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Britons Unconvinced on Evolution 2035

Posted by Roblimo
from the the-U.S.-is-not-the-only-unevolved-country dept.
pryonic writes "The BBC is reporting that more than half of Britons do not believe in evolution, with a further 40% advocating that creationism or intelligent design should be taught in school science classes. I'm a Brit myself, and I thought most people over here thought these views were outdated and lacked substance. None of my close friends give any credit to creationism or ID, but we're all well educated athiests so I guess that's to be expected. Maybe I've been blind to the views of the majority in this proudly secular country?"
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Britons Unconvinced on Evolution

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  • Et tu, Britannia? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:37AM (#14566943)

    On one hand, I'm happy to see that rampant idiocy isn't a uniquely American trait.

    On the other hand, however, I'm seriously troubled by this. I guess I was kinda counting on the rest of the world to bitchslap America back to sanity sooner or later, but now it appears that we can't count on the global community saving the day for rationality.

    Of particular concern is the statistics quoted:

    • 22% chose creationism
    • 17% opted for intelligent design
    • 48% selected evolution theory
    • and the rest did not know.

    In other words, 39% chose creationism, as there is no discernable difference between creationism and ID. Score another victory for ID, for once again successfully obfuscating the issue.

    Even worse were the statistics regarding what to teach in schools:

    • 44% said creationism should be included
    • 41% intelligent design
    • 69% wanted evolution as part of the science curriculum.

    Again, nice and confusing, especially when you consider that these statistics don't add up to 100%. I understand that some people would like to see more than one 'theory' taught (the old 'teach the controversy' BS), but displaying the results in this manner is misleading in the extreme. Equally confusing is the fact that the percentage of people who 'did not know' in the previous set of statistics isn't enumerated. One would assume it to be 13%, but in the light of the second set of statistics, who knows?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:39AM (#14566957)
    All the self-righteous USA bashers (and this is something people attack the US for despit there being much more toxic religious beliefs around the world) eventually find out their countires are just as stupid as any other.

    *Humanity* is a pack of low grade morons, folks. No one country or society has any lock on the Stupid Prize.

  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cyphertube (62291) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:41AM (#14566971) Homepage Journal
    This seems to happen everywhere. Mostly people think that a certain idea, that perhaps has little scientific basis, should be taught in school, when they support the idea.

    I believe in a creator. Sure. But should creation be taught in a science class? No. Why?

    Because I know that somehow my religious beliefs that I want to teach to my children will not be taught according to how I believe. Worse off would be if they were completely opposed, like someone teaching creation by that damn spaghetti monster.

    Keep science to science. Start teaching classes that encourage people to look at other viewpoints and learn to see the downsides of their own arguments. Only then will a generation gain the wisdom to not think this is such a great idea.
  • Athiest (Score:3, Insightful)

    by feagle814 (640886) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:42AM (#14566984)
    I don't understand why everyone feels it's necessary to misspell "atheist" by reversing the I and E.

    Well-educated? Sure.
  • Ambiguity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tyler_larson (558763) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:42AM (#14566988) Homepage
    Believing in evolution is something of a vague concept. If I believe in the concept of natural selection (which is readily observable), do I have to believe that life came from a chance encounter of amino acids in some primordial soup a gazillion years ago? How much am I agreeing to?
  • by dan dan the dna man (461768) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:42AM (#14566989) Homepage Journal
    I very much dount that many people asked about ID actually knew what it really is, or how hotly debated a non-topic it is.

    Grab 2000 of any random population off the streets of any city, and ask them to define "Intelligent Design" and I bet less than 17% will give you anything approaching what the proponents of this idoicy are spouting.
  • by elcheesmo (646907) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:42AM (#14566994)
    You and your friends are well-educated Atheists, but I'm sure that most people aren't as educated, and even more aren't Atheists. You're less typical than you think.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:44AM (#14567016)
    Yes, because there are just not enough ignorant people in the world and we really must do all we can to make more.

    Are you, yourself a product of the system you are proposing by any chance?
  • Species Evolve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krgallagher (743575) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:45AM (#14567028) Homepage
    I am always confused by the fact that everyone thinks the theory of evolution is a theory about the creation of life on earth. The theory of evolution can be summed up in two words; species evolve. Sure there is all that subtext about natural selection, but in essence, the theory is that species evolve.

    I do not understand how anyone can deny the truth of this. We see it in action time and time again. There are species that were introduced to Hawaii in modern times that have since evolved into new species. I saw one of the best arguments for evolution here on /. as a sig. It said "If you do not believe in evolution, why are you worried about the bird flu?"

  • by arevos (659374) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:47AM (#14567057) Homepage
    I'd like to see the questions they asked for the survey. It's all too easy to get the results you want with carefully worded questions. I can't think of anyone I know who believes in such nonsense, so I'm taking this with significantly large grain of salt.
  • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:48AM (#14567070)
    >39% chose creationism

    still less in total than evolution though.

    one important thing (in my experience) the UK doesn't have so much of is militant fundamentalism. people might say they believe in creationism, but then lots of people still claim to believe in god. they don't do anything about it though. even if they agree it should be taught in schools they aren't taking over schoold boards for it.

    basically I think the difference is that in America you have the very dangerous combination of
    1. Churches are big businesses (much more so than elsewhere)
    2. businesses can easily buy into politics

    the ID movement is 99.9% a PR campaign.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:49AM (#14567077)
    I concur, if we can teach the three "R's" to a decent level, then we can consider doing other less useful things. It is difficult to train an illiterate and mathematically inept HS graduate to be able to do anything useful. I would like to believe that every student should have a well rounded education that includes music theory, the hard sciences (physics, chemistry, biology), history, social sciencies, and civics courses, but that can only occur if they have a strong base. What is the point in a history course if you can't write an essay about an event, or about a science course if you can't solve basic problems or understand the text? And why do high schools teach 'diet' courses? Because the students are too stupid to be able to read a "... For Dummies" book on it.
  • by Reverend Darkness (826202) <reverend.darkness@gmail.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:49AM (#14567080) Homepage Journal
    None of my close friends give any credit to creationism or ID...

    ... the famous defense of a short-sighted individual.

    C'mon... no matter what the arguement, when are people going to realize that there are a few million other people out there that may have a differing opinion than their own little group of friends?

    I myself am a Pagan, and I believe in Intelligent Design and evolution. My beliefs are different that 95% (est.) of the rest of the U.S., but I at least give a little credence to the opinions of others...

  • by gfxguy (98788) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:49AM (#14567081)
    There goes the theory that the U.S. has a monopoly of idiots.
  • Facts, please (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Poodle (15365) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:51AM (#14567096)
    I like how you crafted a well reasoned arguement, and supported your position with compelling, relevant facts.

    The only thing your argument proves is that the education system failed YOU.

    You sir, should demand your money back!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:51AM (#14567099)
    "None of my close friends give any credit to creationism or ID, but we're all well educated athiests so I guess that's to be expected."

    Wow, never thought I'd see a comment like that get posted in an article summarry on the front page. Thank you, Slashdot, for giving me a dose of religious bashing with my morning cup of coffee.

    To the article submitter:
    Funny how your "education" doesn't allow you to see the irony in your own viewpoint, let alone your mis-conceptions.

    1. Education has nothing to do with faith. There are plenty of educated people (more so than you) who believe in God, and plenty who don't.
    2. No amount of education will allow you to disprove (or prove) the existence of God or creationism. Saying your education allows this is blatantly wrong.
    3. Creationism and ID are not the same thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:52AM (#14567107)
    "I'm against all public education systems. I don't believe they've worked."

    I tend to think that whatever passed for "education" in the public school system that I was forced to attend did indeed "work", at least in some rudimentary way, as evidenced by my ability to respond to your statement in this fashion.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:52AM (#14567112)
    The problem with your idea is the same as the problem with just about any major change in public tax policy. Market forces cut both ways.

    Many people suggest that if we cut taxes in way x, y, or z that suddenly the increase in take home income will change our society in way X, Y, or Z. What isn't being acknowledged is that companies are paying people just as much as they have to for the people to do their jobs.

    If you cut out the public education system then yes, some people will use that extra money to stay home and teach their children. Many who are barely making it by right now will instead say "Hey, educating the kids is no longer mandatory and I finally have the money to really get by. The kids can get a job like delivering papers, I can keep working my job, and we'll finally be secure."

    People don't do this because they're cruel Dickensian taskmasters bent on exploiting their children. They do this because economic hardship tends to focus attention on short-term goals.

    Companies will notice that they're able to pay their employees slightly less because the employees are making more take-home income. In many jobs companies aren't competing to keep employees from moving to another company. They're competing to keep the employees from moving to a different field. Health care is a good example of this. Nurses are paid just enough to not quit and go into a job where they don't have to stick their fingers in peoples' bums.

    No company will immediately *cut* wages on this basis but inflation is always there, ready to eat up the margin when wages are not raised as fast.

    All these factors would mean that the switchover to home education would happen at rather less than full efficiency. We can't afford that, because even with public education most people end up pretty ignorant. If a significant portion of the population starts opting out, we're headed right back for the Victorian class system, where the poor genuinely have no chance to learn.

    Keep in mind also that the parents can only teach at home what they already know. Does your local 7-11 clerk know enough to teach his son physics? Does he understand the value of physics well enough to pay for his son to learn it? Doubtful on both counts. No way for his son to get a better life in any field his father doesn't understand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:53AM (#14567136)
    At the risk of offending the "highly intelligent and well educated athiests" out there...

    I would say that it is unfair to lump faith into the "ignorant" category. Sure, intelligent design is a lame concept, but if any of you have taken Philosophy 101, you can't argue with the leap of faith. Sooner or later you have to believe in something--whether it's your own conclusions or a supreme being.

    Unfortunately, the loudest of the Christians are the most ignorant so please don't assume that they are all Pat Robertsons. I'm not trying to convert anyone into believing in Creation or arguing that it should be taught as "science"--I'm just asking for some respect for the millions of Christians who don't force their belief system on you.

    Save the bashing for the Scientologists :-)

     
  • by cyclop (780354) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:53AM (#14567137) Homepage Journal

    If evolution is scientifically sound, can't you present sufficient evidence in the classroom to prove it?

    Yes. Any molecular biology textbook is full of factual proofs of evolution.

  • by terevos (148651) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:55AM (#14567169)
    > On one hand, I'm happy to see that rampant idiocy isn't a uniquely American trait.


    This is one of the reasons Evolution has been rejected by a lot of people. Just as ultra-right wing Christians really turn people off, this kind of statement also turns people off.

    Personally, I don't believe in Evolution. That doesn't make me an idiot. I simply disagree with the theory. That doesn't mean I don't understand it, I simply don't agree with it. It doesn't mean I'm ignorant either - I know more about Evolution than most people I know.

    Just as the Theory of Gravity has some problems and needs to be understood better/differently, I believe the Theory of Evolution needs to be understood better/differently - in Evolution's case I think it needs to be drastically different.

    But that doesn't mean I think Intelligent Design is science, either. But neither is a whole lot that goes on with Evolution and other supporting theories that are based on something other than experimentation. Fact is, there has never been an experiment with macro-evolution - until there is, Macro-Evolution is simply a theory and, IMO, a weak one at that.
  • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:56AM (#14567180)
    The difference is in common ancestry and the ages of the earth & universe.

    "Creationism" generally refers to Young Earth Creationism. And, sometimes, Old Earth Creationism, which has an old Earth but says that God made life directly.

    ID is about saying that there are features of the life we see that point to design, generally by saying that the features are too complex. This can include Theistic Evolutionists, if they believe that God stepped in to tweak the evolutionary process in key places. ID says nothing about common ancestry or the ages of the earth & universe.
  • by Anna Merikin (529843) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:56AM (#14567183) Journal
    If so, then please explain to me how either one of these scenarios can be true:

    A species (chimpanzees, our "closest" relatives, for example) with 21 pairs of chromosomes can EVOLVE into one with 22 pairs. Do the fossil records indicate critters with 21.1, 21.2, 21.3, 21.4.... pairs of choromosomes?

