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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in September 2006. The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
[Index: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Oct, Nov, Dec]
1/09/2006 "To some extent these excesses are not Mindell's fault, for, if truth be told, evolution hasn't yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn't evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of `like begets like'. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all." (Coyne, J.A., "Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?" Review of "The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life," by David P. Mindell, Harvard University Press, 2006. Nature, Vol 442, August 31, 2006, pp:983-984, p.984) 1/09/2006 "Ronald Reagan recently had kind words for creationism, a nationwide movement that over the last decade has been trying to get the biblical view of creation inserted into public school curriculums on an equal footing with evolution. At a press conference following a speech to a fundamentalist religious coalition in Dallas, the Republican presidential nominee was asked if he thought the theory of evolution should be taught in public schools. The governor responded: `Well, it is a theory, it is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed. But If it was going to be taught in the schools, then I think that also the biblical theory of creation, which is not a theory but the biblical story of creation, should also be taught.' Asked if he believed in the theory of evolution, Reagan replied: `I have a great many questions about it. I think that recent discoveries down through the years have pointed up great flaws in it.'" (Holden, C., "Republican Candidate Picks Fight with Darwin," Science, Vol. 209, 12 September 1980, p.1214) 2/09/2006 "Evolutionary psychology is in many respects a strangely inconsequential exercise, especially given the evangelical fervor with which it is touted by adherents. Evolutionists can take any set of psychological and social data and show how they can be explained in Darwinian terms. But they cannot perform experiments that will establish that their view is right and the alternative view is wrong-or vice versa. This quandary reminds me of the field of physics devoted to "interpreting"-that is, determining the metaphysical meaning of-quantum mechanics. Many different interpretations have been proposed, including the Copenhagen interpretation, the many-worlds hypothesis, and the pilot-wave theory. The problem is that each interpretation explains the available data, and thus there is no way to determine empirically which interpretation is correct. One is forced to choose based on aesthetic preferences. In the same way, empirical data alone cannot determine where evolutionary psychology is right and cultural determinism is wrong. One is forced to fall back on aesthetic, political, or philosophical preferences." (Horgan, J., "The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, pp.194-195) 2/09/2006 "Why, if evolutionary theory is so well supported, must people like Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and others expend so much energy extolling its charms? Why does Darwinism, as a theory of all of nature (rather than just the human variety), stick in the craw not only of religious fundamentalists but also of many extremely knowledgeable scientists? Some critics, notably the left-leaning biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin (and probably Noam Chomsky, in spite of his disavowals), clearly have political objections to Darwinian theories. They fear that if we accept adaptationist explanations of nature, we may come to believe that many unpleasant features of modern life-ruthless capitalism, racism, sexism, nationalism, and the like-were to some extent probable and even inevitable outcomes of evolution and not easily subject to change. Given how genetic theories have been employed in the past, such concerns are not unwarranted. But others object to Darwinism for precisely the opposite reason. They fear that evolutionary theory, even when buttressed by modern genetics and molecular biology, does not make reality probable enough. Darwinism cannot tell us why life appeared in the first place or why, once it emerged, it took the course it did. Scientists have proposed various auxiliary mechanisms to make life appear more probable and robust, including group selection, Gaia, and complexity theory, but none are very plausible." (Horgan, J., "The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, pp.195-196. Emphasis original) 2/09/2006 "The particle physicist Steven Weinberg once wrote, `The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless:' The history of biology suggests a corollary aphorism: the more life seems comprehensible, the more it seems improbable. The most wildly improbable organism of all is the one that can fret over its improbability." (Horgan, J., "The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.196) 2/09/2006 "Evolutionary theory raises questions about our future as well as our past. Just how far can evolution go? Will humans keep getting smarter? Will Homo sapiens give rise to some other more intelligent species some day, just as apes gave rise to us? Not surprisingly, evolutionists cannot agree on the answer." (Horgan, J., "The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.196) 2/09/2006 "Both quantum-consciousness theories and neural ones were rejected in Tucson by David Chalmers, a young Australian philosopher and mathematician. In his lecture, Chalmers declared that physical theories can account only for the various functions of the brain, such as perception, memory, and decision-making. But no physical theory can explain why these cognitive functions are accompanied by conscious sensations, which some philosophers call qualia. Chalmers called consciousness `the hard problem.'' (Horgan, J., "The Undiscovered Mind: How the Brain Defies Explanation," , Phoenix: London, 2000, reprint, p.242) 2/09/2006 "`Almost everyone agrees that there will be very strong correlations between what's in the brain and consciousness,' says David Chalmers, a philosophy professor and Director of the Center for Consciousness at the Australian National University. `The question is what kind of explanation that will give you. We want more than correlation, we want explanation -- how and why do brain process give rise to consciousness? That's the big mystery.' ... Chalmers is best known for distinguishing between the 'easy' problems of consciousness and the 'hard' problem. The easy problems are those that deal with functions and behaviors associated with consciousness and include questions such as these: How does perception occur? How does the brain bind different kinds of sensory information together to produce the illusion of a seamless experience? `Those are what I call the easy problems, not because they're trivial, but because they fall within the standard methods of the cognitive sciences,' Chalmers says. The hard problem for Chalmers is that of subjective experience. `You have a different kind of experience -- a different quality of experience -- when you see red, when you see green, when you hear middle C, when you taste chocolate ...Whenever you're conscious, whenever you have a subjective experience, it feels like something.' According to Chalmers, the subjective nature of consciousness prevents it from being explained in terms of simpler components, a method used to great success in other areas of science. He believes that unlike most of the physical world, which can be broken down into individual atoms, or organisms, which can be understood in terms of cells, consciousness is an irreducible aspect of the universe, like space and time and mass. `Those things in a way didn't need to evolve,' said Chalmers. `They were part of the fundamental furniture of the world all along.' Instead of trying to reduce consciousness to something else, Chalmers believes consciousness should simply be taken for granted, the way that space and time and mass are in physics. According to this view, a theory of consciousness would not explain what consciousness is or how it arose; instead, it would try to explain the relationship between consciousness and everything else in the world.'" (Than, K., "Why Great Minds Can't Grasp Consciousness," Livescience, 8 August 2005) 2/09/2006 "The Hard Problem Researchers use the word `consciousness' in many different ways. To clarify the issues, we first have to separate the problems that are often clustered together under the name. For this purpose, I find it useful to distinguish between the `easy problems' and the `hard problem' of consciousness. The easy problems are by no means trivial-they are actually as challenging as most in psychology and biology-but it is with the hard problem that the central mystery lies. The easy problems of consciousness include the following: How can a human subject discriminate sensory stimuli and react to them appropriately? How does the brain integrate information from many different sources and use this information to control behavior? How is it that subjects can verbalize their internal states? Although all these questions are associated with consciousness, they all concern the objective mechanisms of the cognitive system. Consequently, we have every reason to expect that continued work in cognitive psychology and neuroscience will answer them. The hard problem, in contrast, is the question of how physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experience. This puzzle involves the inner aspect of thought and perception: the way things feel for the subject. When we see, for example, we experience visual sensations, such as that of vivid blue. Or think of the ineffable sound of a distant oboe, the agony of an intense pain, the sparkle of happiness or the meditative quality of a moment lost in thought. All are part of what I am calling consciousness. It is these phenomena that pose the real mystery of the mind. ... Given the flurry of recent work on consciousness in neuroscience and psychology, one might think this mystery is starting to be cleared up. On closer examination, however, it turns out that almost all the current work addresses only the easy problems of consciousness. The confidence of the reductionist view comes from the progress on the easy problems, but none of this makes any difference where the hard problem is concerned. ... The hard problem of consciousness, in contrast, goes beyond problems about how functions are performed. Even if every behavioral and cognitive function related to consciousness were explained, there would still remain a further mystery: Why is the performance of these functions accompanied by conscious experience? It is this additional conundrum that makes the hard problem hard." (Chalmers, D.J., "The Puzzle of Conscious Experience," Scientific American, Vol. 273, No. 6, December 1995, pp.62-64) 2/09/2006 "WHAT science is good at is easy questions, says philosopher and cognitive scientist David Chalmers. Consciousness, however, raises a hard question. Science explains how physical systems behave in certain ways, or carry out certain functions. What science is not (currently) good at, according to Chalmers, is explaining subjective feels and experiences: the redness of an apple, the stinging sensation of a pain, or (as Chalmers puts it) the `ineffable sound of the distant oboe'. So questions about consciousness fall into two categories, according to Chalmers. There are (relatively) easy, function-related questions such as `How can a physical device discriminate Marmite from marmalade?', or even `How can such a device access Marmite- related memories when it spots a jar?' And then there are hard questions, relating not to function but to feel: questions such as `Why does the experience of tasting Marmite feel like anything at all?' and `Why does it feel like this rather than like something else?' Of such stuff is the so-called `hard problem' of consciousness made. The answers to these questions, Chalmers believes, must lie beyond the reach of standard, function- oriented scientific explanation. Chalmers's distinction, and his bold assertion that a resolution of the hard problem may require a radical revision in our notions of the physical world, set the agenda for this fine volume of papers culled from the pages of the highly successful Journal of Consciousness Studies." (Clark, A., "So how does it feel?" Review of "Explaining Consciousness: The Hard Problem," J. Shear, ed., MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1997. New Scientist, Vol. 155, 23 August 1997, p.40) 2/09/2006 "Is consciousness the hardest of hard problems? Is it all down to bits of wiring in the brain or quantum mechanics? ... Whoever is right, one thing is certain-consciousness remains the first and last of the great human mysteries. So what kind of problem is it? The philosophers of the hard school think that consciousness is in a league of its own. Consciousness, they argue, has absolutely unique properties: it is private, subjective, peculiar to the individual, and cannot be directly observed by a third person. As David Chalmers of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the hardest of the hard school of philosophers, summed it up after the last Tucson conference: `When we see, we experience visual sensations-the felt quality of redness, the experience of dark and light, the quality of depth in a visual field. Other experiences go along with perception in different modalities-the sound of a clarinet, the smell of mothballs...Then there are bodily sensations from pains to orgasms-mental images that are conjured up internally, the felt quality of emotion, and the experience of a stream of conscious thought. What unites all of these states is that there is something it is to be to be in them. All of them are states of experience.' The hard school believes that understanding how the brain works does not automatically mean we will understand consciousness. They accept that we will be able, for example, to trace the visual processes that help us to discriminate colour, starting with cells in the retina that respond to different wavelengths of light. But really explaining consciousness, explaining why these neural processes should be accompanied by a feeling of `what it is like to be me', is a completely different kind of problem, says Chalmers. Indeed, he has suggested that consciousness might turn out to be an irreducible property, in the same category as time and space, and understanding it may force us to rewrite everything we know abut the Universe." ("Zombies, dolphins and blindsight," New Scientist, Vol 150, 4 May 1996, p.20) 2/09/2006 "Taking into account the scientific research of the era, and also the proper requirements of theology, the encyclical Humani Generis treated the doctrine of `evolutionism' as a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and serious study, alongside the opposite hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions for this study: one could not adopt this opinion as if it were a certain and demonstrable doctrine, and one could not totally set aside the teaching Revelation on the relevant questions. He also set out the conditions on which this opinion would be compatible with the Christian faith-a point to which I shall return. Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies-which was neither planned nor sought-constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory. What is the significance of a theory such as this one? To open this question is to enter into the field of epistemology. A theory is a meta-scientific elaboration, which is distinct from, but in harmony with, the results of observation. With the help of such a theory a group of data and independent facts can be related to one another and interpreted in one comprehensive explanation. The theory proves its validity by the measure to which it can be verified. It is constantly being tested against the facts; when it can no longer explain these facts, it shows its limits and its lack of usefulness, and it must be revised. Moreover, the elaboration of a theory such as that of evolution, while obedient to the need for consistency with the observed data, must also involve importing some ideas from the philosophy of nature. And to tell the truth, rather than speaking about the theory of evolution, it is more accurate to speak of the theories of evolution. The use of the plural is required here-in part because of the diversity of explanations regarding the mechanism of evolution, and in part because of the diversity of philosophies involved. There are materialist and reductionist theories, as well as spiritualist theories. Here the final judgment is within the competence of philosophy and, beyond that, of theology. ... The magisterium of the Church takes a direct interest in the question of evolution, because it touches on the conception of man, whom Revelation tells us is created in the image and likeness of God. The conciliar constitution Gaudium et Spes has given us a magnificent exposition of this doctrine, which is one of the essential elements of Christian thought. The Council recalled that `man is the only creature on earth that God wanted for its own sake.' In other words, the human person cannot be subordinated as a means to an end, or as an instrument of either the species or the society; he has a value of his own. He is a person. By this intelligence and his will, he is capable of entering into relationship, of communion, of solidarity, of the gift of himself to others like himself. St. Thomas observed that man's resemblance to God resides especially in his speculative intellect, because his relationship with the object of his knowledge is like God's relationship with his creation. (Summa Theologica I-II, q 3, a 5, ad 1) But even beyond that, man is called to enter into a loving relationship with God himself, a relationship which will find its full expression at the end of time, in eternity. Within the mystery of the risen Christ the full grandeur of this vocation is revealed to us. (Gaudium et Spes, 22) It is by virtue of his eternal soul that the whole person, including his body, possesses such great dignity. Pius XII underlined the essential point: if the origin of the human body comes through living matter which existed previously, the spiritual soul is created directly by God ('animas enim a Deo immediate creari catholica fides non retimere iubet'). (Humani Generis) As a result, the theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. They are therefore unable to serve as the basis for the dignity of the human person." (Pope John Paul II, "Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: on Evolution," The Vatican, October 22, 1996) 3/09/2006 "I believe that we must reassess fundamentally the relative importance we have assigned to upright posture and increase in brain size as determinants of human evolution. We have viewed upright posture as an easily accomplished, gradual trend and increase in brain size as a surprisingly rapid discontinuity-something special both in its evolutionary mode and the magnitude of its effect. I wish to suggest a diametrically opposite view. Upright posture is the surprise, the difficult event, the rapid and fundamental reconstruction of our anatomy. The subsequent enlargement of our brain is, in anatomical terms, a secondary epiphenomenon, an easy transformation embedded in a general pattern of human evolution. Six million years ago at most, if the molecular clock runs true (and Wilson and Sarich would prefer five), we shared our last common ancestor with gorillas and chimps. Presumably, this creature walked primarily on all fours, although it may have moved about on two legs as well, as apes and many monkeys do today. Little more than a million years later, our ancestors were as bipedal as you or I. This, not later enlargement of the brain, was the great punctuation in human evolution. Bipedalism is no easy accomplishment. It requires a fundamental reconstruction of our anatomy, particularly of the foot and pelvis. Moreover, it represents an anatomical reconstruction outside the general pattern of human evolution. ... But upright posture is a different phenomenon. It cannot be achieved by the `easy' route of retaining a feature already present in juvenile stages. ... It is now two in the morning and I'm finished. I think I'll walk over to the refrigerator and get a beer; then I'll go to sleep. Culture-bound creature that I am, the dream I will have in an hour or so when I'm supine astounds me ever so much more than the stroll I will now perform perpendicular to the floor." (Gould, S.J., "Our Greatest Evolutionary Step," in "The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History," , Penguin: London, 1990, reprint, pp.110-111) 4/09/2006 "The curious thing is that among those celebrating the prominence of these two Darwinians [Dawkins and Dennett] on both sides of the Atlantic is an unexpected constituency - the American creationist/intelligent- design lobby. Huh? Dawkins, in particular, has become their top pin-up. How so? William Dembski (one of the leading lights of the US intelligent-design lobby) put it like this in an email to Dawkins: `I know that you personally don't believe in God, but I want to thank you for being such a wonderful foil for theism and for intelligent design more generally. In fact, I regularly tell my colleagues that you and your work are one of God's greatest gifts to the intelligent-design movement. So please, keep at it!' [Dembski, W.A.*, "Richard Dawkins - Godís Best Gift to ID," Uncommon Descent, May 1, 2005] But while Dembski, Dawkins and Dennett are sipping the champagne for their very different reasons, there is a party pooper. Michael Ruse, a prominent Darwinian philosopher (and an agnostic) based in the US, with a string of books on the subject, is exasperated: `Dawkins and Dennett are really dangerous, both at a moral and a legal level.' The nub of Ruse's argument is that Darwinism does not lead ineluctably to atheism, and to claim that it does (as Dawkins does) provides the intelligent-design lobby with a legal loophole: `If Darwinism equals atheism then it can't be taught in US schools because of the constitutional separation of church and state. It gives the creationists a legal case. Dawkins and Dennett are handing these people a major tool.'" (Bunting, M., "Why the intelligent design lobby thanks God for Richard Dawkins," The Guardian, March 27, 2006) 4/09/2006 "Kaufman argues that the defendants' refusal to allow him to create the study group violated his rights under both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. ... We address his claim under the Free Exercise Clause first. An inmate retains the right to exercise his religious beliefs in prison. ... The problem here was that the prison officials did not treat atheism as a `religion,' perhaps in keeping with Kaufman's own insistence that it is the antithesis of religion. But whether atheism is a `religion' for First Amendment purposes is a somewhat different question than whether its adherents believe in a supreme being, or attend regular devotional services, or have a sacred Scripture. The Supreme Court has said that a religion, for purposes of the First Amendment, is distinct from a `way of life,' even if that way of life is inspired by philosophical beliefs or other secular concerns. ... A religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being (or beings, for polytheistic faiths), ...nor must it be a mainstream faith .... Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of `ultimate concern' that for her occupy a `place parallel to that filled by ... God in traditionally religious persons,' those beliefs represent her religion. .... We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion. ... ('If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion.'). Kaufman claims that his atheist beliefs play a central role in his life, and the defendants do not dispute that his beliefs are deeply and sincerely held. The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a `religion' for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions ... The Establishment Clause itself says only that `Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,' but the Court understands the reference to religion to include what it often calls `nonreligion.' In McCreary County, it described the touchstone of Establishment Clause analysis as `the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.' ... As the Court put it in Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985): At one time it was thought that this right [referring to the right to choose one's own creed] merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all. .... In keeping with this idea, the Court has adopted a broad definition of `religion' that includes nontheistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as theistic ones. Thus, in Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, it said that a state cannot `pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non- believers, and neither can [it] aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.' ... Indeed, Torcaso specifically included `Secular Humanism' as an example of a religion. ... It is also noteworthy that the administrative code governing Wisconsin prisons states that one factor the warden is prohibited from considering in deciding whether an inmate's request to form a new religious group should be granted is `the absence from the beliefs of a concepts of a supreme being.' ... Atheism is, among other things, a school of thought that takes a position on religion, the existence and importance of a supreme being, and a code of ethics. As such, we are satisfied that it qualifies as Kaufman's religion for purposes of the First Amendment claims he is attempting to raise." (Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 867 (8th Cir. 2005), 2005 US App, pp.3-6. References omitted) 5/09/2006 "The central idea of the Myth is what its believers would call 'Evolution' or 'Development' or 'Emergence', just as the central idea in the myth of Adonis is Death and Rebirth. I do not mean that the doctrine of Evolution as held by practising biologists is a Myth. It may be shown, by later biologists, to be a less satisfactory hypothesis than was hoped fifty years ago. But that does not amount to being a Myth. It is a genuine scientific hypothesis. But we must sharply distinguish between Evolution as a biological theorem and popular Evolutionism or Developmentalism which is certainly a Myth. Before proceeding to describe it and (which is my chief business) to pronounce its eulogy, I had better make clear its mythical character. We have, first of all, the evidence of chronology. If popular Evolutionism were (as it imagines itself to be) not a Myth but the intellectually legitimate result of the scientific theorem on the public mind, it would arise after that theorem had become widely known. We should have the theorem known first of all to a few, then adopted by all the scientists, then spreading to all men of general education, then beginning to affect poetry and the arts, and so finally percolating to the mass of the people. In fact, however, we find something quite different. The clearest and finest poetical expressions of the Myth come before the Origin of Species was published (1859) and long before it had established itself as scientific orthodoxy." (Lewis, C.S., "The Funeral of a Great Myth," in "Christian Reflections," , Hooper, W., ed., Fount: Glasgow UK, Fourth Impression, 1988, p.111) 5/09/2006 "What makes it impossible that it should be true is not so much the lack of evidence for this or that scene in the drama as the fatal self-contradiction which runs right through it. The Myth cannot even get going without accepting a good deal from the real sciences. And the real sciences cannot be accepted for a moment unless rational inferences are valid: for every science claims to be a series of inferences from observed facts. It is only by such inferences that you can reach your nebulae and protoplasm and dinosaurs and sub-men and cave-men at all. Unless you start by believing that reality in the remotest space and the remotest time rigidly obeys the laws of logic, you can have no ground for believing in any astronomy, any biology, any palaeontology, any archaeology. To reach the positions held by the real scientists- which are then taken over by the Myth-you must, in fact, treat reason as an absolute. But at the same time the Myth asks me to believe that reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of a mindless process at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. The content of the Myth thus knocks from under me the only ground on which I could possibly believe the Myth to be true. If my own mind is a product of the irrational - if what seem my clearest reasonings are only the way in which a creature conditioned as I am is bound to feel- how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about Evolution? They say in effect: 'I will prove that what you call a proof is only the result of mental habits which result from heredity which results from bio-chemistry which results from physics.' But this is the same as saying: 'I will prove that proofs are irrational': more succinctly, 'I will prove that there are no proofs': The fact that some people of scientific education cannot by any effort be taught to see the difficulty, confirms one's suspicion that we here touch a radical disease in their whole style of thought. But the man who does see it, is compelled to reject as mythical the cosmology in which most of us were brought up. That it has embedded in it many true particulars I do not doubt: but in its entirety, it simply will not do. Whatever the real universe may turn out to be like, it can't be like that." (Lewis, C.S., "The Funeral of a Great Myth," in "Christian Reflections," , Hooper, W., ed., Fount: Glasgow UK, Fourth Impression, 1988, pp.117-118) 5/09/2006 "It therefore follows that all knowledge whatever depends on the validity of inference. If, in principle, the feeling of certainty we have when we say `Because A is B therefore C must be D' is an illusion, if it reveals only how our cortex has to work and not how realities external to us must really be, then we can know nothing whatever. ... This admission seems to me completely unavoidable and it has very momentous consequences. In the first place it rules out any materialistic account of thinking. We are compelled to admit between the thoughts of a terrestrial astronomer and the behaviour of matter' several light-years away that particular relation which we call truth. But this relation has no meaning at all if we try to make it exist between the matter of the star and the astronomer's brain, considered as a lump of matter. The brain may be in all sorts of relations to the star no doubt: it is in a spatial relation, and a time relation, and a quantitative relation. But to talk of one bit of matter as being true about another bit of matter seems to me to be nonsense." (Lewis, C.S., "De Futilitate," in "Christian Reflections," , Hooper, W., ed., Fount: Glasgow UK, Fourth Impression, 1988, pp.86-88) 6/09/2006 "The theory of evolution asserts that the beings now living have descended from different beings which have lived in the past; that the discontinuous variation observed at our time-level, the gaps now existing between clusters of forms, have arisen gradually, so that if we could assemble all the individuals which have ever inhabited the earth, a fairly continuous array of forms would emerge; that all these changes have taken place due to causes which now continue to be in operation and which therefore can be studied experimentally." (Dobzhansky, T.G., "Genetics and the Origin of Species," , Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982, reprint, p.7) 6/09/2006 "Pope John Paul II recently issued a statement that struck me as entirely unremarkable and fully consistent with long-standing Roman Catholic support for NOMA [Non-Overlapping Magisteria] in general, and for the legitimate claims of human evolution as a subject for study in particular. After all, I knew that the highly conservative Pope Pius XII had defended evolution as a proper inquiry in the encyclical Humani Generis, published in 1950, and that he had done so by central and explicit invocation of NOMA-that is, by identifying the study of physical evolution as outside his magisterium, while further distinguishing such Darwinian concepts from a subject often confused with scientific claims but properly lying within the magisterium of religion: namely the origin and constitution of the human soul. But, on more careful reading and study, I realized that Pope John Paul's statement of 1996 had added an important dimension to Pius's earlier document issued nearly half a century before. ... I had ... found nothing surprising in Humani Generis, and nothing to relieve my puzzlement about the novelty of Pope John Paul's 1996 statement. But I read further and realized that Pope Pius had said more about evolution, something I had never seen quoted, and something that made John Paul's statement most interesting indeed. In short, Pius forcefully proclaimed that while evolution may be legitimate in principle, the theory, in fact, had not been proven and might well be entirely wrong. One gets the strong impression, moreover, that Pius was rooting pretty hard for a verdict of falsity. Continuing ... he advises us about the proper study of evolution: However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure ... Some, however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation (Gould, S.J., "Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life," The Library of Contemporary Thought, Ballantine: New York NY, 1999, pp.75-79) 6/09/2006 "To summarize, Pius accepts the NOMA principle in permitting Catholics to entertain the hypothesis of evolution for the human body so long as they accept the divine infusion of the soul. But he then offers some (holy) fatherly advice to scientists about the status of evolution as a scientific concept: the idea is not yet proven, and you all need to be especially cautious because evolution raises many troubling issues right on the border of my magisterium. One may read this second theme of advice-giving in two rather different ways: either as a gratuitous incursion into a different magisterium, or as a helpful perspective from an intelligent and concerned outsider. In any case, this rarely quoted second claim (that evolution remains both unproven and a bit dangerous) and not the familiar first argument for NOMA (that Catholics may accept the evolution of the body so long as they embrace the creation of the soul)-defines the novelty and the interest of John Paul's recent statement. John Paul begins by summarizing Pius's older encyclical of 1950, and particularly by reaffirming NOMAnothing new here, and no cause for extended publicity: In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation.' The novelty and news value of John Paul's statement lies, rather, in his profound revision of Pius's second and rarely quoted claim that evolution, while conceivable in principle and reconcilable with religion, can cite little persuasive evidence in support, and may well be false. John Paul states-and I can only say amen, and thanks for noticing-that the half-century between Pius surveying the ruins of World War II and his own pontificate heralding the dawn of a new millennium has witnessed such a growth of data, and such a refinement of theory, that evolution can no longer be doubted by people of goodwill and keen intellect: Pius XII added ... that this opinion [evolution] should not be adopted as though it were a certain, proven doctrine ... Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory. In conclusion, Pius had grudgingly admitted evolution as a legitimate hypothesis that he regarded as only tentatively supported and potentially (as he clearly hoped) untrue. John Paul, nearly fifty years later, reaffirms the legitimacy of evolution under the NOMA principle, but then adds that additional data and theory have placed the factuality of evolution beyond reasonable doubt. Sincere Christians may now accept evolution not merely as a plausible possibility, but also as an effectively proven fact. In other words, official Catholic opinion on evolution has moved from `say it ain't so, but we can deal with it if we have to' (Pius's grudging view of 1950) to John Paul's entirely welcoming `it has been proven true; we always celebrate nature's factuality, and we look forward to interesting discussions of theological implications.' I happily endorse this turn of events as gospel-literally, good news. I represent the magisterium of science, but I welcome the support of a primary leader from the other major magisterium of our complex lives." (Gould, S.J., "Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life," The Library of Contemporary Thought, Ballantine: New York NY, 1999, pp.80-82) 7/09/2006 "There is yet another difficulty. The first organism, it is claimed, had to hide from the very elements that led to its creation, for it is generally agreed that atmospheric conditions on the primitive earth, especially the high flux of the origin of life energetic ultraviolet rays, would destroy any form of life. It is therefore assumed that the first living things were restricted to such depths of water as would shield them from harmful rays, there to stay for millions (perhaps hundreds of millions) of years, awaiting proper conditions. This is inconsistent with the view that each new level of organization of matter emerges from a lower level and is compatible with the conditions that brought it about." (Keosian, J., "The Origin of Life," , Reinhold: New York NY, Second edition, 1968, pp.77-78. Emphasis original) 7/09/2006 "The assumption most difficult to accept, however, is the claim that out of a structureless `soup' there arose as the first living thing a `primitive anaerobic microorganism.' This is inconceivable since the simplest anaerobe has at least dozens of catalyzed reactions harmoniously correlated to each other, and the whole is controlled by a fine coordination. Even if we were to accept the assumption that each of these reactions preexisted in the `soup,' the chance assembly of all of them into a functioning unit is inconceivable. There is now every reason to believe that life was an inevitable outcome of the gradual evolution of matter and did not have to depend on improbable accidental occurrences." (Keosian, J., "The Origin of Life," , Reinhold: New York NY, Second edition, 1968, p.78. Emphasis original) 7/09/2006 "In fact, there is a great deal more to the creation-evolution controversy than meets the eye, or rather than meets the carefully cultivated media stereotype of `creationists' as Bible-quoting know-nothings who refuse to face up to the scientific evidence. The creationists may be wrong about many things, but they have at least one very important point to argue, a point that has been thoroughly obscured by all the attention paid to Noah's Flood and other side issues. What the science educators propose to teach as `evolution,' and label as fact, is based not upon any incontrovertible empirical evidence, but upon a highly controversial philosophical presupposition. The controversy over evolution is therefore not going to go away as people become better educated on the subject. On the contrary, the more people learn about the philosophical content of what scientists are calling the `fact of evolution,' the less they are going to like it." (Johnson, P.E. "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism," [First Things, October 1990], Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1990, reprint, p.1) 7/09/2006 "What Darwinists like Dawkins despise as `creationism' is something much broader than biblical fundamentalism or even Christianity and what they proclaim as `evolution' is something much narrower than what the word means in common usage. All persons who affirm that `God creates' are in an important sense creationists, even if they believe that the Genesis story is a myth and that God created gradually through evolution over billions of years. This follows from the fact that the theory of evolution in question is naturalistic evolution, meaning evolution that involves no intervention or guidance by a creator outside the world of nature." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism," [First Things, October 1990], Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1990, reprint, p.6) 7/09/2006 "Naturalistic evolution is consistent with the existence of `God' only if by that term we mean no more than a first cause which retires from further activity after establishing the laws of nature and setting the natural mechanism in motion. Persons who say they believe in evolution, but who have in mind a process guided by an active God who purposely intervenes or controls the process to accomplish some end, are using the same term that the Darwinists use, but they mean something very different by it. For example, here is what Douglas Futuyma, the author of a leading college evolutionary biology textbook, finds to be the most important conflict between the theory of evolution and what he thinks of as the `fundamentalist' perspective: `Perhaps most importantly, if the world and its creatures developed purely by material, physical forces, it could not have been designed and has no purpose or goal. The fundamentalist, in contrast, believes that everything in the world, every species and every characteristic of every species, was designed by an intelligent, purposeful artificer, and that is was made for a purpose. Nowhere does this contrast apply with more force than to the human species. Some shrink from the conclusion that the human species was not designed, has no purpose, and is the product of mere material mechanisms-but this seems to be the message of evolution.' (Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution) It is not only `fundamentalism,' of course, but theists of any description who believe that an intelligent artificer made humanity for a purpose, whether through evolution or otherwise." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism," [First Things, October 1990], Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1990, reprint, p.6) 7/09/2006 "The most respectable academic critic of evolution may currently be Professor Phillip Johnson of the University of California School of Law. Johnson concedes that evolution has occurred and that it is sometimes due to natural selection, but he argues that there is no 'incontrovertible experimental [sic] evidence' [Johnson, P.E.*, "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism," Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1990, p.1] that evolution is not guided by some divine plan . Of course, one could never hope to prove that no supernatural agency ever tips the scales in favor of some mutations and against others. But much the same could be said of any scientific theory. There is nothing in the successful application of Newton's or Einstein's laws of motion to the solar system that prevents us from supposing that every once in a while some comet gets a small shove from a divine agency. It seems pretty clear that Johnson raises this issue not as a matter of impartial open-mindedness but because for religious reasons he cares very much about life in a way that he does not care about comets. But the only way that any sort of science can proceed is to assume that there is no divine intervention and to see how far one can get with this assumption." (Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, p.247) 7/09/2006 "Johnson argues that naturalistic evolution, `evolution that involves no intervention or guidance by a creator outside the world of nature,' [Johnson, P.E.*, "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism," Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1990, p.6] in fact does not provide a very good explanation for the origin of species. I think he goes wrong here because he has no feeling for the problems that any scientific theory always has in accounting for what we observe. Even apart from outright errors, our calculations and observations are always based on assumptions that go beyond the validity of the theory we are trying to test. There never was a time when the calculations based on Newton's theory of gravitation or any other theory were in perfect agreement with all observations. In the writings of today's paleontologists and evolutionary biologists we can recognize the same state of affairs that is so familiar to us in physics; in using the naturalistic theory of evolution biologists are working with an overwhelmingly successful theory, but one that is not yet finished with its work of explication. It seems to me to be a profoundly important discovery that we can get very far in explaining the world without invoking divine intervention and in biology as well as in the physical sciences." (Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, pp.247-248) 7/09/2006 "In another respect I think that Johnson is right. He argues that there is an incompatibility between the naturalistic theory of evolution and religion as generally understood, and he takes to task the scientists and educators who deny it. He goes on to complain that `naturalistic evolution is consistent with the existence of "God" only if by that term we mean no more than a first cause which retires from further activity after establishing the laws of nature and setting the natural mechanism in motion." [Johnson, P.E.*, "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism", Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1990, p.6] The inconsistency between the modern theory of evolution and belief in an interested God does not seem to me one of logic-one can imagine that God established the laws of nature and set the mechanism of evolution in motion with the intention that through natural selection you and I would someday appear but there is a real inconsistency in temperament. After all, religion did not arise in the minds of men and women who speculated about infinitely prescient first causes but in the hearts of those who longed for the continual intervention of an interested God." (Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, p.248) 7/09/2006 "The religious conservatives understand, as their liberal opponents seem often not to, how high are the stakes in the debate over teaching evolution in the public schools. In 1983, shortly after coming to Texas, I was invited to testify before a committee of the Texas Senate on a regulation that forbade the teaching of the theory of evolution in state-purchased high-school textbooks unless equal emphasis was given to creationism. One of the members of the committee asked me how the state could Support the teaching of a scientific theory like evolution that was so corrosive of religious belief I replied that just as it would be wrong for those who are emotionally committed to atheism to give evolution more emphasis than would be otherwise appropriate in teaching biology, so it would be inconsistent with the First Amendment to give evolution less emphasis as a means of protecting religious belief. It is simply not the business of the public schools to concern themselves one way or the other with the religious implications of scientific theories. My answer did not satisfy the senator because he knew as I did what would be the effect of a course in biology that gives an appropriate emphasis to the theory of evolution. As I left the committee room, he muttered that `God is still in heaven anyway.' Maybe so, but we won that battle; Texas high- school textbooks are now not only allowed but required to teach the modern theory of evolution, and with no nonsense about creationism. But there are many places (today especially in Islamic countries) where this battle is yet to be won and no assurance anywhere that it will stay won." (Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, p.249) 7/09/2006 "One often hears that there is no conflict between science and religion. For instance, in a review of Johnson's book, Stephen Gould remarks that science and religion do not come into conflict, because `science treats factual reality, while religion treats [sic] human morality.' [Gould, S.J. "Impeaching a Self- Appointed Judge". Book Review of "Darwin on Trial," by Phillip E. Johnson, Regnery Gateway: Washington, D.C., 1991, Scientific American, July 1992, pp.92-95, pp.94] On most things I tend to agree with Gould, but here I think he goes too far; the meaning of religion is defined by what religious people actually believe, and the great majority of the world's religious people would be surprised to learn that religion has nothing to do with factual reality. But Gould's view is widespread today among scientists and religious liberals. This seems to me to represent an important retreat of religion from positions it once occupied. Once nature seemed inexplicable without a nymph in every brook and a dryad in every tree. Even as late as the nineteenth century the design of plants and animals was regarded as visible evidence of a creator. There are still countless things in nature that we cannot explain, but we think we know the principles that govern the way they work. Today for real mystery one has to look to cosmology and elementary particle physics. For those who see no conflict between science and religion, the retreat of religion from the ground occupied by science is nearly complete." (Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, pp.249-250) 7/09/2006 "Judging from this historical experience, I would guess that, though we shall find beauty in the final laws of nature, we will find no special status for life or intelligence. A fortiori, we will find no standards of value or morality. And so we will find no hint of any God who cares about such things. We may find these things elsewhere, but not in the laws of nature." (Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, p.250) 7/09/2006 "I have to admit that sometimes nature seems more beautiful than strictly necessary. Outside the window of my home office there is a hackberry tree, visited frequently by a convocation of politic birds: blue jays, yellow-throated viroes, and, loveliest of all, an occasional red cardinal. Although I understand pretty well how brightly colored feathers evolved out of a competition for mates, it is almost irresistible to imagine that all this beauty was somehow laid on for our benefit. But the God of birds and trees would have to be also the God of birth defects and cancer. Religious people have grappled for millennia with the theodicy, the problem posed by the existence of suffering in a world that is supposed to be ruled by a good God. They have found ingenious solutions in terms of various supposed divine plans. I will not try to argue with these solutions, much less to add one more of my own. Remembrance of the Holocaust leaves me unsympathetic to attempts to justify the ways of God to man. If there is a God that has special plans for humans, then He has taken very great pains to hide His concern for us. To me it would seem impolite if not impious to bother such a God with our prayers." (Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, p.249)(Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, pp.250-251) 7/09/2006 "Some scientists make much of the fact that some of the fundamental constants have values that seem remarkably well suited to the appearance of intelligent life in the universe. It is not yet clear whether there is anything to this observation, but even if there is, it does not necessarily imply the operation of a divine purpose. In several modern cosmological theories, the so-called constants of nature (such as the masses of the elementary particles) actually vary from place to place or from time to time or even from one term in the wave function of the universe to another. If that were true, then as we have seen any scientists who study the laws of nature would have to be living in a part of the universe where the constants of nature take values favorable for the evolution of intelligent life." (Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, p.252) 7/09/2006 "For an analogy, suppose that there is a planet called Earthprime, in every respect identical to our own, except that on this planet mankind developed the science of physics without knowing anything about astronomy. (E.g., one might imagine that Earthprime's surface is perpetually covered by clouds.) Just as on earth, students on Earthprime would find tables of fundamental constants at the back of their physics textbooks. These tables would list the speed of light, the mass of the electron, and so on, and also another "fundamental" constant having the value 1.99 calories of energy per minute per square centimeter, which gives the energy reaching Earthprime's surface from some unknown source outside. On earth this is called the solar constant because we know that this energy comes from the sun, but no one on Earthprime would have any way of knowing where this energy comes from or why this constant takes this particular value. Some physicist on Earthprime might note that the observed value of this constant is remarkably well suited to the appearance of life. If Earthprime received much more or much less than 2 calories per minute per square centimeter the water of the oceans would instead be vapor or ice, leaving Earthprime with no liquid water or reasonable substitute in which life could have evolved. The physicist might conclude that this constant of 1.99 calories per minute per square centimeter had been finetuned by God for man's benefit. More skeptical physicists on Earthprime might argue that such constants are eventually going to be explained by the final laws of physics, and that it is just a lucky accident that they have values favorable for life. In fact, both would be wrong. When the inhabitants of Earthprime finally develop a knowledge of astronomy, they learn that their planet receives 1.99 calories per minute per square centimeter because, like earth, it happens to be about 93 million miles away from a sun that produces 5,600 million million million million calories per minute, but they also see that there are other planets closer to their sun that are too hot for life and more planets farther from their sun that are too cold for life and doubtless countless other planets orbiting other stars of which only a small proportion are suitable for life. When they learn something about astronomy, the arguing physicists on Earthprime finally understand that the reason why they live on a world that receives roughly 2 calories per minute per square centimeter is just that there is no other kind of world where they could live. We in our part of the universe may be like the inhabitants of Earthprime before they learn about astronomy, but with other parts of the universe instead of other planets hidden from our view.(Weinberg, S., "Dreams of a Final Theory," Pantheon: New York NY, 1992, pp.252-253. Emphasis original) 7/09/2006 "In the context of this `standard' position, I was enormously puzzled by a statement issued by Pope John Paul II on October 22, 1996, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences ... In this document, titled "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth," the Pope defended both the evidence for evolution and the consistency of the theory with Catholic religious doctrine. ... I knew that Pope Plus XII ... had made the primary statement in a 1950 encyclical entitled Humani Generis. I knew the main thrust of his message: Catholics could believe whatever science determined about the evolution of the human body, so long as they accepted that, at some time of his choosing, God had infused the soul into such a creature. ... John Paul begins by summarizing Pius's older encyclical of 1950 ... The novelty and news value of John Paul's statement lies, rather, in his profound revision of Pius's second and rarely quoted claim that evolution, while conceivable in principle and reconcilable with religion, can cite little persuasive evidence in support, and may well be false. John Paul states ... that evolution can no longer be doubted by people of goodwill and keen intellect ... `Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis.' ... In conclusion, Pius had grudgingly admitted evolution as a legitimate hypothesis that he regarded as only tentatively supported and potentially (as he clearly hoped) untrue. John Paul, nearly fifty years later, reaffirms the legitimacy of evolution under the NOMA principle-no news here-but then adds that additional data and theory have placed the factuality of evolution beyond reasonable doubt. Sincere Christians must now accept evolution not merely as a plausible possibility, but also as an effectively proven fact. In other words, official Catholic opinion on evolution has moved from `say it ain't so, but we can deal with it if we have to' (Pius's grudging view of 1950) to John Paul's entirely welcoming `it has been proven true; we always celebrate nature's factuality, and we look forward to interesting discussions of theological implications.' [Gould's words]" (Gould, S.J., "Non-Overlapping Magisteria," in "Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms: Essays on Natural History", , Vintage: London, 1999, reprint, pp.271-273, 278-280. Emphasis original) 8/09/2006 "Dobzhansky was a religious man, although he apparently rejected fundamental beliefs of traditional religion, such as the existence of a personal God and of life beyond physical death. His religiosity was grounded on the conviction that there is meaning in the universe. He saw that meaning in the fact that evolution has produced the stupendous diversity of the living world and has progressed from primitive forms of life to mankind. Dobzhansky held that, in man, biological evolution has transcended itself into the realm of self-awareness and culture. He believed that somehow mankind would eventually evolve into higher levels of harmony and creativity. He was a metaphysical optimist." (Ayala, F.J. & Fitch, W.M., "Genetics and the origin of species: An introduction," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 94, July 1997, pp.7691-7697, p.7693) 8/09/2006 "Those who really understand Darwinism, but still have spiritual inclinations, have the option of making a religion out of evolution. Theodisius Dobzhansky - Gould's prime example of a Christian evolutionist - actually exemplified the religious dimension of Darwinism. Dobzhansky discarded the traditional Christian concept of God, followed Teilhard de Chardin in spiritualizing the evolutionary process, and worshipped the glorious future of evolution. ... See Francisco Ayala, `Nothing in biology makes sense except the light of evolution,' The Journal of Heredity, vol. 68, pp.3, 9 (Jan.-Feb. 1977). Ayala described his teacher's religion as follows: `Dobzhansky was a religious man, although he apparently rejected fundamental beliefs of traditional religion, such as the existence of a personal God and of life beyond physical death. His religiosity was grounded on the conviction that there is meaning in the universe. He saw that meaning in the fact that evolution has produced the stupendous diversity of the living world and has progressed from primitive forms of life to mankind. Dobzhansky held that, in man, biological evolution has transcended itself into the relam of self awareness and culture. He believed that somehow mankind would eventually evolve into higher levels of harmony and creativity.'" (Johnson, P.E.*, "Response to Gould," Origins Research, Access Research Network, Vol. 15, No. 1, Spring/Summer 1993, pp.10-11) 8/09/2006 "The organizations that speak officially for science continue to deny that there is a conflict between Darwinism and `religion.' This denial is another example of the skilful manipulation of definitions, because there are evolution-based religions that embrace naturalism with enthusiasm. Stephen Jay Gould holds up the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky, `the greatest evolutionist of our century and a lifelong Russian Orthodox,' [Gould, S.J., "Darwinism Defined: The Difference Between Fact and Theory," Discover, January 1987, pp.64-70, p.65] as proof that evolution and religion are compatible. The example is instructive, because Dobzhansky made a religion out of evolution. According to a eulogy by Francisco Ayala, 'Dobzhansky was a religious man, although he apparently rejected fundamental beliefs of traditional religion, such as the existence of God and of life beyond physical death. His religiosity was grounded on the conviction that there is meaning in the universe. He saw that meaning in the fact that evolution has produced the stupendous diversity of the living world and has progressed from primitive forms of life to mankind ... He believed that somehow mankind would eventually evolve into higher levels of harmony and creativity.' [Ayala, F.J., "Nothing in biology makes sense except the light of evolution," The Journal of Heredity, Vol. 68, Jan.-Feb. 1977, pp.3, 9] In short, Dobzhansky was what we would today call a New Age pantheist. Of course evolution is not incompatible with religion when the religion is evolution." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism," [First Things, October 1990], Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1990, p.11) 8/09/2006 "The leading Darwinist authorities are frank about the incompatibility of their theory with any meaningful concept of theism when they are in friendly territory, but for strategic reasons they sometimes choose to blur the message. When social theorist Irving Kristol published a New York Times column in 1986 accusing Darwinists of manifesting doctrinaire antitheism, for example, Stephen Jay Gould responded in Discover magazine with a masterpiece of misdirection. [Gould, S.J., "Darwinism Defined: The Difference Between Fact and Theory," Discover, January 1987, pp. 64-70] Quoting nineteenth century preacher Henry Ward Beecher, Gould proclaimed that `Design by wholesale is grander than design by retail,' neglecting to inform his audience that Darwinism repudiates design in either sense To prove that Darwinism is not hostile to `religion,' Gould cited the example of Theodosius Dobzhansky, whom he described as `the greatest evolutionist of our century, and a lifelong Russian Orthodox.' As Gould knew very well, Dobzhansky's religion was evolutionary naturalism, which he spiritualized after the manner of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. A eulogy published by Dobzhansly's pupil Francisco Ayala in 1977 described the content of Dobzhansky's religion like this: `Dobzhansky was a religious man, although he apparently rejected fundamental beliefs of traditional religion, such as the existence of a personal God and of life beyond physical death. His religiosity was grounded on the conviction that there is meaning in the universe. He saw that meaning in the fact that evolution has produced the stupendous diversity of the living world and has progressed from primitive forms of life to mankind. Dobzhansky held that, in man, biological evolution has transcended itself into the realm of self- awareness and culture. He believed that somehow mankind would eventually 44 Darwinism and Theism evolve into higher levels of harmony and creativity.' [Ayala, F.J., "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," Journal of Heredity, Vol. 68, January-February 1977, pp. 3, 9] Evolution is thoroughly compatible with religion-when the object of worship is evolution." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwinism and Theism," in Buell J. & Hearn V., eds., "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?", Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1994, pp.43-44) 10/09/2006 "As the papers in this volume clearly show, Darwinism was many things to many people. It was rank materialism, an atheistic attack on the Christian faith, unadulterated positivism, a death blow to teleology. Simultaneously it was irresponsible speculation, an outrage against positivistic science, a rebirth of teleology, proof of the beneficent hand of God, a Christian plot to subvert the Muslim faith. It was also an intellectual weapon to use against entrenched aristocracies, a justification for laissez-faire economic policies, an excuse for the powerful to subjugate the weak, and a foundation for Marxian economic theory. Only incidentally, it seems, was it a scientific theory about the evolution of species by chance variation and natural selection." (Hull, D.L., "Darwinism and Historiography," in Glick, T.F., ed., "The Comparative Reception of Darwinism," , University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, 1988, p.388) 10/09/2006 "Darwin did not formulate evolutionary theory for the express purpose of helping to foster atheistic materialism, but that was one of its more significant consequences. It is no coincidence that almost all the early proponents of Darwinism were atheistic materialists-or their near relatives. A. R. Wallace and Asa Gray were major exceptions. Among Western intellectuals, religious and philosophical considerations far outweighed matters more directly concerned with science in determining their initial reaction to evolutionary theory. (Their eventual acceptance or rejection of the theory is another story.) The state of affairs that Ilse Bulhof describes in the Netherlands is fairly typical. Deists throughout the Western world had reached a polite reconciliation with religion. Since God was the author of all natural law, science could not possibly come into conflict with true religion. All that had to be added to evolution was some sort of inner force or teleological principle to make evolution compatible with or even supportive of the Christian vision of man. Dutch freethinkers (and radicals around the world) were attracted to Darwinism, but for reasons directly opposite to those of the deists. The freethinkers saw Darwinism as a materialistic refutation of religion, and they were for it. Orthodox Protestant and Catholic thinkers agreed with the radicals' interpretation of Darwinism and hence were opposed." (Hull, D.L., "Darwinism and Historiography," in Glick, T.F., ed., "The Comparative Reception of Darwinism," , University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, 1988, pp.391-392) 11/09/2006 "THE FLOOD NARRATIVE OUTSIDE ISRAEL The flood story is found throughout the world. Like the creation narrative, it is part of our basic cultural heritage. It is truly astonishing: everywhere on earth we find stories of a great primeval flood. For a long time, scholars knew of scattered flood narratives only among the high civilizations of the ancient Near East, above all the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh epic. New research has shown, however, a whole history of flood traditions to be surveyed throughout the Near East. Furthermore, a wealth of flood traditions among primitive civilizations has been discovered; these agree in their major features, such as the destruction of the human race and the deliverance of an individual, while exhibiting characteristic differences, so that, for example, the decision of the gods (or of a single god) to destroy the human race is found only in the flood stories of the advanced civilizations." (Westermann, C., "Genesis: A Practical Commentary", Green, D.E., transl., Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1987, pp.51-52. Emphasis original) 14/09/2006 "Q I wanted to ask you about the -- what seems to be a growing debate over evolution versus intelligent design. What are your personal views on that, and do you think both should be taught in public schools? THE PRESIDENT: I think -- as I said, harking back to my days as my governor -- both you and Herman are doing a fine job of dragging me back to the past. (Laughter.) Then, I said that, first of all, that decision should be made to local school districts, but I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught. Q Both sides should be properly taught? THE PRESIDENT: Yes, people -- so people can understand what the debate is about. Q So the answer accepts the validity of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution? THE PRESIDENT: I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought, and I'm not suggesting -- you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.'" (Bush, G.W., President, "Transcript of Roundtable Interview, August 1, 2005," The Washington Post, August 2, 2005. Emphasis original) 14/09/2006 "President Bush invigorated proponents of teaching alternatives to evolution in public schools with remarks saying that schoolchildren should be taught about `intelligent design,' a view of creation that challenges established scientific thinking and promotes the idea that an unseen force is behind the development of humanity. Although he said that curriculum decisions should be made by school districts rather than the federal government, Bush told Texas newspaper reporters in a group interview at the White House on Monday that he believes that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution as competing theories. `Both sides ought to be properly taught ... so people can understand what the debate is about,' he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: `Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought... . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.'" (Baker, P. & Slevin, S., "Bush Remarks On 'Intelligent Design' Theory Fuel Debate," The Washington Post, August 3, 2005, Page A01. Ellipses original) 14/09/2006 "President Bush said Monday he believes schools should discuss `intelligent design' alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life. During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported. `I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,' Bush said. `You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.'" ("Bush: Intelligent Design Should Be Taught," San Francisco Chronicle, August 2, 2005) 14/09/2006 "President Bush said Monday he believes schools should discuss `intelligent design' alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life. During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported. `I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,' Bush said. `You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.'" ("Bush: Schools should teach intelligent design," MSNBC, August 1, 2005) 14/09/2006 "A sharp debate between scientists and religious conservatives escalated Tuesday over comments by President Bush that the theory of intelligent design should be taught with evolution in the nation's public schools. In an interview at the White House on Monday with a group of Texas newspaper reporters, Mr. Bush appeared to endorse the push by many of his conservative Christian supporters to give intelligent design equal treatment with the theory of evolution. Recalling his days as Texas governor, Mr. Bush said in the interview, according to a transcript, `I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught.' Asked again by a reporter whether he believed that both sides in the debate between evolution and intelligent design should be taught in the schools, Mr. Bush replied that he did, `so people can understand what the debate is about.' Mr. Bush was pressed as to whether he accepted the view that intelligent design was an alternative to evolution, but he did not directly answer. `I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,' he said, adding that `you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.'" (Bumiller, E., "Bush Remarks Roil Debate on Teaching of Evolution," The New York Times, August 3, 2005) 14/09/2006 "President George Bush has started a national debate in the US over the teaching of evolution in school. The president has suggested that a theory known as `intelligent design' should be taught in the classroom. It proposes that life is too complex to have developed through evolution, and an unseen power must have had a hand. President Bush's championing of intelligent design will be interpreted as further evidence of the growing influence of the religious right. The US president told newspaper reporters in Texas that children should be taught about intelligent design so they could better understand the debate about the origins of the universe." (Beale, J., "Bush weighs into evolution debate," BBC, 9 August 2005) 14/09/2006 "President Bush waded into the debate over evolution and `intelligent design' yesterday, saying schools should teach both theories on the creation and complexity of life. In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session with a small group of reporters, Bush essentially endorsed efforts by Christian conservatives to give intelligent design equal standing with the theory of evolution in the nation's schools. ... Bush declined to state his personal views on `'intelligent design,' the belief that life forms are so complex that their creation cannot be explained by Darwinian evolutionary theory alone, but rather points to intentional creation, presumably divine. ... Bush compared the current debate to earlier disputes