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Creation and evolutionary theory, II


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#361 Alex Michael Rusanen

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 06:15 PM

I would be perfectly satisfied with natural selection as an explanation for intraspecies variation. The whole problem is that Darwinists claim far more than that, including it being a theory of origin of all species. That's where it collapses. Look, when a guy testifies at a trial and tells the truth 99% of the time, and is caught in one lie, they throw his testimony out. That's the issue for me: credibility.

As for truth, Truth is a realm, not a set of objective facts. It is a realm that we enter into, in faith. It's something that we live. When we talk about proclaiming the truth, we mean the fruit of our labor that we experience -- communion with God and all that goes with that. Data is not Truth. Data and facts, in and of themselves, have no meaning. It is the meaning that Darwinists attach to the data that is problematic.


I wouldn't call evolutionary theory TRUTH, in that sense. We are talking natural science, and the problems of natural science are limited to the natural. Supernatural things can be discussed on the spheres of philosophy and theology. Evolutionary theory is the ONLY scientific theory we have, there is no other, and I accept it as a scientific theory.

#362 M. Partyka

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 06:56 PM

I would be perfectly satisfied with natural selection as an explanation for intraspecies variation. The whole problem is that Darwinists claim far more than that, including it being a theory of origin of all species. That's where it collapses.

How so? Where do you see some point of biology in which you can prove your negative and say, "Natural selection is not responsible for that?"

Look, when a guy testifies at a trial and tells the truth 99% of the time, and is caught in one lie, they throw his testimony out. That's the issue for me: credibility.

And the lie in this case would be...?

As for truth, Truth is a realm, not a set of objective facts. It is a realm that we enter into, in faith. It's something that we live. When we talk about proclaiming the truth, we mean the fruit of our labor that we experience -- communion with God and all that goes with that.

When we proclaim the kind of truth you're talking about, we are proclaiming things that have happened to us, correct? And the truth of our statements lies in the fact that these things did happen to us, correct? I mean, if you told me that becoming Orthodox caused you to quit smoking, that would be a great testimony -- if it were true. But perhaps you've never smoked a cigarette in your life -- that would mean you were lying, because what you said had happened didn't really happen. You would be giving witness, yes, but giving witness to a lie, not to the truth. The truth is what really happened. More generally, to tell the truth is to say what really is. And I'm telling you that the NANOG pseudogene problem really is. It's there, and there's no use denying it. What we have to do is explain it, and I'm asking you to tell me your version of what really happened. I've already heard one version that fits the facts, and it's the theory of common ancestry. Find me another version -- one that fits the facts -- and we can discuss it.

Data is not Truth. Data and facts, in and of themselves, have no meaning.

Facts can indeed mean something. For example, the fact that I'm sitting down right now means that I'm not standing up. Facts can also imply certain things by way of probabilities. For example, I wear my watch on my left wrist, and this implies a high probability that I am right-handed. It also implies that I can tell time and read Arabic numerals. It also implies that I there exist certain constraints on my time such that I would need a watch to keep track of time's passage.

The only way a fact can have no meaning is if you deliberately shut your mind to the possibility of its having one.

It is the meaning that Darwinists attach to the data that is problematic.

Well, find me another meaning that fits the NANOG pseudogene problem.

By the way, I was explaining the NANOG pseudogene problem to a friend of mine, and in reviewing my notes I came across a particular point that I've been forgetting, which is sad, because it's the last nail in the coffin of special creation, so far as I can see.

I've already mentioned several times that there are 9 retropseudogenes shared by humans and chimps, all of which are located in the exact same places in their respective genomes, but that's not all: one of these 9 retropseudogenes is broken. It's incomplete and missing its poly-(A) tail. And guess what? It's broken in both genomes.

So, even if you were to pose the highly improbable scenario that the same nine copying events happened in two entirely independent genomes, you are now also having to pose the scenario that the exact same copying event botched up in both genomes in exactly the same way.

Surely you can see, can't you, that the only way two different species can possess the genetic record of these same copying events (including the botched copying event) is if these two species shared a common ancestor species in whom these copying events originally took place, and that the genetic record of these events was passed down to all their descendants (which happen to include both chimps and humans)?

#363 RichardWorthington

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 05:19 AM

I would be perfectly satisfied with natural selection as an explanation for intraspecies variation. The whole problem is that Darwinists claim far more than that, including it being a theory of origin of all species.


That is approximately my view: whenever I now mention evolution, I do not wish to debate the 'facts' as I see them (old earth, natural selection, dinosaurs before humans, etc.).

However, I do not believe that we are 'advanced apes'. I do believe that our physical frame as it is now after the fall and flood could well be derived in such a manner as unaided natural selection, and at that without the aid of a Creator.

Also if we were 'intelligently designed', then why did not this 'intelligent designer' at that same moment un-design some of the nasty parasites that can affect innocent children and make them suffer?

Trying to merge these views into one whole with the concept of our non-evolved 'immortal soul' is where the crunch lies ...

Richard

#364 Alex Michael Rusanen

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 09:00 AM

Evolutionism


Even if you display the evidence for evolutionary theory you don't encounter the necessary theological questions that arise simultaneously. What does "the fall" mean? What is "the divine image" in man? What is death?

#365 Owen Jones

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 01:45 PM

One of the key arguments of my high school biology teacher for Darwinism was that there were flaws in human physiology. He was always referring to the fact that human beings have a flawed lower back structure. Hence, virtually every human being suffers low back pain at some point in his life. And the inference is that God would not do that. Of course, this is absurd on the face of it, because it is not only our physiology that is flawed, but our thinking and behavior that is flawed. Why would God create us with flawed thinking and behavior??? And Christians (and Jews) and really all of the world's religions account for our flawed behavior in some theological way. They begin by addressing that issue head on. But especially Christianity. So I see flawed genetic patterns as having so particularly great weight over the argument that we have a flawed physiology.

As for this business of having the same flaws as apes, that's just hot air.

#366 M. Partyka

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 02:27 PM

Even if you display the evidence for evolutionary theory you don't encounter the necessary theological questions that arise simultaneously. What does "the fall" mean? What is "the divine image" in man? What is death?

All good questions, but none of them warrant ignoring or denying all the factual evidence that clearly points to common descent. If there's a rational explanation for the evidence that is consistent with our theological worldview, well and good, but if there isn't, I would suggest that the problem lies not with the evidence but with our theological worldview.

To say otherwise would be like saying, "Darth Vader can't be Luke's father because <insert philosophical reasons here>!" Tough beans. The paternity tests are in. He's the daddy.

#367 Demetrios

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 01:38 PM

All good questions, but none of them warrant ignoring or denying all the factual evidence that clearly points to common descent. If there's a rational explanation for the evidence that is consistent with our theological worldview, well and good, but if there isn't, I would suggest that the problem lies not with the evidence but with our theological worldview.

To say otherwise would be like saying, "Darth Vader can't be Luke's father because <insert philosophical reasons here>!" Tough beans. The paternity tests are in. He's the daddy.


You know that Science has bin wrong before. What about the planet Pluto that turned out to be a asteroid instead. Now called Plutoids. I don't think I can fully except the evolution theory until there is more evidence. Even though I favor the evolution theory. I'm basically stuck in the middle. As for our theological worldview. I have read Orthodox dogmatic literature that fits perfectly within the evolution theory. Mostly from modern Greek fathers like His Eminence Metropolitan John Zizioulas http://www.oodegr.co...iki1/perieh.htm I think Orthodoxy is well prepared. Unlike other Platonic based Christian faiths that are devastated if the evolution theory is true.

#368 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 02:08 PM

All good questions, but none of them warrant ignoring or denying all the factual evidence that clearly points to common descent. If there's a rational explanation for the evidence that is consistent with our theological worldview, well and good, but if there isn't, I would suggest that the problem lies not with the evidence but with our theological worldview.

To say otherwise would be like saying, "Darth Vader can't be Luke's father because <insert philosophical reasons here>!" Tough beans. The paternity tests are in. He's the daddy.


Evolution is a theory that fits some observational facts, but does not fit others. It is the best explanation some people can come up with given what we happen to know now. However, we are still learning. Someday "facts" and principles will be discovered that make much of what are considered "facts" today seem foolish. Evolution may or may not be one of those.

Unlike science, which is deduced, theology is revealed. If revealed theology appears to conflict with deduced science, perhaps the "rationalization" used to arrive at those scientific deductions need to be rechecked. As an engineer, I know how frustrating it can be when we come up with the "wrong" answer, that is, the answer we weren't expecting or didn't want. There is often a great amount of effort spent reanalyzing, even changing the assumptions until we get the answer we want. This is the "science" I am sadly acquainted with.

And the above example is ironic in the extreme. You do realize that Star Wars is fiction right? But probably appropriate since we will some day realize that the "theory" of evolution as currently accepted is just as fictional. <insert smiley here>.

#369 M. Partyka

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 03:02 PM

You know that Science has bin wrong before. What about the planet Pluto that turned out to be a asteroid instead. Now called Plutoids.

That was a reclassification. They didn't say Pluto was never really there at all. Likewise, scientists are now thinking that they jumped the gun in saying that random mutations in protein-coding genes were the reason for changes at the macro level. Instead, they are now thinking that changes in the regulatory genes are the real cause. This is a reconstruction of the theory, but scientists never went so far as to say evolution didn't happen. They just changed their views about how it happened, just as scientists changed their view about how Pluto should be classified.

I don't think I can fully except the evolution theory until there is more evidence. Even though I favor the evolution theory. I'm basically stuck in the middle.

I was stuck in the middle, too, until I read the following books:

1) Endless Forms Most Beautiful, Sean P. Carroll
2) The Making of the Fittest, Sean P. Carroll
3) Relics of Eden, Daniel J. Fairbanks
4) Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, Donald Prothero (still reading this one)

It's in Relics of Eden that I learned about the situation with the NANOG pseudogenes, which I've been referring to frequently: Ten copies of a specific gene, nine being retropseudogenes (including one broken one) and one duplication pseudogene, all of which are exactly the same and in exactly the same locations in both the human and chimp genomes. The odds that the biological processes needed to accomplish these ten copies would occur separately in two entirely unrelated species are beyond calculation. The only way to account for the shared pseudogenes (that I've seen, anyway -- I keep asking for another option) is to admit that humans and chimps share a common ancestor species in which the copying originally took place and spread throughout the whole population.

http://www.oodegr.co...iki1/perieh.htm

Thanks for referring this. One thing I like about this metropolitan's thinking is that he accepts death as a necessary component of creation. Apparently man, and indeed the whole universe was always doomed to die from the moment of its creation because things created from nothing have a natural tendency to return to nothing. Man's job was to unite the universe to God through himself so that it would not perish. The fall, therefore, was not a change in the state of the universe, but rather a continuance of the state of the universe which man, through disobedience, failed to arrest and bring into communion with God. At least that's what I've gotten from his writings so far. I'll be sure to read more.

I think Orthodoxy is well prepared. Unlike other Platonic based Christian faiths that are devastated if the evolution theory is true.

I think you're correct on this.

#370 RichardWorthington

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 07:27 PM

One thing I like about this metropolitan's thinking is that he accepts death as a necessary component of creation. Apparently man, and indeed the whole universe was always doomed to die from the moment of its creation because things created from nothing have a natural tendency to return to nothing. Man's job was to unite the universe to God through himself so that it would not perish. The fall, therefore, was not a change in the state of the universe, but rather a continuance of the state of the universe which man, through disobedience, failed to arrest and bring into communion with God. At least that's what I've gotten from his writings so far. I'll be sure to read more.


Hi.

The Fathers state - I can find references if necessary - that Adam and Eve were created neither mortal nor immortal. I think I've read that the food which they ate was suitable to their nature, so I suppose their food, and the whole universe, was neither mortal nor immortal as well.

Mortal - we can die; Immortal - but unless our God-given nature is overcome then we would never die.

Neither man nor the universe were 'doomed to die': we were - and still are - 'doomed' to eternal life.

Eternal life is not the same as immortality. God "will render to each one according to his deeds: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality" (Rom 2:6,7 - that is, they seek the other side of our nature which has been distorted).

The fall then was a change of state, from neither mortal nor immortal, to mortal.

The universe would not perish unless God withheld His Spirit, but He is all-loving. Man's job was not to stop the universe from perishing, but to bring it, not to immortality, but to Eternal Life in Christ.

This is what I have been told, anyway - with a bit of extrapolation to the rest of creation.

Richard

#371 Demetrios

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 07:45 PM


Thanks for referring this. One thing I like about this metropolitan's thinking is that he accepts death as a necessary component of creation. Apparently man, and indeed the whole universe was always doomed to die from the moment of its creation because things created from nothing have a natural tendency to return to nothing. Man's job was to unite the universe to God through himself so that it would not perish. The fall, therefore, was not a change in the state of the universe, but rather a continuance of the state of the universe which man, through disobedience, failed to arrest and bring into communion with God. At least that's what I've gotten from his writings so far. I'll be sure to read more.