    If not, then explain how a (presumably) mutant new example of an "evolved" chimpanzee with 22 pairs of chromosomes can find another exactly evolved 22-paired mutant -- at the same time -- in the same place -- recognize him or her -- and develop a brand new and unique mating ritual that works. All of these steps are recognized as being necessary to begin to form a new species.

    That said, to deny Darwinism is to ignore the stages and features our own embryos develop and discard: gills, tail, front legs.

    So, it appears to me that both Darwinism and ID leave a lot out of their little worlds.

    Perhaps that's why they argue so much and so loudly: they're both overselling their cases.
  • by dnoyeb (547705) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:58AM (#14567198) Homepage Journal
    Well you havent attacked the root of the issue.

    Creationism vs. Evolution. This is a false question as these two ideas do not conflict with one another. Only the 'extremist' seek to make it an issue. And I use that term loosly since I don't believe the extremist truly believe the BS they spout. At least not the ones on the top.

    I'm a highly educated, non-atheist. I think there is room for both. I could expound on why I think certain folks keep trying to start a fight, but...
  • by mirio (225059) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:58AM (#14567201)
    I agree completely. Public schools have turned from teaching the basics (and it shows given literacy rates, etc). It all started with schools providing affordable 'nutritious' lunches. Now many school systems have expanded the lunch program, claiming that students are entitled to breakfast as well. There's also the daily milk snack programs. Then we have the whole scoliosis thing. Seriously...why do schools test for scoliosis? Sure, it's a horrible, cripling disease but why is it the function of the schools to test for it? Why not test for other diseases such as diabetes?

    Now many schools systems are pushing for similar obeisity screening programs. What the hell does that have to do with a proper education?

    Short and simple -- an overbearing government that feels it knows how to raise kids better than parents is using government schools to achieve it's agends with kids.
  • by dc29A (636871) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @10:59AM (#14567204)
    # 22% chose creationism
    # 17% opted for intelligent design


    I am willing to bet that those who picked ID didn't look farther than their noses. Not to mention the pollers don't have a clue about ID.

    ID *IS* creationism. If someone removes the theological binders, it's obvious to see why ID is creationism.

    Let's suppose ID is right. Let's suppose our existance is due to some designer (aliens, Q, little green men, whatnot). We must ask immediately: Well ... who designed our designer? And how about our designer's designer? If ID is correct (and we don't resort to God to explain it), it's impossible. Unless our universe can contain an infinite number of designers AND infinite number of species like ours. Have you met the little green men?

    The only way out of this infinite designers & species paradox is by introducing a deity. A deity who is omnipotent and omnipresent and omniwhatever, who was there, who is eternal and who doesn't need a designer. Aka: God, Allah, Jeebus, whatever.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:01AM (#14567242)
    As a biochemist, I can unequivocally say that if you don't "believe" in evolution, then you certainly do not understand it, however much you tell yourself that you do.

    You obviously have attempted to learn on your own about this. That would normally be commendable, but you have made mistakes somewhere that you need to correct by learning from experts.

    Plus, the fact that you use the term "macro-evolution" sort of gives the game away as to your preferred source of information. Please stop spending time at the religious websites, and give proper science a chance.
  • by lpangelrob (714473) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:09AM (#14567348)
    Eh? Churches are a big business now? Where did you pick up this idea?

    Is it from lumping all churches of a same denomination into a group and calling the resulting amalgation a business? From assuming that George W. Bush speaks for every person that goes to church in America?

  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:10AM (#14567359) Homepage
    That being said, if we must have them, let's focus on pure education -- facts, repetition, useful classes: how to read, write and perform basic math. At most, some basic scientific theory might be OK.

    Everything else -- health, PE, higher sciences, diet -- leave it to the family or to competitive higher education.


    Isn't that completely backwards? Most people are able to learn their children basic skills, read, write, basic math, basic science. The point at this age isn't half as much teaching as it is social skills - to interact with others and form groups and meaningful social bonds. Most people who lack social antennas or think they're God's gift to mankind got screwed up in this period of their life. Kids need to spend time with other kids, which is what they do at school.

    Very very few people are capable of giving children a higher education of any type, except perhaps their own profession. I don't mean to say anthing mean about them, most are hard-working honest people but they just aren't able to teach those sorts of things. Saying "family" and "competitive higher education" are alternatives which provide the same should tell you how wildly off base you are.
  • by DarkSarin (651985) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:13AM (#14567412) Homepage Journal
    Good for you--this is a good, solid common sense position--if you believe in a deity of some sort.

    I have a personal theory about evolution. Micro-evolution is undeniable. Anyone who claims otherwise is ignoring the facts.

    Macro evolution is a different story, and the beginning of life on this planet is the question. The problem is, as others have pointed out, that at some point ID falls apart with the 'infinite designers' problem. Vis-a-vis, deity is necessary. I don't have a problem with this. I also have no problem with the concept of a deity who directly manipulates the universe at any level. Realistically speaking, this is a necessary belief if you accept a deity as a real--that deity must then be able to manipulate the universe. Personally I don't think that anything God does contravenes or 'breaks' the laws of physics. I DO think that there are things that we haven't learned yet, and if we ever learn them, then it will be obvious how God does things.
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:14AM (#14567430)
    Perhaps the most scathing charge you can make against those people, then, is hypocrisy or intellectual cowardice. They admit that God exists, and continue to live lives as though God does not exist.

    That sounds to me just as respectible as believing that eating 20 Twkinkies a day will likely kill your kids quickly, and ignoring that fact because you don't want to make a fuss.

    I'm not religious, so don't bother slandering me for that reason. I'm just pointing out an inconsistency in the Britons you describe.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:17AM (#14567480) Homepage
    > A species (chimpanzees, our "closest" relatives, for example) with 21 pairs of
    > chromosomes can EVOLVE into one with 22 pairs. Do the fossil records indicate critters
    > with 21.1, 21.2, 21.3, 21.4.... pairs of choromosomes?

    First: Chimpanzees did never "evolve" into humans, we both share a common ancestor.

    Second: We do have humans with half an extra chromosone (xyy males).

    Third and most important: Evolution leaves out *a lot*. Really, it is not like evolutionary biology is a closed and finished science that explains everything. We learn new stuff all the time and adapt the models, as in all other active scientific disciplines.

    Actually evolution is more of a frame or paradigm, than a theory itself.

  • Another take on ID (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LightningBolt! (664763) <lightningboltlightningbolt@ya h o o .com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:18AM (#14567504) Homepage

    - 22% chose creationism
    - 17% opted for intelligent design

    In other words, 39% chose creationism...


    I'm not sure I agree. Creationism seems to be the "traditional" God creation myth from the Bible. I think "intelligent design" advocates could arguably be a bit more enlightened. Consider the following argument.

    Alan Turing showed that any computing machine was equivalent in computing capability to a Turing machine, albeit with performance differences. Advocates of "strong AI" claim that human brains are also equivalent to Turing machines. Extending this, "strong AI" advocates would generally also claim that the entire universe is a Turing-equivalent computing machine. And going a step beyond this, one could imagine that this universe is a computing machine within a larger framework of computing machines. Or, put another way, there could be some intelligent programmer "outside" of our universe who created the computing machine that is our universe. Personally, I'm not compelled by such an argument, but it does involve "intelligent design" without being entirely outside the bounds of logical reasoning.
  • Re:Species Evolve (Score:4, Insightful)

    by condensate (739026) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:18AM (#14567513)
    Well look at it this way. Evolution is an ongoing process. It is not so long since everybody hat to believe that earth is a flat dish with some water around, and that in fact it's the centre of everything anyway. We know better today, because we have evidence in everyday life.


    The paradigm change took us about 1000 years - no big span for evolution and we're still at it. The one important thing is that evolution itself does not really care about what we think or how we feel life the universe and everything should be. It just moves on. This of course also means that in order to survive, a human being more than ever needs to be rational, sharp thinking and not obfuscating anything - IN THE LONG RUN. So in the end, you are better off if you stop clinging to your cherished believes just because it's easier to accept. That's why brains evolved in the end - it is evolutionary more favorably to be able to THINK. Some of us are better - they stay in the gene pool, some of us less so. And in the end this also means we become educated enough to abandon believes that are just comfortable because they do not trouble us. Evolution is still at work and will be until the end.


    Think about how many people believed in evolution 100 years ago. It's a rapid change and I can understand people who refuse to believe that some millions of years ago, we started to leave our beloved trees. In terms of evolution, this is yet a smaller amount of time than the flat earth - ball shaped earth within a galaxy amongst galaxies shift.

  • by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:21AM (#14567553)
    Public Schools aren't a failed system, over all it's a very successful system, look at the high school graduation numbers now compared to 50 years ago
    So a country that makes it easy to pass the driving test will have more people that pass it. So thay'll have better drivers.

    Think your theory is based on a false assumption.

  • by realnowhereman (263389) <andyparkinsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:22AM (#14567569)
    Personally, I don't believe in Evolution. That doesn't make me an idiot.

    Yes it does. Do you believe in gravity? Do you believe in medicine? Electricity? Mobile phones? Radio? Nuclear physics? Biology? Geology? Maths?

    Why is it that evolution gets special treatment in the world of science? It's as scientifically valid as all these other things, and yet somehow ill-educated pseudo-itellectuals like yourself think that you get to pick and choose what is valid and what isn't. Science is not a democracy, it's fact based. Don't "believe" in evolution, show us something better.

    That doesn't mean I don't understand it

    Yes it does.

    Just as the Theory of Gravity has some problems

    Really? You pass yourself off as being some sort of expert. What exactly are the problems you see with the theory of gravity? Why not write them down, present some evidence, I'm sure your views will be published in some learned journal and then we can all see how wise you are. Then you can tell us what's wrong with evolution as well.

    Throughout the entire history of science, when things "need to be understood better" it has generally been through an evolution of ideas -- Newtonian mechanics wasn't wrong, it just needed some extra bits bolting on, Einsteinian relativity isn't wrong, it just need some quantum stuff attaching. Each discovery builds on the last. Evolution is the same, there are holes and gaps and things we don't yet understand, but these will be filled and modified and adapted - the theory will get better.

    There have been very few absolute reversals in science, why do you expect that evolution will be any different?
  • by VdG (633317) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:23AM (#14567576)
    Without knwoing a lot more about what was asked, to whom, and what they actually replied it's hard to be sure. However, I'm pretty sure you're right, that it indicates a general ignorance, (and likely indifference) of the subject. It really hasn't been an issue over here and the controvorsy in the USA hasn't received a lot of general news coverage. Unless one is already interested in science, or pays some attention to US news one is unlikely to know what all the fuss is about.

    That said, although the mainstream religions appear to be in decline here - with the possible exception of Islam, which I think is as much for social and political as theological reasons - there do seem to be a depressing number of people with very muddled spiritual and superstitious beliefs, who ust thinkg that there must be something more, some ill-defined guiding force or some-such nonsense. I wouldn't be surprised if they liked the idea of Intelligent Design, but with a much more nebulous designer behind it than its US proponents, (who are almost to a man Christians).
  • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:23AM (#14567583)
    >They admit that God exists, and continue to live lives as though God does not exist.

    I find this to be true of most theists.

    when I try to imagine what it would be like to believe in a benevolent god, I think it would be such an amazing thing I don't see how any part of my life would be unaffected. I think that if someone really believed in god it would be obvious without even asking.
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:25AM (#14567608)
    If not, then explain how a (presumably) mutant new example of an "evolved" chimpanzee with 22 pairs of chromosomes can find another exactly evolved 22-paired mutant -- at the same time -- in the same place -- recognize him or her -- and develop a brand new and unique mating ritual that works.

    I can understand why you'd think that you'd need to have the same number of chromosomes, but where the hell did you get that bit about making up an all-new mating ritual?

    Ah well... [google.co.uk] it's not as if you're even right about the chromosome number, anyway...

  • Re:Not surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Twanfox (185252) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:29AM (#14567654)
    In what realm of education would you place Evolution if not in life sciences?
  • Re:Genius (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ryman (518071) <ryman1080@y a h o o .com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:34AM (#14567733)
    Well said.

    Is anyone else sick of this kind of attitude in the "scientific" community? Referring specifically to matters of the origin of life and the idea of intraspecies evolution, neither theory is even close to establishing scientific proof of their ideas, yet the intellectually "elite" have no problem ridiculing those who don't believe in evolution wholesale.

    The dogmatic way these people insult those who challenge their beliefs is reminiscent, frankly, of the religious fundamentalists that they despise so much. How else do you explain the venom that they spew at those who question what they consider sacred? Besides, isn't this kind of attitude contrary to scientific thought? If their theory has so much evidence behind it, you'd think they'd welcome the chance to convince the rest of us further...

  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:35AM (#14567741) Homepage Journal
    Here's why it's bunkum: there is no controversy.
    I know that, you know that, but, hey, opinion polls don't report facts, they report what people believe.
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:35AM (#14567749) Homepage Journal
    Ok, so you're happy with public education in Wisconsin. Don't you see it being a better system if it is funded locally instead of sharing funds between counties or states? Why would someone proud of being from your area want to waste money on people you can not hold accountable and you can't audit or review?

    I believe that "public" education might have a chance if the funds are kept locally -- preferably voluntarily funded.

    I am not against a group education system, I just see the waste in kowtowing to the teacher unions and the public worker unions.

    I don't see a rise in literacy rates, and as an employer of youths, I see a terrible bifurcation in the intellect of the average teenagers -- a very small minority are REALLY bright, but the large majority are what I would consider "dumb."
  • by Ranger (1783) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:35AM (#14567750) Homepage
    To paraphrase Inspector Renault from Casablanca: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that ignorance is going on in here!". It doesn't matter that it's evolution they don't accept. It could be relativity or gravity or inertia. It's a symptom of the state of British science education. The problem with any belief system is that the believers are afraid that if some scientific theory is true their religion must be false. When in reality they just need to change their perception of their religious beliefs.

    " Love thy neighbor" is a good maxim, but it's not dependent on a 6,000 year old Earth. They forgot God is a metaphor and do not understand the difference between denotation and connotation. Anyway, I think Douglas Adams put it best when he wrote: "Humans are not proud of their ape ancestry and never invite their cousins around for dinner."
  • by No. 24601 (657888) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:37AM (#14567765)
    Sorry, I chose you as the victim for this, it's nothing personal I promise!

    So, you feel that your greater "wisdom" gives you the right to label a majority of the rest of the world as idiots because they believe in ID or creationism. Note, how I use the word believe here because that's exactly all it is. I find the problem with scientists, mathematicians, engineers, etc. these days is that we seem to believe that everyone in this world "needs" to use the rather incomplete tools of absolute rationality and logic when facing life's deeper questions. I'm sorry but these tools are greatly at a loss for explaining much of what is required to explaining how people behave, how they think and how they should live. Science does not have the answers for any of these and unfortunately is not even close.

    Also, the problem with people like you is that you think that everyone in the world needs to know that evolution makes more sense from a scientific perspective than ID/creationism. That's where you are wrong. How many people do you think really understand the idea of special relativity. Don't you think it'd be equally important for people to realize that the clocks they use to make daily life possible aren't really perfect for synchronization and time isn't really what we intuitively believe it is? Hell NO, why? because it won't make a damned difference to them and to life on this planet? are these people idiots?? No! They are you're average person... who can reasonably be go through life without knowledge of these things and should not be labelled idiots. The real fools are the ones who can't see this.
  • by danpsmith (922127) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:37AM (#14567770)
    I understand that some people would like to see more than one 'theory' taught (the old 'teach the controversy' BS), but displaying the results in this manner is misleading in the extreme.

    I don't understand this mentality in this particular case, simply because from all my research and my reading on the topic, the answer is simple: within the scientific community there simply is no "controversy."

    People seem to confuse the debate here, we are talking about science class, science class is teaching what the scientific community presents as its best theories on a certain subject. Now the word "theory" doesn't mean an indisputable fact, but it doesn't mean, as people in layterms think of it a hypothesis or an idea. Theories are founded upon and are used to unite empirical facts observed by the community and are the subject of intense scrutiny. To put it in more eloquent words, "in science, facts change more often than theories."

    I think there is a great danger in presenting this as a serious controversy to students. The theory of evolution is not under serious debate within the scientific community, it is generally accepted. It is what the scientific community tells us that really should be the subject of a science class, isn't that about right?

    If we are going to teach the controversy about evolution, then we should teach students about the people opposing other generally accepted scientific theories with little or no evidence as well. We should present every yahoo with an argument against anything if we want to be fair. (I realize that we don't have the time for that, but that's precisely the point. We don't have the time to be teaching this "controversy" either.) I don't understand why evolution needs to be singled out.

    Christianity or being pious has really nothing to do with the debate either. A lot of scientists that work in the field of biology are churchgoing Christians. If they see the ability for duality here, why should we let the extremists run the debate?

    We are dealing here with a serious issue that has to do with public ignorance. Most people simply do not understand what science is at a philosophical level or how it operates.

  • by Hasmanean (814562) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:37AM (#14567775)
    The Bible is not even close to being a pristine source of Gods words, but as of, say, 1990, the genetic code of everything on earth was--until we humans tampered with some microorganisms.

    All this debate we are having is because we have left these questions to be pondered by lawyers (and theologians), but they should be done by geeks (and their religious counterpart, mystics). The method is simple: look to the source. Our software/and hardware source-code is our DNA, and it is responsible for creating everything from our nano-scale protein structure to the shape of our butts (the ultimate unfathomable macro-scale manifestation of a micro-feature viz.

    Looking at the source code could tell us what life is, what coding tricks the original designer used, and if he left any comments or "easter eggs" or something which give us a clue as to his original intent behind any features.

    The Sufis quote Muhammad in saying "he who knows himself knows his Lord." Well, literally then whoever comprehends the genetic code knows the genetic designer, if any. If there never was a designer, then that will become apparent when we look at the code.

  • by dsanfte (443781) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:40AM (#14567799) Journal
    I could have modded you down, but didn't. I don't believe it's right to mod down people for presenting views that are on-topic that I disagree with. However, you're full of shit.
  • yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by akhomerun (893103) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:40AM (#14567801)
    hey, guess what, nobody's convinced on evolution because it doesn't have any real solid evidence.

    neither does ID either, according to science.

    but really, science is all theory. science is not solid enough to believe. science was wrong about the world being flat, wrong about the world being the center of the universe, and cannot be trusted anymore than the Bible can.

    I truly dislike the summary of this article because it's basically saying "I'm an atheist, and I'm surprised that British people largely believe in ID. I thought they were smarter than that." It's just kind of annoying to me how atheists try to point out that they are more sophisticated and how everyone who believes in ID is simply ignorant. Who knows who's right, but everyone believes something different, and there's no reason to be surprised that a lot of people believe in ID.

    Besides, if evolution really is true, why is there no other species that even comes close to human intelligence. You'd think that if evolution was close to the correct theory, that different species of monkeys/chimps/apes in different geological areas would evolve into different types of humanoid creatures. I would think if evolution was correct, there would be some sort of sub or super-human (as far as intelligence) that we could at least communicate with in some form, which would be distinctly human but have more or less intelligence, or other traits.

    I think the greatest argument for intelligent design is that there is only one species of homosapien that is even close to the intelligence of humans. Even chimps are limited to monkey-see-monkey-do types of intelligence. Humans, on the other hand, are capable of gaining their own information and passing it down through generations, writing it down, expanding it, and improving technology, things like that. Humans are capable of learning without learning from other people. That's what makes them intelligent. Suddenly, because people started realizing that monkeys had similar hands, brains, and DNA strands to humans, they assume that we come from them. Maybe creatures on this earth are similar simply because the same God was making them all, not because of evolution.

    If I remember right, the scientists invesigating evolution still haven't found any concrete evidence of an interim species that was between a monkey and a human.
  • by doombob (717921) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:42AM (#14567831) Homepage
    It's interesting to see how many post are talking about religion being one of the reasons people don't believe in evolution. Someone else did the work for me, but the research from UK based Christian-Research.org [google.com] says that very few Britons actually go to church. The research goes on to say a few things about the religious nature of the UK. I'm not saying that I agree with them, but maybe that many people just aren't convinced that evolution is the most accurate theory to explain how we got here. This study just may show the skeptical nature of people across the Atlantic.
  • by Americano (920576) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:43AM (#14567834)
    Two comments brought to mind by this article...

    One is an article (can't remember who by, sorry) that I read shortly after the 2004 election, taking Democrats to task for the re-election of George Bush. Essentially, the author was relating her conversation with a Democrat friend, who exclaimed something to the effect of, "I don't know HOW that man could have gotten re-elected, I don't know ANYBODY who voted for him!" The point of the article was that we all tend to assume that everybody thinks the same way we (and our small circle of friends) do, and it's often disconcerting to find that we're outside the mainstream, or that a very sizable portion of the general population disagrees with us.

    I'm also tickled to see that, despite all of the characterizations of Americans as backwoods hillbillies due to the seeming popularity of ID & Creationism here, apparently idiocy knows no national boundaries. I'll be waiting to see the coverage of this in the newspapers & magazines like Time & Newsweek... I probably shouldn't hold my breath for it, because this thinking doesn't dovetail with the image of americans that the world has grown comfortable with, namely that we're overwhelmingly mouth-breathing troglodytes, while the rest of the world consists of polished, cosmopolitan, urbane, well-manicured people.
  • by imadork (226897) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:45AM (#14567861) Homepage
    As I see it, the issue is really that the term "Intelligent Design" has been co-opted by the creationists in America in order to find a back-door way to put a literal interpretation of the bible in schools. Take a look at what the Catholics call "Intelligent Design" -- they hold that God did play a role in our development, but that there's nothing in the classical theory of evolution that contradicts this notion. The "Intelligent Designer" could have been working through the mechanism of evolution, for all we know. To a Catholic who is familiar with official church teaching, there is a fundamental difference between creationism and ID. Then again, Catholics are not required to interpret the bible literally, so they're under no obligation to think the world was created in 144 hours, unlike the fundamentalists who are pushing ID in America.

    Either way, under whichever definition of "Intelligent Design" you go by, the people who are not batshit crazy concede that intelligent design is not science, and is no replacement for any scientific theory. Science and religion answer fundamentally different questions, and can co-exist side by side. Intelligent Design should be taught from the pulpit, and not in schools. It's as simple as that.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:46AM (#14567880) Homepage Journal
    "when I try to imagine what it would be like to believe in a benevolent god, I think it would be such an amazing thing I don't see how any part of my life would be unaffected. I think that if someone really believed in god it would be obvious without even asking."

    For some people it is because they no longer feel safe letting it show. Many atheists are every bit as nasty as some fundamentalist. Instead of you declaring you an sinner and immoral they declare you an idiot, fool, and yes evil.

    While it is okay in most work places to talk about getting drunk, going out and partying all night, or how much you lost playing poker. A discussion of how much fun you had at church teaching the kids in your Sunday school class makes people nervous and some will snub you.

    Telling everyone how reading Men are Mars and Women are from Venus has improved you marriage is okay. Telling everyone how praying with your wife and kids everyday has improved your marriage is not.

    You asked so I thought I would share my experiences with you.
    A good example is my own mother. She noticed that of all her kids that my wife and I have the happiest marriage. I told her that a large part of that came from both of us following our faiths teachings. Her response was, "Well some people need that."
    Oh well.

    You are right and it is an amazing thing. Every once in a while a friend or co worker that isn't of my faith for some reason asks me for advice and help when things are really going wrong and I try and help with what I have learned through my faith. Even I try and keep it to myself. I often feel that I must only speak of it in hushed whispers. It is hard because I really don't want to make people feel uncomfortable but at the same time I have no idea why it should make anyone feel uncomfortable.

    I do not believe in creationism. I do believe in ID but at the cosmic level I.E. the prime cause and designer of the universe. I believe in evolution because I see the evidence and believe that the universe was set up to allow it.
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:47AM (#14567896)

    Intelligent Design is falsifiable, thus is science, and thus should be taught in the classroom.

    Care to explain how? Care to give just one example of an experiment that can be performed to falsify the 'theory' of Intelligent Design?

    We're all waiting...
  • by TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:48AM (#14567909)
    "Personally, I don't believe in Evolution. That doesn't make me an idiot."

    At the risk of being un-PC, yes it does. Not because you don't believe in evolution, but because you believe in such a poor alternative.

    Think about it: You're rejecting over a hundred years of empirical and scientific evidence, experiments, et al., as well as entire scientific fields (if you don't believe in evolution, you might as well disbelieve in, say, biology as well.)

    And for what? A story in a book written many thousands of years ago which has been redacted, changed, edited, and abridged a countless number of times.

    I think it's clear what any rational human being would choose.

  • by buddyglass (925859) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:48AM (#14567911)

    "Maybe I've been blind to the views of the majority in this proudly secular country."

    It often seems those of the "educated atheist" bent are frequently entirely ignorant of the actual views held by the citizenry of which they are a part. In my opinion it's a matter of isolation. People in general, and young educated atheists are no exception, tend to congregate with others similar to them. It's natural, then, to make the mistake of mapping one's peers' views onto the populace as a whole.

    As for Britain being a "proudly secular country", I don't think so. Norway maybe. Germany. France. Not the UK. Not yet, at least.

  • by malkavian (9512) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:55AM (#14568011) Homepage
    Interesting. What's you level of understanding of Evolution. BSc Biochemistry/Zoology/Biology/Genetics? Master, or PhD? Or basic schooling with a few easy books on the side and an armchair expert?

    The basic theory of evolution holds water, and models of it's behaviour (i.e. emergent systems) show a natural tendancy to improvement. Speciation events have been catalogued. Mutation and selection for fitness traits has been observed.
    Evolution, as a theory is a very strong one. The further back in history one goes, the less survives from the time period, thus the harder it is to obtain the evidence and a clear audit trail (have you ever tried finding clothing from 2000 years ago, which is in a clearly recorded era of history?).

    I'd actually be interested in hearing your dispute with the theory of Evolution. You've said it needs to be understood in a drastically different way, but can you explain why?
    If you've got clear evidence of a flaw, then I'd be happy to listen. If you just say 'because it does', then that's not a debate.
    Personally, I treat evolution as a good guideline (the best I know of), and leverage it while writing adaptive/learning systems.
    If you've got a better method, I'll be happy to listen, as it'd make my life a lot easier.
  • by the beava (415183) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:56AM (#14568016)
    What I am interested in, is what do people who think that the Earth is less then 10,000 years old, think when they pick up a National Geographic magazine, or turn on The Discovery Channel? Is all this information a big lie to them? How about the Genographic Project [nationalgeographic.com]? Even the "family-friendly" movie March of The Penguins begins with Morgan Freeman stating that penguins have made this journey for millions of years.

    It appears that everywhere around us we are exposed to information about the Earth being millions/billions of years old, and yet half of America does not believe this to be true? I'm not taking a stand on the issue, I'm just really confused about why/how people belive these things.
  • by Nimey (114278) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:00PM (#14568066) Homepage Journal
    You obviously don't understand gravity. Even the smallest object has some gravitational attraction. It's that gravity is a very weak force (the weakest of strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravity) and requires a lot of mass to be noticeable.

    You don't notice even large objects attracting each other because we've got this honking great gravity source beneath our feet. If you took, say, an Iowa-class battleship and a fishing boat and placed them close enough in intergalactic space with no other gravity sources for megaparsecs, the boat will orbit the battleship, just as the Earth orbits the Sun. With two identical masses they will orbit each other or collide.

    In fact, gravity *is* observable on Earth: tides. The Moon and the Sun attract the oceans gravitationally. Also the moon's "seas" -- Earth's gravity attracted the lava flows that formed them; there are no matching formations on the moon's far side.
  • by alcmaeon (684971) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:00PM (#14568068)
    The head of state, the Queen, is also the head of the Church of England. Nothin' secular about that, mate, unless you Brits have redefined "secular" and didn't clue the rest of us in on it.
  • by The Only Druid (587299) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:01PM (#14568092)
    I got a "flamebait" moderation? Ridiculous...that's why I post so much less lately...retarded moderation system...
  • by richieb (3277) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [beihcir]> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:01PM (#14568094) Homepage Journal
    Sarcasm noted. But exactly what I mean - now regardless of what I believe about continental drift and whatnot, an experiment that shows continental drift does not PROVE that all of the land was once gathered in the same mass. The problem with it is that you do not know what occurred in the past unless you have an observable experiment.

    Let me see. Did you observe a sunrise 200 years ago? According to you, I cannot conclude that the Sun rose 200 years ago, just because it rose for the past couple of years when I was able to observe it.

    Right?

  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:03PM (#14568137) Homepage Journal
    Come on, how many parents know how to teach children - and I mean really know?

    Today? Few -- because they give up that responsibility of parenthood to the State. I won't have a child until I can educate them in the system I choose with my own funding. I strongly believe that you shouldn't have children until you can accept the responsibility of them. If you do "by accident" there are churches, mosques, synagogues and pagan churches that are willing to help you fund their growth and education. Don't come asking me (a responsible human being) to pay for your error.

    What about the child? The child is screwed anyway -- if the parents aren't ready to parent, the public education system will have a monster on their hands. I see public education as the new parent, and this is not what I want.

    I'd rather see the bottom 10% of the poor having to get their education through the church or even work mentorship programs than see 90% of the kids be held back because of equality laws and mandates.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Packet Pusher (231564) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:06PM (#14568176)
    More like bad things the US has imported from your country. We asked for the seperation of Church and State for a reason your country being the prime example at the time.
  • Re:Species Evolve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) * <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:06PM (#14568185) Homepage Journal
    Ah, the entropy argument. Basically, it's impossible to create complexity, you can only ever reduce complexity, meaning complex life cannot possibly evolve from simple life.

    While possibly true if the Earth was a closed system over the long run, it completely fails to account for the fact that the Earth is NOT a closed system. In fact we have an enormous energy source right in our backyard (cosmicaly speaking): The Freaking Sun! Also, it makes people crack the joke: "Wow, Einstein's mother must have been one hell of a physicist!".

    Here's a fun game you can play while listening to ID vs. Evolution debates: Listen to each argument from the ID side and name which logical fallicy it is based on. Hint: half of the time it is argumentum ad ignorantiam [wikipedia.org].
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:10PM (#14568246) Homepage Journal
    (I was at 49% in highschool, I've been top 5% in college and I felt the first 2 years were nothing but review)

    I was in the bottom 5% of my high school, but I was earning over teacher's pay by 16. I learned through work, and I believe others can as well.

    Don't you feel terrible that your first 2 years of college -- a competitive system where YOU choose which school and how much you're willing to pay -- has to reteach everyone for 2 of the 4 years? Why is that?

    I was ready for college by 13 (I started my first business at 13). I would have loved to take a few classes (say, 6 hours a week) for 8 years while working, receiving mentorship from entrepreneurs, and paying for it myself.

    Yet I was practically mandated to go to high school. Freshman year they wanted to place me in an LD class (low attention span to my classes) but I received the highest ACT and SAT scores in my district 2 years later. I was also a D- student because I tried to force the issue of skipping high school and going straight into the work program.

    50% of my friends and employees have gone to college. All of them gained 4-5 years of college and social debt and a piece of paper. None of them are smarter or better socially than those friends and employees of mine who never went to college. My best employee is a high school drop out and he is sharp as a whip -- and his parents are complete morons.

    At 18 I recommend taking the money and time you'd spend on college and starting a business. I've helped many teenagers do this over the years, and almost 90% of them are still in business and well ahead of their peers.

    College is now primarily to teach kids what they didn't learn in 12 years of public education. As the government starts funding almost 70% of college educations, the prices have gone up and the quality has gone down. I don't even look for degrees any more in any of my businesses. Today I am visiting a customer who has a US$100 million gross income in their field and I'll be helping them hire a few new thinkers. Of the top 10 candidates, only 5 have college degrees. The process I use to hire is to put them to work for an hour and see who comes out sweat free and confident. College doesn't seem to teach those skills.
  • by Marc_Hawke (130338) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:11PM (#14568255)
    The first thing you learn in Science is the story about water in a tub.

    If you fill a tub full of water and then reduce the water coming out of the faucet to a drip, you can easily get a scientist to give you the wrong answer by bringing him in at this point and asking how long it took for the tub to fill up.

    It would be ridiculous to argue against the current rates of mutation and natural selection. However, it's also ridiculous to just assume it's happened that same way for all of history.

    It's perfectly fine to say "IF it has always happened this way" then this is how things played out. The problem arises when you flatly refuse to listen to, and try to belittle anyone who says that the tub was filled beforehand.
  • by Thangodin (177516) <[elentar] [at] [sympatico.ca]> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:13PM (#14568284) Homepage
    The fact is that scientists are just as rabid retards concerning evolution as the id/creationalists are.

    They loose objectivity and scream "I AM A STUPID IDIOT" to the masses of people as they intimidate and stick their collective tounge out at the very people who are interested in really understanding it.


    Science is not about you. It's not about your feelings, or about what you want to believe, or about being sensitive to what you think. It's an all-out battleground, a free market of ideas, and if scientists talk to you that way, its because they talk to each other that way. It's not personal. Science is all about evidence and sound reasoning that works with that evidence, and the people who practice it care so much about this that they get very pissed off when somebody ignores the evidence and spouts nonsense.

    So, to all those people who are greatly offended by the brusque tone of scientists, get over yourselves. There are more important things in this world than your tender little ego. And really, that's what this whole debate is about; people don't want to believe that they are descended from monkeys, and ultimately, from worms, because it offends their pride. And if these people really were interested in learning, they would overcome their pride and learn.
  • by BibelBiber (557179) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:19PM (#14568367)
    Hey, what has secularism to do with what people believe? I am a secularist and a christian. so what? Can't that be? There is nothing wrong with running a state in a secular manner but believing in God on a personal basis. As long as evolution is taught as part of proper education, I don't have aproblem with that. I do have a problem with people telling me there is nothing else possible. That is indoctrination in a atheistic manner and has nothing to do with secularism. A secular society should not only be open to atheistic views of the world but also to theistic ones. Guy, /. is really biased on this topic.
  • Re:Genius (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yet another coward (510) <yacoward@noSpAM.yahoo.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:21PM (#14568400)
    Scientific proof? Science is about evidence and pragmatic proposals describing processes. Reminisce as you please. Science is about consistency with observations, and its conclusions are always provisional.

    I am sick of such mischaracterization of science in the act of making terrible arguments that appeal to how much you dislike attitudes rather than actual observations.
  • by UberOogie (464002) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:23PM (#14568417)
    If you fill a tub full of water and then reduce the water coming out of the faucet to a drip, you can easily get a scientist to give you the wrong answer by bringing him in at this point and asking how long it took for the tub to fill up.

    Erm, in a word: no.

    If all you told him was that the tub was full and the tap is dripping, then yes, you might get a scientist to give a wrong conclusion.

    But if you let the scientist examine the tub and the faucet, more likely than not, you'd get the right answer.

    That's the problem with ID. It is an attack on science, not a theory unto itself. Science may have it wrong, so god must have done it.
  • Re:Genius (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:23PM (#14568422)
    Well said. Is anyone else sick of this kind of attitude in the "scientific" community? Referring specifically to matters of the origin of life and the idea of intraspecies evolution, neither theory is even close to establishing scientific proof of their ideas, yet the intellectually "elite" have no problem ridiculing those who don't believe in evolution wholesale.

    Hold your praise, because I don't particularly agree with that. Evolution is as close to established fact as any "theory" can be. Additionally, ID/Creationism isn't a "theory," rather "dogma," because it seeks to mold facts around its ideas rather than the other way around. Evolution has been shown very solidly to explain transitions between specific species. The fact that not every fossil of every creature has been found is not a weakness.

    How else do you explain the venom that they spew at those who question what they consider sacred?

    Because the religious nuts are trying to screw with public schools where the rest of us have to send our kids? No one cares if they miseducate their own kids in parochial schools. I agree that tolerance is called for - of the people. However, ID simply IS NOT SCIENCE, nor should be treated as such. It is not testable or disprovable. I will not even consider it until it yields a testable hypothesis. As Pauli would say, "That's not right. That's not even wrong!" The meaning there is that a theory isn't a theory unless it could potentially be tested and found to be flawed. Same with ID. You can't prove the existence of God, it's not worth the effort.

    If their theory has so much evidence behind it, you'd think they'd welcome the chance to convince the rest of us further...

    It's kind of like teaching a pig to sing...wastes your time and annoys the pig. If someone has chosen to generally reject the scientific method and accept religion, that's fine. But they're not doing it based on available evidence, and as such there's no real reason to believe that more evidence will convince them. I've realized the futility of this long ago. So I don't try to convince creationists. I just want them out of public office.

    To summarize, ID is religion in sheep's clothing. The one thing I do agree with you about is this: science isn't religion, and shouldn't be treated as such - and vice versa.

  • by Mister Transistor (259842) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:23PM (#14568428) Journal
    The only problem with Gravity I have heard of is covered by Wiley's Law: A person going off a cliff will not fall until he _notices_ he's standing in mid-air.

    Other than than minor anomaly, I find Gravity quite reliable and consistent - every time I fall, it's always down!
  • by Forbman (794277) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:26PM (#14568471)
    Well, there are humans born with 21 pairs or 23 pairs (XXY syndrome) of chromosomes, too. Why is it that not every cross between a horse and a donkey is sterile?

    If you throw enough of a population together long enough, you're going to get some interesting edge cases that occaisionally express themselves. If you have some sort of selective pressure for those traits, they will express themselves even more so.

    If you don't believe this, just go look at your average interurban rock pigeon flock. Most of them will be just like all of the others. But in a very few flocks, some of the more recessive genes will be played out - there willl be a bird or two that is mostly white, mostly brown, or otherwise not quite like all of the others.

    Even in strains of historically white sheep (Dorset, Romney, etc) you get the occaisional odd black sheep. It just happens.
  • by mudetroit (855132) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:29PM (#14568501) Journal
    Science has been riddled with reversals throughout its very history.

    To name a few:
    Phlogiston [wikipedia.org]
    The Plum Pudding Model [wikipedia.org]
    The Four Humours (as a physiological model> [wikipedia.org]
    The Earth is Flat [wikipedia.org]
    The Geocentric model [wikipedia.org]
    I could list hundreds of other beliefs that seemed perfectly rational based upon the science of the time.

    Of course, I can also predict the arguement that you will make was that these weren't based upon good science, but the fact of the matter is that they were based upon the science of the time the prospered in. We look back on them now with modern scientific methods and see them as being pretty bad explinations for things, but there is little to say that in another 200 years or another couple millenia that our descendents won't say the very same thing about a lot of out scientific beliefs.

    Don't take this as me making an attack on evolution, frankly I believe it myself it does seem to make a certain amount of sense. I also happen to believe in God myself, and I don't find that to be on any level a contradiction.

    What I do find ridiculous is making blanket attacks on someone who does take the time to understand any scientific theory and decides that because of the known problems with it that they don't believe it to be the right explanation. This isn't some fundamental failing of the person as it is having a basic skepticism that should be lauded as it is the very basis of science itself. We shouldn't absolutely believe anything we cannot prove.

  • by LBU.Zorro (585180) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:29PM (#14568503)
    I think you are making the same mistake that many people do:

    Not understanding what you mean when you say 'Evolution'.

    You see evolution is demonstrable fact, you can see it occur all the time all around you. However, the Theory of Evolution (what I believe you are talking about) as proposed by Darwin in his Origin of the Species is something else. It's a theory that proposes how life progressed from a single celled organism to our current myriad of species. (And yes speciation has been observed - at least within non-breedable boundries).

    I agree with what you say about macro continental drift - There is evidence to say it occured, but you can't be 100% sure. I don't believe in it, but I think it is the most likely explanation. It's a theory about how events long past occured - it doesn't require belief...

    If you think of evolution as micro-continental drift and Darwin's Theory of evolution as macro-continental drift you'd be pretty much there. The theory matches the evidence, although there are some holes where available evidence doesn't fully back up the theory. That doesn't mean the theory is useless, it means that reality is messy. It might be that the Theory of Evolution is wrong, but its currently the best fit, and indeed the most valuable fit for the scientific goal of prediction.

    My final point is 'Where's the value?' If Intelligent Design is correct then one of two things are true - either the intelligence followed a plan / formula etc or just did stuff on a whim. If the intelligence did it on a whim you cannot predict anything from it, you could spontaneously turn into a cat tomorrow and it would fit the theory perfectly - whilst simultaneously being useless for prediction or further learning. If however, the intelligence followed a plan, then that plan can be exposed, the evidence however would point to the intelligence's plan being something very akin to darwin's Theory of Evolution; this being the case why not use the theory of evolution until something better comes to explain it? Either its the intelligence's mind, or its physical process, the end result is the same...

    Not that I feel you need to change your mind or anything, I just find that honest attempts to understand both sides are better - and the confusion over evolution and Darwin's Theory of Evolution is commonly used to say evolution is false and unprovable, its only the Theory of Evolution that unprovable. That's an aside as to the mechanism whereby life does evolve, which is different to the evolution itself.

    Enjoy :)
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:29PM (#14568504)
    A very well-reasoned post, and your conclusions are inescapable--except for one thing. Intelligent Design is falsifiable, thus is science, and thus should be taught in the classroom.

    Interesting claim, considering that in the Dover court case, none of the ID "experts" were able to suggest any even vaguely experiment capable of falsifying ID. Demonstrating evolution in any kind of experimental system obviously does not falsify ID, because ID does not exclude the possibility that some things could have evolved. Indeed, ID advocate Behe apparently believes that what was "intelligently designed" was some kind of microorganism, and that everything evolved from that. So no matter what kind of experimental demonstration of evolution is provided, the ID advocate can always respond, "OK, so maybe that can evolve, but {insert something else} is intelligently designed." It is this kind of all-purpose "out" that renders a theory unfalsifiable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:29PM (#14568506)
    "In fact, one school board member continually referred to it as "intelligence design [sic]", another believed it was the same as creationism, another believed it only referred to the emergence of intelligence, etc"

    Yeah, school board members aren't rocket scientists. My mom taught at a school district that had an illiterate board member!! It's more depressing when one notes that school boards are also called the "Board of Education"
  • by Sage Gaspar (688563) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:29PM (#14568509)
    You are a pure evolutionist, in the sense that evolution as a science would not be able to tell whether the hand of an extrasensory being was involved or not. Science talks about what we can perceive, faith discusses what we can't.

    But you have people on both extremes claiming one can dominate the other, when they are, in fact, not capable of influencing each other *by definition*. Faith that is observable is not faith. Science that is not observable is not science.

    To answer your question, I don't really see a need to categorize yourself. Identifying your beliefs with a group leads to a mob mentality, and to a lot of needless problems when two people can't see past the groups they identify themselves with to realize that their beliefs are really very similar.
  • Idiocy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by F_Scentura (250214) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:30PM (#14568517)
    On the contrary, it's people who try and make objective truth subjective and believe that feel-good solutions are more important than being right that're to blame for society's ills.

    "Life's deeper questions" tell us what to do with our lives, and should not be used to describe the exact processes of life's creation. To do so *is* idiocy.
  • by ThankfulJosh (867278) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:35PM (#14568603)
    How is this comment NOT flamebait?

    Are you seriously saying that only an idiot would believe that there might be a creator that made things, rather than believing that they just happened by chance and natural selection? You've closed the debate in your head, and assumed that anyone not agreeing with you is a moron.



    "And you, sir, are worse than Hitler." :^)
  • by Nightwing (51528) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:35PM (#14568609) Homepage
    Well, lots of nice beliefs there, little in the way of science.

    The fact is that evolution flies in the face of the second law of thermodynamics, which makes it very much unlike any other accepted area of science.


    No, it doesn't. The Second Law of Thermodynamics only applies to closed systems, which life clearly isn't. The sun constantly provides energy input to life on this planet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:43PM (#14568732)
    Intelligent design? Didn't Queer Eye for the Straight Guy cover that?
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:47PM (#14568809)
    Macro-evolution is NOT micro-evolution on a larger scale, and cannot be explained by micro-evolution over a long period of time. By "cannot be explained" I actually mean that it was formerly explained that way until the fossil record showed that macro changes occur suddenly, not gradually. Now evolutionary "scientists" have various theories for what triggers these changes.

    Actually, modern DNA studies have confirmed the prediction that macro-evolution is simply microevolution on a large scale. The prediction of evolutionary theory is that all differences among species will turn out to be due varying quantities of the sort of "micro" genetic changes that have been shown to occur by mutation. Many genomes have now been sequenced, and so far that prediction has held up perfectly.

    His theory was that God created a few, or one, initial organisms, and that everything else evolved from them by the mechanisms he described. By what we know now, that seems naive, but it was a coherant theory. But now, in the interest of making it a purely naturalistic theory, "scientists" actually try to explain the origins of the first cells in terms of molecules "evolving" into them. As this kind of evolution pre-supposes the ability to reproduce and pass along genetic coding to its offspring, ability that by definition, a pre-organism does not have. This "scientific theory" can therefore only be believed by the delusional.

    Darwin understood that you cannot make a scientific theory about God. His theory did not address whether or not God created the initial organisms--it only addressed how organisms have changed over time. Nor did Darwin's theory include anything about a particular kind of genetic material--indeed, Darwin had never heard of genetics. Darwin did predict that there had to be some sort of mechanism for passing down changes undiluted from generation to generation, and the discovery of DNA-based inheritance is perhaps one of the most dramatic confirmations of a theory's predictions in the history of science. But all that evolution requires is some mechanism of inheritance. All models of the origin of life take this into account. There are several such models, and none has yet reached the level of near-universal scientific acceptance that evolution has attained, but all of them include a mechanism (not necessarily DNA-based) for proto-organisms to pass down traits from generation to generation.
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:52PM (#14568889) Homepage Journal
    ut its also isolated to NYC - like a lot of problems NYC has.

    Watch the 20/20 episode -- this problem is NOT isolated to NYC. My town (suburban, halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee) has 2 teachers that should have been fired years ago -- but the school administration can't. The union has threatened to walk if the teachers are canned. I am very involved with my school board (I constantly go to review why my stolen taxdollars are being wasted on useless programs).

    However, you remain completely silent on the fact that many poor simply wouldn't get an education.

    Since when is this a fact? The poor eat, right? The poor generally have televisions and cell phones also. Some of the poor in this country are indoctrinated poor people -- they're poor because it means less work.

    Jacon Hornberger comments about how the poor would get educated in a free market education system. Voluntary donations by the wealthy [lewrockwell.com]. In fact, this has been happening for decades already.

    The poor today already get the worst educations -- their schools are run over by gangs, drug dealers and unsafe environments. From what I've seen in my volunteer time with my church in very bad neighborhoods near my town, the poor are sent to school to keep them together. Kids with the desire to get away from their poverty have no chance -- the system won't allow it.

    There are also places where it completely fails - particularly when there just isn't much market competition involved.

    Yet McDonalds and Burger King can provide a meal for $3 (cheaper over time actually), but education has to increase its costs 10% every year? Wal*Mart can provide clothing at lower and lower prices every year, but we need to keep adding more topics for teachers to teach even though we're already paying way more than we should be?

    Before we had public education, our poor had higher literacy rates. Current literacy rates do not actually test reading skill, they are based on how many years a student has studied English. Been in school for 6 years? You're literate, at least for statistical purposes.

    To me, it seems that public education stifles 90% of the kids in order to try to help the 10% at the bottom. This is not how it should be. By trying to make everyone an average citizen, how can you expect some to excel and become the next wealthy generation? How can you expect some to have to settle in lower paying jobs to keep the economy driving strong?
  • by ulfaen (603432) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:02PM (#14569045)
    I think the problem with not reacting to this ridiculous 'Theory off Intelligent design' lies in the propensity of stupid ideas to re-germinate in the lazy minded despite evidence to the contrary. (note that I did not say the stupid, I really wanted to.) Its far easier to have a few inane soundbites handed to you by your faith leader, to not do any actual study of the Theory of Evolution, to react at a viceral level (I ain't decended from no MONKEY!)and then to become a member of your local school board.

