text on speciation only strengthens my belief that such
so-called sciences are, in fact, and as defined in that
branch of study known as the "Philosophy of Science",
pseudo-sciences - no different than astrology or
witchcraft. It make me chuckle to read such controversy as
the definition of what a species is. As a matter of fact,
it strikes me that the accepted definition of a species is
more a political definition than a scientific one.
Political in the sense that a similar (previously
considered identical) species would be considered new and
unique by virtue of its physical location and not genetic
makeup, perhaps for the purpose of self-engrandizement.
"Because I found this species over here, it is therefore a
new species which I shall name and expect to receive all
the credit and accolades for." The fact that the underlying
definitions or principles are constantly in flux
illustrates the lack of "science" forming the area of
study. The use of the "Scientific Method" alone does not a
E. R. Bujtas, Nuclear Engineer/Physicist
say you are a Nuclear Engineer/Physicist with such
expertise in the Scientific Method, and since you find it
amusing to see such controversy over the definition of
species, perhaps you could enlighten us poor
pseudo-scientists with your definition. I am sure it
will clarify everything for us once and for all.
Unfortunately, I honestly expect it won't, and that you can't come up with a better definition. One of those awkward problems of which better scientists than you are well aware is that science must describe and conform to reality, not dictate it. As it turns out, species are an incredibly diffuse and difficult to capture reality, not just in concept. The controversies that you chuckle over as examples of badly done 'pseudoscience' are representative of what is seen in nature; I'm afraid that the best examples of shoddy science in this field are the attempts by ignorant, simple-minded reductionists who try to shoehorn complex phenomena into rigidly defined pigeonholes.
You are, of course, welcome to do just that. Please do go ahead. Many of us will find it very entertaining.
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
some element of the desire for personal credit in the
naming of a species, but overall, whether or not that
naming is accepted has more to do with the merits of the
case as assessed by the scientific community, and that
decision is in the end not political.
All scientific theoretical definitions are in some degree of flux. It has to do with sensitivity to new knowledge about those entities named. If we learn that species are, perhaps, not reproductively isolated, then we must amend the definition accordingly. This is not only good science, it is common to every and all sciences, and only someone whose knowledge is textbook level would think otherwise.
|Comment:||Why don't you have any info on Neanderthal DNA, which proved that Neanderthals were not ancestors of Homo Sapiens? And in one of FAQs on hominids author states that Neanderthals ARE humans. Isn't that a mistake ?|
fairly recent research, so the best source is Medline.
Searching it, I got these references. I hope they are
It is a matter of systematic semantics whether Neandertals are considered human or not. If our ancestors Homo erectus are human, then so are Neandertals. If "human" applies to all and only Homo sapiens, then they are not, but that's just a matter of definitions.
Here are those refs:
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1999 May
|Comment:||I must tell you that I am a born-again Christian and that I believe every word of the Bible. I am also not a scientist, though I am a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University, so I am not daft. Anyway, I will not bother to e-mail you as I am sure hundreds of others have done telling you all about the falsity of evolution and so forth. But this is what really bugs me: Your page is completely misleading and I think it is so on purpose. When I'm fishing around on the internet looking for info on creationism (as I have heard PLENTY about evolution throughout my education, taking all those painful science courses they force you to take) I do not want a bunch of evolutionists conning me into looking at their site. And that's what I think you're doing. You ARE MOST CERTAINLY NOT "exploring the CREATION/EVOLUTION controversy." My gosh, how can you even say that? I think a more apt way to put it is: [cue music] "TELLING YOU ALL ABOUT THE EVOLUTIONARY "FACT" AND LETTING YOU IN ON OUR LITTLE SECRET THAT CREATIONISTS ARE CON ARTISTS AND DON'T HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON." Listen, it's simply not enough to say, oh, and by the way, we are balanced because we think creationists should speak for themselves, so we've linked to their pages... . That attitude is inherently *imbalanced*, don't you think? I guess what I'm trying to say is: DON'T CALL IT A CREATION/EVOLUTION SITE IF IT ISN'T ONE. I've had enough of people trying to talk me out of my faith, thank you very much, and yes, I do seek the truth, but I've heard plenty of your side of the thing, and I don't like you sneekily luring me into your site. Anyway, if you took the time to read this, then thanks, because I guess people flood your box with all KINDS of stuff.|
your email: we are happy to receive and read it, and glad
for the opportunity to restate our position, which you can
also find expressed in various ways on our home
page, welcome page,
and introductory faq.
We most certainly are exploring the creation/evolution controversy; but we make no claim that this is a balanced exploration. On the contrary, we emphasize throughout that we work from the perspective of mainstream science.
This is, unambiguously, a creation/evolution site. Both of these ideas are addressed at length and in detail. That we come down unambiguously on the side of science does not prevent this from being a creation/evolution site.
If you just want to read about evolution without reference to creationism, there are plenty of text books on the subject. If you just want to read about creationism without reference to evolution, then you are out of luck, to the best of my knowledge.
If you want to read about both evolution and creationism, then we present the mainstream science view on that matter. We explain what is entailed in evolution and why it is the explanation for living diversity used by mainstream science. We explain the nature of the creationist criticisms and alternatives, and why they are nonsense.
If you want to read about both evolution and creationism from a source which takes the view that it is creationism that is sensible but evolution which is nonsense, you will find here plenty of links to suitable sources; but you will not find that notion argued here as some kind of balance, as if we felt that this was a choice between two credible alternatives.
I do not think you will find anywhere on the site any hint that we are attemping to present some kind of balanced amalgamation of these two incompatible viewpoints.
I do not know what you mean by being lured to the site; and I think the implication is unjust. We don't advertise in any formal sense; but we are widely cited. Hopefully people who cite us will be clear on our content: I certainly never pretend the site is balanced when recommending it to friends. People who happen across the site after a web search will hopefully read our home page and introductory pages to learn what we are about. If they are searching for a creationist view they'll find it through our links easily enough. If they want to know what we think on the subject, it is hard to see how this could be more clear.