over `creationism,' a related view that adheres more closely to biblical explanations. As governor of Texas, Bush said students should be exposed to both creationism and evolution. The president said yesterday that he favors the same approach for intelligent design `so people can understand what the debate is about.' ... `'I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,' Bush said. `You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes.'" (Hutcheson, R., "Bush endorses 'intelligent design': Contends theory should be taught with evolution," The Boston Globe/ Knight Ridder, August 2, 2005) 16/09/2006 "Only five years after the Titanic catastrophe, in November 1917, the world would witness the beginning of the greatest willful mass exterminations of life in human history. The tip of the iceberg looming on the horizon at the time was the Bolshevik Revolution in Czarist Russia. And today the damage it inflicted on mankind has finally been properly assessed. ... In France, an 846-page academic study compiled by six distinguished historians has become a runaway best-seller with 70,000 copies purchased in four weeks and a second printing underway. Not available in the U.S at this time, the book is titled Le Livre Noir du Communism (The Black Book on Communism) and it has been the subject of heated exchange in the French Parliament. In addition, articles about it have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune and Commentary monthly for January 1998. Published on Nov. 8, 1997 - the 80th anniversary of the start of the Russian Revolution - one of its authors, Stephane Courtois of the National Center for Scientific Research, is a self-proclaimed leftist and former Maoist. In his introduction he insists that we can no longer distinguish any conventional difference between Communism and Nazism. As Tony Judt, director of the Remarque Institute at New York University, points out, Courtois notes `those very features of Nazism that we find most repellent have now been proved endemic to Communism from its inception ... mass crimes, systematic crimes, crimes against humanity marked both systems in equal measure.' `The archives and numerous witnesses confirm,' says Courtois, `that terror was from the outset a basic feature of modern Communism,' where concentration camps, forced labor and terror were elevated to a system of government. Mass murders were not the accidental byproduct of misguided policies but the outcome of willful, sometimes genocidal calculation and intent, adds Tony Judt. Alain Besancon, the eminent French historian, made a similar point in his inaugural lecture to the French Academy (text appearing in the December 1997 issue of Commentaire). Speaking of The Black Book on Communism, Besancon asked `how is it that, today, the two systems are treated so unequally in historical memory, to the point where one of them, Soviet Communism, though a still-recent presence on the world scene, has already been all but forgotten?' Where Nazism's crimes affected 25 million, Communist regimes have committed crimes affecting 100 million. Described as the first global balance sheet on Communism, here is how The Black Book of Communism breaks down that figure: China: 72 million, Soviet Union 20 million, Cambodia 2.3 million, North Korea 2 million, Africa 1.7 million, Afghanistan 1.5 million, Vietnam 1 million, Eastern Europe 1 million, Latin America 150,000. All these millions of Communism's victims were fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, children or other special loved-ones. Every death was a tragedy, not a statistic. Yet, unlike the world's proper remembrance of the victims of Nazism, little is said today about the fate of Communism's victims. As Tony Judt comments: `From the point of view of the exiled, humiliated, tortured, maimed or murdered victims, it's all the same. in the sorry story of our century, Communism and Nazism are, and always were, morally indistinguishable. That lesson alone took too long to learn, and it justifies a complete recasting and rewriting of the history of our times." ("Communism's 100 Million Victims," Mindszenty Report, February 1998) 16/09/2006 "If memes exist, atheism is a meme What do memes do? Dennett tells us that they spread beliefs, such as beliefs in God. So are all beliefs spread by memes? Or just the ones that anti-religious critics don't like? Is there a meme for atheism? In Dennett's book, his explanation of `Simple Taxonomy' certainly suggests so. And because there is no compelling scientific evidence for these things, is there a meme for believing in memes? This is certainly a problem for Dawkins - the originator of this notion. As many of you will know, Dawkins makes an unsuccessful attempt to evade the trap of self-referentiality by saying that his own ideas are different. God is caused by memes; atheism is not. Anyone familiar with intellectual history will spot the pattern immediately: My ideas are exempt from the general patterns I identify for other ideas, which allows me to explain them away. My fear is that Dennett has fallen victim to this same weakness. So is it just belief in God that is a meme? Surely atheism is as well. Susan Blackmore, England's most able defender of the meme hypothesis, recently stated that atheism is a meme. If so, all viewpoints are affected in the same way, whether religious or anti-religious. Therefore, which is memetic orthodoxy and which is heresy? How would Blackmore and Dennett be able to settle that point scientifically? If they are not able to do so, then we have a nonscientific debate about imaginary entities, hypothesized by analogy with the gene. And we all know how unreliable arguments based on analogy can be - witness the fruitless search for the luminiferous ether in the late 19th century based on the supposed analogy between light and sound. It was analogically plausible but nonexistent. The analogy was invalid. Dawkins tells us that memes are merely awaiting their Crick and Watson. I think they are merely waiting for their Michelson and Morley." (McGrath, A., "The spell of the meme: Dennett just doesn't get it," Science & Theology News, June 2, 2006. Emphasis original) 18/09/2006 "When Ronald Reagan injected creationism into the 1980 presidential campaign, he took a familiar route. Referring to evolution, he told reporters (after speaking to a group of fundamentalist clergy in Dallas, Texas), `Well, it is a theory, a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science and is not yet believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed.' [Holden, C., "Republican Candidate Picks Fight with Darwin," Science, Vol. 209, 12 September 1980, p.1214] Beyond the fascinating commingling of politics, religion, and science, Reagan's remark picked up a standard creationist ploy when he said that evolution `is a theory, a scientific theory only.' It is true that most of us in normal, daily life use the word `theory' to mean a tentative, sketchy notion about why or how something happened. All of us, for instance, have our own `theories' on why a band of southern Republicans in the House of Representatives fought so hard to oust Bill Clinton as President of the United States, or why the United States has been fighting in the Balkans-or why so many suburbanites love to drive SUVs. This is standard usage. But creationists, including some who claim bona fide scientific credentials, have exploited the vernacular connotation of the word `theory,' in effect saying that scientists use this word in precisely the same colloquial way. Thus, if evolution is `only a theory,' our confidence in it ought to be less than if it were, say, a fact. Theories turn into `harebrained ideas' with ease. `Theory' is a bad word: to call an idea a theory is to impugn its credibility. Yes, theories in science are ideas: a theory may be a single, simple idea or, more usually, a complex set of ideas, as, for example, the Alvarez hypothesis invoking extraterrestrial impacts to explain the mass extinction of dinosaurs and a myriad of other organisms event at the end of the Cretaceous Period some 65 million years ago. There is no hard-and-fast way of telling a hypothesis apart from a theory; like lakes and ponds, and rivers and streams, theories and hypotheses differ in some vague way only by their size. Theories are generally grander, more encompassing than more narrowly focused hypotheses. ... Some theories are good and have withstood the test of time well. The idea that all organisms, past and present, are interrelated by a process of ancestry and descent-evolution-is such a theory. ... Philosophers of science have argued long and hard over the differences among facts, hypotheses, and theories. But the real point is this: they are all essentially the same sort of thing. All of them-be they facts, hypotheses, or full-blown theories-are ideas. Some ideas are more credible than others. If the overwhelming evidence of our senses suggests that an idea is correct, we call it a fact. But the fact remains that a fact is an idea." (Eldredge, N., "The Triumph of Evolution: And the Failure of Creationism," , Henry Holt & Co: New York, 2001, reprint, pp.20-22) 18/09/2006 "The eucaryotic cell is now seen as derived from a colony of bacteria. Eucaryotic cells themselves later got together into colonies. Volvox are modern creatures ... But it is possible that they represent the kind of thing that went on more than a thousand million years ago, when our kind of cells first started to band together into colonies. This ganging up of eucaryotic cells was comparable to the earlier ganging up of bacteria into eucaryotic cells and the even earlier ganging up of genes into bacteria." (Dawkins R., "Climbing Mount Improbable," Penguin: London, 1996, pp.263-264. Emphasis original) 18/09/2006 "From the emergence of the eucaryotes between 1.4 and 1.2 billion years ago onward, they began to advance the efficiency of their revolutionary new cellular organization. ... Around this time some eucaryotic cells began to forsake their solitary ways and began to share a colony as a loosely associated collection of individuals. In a comparatively short time the colony took on a character of its own as the individual cells became more dependent on being a part of it. The cells interacted with each other by excreting chemicals and ions which affected the biochemical synthesis governing reproduction and products in each other. In this way cells within the colony became specialized and different from each other in the group. The colonies that were most successful with this group-living in the gathering of nutrients and protection against predation evolved and passed on the genetic propensity for differentiation necessary for colonial organization. The scenario is not purely conjectural. There are found today living systems in this intermediate stage of organization in which cells become colonies, united and specialized, but not to the extent that they may be classified as multicellular organisms. Among the green algae there is a one-cellular form which has a chloroplast, an eyespot, and two flagella, or threadlike projections, used for locomotion and the movement of water currents. Within this family are the Pandorina, some of whom form colonies of four to thirty-two cells. These colonies are not merely aggregates, because the cells swim by coordinated movement of their flagella. The Gonium is another member of this group that forms colonies. But the most evolved colony formation is carried on by the Volvox. This genus of pale green flagellates forms a colony of 500 to 50,000 cells arranged in a hollow sphere about one-fiftieth of an inch in diameter. Whereas the cells of the Pandorina and Gonium look alike, the cells of the Volvox become specialized; the cells at the front of the ball have larger eyespots, and only some of the cells reproduce themselves. Thin strands of protoplasm connect the cells to one another in the colony. The colony is reproduced when cells in the back begin to divide, producing a new small ball of cells that is released to the inside of the parent colony. When the old colony dies, the young colonies inside are released to disperse and repeat the cycle. From colony formation the eucaryotes were crossing the threshold to become Metazoa, or multicellular animals. As there are of most stages of evolutionary development, there are living species which have resisted change and have survived in the ecological niche that was prevalent at the time that level of development was widespread." (Day, W., "Genesis on Planet Earth: The Search for Life's Beginning," , Yale University Press: New Haven CT, Second Edition, 1984, pp.32-33) 18/09/2006 "SWIMMING IN the soundless sea, the shark has survived for millions of years sleek as a knife blade and twice as dull. The shark is an organism wonderfully adapted to its environment. Pause. And then the bright brittle voice of logical folly intrudes: after all, it has survived for millions of years. This exchange should be deeply embarrassing to evolutionary biologists. And yet, time and again biologists do explain the survival of an organism by reference to its fitness and the fitness of an organism by reference to its survival, the friction between concepts kindling nothing more illuminating than the observation that some creatures have been around for a very long time. `Those individuals that have the most offspring,' writes Ernst Mayr, the distinguished zoologist, `are by definition...the fittest ones.' [Mayr, E.W., "Animal Species and Evolution," Harvard University Press, 1963, p.183] And in Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, Tim Berra states that '[f]itness in the Darwinian sense means reproductive fitness- leaving at least enough offspring to spread or sustain the species in nature.' [Berra, T.M., `Evolution and the Myth of Creationism,' Stanford University Press: Stanford CA, 1990, p.68] This is not a parody of evolutionary thinking; it is evolutionary thinking." (Berlinski, D., "The Deniable Darwin," Commentary, June 1996, pp.19-29, p.20. Emphasis original) 18/09/2006 "The creativity of natural selection involves the retention and subsequent stepwise refinement of variations that yield improved fitness. Fitness in the Darwinian sense means reproductive fitness-leaving at least enough offspring to spread or sustain the species in nature indefinitely; it supposes a favorable relationship between an organism and its environment, a relationship that results in the optimization of the species' reproductive potential. But selection for fitness is certainly not a random process. Creationists misrepresent evolution when they say biologists claim an organ or organism arose by chance. No responsible biologist says such a thing. Natural selection is the antithesis of chance. A mutation does arise by chance, in the sense that it is an unplanned event unrelated to the needs of the organism, but the effect it has on the coming generations depends on its survival value to the individual in a given environment." (Berra, T.M., "Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate," Stanford University Press: Stanford CA, 1990, pp.68-69. Emphasis original) 19/09/2006 "The title of this book might just as well have been The Adaptationist Program, which would have informed biologists of its subject matter. The one I chose was inspired by George Gaylord Simpson, a distinguished student of fossil mammals and one of the giants of twentieth-century biology. In January 1947 he gave an address at Princeton University, "On the Problem of Plan and Purpose in Nature," an expanded version of which was published the following June in The Scientific Monthly. ... But I was not wholly satisfied with Simpson's treatment of biological adaptations, for which he found plan and purpose appropriately descriptive. He discussed the mechanisms by which organisms solve the problems of life, which do indeed seem well planned and for obvious purposes, but there is more to the problem of plan and purpose than that. The adaptations of organisms also show gross deficiencies in their basic plans. I hope that this book gives a balanced perspective, showing both the power and the limitations of the evolutionary process." (Williams, G.C., "Plan and Purpose in Nature," , Phoenix: London, 1997, reprint, pp.vii.-viii) 19/09/2006 "But I would also reject any claim that personal preference, the root of aesthetic judgment, does not play a key role in science. True, the world is indifferent to our hopes--and fire burns whether we like it or not. But our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective `scientific method,' with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self- serving mythology." (Gould, S.J., "In the Mind of the Beholder," Natural History, Vol. 103, February 1994, pp.14-23, p.14). 19/09/2006 "Within a couple of decades of the publication of Charles Darwin's landmark book Origin of Species (1859), the idea of organic evolution had captivated most British and American scientists and was beginning to draw favorable comment from religious leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. By the late nineteenth century, evolutionary notions were infiltrating even the ranks of evangelical Christians, and, in the opinion of many observers, belief in special creation seemed destined to go the way of the dinosaur. But contrary to the hopes of liberals and the fears of conservatives, creationism did not become extinct. Many English- speaking Christians, particularly in North America, remained true to a traditional reading of Genesis and from time to time, most notably in the 1920s and since the 1960s, mounted campaigns to contain the spread of evolutionary theory. An overwhelming majority of Americans saw no reason to oppose the teaching of creationism in public schools, and according to a 1991 Gallup poll 47 percent, including a fourth of the college graduates, continued to believe that `God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.' ["Poll Finds Americans Split on Creation Idea," New York Times, August 29, 1982]" (Numbers, R.L., "The Creationists: the Evolution of Scientific Creationism," , University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 1993, p.ix) 19/09/2006 "The scanty evidence available suggests that belief in creationism may have increased by as much as 50 percent during the next couple of decades. A nationwide Gallup poll in 1991 showed that 47 percent of Americans professed belief in a recent special creation, with another 40 percent preferring theistic evolution. Blacks, women, and the poor seemed most receptive to creationism. Support for teaching creationism in public schools extended well beyond the circle of strict creationists. When running on the Republican ticket for the presidency of the United States in 1980, Ronald Reagan insisted that "if evolution is taught in public schools, creation also should be taught." That same year the American School Board journal asked readers, presumably including many school-board members, "How should public schools handle the teaching of the origin of man?" Two-thirds of the respondents favored including the creation story; 19 percent wanted no evolution at all; 48 percent thought that both Darwin and the Bible should be taught. ... Unfortunately, none of the surveys distinguished between old-earth and young-earth creationists, and there is reason to suspect that not all persons polled knew what they were saying." (Numbers, R.L., "The Creationists: the Evolution of Scientific Creationism," , University of California Press: Berkeley CA, 1993, p.300) 20/09/2006 "These are severe but by no means untypical conflicts between palaeontology and Darwinism. Professor N. Heribert- Nilsson of Lund University, Sweden, after forty years in the subject, summed up in his book Synthetische Artbildung: `It is not even possible to make a caricature of evolution out of palaeobiological facts. The fossil material is now so complete that the lack of transitional series cannot be explained by the scarcity of the material. The deficiencies are real, they will never be filled.' [Heribert- Nilsson, N., "Synthetische Artbildung," Lund University: Gleerup, Sweden, 1954, p.1212] So Darwinian theory, at least in its original form, runs into apparently crucial difficulties even at the first hurdle."( Hitching, F., "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong," Pan: London, 1982, p.22) 20/09/2006 "Or, to return to that puzzle of puzzles, the human eye. Here, talking about pre-adaption is simply a way of avoiding the issue, as Stephen Gould cheerfully admitted: 'We avoid the excellent question, What good is five per cent of an eye? by arguing that the possessor of such an incipient structure did not use it for sight.'" [Gould, S.J., "Ever Since Darwin," 1978, p.107] But if not sight, what else? It is unreasonable to ask for a speculative evolutionary scenario for every single novel creature and organ that appears suddenly in the fossil record, but the most obvious and daunting ones continue to stare us in the face, unexplained." (Hitching F., "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong", Pan: London, 1982, p.103) 20/09/2006 "At this point a disinterested outsider might fairly conclude that evolutionary theory has reached an impasse. In three crucial areas where neo-Darwinism can be tested, it has failed: * The fossil record reveals a pattern of evolutionary leaps rather than gradual change. * Genes are a powerful stabilizing mechanism whose main function is to prevent new forms evolving. * Random step-by-step mutations at the molecular level cannot explain the organized and growing complexity of life. Some other process, it seems, must be involved ..." (Hitching F., "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong", Pan: London, 1982, p.103) 20/09/2006 "Darwin's theory of natural selection has always been closely linked to evidence from fossils, and probably most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument that is made in favor of darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true. We must distinguish between the fact of evolution - defined as change in organisms over time - and the explanation of that change. Darwin's contribution, through his theory of natural selection, was to suggest how the evolutionary change took place. The evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be." (Raup, D.M., "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History: Chicago IL, January 1979, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp.22-29, p.22. Emphasis original) 20/09/2006 "Museums have, for instance, countless piles of fossils of the early invertebrate sea creatures, and an equally large number of ancient fishes. Between the two, covering a period of about 100 million years, there ought to be cabinets full of intermediates indeed, one would expect the fossils to blend so gently into one another that it would be difficult to tell where the invertebrates ended and vertebrates began. But this isn't the case. Instead, groups of well-defined, easily classifiable fish jump into the fossil record seemingly from nowhere: mysteriously, suddenly, full formed, and in a most un-Darwinian way. And before them are maddening, illogical gaps where their ancestors should be. 'Probably most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument that is made in favour of Darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true,' according to David M. Raup, curator of one of the world's finest natural history museums, the Field Museum in Chicago. Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin's time and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. [Raup, D.M., "Conflicts between Darwin and Paleontology," Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Vol. 50. No.1 , Jan. 1979, p.23] They are not negligible gaps. They are periods, in all the major evolutionary transitions, when immense physiological changes had to take place." (Hitching, F., "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong," Pan: London, 1982, p.20) 20/09/2006 "I know a good many mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists who, like me, are appalled that Darwin's explanation for the development of life is so widely accepted in the life sciences. Few of them ever speak out or write on this issue, however--perhaps because they feel the question is simply out of their domain. However, I believe there are two central arguments against Darwinism, and both seem to be most readily appreciated by those in the more mathematical sciences." (Sewell, G., "A Mathematician's View of Evolution," The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2000, pp.5-7) 20/09/2006 "The cornerstone of Darwinism is the idea that major (complex) improvements can be built up through many minor improvements; that the new organs and new systems of organs which gave rise to new orders, classes and phyla developed gradually, through many very minor improvements. We should first note that the fossil record does not support this idea, for example, Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson ["The History of Life," in Volume I of "Evolution after Darwin," University of Chicago Press, 1960] writes: "It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution...This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large. These peculiarities of the record pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life: Is the sudden appearance of higher categories a phenomenon of evolution or of the record only, due to sampling bias and other inadequacies?" An April, 1982, Life Magazine article (excerpted from Francis Hitching's book, "The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong") contains the following report: "When you look for links between major groups of animals, they simply aren't there...'Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life', writes David M. Raup, a curator of Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, 'what geologists of Darwin's time and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the fossil sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence, then abruptly disappear.' These are not negligible gaps. They are periods, in all the major evolutionary transitions, when immense physiological changes had to take place." Even among biologists, the idea that new organs, and thus higher categories, could develop gradually through tiny improvements has often been challenged. How could the "survival of the fittest" guide the development of new organs through their initial useless stages, during which they obviously present no selective advantage? (This is often referred to as the "problem of novelties".) Or guide the development of entire new systems, such as nervous, circulatory, digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems, which would require the simultaneous development of several new interdependent organs, none of which is useful, or provides any selective advantage, by itself? French biologist Jean Rostand, for example, wrote ["A Biologist's View," Wm. Heinemann Ltd. 1956]: "It does not seem strictly impossible that mutations should have introduced into the animal kingdom the differences which exist between one species and the next...hence it is very tempting to lay also at their door the differences between classes, families and orders, and, in short, the whole of evolution. But it is obvious that such an extrapolation involves the gratuitous attribution to the mutations of the past of a magnitude and power of innovation much greater than is shown by those of today."" (Sewell, G., "A Mathematician's View of Evolution," The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2000, pp.5-7) "In 1996, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe published a book entitled "Darwin's Black Box" [Free Press], whose central theme is that every living cell is loaded with features and biochemical processes which are "irreducibly complex"--that is, they require the existence of numerous complex components, each essential for function. Thus, these features and processes cannot be explained by gradual Darwinian improvements, because until all the components are in place, these assemblages are completely useless, and thus provide no selective advantage. Behe spends over 100 pages describing some of these irreducibly complex biochemical systems in detail, then summarizes the results of an exhaustive search of the biochemical literature for Darwinian explanations. He concludes that while biochemistry texts often pay lip- service to the idea that natural selection of random mutations can explain everything in the cell, such claims are pure "bluster", because "there is no publication in the scientific literature that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred." ... Behe's book is primarily a challenge to this cornerstone of Darwinism at the microscopic level. Although we may not be familiar with the complex biochemical systems discussed in this book, I believe mathematicians are well qualified to appreciate the general ideas involved. And although an analogy is only an analogy, perhaps the best way to understand Behe's argument is by comparing the development of the genetic code of life with the development of a computer program. Suppose an engineer attempts to design a structural analysis computer program, writing it in a machine language that is totally unknown to him. He simply types out random characters at his keyboard, and periodically runs tests on the program to recognize and select out chance improvements when they occur. The improvements are permanently incorporated into the program while the other changes are discarded. If our engineer continues this process of random changes and testing for a long enough time, could he eventually develop a sophisticated structural analysis program? (Of course, when intelligent humans decide what constitutes an "improvement", this is really artificial selection, so the analogy is far too generous.) If a billion engineers were to type at the rate of one random character per second, there is virtually no chance that any one of them would, given the 4.5 billion year age of the Earth to work on it, accidentally duplicate a given 20-character improvement. Thus our engineer cannot count on making any major improvements through chance alone. But could he not perhaps make progress through the accumulation of very small improvements? The Darwinist would presumably say, yes, but to anyone who has had minimal programming experience this idea is equally implausible. Major improvements to a computer program often require the addition or modification of hundreds of interdependent lines, no one of which makes any sense, or results in any improvement, when added by itself. Even the smallest improvements usually require adding several new lines. It is conceivable that a programmer unable to look ahead more than 5 or 6 characters at a time might be able to make some very slight improvements to a computer program, but it is inconceivable that he could design anything sophisticated without the ability to plan far ahead and to guide his changes toward that plan." (Sewell, G., "A Mathematician's View of Evolution," The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2000, pp.5-7) 20/09/2006 "If archeologists of some future society were to unearth the many versions of my PDE solver, PDE2D , which I have produced over the last 20 years, they would certainly note a steady increase in complexity over time, and they would see many obvious similarities between each new version and the previous one. In the beginning it was only able to solve a single linear, steady-state, 2D equation in a polygonal region. Since then, PDE2D has developed many new abilities: it now solves nonlinear problems, time-dependent and eigenvalue problems, systems of simultaneous equations, and it now handles general curved 2D regions. Over the years, many new types of graphical output capabilities have evolved, and in 1991 it developed an interactive preprocessor, and more recently PDE2D has adapted to 3D and 1D problems. An archeologist attempting to explain the evolution of this computer program in terms of many tiny improvements might be puzzled to find that each of these major advances (new classes or phyla??) appeared suddenly in new versions; for example, the ability to solve 3D problems first appeared in version 4.0. Less major improvements (new families or orders??) appeared suddenly in new subversions, for example, the ability to solve 3D problems with periodic boundary conditions first appeared in version 5.6. In fact, the record of PDE2D's development would be similar to the fossil record, with large gaps where major new features appeared, and smaller gaps where minor ones appeared. That is because the multitude of intermediate programs between versions or subversions which the archeologist might expect to find never existed, because-- for example--none of the changes I made for edition 4.0 made any sense, or provided PDE2D any advantage whatever in solving 3D problems (or anything else) until hundreds of lines had been added. Whether at the microscopic or macroscopic level, major, complex, evolutionary advances, involving new features (as opposed to minor, quantitative changes such as an increase in the length of the giraffe's neck*, or the darkening of the wings of a moth, which clearly could occur gradually) also involve the addition of many interrelated and interdependent pieces. These complex advances, like those made to computer programs, are not always "irreducibly complex"--sometimes there are intermediate useful stages. But just as major improvements to a computer program cannot be made 5 or 6 characters at a time, certainly no major evolutionary advance is reducible to a chain of tiny improvements, each small enough to be bridged by a single random mutation." (Sewell, G., "A Mathematician's View of Evolution," The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2000, pp.5-7) 20/09/2006 "The other point is very simple, but also seems to be appreciated only by more mathematically-oriented people. It is that to attribute the development of life on Earth to natural selection is to assign to it--and to it alone, of all known natural "forces"--the ability to violate the second law of thermodynamics and to cause order to arise from disorder. It is often argued that since the Earth is not a closed system--it receives energy from the Sun, for example-- the second law is not applicable in this case. It is true that order can increase locally, if the local increase is compensated by a decrease elsewhere, ie, an open system can be taken to a less probable state by importing order from outside. ... The biologist studies the details of natural history, and when he looks at the similarities between two species of butterflies, he is understandably reluctant to attribute the small differences to the supernatural. But the mathematician or physicist is likely to take the broader view. I imagine visiting the Earth when it was young and returning now to find highways with automobiles on them, airports with jet airplanes, and tall buildings full of complicated equipment, such as televisions, telephones and computers. Then I imagine the construction of a gigantic computer model which starts with the initial conditions on Earth 4 billion years ago and tries to simulate the effects that the four known forces of physics (the gravitational, electromagnetic and strong and weak nuclear forces) would have on every atom and every subatomic particle on our planet (perhaps using random number generators to model quantum uncertainties!). If we ran such a simulation out to the present day, would it predict that the basic forces of Nature would reorganize the basic particles of Nature into libraries full of encyclopedias, science texts and novels, nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers with supersonic jets parked on deck, and computers connected to laser printers, CRTs and keyboards? If we graphically displayed the positions of the atoms at the end of the simulation, would we find that cars and trucks had formed, or that supercomputers had arisen? Certainly we would not, and I do not believe that adding sunlight to the model would help much. Clearly something extremely improbable has happened here on our planet, with the origin and development of life, and especially with the development of human consciousness and creativity." (Sewell, G., "A Mathematician's View of Evolution," The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2000, pp.5-7) 20/09/2006 "A Gallup Poll released Wednesday suggests about 53 percent of Americans rejects the theory of evolution as the explanation for the origin of humans. Instead, they believe God created humans at one time `as is,' the survey showed. About 31 percent of respondents said they believe humans evolved, but God guided the process. Only 1.2 [should be 12] percent said they believe the scientific theory of evolution and `God had no part.' Researchers said people with lower levels of education, those who attend church regularly, those who are 65 or older and those who identify with the Republican Party are more likely to believe in the biblical story of the origin of humans. The poll was conducted in September but no margin of error figures or other information was available." ("Poll: Most people reject evolution theory," PhysOrg.com, March 08, 2006) 20/09/2006 "Much of the nation still takes stock in the book of Genesis. Eight out of 10 Americans believe God guided creation in some capacity. A Gallup Poll reveals that 46 percent think God created man in his present form sometime in the past 10,000 years, while 36 percent say man developed over millions of years from lesser life forms, but God guided the process. Only 13 percent of Americans think mankind evolved with no divine intervention. `There has been surprisingly little change over the last 24 years in how Americans respond,' pollster Frank Newport said. The survey marks the seventh time that Gallup has queried Americans about creation beliefs. Since 1982, between 44 percent and 47 percent have consistently agreed that God created man `as is,' while between 35 percent and 40 percent said man evolved with God's guidance. The idea of strict evolution without God has proved the least popular, cited by 9 percent to 13 percent of the respondents over the years." (Harper, J., "Americans still hold faith in divine creation," Washington Times, June 9, 2006) 20/09/2006 "Almost half of Americans believe that human beings did not evolve, but were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years or so, results from a new Gallup Poll revealed. In a May 8-11 survey of American beliefs on evolution, 46 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so. In comparison, only 13 percent chose the answer: `Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.' According to the poll results, which were released Monday, the biggest factor in determining the answer was religion. Almost two-thirds of Americans who attend church at least once a week believe that humans were created in their present form, compared to 29 percent of those who say they never attend church. Analysts also found a strong correlation between the level of education and the response. About three-quarters of those with a post-graduate degree said humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, compared to just 22 percent choosing the `created in present form' option. According to Gallup, the poll shows that Americansí view on the origin of life has remained constant for decades. Since 1982, when the poll first began, between 44 and 47 percent of Americans have consistently agreed with the option that God created humans in their present form, and between 9 and 13 percent believed man evolved without guidance from God. This was the seventh time the poll was conducted. Meanwhile, 36 percent of Americans agreed with a third option, that man evolved with the guidance of God through millions of years. Results are based on telephone interviews with 2,002 national adults from Nov. 7-10, 2004, and May 8-11, 2006. The margin of sampling error is 2 percentage points with 95 percent confidence." (Spencer, E., Nearly Half of Americans Believe in Creationism: Almost half of Americans believe that human beings did not evolve, but were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years or so, results from a new Gallup Poll revealed." The Christian Post, June 06, 2006) 20/09/2006 "Controversy about the origin of human beings continues to rage even today, nearly 150 years after the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species. School districts have attempted, with varying degrees of legal success, to force teachers to teach students that the Darwinian, evolutionary explanation for the origin of life is just one of many theories. Advocates of the "creationism" perspective (and to some degree, the newer "intelligent design" perspective) continue to argue that the biblical story of creation -- in which God created humans in their present form on the sixth day of creation -- is as viable and as valid as the evolutionary perspective. Scientists largely assume that the argument should be over and that the evolutionary explanation is so well established by scientific evidence that there is no longer any room for debate. Americans, in general, are not so quick to agree with the preponderance of scientific evidence. Surveys repeatedly show that a substantial portion of Americans do not believe that the theory of evolution best explains where life came from. Gallup has asked about the origin of humans in several different ways over the years, including this question: Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings ... 1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, 2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process, 3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so...?" (Newport, F., "American Beliefs: Evolution vs. Bible's Explanation of Human Origins Education, church attendance, partisanship related to beliefs," Gallup News Service, Princeton NJ, March 08, 2006) 20/09/2006 "Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings ... 1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, 2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process, 3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so ...? Man developed, with God guiding Man developed, but God had no part in process God created man in present form Other/ No opinion ... 2006 ... 36% 13% 46& 5% 2004 ... 38% 13% 45% 4% 2001 ... 37% 12% 45% 5% 1999 ... 40% 9% 47% 4% 1997 ... 10% 44% 7% 1993 ... 35% 11% 47% 7% 1982 38% 9% 44% 9%" ("Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design," The Gallup Organization, Princeton NJ, June 2006) 20/09/2006 "Adults in the United States are divided over the origin of life, according to a poll by Gallup released by USA Today. 46 per cent of respondents think God created human beings in their present form, and 36 per cent say man developed from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process. A further 13 per cent think God played no part in the evolution of human beings. ... Last month, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg voiced his views on the topic during a commencement address at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, declaring, `It boggles the mind that nearly two centuries after Darwin, and 80 years after John Scopes was put on trial, this country is still debating the validity of evolution. ... Polling Data Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings? 1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process; 2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process; 3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.May 2006 Sept. 2005 (*) Nov. 2004 Man developed, with God guiding 36% 31% 38% Man developed, but God had no part in process 13% 12% 13% God created man in present form 46% 53% 45% Other / No opinion 5% 4% 4%.. .Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,001 American adults, conducted from May 8 to May 11, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent" ("Americans Split Over Evolution, Creationism,"Angus Reid Consultants, June 6, 2006) 20/09/2006 "Moreover-and especially-the `ideal case study' method has often failed, and led to parochialisms and false generalities, precisely because we tend to select unusual cases and ignore, often quite unconsciously, a dominant pattern. Indeed, proclamations for the supposed `truth' of gradualism-asserted against every working paleontologist's knowledge of its rarity- emerged largely from such a restriction of attention to exceedingly rare cases under the false belief that they alone provided a record of evolution at all! The falsification of most `textbook classics' upon restudy only accentuates the fallacy of the `case study' method, and its root in prior expectation rather than objective reading of the fossil record." (Gould, S.J., "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory," Belknap: Cambridge MA, 2002, Fifth Printing, p.773) 20/09/2006 "Support for creationism ran deep in North American society. Despite the nearly unanimous endorsement of naturalistic evolution by leading biologists, a Gallup poll in 1993 showed that 47 percent of Americans continued to believe that `God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years,' and an additional 35 percent thought that the process of evolution had been divinely guided. Only 11 percent subscribed to purely naturalistic evolution. (Seven percent expressed no opinion.) Fifty-eight percent of the public favored teaching creationism in the schools. In Canada, which had experienced comparatively little controversy over origins, 53 percent of adults rejected evolution. In 1986, during a visit to New Zealand, the American paleontologist and anticreationist Stephen Jay Gould assured his hosts that scientific creationism was so `peculiarly American' that it stood little chance of `catching on overseas.' His colleague Richard C. Lewontin seemed to agree. `Creationism is an American institution,' he declared, `and it is not only American but specifically southern and southwestern.' So it may have seemed at the time, but scientific creationism was already traveling far beyond the borders of the United States, enjoying growing popularity in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific." (Numbers, R.L., "Darwinism Comes to America," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1998, pp.9,11) 20/09/2006 "Two recent polls have revealed that Americans are sceptical about Darwin's explanation for the origins of life, and want schools to teach kids other alternatives to his theory of evolution. A Zogby poll released Monday asked the question, `When Darwin's theory of evolution is taught in school, students should also be able to learn about scientific evidence that points to an intelligent design of life.' Fully 77% of over 1,000 respondents agreed with this statement. Alternately, only 19% felt that Darwin's theories of evolution should be presented exclusively. The biggest subgroup of supporters for alternate explanations for the origin of life was 18-29 year-olds (88%). Those most likely to disagree were those age 50-64, Democrats, college graduates, and residents of the Western states and large cities. In a related Gallup poll released today, the organization asked `Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings: 1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, 2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process, 3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so?' Forty-five percent of respondents said that they believed God created man in his present form; 38% said man developed with God guiding; while only 13% believed God had no part in the process. In addition, when asked about how they believed God created man, over half said they believed God created man exactly how the Bible describes it, while 31% said that man evolved with God's help." (Vanderheyden, T., "Two New Polls Show Americans Reject Evolution Theory and Want Alternatives Taught," LifeSiteNews.com, March 8, 2006) 20/09/2006 "A Gallup report released today reveals that more than half of all Americans, rejecting evolution theory and scientific evidence, agree with the statement, `God created man exactly how Bible describes it.' Another 31% says that man did evolve, but `God guided.' Only 12% back evolution and say `God had no part.' Gallup summarized it this way: `Surveys repeatedly show that a substantial portion of Americans do not believe that the theory of evolution best explains where life came from.' They are `not so quick to agree with the preponderance of scientific evidence.' The report was written by the director of the The Gallup Poll, Frank Newport. Breaking down the numbers, Gallup finds that Republican backing for what it calls `God created human beings in present form' stands at 57% with Democrats at 44%. Support for this Bible view rises steadily with age: from 43% for those 18 to 29, to 59% for those 65 and older. It declines steadily with education, dropping from 58% for those with high school degrees to a still-substantial 25% with postgraduate degrees. Newport wraps it up: `Several characteristics correlate with belief in the biblical explanation for the origin of humans. Those with lower levels of education, those who attend church regularly, those who are 65 and older, and those who identify with the Republican Party are more likely to believe that God created humans 'as is,' than are those who do not share these characteristics.' Gallup has asked this question, in different forms, going back to 1982, but has consistently shown support at 45% or higher for the notion that `God created man in present form.' The most recent poll, last September, posed the question this way: `Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings.' This produced the 53% who chose `God created man exactly how Bible describes it,' the 31% who said man did evolve but `God guided,' and the 12% who backed evolution with God playing `no part.' " ("Gallup: More Than Half of Americans Reject Evolution, Back Bible," Editor & Publisher, March 08, 2006) 20/09/2006 "An extensive Gallup poll conducted in the summer of 1982 revealed that 44 percent of Americans, nearly a quarter of whom were college graduates, believed that `God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 4000 years.' In the same year, the scientific view that humans had evolved over millions of years was being taught at the vast majority of public colleges and in most public high schools. There can be little surprise that the conflict between creationism and evolutionism was and remains a matter of intense public debate." (Provine,W.B., "Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution." Review of "Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution," by Edward J. Larson, New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. Academe, Vol. 73, January-February 1987, pp.50-52, p.50) 21/09/2006 "The biology of Darwin. The contribution of Darwin, though less obviously connected to philosophy, was in fact critical in that it provided not just a way of explaining biological processes, but a comprehensive story of creation which offered a secular alternative to the explanations previously offered by religion. There can be few biologists whose work has had as major an impact on ethics, sociology and even to a degree on politics. Yet Darwin's story of the origin of species, which strongly implied an `explanation of everything' in terms of the origins and development of life within the universe, has acted in just such a way. The sense of the moral rightness that the fittest will survive, not just through chance, but because there is an implied rightness about their survival, has permeated the thinking of disciplines in the West far beyond those of biology itself." (Robinson, M.