    Once you have managed to get to that point, why its a short hop to restupidifying the youth of your community with this crap.

    I thik it is far wiser to address idiocy when it springs up with withering facts and dessicating satire. if you ridicule an idiot long enough, they usually shut their moronic piehole.

    Ulfaen
  • Re:Yessh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sean Hederman (870482) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:04PM (#14569083) Homepage
    I'm an atheist, although I don't claim to be 'educated', merely well-read ;-D

    Just as a point though, you are confusing the Big Bang with evolution. Evolution says nothing about anything that happened before the first life form appeared. Want to know how it appeared? Evolution does not have an answer. Want to know where the Universe came from? Ask a cosmologist, not an evolutionary biologist.

    As such evolution makes no comments about anything even remotely resembling the beginning of time. Your dust particle idea, while interesting, says nothing about evolution whatsoever. I'd enjoy arguing the cosmology, but think I should stay on topic.

    Anyway, back to your ideas about God being involved in the Big Bang, I'd have to agree with you whole-heartedly. There is most definately a possibility that He did kick off the whole shebang. Personally I don't believe that's what happened, but that's just my opinion. The idea is also not scientific, however that doesn't neccesarily make it false.

    As for your "evolutionists" who pull out "dates and timelines" to argue with you, if they're using it to dispute the idea that God created the Universe with the Big Bang, then they're up the creek without a paddle. Carbon dating says nothing about the Big Bang, since when it happened there wasn't any carbon :-)

    If they're using it to dispute that God was involved in the process of evolution on Earth, they're similarly mistaken, since carbon dating will tell you nothing about how something happened, merely an approximate date when it did. We do have numerous other concepts to explain how things happened, such as mutation, natural selection and so forth, but none of them rule out a guiding God. They simply ignore the possibility, not because scientists are neccesarily atheists or anything, but simply because science doesn't deal in supernatural events, and limits itself to the natural.

    Good luck with the studies.
  • Re:Yessh.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:06PM (#14569108)
    Your reasoning is a good example of why a large number of scientists are athiests. I'll paraphrase what you said: Anything that can be verifed with my own eyes is allowed to be science, if anything cannot be verifed through my experience must be God.

    If the going gets tough the tough goes to ID? Science isn't around to make you feel better when you wake up in the night and wonder what it's all about, science won't make you feel better about yourself or help you find your place: Science is a razor constantly cutting away at the meat, only trying to find the bone: not defining the bone or deciding the shape or characterstics of the bone.
  • Re:Not surprised (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:07PM (#14569134) Homepage Journal
    The theory of evolution by natural selection is pure science. In fact, I'd say that it's probably the most successful scientific theory that we have, even more successful than any physics theory, for the reason that everything in biology is built upon it. Physics is still working towards a single theory that underlies both relativity and quantum mechanics.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:08PM (#14569143) Homepage
    Most scientists couldn't give a sh*t either way. They simply don't have ego invested into the idea.

    That is part of being a scientist. You don't let your ego get in the way of the truth.
  • by LoyalOpposition (168041) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:10PM (#14569168)
    Care to explain how? Care to give just one example of an experiment that can be performed to falsify the 'theory' of Intelligent Design?

    One idea posited by Intelligent Design is that the strong and weak nuclear forces are finely balanced. Any stronger, and the universe would consist of the near-equivalent of a neutron star at the center of the universe and nothing any where else. Any weaker and the universe would consist of a diffuse "gas" throughout the universe. Neither of these would support life. Intelligent Design states that there is no reason for these forces to be balanced so closely, therefore an intelligence whose goal was to achieve life balanced those forces thusly. There are some 50 to 80 balanced "forces" highlighted by proponents. If it were found that the forces had to be what they are, that is--they couldn't be varied by an intelligence any more than an intelligence can make 1 + 1 equal any thing other than 2--that would tend to falsify Intelligent Design. Supersymmetry is a theory that proposes that the forces in question must be what they are. Therefore any experiment that could support Supersymmetry would tend to falsify Intelligent Design.

    Another idea posed by Intelligent design is that there is a certain minimum amount of information needed to have life--things like ribosomes and transcriptase. Evolution cannot be used to explain abiogenesis because evolution cannot exist without life, therefore some other process must be used to explain abiogenesis. Calculations show, hoever, that random processes cannot proceed rapidly enough, given the number of baryons in the universe, to create the necessary information short of a huge number of lifetimes of the universe. Therefore something other than random processes had to create the minimum amount of information to begin life. Any experiment that showed that a substantially lesser amount of information were needed would tend to falsify Intelligent Design.

    Intelligent Design posits that life began within one hundred million years after life became possible (shortly after cooling to the point of liquid water.) This is a short time in geological terms. However, life has not begun once since. Therefore something either actively created life once it became possible or something actively keeps new forms of life from springing up. Any experiment that found that life has spontaneously generated approximately thirty times on Earth since then would tend to falsify Intelligent Design.

    Intelligent Design posits that life changed very slowly immediately after life began, then a profusion of new life forms came into existence during the cambrian period, and life has changed very slowly since. Intellient Design claims that this history is consistent with an intelligence stepping in and taking an active hand, and then ceasing. Intelligent design claims that this is inconsistent with random processes operating slowly over time. Any experiment that showed that mutagenic forces were at work during the cambrian period, which weren't also at work during other periods, would tend to falsify Intelligent Design.

    By the way, the general tone of your post is sarcastic and demeaning, and makes an excellent example the close mindedness of some proponents of Evolution.

    I would like to say something about your use of scare quotes around the word "theory." I think you'll find, if you look, that a theory is defined as a set of statements having two subsets--the set of statements that are acceptable (s.k.a True,) and those that aren't (s.k.a False.) Thus Intelligent Design easily meets the definition of theory, and your use of scare quotes is unwarranted.

    By the way, I suspect you don't know the meaning of "falsifiable" in the sense of Popper.

    We're all waiting...

    With bated breath?

    -Loyal

  • by workindev (607574) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:17PM (#14569260) Homepage
    By it's very definition, Scientific Method [wikipedia.org] requires reproducible experimentation in order to support a hypothesis or prediction. By it's very nature, macro evolution is impossible to experimentally reproduce. Finding small, old bones in Africa only proves that there were small, old bones in Africa. Any further hypothesis generated from this observation has to be supported by reproducible experiments, and the only way to reproduce this experiment would be to put a bunch of monkeys in a closed system and wait around for a few hundred million years to see if they start making cars, programming computers, and flying airplanes.

    It is interesting how intellectual snobs, such as yourself, fail to grasp this concept. Macro evolution is not proven by observation as you claim, it is an theory that tries to explain observation.

    There have been very few absolute reversals in science, why do you expect that evolution will be any different?

    What are you talking about? Science is always changing. A few thousand years ago, Science taught that the world was flat and that the earth was the center of the universe. A few hundred hears ago, science thought that illness meant you were possessed by a demon or troll. If you think that scientific though is not going to be drastically different centuries from now, you are ignoring history.
  • by Guuge (719028) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:21PM (#14569312)
    Those aren't absolute reversals. So the Plumb Pudding Model was revised. Was it wrong about electrons? Was it wrong about atoms having a source of positive charge? No. It was wrong by not being specific enough about where exactly positive charge falls in an atom. Thus it is an example of idea evolution.

    Take Phlogiston. Okay, it sounds a little silly from our modern perspective, but does that make it absolutely unmitigatingly wrong? Of course not. It simply attributed to a gas what should have been attributed to the absence of a gas. Once again, when the evidence came out against it the modification was made. In fact, Phlogiston theory aided the understanding of gasses. The Phlogiston model was remarkably accurate except for the problem of identifying which direction reactions actually occur in.

    The same is true of the others. You especially should have realized that the flat-Earth notion is not a full reversal; many applications today assume a flat Earth as a reasonable approximation of terrain.

    Evolution will be the same. There will be certain aspects that have to be modified. Perhaps new processes will be discovered that enhance our understanding. But it is not reasonable to suppose that the entire framework will be scrapped.
  • by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:26PM (#14569383)
    The Flying Spaghetti Monster agrees with you LoyalOpposition. These "Creationist Zealots" are waaay too close minded. I mean, what makes more sense: "Natural selection" (yeah right) or His Noodly Appendage? I think the answer is clear. And delicious.

    Yarrrgh!
  • Re:Close Friends (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:36PM (#14569527)

    Sorry to say that if you believe in gods, santa claus, tooth fairies etc, you are not well educated. Logic and critical thinking is proably not part of your education.

    Then perhaps you might use your obviously superior logical skills to show us less fortunate individuals how you came to this conclusion ? I, for one, fail to see the connection. And while you're at it, you might also explain how conformance to your worldview shows critical thinking, and how lack of such conformance shows a lack of such thought.

    Or were you just karma whoring ?

  • Roblimo (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:37PM (#14569545)
    I have a better education, as do all of the people I work with (we're all PhD's) and many of us (I will not say most or a few, as it would bias the point) are theists. So putting education as a qualifier for athiesm is nonsense. You should not try to give your view athority by saying many other educated people believe it too. And writing an article with such a statement is kind of insulting, is being a journalist no longer considered being a professional.?

    I do not have a problem with evolution, it can easily exist within the theistic frame. But so many people automatically assume that evolution is an if and only if relationship with athiesm, which is not only nonsense, but also polarizing (both thiests and athiests do this in my experience). Perhaps if we all thought about the statement that an education takes an empty mind and opens it, then we would find it much harder to call ourselves educated without a little more effort.
  • by mrtroy (640746) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:44PM (#14569651)
    I do not mean to be rude, but...

    Telling everyone how reading Men are [from] Mars and Women are from Venus has improved you marriage is okay. Telling everyone how praying with your wife and kids everyday has improved your marriage is not.
    Praying with your wife and kids will not improve your marriage. The side effect of spending time with your wife and kids will, but if you are never home, bang hundreds of other women and are a cokehead, praying with your wife and kids at night will not improve your marriage. If you told me you prayed with your wife and kids everyday to improve your marriage, I would suggest you a fool to believe that. Reading that Men are from Mars book could ACTUALLY improve your marriage by suggesting where communications commonly break down between the genders, as a result of their differences in thinking processes.

    She noticed that of all her kids that my wife and I have the happiest marriage. I told her that a large part of that came from both of us following our faiths teachings.
    Again...there is no causality here. Perhaps you two have more in common on that particular subject, but faith teachings will not give you a happy marriage.

    I fully encourage anyone to live any sort of religious life that they choose, but the implications that this will somehow result in you living a "happier" or "better" life is ridiculous. Religion is a motivation on the macro level, it does not influence micro portions of your life.

    And finally, I hope that you do not spend Sundays teaching your children how your religion is the only way to live, I hope you teach them the life lessons tied into the messages. For example, Jesus turning one piece of bread into many isn't meant to be taught as a "Jesus is all powerful", but a "sharing is good for all people" message.

  • by Weedlekin (836313) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:46PM (#14569686)
    I reckon it's more likely to be the notably British attribute of responding to polls in ways that end up producing totally meaningless results. This is after all a nation wose government had to recognise Jedi Knights as being a valid religion because so many people claimed to be one during the last national census.

    I wonder therefore how the results would have looked if they'd provided "The Flying Spaghetti Monster" as one option in the belief section, and "How much beer a person can drink in five minutes" under what should be taught in schools. It is I think likely that a significant proportion of British people would opt for both of the silly options, thereby proving once and for all that most Brits' answers to questions by pollsters really mean "fuck off and leave me alone, you nosy bastard".
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:49PM (#14569725)

    Here's how to falsify portions of the current theory of evolution:

    • Find evidence that fossils are faked and are not really the remains of very old animals and plants.
    • Find evidence that those fossils could not have been the descendants of current animals for any reason.
    • Find evidence of any biological feature that could not have evolved from some other biological feature for some reason.
    • Demonstrate that living creatures subjected to a challenge do not adapt over generations to deal with the challenge.
    • Find genetic evidence that genes do not carry information about how/what we grow into.
    • Find evidence to explain why animals, when subjected to environmental conditions, eventually changed in ways that made them better suited to those conditions that differs in some way from evolutionary theory, and demonstrate evidence.
    • Falsify any of the other claims and predictions made by evolutionary theory.