|Comment:||I was just wondering why you consider the teaching of creationism and evolution in the classroom to be unconstitutional. I have conducted a search of your site and have not found much. Thank you for your time.|
|Response:||We consider the teaching of "scientific creationism" in America's public schools unconstitutional primarily because the United States Supreme Court does. See the Debates & Court Decisions section of the archive, especially the Edwards v. Aguillard decision.|
|Comment:||why so you point at some of the bad apple creationists that like many bad apple evolutionists can't tell a fact from a fib...really now this debate DOES HAVE FACTS ON BOTH SIDES...neither side wants to have the other side to prove them wrong. But now if this arguement goes down to if a christion believes in evoilution or not where is the science in that? there are ways to test creationist hypothesis. Can you say that a creator is impossible? NO if you are an evolutionist...there is not an actual chance that a set of assumptions with nearing infinity impossibility can happen but the idea of a testable creator is atrocious. This is an argument on what one thinks has the best chance of happening and i believe a creator...a designer is a lot more factual...testable...reliable and seeable than the idea of a set of unprovable assumptions...yes theories and assumption is what evolution is you were not there at the first sign of life so an assumption and theory...very loose theories. So now a few asshole creationists disprove creationism no more than a few asshole evolutionists disprove evolution...but do look at the stars and comets...and super novas Say a comet 10,000 years a big estimate seeing how they consatanly decay...what is the mechanism that could possibly pull a new stream of comets that we SCIENTIFICALLY OBSEREVE everyday constantly at the earth...how are they breaking away or forming if they are always decaying a young universe...a young Earth...impossible time limit. Super Novas exmine them and find that one out yourself. Biochemistry do you know what circular reasoning is? A crappy example but therte are hundreds in the human body...Dna is made of Proteins and DNA is needed to form proteins so you need DNA but at the same exact time you need proteins...wow another assumtion that they happened at the same time... what is the big freaking problem with the idea of a creator if evolution even has a possibility then what is the problem with putting scientific faith behind a designer. You may argue that you can't test it but who says we know everything to test...we can't see so we assume and put faith in something please listen i have not bashed evolutionists efforts but please look there is a ton of factual creationists you may not be seeing them but they exist believe me i can easily find them Micheal Behe excellent book called "Darwins black Box" I suggest you read it i have read evolutionists lately and they just droll on about nothing but this guy has a great factual arguement pro-anti-evolution unless you are too naive to pick it up and listen.|
And many more. Behe's ideas have been discussed extensively, both on the talk.origins newsgroup, and in the FAQ archive.
Please do try to learn to use the Search facility on this website. Your questions have been addressed before, except perhaps for those that are rather idiosyncratically founded in your own peculiar errors (such as that DNA is made of protein...I haven't heard that one before from anyone).
|Comment:||In the evolutionary lineage of the history of earth, has there ever been an exact replica of a species?|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
|Response:||Yes and no.
If you mean have ordinary processes of mutation, selection,
genetic drift and migration formed a later version of an
extinct species - say, a T rex - the answer is no. The
number of changes for a species to separate from its
ancestral species aren't usually that great, but there's an
enormous number of possible changes that could be
made, so the likelihood of it happening in the same manner
twice is very low. Moreover, the lineage from which the
first species split is in all likelihood still evolving (in
terms of its genetic makeup), and so the second species
needs to (a) undo all changes from the first split, and (b)
redo all changes made in that first split. It's isn't
impossible, but it's very unlikely.
The "yes" comes from an exceptional mode of speciation, known as polyploidy, which happens mostly in plants, and particularly in ferns. This is where the entire genome of a plant, or of a hybridisation between two plant species, is copied more than once and then split into symmetric "haploid" sex cells which can breed true. It has happened that, particularly in hybridisation polyploidy (called allopolypoidy) that the same changes have occurred more than once. In fact, identical speciation events can be replicated in the laboratory.
The reason for this is simple: genes segregate in sex cells in a process known as meiosis to form half genomes. This is a physical process and like many such processes it can happen the same way more than once. If the crossing is between plants that live locally, then it's highly likely that the same event will happen in at least a couple of instances out of the millions of fertilisation events that take place when spore or pollen is released into the air in an area.
Except for such likely events, it is a prediction of evolutionary theory that a species once gone is never to return. David Hull, a philosopher of biology who argues that species are not kinds but historical individuals, has said that species can never return, but I think this is a bit harsh. It depends on a bit of semantics that says that a species is a segment of the phylogenetic tree. Since a later "same" species is a different segment of the tree, the later version is not the "same". There are arguments for and against.
|Comment:||Many of your
articles cover radioactive dating. The earth and solar
system are 4.55 billion years old has been proven because
of the dating. My question, or feedback, is that you do not
make clear why the clock starts with the solar system
If the debris from a star that blew up (super nova) is the source material (because you need high temperature and pressure to form large atoms like lead) why didn't the clock start at the super nova? What is the flaw in thinking that the debris drifed for 3 or 4 billion years, then our solar system formed. Thankyou for considering my question. Van
|Author of:||Isochron Dating|
plot indicates the time since the dated samples became
mutually separated from an isotopically homogeneous pool of
material. For some patterns of sample selection,
this can yield a result other than the samples' time of
crystallization. This topic is discussed a bit in the Isochron Dating
FAQ's section on "cogenetic samples."
Consider this hypothetical scenario: clumps of the solar
system's source material became isolated and chemically
differentiated at one point in time
When such procedures are attempted on meteorites, we find that both patterns of sampling yield exactly the same age, with matching Y-intercepts on the isochrons as well (indicating further reliability of the results). In addition, data points for the Earth and lunar materials fall on the same isochrons, strongly indicating a common source and a common age. If there were a spread of values from the different sample selections, a more complex history would be indicated and there would be some room to argue over exactly what the results meant. But the precise agreement of all the different sample selections (over multiple isotopes with different chemical properties) strongly implies a fairly simple history. The data leaves one with very little room for "interpreting away" the results as anything other than the time of formation of everything in the Solar System.
There are several further problems in proposing a much more recent formation time for the Solar System. Many such problems involve features which must post-date the formation of the planets themselves, and at the same time are much too old to permit your suggested Solar System formation date of about one billion years ago. For example, lava flows which fill basins on the lunar surface must be younger than the Moon itself, and some of them exceed four billion years in age.
|Comment:||I would like to ask you to go to www.creationscience.com to take on a challenge that is presented on this site. They have a list of questions that you could try to answer to support your views of evolution. I will tell you that no one to this day has taken up this challenge. Please e-mail me back on what results that occur. thanks in advance, Byron. P.S. the section on the site to look for the challenge is debate there you will find all you need to know to take up the challenge.|
|Response:||This is a list of questions by Dr Walt Brown, all of which are dealt with on this site, mostly in the Problems with a Global Flood and The General Anti-Creationism FAQ. But the really interesting thing is his suggestion that decades of scientific research (and make no mistake, all these "problems" have working hypotheses at the least and good solid models at best) can be resolved in 77 pages of his book. This is the mark of a true crank.|
wondering if there was a psychological study on why people
believe what they believe and why they invest so much
emotional, intellectual and physical energy to it? I mean,
people who believe in the Shroud and cropcircles share the
same problem in that they have invested so much time and
energy to "solving" the issue that they lose all
credibility if proved wrong and so they can never admit to
being wrong even to the point of ridicule by others. (sorry
for the run-on)
Anyway, I like your site and refer to it often when I'm in talk.origins to clear up something for myself. Thank you.
numerous studies on why people believe what they do; it's
an extensive branch of cognitive psychology, especially
social cognition. I think the basic answer is that most
people aren't trying to reconcile their beliefs to any kind
of objective reality, but to a construct that may not fit
the real world very well at all, but does accommodate their
social needs quite well.
