Posts Tagged ‘evolution’
Islamic creationism: London debate on Islam and evolution cancelled because of Muslim student opposition
In my studies of on how people try (and fail) to accommodate science and religion, I've tried to investigate faiths other than Christianity (the main religion concerned with such reconciliation) and Judaism. But with Islam it's a dismal failure, for there aren't many decent books dealing with the topic (for one, see Tanir Edis's An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam…
The freedom to speak does imply the ability to listen. By that logic you will hear things that may offend you. That you may benefit from hearing such things is a right no one should deprive you of.
Brought up in the Jehovah’s Witnesses from nine to fourteen, there was no Internet let alone mobile phones around. Had they been, the opportunity to engage by witnessing (preaching) to Darwinists would have been tempting. I am certain that would have been considered trolling, rather than a genuine attempt to save people.
That is one reason evidence and explaining science is not enough. Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth” uses the quote:
It is difficult to get someone to understand something when their salary depends upon them not understanding it.
Replace the word salary with salvation, you might appreciate what is at stake for someone. Equally, why they seem so intent trying to talk you out of it.
Civility can be difficult at these times. On PZ Myers’ (pictured above, the one on the left) blog “Pharyngula” a clear line was drawn and he made a ruling where a detractor was being harassed by other commentators:
StevOr has received threats to disclose his identity if he doesn’t leave Pharyngula permanently. You may not like him, you may oppose what he says, but anyone who pulls that kind of stunt will find themselves banned.
SteveOr having thanked PZ Myers made this reply:
For what its worth I’ll certainly admit that in the past I have said some things I now no longer believe and aren’t proud of and suspect this is probably true of just about everybody.
I’m the first person to admit that I’m fallible, sometimes mistaken and have said a few silly things and been carried away when drunk and overtired and will try to do better in future.
Humanism, as mentioned in the previous blog, requires an open exchange of views. Without we cannot develop our thoughts and ideas. Threats and a lack of civility go against that.
The House of Lords will hopefully today remove the word “insult” from section 5 of the Public Order Act.
Related Blogs: Reform Section 5 now
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
Having sat through a debasement of science at a Ken Ham talk, I should not be surprised at the old trick of circular reasoning he is trying to pull. Namely, if someone says this do not listen – they are anti-god. Whatever evidence they have say the god of genesis trumps whatever backs up your statement.
As Christians, we need to have a mental security system where an alarm goes off when aspects of this anti-God religion are presented. Here’s what should happen when you hear or read the following:
“Millions of years” should set off a mental buzzer that says, “warning—this is an attack on biblical authority—this is a buzz word to say there was no global Flood.”
“Evolution” should set off a mental buzzer that says, “warning—this is an attack on biblical authority—this is a buzz word to say creation by God was wrong.”
“Feathered dinosaurs” should set off another mental buzzer that says, “warning—an attack on biblical authority—this is a buzz word to say creation by God was wrong.”
Basically if you can never ever be proved wrong, that is not a basis to say you are right. Beware circular reasoning, it will make your head spin.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
Steve Jones, whose book Almost Like A Whale (Darwin’s Ghost in the US) is a must read as The Origin of Species Updated, has said that human evolution has slowed down with over 50 year olds not having as many children as they did of old. Such oldies are more likely to have mutations in the cells of their sperm. He also says that the future is brown in the global age.
Steve Jones is 64.
Leading geneticist Steve Jones says human evolution is over
I have to give credit for the group for trying to parody the Church of England apology to Charles Darwin. Though naturally they are more funny when they get the wrong end of the stick in their observations on nature (such as Peacocks feathers – which Dawkins had a conversation about with Clive James). Their insults are at odds with the manner by which Dawkins goes for arguments, and the manner in which he does describe opponents. No doubt they would benefit from a day out at the zoo with a zoologist, rather than picketing outside one on Gay Sunday.
Evolution does not underpin my reasons for being an atheist. That it explains the development of life on earth without having to resort to supernatural explanations, and has evidence for it rather than circular reasoning that says all other opinions are from the devil. As a scientific theory new discoveries and ideas play a part in building up what we know about the process of evolution, once they are verified. They will be obtained by pursuing science, and not fearing where the truth will take us.
