Using Religion to Suppress Debate on Evolution

By John G. WestSenior Fellow, Discovery Institute Evolution was back in the headlines this week as the Texas State Board … Continued

By John G. West
Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute

Evolution was back in the headlines this week as the Texas State Board of Education voted 13-2 to require students to “analyze and evaluate” major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations, as well as adopting a critical thinking standard calling on students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence.”

The vote was a loss for defenders of evolution who had pushed the Board to strip the “analyze and evaluate” language from the evolution standards and gut the overall critical thinking standard.

Evolutionists typically cast themselves as the champions of secular reason against superstition, but in Texas they tried to inject religion into the debate at every turn.

Indeed, this past week it seemed that they couldn’t stop talking about religion. They boasted about their credentials as Sunday School teachers and church elders. They quoted the Bible and appealed to theology. And, of course, they attacked the religious beliefs of their opponents, branding them religious fundamentalists.

By contrast, supporters of teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution focused mostly on science, not religion. They even had a procession of Ph.D. biologists and science teachers testify before the Board of Education about their scientific skepticism of key parts of modern evolutionary theory.

Biology professor Wade Warren testified about the challenges to evolutionary theory posed by DNA, the fossil record, and the physiology of the cell. Microbiologist Donald Ewert, who spent much of his research career at the prestigious Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, discussed the limits of what experimental biology can show about natural selection’s power to produce major evolutionary change.

But the most dramatic testimony came from Sarah Hicks, who earned her Ph.D. in evolutionary ecology and biology from Rice University. Hicks described the intimidation–and fear–she experienced as a graduate student when a fellow student who expressed skepticism about part of evolutionary theory was forced to leave the program.

Because such thoughtful voices didn’t fit the stereotype, reporters ignored them. That is unfortunate. As someone who is not a fundamentalist (and who doesn’t believe the Bible is a science textbook), it is discouraging to see reporters endlessly recycle caricatures rather than genuinely try to understand the diverse viewpoints of those raising questions about modern Darwinism.

It is equally disheartening to see evolution activists using religion as a pretext to shut down debate.

Instead of responding to the substantive points raised by their opponents, evolutionists increasingly try to short-circuit public discourse by claiming that a person’s religious beliefs should disqualify him or her from being heard by public officials. Never mind that a person offers secular arguments based on secular evidence. If the person holds disfavored religious beliefs, he is supposed to be discounted and ignored.

Far from being required by the separation of church and state, such an approach flatly contradicts the Constitution’s guarantees religious liberty and equal protection. And far from serving the cause of science, such dogmatism is grounded in a Darwinian fundamentalism that is anything but scientific.

Fortunately, the Texas Board of Education adopted a different approach in its new science standards, one that favors an open discussion of the scientific evidence.

John G. West, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and author of “Darwin Day in America” (ISI Books).

About

  • petewalker

    In the first place, John West has his Ph.D. in government and has absolutely no credentials to comment on any area in the sciences. It’s rather like a Doctor of Divinity commenting on the work of a brain surgeon.The duplicity of the Discovery Institute was fully disclosed by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones who presided over the Kitzmiller case in Pennsylvania. The DI tried to wiggle out of association with the Dover School Board, but their hands were all over the witnesses, defense councils, and even the textbook proposed by that benighted board.In short, “intelligent design” IS creationism IS religion–period.Doubts about evolution? There is only one thing about which there is no doubt: The medieval Luddite mentality of the Texas Board of Education (and I use that last word loosely). First they gave us Governor “Ma” Ferguson (“If the King’s English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!”), then, of course “The Shrub” (should we call him the Burning Bush?), and now this. Bush already made this country a laughing stock throughout the civilized world and now the Texas Board of Education cast serious doubts about our intelligence and rationality.They are now creating a new form of prejudice against anyone who has their name on a diploma issued in Texas. If Texas wanted to attempt secession again, I doubt that any thinking person would object. Or perhaps we could even con Mexico into taking them back.