Ray Hyman is a fellow who has made quite a few studies
of why people believe in crazy things like psychic powers
and ghosts and fortune tellers. Here's one of his reviews
on the topic:
This one might be a bit difficult to find, but it's a
classic study of the psychology of a millennial cult that
saw the date of a predicted apocalypse come and go...as you
might guess, their beliefs were unshaken despite the
failure of the world to end.
Otherwise, though, just open up any introductory psychology text and look for the chapters on social cognition. If you see words like "cognitive dissonance" and "schemas" coming up a lot, you are in the right place.
|Comment:||Dear Talkorigins.org, As a young teenager who keeps a constant vigil on the creation/evolution debate, I would like to know why you call your view the mainstream -SCIENTIFIC- view when there is no definitive evidence for either side of the argument. Each piece of evidence either for or against evolution or creationism can be combatted and interpreted by the other side of the table. To me it seems that in the end both views must be accepted by faith in the end. Therefore, not only creationism but also evolutionism would both be some form of religion. I don't understand how only evolutionism can be considered "scientific" when there is extensive scientific research on the creationist side of the table as well. Please reply|
mainstream scientific view is the view of a particular
community, which I have defined in another feedback
response this month as being the view of the community of
practicing scientists who publish primarily in peer
reviewed scientific journals. This community is pretty much
unanimous in the view that the evidence for evolution is
overwhelming, and that scientific creationism is without
any evidential basis at all.
Your feedback question is posed on the assumption of a different view: the view that there are two credible sides to the story, and that the evidence is inconclusive. I don't agree, and neither do most practicing scientists; always excepting a tiny minority way outside the mainstream.
It is hard when you are starting out to make sense of these two incompatible notions. I would suggest as a start having a look at the history of the science of geology. Some famous figures in that story were believers in a literal flood of Noah, but over time were forced by their own honest evaluation of the evidence to the conclusion that there was no global flood, and that life was very ancient, and that it has changed over time. There is a good potted History of Geology available on-line; with plenty of references which you can check further.
The fossil evidence is also obvious. Life has been around for a very long time, and in forms quite different from those existing today. You know of the dinosaurs, of course. The problem for creationists is not just that these other life forms existed in the past. The real problem is that at the time when dinosaurs lived, most other modern forms of life did not exist. There was no grass, no dogs, no monkeys, no cats, no whales, and so on. This is a fact, as solid as a fact can be in science.
Good luck with your investigations of these matters. Please feel welcome to get in touch with me directly if you have any specific questions about anything arising from this very general response.
|Comment:||When you say
that the "evidence", whether biological, fossil,
geological, historical, or anatomical, is so overwelming,
why has it been so difficult to convince the general
public? I have heard both sides of the argument, but I have
not seen this evidence. I see extensive flaws in the theory
of evolution, simply because, the proponents of the theory
take gigantic leaps of "faith" themselves, though they
would never admit it.
I suggest that you look at the universe and all it's intricacies first, then draw a logical conclusion as to whether creation or evolution best fits the role as the method used.
The problem with die hard evolutionists is that they assume evolution happened, simply because they cannot accept a "Creator". Having made that assumption(great leap of faith), they are forced to make other, possibly more erroneous, assumptions to make the evidence fit the scheme. This has led to the need for more assumptions, with no way of testing or proving their validity.
With so many assumptions being made, and no way to put them to the scientific method of testing and verification, how can you not say the theory of evolution is not an atheistic religion? The creationist view does not propose to scientifically prove there is a God, anymore than the evolutionist can scientifically prove there isn't.
The debate will never be resolved as long as both sides go into it with preconceived biases. Science is not TRUTH!!. It is the search for knowledge. Fact finding is part of that search. No one will ever find the Truth through science. You may find facts and revise current theories, and improve our knowledge. The Truth is staring us in the face every day. Why can't we see it? Why does the idea of creation and a Creator turn so many people off? I believe if you want to know the Truth, you have to ask yourselves that question.
many errors in the above; the simplest one to point out is
that evolution is not something which was simply assumed
because people cannot accept a creator.
There are two ways to show this is false. First, let us assume there is no creator. How does evolution follow from this? Plenty of people were atheists before the theory of evolution was developed. Bear in mind that evolution is quite specific on the processes by which living diversity arises.
Second. Let us assume that evolution is true. How does the lack of creator follow from this? Many evolutionists believe in a creator, and many people believe in the divine inspiration of Genesis, without reading it as an opaque description of the bare events surrounding the origins of the Earth and of life.
Evolution is tested, extensively and all the time, and that is how knowledge is being improved. I think what turns people off is the resolute refusal of many believers to come to grips with the real evidence and testing and knowledge that does exist, incomplete though it may be. That is the real refusal to face up to truth.
You may like to read the following article by Professor Kenneth Miller, on Finding Darwin's God. I don't agree with everything he says, and neither will you. However, you need to explain people like Professor Miller if you are going to confuse evolution with rejection of a creator.
|Comment:||Have a couple of questions of the athetist. (1) Can you explain the atheist theory of creation which says: Nobody X nothing = everything? (2) Why is it that athesists spend so much time and waste so much energy fighting something they claim doesn't exist? Please explain where the original elements and molecules needed to create life came from and how these elements came together to form a living cell, a process that is mathamatically impossible (and acceptable answer IS NOT "well, somehow it just happened". (3) Please explain why it is that there are no new Lincolns rolling out the back gate of junkyards, that ALL wrecks eventually become just iron ore deposits on the ground. (4) Please explain the evolution of the human eye and how this remarkable organ somehow "evolved" thru an endless series of trial and error (an acceptable answer IS NOT "somehow it just happened") For your info, even Darwin concluded this was impossible. If you believe evolution, you also believe a volcanic vent that opened up on the ocean floor under the titanic could produce a nuclear submarine, given enough time and paper, a monkey could type a PERFECT copy of a college dictionary, or a motar round in a junk yard could produce a Rolex watch. Can you also explain why man, with all his scientific wisdom, cannot create life say by bringing a dead person back to life. I mean, all the chemicals, enzymes, DNA etc are all right there. And finally, what are you so scared of? What about God and Jesus threaten you so?|
feedback is directed at "atheists"; but you should be aware
that this is not a site for debating religion and atheism.