Those reasons would be Bertrand Russell’s Why I am Not A Christian and becoming aware that philosophy allowed serious discussion of life on earth without needing the assumption of god to work. That you really do have a credible choice in not believing in a higher power that needs worship or else.
Anyway here is the press release:
Dated 15th September 2008 21.00 hrs
Professor Richard Dawkins is to receive an apology from the prayer and lobby group Christian Voice, despite being spiritually dead for over sixty years. The move follows a posthumous apology to Charles Darwin which the Church of England issued today.
The apology will read:
‘Professor Dawkins, 67 years (give or take a month or two) from your birth, Christian Voice owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. (We are not sure that is good English, but please forgive us for that as well.)
‘In the past Christian Voice has ridiculed you for your irrational belief in evolution and for failing to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
‘We said, in a press release dated 10th October 2007, that you were ‘daffy’ in encouraging children on your website to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. We said your failure to understand what blaspheming the Holy Spirit actually was stemmed from ignorance and implied that you were barking mad to get people to try to blaspheme a God in whom you did not even believe.
‘We described you as an “evangelical atheist” who looked “malicious, loony, ill-informed and stupid in equal measure”. We pondered your “peculiar combination of wickedness and madness” and asked, “Has the evolutionary biologist lost the plot?”
‘Yesterday, outside London Zoo, while witnessing against the Zoo’s ridiculous “Gay Sunday”, we gave out leaflets mocking the theory of evolution, for which you are such a prominent advocate.
‘We imagined in the leaflet a conversation between two prototype swallows, desperately trying to work out how to stick mud together and watching all their eggs smash on the ground. We had the male swallow saying “I’m sorry about the eggs, darling, it takes time to evolve this nest-building lark.”
‘We ridiculed the idea that the tail of the peacock and the tuft on the head of the tufted duck are there to attract a mate, observing that starlings and sparrows manage to reproduce without over-the-top tails and redundant tufts.
‘In so doing, we characterised you as irrational, illogical and a total loser. We implied you were ill-educated if not a complete plank to think that the incredible interdependence and design in creation could just “happen” over time and did not need a divine designer.
‘People, and institutions, make mistakes and Christian people and Churches are no exception. When a big new idea, like Jesus Christ being King of kings and Lord of lords, emerges that changes the way people look at the world, it’s easy for Roman Empire pagans and modern secularists, both Christian and Atheist, to feel that every old idea, every certainty, is under attack and then to do battle against the new insights.
‘So we recognise now that your dependence on evolution is not science, or even bad science, but an irrational excuse to deny Almighty God. We see that your attempts to poor scorn on Christianity and Jesus Christ are the result of a sort of ‘virus of the mind’, put there by the father of lies.
‘We acknowledge that your hatred of intelligent design – and the Intelligent Designer – is merely a faith-based position, as is the use of your gifts to obscure and even deny the truth of the Gospel.
‘Above all, we now realise, that contrary to your being a complete waste of space and a descendant of apes, you are actually made in the image of God. We realise that although you are still stupid, that is simply because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that your eyes are blinded and your ears will not hear any contrary view. In short, we now see you are a sinner in need of the saving, life-transforming grace of God in Jesus Christ.
‘It is a start for you, that you realise there is a deep incompatibility between the pseudo-scientific theories you have adopted and developed from Darwin and Christian teaching. But that is not quite enough.
‘So we apologise if we have failed to say, that rather than continue as a militant, proselytising sinner, you need to recognise your failings right now and seek the forgiveness of the incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus Christ.
‘The struggle for your spirit is not over yet, and we pray that you will cast away the dead faith of Darwinism for a living faith in the living Saviour.’
1. “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.” (Autobiography)
2. “It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)
3. “I hardly see how religion & science can be kept as distinct as [Edward Pusey] desires… But I most wholly agree… that there is no reason why the disciples of either school should attack each other with bitterness.” (Letter to J. Brodie Innes, November 27 1878)
4. “In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)
5. “I think that generally (& more and more so as I grow older) but not always, that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind.” (Letter to John Fordyce, May 7 1879)
6. “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God.” (Letter to Frederick McDermott, November 24 1880)
7. [In conversation with the atheist Edward Aveling, 1881] “Why should you be so aggressive? Is anything gained by trying to force these new ideas upon the mass of mankind?” (Edward Aveling, The religious views of Charles Darwin, 1883)
8. “Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” (Letter to Graham William, July 3 1881)
9. “My theology is a simple muddle: I cannot look at the Universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent Design.” (Letter to Joseph Hooker, July 12 1870)
10. “I can never make up my mind how far an inward conviction that there must be some Creator or First Cause is really trustworthy evidence.” (Letter to Francis Abbot, September 6 1871)
From The Times.
To make life easier all the blogs on Michael Reiss have been put together in a category to see them all click
here (where this one will be on top). There you will find all the letters written by Richard Dawkins and Sir Richard Roberts, and my comments on both the articles that Reiss wrote that started his downfall and analysis of his resignation.
Mind you in hindsight we should have seen Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society and Reiss being in this situation over creationism. Not just because an ordained clergyman given the role of protecting science education in the classroom would be called into doubt, but the anagram of Professor Michael Reiss:
‘ism clash poor Rees fires
PZ Myers made this comment on Reiss:
Dawkins and I are both often slandered as being relatively uninterested in promoting good science education, preferring to fight the culture war against religion (a claim that ignores the fact that we may feel strongly that the only way to achieve a lasting investment in understanding science is by reducing the pernicious influence of religion) — we are told that we think atheism more important than science. Let us ask, though, if these brave paladins of Jesus-compatible science would be willing to set aside their religion to better endorse science…and I think we all know what the answer would be.
That feeling made Reiss’ position untenable because “unfortunately his words got all tangled in the appearance of an unwarranted accommodation to creationism.”
Once again perception of reality rather than the actual empirical observation triumphs in the murky world of society politics – rational minds are not immune to gossip or personality clashes even if they are Nobel Laureates. While the next candidate may well have no conflict between advocating science and holy orders, the issue over which Reiss was brought down was one close to my heart. That in a science classroom science teachers have the right to teach the science that challenges a students declaration of religious belief about the natural world.
Hopefully that challenge will still be taken up, as the Royal Society advocates, and in case you are new to the blog I go into more detail in my blog here on Reiss resigns. Though that can be found as the third blog in the category section of Michael Reiss.
Kind of pointless as an apology; but one way for the C of E to question Young Earth Creationists:
From The Daily Telegraph (Note: spelling mistakes in original article)
Church to make posthumous apology to Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin is to receive an official apology from the Church of England on Monday over its opposition to his theory of evolution 150 years ago.
The bold and unusual step by the Church comes on the 200th anniversary of the naturalist’s birth.
On a website specially set up to honour Darwin and his hypothesis, launched todayMON [sic], the church will admit that its Victorian hierarchy showed too much “anti-evolutionary fervour” when he published the notion in his book, the Origin of Species, in 1858.
The apology has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the church’s director of mission and public affairs.
Howevetr [sic] is has cut little ice with Darwin’s descendants. Andrew Darwin, a great-great grandson of the scientist, said: “Why bother? When an apology is made after 200 years, it’s not so much to right a wrong, but to make the person or organisation making the apology feel better.”
Dr Brown says that the hounding of Darwin was akin to the Roman Catholic church’s treatment of astronomer Galileo in the 17th Century. Galileo was prosecuted for his belief that the Earth orbited the sun and ended his life under house arrest from the Inquisition.
His statement will say: “People, and institutions, make mistakes and Christian people and Churches are no exception. When a big new idea emerges that changes the way people look at the world, it’s easy to feel that every old idea, every certainty, is under attack and then to do battle against the new insights.
“The Church made that mistake with Galileo’s astronomy and has since realised its error. Some Church people did it again in the 1860s with Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
“So it is important to think again about Darwin’s impact on religious thinking, then and now.”
The apology, 126 years after Darwin’s death was yesterday branded “pointless” by the naturalist’s own family.
Tip of the hat to Homo Secular Gaytheist who covers the other article.