  • washingtonpost71

    @petewalker: It’s kind of funny that the first comment out of the chute is one that is doing exactly what proponents of ID have been complaining about for quite a while: incorrectly likening ID to creationism and religion.I don’t know what to hope for…that people do this out of ignorance, or out of fear. Perhaps there’s another reason, but I can’t think of any right now.Finally, I think that the icing on the cake is that NONE of this has ANYTHING to do with ID. It’s all about evolution and asking for an opportunity to allow teachers and students to discuss evolution’s strengths and weaknesses. As far as I know, that’s it. No ID.You’re really coming out of left-field with your reaction to this article.Again, is this reaction out of ignorance, fear, or something else…?

  • stimpy1

    This is another example of the Discovery Institute playing games. If Dr. West is reading these replies I would like to directly ask the following. Why won’t you just admit you think God is involved in human formation? Why must you play these games? I submit that you do not care about science or science standards. You don’t care if the same ideals you espouse apply to other sciences like chemistry or physics unless they somehow relate to the creation of Earth or humans. The only reason you want students to weigh the pros and cons of evolution is that it is the only way you know how legally fight your fight. When I was in college I knew guy who was all about legalizing marijuana. He would tell me about how the hemp fibers were strong or about the uses of medicinal marijuana or some other reason. But all he really wanted to do was to smoke pot. The rest was irrelevant. This is the exact same thing. Please, as a man who is likely a religious man, just be honest. Be proud of your faith. Everyone knows it anyway.

  • JoeG9

    No doubts about “evolution”- as “evolution” can mean several different things.And that is most of the problem- people generally don’t understand what is being debated.Yes things change. How they change and to what extent they can change are and should be questioned.That just drives research to (try to) find the answers.

  • thurgood

    A few weeks back the WaPo posted a poorly informed denialist attack on the science of climate change by an otherwise fairly well informed public ommentator. George Will the author of that article abandoning his method and analytical faculties held forth ignorantly picking his references from every discredited and pseudoscientific source of information on climate change. The science and science commentary community quickly delivered a smackdown with Chris Mooney the popular science author and the head of the leading international climate science organization, exposing every error in Will’s badly analyzed article. John West is no George Will, and is given to wholesale conscious denial of modern biology. This article is so full of nonsense and leaves out everything of consequence – for instance the fact that the chair of the Texas Board of Education is a creationist and has affirmed that this is the first step in his plan to establish a state science curriculum based entirely on Creationism. None of the “PhDs” West talks about have published a single article to advance any of their claims on biology. Some of them in fact are barely part-time biologists, teaching at diploma mills.

  • nadinebatra

    This “analysis” and “evaluation” is a looser for those religionists who oppose evolution based on their ignorance.Can faith and prayer move mountains? The teacher should ask each and every student to pray and then try to move a 5 ton boulder?The teacher should ask all students if someone close to them died and if relatives prayed for the deceased person’s recovery?The teacher should ask why is it that some individual or some community faced a calamity such as a serious accident or a tornadoe or floods? Why that individual or that community?This should then lead to the examination of the institutions of religion and science.Those who oppose evolution forget that a fairly large number of scientists are also believers.The opponents of evolution demand witnessing evolution just like they can see a chick coming out of an egg. Science can not compress evolution that way. But we can comprehend evolution by knowing the phenomena of natural selection, mutation, genetic drift and gene flow.The world is not random. God created mechanisms through which we get days and nights, seasons, earthquakes, tornadoes. Scientists try to understand why things happen the way they do.Evolution also operates through a process.

  • thurgood

    Steve Cherry,The caricatures and cartoon straw men are all too real, starting with Dan McLeroy himself, a “6000 year” creationist. And the practice of science isn’t a debate, it is about experiment, evidence, hypothesis, and theory. An activity at which the creationists old and new have been spectacular failures. Science advances by disproving hypothesis and theories. To date creationists from Paley to Dembski, Behe, Meyer, or Nelson haven’t disproved a single tenet of evolution. In fact they know almost next to nothing about evolution.Darwin studied theology but practiced science as do quite a few scientists such as among the Jesuits. So you are wrong (and you should excise that from your screed filled website) Darwin would have no problem practicing science today.John West and his institute have nothing to do with empirical research, in fact they have nothing to do with research. Churning out error filled screeds and pamphlets doesn’t qualify as research.Some answers for you…Charles Garner is a chemist from Baylor University. He has done no work that is inspired by evolutionary biology related research. he has not published anything related to evolutionary biology. His word is as good as yours or mine on the subject of evolution. His PhD and my lack of a PhD mean one and the same thing on hte matter of biology. Neither he nor I am an expert.And I did check that ridiculous website you have posted a link to. On the matter of the Altenberg 16 you should have a chat with Massimo Pigliucci one of the group and get rid of your notion that the conference was some sort of alternative discussion on questioning evolution. That’s uninformd and funny. ID-Creationism is so out of ideas that it has now taken to simply making things up.

  • JoeG9

    Thurgood,If evolutionists could substantiate the claims of their position ID would go away.Yet to date, even though we know much more than Darwin, the “evidence” for the evolution of the eye/ vision system is the same now as it was in Darwin’s day- that is we observe varying degrees of complexity amongst existing eyes/ vision systems and we “know” the original population(s) didn’t have either.There isn’t any way to test the premise tat eyes/ vision systems can evolve from a population that never had one.Heck a bacterial flagellum- how can you test the premise that a bacterial flagellum evolved from a population that never had one?Imagining how one could have evolved isn’t exactly a scientific test.So get to work to support your position.Otherwise it is perfectly normal to look at something like the cell’s transcription- translation process, complete with its levels proof-reading, error-correction and editing and infer intelligent design.Just how would an unguided process cobble something like that together?I would say life for a biologist would be easier if they didn’t have to continually say that what they are observing is not designed, rather it evolved- especially when no one knows what can and can’t evolve.

  • selectedpete

    Thurgood – Thank you for the “feedback” that is certainly a spirited response. I think you illustrate John West’s point exactly in your post – I wouldn’t change a thing. You just keep talking about religion and young earth creationism, and we’ll keep the subject on Darwin and the data. A third fallacy you illustrate well here is your contention that the implications of a theory, or, in the case of Mr McLeroy, of a person’s personal beliefs somehow disqualify the data or argument they are advancing. That would be like me saying that Barbara Forrest and Eugenie Scott’s involvement in the leadership of the humanist society somehow disqualifies their points on evolutionary processes (I echo Mike Behe here).The Big Bang theory was dumped on and ridiculed for years because it implied to materialists that something divine happened. But..the data kept coming and coming. Did you actually listen to Mr Garner’s talk on chemical evolution? What exact points in his lecture, and lab results are you in contention with?And..Let’s stick to science please. Scan these comments and the article itself – John West seems to be dead on – Darwinists don’t seem to be very keen on discussing Darwinism.Best e-gards,

  • nadinebatra

    SELECTEDPETE wrote:Where does actual observed evidence end, and where does extrapolation and speculation begin? …++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Science does not operate in a vacuum. There is always a paradigm which leads to further examination of questions that need to be answered. Scientists are fully aware that one or more answer(s) might raise even more subsequent questions that need to be resolved. That is why science is not a closed system and hence “limits” are irrelevant.This leads to your second question. Since there is no “limit”, there is no “end” to observation. If the scientist is unable to answer a particular issue at a given time that does not mean that further effort to finding an answer is futile. Scientists continue to be concerned about the issue and look for new tools to find the answer.What you call “speculation” might be an alternative hypothesis (es) that need to be tested.FAITH is a system of beliefs which are not examined empirically. I find faith providing me a code of conduct (how I live my daily life, how I deal with other human beings, my family, my community, what I think is right or wrong etc) and separate it from science that I have practiced.Many a times science and faith give me the same answer to one question. One example: “Man was created by God from clay.” That is the religious belief.Science gives me the same answer when I look at all life forms going through a process of “recycling” in ecology. In the religion of native Americans–”living and non-living things are part of the same”. Isn’t that the truth if you know ecology.

  • nadinebatra

    SELECTEDPETE wrote:Where does actual observed evidence end, and where does extrapolation and speculation begin? …++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Science does not operate in a vacuum. There is always a paradigm which leads to further examination of questions that need to be answered. Scientists are fully aware that one or more answer(s) might raise even more subsequent questions that need to be resolved. That is why science is not a closed system and hence “limits” are irrelevant.This leads to your second question. Since there is no “limit”, there is no “end” to observation. If the scientist is unable to answer a particular issue at a given time that does not mean that further effort to finding an answer is futile. Scientists continue to be concerned about the issue and look for new tools to find the answer.What you call “speculation” might be an alternative hypothesis (es) that need to be tested.FAITH is a system of beliefs which are not examined empirically. I find faith providing me a code of conduct (how I live my daily life, how I deal with other human beings, my family, my community, what I think is right or wrong etc) and separate it from science that I have practiced.Many a times science and faith give me the same answer to one question. One example: “Man was created by God from clay.” That is the religious belief.Science gives me the same answer when I look at all life forms going through a process of “recycling” in ecology. In the religion of native Americans–”living and non-living things are part of the same”. Isn’t that the truth if you know ecology.

  • selectedpete

    “nadinebatra” – You miss my point entirely and then go off to religion again. You guys can’t seem to stay away from it ;0)I think it is quite obvious that “science” continues to learn and adjust, and I have no quarrel there, but that was not my original question. You replaced the word “Darwinism” with the general discipline of “science.” Again – My question is specifically regarding one theory within science, and it is certainly not irrelevant. This whole article is about whether anyone is allowed to critically examine this one theory – not based on faith, dogma, or speculation – but on pure data.I don’t know how else to say it, but you appear to never have even read this article.

  • nadinebatra

    SELECTEDPETE wrote:”This whole article is about whether anyone is allowed to critically examine this one theory – not based on faith, dogma, or speculation – but on pure data….”++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++When you say, “whether anyone is ALLOWED to critically examine this one theory”, do you mean by presenting an alternative theory of “creationism”?Darwin’s theory started with EVOLUTION BY MEANS OF NATURAL SELECTION. Today, scientists have built upon first confirming the evidence of natural selection.Then, chromosome were discovered in 1902 by Sutton. Then genes were discovered with DNA.Then it was shown by scientists that genes do change (mutation). In short, the original paradigm of Darwin’s EVOLUTION BY MEANS OF NATURAL SELECTION grew and is still growing.Obviously, Darwin did not know about chromosomes and genes.Darwin had no idea that a sub-field called POPULATION GENETICS will evolve.What we call Darwinism started from natural selection to population genetics.Today, we know that the forces of natural selection, mutations, genetic drift, and gene flow exert influence on evolution.Thus, the definition of evolution has changed. Today, EVOLUTION IS CHANGES IN RELATIVE FREQUENCIES OF GENES IN THE GENE POOL OF ONE OR MORE POPULATIONs FROM ONE GENERATION TO SUCCEEDING GENERATIONSNobody is preventing you or anybody to critically examine all these developments in the growth of evolutionary biology. Just don’t bring in the creationism in science or biology class.If you want students to know about creationism, take it to the class in religion; not biology.Few people realize that the roots of modern medicine lie in evolutionary biology. The time has come that a person will go to his/her physician who will take a tissue sample and would know his/her entire genetic code. All these developments were possible only due to evolutionary biology.Do we want treatment of cancer and various other diseases or do we stop these by preaching that these are “god given” diseases and we should not interfere with God?I mean no disrespect to any one.

  • nidurin

    In an interview with Ben Stein in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Richard Dawkins said there was a possibility that life on earth was brought by extraterrestrial beings. As a man known to oppose ID/God, I don’t know whether he’s truly against ID or just against the idea of a god. And I couldn’t help but suspect that there are big holes in the evolution theory after all.

  • selectedpete

    “nadinebatra” – I appreciate the history lesson, but again, I am talking about critical thinking based upon strictly secular and empirical data. If you had listened at all to Mr Garner’s testimony you would indeed know that the critique is solely based upon lab science. When you use reasoning like this:”Do we want treatment of cancer and various other diseases or do we stop these by preaching that these are “god given” diseases and we should not interfere with God?”You are employing an absolutely dishonest approach to what we are talking about here by creating and inserting your own caricature above. You in fact are the only person bringing up this form of religious argument, and absolutely verifying what Dr West is pointing out in this article.