The contributors to the archive include atheists, theists,
agnostics, and undeclared. I'll try to stick to your
questions which related specifically to origins.
(1) I am not aware of any sensible theory of origins which corresponds to nobody and nothing = everything. Before you can hope to get a better appreciation of the real theories you need to lose the assumption that cosmology is founded on atheism. I suggest you read some books by physicist and priest John Polkinghorne; not because you have to agree with him; but because you need to be aware that modern cosmology is compatible with Christian faith. Only then will you be able to look at the theories without fear, and consider them on their real merits.
(2) There is nothing mathematically impossible about formation of a living cell. See Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations. We don't know exactly how it occurred, but claims of mathematical impossibility are nonsense.
(3) There are no new Lincolns rolling out of junkyards because Lincolns do not reproduce. Living creatures, on the other hand, do reproduce. Furthermore, children do not look exactly like their parents, and so new living creatures are not exact copies of their ancestors (unlike cars mass produced in a factory). This means that populations of living creatures can also evolve.
(4) You have been misinformed on what Darwin concluded about the eye. See Quote: Charles Darwin About The Eye (offsite).
(Your following statements are not numbered, so my responses are not numbered either.) You are quite obviously incorrect in the sentence beginning "If you believe in evolution, you also...". Evolution proposes quite specific mechanisms, which are nothing like the chaotic generation of submarines, dictionaries, or watches.
On bringing the dead to life, we can in some cases do remarkable feats of resuscitation beyond what was possible before the age of science; but of course we don't claim science knows everything and can do anything. That is no excuse for ignoring what science has discovered.
On being scared: there are two obvious kinds of people who are not in the least threatened by God: those believe and trust in him as a loving father, and also those who don't believe he exists. Both kinds of person are represented in the contributors to this archive. It is exactly a lack of fear which frees people to consider the evidence on its merits, rather than be constrained to hold one particular view for fear of punishment for wrong beliefs.
|Comment:||Today you people can't even prove What is happening in Bermuda triangle? (It's still happening in front of our eyes). I donna how you people have a guts to say the "Great Flood is a Myth", that happened 4000 years ago.|
|Response:||You could learn something from The Un-mystery of the Bermuda Triangle (off-site). The global flood myth and the Bermuda triangle legend are both cases in which we can draw conclusions based on examination of available evidence.|
who has a strong scientific background, has recently turned
to being a MEC "mature earth creationist" due to his
humiliating debate defeats put upon him during his YEC
days. Obviously he has seen accounts from "Omphalos" by
Phillip Gosse, and has taken to the idea that "appearance
of age" thinking is defendable except for the fact that it
would appear that God has deceived us with such work.
Besides being such an odd, deceptive, and improbable idea, what other arguments have been made to counter this nonsense?
|Response:||I don't know
that there is another argument. Omphalism is
a logically consistent stance; one can argue that God
engineered everything in the universe six thousand years
ago to appear millions and billions of years old. No
physical evidence can contradict that stance.
But why stop there? God might just as well have created you, me, and everything in the universe five minutes ago, implanting false memories into our brains to make us think we've been alive for longer. You might just be a brain floating in a tank or a giant computer, being fed sensory data to think you're experiencing the senses and emotions you are. There's no logical way to determine the difference.
Once you start believing your senses are deceiving you, any deception is possible.
|Comment:||I became a
born-again Christian (while remaining a closet
evolutionist) while at medical school, initially oblivious
to the existence, let alone the pervasive influence in
Evangelical circles, of 'scientific' Creationism.
The fatuous self-deception and mendacity of Creationists, along with the insistence by many (most?) Evangelicals of the fundamental incompatibility of Christianity and 'evolution' (ie a large proportion of mainstream scientific thought as well as Darwinism per se) forced my hand. I am now an atheist, by way of reasoning that Creationistic Evangelicals themselves deem compelling! Are Creationists aware of the anti-Christian consequences of their beliefs among those with the merest modicum of intellectual honesty and scientific curiosity?
Thanks for the high scientific and technical standards, comprehensive purview and tactful self-restraint of this excellent and important website.
|Comment:||Paluxy river bed, found in Texas, is strong evidence that humans were around when Dinosaurs were. Along with the thousands of dino tracks, there are also human footprints- something evolutionists leave out. When evolutionists find a problem, they make something up to make it right. That is SIN!|
|Response:||You are a
bit out of date. Paluxy river bed is nothing of the kind,
and most creationists have long since "backtracked" away
from statements like yours above. The whole sorry story of
the Paluxy tracks brings enormous discredit on the
You'll find lots more in Glen Kuban's FAQ on paluxy tracks.
Here also are some articles on the Paluxy controversy by a creationist. Not a reliable source by any means, but it confirms that even creationists are aware of the problems with this particular notion.
stated that evolution is both a theory and a fact. What
separates science from philosophy is that the philosophers
deal only in ideas and words while the scientists conduct
experiments, testing, observing, and testing again to see
if their theory should be kept or changed. Experimentation
and observation have always been the foundation on which
scientific understanding progresses.
Atomic theory and gravity, unlike the theory of evolution, are both observable phenomena and have been proven by experiments and observations without end. The theory of evolution, though, is not observable because actual evolution takes so long. We are left with only the results of the process, leaving the door open for another explanation.
Determining the process of evolution by interpreting its results is like connecting dots to make a picture - you never know if you have all the dots so you are never entirely certain what the picture is supposed to be. I don't think the answer to that problem is to start calling theories absolute facts (the physical sciences don't) or forget the key role of laboratory work to prove your theory. If a discipline is going to be a science it needs to act like a science, otherwise, it's nothing more than philosophical babblings.
quite understand why the reader feels atomic theory and
gravity are "observable" while evolution is not. No one has
ever seen an atom, nor have they seen gravity. Much of what
we know of atomic theory is gleaned from observing second-
and third-order effects. The same is true of gravitational
theory; for instance, an early confirmation of relativity
came from observations of the planet Mercury.
Don't let the "long time span" argument lead you astray. For one, confirming experiments can be made upon organisms with short reproductive times. But more importantly, evolutionary theory is confirmed by multiple independent lines of evidence -- genetic, paleontological, morphological, immunological, and embryological, just to name a few.