*, "The Faith of the Unbeliever," Monarch: Crowborough UK, 1994, pp.40-41. Emphasis original) 21/09/2006 "How did these applications of the work of Darwin take place? Mary Midgley is surely right to point to the work of secular humanists such as T.H. Huxley who wished to see science as an alternative faith. She comments that many nineteenth century scientists saw science as: `...a whole myth, a philosophical conception of the world and the forces within it, directly related to the meaning of human life. They saw this penumbra as part of science because it was needed if scientific propositions were to have their full bearing on the rest of thought.... People like T. H. Huxley meant by science a vast interpretative scheme which could shape the spiritual life, a faith by which people might live. This faith was a competitor with existing religious faiths, not a way of having no faith at all.' [Midgley, M., "Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and its Meaning," Routledge: London, 1992, p.52]" (Robinson, M.*, "The Faith of the Unbeliever," Monarch: Crowborough UK, 1994, p.41) 21/09/2006 "It is the understanding of science as a competitor, another faith, that has helped to create the sense that religion and science have been in conflict and that science has won the day. In the popular mind, science has disproved religion. Actually such a view of science is more properly called Scientism and should be seen as quite distinct from the exercise of pure science. Nevertheless, from this point on, the emerging secularism of the nineteenth century, the self-understanding of the West that it was now in a `modern era', and even the term the Enlightenment, became so closely identified that at times they are used interchangeably. The world-view of the modern world is avowedly secular. The forces of modernity are the inheritors of the Enlightenment. Man is alleged to stand at the centre of a universe in which he is autonomous. He is an orphan in the universe, but an orphan so powerful that he can be supremely optimistic about his standing - and status in the world. The processes by which the universe works are in principle understandable and, to quote Stephen Hawking, once we do understand them all, `we will know the mind of God' [Hawking, S.W., "A Brief History of Time," Bantam: London, 1988, p.13], not because we will have found God but because man will believe he finally stands in the place of God." (Robinson, M.*, "The Faith of the Unbeliever," Monarch: Crowborough UK, 1994, p.41) 21/09/2006 "RI: What is the basic theme of Darwin's Black Box? Behe: In science, a black box is a machine or device or system that does something, but you don't know how it works; it's completely mysterious. It may be mysterious because you can't see inside or because you just can't comprehend it. To Darwin and to his 19th century contemporaries the cell was a black box. The cell which we know now to be the basis of life was simply too small, and the science of the day had no tools to investigate it; microscopes of the time were still rather crude and people could see only the outlines of a cell. So, many scientists thought the cell was rather simple, like a blob of microscopic jelly. Since that time, science has shown that the cell is an extremely complex system containing proteins and nucleic acids and all sorts of miniaturized machines. In my book I go through a number of these machines and argue that Darwinian natural selection cannot have produced them because they have a property called irreducible complexity; that is, they consist of a number of parts, all of which must be present for the machine to work. Irreducible complexity is like a mousetrap which has a number of parts, and all the parts must be present before it can work. I argue that such systems are best explained as the result of deliberate intelligent design. I come to that conclusion through a kind of an inductive logical argument: whenever we see such systems in the real world, in the macroscopic world of our everyday life, we find that they are, in fact, designed. Nobody comes across a mousetrap and wonders whether it was designed or not. So I wonder whether we should in fact embrace the idea of intelligent design and build on it and see where it will lead science." (Behe, M.J.*, in "The Evolution of a Skeptic: An Interview with Dr. Michael Behe," The Real Issue, Leadership U., 14 December 2002. Emphasis original) 22/09/2006 "One example of this call for patience is an incident that Phillip Johnson related to me. It concerns Richard Dawkins's visit in the fall of 1996 to the San Francisco Bay area in California to do book signings of his new work, Climbing Mount Improbable. When he came to a large bookstore in Berkeley, he spoke briefly before the book signing, and Johnson was seated in the front row. After Dawkins's remarks, Johnson (whom Dawkins probably did not know) asked whether he had read Behe's book and could offer a response to it. Dawkins said he had read it and complained that Behe was "lazy." He should "get out there and find those evolutionary pathways" by which the complex machines had arisen. This type of response is rhetorically revealing. Never at issue is whether natural mechanisms could produce irreducible complexity in the first place; it is automatically assumed that they can. Rather, the scientist's job is merely to find those pathways and to track down those causal mechanisms. From the Design perspective, this is again a problem of basic philosophical assumption; appropriate paths of research are rooted ultimately not just in science itself but in a "preferred" metaphysical worldview." (Woodward, T.E.*, "Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 2003, p.162) 22/09/2006 "Miller [Miller, K.R., "Life's Grand Design," Technology Review, February/March 1994, pp 29-30] elegantly expresses a basic confusion; the key to intelligent-design theory is not whether a `basic structural plan is the obvious product of design.' The conclusion of intelligent design for physically interacting systems rests on the observation of highly specified, irreducible complexity-the ordering of separate, well-fitted components to achieve a function that is beyond any of the components themselves. Although I emphasize that one has to examine molecular systems for evidence of design, let's use Miller's essay as a springboard to examine other problems with the argument from imperfection. The most basic problem is that the argument demands perfection at all. Clearly, designers who have the ability to make better designs do not necessarily do so. For example, in manufacturing, `built-in obsolescence' is not uncommon-a product is intentionally made so it will not last as long as it might, for reasons that supersede the simple goal of engineering excellence. Another example is a personal one: I do not give my children the best, fanciest toys because I don't want to spoil them, and because I want them to learn the value of a dollar. The argument from imperfection overlooks the possibility that the designer might have multiple motives, with engineering excellence oftentimes relegated to a secondary role. Most people throughout history have thought that life was designed despite sickness, death, and other obvious imperfections. Another problem with the argument from imperfection is that it critically depends on a psychoanalysis of the unidentified designer. Yet the reasons that a designer would or would not do anything are virtually impossible to know unless the designer tells you specifically what those reasons are. One only has to go into a modern art gallery to come across designed objects for which the purposes are completely obscure (to me at least). Features that strike us as odd in a design might have been placed there by the designer for a reason-for artistic reasons, for variety, to show off, for some as-yet-undetected practical purpose, or for some unguessable reason or they might not. Odd they may be, but they may still be designed by an intelligence." (Behe, M.J.*, "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," Free Press: New York NY, 1996, pp.223-224) 22/09/2006 "The next problem is that proponents of the argument from imperfection frequently use their psychological evaluation of the designer as positive evidence for undirected evolution. The reasoning can be written as a syllogism: 1. A designer would have made the vertebrate eye without a blind spot. 2. The vertebrate eye has a blind spot. 3. Therefore Darwinian evolution produced the eye. It is for reasoning such as this that the phrase non sequitur was invented. The scientific literature contains no evidence that natural selection working on mutation can produce either an eye with a blind spot, an eye without a blind spot, an eyelid, a lens, a retina, rhodopsin, or retinal. The debater has reached his conclusion in favor of Darwinism based solely on an emotional feeling of the way things ought to be. A more objective observer would conclude only that the vertebrate eye was not designed by a person who is impressed with the argument from imperfection; extrapolation to other intelligent agents is not possible. (Behe, M.J.*, "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," Free Press: New York NY, 1996, p.224) 22/09/2006 "Many biologists sidestep intelligent design and the evidence for it by shuttling between apparent design and optimal design. To argue for apparent design, they simply lay out the case for pure, unaided Darwinism. To argue against intelligent design, they substitute a handy strawman, identifying intelligent design with optimal design. To render intelligent design as implausible as possible, they then define optimal design as perfect design that is best with respect to every possible criterion of optimization. (Anything less, presumably, would not be worthy of an intelligent designer.) Since actual designs always involve tradeoffs and compromise, such globally-optimal-in-every-respect designs cannot exist except in an idealized realm (sometimes called a `Platonic heaven') far removed from the actual designs of this world. ... Assimilating all biological design to either apparent or optimal design avoids the central question that needs to be answered, namely, whether there actually is design in biological systems regardless of what additional attributes they possess (like optimality). The automobiles that roll off the assembly plants in Detroit are intelligently designed in the sense that actual human intelligences are responsible for them. Nevertheless, even if we think Detroit manufactures the best cars in the world, it would still be wrong to say that they are optimally designed. Nor would it be correct to say that they are only apparently designed (and certainly not for the reason that they fail to be optimally designed). Is there an even minimally sensible reason for insisting that design theorists must demonstrate optimal design in nature? Critics of intelligent design ... often suggest that any purported cosmic designer would only design optimally. But that is a theological rather than a scientific claim. ... Applied to biology, intelligent design maintains that a designing intelligence is required to account for the complex, information-rich structures in living systems. At the same time, it refuses to speculate about the nature of that designing intelligence. Whereas optimal design demands a perfectionistic designer who has to get everything just right, intelligent design fits our ordinary experience of design, which is conditioned by the needs of a situation, requires negotiation and tradeoffs, and therefore always falls short of some idealized global optimum. No real designer attempts optimality in the sense of attaining perfect design. Indeed, there is no such thing as perfect design. Real designers strive for constrained optimization, which is something altogether different. As Henry Petroski, an engineer and historian at Duke University, aptly remarks in Invention by Design, `All design involves conflicting objectives and hence compromise, and the best designs will always be those that come up with the best compromise.' [Petroski, H., "Invention by Design: How Engineers Get fromThought to Thing," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1996, p.30] Constrained optimization is the art of compromise among conflicting objectives. This is what design is all about. To find fault with biological design because it misses some idealized optimum, as Gould regularly used to do, is simply gratuitous. Not knowing the objectives of the designer, Gould was in no position to say whether the designer proposed a faulty compromise among those objectives." (Dembski, W.A.*, "The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design," Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2004, pp.58-59. Emphasis original) 23/09/2006 "BUT IT WAS THE AWE-INSPIRING SUCCESS of science itself, nurtured for centuries in a Christian belief system, that caused many to turn to it as the comprehensive source of explanation. With the mighty technology spawned by science in his hands, man could exalt himself, it seemed, and dispense with God. Although Darwin was by no means the sole cause of the apotheosis of materialist science, his theories gave it crucial support. It is perhaps not altogether a coincidence that the year 1882, in which Darwin died, found Nietzsche proclaiming that `God is dead...and we have killed him.' The capture of science (in considerable measure) by materialist philosophy was aided by the hasty retreat of many theists. There are those who duck any conflict by declaring that science and religion occupy non- overlapping domains or, to use a current catchphrase, separate `magisteria.' One hears this dichotomy expressed in apothegms such as, `Science asks how; religion asks why.' In this view, science is the domain of hard facts and objective truth. Religion is the realm of subjective belief and faith. Science is publicly verifiable, and is the only kind of truth that can be allowed in the public square. Religion is private, unverifiable, and cannot be permitted to intrude into public affairs, including education. The two magisteria do not conflict, because they never come into contact with each other. To achieve this peace, all the theists have to do is interpret away many of the central beliefs of the Judeo-Christian tradition. This retreat makes some theists happy, because they can avoid a fight that they feel ill-equipped to win, and can retire to a cozy warren of warm, fuzzy irrelevancy. It also makes materialists happy, because the field has been ceded to them. ... That's what's different about intelligent design. ID says that the best evidence we have shows that life is the product of a real intelligent agent, actually working in space and time, and that the designer's hand can be detected, scientifically and mathematically, by what we know about the kinds of things that are produced only by intelligence. It is making scientific claims about the real world. Because it relies on objective fact and scientific reasoning, ID seeks admission to the public square. Rather than retreating to the gaseous realm of the subjective, it challenges the materialist conception of science on its own turf. It thus threatens materialism generally, with all that that entails for morality, law, culture -- and even for what it means to be human. ... And that's why intelligent design is such a big deal." (Peterson, D., "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005. Emphasis original) 23/09/2006 "What Turok had done in his lecture and accompanying papers was to challenge an idea that has held physicists in thrall for more than four decades: that time, space and everything else all appeared out of nothing and began with one Big Bang. Instead, Turok says the Big Bang was not a unique event at all. In fact, it was likely to have been one of many, perhaps millions of, Big Bangs. A small but growing band of other researchers, including Paul Steinhardt ... support the idea. If Turok and his supporters are right, the implications are daunting. The life's work of many scientists, and thousands of research papers, would be redundant. No wonder they are fighting back. ... The Big Bang theory has a lot going for it. It fits with the observed expansion of the universe, the age of the oldest stars and the ratio of light and heavy elements found around the universe. The idea has gathered support outside science, too, partly because it suits the creation myths of many religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Pope Pius XII, then head of the Catholic Church, even began preaching Big Bang theology in the 1950s, although he urged researchers not to probe the Big Bang itself, suggesting that the moment of creation was `the work of God'. Pius was prescient. He had put his finger on the very problems that are still troubling many cosmologists today. The universe may have begun with a Big Bang - but where did that come from? What caused it? And was it unique? In the 1970s, Guth was one of those who realised that the Big Bang theory failed to explain how a hot chaotic fireball could become the cool universe with stable clusters of galaxies we see today. Rather than challenge the idea that time and space began with the Big Bang, he suggested the new universe had suddenly expanded trillions of times in a millionth of a second. That idea, called inflation, did such a good mathematical job of explaining the shape of the universe that it was adopted far and wide. Guth himself has built his career on it. Recently, however, it has become clear that the theory has major flaws. There is, for example, no widely accepted way for physics to explain how such `inflation' could have happened. It also fails to deal with the 1990s discovery of `dark energy', the energy field that fills all space and which is now thought to be the cause of the universe's expansion. For Turok and others, such failings have become too much to live with. `The supporters of inflation have become too evangelical. They have no idea why inflation happened but they still believe in it,' he declares. Under his and Steinhardt's theory, the Big Bang was not the beginning of history but simply an event within it, caused by the collision of our universe with another one existing in another dimension. Turok and Steinhardt suggest that such events may happen every trillion years in a kind of cycle. If they are right, then time has always existed and so has the universe. What's more, they always will exist, and so there is no need for inflation or for a creation event - or perhaps even a creator. Pope Pius would be furious. Many of Turok's fellow physicists already are. To those outside physics, Turok's and Steinhardt's ideas may sound radical, but some cosmologists have long recognised that they offer solutions to many of the problems thrown up by the standard Big Bang theory. Among them is Professor Stephen Hawking .... Hawking has suggested that space could have up to 11 dimensions; that our universe could exist inside a `higher dimensional space' that contains one or more other universes; and he has proposed the existence of `shadow worlds' whose presence might only be revealed by tiny fluctuations in our universe's gravitational background. These ideas are the basis of the new theory. .... Andrei Linde, professor of physics at Stanford University, in California, is a longstanding opponent. Linde said: `Turok and Steinhardt's model has many problems and the authors made quite a number of errors, which is why it is not very popular among cosmologists.'" (Leake, J., "Science collides with a Big Bang," The Sunday Times, August 21, 2006) 24/09/2006 "Science, by contrast, is supposed to be an objective enterprise, with common criteria of procedure, and standards of evidence that should lead all people of good will to accept a documented conclusion. I do not, of course, deny a genuine difference between aesthetics and science on this score: we have truly discovered-as a fact of the external world, not a preference of our psyches-that the earth revolves around the sun and that evolution happens; but we will never reach consensus on whether Bach or Brahms was the greater composer (and professionals in the field of aesthetics would not ask so foolish a question). But I would also reject any claim that personal preference, the root of aesthetic judgment, does not play a key role in science. True, the world is indifferent to our hopes-and fire burns whether we like it or not. But our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective "scientific method," with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology." (Gould, S.J., "In the Mind of the Beholder," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," Harmony Books: New York NY, 1995, pp.93-94) 24/09/2006 "But the three stories are linked at a level sufficiently abstract to evoke the underlying attitudes so basic to any person's individual being that popular culture speaks of a "philosophy of life" or "worldview." Scholars have also struggled with this notion of a personal or social model so pervasive that all particulars are judged in its light. ... In the most celebrated use in a social sense, T. S. Kuhn referred to the shared worldview of scientists as a paradigm (see his classic 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). Such paradigms, in Kuhn's view, are so constraining, and so unbreakable in their own terms, that fundamentally new theories must be imported from elsewhere (insights of other disciplines, conscious radicalism of young rebels within a