental or selection pressure, it would follow that macro-evolution would require the production of new genes using random chance acting on randomized DNA.

Bloody hopeless...

I wonder if this will come up at the award ceremony at the White House?

Brian.

28 posted on 05/09/2002 4:35:38 PM PDT by bzrd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Belial
God inflicts the pain of birth on women to punish them for Eve's sin.

If death does no more than provide relief from hearing such superstitious poltroonery, then it is to be welcomed.

29 posted on 05/09/2002 4:49:03 PM PDT by gcruse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Belial
God inflicts the pain of birth on women to punish them for Eve's sin.

I know that you will be viewed as a simpleton for your answer, but it is interesting that your answer, written over 3,000 years ago, is relevant to today's questions. It seems like the other proposals provided so far on this thread don't have a definitive answer as to why the birth canal has continued to be small compared to the baby's head.

30 posted on 05/09/2002 4:50:42 PM PDT by DeweyCA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: bzrd
What this suggests is that chance plays a greater role in evolution than does natural selection.

Coincidence is God acting anonymously :-)

BTW - The people who would demand earthly perfection before accepting a creation are missing the point that there is a higher goal. If the goal was only to have a physical creation, then of course it would now and always be perfect. If the goal, however, included allowing the creation to suffer, then it needn't be perfect.

31 posted on 05/09/2002 4:51:15 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: gcruse
Without implicitly acknowledging some supra-natural reality, not even "superstition" can be condemned; and truth is no better than lies.
32 posted on 05/09/2002 4:53:40 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: stanz
I'm no biomechanic either, but what I do know is that the narrowness of the female pelvis is a result of the gait changing to permit bipedalism. In order to have a reasonably smooth gait when upright, the pelvis had to narrow somewhat - compare the way chimps walk upright when they're on two feet. It's more of a "waddle" than a walk, and running upright is right out of the question for them. It's a tradeoff - they get easier births, and we gain some altitude.

The incomplete formation of a baby's skull is a partial solution to the problem - the fontanels allow the infant's skull to compress somewhat as it passes through the birth canal. Those of you who have witnessed a birth will probably have noticed that babies tend to come out pointy-headed in many cases. Another part is the hormone "relaxin", which softens and loosens the (anatomical parts alert - stop reading now) cervix and the vaginal canal, and makes it a bit more flexible and open, along with the pelvis.

Like I said, it's only a partial solution to the problem of squeezing a baby through the birth canal, though - as my wife readily assures me ;)

33 posted on 05/09/2002 4:58:12 PM PDT by general_re
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: general_re
I should add, of course, that as the pelvis got narrower, brains and heads got bigger, so the problem came about from both ends. Just as the pelvises of women were getting smaller, the heads of babies were getting bigger. And the end result that birth is much, much more painful and difficult in humans than in almost any other creature - those of you who have seen a pet or other animal give birth, and a woman give birth, have probably noticed that one seems much more difficult and painful than the other.
34 posted on 05/09/2002 5:01:23 PM PDT by general_re
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck
Without implicitly acknowledging some supra-natural reality, not even "superstition" can be condemned; and truth is no better than lies.<P Attributing birth pain to a displeased ancient god accomplishes nothing positive. The lumping of 'sin' onto newly born girls is disgusting, destructive, and brings the believer into the company of the Taliban. Yet you celebrate it. Not me.
35 posted on 05/09/2002 5:05:50 PM PDT by gcruse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: DeweyCA
It seems like the other proposals provided so far on this thread don't have a definitive answer as to why the birth canal has continued to be small compared to the baby's head.

Because there's another head before the baby's that prefers the canal to be smaller ... ?

36 posted on 05/09/2002 5:06:58 PM PDT by Gumlegs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck
I agree, the imperfection of the creation is actually evidence FOR Biblical creationism, as it [the creation] was subject to the curse of Genesis 3.

Brian.

37 posted on 05/09/2002 5:09:17 PM PDT by bzrd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
Ayala is a former Dominican priest who left the clergy to study evolution and genetics

Nuff said.

38 posted on 05/09/2002 5:21:20 PM PDT by Neenah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
Be kind to creationists. Every day there is one more nail in their coffin.

The sad thing is what they are doing to their children. The children's warped scientific knowledge will keep them from participating in science after their parents have taken the creation dogma to the grave.

"Children, two plus two is not four because it doesn't say so in the bible. Those mathematicians are wicked!"

Pathetic.

39 posted on 05/09/2002 5:30:24 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VadeRetro; jennyp; junior; longshadow; crevo_list; RadioAstronomer; Scully; Piltdown_Woman...
"Former priest becomes evolutionist" ping.
40 posted on 05/09/2002 5:31:04 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gcruse
superstitious poltroonery

Off point, but I had to point out that I'm swiping this phrase and will use it at the first possible moment. Has a wonderful, Mencken-ish feel to it.

41 posted on 05/09/2002 5:44:33 PM PDT by Iota
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Iota
Blush. Why certainly, and thank you.
42 posted on 05/09/2002 5:47:45 PM PDT by gcruse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: laureldrive
I am quite confident our President is not in any way involved in the selection of these people. He just presents the awards.

This is just another way for the liberals to spit on his Christianity, so to speak!

43 posted on 05/09/2002 5:51:32 PM PDT by CyberAnt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dpwiener
Exactly.
44 posted on 05/09/2002 6:02:30 PM PDT by Bogey78O
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Born to Conserve
The sad thing is what they are doing to their children. The children's warped scientific knowledge will keep them from participating in science after their parents have taken the creation dogma to the grave

Just be aware that some who believe in intelligent design have advanced degrees other have college degrees. I personally majored in chemistry with a minor in biology. (undergrad so I am no authority.) I did learn to question the liberal establishment, such as the media and academia, and public(government) schools; all which promote the THEORY of evolution.

45 posted on 05/09/2002 6:08:00 PM PDT by week 71
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: HiTech RedNeck
Without implicitly acknowledging some supra-natural reality, not even "superstition" can be condemned; and truth is no better than lies.

So... the real world provides no basis for truth vs. untruth, therefore we must invent a magical "supernatural" realm (where cause & effect are not related) & simply assert that truth lives there?

Ohhhhh kaaaaay.

46 posted on 05/09/2002 6:08:37 PM PDT by jennyp
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Gumlegs
Because there's another head before the baby's that prefers the canal to be smaller ... ?

You may have a point there ;-D

47 posted on 05/09/2002 6:17:29 PM PDT by BMCDA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Ken H
A quick look at Democrat presidential hopefuls pretty much refutes ID and confirms Darwin, IMO.

I tend to agree, but then, maybe Shakespeare had it right 400 years ago.
"The strain of man's bred out into baboon and monkey"
(Tim. of Athens I.i)

See this. Strange.

48 posted on 05/09/2002 6:19:56 PM PDT by Hornetsrule
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: BMCDA
Thanks. I think that at the very least you have to admit that it's a plausible hypothesis.
49 posted on 05/09/2002 6:21:19 PM PDT by Gumlegs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: All

RadioFR on NOW!

"Unspun" with AnnaZ and Mercuria!

Tonights guests...RON PAUL, GARY ALDRICH, SHEMANE NUGENT and JEFF HEAD!

ON NOW!

Click HERE to listen while you FReep!


50 posted on 05/09/2002 6:21:52 PM PDT by Bob J
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-152 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson