Baylor University and Evolution

Baylor University in Waco, Texas is the largest Baptist University in the world, and has a pretty good science department.  I always thought the Baptists were creationists/fundamentalists…

From the Biology Department at Baylor University:

Statement on Evolution
“Evolution, a foundational principle of modern biology, is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. Because it is fundamental to the understanding of modern biology, the faculty in the Biology Department at Baylor University, Waco, TX, teaches evolution throughout the biology curriculum. We are in accordance with the American Association for Advancement of Science’s statement on evolution. We are a science department, so we do not teach alternative hypotheses or philosophically deduced theories that cannot be tested rigorously.”  http://www.baylor.edu/biology/index.php…


From the Baylor University Geology Department:

“Whether biological evolution occurs has NOT been a matter of scientific debate for more than a century. It is considered a PROVEN fact. The specific mechanisms of biological change over time continue to be a topic of active research, and include mechanisms proposed by Charles Darwin as well as more recently developed ideas based on our growing knowledge of genetics and molecular biology. Using the methods of modern science, our knowledge of the fundamental mechanisms of life has grown enormously since the initial characterization of the role of DNA in reproduction, inheritance and evolution in the mid-1950s.”   My emphasis http://www.baylor.edu/geology/index.php…

DOWNLOAD the 1 MB PDF file Evolution and the Fossil Record by Pojeta and Springer.
http://www.agiweb.org/news/evolution.pdf

Evolution…150 Years And Still Going Strong

“Any theory that can stand up to 150 years of continuous testing is a pretty darn good theory. We use evolution to develop drugs. We use evolution to develop vaccines. We use evolution to manage wildlife. We use evolution to interpret our own genome. Every one of these uses of evolution is a test, because if the use turns out to be inadequate, we would then go back and question the very idea of evolution itself. But evolution has turned out to be such a powerful, productive, and hardworking theory that it’s survived that test of time.”  “Dr. Kenneth Miller for Nova on PBS.  He is a professor of biology at Brown University and coauthor (with Joe Levine) of the standard high-school textbook ‘Biology’, Miller testified at the Dover trial as an expert witness for the plaintiffs…”
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/defense-evolution.html


Further:
http://ncse.com/evolution/science/evolution-primers
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/home.php

Personally I think it ought to be called the ‘Fact of Evolution’ now

The Times Are Changing

Scientists say survival of the Kindest…not the Fittest.
Scientists at UC Berkeley are saying that we humans are not necessarily hardwired to be selfish, but kind and compassionate, and they have a growing body of evidence to back it up…we are evolving

 Fundamentalists Starting To Agree With Me…No Adam and Eve
Let’s go back to the beginning — all the way to Adam and Eve, and to the question: Did they exist, and did all of humanity descend from that single pair?

But now some conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account. Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.””

Hey, doesn’t the Venema guy have some connection to the BioLogos Christian blog?

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Ice Core Says No Noah’s Flood

“Recently an ice core nearly two miles long has been extracted from the Greenland ice sheet. The first 110,000 annual layers of snow in that ice core (GISP2) have been visually counted and corroborated by two to three different and independent methods as well as by correlation with volcanic eruptions and other datable events. Since the ice sheet would have floated away in the event of a global flood, the ice core is strong evidence that there was no global flood any time in the last 110,000 years.” Paul H. Seely

Paper can be found at:  http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2003/PSCF12-03Seely.pdf

The above link is to a Christian site for God believing scientists.  

Just one more hole in the Christian Bibles myths.

“Geology, paleontology, zoology, botany, comparative anatomy, molecular biology, population genetics, biogeography, embryology, and others–all independently converge to the same conclusion: evolution happened.” –Michael Shermer–Skeptic Magazine

Intelligent Design and Science

Interesting find while surfing this morning. The ID people keep claiming they’re all about science, but the never reveal any.

ISSR Statement on the Concept of ‘Intelligent Design’

The authors of this statement constitute a group set up for the purpose by the Executive Committee of the International Society for Science and Religion. Through a process involving consultation with all members of the Society, the statement has now been accepted by the Executive Committee for publication as a statement made on behalf of the Society.http://www.issr.org.uk/images/line.gif

The International Society for Science and Religion is a scholarly society devoted to ongoing dialogue between the sciences and the community of world faiths.  It was established in 2002 for the purpose of promoting education through the support of interdisciplinary learning and research in the fields of science and religion, conducted where possible in an international and multi-faith context.

