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Not Only In America – Evolution Science Endangered Worldwide Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, atheism, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Europe, evolution, intelligent design, Japan, rationality, religion, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, science, Turkey, United States, world.
7 comments

The scientific theory of evolution is under attack – and not just in the United States alone – but on a global scale.

Firstly, the result of a study published last year shows conclusively that the adult populations of US and Turkey are the least likely to believe in theory of evolution. The study was conducted over 34 countries which include Japan, US and 32 European nations. A question “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” was asked, in which correspondents could respond with true, false or unsure.

A graphical depiction of the study is re-posted here. Click on it to enlarge it. Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries

Remarkably, but unsurprisingly, only a paltry 14% of the adult US population actually believes in evolution, completely outnumbered by the one-third who firmly rejects the idea.

Turkey, where 99% of its population is Muslim, represents another worrying trend. Using the result of this study, we can probably safe to conclude that the Muslim population, in general, reject the theory of evolution strongly. In fact, looking at the graph, one could also say that the ratio of rejection is quite high in comparison to US and the rest of surveyed countries.

A second article written recently also adds worry that the anti-evolution movement is gathering pace worldwide. It lists a couple of examples of how evolution is being attacked. One case is that in Kenya, a bitter dispute is taken place as the plan of exhibiting a prehistoric human skeleton is being opposed by local religious forces. Another example involves a well-funded Turkish publishing house mass-distributing anti-evolution books to French speaking schools and universities across Europe. The article also shows an example from Russia, and of course, there is the well-known Intelligent Design movement that is currently taking place in the US.

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Egnor with Another (shockingly) Bad Argument Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, creationism, evolution, intelligent design, Michael Egnor, science.
1 comment so far

Michael Egnor has recently come up with a shockingly bad argument against the process of evolution. It is so bad, that some scientific commentators have even called it the worst anti-evolution argument they have ever heard. For those who don’t know, Egnor is a pro-ID neurosurgeon working for the Discovery Institute (a pro-ID organisation), whose bad creationist arguments have made him a favourite target of ridicule and rebuttal amongst scientific bloggers.

Egnor’s argument goes like this: cancer is a real evolution phenomenon that should produce better brain through random mutation and natural selection.

Here is the full text that I have reposted here. The entire article can be found here.

Dr. Novella is missing a much better example of random mutation and natural selection that’s not metaphorical at all. Cancer is a test of Darwin’s theory. Cancer is real biological evolution by random mutation and natural selection, writ fast. There’s no reason to invoke encyclopedia typos or tractor engines in order to understand what “chance and necessity” can do to a living system. Brain tumors are perfect little Novellian “two-cycle engines” nestled inside the skull, “random mutations” coming out the ears, and “natural selection” like there’s no tomorrow (excuse the metaphors). Brain tumors are constantly generating new biological variation, and they are avatars of natural selection. They provide a tremendous spectrum of variation, from “variation jet-engines” like malignant glioblastoma multiforme to “variation tortoises” like benign pilocytic astrocytomas. Cancer wards are full of patients brimming with “two-stroke engines” of evolutionary change.

… If random mutations and natural selection — Dr. Novella’s “two stroke engine” — is the source of all functional integrated biological complexity, brain tumors ought to help our brains evolve in some way.

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Pope Speaks on Evolution Thursday, April 12, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, Christianity, creationism, evolution, faith, God, intelligent design, pope, religion, science, Vatican.
3 comments

The Pope has, for the first time as a Pontiff, spoken his view on the science of evolution, as shown in this report, which is bound to add fuels to the now re-emerging debate of evolution and “intelligent design” (ID for short).

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict has in general being rather vague on this issue. According to the report, the Pope seems to neither openly endorse ID nor completely disagree with evolution. This comes as no-surprise as the Vatican continues to hold the “theist evolution” view that evolution is perfectly capable to exist side-by-side with Catholic Christianity. Although difficult to interpret what the Pope is really saying from the report, it seems to me that although he thinks science provides a natural explanation, it is only part of a bigger picture (which he says cannot be explained by faith along), and evolution cannot take away a “dimension of reason”.

I think the Pope is implying that while evolution itself is a rational process, the process itself must be explained away by the “creative reason of God”. Quoting the report:

“The process itself is rational despite the mistakes and confusion as it goes through a narrow corridor choosing a few positive mutations and using low probability,” he said.

“This … inevitably leads to a question that goes beyond science … where did this rationality come from?” he asked. Answering his own question, he said it came from the “creative reason” of God.

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Map of Teachings of Evolution in the US Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, creationism, education, evolution, faith, intelligent design, map, rationality, religion, science.
1 comment so far

This is a map showing the status of teaching of evolution in the US on a state-basis. On the map, the colour red indicates the more anti-evolution states, where the teaching of evolution is seen as “unsatisfactory, useless or absent”. Yellow means “satisfactory or good”, and green indicates “very good or excellent”.

This post, featured as Blog of the Minute on the WordPress home page, provides a commentary on the map – and as you ca see from the 250-plus comments made by the readers, it is no kidding that the evolution vs. creationism debate is still raging well and alive.

After spent quite some time reading through the comments (much of it at work…), it is just more and more obvious to me that many people who are anti-evolution are still very ill-informed. Amateurish arguments against evolution such as evolution is a theory of chance (“airplane in the junkyard” argument), that we descended from monkeys, that the word “theory” means speculation… etc are seen quite commonly in the readers’ comments on the post.

Is this evolution vs. creationism debate a truly US of A phenomenon? I was just thinking the other day, after reading through more ignorant, bigotry arguments from creationists, that we should not waste any more time in debating with these people. However, on the second thought, I was alarmed that we must do something to combat these people – their impact is real. Just look at the map mentioned, and the several court cases concerning the teaching of evolution at schools that have taken place in the US recently.

Anyway, here is a thumbnail copy of the map here, click on it to enlarge:

How Evolution is Taught

The Banana – Atheists’ Nightmare Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, creationism, evolution, funny, God, humour, intelligent design, nightmare, rationality, religion, science, video.
20 comments

Continuing with the spirit of showing mind-boggling creationist videos, I will post another one – and a very good one too – which has recently being shown in great popularity on the internet:

So, according to the speaker in the video, the only way to explain the existence of the humble banana is God, because the banana is so fittingly designed in every form for humans.

Many people in different cultures hold the banana the other way around (such as the Polish and most Asian countries), so that the “tap” actually sits in the hand. I hope these upside-down-banana-holders world-wide are not sinners against God’s design!

This video is quite incredible, and has further opened me up to just how ignorant people can be sometimes.

Peanut Butter Disapproves Evolution Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, creationism, evolution, faith, funny, God, nightmare, rationality, religion, science, video.
8 comments

According to this video, theory of evolution is disapproved by a jar of peanut butter! Unbelievable!

It is hard to believe that there are still such incredibly scientifically-illiterate and ignorant people out there. Or is this simply a parody taken to a new level? I hope the latter is the case!

Did you watch the video dying laughing, or shaking your head in disbelief?