Wednesday, December 01, 2004

As God is my witness

Read and weep. And then tremble with fear for the future. I believe that The Troll will now gon on a rampage and there'll be carnage everywhere. I'd bet that in 2 years maximum Creationism will be taught in US schools but I'm too afraid I'd win. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Although public schools have been teaching evolution for decades, a national Gallup poll in November 2004 showed that only 35 percent of those asked believed confidently that Darwin's theory was "supported by the evidence." More than one-third of those polled by CBS News later in November said creationism should be taught instead of evolution.

National polls on the issue

-In your opinion, is Darwin's theory supported by evidence?
Supported by evidence, 35%
Not supported, 35%
Don't know enough to say, 29%

-Which best describes your views of the origin of life?
God created man in present form, 45%
Man developed with God guiding, 38%
Man developed with no help from God, 13%

Source: Gallup Poll, conducted Nov. 7-10. The poll surveyed 1,016 adults; the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

-Percentage favoring the teaching of creationism *instead of* evolution
Overall, 37%
Kerry voters, 24%
Bush voters, 45%

-Self-described evangelical Christians, 60%

Source: CBS News poll, conducted Nov. 18-21. The poll surveyed 795 registered voters nationwide; the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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At 1/12/04 20:22, Blogger brooksba said...


I had read a headline about this and cringed. I have my own beliefs about creation and find it hard to believe that with all the evidence, people take the teachings of the Bible (and other documents) at face value.

I have a friend (a Bush supporter too - yuck) who heard about the Big Bang theory and approached me after two weeks of thought. She was so confused about how science and religion could exist together. I don't know how much of the religion part I believe, but I do believe in the science. To put her mind at ease, I suggested that "God" helped start the Big Bang and guided creation through science.

Sorry for the long comment.


At 1/12/04 23:53, Blogger CarpeDM said...

Um. I personally believe that God did create man. But I'm not all acting crazy about my beliefs. I don't walk around yelling at teachers for teaching evolution.

Some things you just believe in. Other things you ask for proof. That's the difference between religion and science.

The problem with creationism being taught in schools would completely go against the little rule there is about religion and state being seperate. And hopefully our president (choke) will remember that.

At 2/12/04 01:06, Blogger Dale said...

Oh, no, you don't entirely understand Mr Bush, I think. He couldn't care less about evolution or creationism being taught in schools, and he's far too wily to get caught in a battle like that, with nothing to gain (who are the Christian far right going to run to? John Kerry?) and everything to lose -- moderate Republicans are VERY unhappy with him already; something like this could split the party and endanger his "legacy" -- O ominous word! -- which, it's already clear, is a pro-business domestic policy: he wants to remake social security and simplify the tax code. (Both things that need to be done, actually, but one shudders to imagine the job he'd make of it.) Second-term presidents always get all het up about their legacy. Bush has always talked a religious line, but he's never shown himself really interested in pushing that agenda. I think you're unduly concerned. About Bush in this particular instance, I mean.

Besides, science will continue to be taught by science teachers, in any case, and they nearly all understand that the evidence for evolution is so strong that it must either be true, or have been faked by God. Himself.

At 2/12/04 12:08, Blogger D said...

It's actually not all that complicated: There IS no evidence to support the THEORY of evolution. And not Darwin's version of it either.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no creationist (J. knows!). But to promote Darwinism from the theory it is to a new form of religion is just as dumb as the apple-and-rib thing.

And before J. calls me a Bush supporter (And I don't get to vote anyway): I am more of a Kerry detractor.

At 2/12/04 13:35, Blogger The Lioness said...

Danny, this is NOT an argument, I'm sure you see that and just decided to provoke me. So I'll bite: Church-State separation. SEPARATION! Darwinism? It's not a religion, there is evidence enough, look at birds that have evolved in an island, isolate, to take the clearest case of all. You'll see all sorts of adaptations to different diets, all sorts of beaks - and THAT is the meaning of evolution, NOT progress as so many think. Then there's DNA, for instance, which states we share 96-98% of our DNA (depending on whether it's mytochondrial DNA) w chimps - and hell was that a BIG, HUGE surprise. Maybe something will be discovered that will revolutionise things but I doubt it, what I think is that new tecnhiques will be developped that will allow for more detail and fine-tuning, not dramatic revolutions in general. As for "theory", Science, academia, are careful, sure. But one thing is the official lingo and another is the world and its abbundance of proof if you care to look.

But let's say there shouldn't be a separation. Why Creationism? What about all other faiths? What abt those who believe that a Bear created the world? What abt those who believe the world is supported by 4 elephants on the back of a turtle? Why isn't their faith taught? There's more than one religion in America - though apparently NOT. It's all Christian and frankly, it's all scary. And if we're following the Bible, it says among other things (including the occasional sanction of rape and incest) that women should give birth in pain, how abt that? Not to mention that I can read it in Hebrew and translate it with a lot of help AND many words were changed in the translation, which gave rise to different Christian interpretations.

Science does NOT deny the existence of God but it'd be silly to deny science and what it's shown us and even proved. (DM, I don't mean to disrespect your beliefs, these are mine.)

At 2/12/04 20:32, Blogger D said...

State-Church separation: No argument here.

Creationism: A very Sci-Fi theme. I love it.
Evolution/Darwinism: Ok, let's not go there, this medium is not for that.