    So, no matter how complex, even if the system if irreducibily complex, the evolutionist could just say "we haven't figured it out yet"... this excuse could be used on and on with no chance for falsification.

    The entire concept of "irreducibly complex" is logically flawed. As for falsifying Darwinism, just prove a creature did not evolve from an early animal. Show proof of how one creature was created from scratch. We know evolution happens because we've watched it happen hundreds of times. We strongly suspect all animals on earth evolved because it seemed logical and when we made predictions about what we would find, if that were the case, those predictions proved correct.

    The problem is, you're asking for proof to prove something that has mountains of evidence supporting it. The proof would need to overcome those mountains of evidence. In the beginning, most people did not believe in evolution. Then we did a whole lot of experiments that indicated evolution was right. Falsifying it would have been doing those experiments and not finding any evidence. If we subjected short-lived animals to a biological pressure and they did not adapt through survival of the fittest evolution would have been disproved. That did not happen.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:01PM (#14569887)

    spontaneous generation is not an aspect of the theory of evolution. If you were taught that it is, then you were taught the wrong thing.

    Actually, it is, when ToE is referred as an alternative possibility to creationism. The logical possibilities for the beginning of the life are as follows:

    1. Life has always existed and thus has no beginning.
    2. Life was created (by some supernatural entity).
    3. Life began spontaneously (without intervention of supernatural entity).

    Option number one is unlikely, since universe itself has not, according to current theories, always existed. Life that has been in existence for a limited amount of time must have had a beginning. So that only leaves the options of life being created by some supernatural entity, or the first seeds of life coming from unliving material on their own - spontaneously.

    Of course it is also logically possible that life was created and then evolved, but that is a fundamentally creationist worldview - that is, will wall to the ID/creationism side of the current debate.

    As for why creationism requires a supernatural creator, it is simply that any other kind of creator couldn't have existed before nature (universe) began, and thus we are faced with the same dilemma of beginning with it.

    The theory of evolution is quite simple. It makes one simple statement. That is; "The percentage of a particular phenotype(in this day and age we now say genotype) changes over time."

    THat is it. That is the theory of evolution. I think this is very hard to disagree with.

    No. That statement would be true even if no evolution was possible; afte all, whenever I step on a bug, the percentage of that bug phenotype relative to all other bug phenotypes changes. Similarly, every time my immune system kills a bacteria trying to invade my body, the percentage of that bacteria relative to all bacteria changes. This is true even if every bug and bacteria is guaranteed to be a carbon copy of its parent(s) (which they aren't, of course). Your single-sentence summary of evolution is true in all imaginable worlds where organisms are born, die, or both, and there is more than one kind of organism, whether or not these organisms are capable of producing any variation in their offspring or not.

    Besides, the article clearly stated that the survey was about origin of life, not just what has happened since then.

    Of course, none of this makes ID falsifiable.

  • Re:Not surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by skintigh2 (456496) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:03PM (#14569932)
    Sadly, most American Christians see nothing wrong or un-American about forcing non-Christians to follow Christian beliefs. (this issue, gay marriage, numerous other hot-button issues, etc.) It's really quite sad how unimportant religious freedom is to some of the most religious people. Well, as long as they are in the majority, anyway. I'm sure it will suddenly be cause #1 if Islam ever becomes the majority.

    ANYWAY, my question is to you or any creationist who rejects the "randomness" of evolution. If God created the universe and the rules that govern it (which no scientist can disprove), and if God knows all, then there is no randomness, is there? He already knew exactly where evolution would take his creation, didnt He?

    Or do you doubt God ;P
  • by ultranova (717540) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:09PM (#14569996)

    Astrology is falsifiable,

    You might want to take a look at your horoscope for the past month, and try to prove that it was false, before making this claim again. Even politicians could learn a thing or two from astrologers about the not-so-noble art of vagueness ;).

    but hasn't been anything close to a science for millenia.

    Sure it has. It's just called "astronomy" nowadays, and is used for estimating solar storms (to be prepared for communications and power grid disturbances) and tides (altought that's trivial, of course) instead of your romantic chances or whatever.

    See, the basic premise of astrology - that celestial bodies can affect things here on Earth - was completely correct; only the exact causal relationships were unknown. They have been worked out during the millenias, and now we can make pretty good predictions.

    Of course there's also the bullshit brigade that still calls themselves "astrologers", but snake-oil salesmen don't make penicillin any less efficient medicine, now do they ?

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:11PM (#14570017) Journal
    Other moderators have fixed it. You get these nasty little anti-science bigots coming around. Be glad all you got was a bit of hoakey moderation. The anti-science bigots are trying to swift boat Judge Jones. Take it as a compliment. You frightened that moderator so much that he wasted a mod point.
  • by Dimensio (311070) <.moc.uolgi. .ta. .ratskrad.> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:14PM (#14570069)
    Actually, it is, when ToE is referred as an alternative possibility to creationism.

    But the ToE is not an "alternative possibility to creationism." The ToE is simply a scientific explanation for the emergence of diverse species from common ancestry. It's not the fault of the theory of reality happens to contradict any number of religious myths.
  • by smoker2 (750216) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:22PM (#14570182) Homepage Journal
    The problem arises when you flatly refuse to listen to, and try to belittle anyone who says that the tub was filled beforehand.
    Eh ?

    You just told us that you filled it up and then tried to pretend it was filled by a dripping faucet. Obviously you're talking bollocks.

    That's the problem with ID. You make an argument based on bad facts or no facts at all, in fact a lot of it is out and out lies. You don't know that god created the earth (so your straw man is drowning in your tub), but you are prepared to belittle people who spend their entire lives finding out exactly how it did get formed. I know whose opinion I'd rather trust.

    Feeling belittled yet ?

  • by crabpeople (720852) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:36PM (#14570403) Journal
    The problem with all this is that religion is not harmless to society. Infact i would argue that having organized religion is a method to control the populace and make them obedient. It teaches you to not challenge authority, to be humble, to not take risks and many other detrimental things. The concept of good and evil, for one, was invented by religion. There is no "good and evil" "black and white" only shades of grey. If nothing else, that this ONE FACT, could be disseminated and ingrained into people as much as the concepts of good and evil, i would be a happy man.

    Another societal problem caused by religion is that, most religious people believe that things happen for a reason. This leads people to assign blame, and to think things like poverty and social status are 'just'. Some of my conservative friends are baffled when i bring up the close relationship between religion and the far right. They say to me: " i dont get why the conservatives are always bringing up god. thats the only thing i really disagree with ". To me its obvious. They are there for the same aims. To "educate" to indoctrinate and to control.

    A good practical example of where religion is hurting society is the whole stem cell nonsense. There you have an example of an active assault on a promising scientific field because of childish notions of what it means to be alive. Youre a bag of meat whose consciousness has been brought forth to keep your cells alive. Thats it. No grand plan, no meaning except for what YOU yourself decide to make of it. This is why I am actively against religion and will shun religious people. This is the same idea as shunning racists. Personally, i couldnt care if in your head your the most racist or god fearing. Its when those sorts of people interact with society that I get upset. It is impossible to keep the crazy in just your head. I get the fact that religion is a nice way to meet people, to be social and interact, but really, I hope it evolves into a club and disassociates itself with all these dogmatic fairy tales and absolute 'truths'.

  • by C10H14N2 (640033) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:37PM (#14570414)
    Short and simple -- an overbearing government that feels it knows how to raise kids better than parents is using government schools to achieve it's agends with kids.

    The bureaucracy of public education is almost entirely local in nature, with the vast majority of the control being at county level or lower. You would be more correct, then, to say that communities have become overbearing in their attempt to raise each others kids. When book banning and arguments like ID come up, it's not some faceless government division a thousand miles away in Washington trying to control your life, it's your nosey neighbors and fellow PTA members doing the deeds.

    It's just so much more comfortable to blame it all on "government" than to admit that you and your neighbors ARE the government in question and, ergo, it's not Big Brother's fault, it's yours.
  • by Chaswell (222452) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @03:06PM (#14570786) Homepage
    Actually it is a bit of a hot topic and the moderators tend to moderate based on their beliefs. If they disagree with you, then you must be flamebait. I have posted in the past in support of limited teaching of Intelligent Design and been moderated down as flamebait and troll. I don't think it is crucial to teach it in public schools because if you are a religious family you need to have internal family discussion of secular vs. religious beliefs anyway and you can cover evolution vs creation vs ID amongst your self. I'm a Christian and if I want my boys to only hear dogma, well then they will go to a religious private school, so that I can control their education. However if I want them to be well adjusted for a secular world/society, then I allow them to go to secular private or public schools and teach the religious spin on my own internal to the family. Public school has to cover a lot of social differences, so I only feel a nod towards ID as a counter point to evolution is enough.

    Also for those arguing that ID pundits don't even agree on a definition, you are correct. ID just means that we are hear because someone or something wanted us to come in to being. How we got here is debated with everything from a few thousand years ago a being snapped his fingers to a belief closer to mine that evolution occurred and a being greater than our understanding brought it about on purpose.

  • Re:Close Friends (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @03:32PM (#14571160)
    Sorry to say that if you believe in gods, santa claus, tooth fairies etc, you are not well educated. Logic and critical thinking is proably not part of your education.

    Logic and critical thinking obviously haven't been part of your education since you decided insult someone and lump God(s) Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy based on a comment about the posters friends.

    I'm sure the world would be much better off blindly following your anti-faith.

  • Re:Close Friends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crizp (216129) <chris@eveley.net> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @04:03PM (#14571675) Homepage
    As has been said over and over and over again by quite a few people on /. in the many ID debates: Maintaining a belief is not incompatible with being well educated, logical and analytical.

    Quoth Albert Einstein (again): "God does not play dice".

    Disclaimer: I do not partake in any religion, and I'm not fond of how ID is being tried shoehorned into the school system. But neither am I an atheist; I'm agnostic. The concept of ID itself is, at best, a philosophical mindtwister. The problem as I see it is that the way ID is presented by the proponents is one-sided, and it appears as just another means to push the belief that "The One True God, Thy Lord" created this hole mess a few thousand years ago.

    What about people believing that our souls are parts of the universe learning about itself? Or that The Flying Spaghetti Monster is here with his all-encompassing Noodly Appendage? Karma?

    Or if I seriously believed that a giant rubber ducky created the universe by way of a purposeful squeak? And that we're all guided by His Quacks, they're just so loud we don't hear them? It's all valid ID beliefs, but they're just that - beliefs.

    A good scientist will not let his beliefs get in the way of finding Truth. Should the newfound Truth disagree with what he believed, a true scientist would adjust those beliefs. Just as the religious majority was in time forced to acknowledge that the earth revolves around the sun.
  • by arevos (659374) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @04:09PM (#14571761) Homepage
    There is no clear idea as to what observation(s) could falsify the General Theory of Evolution.

    Yes there are. If astronomers observed that every astrological body they could see was a mere 4000 light years away from us, then that would be some pretty damning evidence against evolution. If geologists radiologically dated every rock on earth to 4000 years old, that would be evidence against evolution. If there was no common DNA molecule, and every animal used their own unique system for blueprinting cellular growth, then that would be evidence against evolution. If the tectonic plates of the Earth spelt out "Made by God", then that would be pretty damning evidence.

    I could go on for a very long time like this. Needless to say that there are millions of possible observations that could disprove evolution; that no-one's ever observed such things in nearly 150 years, tends to suggest that evolution might be a pretty strong theory. It's been around longer than relativity or quantum theory, and I'd wager it'll be around far longer still.

  • by Gulik (179693) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @04:39PM (#14572186)
    I often feel that I must only speak of it in hushed whispers. It is hard because I really don't want to make people feel uncomfortable but at the same time I have no idea why it should make anyone feel uncomfortable.

