Archive for Creationism

“Ida” Hype

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by neandergal

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It is unfortunate to have such a magnificent discovery like the 47 million year old fossil “Ida” or Darwinius masillae marred by the mass media that interject misleading statements such as the “missing link” and “how it will change everything” in regard to human evolution.

New Scientist explains that the discussion is on where Ida split off in the evolutionary tree and not whether she is the “missing link”.

New Scientist interviews the palaeontologist, Jørn Hurum at the University of Oslo in Norway who sets the fossil record straight in regard to recent hype.

On the one hand he applauds that the media coverage encourages public discussion on primate evolution, but on the other hand negates this progress because creationists use the misinformation by the media against evolutionary biologists.

Inaccurate and hasty reporting inadvertently discredits science. Creationists like Creation Ministries International hijack the hype of Ida and use it to further discredit science in the eyes of the public.

Dinosaurs, Camels and Bears, Oh My!

Posted in Religion, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by neandergal

The animals went in two by two… A model of Noah’s Ark on display at a UK zoo has dinosaurs happily boarding the ark between the polar bears and camels. Noah dolls and other biblical tat are for sale in its gift shop. Sounds like something out of a Monty Python sketch, doesn’t it? Alas, it is not.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm near Bristol in the UK, has a distinctly Christian theme and openly discredits science in favor of creationism on its page, Evolution: A Theory Under Pressure.

The Facebook group Sink the Ark protests the zoo on the grounds that it markets religion to children and schools. The group page includes a collection of photographs. Among the pictures is a photo of a happy looking Noah for sale in the gift shop. Unfortunately, some of the pictures (including the one of the Noah’s Ark model) are no longer available due to a Facebook account closure. This blog will post a link to them when they reappear which they undoubtedly will at some point..

One can only imagine the look on Noah’s face if he saw two Stegosauruses walking up the plank especially alongside the camels and polar bears.

150 Years On: Widespread Creationism in Britain

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by neandergal

On Thursday February 12, the enlightened will celebrate Darwin’s 200th Birthday and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection. Yet ignorance still persists in Darwin’s country on the other side of the Atlantic regarding acceptance of the theory of evolution.

An article in the UK Daily Telegraph reveals that a recent survey showed that 32% agreed that the world was only 10,000 years old, 8% did not know and an enlightened 60% disagreed. In the article, Richard Dawkins said that the findings confirmed that much of the population was “pig-ignorant” about science. Some may snort at that kind of retort, but another report by the UK Guardian vindicates Dawkins’ harsh remark.

Widespread creationism indicates a lack of scientific knowledge and is a failure of the educational system to teach the sciences and how to teach people to think scientifically. In December, an article in the UK Guardian, Darwin and creationism do not belong in the same classroom, reported that 29% of British primary and secondary school science teachers agree that it is valid to teach creationism alongside evolutionary science and the big bang.

By placing equal credence to faith versus scientific “theories” we deny children an education. Established religion and politically correct agendas have no place in science education. Teach children how to think rather than what to think.

Creative Creationists Promoting that Ol’ Time Genesis

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2009 by neandergal

It is almost 85 years ago since H. L. Mencken wrote Homo Neanderthalensis. Mencken wrote, “They know little if anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge.” It is sad that this amusing essay is as relevant today as it was back in 1925 during the Scopes Trial. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was almost 70 years old at the time of the Scopes Monkey trial. Scientific progress faces the same level of ignorance and opposition as it did back in the days of the 1925 Scopes Monkey trial in Dayton, Tennessee. It is now 150 years ago since the publication of On the Origin of Species yet we still face the same drivel today as back then. This is clearly evident in the article, “Where Evolution Has Gaps, Creation Might Offer Answers—If We Will Listen” published in the opinion section of US News and World Report.

The author of the article, Henry Morris III, CEO of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas explains that, “Embarrassingly, this “theory” cannot be scientifically observed in action today, nor can it be forensically observed in nature’s record of the past.” It is very clear that Henry Morris III does not understand the theory of evolution. He is obviously ignorant of the very “theory” that he opposes when he describes evolution as “Everything happened quite by accident.” Any evolutionary biologist, physical anthropologist, microbiologist, geneticists or paleontologist will explain that evolution is not random. It is genetic mutation that is random. Genetic mutations lead to variation. Organisms inheriting variations best suited to an environment have a higher probability of surviving long enough to reproduce and pass their genes on to the next generation. The fossil record is evidence of the fact that organisms take a great deal longer than 10,000 years to evolve and confirms common ancestry among different species.

Evolution is a continuing process. Microbiologists see this all the time with new strains of bacteria and viruses. MRSA is a perfect example of evolution at work. We can go on and on with examples, but there is no point in trying to reason with the unreasonable. As H.L Mencken said, “The inferior man’s reasons for hating knowledge are not hard to discern. He hates it because it is complex-because it puts an unbearable burden upon his meager capacity for taking in ideas.” Evolution is not an opinion or belief. Evolution is a fact supported by evidence and continues to be supported with new scientific discoveries. We have relatively new sciences like the discovery of DNA and Microbiology that continually supply evidence that support the evolutionary process.

Despite scientific progress and more sophisticated technology, a study by the Pew Research Institute shows that almost 50% of Americans believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. To this day, court rooms across the country still witness battles between school boards and science advocates about whether or not creationism has a place alongside evolution in a science classroom. H.L. Mencken wrote in Homo Neanderthalensis, “The hypothesis of evolution” is credited by all men of education; they themselves can’t understand it. Ergo, its teaching must be put down.” Thankfully, reason does have its day and rulings tend to be in favor of science advocates. That is good news. However, the power base is still very much with religion.

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2009 by neandergal

Sir David Attenborough points out in an interview with NatureVideo that the Book of Genesis shaped the view that the world is there for humans to dominate and use. In the YouTube video reposted on RichardDawkins.net, he explains that the “Basic notion that the world is there for us and if it doesn’t actually serve our purposes and is dispensable. That has produced the devastation of vast areas of the land’s surface…”

The UK independent on Sunday reports that Sir David Attenborough comments on the Bible’s influence on people’s beliefs at the end of the new BBC1 documentary about the theory of evolution. The documentary, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life, begins airing tonight on BBC1 and coincides with Darwin’s 200 year birthday and 150 years since the publication of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

The Latest Face of Creationism in the Classroom

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , on December 16, 2008 by neandergal

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-latest-face-of-creationism

It is hard to believe that it is almost 90 years since the Scopes Monkey Trial. Yet here we are again battling out the issue of teaching evolution in public schools with the creationists in Louisiana. This article published in the December 2008 Scientific American Magazine by Glenn Branch and Eugenie C. Scott, describes the latest strategy of getting creationism into public school classrooms with the new Louisiana Science Education Act just signed into law. The old wedge strategy is apparently passe and an equally more dangerous and intellectually dishonest approach is misrepresenting evolution as a “Theory in crisis.”