No one has created a star or a volcano in the lab, yet we understand their formation and history by carefully examining many, many examples of both. The same is true of evolution.
disappointed that I could not find a timeline on your site,
or other related sites, that depicts the evolution of life
from day one to man evolving from apes. I would have
thought you had a pictorial and/or text timeline that
children could you for schoolwork. (I am not interested in
the topics related to Darwinism vs. God.) Should you be
aware of any web site that does, please email me at the
|Response:||In fact, there is an Evolutionary and Geological Timeline on this site. Encyclopedia.com also has one, and there's a very nice graphic site at The Fossil Company site with pictures of the standard fossils found in those periods. The Senkenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt has one in German, also with nice graphics. There were others that I located, but some require passwords, I'm afraid.|
|Comment:||Can you please state what you mean by "mainstream scientific prespective". So that us the users know whether or not we are reading about, the opinions of a group of people that wrongly call themselves "Scientists" or about proven beyond reasonable doubt, observable facts.|
|Response:||As a quick
rule of thumb: if a scientific journal or regular
conference proceedings is peer reviewed, widely
disseminated, and used and written mostly by people who
work on science for a living, then we can call it
mainstream. The people who publish primarily in such
sources are mainstream scientists.
You may disagree with the mainstream perspective, of course, but on the subject of evolution there is no ambiguity on the nature of that mainstream perspective, which is as follows:
Evolution is indeed proven beyond any reasonable doubt, and it is indeed based on a wealth of observable facts.
There is plenty of debate within mainstream science on various details of evolutionary biology, such as rates of change, modes of speciation, specifics of individual lineages, and so on.
However, there is no serious debate at all on the basic facts which are of major concern to creationists. The Earth is very old. There has never been a global flood. Life has been around on the Earth for a long long long time. Over that time, the forms of life have changed drastically, but there is still a clear relationship between living and extinct forms of life. The processes by which change arises and accumulates in living populations are directly observed and used in the laboratory and the field. These are facts, in the usual scientific sense of the word, as solidly proven as anything can be in science.
This archive is not a peer-reviewed mainstream scientific publication, as I have described it above; though it does tend to conform with the mainstream perspective. There is one question in our Welcome FAQ which is directly relevant to your feedback, so I reproduce it here:
|Comment:||Any facts on either side would be wonderful all that this site has managed is to piss two ignorant sides off. Christions are taught respect evolutionists i don't know what they are taught but you "Christions" need just the scientific facts to shut up evolutionary ignorance...no GOD? Explain how DNA could evolve. DNA is made of proteins...what is the function of DNA? to make proteins? And how many planets in this universe could possibly support life? only 10^23 Clearly not enough chances and not enough time. Why are comets still floating around for billions of years...they only last thousands of years where do they keep coming from??|
start accusing evolutionists of ignorance, you might want
to avoid making egregious demonstrations of ignorance
yourself. DNA is not a protein. It is a chain of
nucleotides. Chemically, they are quite different.
Your question about comets is answered in James Meritt's FAQ. It's usually a good idea to browse the FAQs before embarassing yourself with silly questions.
|From:||Pissed, but still not dilusional Evoloutionist|
|Comment:||Recently, my rather fanatical evangelistic creationist friend who I will refer to as "Rufus Bob" has been speaking about all of this theory about why evolution is a horrible theory, saying things like amino acids not being able to survive in oxygen, and talking about how the earth has only been around for 6 thousand years, and saying that "The book origins says that 10 thousand years ago the earth had a magnetic feild like that of the sun's, and that the world must not have been able to form before that." But wouldn't that mean that at around 4000 bc, or what ever it is, that the world was formed according to that, the earth would have a magnetic field 3/5th that of the sun, so it would not be able to support life, so does that really make any sense???|
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
|Response:||Creationists argue wrongly that Earth's magnetic field is decaying exponentially, and would have been super-strong only 10,000 years ago. Read my FAQ article for the definitive refutation. As for the abiogenesis stuff, there are a lot of ways to avoid the chemical problems presented by the naive models that creationists wrongly insist are the ones used by evolutionists. For instance, chemistry on a surface catalyst avoids all of the problems of a soup-like solution.|
to me, explains many things that creationism simply can
not. However, I just can't get over one thing...
How can anything evolve something which it has never had before, and has no immediate need for? Can the evolving animals forsee the future? Let's take the example of fish and legs. What did the fish grow legs for? Because their environment was drying up, or because they had no food and needed another food source only available on land, correct? If so, and their evolution took the required millions of years or so, how did they evolve in time to survive, and how did they know to start evolving something for which they had no need for at the time? Even if their environment was changing over millions of years as well it still doesn't make sense. Because at some point, the fish will have needed to have at least started evolving at some point before they needed their evolutionary advances to survive. So our DNA can predict the future and what we'll need for it? But evolution seems to teach that things evolve only as they need them - but by which point, their evolution will be starting too late for them to survive. If it took several hundreds of generations to evolve the necessary functions to live on land (strong ribcages, lungs, legs, etc.), then why wouldn't the entire population be completely eradicated before any of these novelties be put to use?
I realize this wasn't very coherent, but I tried my best, and hey, it's 4:00AM over here. :p
absolutely right that evolution is not clairvoyant. But it
doesn't need to be.
Every population of organisms varies from individual to individual. This variance is mostly genetically based, and random. Slight variations that permit the individual to make a living easier and to pass on that variation more than its fellows will end up "taking over" the population.
Fish had fins, and some of them used those fins to propel themselves in a fashion along the floor of their habitat. So far as we know, later variations allowed their ancestors to "walk" along the edge of the watercourse. Later variations still allowed them to leave the water for short times. This set up conditions in which variants that could use their gas sacs to infuse their blood with oxygen to stay out of the water for longer periods, and presumably to eat the insects then making a living out of the water. And so on.
Entire populations don't suddenly make a "jump" from one set of traits to another - individuals do, and they, when successful, pass on more of their genes. Each step is viable, and no step is so radical that the individuals that carry them will die. If they are, well, the individuals die, and their genes aren't passed on.
|Comment:||I read a
paper that someone gave me which is a creation view ... I
was wondering what the atheist/evolutionist view is?
THE MOON IS RECEDING
I don't know who wrote this but I was wondering if there is an explanation to this effect ... thanks much to all who care.
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
wonder why you assume that there is an
atheist/evolutionist view, as if one who is an
"evolutionist" is by definition also an "atheist". That is
quite mistaken, as is pointed out in the article "God and Evolution".