  • nadinebatra

    Mr. West:You are such a proponent of critical examination. You did have a chance to examine critically the history of developments in evolutionary biology. But you didn’t (or couldn’t?). You just left it at “history lesson”.Is this what critical thinking all about? or is your objective sneak in creationism in biology class?You keep quoting others. You are here. What do you have to say about it?No rhetoric: “secular or profane”.

  • nidurin

    Being religious and believing in evolution don’t necessarily go against each other. Case in point, Pope John Paul II. The argument that all people who want to hear the full critique on evolution have creationist agenda is irresponsible.

  • nadinebatra

    nidurin:I posted earlier that those who demand the proof of evolution are perhaps looking for proof of evolution like they can see chick coming out of the egg. Science can not compress evolution this way.Most of us have not been to the moon, yet we have some knowledge about the moon. It means that it is possible to posses knowledge about things or phenomena without going through the physical experience.And a lot of times even though we have gone through the phenomenon yet our knowledge may be limited about them or even our perceptions may be faulty. We do not know a lot of things about our own planet.Science is constantly looking for new tools to answer questions that need to be answered.Our limited knowledge (or lack of it)about the moon is based upon innumerable paradigms humans have built upon in our history.For example, we knew before we sent astronauts to the moon that the center of gravity of the moon was i/6th of the gravity on earth. If we did not know this, we could not send humans to the moon. I don’t have to spell out as to how we got the knowledge about gravity, temperature, atmospheric pressure etc. etc..So, it is possible to know about evolution without directly “seeing” the transformation of one species into one or more species. We can now comprehend evolution by putting together our knowledge about natural selection, mutations, genetic drift, and gene flow.So, send your kids to college, encourage them to study biology, and oppose those who want to introduce “creationism” in biology class. Don’t allow your kids to be confused.

  • nidurin

    nadinebatra, For example, we knew before we sent astronauts to the moon that the center of gravity of the moon was i/6th of the gravity on earth. If we did not know this, we could not send humans to the moon. I don’t have to spell out as to how we got the knowledge about gravity, temperature, atmospheric pressure etc. etc..So how do we know first things about a planetary body? We use experimentally PROVEN theories/methods to calculate the parameters. Then how did we reach the moon? We sent rockets to survey it, unmanned rendezvous missions to make sure what we thought was correct. The physics used in this venture have been proven thousand times over. But nobody had the audacity to say, enough already just send Gemini I to the moon. As I said, Evolution as a theory is plausible. I’m not even asking you to show me how to get from C N H to human beings in 4 billion years. Just build a computer model using all the knowledge and hypothesis that you were talking about and show me how to get from simple protein molecules to a single-cell bacteria in a billion years as a starter. There are plenty of science-savy lay people around. I don’t think evolutionist have the intellectual high-ground to brush aside questions.

  • nadinebatra

    Ndurin:You and I or billions of people have not been to the moon, yet we know about the moon. The point was that it was possible to possess knowledge without personally going through the physical experience. so it is not necessary to “see” evolution. Evolution is something we can comprehend without “seeing” the chick coming out of the egg.I do not know why you are hung up on computer model. But to satisfy your demand, I am going to cite one model.In the cell of females (only females), there is mitochondrial DNA. Scientists have developed a model which ultimately traces the mitochondrial DNA yo a single woman. They named her EVE.

  • stimpy1

    selectedpete,There is no doubt you have the Discovery Institute talking points down pat. If you are still reading these posts I want to challenge your stance on religion. Specifically your claims that the basis for the challenges to evolution are not religious. I want to be clear here. Every stance the Discovery Institute takes against evolution stems from religion. Any person who looks at this without prejudice will come to this conclusion. You lost in Dover. And don’t go into semantics because I met and spoke with many of the involved parties in detail and this trial was about ID and it was determined to be religion. With this loss in hand the DI tried its next tactic which is “teach the weaknesses”. It all stems from the religious views of the DI. This is clear. For whatever reason, the DI has determined that evolution is incompatible with their religious views of our origins and is looking for any way to undermine it. So don’t insult our intelligence. “Teaching the weaknesses” is all about religion. It wouldn’t exist without religion. The DI wouldn’t exist without religion. The tactics of the DI have just evolved to mask religion.