field), and must then triumph by rapid replacement (scientific revolution) rather than by incremental advance." (Gould, S.J., "In the Mind of the Beholder," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," Harmony Books: New York NY, 1995, p.95) 24/09/2006 "Attempts to explain the evolution of highly specified, irreducibly complex systems either mousetraps or cilia or blood clotting-by a gradualistic route have so far been incoherent, as we have seen in previous chapters. No scientific journal will publish patently incoherent papers, so no studies asking detailed questions of molecular evolution are to be found. Calvin and Hobbes stories can sometimes be spun by ignoring critical details, as Russell Doolittle did when imagining the evolution of blood clotting, but even such superficial attempts are rare. In fact, evolutionary explanations even of systems that do not appear to be irreducibly complex, such as specific metabolic pathways, are missing from the literature. The reason for this appears to be similar to the reason for the failure to explain the origin of life: a choking complexity strangles all such attempts." (Behe, M.J., "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," Free Press: New York NY, 1996, p.177) 25/09/2006 "Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview-nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty. On the other hand, a fruitful worldview is the greatest shortcut to insight, and the finest prod for making connections-in short, the best possible agent for a Peircean abduction. So much in our material culture is both alluring and dangerous at the same time-try fast cars and high-stakes poker for starters. Why shouldn't a fundamental issue in our intellectual lives possess the same properties? ... I do not know that my view is more correct; I do not even think that `right' and `wrong' are good categories for assessing complex mental models of external reality-for models in science are judged as useful or detrimental, not as true or false. I do know that chosen models dictate our parsing of nature, and either channel our thoughts toward novel insight, or blind us to evident and important aspects of reality. Beauty must be in the eye of the beholder, but access to truth lies within the mind of the beholder- and our minds are as varied as our hairstyles. `Great is truth; and shall prevail'-but we only get there along pathways of our own mental construction. Science is as resolutely personal an enterprise as art, even if the chief prize be truth rather than beauty (though artists also seek truth, and good science is profoundly beautiful)." (Gould, S.J., "In the Mind of the Beholder," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," Harmony Books: New York NY, 1995, p.96) 25/09/2006 "TIMING THE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION: HOW FAST IS FAST? Paleontologists have long known, and puzzled over, the rapid appearance of nearly all major animal phyla during a short interval at the beginning of the Cambrian period ... The earth's fossil record extends back 3.5 billion years to the earliest rock sufficiently unaltered by later heat and pressure to preserve traces of ancient organisms. But, with the exception of some multicellular algae that play no role in the genealogy of animals, all life, including the ancestors of animals, remained unicellular for five-sixths of subsequent history-until about 550 million years ago, when an evolutionary explosion introduced all major groups of animals in just a few million years. ... Paleontologists have always hedged on this crucial question because we had no precise dates for the inception of the Cambrian period. The Cambrian ended some 505-510 million years ago, but we had no good fix on the beginning until last September, when several of my colleagues ... joined with Russian geologists in finally nailing the early Cambrian ... Previous estimates for the Cambrian's beginning ranged from nearly 600 to 530 million years ago. The older dates (favored by most) permitted quite a good stretch for the Cambrian explosion, perhaps 30 million years or so (still a moment among billions, but at least a relaxed moment). My colleagues - see Bowring et al. in this book's bibliography - have now pinpointed the explosion by calibrating the radioactive decay of uranium to lead within zircon crystals obtained from volcanic rocks interbedded with Siberian sediments containing earliest Cambrian fossils. The earliest Cambrian ... is divided into three parts, called, from oldest to youngest, Manakayan, Tommotian, and Atdabanian. ... The Manakayan contains many fossilized bits and pieces of cousins and precursors, but not the remains of major modern phyla. The Manakayan therefore predates the Cambrian explosion. By the end of the Atdabanian, virtually all modern phyla had made their appearance. The Cambrian explosion therefore spans the Tommotian and Atdabanian stages. My colleagues have dated the base of the Manakayan at 544 million years ago (with potential error of only a few hundred thousand years), and have determined that this initial stage lasted some 14 million years. The Tommotian began about 530 million years ago and-get this, for now the intellectual impact occurs-the subsequent Atdabanian stage ended only 5 to 6 (at the very most, 10) million years later. Thus the entire Cambrian explosion, previously allowed up to 30 or even 40 million years, must now fit into 5 to 10 (and almost surely nearer the lower limit), from the base of the Tommotian to the end of the Atdabanian. In other words, fast is much, much faster than we ever thought." (Gould, S.J., "In the Mind of the Beholder," in "Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History," Harmony Books: New York NY, 1995, pp.96-97. Emphasis original) 26/09/2006 "The great botanist, Dr. Heribert Nilsson, although a botanist rather than a paleontologist, summarized his fossil study this way: `My attempts to demonstrate evolution by an experiment carried on for more than forty years have completely failed. At least, I should hardly be accused of having started from a preconceived anti-evolutionary standpoint.... It may be firmly maintained that it is not even possible to make a caricature of an evolution out of the paleobiological facts. The fossil material is not so complete that it has been possible to construct new classes, and the lack of transitional series cannot be explained as being due to the scarcity of material. The deficiencies are real; they will never be filled.' [Nilsson, H., "Synthetische Artbildung," Verlag CWK Gleerup: Lund, Sweden, 1953, pp.1185, 1212]" (Coder, S.M. & Howe, G.F., "The Bible, Science and Creation," , Moody Press: Chicago IL, Revised, 1966, p.66) 27/09/2006 "Chamberlainites are apt to quote the late Stephen Jay Gould's `NOMA' - `non-overlapping magisteria'. Gould claimed that science and true religion never come into conflict because they exist in completely separate dimensions of discourse ... This sounds terrific, right up until you give it a moment's thought. You then realize that the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science. A universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference. God could clinch the matter in his favour at any moment by staging a spectacular demonstration of his powers, one that would satisfy the exacting standards of science. Even the infamous Templeton Foundation recognized that God is a scientific hypothesis - by funding double-blind trials to test whether remote prayer would speed the recovery of heart patients. It didn't, of course, although a control group who knew they had been prayed for tended to get worse (how about a class action suit against the Templeton Foundation?) Despite such well-financed efforts, no evidence for God's existence has yet appeared. To see the disingenuous hypocrisy of religious people who embrace NOMA, imagine that forensic archeologists, by some unlikely set of circumstances, discovered DNA evidence demonstrating that Jesus was born of a virgin mother and had no father. If NOMA enthusiasts were sincere, they should dismiss the archeologists' DNA out of hand: "Irrelevant. Scientific evidence has no bearing on theological questions. Wrong magisterium." Does anyone seriously imagine that they would say anything remotely like that? You can bet your boots that not just the fundamentalists but every professor of theology and every bishop in the land would trumpet the archeological evidence to the skies. Either Jesus had a father or he didn't. The question is a scientific one, and scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it. The same is true of any miracle - and the deliberate and intentional creation of the universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles. Either it happened or it didn't. It is a fact, one way or the other, and in our state of uncertainty we can put a probability on it -an estimate that may change as more information comes in. Humanity's best estimate of the probability of divine creation dropped steeply in 1859 when The Origin of Species was published, and it has declined steadily during the subsequent decades, as evolution consolidated itself from plausible theory in the nineteenth century to established fact today." (Dawkins, R., "Richard Dawkins explains his latest book," The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, September 20, 2006) 27/09/2006 "Several years after first reading reports of Reagan's remarks, I heard from Luther Sunderland (already encountered in Chapter 1) that he had managed to get through to several of Reagan's speechwriters and that he was proud to take credit for inserting these antievolution remarks into Reagan's campaign rhetoric. But I wasn't prepared to hear what he had to say next: that the scientists he had in mind-the scientists to whom Reagan was alluding in his none-too-mellifluous antievolution comments-were none other than me and Stephen Jay Gould. Sunderland was saying that our idea of punctuated equilibria (see Chapter 4.) was antievolution because it seemed to be anti-Darwin." (Eldredge, N., "The Triumph of Evolution: And the Failure of Creationism," , Henry Holt & Co: New York, 2001, reprint, p.187) 27/09/2006 "I WAS an innocent bystander in the argument between the creationists and evolutionists until the night of January 6, 1981, when I happened to be watching The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather at the anchor desk. Rather related how during the presidential campaign the previous autumn Ronald Reagan had told an audience in Texas that he had `a great many questions about evolutionary theory' and asserted that the theory `is not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed.' This statement was obviously designed to appeal to voters in the nation's Bible Belt. Since Reagan had alleged that the scientific community itself no longer held evolutionary theory to be `as infallible as it once was believed,' it was not surprising that members of the community should wish to comment. On January 6, spokesmen for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) finally issued a reply. According to Rather they characterized Reagan's statement as `tremendously unfortunate.' One Association scientist asserted that the 100 million fossils identified and dated in the world's museums `constitute 100 million facts that prove evolution beyond any doubt whatever.' Perhaps to many people this report was the least important or interesting item in the news, merely the kind of polemic issued by one group of ax grinders against another, which has becomes is so common of late. I, on the other hand, found it astonishingly The ax grinders in this case are the most important Scientist association in the United States, The AAAS publishes Science, the most prestigious periodical of its kind in the country, The style and content of this magazine is virtually the definition of what it means to be scientific in twentieth-century America. ... Customarily, authorities of this giddy elevation speak publicly only in careful and considered terms. ... It seemed reasonable that if the AAAS spokesmen felt the president-elect (as he then was) had misrepresented the position of the majority of scientists they could have said just that. But it was beyond me to understand how Reagan's statement could really be `tremendously unfortunate.' ... The other part of the response was even more remarkable: 100 million fossils constitute `100 million facts that prove evolution beyond any doubt whatever.' At the time of the offense on the evening of January 6, I was not particularly well read on evolution. It had been twenty years since 1 had studied the subject for a semester or two in college. But even in my dim recollections I could recall having been taught that the fossil record was ambiguous on many points and that there were many scientists who acknowledged these problems and mysteries. To say that 100 million fossils in the world's museums constitute `100 million facts that prove evolution beyond any doubt whatever' has about as much credibility as an election in one of those theoretical `democracies' where 99 percent of the vote goes for the party leader and the other 1 percent are taken out and shot." (Fix, W.R., "The Bone Peddlers: Selling Evolution," Macmillan: New York NY, 1984, pp.xiii-xv) 29/09/2006 "Presidential hopeful Ronald Reagan told a cheering throng of over 10,000 `born-again' Christians in Dallas that the lack of `that old-time religion' in public schools has led to an increase in human suffering. He was addressing a rally of New Right preachers and politicians from more than 41 states who gathered on August 22nd to participate in a `Roundtable National Affairs Briefing.' In reference to the theory of evolution Reagan declared, `I have a great many questions about it. It is a theory, it is a scientific theory only. And in recent years it has been challenged in the world of science and is not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was. I think that recent discoveries down through the years have pointed up great flaws in it.' He then added that if the theory of evolution is to be taught in public schools, so should the Biblical version of the origin of human life. Information from the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union, August 23, 1980." ("Reagan Favors Creationism in the Public Schools," Creation/Evolution, Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1980. March 4, 2003. National Center for Science Education) 29/09/2006 "While the scientists have been refining the theory of evolution in the past decade, some nonscientists have been spreading anew the gospel of creationism-and the coincidence has confused many laymen, including Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. At a fundamentalist meeting in Dallas, Reagan urged teaching the Biblical version of creation along with evolution, which he said `is not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was.' Having opposed Darwin for 120 years, fundamentalists tend to seize on any criticism of his theories as vindication. The notion of species that come into being very quickly, and then appear to be relatively stable for long periods, has an intuitive appeal to those who believe the earth was populated according to God's design. But the new theories are intended only to explain how evolution came about-not to supplant it as a principle. Says Harvard's Stephen Jay Gould, who along with Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History proposed the punctuated-equilibria theory in 1972: `Evolution is a fact, like apples falling out of trees.'" (Adler, J. & Carey, J., "Is Man a Subtle Accident?," Newsweek, November 3, 1980, pp.54-55) 29/09/2006 "In the past decade or two, a group of scientists, biologists, mathematicians, philosophers, and other thinkers have marshaled powerful critiques of Darwinian theory on scientific and mathematical grounds. Although they generally don't dispute that evolution of some sort has occurred, they vigorously contest the neo-Darwinian claim that life could arise by an undirected, purely material process of chance variation and natural selection. Instead, examining the evidence and applying mathematical and other techniques to detect design, they argue that the best scientific inference is that the complexity of life results from design by an intelligence. Despite the efforts of ID opponents to label them as `creationists,' their arguments are not based on religious premises or Scriptural authority, and ID does not attempt to determine the identity of the designer. The inference that life is the product of an intelligent cause rather than unintelligent material forces may certainly have religious implications. But the arguments advanced by intelligent design theorists rely on neutral principles and facts drawn from mathematics, information theory, biochemistry, physics, astrophysics, and other disciplines." (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005) 29/09/2006 "OK, I think we're seeing a pattern now. It may be safe to venture that, according to its detractors, intelligent design is `not science.' So why bring in the federal courts? Why not simply expose the logical and scientific fallacies of ID -- which must be glaring indeed -- and let it collapse of its own weaknesses? For one thing, that is exactly what the Darwinists have been unable to do. The arguments put forth by the ID theorists -- hammering home the fundamental, longstanding, unresolved flaws in Darwinism, and demonstrating affirmatively that life exhibits evidence of design -- have not been refuted. Counterarguments fly as fast in this debate as the arguments, and neither side can claim victory. It is precisely because intelligent design relies exclusively on scientific methods, evidence, and reasoning that the Darwinist establishment is going bonkers." (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005) 29/09/2006 "But there is another reason that goes even deeper. Let us suppose for a moment that the scientific evidence, evaluated in a truly impartial manner, would strongly point to design by a creator rather than to undirected natural forces as the source of life. Let us suppose, just for the sake of argument, that this evidence was really quite manifest and clear. What then? Would all the scientists, philosophers, political advocacy groups, teachers' unions, journalists, and others who were previously committed to Darwinism follow that evidence exactly where it leads? Would they shrug and say, `Oh, OK. We were wrong,' and admit that the design thesis is the best explanation? Or would a large body of opinion, scientific and otherwise, insist that anything that points to a creator, regardless of the evidence, is automatically `not science'? A designer who actually works in the world is a concept that some cannot admit even to be a possibility. It is ruled out in advance on philosophical grounds. Although there are nuances and intermediate positions, ID has stirred up a conflict between two competing worldviews: materialism and theism." (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005) 29/09/2006 "Many of the most outspoken defenders of Darwinism are quite candid about their commitment to materialism as a worldview. Materialism (or naturalism) is, of course, the view that only matter and material processes exist. The physical universe is all there is. There is no mind behind it, no creator, no purpose, and no possibility of a personal God who intervenes in the world. The universe is apparently governed by physical laws, but materialism does not offer a reason why the behavior of matter and energy should be lawful. Life on Earth is just a product of the necessary unfolding of undirected material processes; of "purposeless, meaningless matter in motion," in the words of philosopher and ID opponent Daniel Dennett." (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005) 29/09/2006 "The materialistic and theistic worldviews are thus opposed on virtually every important issue. Intelligent design addresses only one of these issues: whether or not the universe and life are designed. It does not attempt to prove (say) that the designer has all of the attributes of the Christian God. Because it is a scientific theory, it does not attempt to establish a foundation for morals, the nature of knowledge, or the purpose of life. Although ID is consistent with the view of the three great monotheistic religions that the universe and life are created by God, it cannot, by itself, prove any of them to be true comprehensively. On the other hand, intelligent design is flatly inconsistent with philosophical materialism. Indeed, by demonstrating the profound, unsolved problems of Darwinism, and supporting the design inference in its stead, ID has the potential to deal a crushing blow to materialism. Without Darwinism, a materialist worldview has no creation story, no way of even purporting to explain how life came about. Materialism without Darwinism is an unbelievable worldview. Furthermore, from a materialist perspective, which holds as a matter of faith that God does not exist, any effort to show that life is designed will necessarily be an exercise in falsehood. If one defines the universe as consisting only of material forces, there is no intelligent designer and hence there can be no intelligent design. Materialism thus rules ID out of bounds, and holds it to be false, by definition. That is what leads to the emphatic claims that intelligent design is "not science." ID transgresses the central tenet of materialism." (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005) 29/09/2006 "IN HIS RECENT BOOK For the Glory of God, Rodney Stark argues "not only that there is no inherent conflict between religion and science, but that Christian theology was essential for the rise of science." (His italics.) While researching this thesis, Stark found to his surprise that "some of my central arguments have already become the conventional wisdom among historians of science." He is nevertheless "painfully aware" that most of the arguments about the close connection between Christian belief and the rise of science are "unknown outside narrow scholarly circles," and that many people believe that it could not possibly be true. Sometimes the most obvious facts are the easiest to overlook. Here is one that ought to be stunningly obvious: science as an organized, sustained enterprise arose only once in the history of Earth. Where was that? Although other civilizations have contributed technical achievements or isolated innovations, the invention of science as a cumulative, rigorous, systematic, and ongoing investigation into the laws of nature occurred only in Europe; that is, in the civilization then known as Christendom. Science arose and flourished in a civilization that, at the time, was profoundly and nearly exclusively Christian in its mental outlook. There are deep reasons for that, and they are inherent in the Judeo-Christian view of the world which, principally in its Christian manifestation, formed the European mind. As Stark observes, the Christian view depicted God as "a rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being and the universe as his personal creation, thus having a rational, lawful, stable structure, awaiting human comprehension." That was not true of belief systems elsewhere. A view that the universe is uncreated, has been around forever, and is just "what happens to be" does not suggest that it has fundamental principles that are rational and discoverable. Other belief systems have considered the natural world to be an insoluble mystery, conceived of it as a realm in which multiple, arbitrary gods are at work, or thought of it in animistic terms. None of these views will, or did, give rise to a deep faith that there is a lawful order imparted by a divine creator that can and should be discovered. Recent scholarship in the history of science reveals that this commitment to rational, empirical investigation of God's creation is not simply a product of the "scientific revolution" of the 16th and 17th centuries, but has profound roots going back at least to the High Middle Ages. The development of the university system in medieval times was, of course, almost entirely a product of the Church. Serious students of the period know that this was neither a time of stagnation, nor of repression of inquiry in favor of dogma. Rather, it was a time of great intellectual ferment and discovery, and the universities fostered