At the moment, on average, the Earth's spin slows down because of tidal friction with the moon, at a rate of about 1.5 milliseconds (0.0015 seconds) per day per century. In 100 years, the days will be (on average) 0.0015 seconds longer, 100 years ago the days were 0.0015 seconds shorter. If we assume that this rate of change is constant over a billion years, then the days that long ago were a tad over 4 hours shorter, or about 20 hours long, in theory. In practice, tidal rhythmite data indicates that the day was about 22 hours long at 650 million years ago [Precambrian tidal and glacial elastic deposits: Implications for Precambrian Earth-Moon dynamics and paleoclimate, G.E. Williams, Sedimentary Geology 120(1-4): pp55-74, September 1998], and about 19 hours long at 900 million years ago [Neoproterozoic Earth-Moon dynamics - rework of the 900 Ma Big Cottonwood Canyon tidal laminae, C.P. Sonett & M.A. Chan, Geophysical Research Letters 25(4): pp539-542, February 15, 1998]. So even though the assumption of constancy for the 0.0015 second rate is not perfect, it's not all that bad either. These observations also show that there is no reason to be concerned over the Earth's rapid rotation in the distant past.
As for the recession of the moon from the Earth, your article says "two inches per year". It also says that if you work it backwards, the Earth and Moon would be touching 2 billion years ago. Well, it's not too hard to test that assertion. First, we know that the current rate of recession is 3.82±0.07 cm/year [Lunar laser Ranging: A Continuing Legacy of the Apollo Program, G.O. Dickey, Science 265: pp482-490, July 22, 1994]. At 2.54 cm/inch (exactly), 3.82 cm is 1.50 inches, so your creationist article rounds up by about a half inch. But let's use the right number, shall we? The current average Earth-moon distance is 384,400 km (38,440,000,000 cm). If we cover 3.82 cm for 2,000,000,000 years, we get 7,640,000,000 cm. That would put the Earth-moon separation, 2 billion years ago, at 38,400,000,000 - 7,640,000,000 = 30,760,000,000 cm. But the radius of the moon is about 1,738.2 km (173,820,000 cm), and the radius of the Earth is about 6371.0 km (637,100,000 cm). These radii only add up to 810,920,000 cm, a far cry from the 30,760,000,000 cm between the Earth and moon. So, I think it's fair to say that the Earth and moon would not be touching 2 billion years ago. In fact, at 3.82 cm per year, you would have to crank the creationist clock backwards over 10,000,000,000 years to make the Earth and moon touch, and that's a lot older than I have ever heard any evolutionist claim, for the age of the Earth-moon system.
Now, I will add that neither the rate of recession of the moon from the Earth, nor the rate of slow down in the spin of the Earth are constant. Theory says that the rate of recession of the moon from the Earth should have been rather slower than the current 3.82 cm, for at least a few billion years, and paleontological evidence supports that conclusion [Tidal Rhythmites - Key To the History of the Earth's Rotation and the Lunar Orbit, G.E. Williams, Journal of Physics of the Earth 38(6): pp475-491, 1990]. Creationists wrongly assume it must always have been faster in the past, because they ignore most of the real physics of the tidal interaction.
Detailed theoretical & observational studies reveal that there are no inconsistencies between the tidal physics of the Earth-moon system and an evolutionary age for the Earth-moon system. Creationists create bogus inconsistencies by ignoring most of the basic physics, and arriving at naive conclusions as a result. This is not a matter of some "creationist" view versus some "evolutionist" view, or even some "atheist" view. It is simply a matter of doing it right versus doing it wrong, and make no mistake about it, creationists definitely do it wrong.
|Comment:||I have been a Christian for close to twenty years, and a student of science. I seems to me that the belief that God created the universe is based on faith. Some facts may tend to prove this and some facts will tend to disprove this. Evolutionism is in the same predicament. No one will ever prove one way or another which is right or wrong. Both faiths are in a race for Icons to give credibility to their belief system. I tend to prefer the rewards guaranteed to Christians over evolutionists.|
|Response:||Who says you have to choose one or the other? Evolution is not inconsistent with the idea that God created the universe.|
with the theory of organic evolution comes from its
extremely limited definition and scope. In particular, by
its own definition, Neo-Darwinism only relates those
non-gamete producing organisms that vary strictly in their
DNAs and resulting proteins, and only those gametes which
differ strictly in their DNAs and resulting proteins. That
is, by Neo-Darwinism's own definition, the nodes at the end
of the tree of life's branches are all unicellular: they
are either entirely asexually reproducing protozoa or
individual metazoan gametes, never fully formed metazoa,
because all variation in metazoa is necessarily reduced to
DNA variation in gametes. The only means of historical
variation in Neo-Darwinism are frameshift mutations, point
mutations, inversions, translocations, deletions, trisomy,
monosomy, polyploidy, and recombination, the effects of
which are entirely recoverable from protozoan and gamete
comparisons, whereupon it is evident that the majority of
the world's protozoa and gametes cannot be historically
related using only these DNA based operators. For the
world's protozoa and gametes vary in much more than just
their DNAs and resulting proteins. Changing nucleic and
proteinaceous matter, by definition, is the opposite of
changing non-nucleic, non-proteinaceous matter. Therefore,
Neo-Darwinism, by its own definition, will never relate the
non-nucleic, non-proteinaceous matter of the biosphere. To
say that it does, or that it some day could, is to deny its
agreed upon, standardized scientific definition, which is
to deny science.
I think we should hold Neo-Darwinism accountable to its own definition and mechanisms, whereupon we can then determine genuinely DNA related protozoa and same sex gametes. By doing cytoplasmic comparisons of non-DNA related protozoa and gametes, we will be able to discern both nucleic and non-nucleic contributions to development. But we will not be able to get one and only one tree of relatedness until or unless there are mechanisms for historical change other than DNA variation, whereby the non-nucleic/non-proteinaceous components of single celled organisms and of gametes can be modified, with such modifications successfully transmitted to posterity. I have a paper on this, Toward a non-DNA centered theory of organ formation, at www.homestead.com/metazoa/origins.html [dead link].
definition of Darwinism, or more precisely neo-Darwinism,
is a bit restricted. Neo-Darwinism in the time of August
Weismann focussed on gamete sequestration, but these days
it does not. There is the Central Dogma of molecular
biology that states that information from proteins is not
retrotranscribed back into the DNA (but it can be into some
kinds of RNA), and there is no counterexample yet. In any
case, "evolution" and "genetics" are distinct theories and
disciplines, although closely inter-related. If all of the
modern molecular genetics were falsified tomorrow,
Darwinism would be intact, and vice versa.
