Tag Archives: evolution

On my reading list: Arguments For Evolution

Here’s a few books that are getting added to my reading list.   Hopefully they will be available at the library, but I think a few of them I’m going to plunk down some cash for.

I’m always amazed how many people, who are otherwise very intelligent, are willing to completely ignore hard facts and scientific evidence in favor of myth, superstition, and hearsay.

Thanks to Pharyngula for the list.
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Adam Savage on Science Education and Creationism

I found this Popular Mechanics pod cast while stumbling around today.   It features Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame (one of my favorite TV shows), discussing science education and his annoyance with the whole Evolution vs. Creationism debate:

What I do see as a huge issue is a very anti-science vibe. Like I said, the newspapers talking about evolution versus creationism is very much an attack on science as a type of religion—believing that the scientific method is some type of religious belief. And it’s not!

That kind of attack absolutely is damaging science exploration across the whole country. I do think that’s a significant problem. And until we can get our head out of the sand and realize that science isn’t about truth—it’s why this debate about the “theory of evolution” bugs the hell out of me. What scientists mean by theory is very different than what people think.

People want science to give them these ultimate truths. When of course it’s never going to do that.

No scientist will ever even tell you that he’ll guarantee the sun will come up tomorrow because that’s not a scientific statement. He can say it’ll come up because the evidence supports it and he can say he’s 99.99999% sure that it’s going to come up, but something could always happen.

And that willingness to have your mind changed – which is basically what that is – that willingness to change, to see something different based on the evidence, that’s deeply scientific, and it’s deeply creative, and I don’t think enough people realize how creative science is as a field.

What can I say? I agree with Adam 100%.

Popular Mechanics Podcast

32 Percent

One in eight U.S. high school teachers presents creationism as a valid alternative to evolution, says a poll published in Public Library of Science Biology.

One in Eight High School Biology Teachers Still Teach Creationism

The article states that 32% of the 900 teachers, who responded to a poll conducted by Penn State University political scientist Michael Berkman, agreed that creationism and intelligent design should be taught as scientifically unsound. Forty percent said that such explanations are religiously valid but inappropriate for science class. EXACTLY!

However, 25% said they devoted classroom time to creationism or intelligent design. Of these, about one-half — 12% of all teachers — called creationism a “valid scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species,” and the same number said that “many reputable scientists view these as valid alternatives to Darwinian theory.”

Excuse me? ‘valid scientific alternative’??? What’s scientific about the bible? Where is the proof?

Personally, I think that any teacher who is found teaching Creationism or Intelligent Design should loose their teaching certificate. They shouldn’t even be allowed to be a substitute teacher.

I’ve said it before … I’m saying it now .. and I’m sure I’ll say it again … science class is for teaching FACTS … not religion.

Florida is going to be the laughing stock

I heard this on Morning Edition as I was getting ready for work …

Florida’s legislature is working out the details of a bill that would either allow or require science teachers to present students with alternatives to the theory of evolution. It could signal a new opening in the perennial battle over evolution in public schools.

Bill in Fla. Lets Schools Teach Evolution Alternatives

The thing that gets me the most is the term “academic freedom”. Freedom to do what? Teach lies? Proselytize their religion?

Don’t get me wrong … if someone can come up with an alternative theory to explain how life came to be the way it is, I’m all for it. But that theory has to be based in science, lacking any super-natural involvement, and be peer reviewed by reputable research organizations.

“Intelligent Design” is nothing more, and nothing less, than creationism. It’s based on biblical texts and has no basis whatsoever in science. Thus, it has absolutely no place in public schools.

The thing that gets me the most is the number of people who, on other topics, are the most logical, level headed, intelligent, people I know. But when it comes to things like Evolution vs. Creationism, they throw all that logic and intelligence out the window.

  • Do they have an inferiority complex?
  • Does the idea that humans and apes share a common ancestor somehow denigrate them as a human being?
  • Is the idea that, because their holy book is wrong on a specific topic, the book is totally wrong and doesn’t merit study and consideration?

The odd thing is, most mainstream religious organizations have actually endorsed Evolution. Even the Vatican has weighed in on it …

The Vatican’s chief astronomer said Friday that “intelligent design” isn’t science and doesn’t belong in science classrooms, the latest high-ranking Roman Catholic official to enter the evolution debate in the United States.

Vatican astronomer joins evolution debate

So what’s the problem folks? Let’s view the bible for what it is … a book that tries to tell a morality story and not a reference text.

Interesting Weekend

We had a very interesting weekend … did some fun stuff … saw some thing interesting, and encountered a new situation.

First, the fun stuff … we went to the Darwin exhibit at the Field Museum with my parents. It was quite interesting and informative. It covered both his Theory of Evolution, his personal life, and some discussion of Evolution in general. Did you know that he almost didn’t go on the Beagle voyage? He had asked his father for permission, but it was denied. After some huranging, he got is father to agree that … if Charles could get a reasonable person (in his father’s opinion, of course) to present good reasons for him to go on the voyage, he would allow it. Charles worked with his uncle, who his father apparently thought was reasonable, to put together a point by point rebuttal for all Mr. Darwin’s arguments against going.

After the museum, we decided to go for dinner … we didn’t want to go for Greek food, as that’s what we have a habit of doing. We also didn’t want Chinese, because Ginny and I just had Chinese food.

We decided on Italian … and found a place about two miles west of the loop for dinner. As we were driving there, I spotted a yellow cab that was a Ford Escape Hybrid. Considering how taxis drive, a hybrid vehicle makes a lot of sense. It was a 2008 model, which I’m not a big fan of … but it’s better than anything else. That was the interesting bit.

On to the weird … we got to the restaurant, had to wait a bit of time for a friend to join us, ordered and ate. The food was good. We were ready to leave, asked for the check, and I tried to give the waitress my AMEX card. She waved me off saying that they didn’t take that. So I asked her if Discover was OK. She clarified by saying that they didn’t take ANY credit cards. I only had $20 cash in my wallet. Luckily dad had some cash.

I was kind of shocked … I had never encountered a main-stream restaurant that didn’t take credit cards. I wonder what they do if someone shows up, orders, eats, but doesn’t have enough cash?