Yes. This doesn't diminish the fall per say. It Puts man between corruption and incorruption.

As St Symeon the New Theologian sees it.

The inaccessible Word, the bread that comes down from heaven, is not contained sensually, but rather He contains and touches and without commixture is united with the worthy and well prepared to receive Him.

Christ averted that sword and opened the entry and in the whole world planted the tree of life, rather He gave us the power to plant it every day, the tree that grows instantly and brings eternal life to all who eat of it.

#372 M. Partyka

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 08:26 PM

The Fathers state - I can find references if necessary - that Adam and Eve were created neither mortal nor immortal.

I think that if we are to truly come around to the evolutionary viewpoint and formulate a theology consistent with the evidence, we're going to have to get away from the concept of a literal "Adam and Eve" couple as being the sole progenitors of the entire human race, nor can we maintain that the fall was a fall from perfection into imperfection. Rather, we would have to accept that the fall was at most a rejection of participation in the process of being perfected that was freely offered by God and freely refused by man, so that God himself had to become man in order to bring not only mankind but the universe as a whole into communion with Himself. (Please note that by positing these things I'm not implying that I have any holistic idea of "evolutionary Christianity" all worked out a la Teilhard de Chardin. I'm just making some initial speculations.)

#373 Demetrios

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 02:43 AM

I think that if we are to truly come around to the evolutionary viewpoint and formulate a theology consistent with the evidence, we're going to have to get away from the concept of a literal "Adam and Eve" couple as being the sole progenitors of the entire human race, nor can we maintain that the fall was a fall from perfection into imperfection. Rather, we would have to accept that the fall was at most a rejection of participation in the process of being perfected that was freely offered by God and freely refused by man, so that God himself had to become man in order to bring not only mankind but the universe as a whole into communion with Himself. (Please note that by positing these things I'm not implying that I have any holistic idea of "evolutionary Christianity" all worked out a la Teilhard de Chardin. I'm just making some initial speculations.)


Adam and Eve can certainly be real people. I suggest you read more of his Eminence's work on the Persona and what it means to be a persona or person. I think you are looking at just one aspect of the material man and leaving out what man is as an individual person.

Edited by Demetrios, 13 June 2008 - 03:18 AM.


#374 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 03:35 AM

Originally Posted by M. Partyka
I think that if we are to truly come around to the evolutionary viewpoint and formulate a theology consistent with the evidence, we're going to have to get away from the concept of a literal "Adam and Eve" couple as being the sole progenitors of the entire human race, nor can we maintain that the fall was a fall from perfection into imperfection. Rather, we would have to accept that the fall was at most a rejection of participation in the process of being perfected that was freely offered by God and freely refused by man, so that God himself had to become man in order to bring not only mankind but the universe as a whole into communion with Himself. (Please note that by positing these things I'm not implying that I have any holistic idea of "evolutionary Christianity" all worked out a la Teilhard de Chardin. I'm just making some initial speculations.)


I must have missed something here. Why are we needing "to truly come around to the evolutionary viewpoint and formulate a theology consistent with the evidence? "

There is no evidence to evolutionism. It is a theory that is incorrect because as has been said meny times in this thread already, it can not be proven by scientific examples. It is a theory! One devised by modern man who changes with the wind his ideas on everything he devises. Try carbon dating for example from a reliable source.

Why are we still discussing this? How many ways does this have to be argued to help one person believe or refute this line of thinking? Each refutation to an argument is supported or debunked yet there is always one more "angle" to come at the discussion. Ether accept what the church teaches or don't. But stop trying to get the rest of us to believe what we know to be a false Theory.

Perhaps participation in other threads will help broaden understanding of Orthodoxy or perhaps you might feel more comfortable in a forum with like minded intellectuals.

#375 Alex Michael Rusanen

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 10:33 AM

Why are we still discussing this?


Because there are some theologians who believe that one can be an Orthodox evolutionist. And yes, evolution is a scientific theory while creationism is a protestant-influenced smoothie, which may in fact do a lot more damange to Orthodoxy than evolutionism. The way in which protestant theology creeps into Orthodoxy - like the snake in paradise - through american evangelical creationism should be well known to anyone acquinted with it. If creationism is the answer, please make Orthodox creationism, not evangelical.

#376 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 11:00 AM

[...] creationism is a protestant-influenced smoothie, which may in fact do a lot more damange to Orthodoxy than evolutionism. The way in which protestant theology creeps into Orthodoxy - like the snake in paradise - through american evangelical creationism should be well known to anyone acquinted with it. If creationism is the answer, please make Orthodox creationism, not evangelical.


Amen! And thrice, amen!

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#377 Owen Jones

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 12:59 PM

I would elaborate by saying that all of our conceptual constructs of Genesis 1 are wrong. They are conditioned by Enlightenment fundamentalism, which is the current intellectual environment that we are all unwittingly subject to.

Also, I would like to try to respond to this quote:

"How so? Where do you see some point of biology in which you can prove your negative and say, "Natural selection is not responsible for that?""

In response, I examine myself, and I do not know myself. I do not know if there even is a "self" that I am examining. I do not know what this "self" is. It is a mystery to me. I am not talking just about origins here. I am talking about what I am -- now, that has nothing to do with origins. I do not know, and cannot know who and what I am. I am a mystery to myself. And yet to a Darwinist, the idea of the self is very explicit. I am a culmination of natural events. Something called naturalism is responsible for my self. But the Darwinist does not know what nature is, or what the self is. He posits nature as a thing in itself, and as a process that can be fully known, which then produces knowledge of what the self is. What isn't known will be inevitably known at some point in future time, as a result of further experimental investigations. Darwinism is an example of modern gnosticism.

#378 M. Partyka

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 02:53 PM

There is no evidence to evolutionism. It is a theory that is incorrect because as has been said meny times in this thread already, it can not be proven by scientific examples.

Have you looked at the NANOG pseudogene problem that I've posted here several times now? Not only have I received no reasonable creationist explanation for it here in this forum, but I've also sent emails to three well-known Creationist organizations describing the scenario and have received no response. (One of them has an "apologist hotline" that is apparently open 24/7. I'll call them this weekend and let you all know what they have to say about it.)

#379 Alex Michael Rusanen

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 04:54 PM

I would elaborate by saying that all of our conceptual constructs of Genesis 1 are wrong. They are conditioned by Enlightenment fundamentalism, which is the current intellectual environment that we are all unwittingly subject to.

Also, I would like to try to respond to this quote:

"How so? Where do you see some point of biology in which you can prove your negative and say, "Natural selection is not responsible for that?""

In response, I examine myself, and I do not know myself. I do not know if there even is a "self" that I am examining. I do not know what this "self" is. It is a mystery to me. I am not talking just about origins here. I am talking about what I am -- now, that has nothing to do with origins. I do not know, and cannot know who and what I am. I am a mystery to myself. And yet to a Darwinist, the idea of the self is very explicit. I am a culmination of natural events. Something called naturalism is responsible for my self. But the Darwinist does not know what nature is, or what the self is. He posits nature as a thing in itself, and as a process that can be fully known, which then produces knowledge of what the self is. What isn't known will be inevitably known at some point in future time, as a result of further experimental investigations. Darwinism is an example of modern gnosticism.


An Orthodox christian who affirms evolution would in fact argue that there is something transcendant and spiritual in the human personhood, or self. I do believe that my heart is a great mystery without denigrating the obvious material elements that connects my "self" to the natural order, or the spiritual elements that correlates the "self" to the immaterial and transcendent reality through the logos. While affirming an evolutionary chain of creation an Orthodox christian has no reason to accept over-simplifications of the mind, such as the theory of epiphenomenalism suggested by prominent cognitive scientists such as D. Dennett.

Darwinism is everything but gnosticism. Gnosticism is that which tends to minimize the purpose and dispute the truthfulness of the natural order, limiting knowledge to the transcendent only.

Methinks still that you confuse evolutionary theory with inevitable metaphysical materialism.

I

#380 Richard McBride

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 09:08 PM

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, i see that this tread is still soaring. I started reading at the beginning (as Dcn Matthew's sticky requested), where M. Partyka suggested the evolution question be split into two:
(1) "Is there enough observational evidence in support of evolution to warrant its acceptance as a theory rather than a hypothesis?"
And
(2) "Given the results of the first question -- i.e., given how good or bad the evidence supporting evolution appears to be -- should Orthodox Christians believe in evolution?"
Since that start, i have noticed a great deal of repetition so i hope i may be forgiven for not reading it all.
...

Landing in todays messages, i note that M. Partyka may not be faulted for thus having attempted to restrict the debate entirely to the waters of scientific speculation. Yet, i suspect that even 'he' (forgive the editorial pronoun here) was not surprised at how quickly his wishes were ignored. I understand and accept his proprietary feelings for the subject – the notion that after all, science does own this property (or at least science has always been its official sponsor).