Crick-Watson genetics applies equally well to asexual taxa as to sexual taxa, although there are some very interesting evolutionary dynamics among the protozoa. But Darwinian evolution can occur in proteins, as with CRD and kuru, which are arguably protein-based (prion-based). Cytoplasmic inheritance, the "epigenetic inheritance" of the title of Jablonka and Lamb may also evolve in a perfectly Darwinian manner.
The focus on DNA is due to the amazing success of that research program, but it has little enough to do with neo-Darwinism, conceptually. Indeed, at the time the modern synthesis was begun, RA Fisher showed how if Mendelian genetics were false, and use-inheritance true, Darwinian evolution could still occur.
Fisher, RA. 1930. The genetical theory of natural selection. Oxford UK: Clarendon Press, (rev. ed. Dover, New York, 1958).
Jablonka, Eva, and Marion J. Lamb. 1995. Epigenetic inheritance and evolution: the Lamarckian dimension. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
|Comment:||I'd just like to commend you on your feedback responses. They are invariably calm, polite and reasonable even in the face of childish abuse and irrational ranting. I have my own atheist/evolution website and regularly get threats of hellfire and damnation if I refuse to acknowledge the Self-evident Truth Of Genesis, and I do my best to emulate your manners (no matter how infuriating the correspondant is being). Strangely, being calm and reasonable seems to make some people even angrier - I think some find it hard to accept that non-believers (or non-creationists) are not immoral fiends devoting their empty lives to putting down God. Hey ho... Keep up the good work.|
|Response:||Contributors to the TO feedback are a select group of rigorously screened individuals chosen for their exceptional intelligence and emotional stability. You should not be at all surprised at our godlike impartiality and restraint. And modesty.|
|Response:||Paul meant to say, we're "volunteers", which as anyone with army experience knows means slow thinkers...|
|Comment:||I was curious to why you do not use the full version title to the book about the origins of species by charles darwin?|
why don't we fully write out On the Origin of Species by
Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured
Races in the Struggle for Life every time we refer to
Because it's long.
|Response:||To add to
Paul Myer's (accurate) reply, I am guessing the question
has to do with the word "races" in the title, and is
disingenuously making some barbed point.
It needs to be understood that at the time, the word "race" meant, in a biological context, some variety of a species. This could be raised to the "level" of a subspecies if it was permanent, and it could also mean a geographic variation.
Human races are variants, and are mostly geographic. But they are not subspecies as biologists then or now would understand the term. Homo sapiens is presently a single species with no subspecies, but with plenty of variety.
It should also be noted that the usual "races" (ie, Caucasian, Asian, Negro, Australian aboriginal, etc) do not have any biological reality as separate entities. With the exception of the aboriginal, there has been extensive gene flow between groups (and even the aboriginals show some evidence of multiple migrations and cross breeding), and as it happens there is more genetic variety in sub-Saharan African groups than between an aboriginal and a Scandanavian.
me say that I love your site! Your FAQs are a rich resource
of information, and I can (almost) always find what I'm
looking for by browsing the archive.
However, here is a question whose answer I have not been able to find in your FAQs, and it is, I believe, something that needs clarification. It would seem, at least to one who casually reads your articles, that evolution is not a science, rather it is a subject of science.
Gravity is not a science; it is a subject of physics. Evolution, one might say, is not a science; it is a subject of biology.
Is this a fair assessment? I look forward to your comments.
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
comment, but see the Evolution is a Fact and
Theory FAQ. "Evolution" is the process by which the
diversity of life came to be. As a physical process it is
the subject of investigation, but shorthand expressions
being what they are, the word "evolution does duty as the
label for the process, the theories of that process, and
the discipline (evolutionary biology) that studies it.
We all tend to make concrete things out of anything that has a noun as its name; Alfred North Whitehead called this the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness. The concrete thing is the process, and the rest are the ways in which we come to understand it.
|Comment:||Applause! Although many of these creationists seem to be incapable of rational discussion, the only way to counter their silly claims - which is necessary because of their political influence in the USA - is to stay calm and provide the relevant scientific evidence. These e-mail histories are absolutely hilareous! As a physicist, I stumbled on this mattter when searching amazon.com for books on Darwin, thereby finding anti evolution books written by a law(!) professor. I have already passed on your URL to other people, hoping to contribute a little bit. Thanks!|
Can you explain either of these two articles for me?
Just as dust on a coffee table tells us about how long it has been since it was last dusted, meteoric dust can also give us an indication of the age of the earth. Scientists tell us that 20,000 tons of cosmic dust fall on planet Earth each year-or about 50 tons a day. Harold Slusher, Director of the Kidd Memorial Seismological Observatory and Assistant Professor of Geophysics at the University of Texas at El Paso, points out that the meteoric dust on earth indicates that this planet is only a few thousand years old. Scientists tell us that there does not appear to be enough cosmic dust in the surface layers of the earth to account for the supposed billions of years of earth?s history.
Some scientists have explained the earth's 'cosmic dust' has been eroded away by wind and water. However since there is no environmental erosion on the moon like on earth, the cosmic dust on the moon would have accumulated for supposedly 4.5 billion years. Before men set foot on the moon, some scientists calculated that there would be 50-180 feet of cosmic dust on the moon?s surface. The great fear was that when the lunar lander fired its retro-rockets in order to soft land, the astronauts would be buried by the blast of dust. Saucer-like landing pods were designed on the lunar lander to keep it from sinking into the theorized layer of dust.
When man landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong described the depth of the dust on the moon as "1 or 2 inches"! Three times Armstrong repeated that he was surprised at how little dust was on the moon. You would be surprised too if you were expecting 180 feet of dust and discovered a layer of just 2 inches. Armstrong had difficulty planting the American flag on the moon because the anticipated layer of heavy dust simply was not there.
In 1938, a fisherman near the southern coast of Africa netted a fish called a coelacanth (pronounced SEE-LA-KANTH). This fish, thought to be extinct for 70 million years, is a "living fossil" and looks exactly like its fossil ancestors. A number of coelacanths have been caught since the discovery in 1938, with all specimens looking the same.
Is 'living fossil' an oxymoron?
|Author of:||Meteorite Dust and the Age of the Earth|
|Response:||I cover the
fallacious "moon-dust" argument in much more detail in my
article Meteorite Dust and
the Age of the Earth. Of course, Armstrong and the
Apollo astronauts were preceeded to the moon by the
Surveyor landers, and everyone knew there was no deep layer
by then. The creationist argument is based on very early
and unreliable estimates on incoming dustfall rates. We now
know that there is no conflict between dust accretion and
evolutionary time scales.