The society greatly values modern science, while deploring efforts to drive a wedge between science and religion. Science operates with a common set of methodological approaches that gives freedom to scientists from a range of religious backgrounds to unite in a common endeavor. This approach does not deny the existence of a metaphysical realm but rather opens up the natural world to a range of explorations that have been incredibly productive, especially over the last 400 years or so.

The intelligent-design (ID) movement began in the late 1980s as a challenge to the perceived secularization of the scientific community, which leaders of the movement maintained had been coloured with the philosophy of atheistic naturalism. ID theorists have focused their critique primarily on biological evolution and the neo-Darwinian paradigm. They claim that because certain biological features appear to be “irreducibly complex” and thus incapable of evolving incrementally by natural selection, they must have been created by the intervention of an intelligent designer. Despite this focus on evolution, intelligent design should not be confused with biblical or “scientific” creationism, which relies on a particular interpretation of the Genesis account of creation.

We believe that intelligent design is neither sound science nor good theology. Although the boundaries of science are open to change, allowing supernatural explanations to count as science undercuts the very purpose of science, which is to explain the workings of nature without recourse to religious language.  Attributing complexity to the interruption of natural law by a divine designer is, as some critics have claimed, a science stopper. Besides, ID has not yet opened up a new research program. In the opinion of the overwhelming majority of research biologists, it has not provided examples of “irreducible complexity” in biological evolution that could not be explained as well by normal scientifically understood processes. Students of nature once considered the vertebrate eye to be too complex to explain naturally, but subsequent research has led to the conclusion that this remarkable structure can be readily understood as a product of natural selection. This shows that what may appear to be “irreducibly complex” today may be explained naturalistically tomorrow.

Scientific explanations are always incomplete. We grant that a comprehensive account of evolutionary natural history remains open to complementary philosophical, metaphysical, and religious dimensions. Darwinian natural history does preempt certain accounts of creation, leading, for example, to the contemporary creationist and ID controversies. However, in most instances, biology and religion operate at different and non-competing levels.  In many religious traditions, such as some found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, the notion of intelligent design is irrelevant. We recognize that natural theology may be a legitimate enterprise in its own right, but we resist the insistence of intelligent-design advocates that their enterprise be taken as genuine science – just as we oppose efforts of others to elevate science into a comprehensive world view (so-called scientism). See the website: Here

Intelligent design is nearly universally condemned as science and as a concept. Most people recognize it for what it really is; a wedge devise to sneak WASP religion into our school systems. The only support for it is from evangelical fundamentalists, Young Earth Creationist (YEC), and some Old Earth Creationist (OEC).

Now proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) are using ‘Stealth Candidates’ who are running for positions on local and state school boards without declaring or admitting that they will advocate teaching ID in schools when elected. They just don’t get it…and they will try anything, including dishonesty, to achieve their goals. That they would use dishonesty in the furtherance of their religious sect speaks volumes about the true value of their faith.

Most people don’t analyze this battle enough, and don’t seem to realize that the ultimate goal of the religious right is to take over our country and remake it into a religious society; kind of like the Dark Ages in Europe when the Catholics ruled, and the strength and direction of your belief…decided whether you lived or died.  A lot of people don’t realize that the religious right has taken control of the Republican Party.

Cognite tute-think about it/use your head.

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Teach Science and Religion Together?

So, do you think it would be ‘fair’ to teach religion, along with scientific subjects in your local middle-school or high school science classes?

A lot of people, including our current president George Bush, have said that would be alright with them. Picture me standing here with my jaw dropping to the floor. Why on earth would this even enter someone’s mind as a good thing to do? What reasonable thinking person thinks the two subjects should be taught together at the same time, in the same room?

You know the answer to this of course…they should not be taught together. Religion doesn’t even come close to having an intellectually honest explanation of our earth, the human race, our pre-historic past, things like Neanderthals, stratigraphy, bones of dinosaurs, archaeological records; you know those little things that show how little the human writers of the Bible in 1500 BCE- and later, knew about their world.

Come to think about it…God didn’t know much about our world either…that is if you think the Bible was the inspired ‘word’ from God. You would think the creator of everything in the universe could /would explain to his chosen people how things really work. After all, they were as intelligent as some people of today.

But I digress. So if you think religion should be taught in your local schools, so that our children can be balanced, and pick out what YOU or THEY want to believe in. Should we also teach Astrology and Astronomy together, so they can choose which one of those ‘sciences disciplines’ they wish to follow? Perhaps they could get a job forecasting the future for presidents…why not, Reagan had one.

Should we teach Alchemy…you know, how to change lead into gold, along with modern chemistry to give them a choice of careers to follow.