The percentage game: That means fuck all. The remaining percent makes all the difference. Percentage wise, how big is the difference between the common slug and Kofi Annan? Ok, wrong example, take the average denizen of Lisboa. You don't look like a homeless snail to me at all, and yet you have so much in common?!

{{{For example, the genetic analyses published in New Scientist have revealed a 75% similarity between the DNA of nematode worms and man. This definitely does not mean that there is only a 25% difference between man and these worms!

On the other hand, in another finding which also appeared in the media, it was stated that the comparisons carried out between the genes of fruit flies belonging to the Drosophila genus and human genes yielded a similarity of 60%.}}}

Why I call Darwinism a new religion is because people elevate to something beyond the rational. For them, it is no longer a theory, like Relativity or Black Holes,

At 2/12/04 20:35, Blogger D said...


{{{We share half our genes with the banana

Robert May is a UK Chief Scientist. In New Scientist magazine (July 1, 2000) on page 5 he stated, “We share half our genes with the banana.” One can only guess (with a fertile imagination) what the common ancestor between people and bananas looked like! In addition, there are fish that have 40% the same DNA as people, but hopefully no evolutionist would claim that the fish are 40% human – or people are half bananas.}}}

Ok, I admit it. I did go into it.

At 2/12/04 20:59, Blogger The Lioness said...

And how do these facts NOT help my argument? Surely you've seen pics of embryo development in the womb. THAT's what I'm saying.

(And you git, when did I say chimps and humans are the same? I'm dormant, NOT comatose!)

At 3/12/04 20:13, Blogger Dale said...

I'm baffled, Daniel. What do you take the theory of evolution to be? Everything you've said so far sounds to me like evidence *for* it. 100% genetic *difference* would suggest that every species was designed, or "happened," from scratch.

Strictly speaking genetic theory is not part of evolutionary theory, in any case. Evolutionary theory simply posits that species alter and branch off from each other over time (over how much time, and exactly how, is hotly disputed.) It doesn't make any claims, that I ever heard of, that genetic commonality implies a proportional observable commonality. & Evolutionary theory doesn't make the claim that life started exactly once on earth. It may have started, or been planted, many times. It may also have been cultivated by divine intervention, for all we know. But the basic theory -- that species alter, and, over time, branch off from each other -- is supported by overwhelming evidence.

At 4/12/04 00:22, Blogger M said...

As ever, there is a bit of confusion here based on the terminology being used. Keep in mind that in science, the word "theory" does not mean what it means to lay people; that is, speculation. For example: "My theory is that Bush is an alien." In science, a theory is an idea explaining how things work that has stood the test of significant research and scrutiny. Quantum theory, game theory, and the theory of relativity aren't just half-baked notions tossed off after a wild night of Scrabble and chardonnay. Only after rigorous review and etc. does a hypothesis eventually become a theory. So you can't really suggest, as Daniel does implicitly, that evolution is "just a theory" and liken it to some conjecture with no real evidence backing it up. (Like, say, creationism. Still looking for that evidence.) Anyway, as a friend of mine's professor once said, if you are discussing evolution, and someone says "it's just a theory," you have my permission to stop listening.

At 4/12/04 21:30, Blogger D said...

In a related e-mail I sent Lioness, I explained why I think evolution as I understand it (and as it is explained here) cannot be how life came to be as it is now. Evolution theory is basically a numbers game. "Life" tries many things, most fail, some succeed and move on, to serve as a base for new experiments, most of which will fail, etc, etc.
The only way a lifeform will change (truly change, not just grow a bit taller) is thru DNA. And this means either random chance, or an intelligent intervening. I don't believe in the latter, and the former has odds too large by an order of magnitude, even if the earth is 5 billion years old.

As for theory, in science it's a step up from hypothesis. It is still not LAW however. Most theories are still subject of debate to varying degrees.

I wrote this to J:"One more thing I forgot to come back to is why I call Darwinism a religion: People (and you seem to be among them) can't tolerate even the idea that it is merely a theory. And as such subject to debate, and rejection. The best that can be said about it is that it is the closest we have come up with as an explanation for how we got where we are."
But not nearly close enough for me to accept it as gospel, as so many do.

At 6/12/04 19:30, Blogger Dale said...

I'd be interested to see the numbers which you think are "off by an order of magnitude" (which does not off-hand seem to me, given the difficulty of quantifying mutation, very far off.) I'd be happy to entertain new theories. I delight in such things, actually. My objection is not to criticizing old theories or to inventing new ones. My objection is to replacing theories that explain the evidence pretty well with "theories" that refuse to account for the evidence at all. I have no investment in evolution proceeding by some means other than genetic mutation. Sounds fascinating to me, and I'd love to hear some other theory. I also have no investment in the absence of God or intelligence or design from the process. I'd love to hear theories about that, too, or even hypotheses. I'm happy with all those things. But "theories" that place the appearance of human beings ex nihilo a mere five thousand years ago, and which assert that no new species have ever arisen, aren't reinterpreting the evidence. They're simply denying the evidence altogether.

I am a religious man, so I know what it means to hold something as an article of faith. I can't speak for anyone else, here, but I definitely do not hold the theory of evolution in that way. I simply think it's by far the most likely explanation of the fossil record and the distribution of living species we see in the world, and that no other theory I know of has held together at all well.

At 15/6/06 16:15, Anonymous An American Satanist said...

Regardless of whether or not creationism or evolution is true, evolution will continue to be taught in public schools, and not creationism. At least not so long as america tolerates other religions.


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