Should Evolution Be Taught To Children

Happy Darwin Day

Tomorrow is ‘Darwin Day’

Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin.   Charles Darwin was born  in 1809 and first published his ‘On the Origin of Species’  on November 24, 1859

Darwin’s book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution.

Today the Theory of Evolution still stands very strong…despite all the lying rhetoric constantly thrown at  it by religious creationist types.

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Why Do People Laugh At Creationists

Intelligent Design is Dead…Finally!

Over at Jerry Coyne’s blog ‘Why Evolution is True’ he is writing of the death of Intelligent Design (ID).  It’s about time I say.  Creationist Muggles have kept the stupid sham going far beyond its sell by date

“There is no longer any pretense that ID is science. It’s been reduced, as have all forms of creationism, to simpleminded criticism of evolutionary theory, without any predictions or insights of its own.  Twenty years on, ID has offered us not a single insight into nature.”  -Jerry Coyne

Texas Tries To Kill Science In Its Schools…Again

Once again the Texas Board of Education (TBOE) is flirting with adding patently religious material to its instructional materials to be used in science classrooms.  The battle of course is really about evolutionary theory and the Texas religious rights continuing battle to get religious dogma into their public school classrooms.   In 2009 the Texas Board of Education said that students should be taught “all sides” of current scientific theories, and that “all sides” is code for the religious side, or teaching that the earth was created 6,000 years ago by the Christian God Yahweh in 6 literal 24 hour days.

Of course they want the students to side with them and reject the actual scientific proofs and be good little Christian boys and girls so they can assure the cultural reproduction of the fundamentalist creationist ethos.

To achieve this end the TBOE has seemingly partnered with a little known company called International Databases, LLC that is based in New Mexico (said to be a one man operation).  The material that is being considered is obviously slanted towards creationism and/or Intelligent Design (same thing) and dismisses scientific truths. TBOE materials relating to this can be viewed Here

Texas Freedom Network has more data on this story here.  International Databases LLC is listed on Google as:

Stephen O. Sample, President
International Databases LLC
7205 Triana Pl. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114

I don’t think the creationists are EVER going to give up on trying to get their bull-crap religious dogma into public schools.  These people have to be confronted and shown to the world to be 5th columnists trying to take over our schools and eventually our countries secular government.
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Creationist Lose Again

Just one more brick in the wall separating real factual evidence and religious, creationist, ID, YEC  nonsense.
Human language almost certainly started in Africa (where WE as the human race started coincidentally) and it started MANY years before the Bronze Age (c.4000 +-BC) It has been speculated by many that the invention of language was the beginning of man’s rising intelligence and domination.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6027/346.abstract

Puts a whole new outlook on the “Tower of Babel” story from the Bible, Huh?
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Religion And The Mt. Toba Eruption

I was recently checking on one of the blogs that I follow and came upon this little excerpt from a scientific paper and it got me going on a hunt for more information.  See blog link below and thanks to Mathildas Anthropology blog for the brain jog. http://mathildasanthropologyblog.wordpress.com/

“The depositional position of the tephra in the Jurreru River Valley, together with new chronometric and geochemical evidence, indicates that the ash is a product of the 74,000 year old YTT event (Petraglia et al., 2007). The recovery of Middle Paleolithic assemblages in dated deposits below and above the ash provides the first firm archaeological association, helping to resolve some of the uncertainty about archaeological associations in India. The recovery of Middle Paleolithic industries without major technological changes after the ashfall, indicate that populations survived the super-eruption. We have suggested, based on a variety of datasets, that modern humans were present in the Indian sub continent before the super-eruption, and that these populations survived this event.”

Searching a little further I found this Paper from the University of Oxford

“An area of widespread speculation about the Toba super-eruption is that it nearly drove humanity to extinction. The fact that the Middle Palaeolithic tools of similar styles are found right before and after the Toba super-eruption, suggests that the people who survived the eruption were the same populations, using the same kinds of tools, says Dr Petraglia. The research agrees with evidence that other human ancestors, such as the Neanderthals in Europe and the small brained Hobbits in Southeastern Asia, continued to survive well after Toba.” University of Oxford, UK
http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_releases_for_journalists/100222_1.html

Continuing my search a bit more I found the following information on the dating of the YTT (Toba event), and for you Young Earth Creationist’s (YEC’s) who erroneously think that C-14 dating is wrong, you will notice it didn’t make use of this particular bit of science.

“Toba ash has been dated using the K-Ar, the 40Ar/39Ar and oxygen isotope/biostratigraphic methods. The abrupt drop in sea water temperature was determined with the oxygen isotope (O18/O16) method. The diverse methods used on a variety of Toba materials are in rough agreement as to the dating of the event: it definitively took place sometime between 77,000 and 69,000 years ago.” George Weber @
http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/originals/Weber-Toba/textr.htm

Some research data was obtained from Science magazine @
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/317/5834/114 Subscription required for full article.

So basically what all of this stuff is saying is that modern type Homo sapiens were living in India sometime before about 75,000 years ago, and they were making tools and procreating and in general doing what humans do, and we have proof of this.  And then this same info is saying that after the Mt. Toba eruption—which is thought to have cooled off the earth and caused a 1000 year lengthening of a ongoing cold snap that the earth was undergoing at the time, and caused a human population bottleneck where breeding pairs, on earth, may have fallen to as low as 10,000 people.  In other words, near extinction of the human race—We were still around, albeit in smaller numbers.  Whew!

This is pretty reliable data and it shows once more that humans have been walking the earth for many tens of thousands of years and leaving evidence behind that men can find, research, and interpret to determine that we were not placed on a newly created earth by some sky-god only 6,000 or so years ago, and also confirms that the Adam and Eve story is just myth…they never existed.

Just sayin’…..
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The Theory of Everything

I wonder if those creationists who keep trying to get local school boards to treat the Theory of Evolution as “just a theory” and require equal time for Christian dogma disguised as “scientific creationism” or “Intelligent Design” also want to teach alternate “theories” of atomic theory, cell theory germ theory, theory of relativity, Asymptotic theory, Catastrophe theory, Chaos theory, Coding theory, Deformation theory, Dimension theory, Field theory, Game theory, Graph theory, Group theory, gravitation theory, Homology theory, Homotopy theory, K-theory, Knot theory, L-theory, Lie theory, Matrix theory, Model theory, Morse theory, Music theory, Number theory, Obstruction theory, Perturbation theory, Potential theory, Probability theory, Ring theory, Set theory, Shape theory, Spectral theory, Stability theory, String theory, Stable theory, etc., etc..

Surely the theory of evolution is not the only one that needs sanctification and certification by the Christian right’s Mutawa’een.

The Christian right wants to assure their cultural reproduction and defend and disseminate their beliefs and lifestyle, and they realize that the teaching of evolution and having their children learn the truths of science can neutralize their efforts.  They either welcome a theological control of life on earth, or they can’t, or don’t want to, think things through.

There is prodigious effort and money behind the religious right, and they are continually plotting the demise of democracy and secularism. They are evil.

Quote of the day

“We are always making God our accomplice so that we may legalize our own inequities. Every successful massacre is consecrated by a Te Deum, and the clergy have never been wanting in benedictions for any victorious enormity.” Henri Frédéric Amiel

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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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Thoughts on Creationist Theology

If you dig deep enough in Creationist or Young Earth Creation (YEC) theology, there are very large discrepancies and large leaps of “faith” :-} are required for acceptance. I have recently been looking into their world-view, and I find it both fascinating and mind-boggling. They are quietly wedging their way into secular institutes and using razzle-dazzle and quasi-scientific language to fool lots of people. They keep trying to intrude into science classes in public schools and generally making nuisances of themselves.

Below are just some random things. I haven’t tied them together much; just some notes I am keeping and trying to absorb and eventually string together in a sensible manner.

Early Bronze Age (c. 3500-2000 BC)
Middle Bronze Age (c. 2000-1600 BC)
Late Bronze Age (c. 1600-1100 BC)

Early Iron Age (c. 1200-900 BC)

The Noachian Flood that happened somewhere around 2400 to 2300 BCE, demonstrated no affect on the line of metal workers descended from Cain. Lamech, sixth in line from Cain, fathered Jubal and Jabal by his first wife Adah. Jubal was the originator of string and wind music. Jabal was described as the father of “Bronze and Iron” metalworking–although there was No Iron working in his day. They must have been living in Anatolia at the time; as that is where the first evidence of metalworking comes from. Lamech fathered Tubal-Cain by his second wife Zillah. Tubal-Cain is the man held responsible for making/living in tents, and animal husbandry. Lamech, by the way, was the Bible’s first Polygamist.

Side bar: Were Adam and Eve living in caves after their eviction from Eden? I’ve heard rumors of the “Cave of Treasures.”

The complete line of the progeny of Cain was wiped-out in the flood, no survivors.

Now after the flood, Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wife’s dispersed to the four corners of the world and begat humankind all over again. So what we have at, let’s say 2300 BCE, are 8 people traveling to China, Europe, Asia, Africa, Egypt-(yeah, I know :-}), Australia, South America, Central America, and North America.

None of these people that were doing the dispersing and begating were schooled in the metal working skills (Which is a VERY highly skilled activity), however Noah knew how to make wine, so maybe he went to France.

If you happen to be a Young Earth Creationist (This would include most evangelical sects, Institute for Creation Research (ICR), the “answersingenesis” people, Discovery Institute, etc., you have to work in an ice age sometime after the Flood and before Abram (Abraham) c. 2020 BCE. Personally I don’t think it can be done, and neither does anyone else in the real world, and there is NO physical evidence for such a thing. Beware though; these groups just mentioned above are telling The “BIG LIE.” They are taking a page from Hitler that goes like this: If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.

I’m wondering how the YEC’s are taking the research that is showing ALL of humanity comes out of Africa; will they just ignore it?

I know there are some who pick and choose what they will believe. Some are thinking that the first six days of creation were “ages” or “eons” and after Adam was created, 24-hour days.

Huummm…

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