Accepting Partyka's wishes, however, we should wonder: Does not The Question really shift to one of,

Are scientific commentators justified in even wanting to keep the evolution argument confined to the precincts of the laboratory?

As has been pointed out so many many times in the course of this debate, the initial proprietary responsibilities are not those of Science, but the ones originally propounded by Christian/Jewish Religion. So, given a slightly broader viewpoint (than Science wants to allow), the more productive question might better be:

Has the Scientific commentary justified its attempt to take creation out of the Altar and lock it away in its frozen specimens vault?


It may only be through some such shifting of the locus as this that scientists might give up the narrow view (ie: How to defend the current position based upon all the previous scientific speculation) – it may only be by getting outside their old pale that scientists might begin to criticize the body of speculations they have cobbled together.

Entertaining something like this critique is the only productive reason i see for even wanting to continue these scientific speculations.

As an example of the not too subtle pitfalls of failing to criticize their own 'scientific' speculations, please let me test the forum's patience by submitting this short report. In it (below) note the reporters' struggle with an objective critique, and how the (hopefully) hidden bias cannot resist surfacing – for instance in the, “There is some cause for hope” opening of paragraph four. Otherwise, the reporter's bias toward Protestantism and Catholicism may be passed over:

Why doesn't America believe in evolution?
From New Scientist Print Edition
Issue 2565 of New Scientist magazine, 19 August 2006, page 11

[By reporter] Jeff Hecht

Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals: true or false? This simple question is splitting America apart, with a growing proportion thinking that we did not descend from an ancestral ape. A survey of 32 European countries, the US and Japan has revealed that only Turkey is less willing than the US to accept evolution as fact.
Religious fundamentalism, bitter partisan politics and poor science education have all contributed to this denial of evolution in the US, says Jon Miller of Michigan State University in East Lansing, who conducted the survey with his colleagues. "The US is the only country in which [the teaching of evolution] has been politicised," he says. "Republicans have clearly adopted this as one of their wedge issues. In most of the world, this is a non-issue."
Miller's report makes for grim reading for adherents of evolutionary theory. Even though the average American has more years of education than when Miller began his surveys 20 years ago, the percentage of people in the country who accept the idea of evolution has declined from 45 in 1985 to 40 in 2005 (Science, vol 313, p 765). That's despite a series of widely publicised advances in genetics, including genetic sequencing, which shows strong overlap of the human genome with those of chimpanzees and mice. "We don't seem to be going in the right direction," Miller says.
There is some cause for hope. Team member Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, finds solace in the finding that the percentage of adults overtly rejecting evolution has dropped from 48 to 39 in the same time. Meanwhile the fraction of Americans unsure about evolution has soared, from 7 per cent in 1985 to 21 per cent last year. "That is a group of people that can be reached," says Scott.
The main opposition to evolution comes from fundamentalist Christians, who are much more abundant in the US than in Europe. While Catholics, European Protestants and so-called mainstream US Protestants consider the biblical account of creation as a metaphor, fundamentalists take the Bible literally, leading them to believe that the Earth and humans were created only 6000 years ago.
Ironically, the separation of church and state laid down in the US constitution contributes to the tension. In Catholic schools, both evolution and the strict biblical version of human beginnings can be taught. A court ban on teaching creationism in public schools, however, means pupils can only be taught evolution, which angers fundamentalists, and triggers local battles over evolution.
These battles can take place because the US lacks a national curriculum of the sort common in European countries. However, the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind act is instituting standards for science teaching, and the battles of what they should be has now spread to the state level.
Miller thinks more genetics should be on the syllabus to reinforce the idea of evolution. American adults may be harder to reach: nearly two-thirds don't agree that more than half of human genes are common to chimpanzees. How would these people respond when told that humans and chimps share 99 per cent of their genes?

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Just read Herman Blaydoe's comments (above) before posting this. They are well done, to my mind. And this is not to say that M. Partyka's faith in speculation is not well done. Mostly, however, i applaud Partyka for 'his' steadfast new-age ability so speak even-handedly.

Also, Paul Cowan (above) is once more bringing the argument back into focus after it had been camouflaged under scientific speculative minutiae. (He, like Owen Jones, has done this many times before.)

We ignore Mr Alex Michael Rusanen's post (above) at our peril.
(Just noticed that Dcn Matthew agrees.)




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