Also, as Chris pointed out, the "moon-dust" argument is now understood even by strongly committed young-Earth creationists to be untenable (see "Moon-Dust Argument No Longer Useful" by Ken Ham, at the Answers in Genesis creationist website)
As for the Coelacanth, one might ask "So what?". Creationists very wrongly assume that evolution requires an entire population to evolve out of existence. But in fact, the process of speciation commonly allows for the coexistence of the parent and offspring species for an indefinite period of time. There is nothing about the existence of Coelacanths, or any other "living fossil" that is inconsistent with evolution, as scientists (not creationists) understand it.
|Author of:||The Age of the Earth|
|Response:||The first one is addressed in a section of the Age of the Earth FAQ (see also the two sections above the referenced one). Briefly, even young-Earth creationists have owned up that their "moon dust" argument is fatally flawed. Note also that Slusher's claim (for the expecation of a deep dust layer prior to the manned landing) is demonstrated to be a falsehood. Slusher's claims for meteoritic dust and the Earth are equally flawed. As the referenced creationist article shows, isotopic signatures where deposition is slow, such as deep-ocean sediments, are in excellent accord with the old-Earth timescale and current rates of dust influx.|
|Comment:||The Miller-Urey experiments, as well as many followup experiments on life origins, used reducing athmosphers rich in methane, etc. What evidence exists that the early earth's athmosphere was reducing?|
|Response:||There is a
very nice feature on this web site called "Search". Try it and see if
your question has already been answered.
When I tried it, it turned up the Abiogenesis FAQ, which has several useful offsite links and points out that the issue is a bit more complicated than you seem to think.
|Comment:||Even though the Bible never claims to be perfect, if inerrancy can be disproved, we assume there is no God (according to unbelievers). And if there are no transistional forms, then evolution didn't happen (according to believers). But Bible believers keep on believing even with Bible errors and evolutionists keep on believing even without transistional forms. So we're even. We don't live in a purely physical universe and we're not purely physical beings, and theres something substantiatable in our universe that always was and ever will be, that both Christians and Evolutionists both ignore. Can't guess what it is can you?|
|Response:||I don't know why the reader thinks scientists have identified no transitional forms. They have, and some of those transitional forms are discussed on this site. See the Transitional Vertebrate Fossils FAQ, the Archaeopteryx FAQs, and the Horse Evolution FAQ, just to name a few.|
|Comment:||Can you please give me information who sponsors this website?|
|Response:||This site in not sponsored, and is run by an Administrator who gives up his spare time. The articles and feedback are provided by volunteers. Everyone buys their own beer.|
|Comment:||I'm not too
familiar on the big bang. Just how is something forming
from nothing explained. How exactly is matter
explained. One other thing I was wondering is how do you
define life? Does life have to be carbon based, breath
oxygen, need water, etc ... Because if not, life should be
on mars or even the moon or any other spot.
Love the page, keep up the good work.
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
with, something forming from nothing is not part of
Big bang cosmology, or any other cosmology that I know of,
so there's nothing along those lines to explain. General
relativity theory sees the initial state of the universe as
"singular", which is mathematician-speak for
"undefined". That does not mean nothing, it means
we don't know. If one takes a quantum mechanics type
approach, the universe could have formed in any one of a
number of random ways, from some unknown primoridal energy.
Matter is explained as a kind of frozen energy. Just as water freezes into ice when it gets cold enough, so does energy "freeze" into matter when it gets cold enough. The early universe after the Big Bang did not have any matter in it, only radiant energy. Once the universe had expanded enough, and cooled enough, matter condensed or froze out of the energy, just as liquid water would condense out of water vapor, or just as water ice would freeze out of cold water liquid or vapor.
I don't know that anyone has actually defined "life" in some strict sense, although I remember from my earlier education that "life" is supposed to meet a list of perhaps-defining criteria, such as movement, eating, & etc. Certainly life as we know it is carbon based, but "life", in some general sense of the word, might come in any number of surprising forms, we just don't know. But we only know how to look for life "as we know it", and not life "as we don't know it", so naturally, we look for carbon based life. Carbon based life in the solar system, outside of Earth, has not been ruled out, although it seems unlikely to me. Just as there are microbes living deep under the surface of Earth (as deep as 2 or 3 kilometers), so might there be living microbes deep under the surface of Mars. We really won't know until we look.
|Comment:||I think there is more to the resistance to teaching evolution to children than rightwing backlash. I think many inner city school boards fear that evolution is a Pandora's box. After all, the mapping of the human genome is sure to link intelligence with genetics, and therefore evolution. No, I think evolution and it's consequences will remain off limits to general education for quite some time.|
|Response:||There may be
some truth to your comment. Ignorant people do fear the
implications of evolution. However, I would point out that
most of the opposition to evolution that we are seeing
publicized is coming from white, relatively prosperous,
suburban neighborhoods, not the inner city. Furthermore,
the human genome project is not sure to link
intelligence to genetics; quite the contrary, I expect that
it will be rather difficult to relate the genome to
intelligence at first, and that later understanding will
show the complexity of intelligence (I would be very
surprised to ever see a "g" gene!) and the common heritage
of all races.
There are some unfortunate undercurrents to your words that you might want to consider. You seem to be taking for granted that there will indeed be some clearcut heritable factors in intelligence, that will support an implicit racism. This is not necessarily true, nor even likely. You also presume that "inner city" people (which is a common code phrase for "black") are aware of some genetic inferiority that they would prefer to hide...again, not true. My experience with "inner city" individuals (I work in North Philadelphia, which is about as "inner city" as you can get) so far is that they do not fear to have the truth exposed at all -- it's the false stereotypes that are best squashed as thoroughly as possible.
|From:||Aziz Hatim Poonawalla|
|Comment:||Much of the
apparent "controversy" stems from the fact that Creationism
implicitly refers to the *Christian* creation mythos.
Perhaps some effort should be given over to researching creation beliefs of other spiritual frames of reference.
As a practing muslim myself - I no longer take offense when I hear "mainstream" and "Christian" in the same sentence. But I think in this case, by ignoring other religions, you have crippled the potential richness of the debate.
"scientific creationism" is a political and religious
phenomenon primarily confined to the United States of
America. Creationists of non-Christian stripes do exist --
I've read about Turkish creationism myself -- but they do
not have the same political clout in the U.S.
We welcome input from any of our readers on creation beliefs of other faiths. I would be particularly interested myself in learning the Islamic view of creationism.