  • nidurin

    nadinebatra, …The point was that it was possible to possess knowledge without personally going through the physical experience. so it is not necessary to “see” evolution. Evolution is something we can comprehend without “seeing” the chick coming out of the egg…sounds like you’re talking about religion. As for “Eve”, You don’t have to have DNA matching to know there would have been several common ancesters for the modern world population since the population has always been growing. It doesn’t prove evolution. If you can trace our DNA to a monkey who lived millions of years ago, or a rat tens of millions of years ago, now that would be the proof. Anyway the kind of computer model I’m talking about is prospective. The kind used in the research for atomic bomb, climate, techtonic plates, etc.

  • stimpy1

    Ndurin,You should look into the Chromosome 2 story. Very compelling evidence.

  • nadinebatra

    Ndurin,You got it what you asked for.Did you know that more than 98 per cent of our genes are shared by chimpanzees?The answer: common ancestry which split more than 5 million years ago.

  • ernesthua

    “washingtonpost71″ typifies that of pro-I.D. pretending that these apparently innocent sounding “teach the contraversy” sound bites have nothing to do with pushing I.D.In fact, the Dover case proved quite conclusively, in front of a conservative appointed judge, that these people are incredible liars and have no intention whatsoever of doing real scientific debate.All they care about is to pursue their so-called “wedge strategy” of casting as much public doubt on evolution concepts as much as possible.This is a public relationship scam. It is not a scientific debate. Scientific debates occur between educated scientists in university settings and other research facilities. No real scientists spend all their time on public relations campaigns in front of school boards and legislators.These scientists bring their new ideas to dog and pony shows to present in front of other highly skeptical scientists. No scientists of any caliber bring their debates in front of high school class to be judge by the high school kids.A high school kid MAY be bright enough to ask questions about in-depth details of some theories, but the sheer lack of scientific background of most high school students make this kind of debate impossible.More over, it is not the place of legislators or fundamentalist-stacked school boards to pretend that there must be room for debate but only on the one subject of evolution.You people have been gunning for evolution forever, and you have always lost because you cannot approach it from the standpoint of real science.I.D. is next “evolution” of your battle tactics: Pretend that there are some formulas and other scientific sounding things that seems to be in your favor.What you keep forgetting is that real “intelligent design” has little to do with any supernatural deity.When you folks start proposing little green men as one possible intelligent “creator”, then we’ll talk. Until then, you aren’t even remotely serious.

  • ernesthua

    “JoeG9″ … yet another clueless one attempting to spout “complexity” as though he has the numeric metric and the right threshold to prove that a evolution of an eye is impossible.Dude, do you have any education in biology? Scientific method?Do you have any clue how science makes progress?It is not through the uninformed whines of people like you.No one has to prove anything to you.There are plenty of forums in which serious questions are actually being debated. Your personal space isn’t one of them.You are more than welcome to come to these places and put your idea up for the spanking it deserves.No one is stopping you.You know darn well your ideas won’t survive. That is why very few I.D. folks have even tried to present their ideas.This is why you folks have always resorted to FORCING people to accept your ideas by using the law to do it.Real scientific ideas survive massive in-depth scrutiny by the most self-centered egomaniacs (a.k.a. professors) who have nothing except their reputations to fight for.It has been quite clear for decades that none of you folks are interested in testing your ideas in that cauldron.Instead, you want to cheat and bypass all of that. So you claim that, by some miracle, all of these hundreds of thousands of massive egos all over the world are somehow united in some singular conspiracy to keep your ideas out of the hands of high school students.Hmm … still wondering why so many of us are skeptical of your intentions?