rational, empirical, systematic inquiry." (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005) 29/09/2006 "WHEN THE DISCOVERIES of science exploded in number and importance in the 1500s and 1600s, the connection with Christian belief was again profound. Many of the trailblazing scientists of that period when science came into full bloom were devout Christian believers, and declared that their work was inspired by a desire to explore God's creation and discover its glories. Perhaps the greatest scientist in history, Sir Isaac Newton, was a fervent Christian who wrote over a million words on theological subjects. Other giants of science and mathematics were similarly devout: Boyle, Descartes, Kepler, Leibniz, Pascal. To avoid relying on what might be isolated examples, Stark analyzed the religious views of the 52 leading scientists from the time of Copernicus until the end of the 17th century. Using a methodology that probably downplayed religious belief, he found that 32 were `devout'; 18 were at least `conventional' in their religious belief; and only two were `skeptics.' More than a quarter were themselves ecclesiastics: `priests, ministers, monks, canons, and the like.' Down through the 19th century, many of the leading figures in science were thoroughgoing Christians. A partial list includes Babbage, Dalton, Faraday, Herschel, Joule, Lyell, Maxwell, Mendel, and Thompson (Lord Kelvin). A survey of the most eminent British scientists near the end of the 19th century found that nearly all were members of the established church or affiliated with some other church. In short, scientists who were committed Christians include men often considered to be fathers of the fields of astronomy, atomic theory, calculus, chemistry, computers, electricity, genetics, geology, mathematics, and physics. In the late 1990s, a survey found that about 40 percent of American scientists believe in a personal God and an afterlife -- a percentage that is basically unchanged since the early 20th century. A listing of eminent 20thcentury scientists who were religious believers would be far too voluminous to include here -- so let's not bring coals to Newcastle, but simply note that the list would be large indeed, including Nobel Prize winners.' " (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005. Emphasis original) 29/09/2006 "Far from being inimical to science, then, the Judeo-Christian worldview is the only belief system that actually produced it. Scientists who (in Boyle's words) viewed nature as `the immutable workmanship of the omniscient Architect' were the pathfinders who originated the scientific enterprise. The assertion that intelligent design is automatically `not science' because it may support the concept of a creator is a statement of materialist philosophy, not of any intrinsic requirement of science itself. The redefinition of science in materialist terms -- never wholly successful, but probably now the predominant view -- required the confluence of several intellectual currents. The attack on religious belief in general, and Christianity in particular, has been underway for more than two centuries. As an organized intellectual movement it first became manifest with the 18th-century French philosophes, and was given further impetus in Great Britain during that century by the skepticism of Hume. Further doubt appeared to be cast on the truth of Christian doctrine by the historically and textually based `higher criticism' of the Bible, beginning in the late 18th century and gaining great attention in the first half of the 19th century. By disputing the time, authorship, inspiration, and accuracy of the Old and New Testaments, these mostly German scholars, such as Eichhorn, De Wette, Semler, Paulus, and David Friedrich Strauss, undermined traditions and interpretations of Scripture that had hitherto often been accepted rather uncritically.' " (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005) 29/09/2006 "BUT IT WAS THE AWE-INSPIRING SUCCESS of science itself, nurtured for centuries in a Christian belief system, that caused many to turn to it as the comprehensive source of explanation. With the mighty technology spawned by science in his hands, man could exalt himself, it seemed, and dispense with God. Although Darwin was by no means the sole cause of the apotheosis of materialist science, his theories gave it crucial support. It is perhaps not altogether a coincidence that the year 1882, in which Darwin died, found Nietzsche proclaiming that `God is dead...and we have killed him.' The capture of science (in considerable measure) by materialist philosophy was aided by the hasty retreat of many theists. There are those who duck any conflict by declaring that science and religion occupy non-overlapping domains or, to use a current catchphrase, separate `magisteria.' One hears this dichotomy expressed in apothegms such as, `Science asks how; religion asks why.' In this view, science is the domain of hard facts and objective truth. Religion is the realm of subjective belief and faith. Science is publicly verifiable, and is the only kind of truth that can be allowed in the public square. Religion is private, unverifiable, and cannot be permitted to intrude into public affairs, including education. The two magisteria do not conflict, because they never come into contact with each other. To achieve this peace, all the theists have to do is interpret away many of the central beliefs of the Judeo-Christian tradition. This retreat makes some theists happy, because they can avoid a fight that they feel ill-equipped to win, and can retire to a cozy warren of warm, fuzzy irrelevancy. It also makes materialists happy, because the field has been ceded to them. As ID advocate Phillip Johnson remarks acerbically: `Politically astute scientific naturalists feel no hostility toward those religious leaders who implicitly accept the key naturalistic doctrine that supernatural powers do not actually affect the course of nature. In fact, many scientific leaders disapprove of aggressive atheists like Richard Dawkins, who seem to be asking for trouble by picking fights with religious people who only want to surrender with dignity.' [Johnson, P.E.*, "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1997, p.101] But the ID theorists do not go gentle into that good night. That's what's different about intelligent design. ID says that the best evidence we have shows that life is the product of a real intelligent agent, actually working in space and time, and that the designer's hand can be detected, scientifically and mathematically, by what we know about the kinds of things that are produced only by intelligence. It is making scientific claims about the real world. Because it relies on objective fact and scientific reasoning, ID seeks admission to the public square. Rather than retreating to the gaseous realm of the subjective, it challenges the materialist conception of science on its own turf. It thus threatens materialism generally, with all that that entails for morality, law, culture -- and even for what it means to be human.' " (Peterson, D., "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005. Emphasis original) 29/09/2006 "THOSE WHO NOW OCCUPY the public square will fight to keep possession of it. The advocates of Darwinian materialism believe that they are in possession of The Truth, and are perfectly willing to invoke the power of the state to suppress competing views, as the Dover suit shows. Richard Dawkins, again, exemplifies the mindset. Long before the Dover suit, he argued that libel laws (much more formidable in England than here) should protect `objective truth,' and should punish `lies that may not damage particular people but damage truth itself.' He would extend legal sanctions to `all deliberate falsifications, misrepresentations, of scientific truth.' Why should an individual have to be damaged, he wonders, before we `prosecute a book which wantonly publishes lies about the universe'? Just what might constitute `lies about the universe?' Dawkins makes no secret of his `contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion.' In a recent article co-authored with an American professor, Dawkins asserts that intelligent design is `not a scientific argument at all' -- sound familiar? -- `but a religious one.' Allowing students even to be made aware that there is a controversy between ID and Darwinism `conveys the false, and highly pernicious, idea that there really are two sides.' If just a mention of ID were to be allowed into the classroom, he predicts ominously, `that would be the end of science education in America.'" (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005. Emphasis original) 29/09/2006 "Science has always prided itself on following the evidence wherever it leads. If intelligent design's arguments are false, they will, over time, be refuted decisively. But what if the evidence truly supports design? Should that evidence be ignored, defined as `not science,' and suppressed through the court system, simply because a materialist worldview cannot accept even the possibility of a designer? In the words of design theorist Stephen Meyer, science `should not be looking for only the best naturalistic explanation, but the best explanation, period.' For many centuries, the best explanation of the origin of life and the lawfulness of the universe was thought to be design, which was not considered inconsistent with science at all. Matthew Arnold, nevertheless, presciently foresaw the direction the tides would flow in the 19th century, and well into the 20th. But of the three theories that seemed so potent during that period -- Marxism, Freudianism, Darwinism -- two have already been washed away by history. Will Darwin's theory be next? If so, the materialist worldview is at stake, and the materialists know it. And that's why intelligent design is such a big deal." (Peterson, D.*, "What's the Big Deal About Intelligent Design?," The American Spectator, December 22, 2005) 85) 29/09/2006 "I think we should feel sorry for Jerry Coyne. His own work has contributed to the destruction of Darwinism, and he seems to be suffering from a condition I call metaphysical panic, resulting from the shaking of a worldview he had always assumed to be unchallengeable. Persons suffering from metaphysical panic tend to lash out in impotent rage while making wildly illogical arguments. I encounter this sad condition regularly." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Wedge Weekly Update," April 23, 2001. Access Research Network) 30/09/2006 "The full importance of Darwin's theory can be better understood by realizing that modern biology is guided by two overwhelmingly powerful and creative ideas. The first is that all biological processes are ultimately obedient to, even though far from fully explained by, the laws of physics and chemistry. The second is that all biological processes arose through evolution of these physicochemical systems through natural selection. ... The impact of the theory of evolution by natural selection, nowadays grown very sophisticated (and often referred to as the Modern Synthesis), has been profound. To the extent it can be upheld, and the evidence to date has done so compellingly, we must conclude that life has diversified on Earth autonomously without any kind of external guidance. Evolution in a pure Darwinian world has no goal or purpose: the exclusive driving force is random mutations sorted out by natural selection from one generation to the next." (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "What then are we to make of the purposes and goals obviously chosen by human beings? They are, in Darwinian interpretation, processes evolved as adaptive devices by an otherwise purposeless natural selection. Evolution by natural selection means, finally, that the essential qualities of the human mind also evolved autonomously. Humanity was thus born of Earth. However elevated in power over the rest of life, however exalted in self-image, we were descended from animals by the same blind force that created those animals, and we remain a member species of this planet's biosphere." (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "The revolution in astronomy begun by Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543 proved that Earth is not the center of the universe, nor even the center of the solar system. The revolution begun by Darwin was even more humbling: it showed that humanity is not the center of creation, and not its purpose either. But in freeing our minds from our imagined demigod bondage, even at the price of humility, Darwin turned our attention to the astounding power of the natural creative process and the magnificence of its products ..." ." (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "The ensuing 130 years have seen an enormous growth of the Darwinian heritage. Joined with molecular and cellular biology, that accumulated knowledge is today a large part of modern biology. Its centrality justifies the famous remark made by the evolutionary geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky in 1973 that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." In fact, nothing in science as a whole has been more firmly established by interwoven factual documentation, or more illuminating, than the universal occurrence of biological evolution. Further, few natural processes have been more convincingly explained than evolution by the theory of natural selection or, as it is popularly called, Darwinism. Thus it is surpassingly strange that half of Americans recently polled (2004) not only do not believe in evolution by natural selection but do not believe in evolution at all. Americans are certainly capable of belief, and with rocklike conviction if it originates in religious dogma. In evidence is the 60 percent that accept the prophecies of the Book of Revelation as truth, and yet in more evidence is the weight that faith-based positions hold in political life. Most of the religious Right opposes the teaching of evolution in public schools, either by an outright ban on the subject or, at the least, by insisting that it be treated as "only a theory" rather than a `fact.'" (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "Yet biologists, particularly those statured by the peer review and publication of substantial personal research on the subject in leading journals of science, are unanimous in concluding that evolution is a fact. The evidence they and thousands of others have adduced over 150 years falls together in intricate and interlocking detail. The multitudinous examples range from the small changes in DNA sequences observed as they occur in real time to finely graded sequences within larger evolutionary changes in the fossil record. Further, on the basis of comparably firm evidence, natural selection grows ever stronger as the prevailing explanation of evolution. ...Many who accept the fact of evolution cannot, however, on religious grounds, accept the operation of blind chance and the absence of divine purpose implicit in natural selection. They support the alternative explanation of intelligent design. The reasoning they offer is not based on evidence but on the lack of it. The formulation of intelligent design is a default argument advanced in support of a non sequitur. It is in essence the following: `There are some phenomena that have not yet been explained and that (and most importantly) the critics personally cannot imagine being explained; therefore there must be a supernatural designer at work. The designer is seldom specified, but in the canon of intelligent design it is most certainly not Satan and his angels, nor any god or gods conspicuously different from those accepted in the believer's faith.'" (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "Flipping the scientific argument upside down, the intelligent designers join the strict creationists (who insist that no evolution ever occurred in the first place) by arguing that scientists resist the supernatural theory because it is counter to their own personal secular beliefs. This may have a kernel of truth; everybody suffers from some amount of bias. But in this case bias is easily overcome. The critics forget how the reward system in science works. Any researcher who can prove the existence of intelligent design within the accepted framework of science will make history and achieve eternal fame. He will prove at last that science and religious dogma are compatible! Even a combined Nobel Prize and Templeton Prize (the latter designed to encourage search for just such harmony) would fall short as proper recognition. Every scientist would like to accomplish such an epoch-making advance. But no one has even come close, because unfortunately there is no evidence, no theory, and no criteria for proof that even marginally might pass for science. There is only the residue of hoped-for default, which steadily shrinks as the science of biology expands.'" (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "In all of the history of science only one other disparity of comparable magnitude to evolution has occurred between a scientific event and the impact it has had on the public mind. This was the discovery by Copernicus that Earth and therefore humanity are not the center of the universe, and the universe is not a closed spherical bubble. Copernicus delayed publication of his masterwork On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres until the year of his death (1543). For his extension of the idea subsequently, Bruno was burned at the stake, and for its documentation Galileo was shown the instruments of torture at Rome and remained under house arrest for the remainder of his life. Today we live in a less barbaric age, but an otherwise comparable disjunction between science and religion, the one born of Darwinism, still roils the public mind. Why does such intense and pervasive resistance to evolution continue 150 years after the publication of The Origin of Species, and in the teeth of the overwhelming accumulated evidence favoring it? The answer is simply that the Darwinian revolution, even more than the Copernican revolution, challenges the prehistoric and still-regnant self-image of humanity. Evolution by natural selection, to be as concise as possible, has changed everything." (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "Both of these worldviews, God-centered religion and atheistic communism, are opposed by a third and in some ways more radical worldview, scientific humanism. Still held by only a tiny minority of the world's population, it considers humanity to be a biological species that evolved over millions of years in a biological world, acquiring unprecedented intelligence yet still guided by complex inherited emotions and biased channels of learning. Human nature exists, and it was self-assembled. It is the commonality of the hereditary responses and propensities that define our species. Having arisen by evolution during the far simpler conditions in which humanity lived during more than 99 percent of its existence, it forms the behavioral part of what, in The Descent of Man, Darwin called the indelible stamp of our lowly origin. To understand biological human nature in depth is to drain the fever swamps of religious and blank-slate dogma. But it also imposes the heavy burden of individual choice that goes with intellectual freedom." (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "Such was the long journey for Darwin, the architect of the naturalistic worldview. He began his voyage on the Beagle as a devout Christian who trained for the ministry. "Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox," he wrote much later in his autobiography, "and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality." His later drift from the religion of his birth was stepwise and slow. Still on H.M.S. Beagle during its circumnavigation of the globe (1831-1836) he came to believe that the "false history" and reports of God's vengeful feelings made the Old Testament "no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian." The miracles of Jesus seemed to him to suggest that people living at the time of the Gospels were "ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us." The growth of disbelief was so slow that Darwin felt no distress. In a striking passage of his autobiography he expressed his final and complete rejection of Christian dogma based solely on blind faith: `I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And that is a damnable doctrine.' Did Charles Darwin recant in his last days, as some religious critics have hopefully suggested? There is not a shred of evidence that he did or that he was presented with any reason to do so. Further, it would have been wholly contrary to the deliberate, careful manner with which he approached every subject." (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "The great naturalist did not abandon Abrahamic and other religious dogmas because of his discovery of evolution by natural selection, as one might reasonably suppose. The reverse occurred. The shedding of blind faith gave him the intellectual fearlessness to explore human evolution wherever logic and evidence took him. And so he set forth boldly, in The Descent of Man to track the origin of humanity, and in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals to address the evolution of instinct. Thus was born scientific humanism, the only worldview compatible with science's growing knowledge of the real world and the laws of nature. So, will science and religion find common ground, or at least agree to divide the fundamentals into mutually exclusive domains? A great many well-meaning scholars believe that such rapprochement is both possible and desirable. A few disagree, and I am one of them. I think Darwin would have held to the same position. The battle line is, as it has ever been, in biology. The inexorable growth of this science continues to widen, not to close, the tectonic gap between science and faith-based religion. Rapprochement may be neither possible nor desirable. There is something deep in religious belief that divides people and amplifies societal conflict. In the early part of this century, the toxic mix of religion and tribalism has become so dangerous as to justify taking seriously the alternative view, that humanism based on science is the effective antidote, the light and the way at last placed before us." (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30) 30/09/2006 "In any case, the dilemma to be solved is truly profound. On the one side the input of religion on human history has been beneficent in many ways. It has generated much of which is best in culture, including the ideals of altruism and public service. From the beginning of history it has inspired the arts. Creation myths were in a sense the beginning of science itself. Fabricating them was the best the early scribes could do to explain the universe and human existence. Yet the high risk is the ease with which alliances between religions and tribalism are made. Then comes bigotry and the dehumanization of infidels. Our gods, the true believer asserts, stand against your false idols, our spiritual purity against your corruption, our divinely sanctioned knowledge against your errancy. In past ages the posture provided an advantage. It united each tribe during life-and-death struggles with other tribes. It buoyed the devotees with a sense of superiority. It sacralized tribal laws and mores, and encouraged altruistic behaviors. Through sacred rites it lent solemnity to the passages of life. And it comforted the anxious and afflicted. For all this and more it gave people an identity and purpose, and vouchsafed tribal fitness yet, unfortunately, at the expense of less united or otherwise less fortunate tribes. Religions continue both to render their special services and to exact their heavy costs. Can scientific humanism do as well or better, at a lower cost? Surely that ranks as one of the great unanswered questions of philosophy. It is the noble yet troubling legacy that Charles Darwin left us." (Wilson, E.O., "Intelligent Evolution: The consequences of Charles Darwin's `one long argument'," Harvard Magazine, November-December 2005, pp.29-30)
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of an
asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.
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Created: 30 March, 2006. Updated: 10 April, 2010.