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Earth Science

Debate Over Evolution Will Soon Be History, Says Leakey 1226

Hugh Pickens writes "According to noted paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, sometime in the next 15 to 30 years scientific discoveries about evolution will have accelerated to the point that 'even the skeptics can accept it.' 'If you don't like the word evolution, I don't care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It's not covered by Genesis. There's no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I've read from the lips of any God.' Leakey began his work searching for fossils in the mid-1960s and his team unearthed a nearly complete 1.6-million-year-old skeleton in 1984 that became known as 'Turkana Boy,' the first known early human with long legs, short arms and a tall stature. At 67, Leakey conducts research with his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise, and the family claims to have unearthed 'much of the existing fossil evidence for human evolution.' Leakey, an atheist, insists he has no animosity toward religion."
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Debate Over Evolution Will Soon Be History, Says Leakey

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  • Day-age creationism (Score:4, Informative)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:04AM (#40142509) Homepage Journal

    There is a group of people who do not care about the evidence - the Bible says so, so there it is.

    But what the Bible teaches is not at all inconsistent with a multibillion-year-old universe. God created the universe in six ages [], figuratively called "days" in Genesis 1. Notice that nowhere does the story of creation in Genesis mention an "evening and morning" for the seventh "day", which makes the 24-hour interpretation less likely. This and other mentions of God's rest (e.g. in Hebrews) indicate that the seventh age is ongoing.

  • No. No it won't. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:05AM (#40142529) Journal

    I am a Christian. However, the overwhelming evidence is that the Earth is 4.6 Billion years old, life on Earth is Billions of years old and yes, my great^50000 grandfather was an ape. Yet, not matter what the evidence, there is a contigent who will ignore it. It is human nature to look at facts through the lens you wish to view it. One intelligent person I was disucssing fusion with denies that fusion was the power of the stars, saying instead that it is gravity that produces the energy of the Sun. I was dumbfounded. Even after asking why we see millions of stars with different colors and asked him how his model accounted for this, he could not answer. After asking why the Sun isn't shrinking rapidly as the equations would indicate they would have to to produce the amount of energy output of the Sun, he couldn't answer. Did his opinion change? Nope. Facts don't often change opinions.

    So, no, new evidence won't change anything. From my perspective, the debate was over about 150 years ago. Now we just have yelling.

  • Re:False Dichotomy (Score:5, Informative)

    by GaratNW ( 978516 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:42AM (#40143177)
    40% of Americans is hardly a subset or tiny sect. Literal creationism [] runs counter to accepting evolutionary theory. Another 40% or so believe in a god inspired evolution (basically the group you're referring to).

    So yes, you are correct. There are nuts who take the bible WAY too literally. But 40% means, even with a strong margin for error, over 100 million people in the US think evolution isn't real. I don't think you should necessarily be modded down, but I do think you might want to take a strong look at the incredibly anti-science and anti-intellectual movement that is GAINING, not losing, steam in America.
  • Re:False Dichotomy (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @11:46AM (#40143253)
    Given his impression that there are no significent fundamentalists around together with the posting of a Telegraph link, I would guess that paradise is the UK. Evolution really is a non-issue here - we do have fundamentalists, but their numbers are tiny. Unlike in the US where they are many and politically-active.
  • God wants all people to come to him, but he also knows that some people will choose Satan no matter what. God is fair to all, even to Satan. Converting people by force wouldn't give Satan a fair chance to have things his way. God is also fair to humans caught in the crossfire, which is why he sent his perfect son to be executed as a payment for our resurrection.
  • Re:Don't bet on it. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Seven_Six_Two ( 1045228 ) on Tuesday May 29, 2012 @12:09PM (#40143595)
    1. "We" (not I) feel the need to believe in some higher power because of the crippling fear that death is final, and that there is some higher purpose. 2. The emotional need for other people is evolutionarily advantageous. There is safety in numbers, it takes 2 to make a child, etc. It's not a metaphysical need. It's chemical. 3. Not everyone does, so the question is meaningless. Morals are learned, so that "conflict" is just contrast. Again, nothing metaphysical there. 4. That's easy. The combination of 2 sets of DNA is what allows the population to be varied enough genetically to not get wiped out by diseases. Some will die, while others will live on. 5. Meaningless, non-specific question. Points to a lack of understanding about evolution. 6. I already answered the first part (or you aren't asking what you meant to). "Figure out"? Seriously? Do you think that there was some magical time that offspring reproduced so radically different from its parent that it couldn't be taught or observed? As if my parent was an amoeba, but now I have external genitalia? There are lots of questions that can't be answered by evolution, or science in general. But that's due to not currently having an answer. It's not chance. There may be odds that something will or won't happen, but it isn't like evolution tries to explain our existence as some cosmic roll of the dice. It doesn't take faith, not in the least. I'd like to address your last point. This is the bit that irritates me every time. You said "What we don't have answers to points to something so much bigger than evolution". It seems that you're implying religion. That's cognitive and emotional weakness at its worst. Not having an answer can not, and will never, point to something. Not knowing means just that. You (and I) don't know. It doesn't mean that it can't, or will never, be known.

I've got a bad feeling about this.