  • ernesthua

    By the way, for ignorant ones like “Ndurin” who cannot even get their terms straight …When we talk about “scientific debate”, we are not talking about juggling rhetorical B.S. tricks that your P.R. folks like to put out in press releases.There is a huge difference between a rhetorical debate, where either side could basically argue for anything, and a scientific debate, where you are judged based on the strength of your theory at explaining existing data.Many I.D./creationists don’t understand this difference or deliberately pretend there is no difference.They often think scientific debate is some sort of theatrical performance; that if you just use the right words, people will believe you.Again, witness how many folks in the Texas school board were hired for their P.R. capabilities instead of their scientific credentials.These folks were gearing up for a public relations campaign, not a serious scientific investigation. They have one very specific result in mind. And it is not some generic, non-religious supreme being or some outer space travellers bringing “seeds” of life.You guys knew this ahead of time. It is not like you were suddenly surprised that all of these people were Christian fundamentalists pushing only one very specific Creator (and He must be singular and male with strong resemblences to an important character in the Bible).Did you honestly believe I.D. had nothing to do with the Bible or Creationism?

  • nidurin

    stimpy1, If Ch2 was spliced together from two identical chimp chromosomes, what happened to the other chromosome in the pair and how did this new chromosome get passed down. There are many possibilities. 1. Same mutation happened in two mating chimps. 2. meiosis didn’t happen in the germ cell. 3. A pair of chromosome of unidentical length doesn’t produce any mishap in transcription and propagates because of survival of the mutants,etc. However likely or unlikely, you have to be able to figure out how it happened before it can be used as real evidence. Secondly, even if ch2 was truely from two shorter identical chromosomes, how do you prove the original ones weren’t human? After all, human and chimp genes are 98% identical. Or you can also show evidence that longer is better. Don’t forget, rat genome is ~90% identical to humans. Evolutionist would say this suggests we are all from the same root. On the other hand, so far that we know, the majority of the genome are meaningless. So a small percentage point does make a world of difference, perhaps the intention a creator?With all that said. I don’t think either side will be able to persuade the other for now. I’m actually for evolution. I just wish academic evolutionist can have the courage to acknowledge the current weak spots in the theory and take initiative to improve it. But I guess even the great Einstein can be arrogant.

  • schmojotiki

    Kudos to Texas!!! It is about time!!!

  • schmojotiki

    Kudos to Texas!!! It’s about time!!!

  • cdolson

    STIMPY1:You won’t even *allow* us to insult your intelligence, because you refuse to have an intelligent debate regarding our arguments on their own merits!!Instead you, and all those like you, insist on insulting your own intelligence by repeatedly engaging in a logical fallacy that any freshmen philosophy student would call you out on.Its called the Genetic Fallacy (Google it!) and when you make an argument using a logical fallacy, your argument becomes logically fallacious. Ergo: Invalid.I ask you and all your buddies to please take some basic logic and philosophy primers, particularly on the logical fallacies, and then come back when you are feeling intelligent enough not to fall into using them!

  • cdolson

    Darwinists and their red herrings.It is so curious how the ID crowd tries as hard as possible to avoid any discussion of anything metaphyiscal, while the Darwinistas are continually diverting the argument to religion. They stand there, accusing the motives of their enemies, hardly ever bothering to address the arguments on their own merits.Self-righteous as any pharisee, filled with zeal and religious ferver, as they seek to defend the “god who is not”.These guys think they are so smart, so dispassionate, so logical, so consistent in their thinking.The only thing consistent about them is their hypocrisy.

  • stimpy1

    cdolson 1. Read my post more carefully. I clearly state the everything the Discovery Institute does comes from religion. As you are a new poster (as far as I can tell) I have no idea where your beliefs originated or how they evolved to where they are. I specifically state that the DI is being disingenuous when it claims to be promoting scientific freedom. It is nothing more than their latest tactic to bring their religious views into the origins of man. If this tactic fails they will come up with somethings else. A quick study of their history will show this to be true. See the “Wedge Document”. So really the Genetic Fallacy does not apply. 2. Evolution is a physical science not a philosophy. If you want to make philosophical arguments be my guest. My main concern is that science is taught in science class. What you do in philosophy class is not my concern. What you choose to do with your knowledge of evolution is your business. If it makes you feel any better I actually enjoy a true discussion on philosophies of science (including evolution).3. There is no debate about evolution in the physical sciences. What you see on TV is a political debate. Or a philosophical debate if you prefer that language. There are debates about specific hypotheses within evolution theory but not evolution itself. You will never hear anything like what you see on TV at a professional meeting like a Keystone conference.

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How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

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Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

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Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

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Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

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The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

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How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

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Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

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This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

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Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

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Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.