Perhaps witchcraft and modern medicine should be combined…after all a lot of people believe in the old medicine man. That might take care of the doctor shortage in some remote and small towns. We could bring back the sacrificial goats and lambs and show the medical/witchcraft students how to please God with the aroma of burning goat/lamb flesh…It’s an Old Testament thing.

Just yesterday I heard that the California University system has been fending off lawsuits (The UC just won the case 8.12.08) from graduates from Christian High Schools. They (the students) have contended that the Universities where denying them admittance because of religious teaching. The California University system says that the students from the Christian schools are not learning critical thinking and logical skills necessary to graduate from college, because they are using science(?) books that explain humans and earth and evolution in a religious context only. Another sign that teaching religion in public schools is a very baaad idea.

The religious right just has to get over it, and stop their assault on the truth of science. No matter how much you deny the truth…it is still there…and the only way it can be made to go away is disprove it. And so far they have only tried lying…to make the truth go away. Is that even Christian?

See story here: http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/news/2008/CA/782_victory_in_california_creation_8_12_2008.asp

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Religious Attitudes in Mexico

Antonio Lazcano is a biology professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico in Mexico City. He has studied evolution and the origins of life for more than 30 years and as a student at the university he majored in prebiotic evolution and the emergence of life. He has authored several books in the Spanish language, including ‘The Origins of Life’, published in 1984, that became a bestseller in Mexico. He has also been a professor-in-residence or visiting scientist in France, Spain, Cuba, Switzerland, Russia, and the United States He was reelected president of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life, in 2005, the first Latin American scientist to occupy this position.

He has an article in the journal ‘Science, which is a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, wherein he comments on the acceptance of evolutionary sciences in Mexico and it’s relationship to the dominate Roman Catholic Church.

He relates that Mexicans in general have a commitment to the idea of evolution, as the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII endorsed the evolutionary principles that Darwin had proposed, in the mid-nineteen hundreds. So, contrary to many peoples belief, the people of Mexico do not suffer under a strong anti-evolutionary theocratic peer pressure. The Church realizes that the science behind evolution is valid, and tends to not interfere with peoples secular beliefs.

He comments that opposition to his teaching of evolution is practically nonexistent, and he has only been challenged twice. “Only twice during my 30 years of teaching about evolutionary biology and research into the origins of life, have I encountered religious-based opposition to my work. In both cases, it came from evangelical zealots from the United States preaching in Mexico.” He continues. “One of the little recognized U.S. imports into Mexico is a small flow of creationists, who, through religion, are trying to impose their fundamentalist beliefs and hinder the teaching of Darwinian evolution in all levels of schooling”. My emphasis.

I would add that this is a good example of the ‘Ugly American’ in action. How much arrogance and self-conceit does it take for these fools to interfere with another countries scholastic standards? What craziness do they posses that makes them think that…they alone…have the all answers, and must climb in other peoples face to spread their insanity?

Professor Lazcano says that their history has not recorded any major controversy over the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, in 1859. The fact that the Roman Catholic Church does not advocate the literal reading of the Bible as the evangelical fundamentalists do, probably contributes to this.

Places that have a predominately Catholic background such as France, Spain, Italy and most Latin American countries are secular in their outlook and politic, and are able to maintain an extended form of secularism while also being able to support religious freedom. Catholics in Mexico do not read the Old Testament as literal truth, but as a way that creation may have happened. Thus it is possible for Catholic Bible readers to believe in a supernatural origin of life and not have to reject Darwinism in order to maintain logical consistency in their theocratic scheme.

Professor Lazcano says that he and his associates are often invited to speak about life origins and evolution in public and private schools, including those run by Catholic nuns and priests. He says that students and professors see no doctrinal conflict between their own personal faith and Darwin’s scientific ideas. “They even found hilarious the idea of teaching creationism based on biblical literalism.”

He feels that most Mexicans find it hard to understand the hold that religion has in America, and many are baffled by the lax attitude of American politicians to the religious right that manage to influence and undermine the public educational system. “In contrast, Mexico still maintains some anticlerical attitudes, and public education bears the secular trademark of the Enlightenment, whose introduction into the country was facilitated by some prominent priests and Jesuits.”

His closing sentence is particularly relevant to the creationist / evolutionist argument. “Our understanding of the origin and early stages of biological evolution still has major unsolved problems, but they are recognized by the scientific community as intellectual challenges, and not as requiring metaphysical explanations, as proponents of creationism would have it.” My emphasis Amen

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