    The problem, I think, is that while there are many people of faith, the quiet ones are, you perceive, not the ones whose voices rise above the crowd. The ones that get heard are the shrill idiots, and as a result other people tend to assume that everyone with faith central to their lives is a shrill idiot. Which, obviously, doesn't work out so well for those of you who aren't shrill idiots, don't think that faith gives you a license to dismiss science, and do have something constructive to say in this debate.
  • by Triskele (711795) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @04:51PM (#14572365)
    You really don't have a clue. The fact that the Wistar Institute has not been heard of in scientific circles, means that they are not science and have not disproved anything. If they had, that would be the biggest news in Nature (do you even know what that is?) for the last 150 years. Science works by peer review. Without that you have nothing.

    PS: I know I shouldn't respond to trolls, but could not resist.

    PPS: Who are these "Evolutionists"? You mean Scientists, yes...

  • by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @05:05PM (#14572525) Journal
    The first thing we do is the calculation you refer to. We discuss how plausible the constancy of rate hypothesis is. (In this case, we note that the tap (faucet, to you) is capable of delivering more or less water.) Then we discuss how the inferred filling time relates to our other knowledge (does it imply the bath was half full before the house was built?) That is the first paper. It presents an interesting observation, and the most obvious interpretation, with suitable caveats.

    In the second paper, we try to infer subtle effects of the constant-rate hypothesis (CR). We observe material deposited on the side of the bath at water level, and conclude that under CR, we should see these deposits uniformly continued at deeper levels. We start applying for grants to do a bath-dive expedition to observe them, but don't get funding.

    In the third paper, different group calculates that, had the rate been much higher in the past, we should observe water droplets splashed on the wall. This being easily accessible, they have looked for them and found them.

    The fourth through tenth papers are analyses of how fast the water flow needed to be to spash that high, how long it was high flow to explain the frequency, and how old the drops are. It takes a while before the theorists agree on the correct mathematical treatment. The question of whether the quantity of water added by dripping is significant is still within the margin of error.

    Now there is sufficient interest, we finally get the grant to do the bath dive. We observe no deposits below the current level, and conclude the dripping phase has been at most a few days. The Fast Fill theory of the bath enters the textbooks.

    10 years later, the principle authors of the first and third papers share the Nobel prize in Domestic Hydrology.

    I am an evolutionary scientist. We don't follow your straw-man portrayal of how science works.
  • by Dimensio (311070) <.moc.uolgi. .ta. .ratskrad.> on Thursday January 26, 2006 @05:23PM (#14572725)
    Playing devil's advocate here - LOL, perhaps scientists don't want to believe that they (indirectly) were created by God!

    That's a good characterization of a common lie told by many creationists: everyone who accepts evolution is an atheist.

    It's a completely bogus claim, yet so many creationists still repeat it because, to them, lies are far more persuasive than the simple truth.
  • by mfrank (649656) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @05:55PM (#14573151)
    So you're OK with people shopping for doctors until they find one that will give them antibiotics for viral infections? Or taking antibiotics for bacterial infections but not completing the course of treatment because they feel better? Because that's what drives antibiotic resistant diseases to *evolve*.

    If idiots like you start running public health policy, we're going to have to start worrying about polio again. Time to invest in the iron lung industry.
  • by Copid (137416) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @06:18PM (#14573417)

    it doesn't matter. the nebraska man was a pig's tooth, right? did macro-evolution roll over and cry mea culpa? nope.

    Nebraska Man was hardly a pillar of evolutionary theory. There wasn't a lot of enthusiasm for Nebraska Man among the mainstream scientific community. No, evolutionary theory didn't roll over, probably because Nebraska Man was not central to the claim. What did happen, though, was a half page retraction published in Science. What percentage of hominid fossils did Nebraska Man make up? Think about it.

    Of course, we hear nothing from the creationists when Carl Baugh mistakes a fish tooth for a hominid tooth.

    no matter how many fossils are faked or wrongly interpretted, macro-evolution (ME) isn't going anywhere.

    The point is, there are a LOT of fossils left behind. You can't just explain them away by finding a handful of faked or misinterpreted fossils.

    the broader question is how come not a single series of obvious fossils shows the path of ME for an animal. yes, there are some fossils that *could be*, almost all using very fast and loose criteria...

    Take a look at ambulocetus and friends. To those who think that the fact that fossils look the same is the only evidence that they're related by common descent, try to answer this: There appears to be a time when no rabbits existed, but other stuff was roaming the earth. Now, rabbits exist. Where did the rabbits come from?

    ME has never been observed in the wild. micro-evolution has, but not macro-evolution. it has never been observed. repeat that 20 times. now, how does anyone prove that something that has never been observed can't happen? don't you need to prove IT ACTUALLY DID HAPPEN, FIRST?

    Of course, the goalposts on so-called "macro evolution" have been moved over time. Originally, no evolution could possibly occur. Then, it was speciation that was the barrier. Now "macro evolution" is defined as some nebulous "change above the species level" or some nonsesnse involving the word "kind."

    nobody has ever observed the creation of new adaptive genes due to environmental stress. you assume something that hasn't been established. yes, GENES THAT ALREADY EXIST may be expressed and selected due to environmental stress, but no new adaptive genes have been created.

    OK, this is evidence that you have no cluse what you're talking about. New genes don't appear because of environmental stress. Environmental pressures change the relative frequency of genes in a population after new genes appear. The appearance of those genes is a different situation entirely. Google "nylonase" for an example of the appearance of a gene due to a frame shift. Cue the moving of goalposts based on some nonsense definition of "information."

    evolutionary theory predicted the gradual change of species over geologic time. this is false. the fact is that lots of different animals and birds appeared on the scene in BIG BANG fashhion. macro-evolution's prediction was wrong, SO THEY JUST ADJUSTED THE THEORY.

    Oh noes! They adjusted a scientific theory! Stop the presses! It's not like that ever happens elsewhere (*cough* Newtonian physics). As for a gradual change over time, that's EXACTLY what they saw. What differed was the rate of change of change (the second derivative, if you will). Punctuated equilibrium describes this.

    1. the fossil record would show obvious links between transition animals... FALSE. there is not a single link that can't be reasonable explained apart from macro-evolution. iow, it may be consistent with evolution, but it also consistent without the existence of macro-evolution.

    Example: Evolutionary theory predicted a creature like the archaeopteryx. The archaeopteryx was subsequently discovered. The point is that there are lots of fossils that are consistent with evolutionary the

  • by Copid (137416) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @06:29PM (#14573536)
    There is no clear idea as to what observation(s) could falsify the General Theory of Evolution. Therefore its status as a theory is weak at best before theories like the Theory of Special Relativity which has a clearly defined mathematical framework. If observations are made which deviate from what the theory predicts, the theory is falsified -- just like Newtons laws were falsified by relativity experiments.
    The reason you believe this is because most of the interesting tests have already been done. The people who dig up fossils are testing the theory of evolution every time they do it. Finding fossils out of place would really change our understanding of how things happened, for example. They're not finding fossils out of place without legitimate geological explanations for them, though.

    Likewise, proving that the earth is young would be a death blow for evolution. The earth is probably not young though, as an overwhelming pile of evidence indicates. That's another test passed.

    You can't call something un-falsifiable simply because it has already passed every test you're capable of devising. You'd simply note that it has not yet been falsified.

  • by Kodack (795456) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @06:37PM (#14573614)
    Religion is the wool pulled over our eyes. Some people find that comforting and I don't fault them their beliefs. But if you were to ask me if someone with wool over their eyes can see clearly I will say no they can't. There are many brilliant people who believe in god and an afterlife. People smarter than you or I. I would not consider them to be stupid or inferior. However I would consider their belief to be illogical and irrational given the breadth of scientific knowledge and enlightenment. Athiests look at creationists the same way as you would look at an adult who still believed in the easter bunny or believed that baby's come from storks. We usually feel a little sorry for them but we can be accomidating and let them believe what they want. However if they try to start teaching those absurd ideas in a classroom in a public school we draw issue with that. To me, trying to teach ID in a science classroom is not any different from trying to teach that babies come from storks in a health or parenting class. I'm an athiest and I think I would have been one sooner had I not been afraid. It's like turning the breaker off in your house and then sticking a key into an electrical socket. Yes you know the power is off, but what if? Your told that there is a god when your a kid and that you will go to hell if you don't follow him. You grow up and don't see any evidence of god in the world. You can use logic to understand that there can't be a god. But that nagging "what if" makes you hesitate to be blasphemous because if your wrong your going to hell. Some people never get past this point and they either swing back to full blown religion, or else they stay halfway and become agnostic. They don't believe in any particular religion but won't deny the existence of a supreme being "just in case". Initially being an athiest is scary. When you die your dead, no after life. There are no miracles. There is no order or meaning to the universe. When bad things happen its random and meaningless. You have nothingto fall back on. No crutch to shield your fragile person from the harsh realities of existence. But at the same time the enlightenment is completely worth it. It's like Socrates story of a man living in a cave being too afraid to go outside where there is no roof, only the empty blackness of the sky. The entire universe of wonder could be going on outside his cave and he would never know because he is too afraid to change his world. I find it hard to trust people under a relgious influence to make rational decisions because they sometimes do things that are irrational, but in the name of a god. Like Bush talking about his crusade or that god wanted him to go to Iraq. That scares the crap out of me. What if god told him that freedom was an illusion and that the only path to freedom lay in faith. What if he made non christians 2nd class citizens. It worries me that Texas has a constitution that says no godless person can hold political office. Religion does not give way to logic. It is an irrational and illogical device that is used to control people. So in some ways, people who are religious or believe in god, are for lack of a better word, stupid.
  • by lukesl (555535) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @09:51PM (#14575066)
    Something I see coming up over and over again whenever there's a discussion about evolution is silly semantic argument about the nature of the term "proof." People keep saying that scientists can never "prove" anything, only disprove things. I'm a scientist, and I would argue that this is simply a silly oversimplification without any significant value. The problem is that it implies that absolute proof is somehow attainable in the real world. It's not. The only place something can be proved is in mathematics, and as useful as math is, it's all made up. The inability of science to "prove" things is not a limitation of science, it's a demonstration of the fictitious nature of the concept of "proof" with respect to the real world.

    More importantly, people make life-or-death decisions every day of their lives that are based on things they can't "prove." You can't "prove" that a twinkie isn't going to explode, but you eat it anyway. You can't prove that atoms exist, or that smoking causes cancer. By any reasonable standard, those things are considered proven, so one could argue that they're simply "proven beyond reasonable doubt." Likewise, evolution is proven beyond any reasonable doubt. To believe in atoms, but not in evolution, because it's "unproven" or "unprovable" is inconsistent.
  • Re:Close Friends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nathanh (1214) on Friday January 27, 2006 @01:18AM (#14576274) Homepage
    You have just proven that your bias against intelligent design exists solely because of your hatred for Christians/Christianity.

    You're a nutcase. Nowhere in that post did I say I hate Christians. Also the Intelligent Designers go to great pains to explain that ID has nothing to do with Christianity.

    The fact remains that it is possible to be a genious and believe in God as Einstein demonstrated.

    Oh, I get it, you're a troll. On the off chance that you're really just a nutcase, go back and read the bit where Einstein said he wasn't religious and didn't believe in the Christian God.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Friday January 27, 2006 @04:37PM (#14582641)
    Getting back to the whole bathtub thing... I actually thought that your detailed description of how the scientific method plays out was rather clever. I maintain, however, that you wholly missed the mark. Your analysis of the tub scenario seems to imply that, with enough application of the scientific method -- which you expertly portrayed*, ID can be shown to be either valid or invalid. This, by definition, however, is impossible. Allow me to explain.

    I'm tending to think you misunderstand analogies. If you give an analogy that appears to be a very good analogy, then "solve" the analogy, the answer will still be unrelated to the original problem. You appear to be assuming that the solution to the analogy is also an analogy to the original question. That is not how they work.

    The analogy was originally given to "prove" that scientists make incorrect guesses. That is correct, but it left out that scientists also don't get into the dogma of presuming they are right, and all others are wrong, even in the face of evidence. The analogy was extended to show that the presumption about scientists was wrong. It was never about how the tub was or was not filled. The analogy was about how scientists would approach the problem. The analogy isn't that the tub is or is not Creation.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright

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