Ed Brayton posted Entry 1976 on February 7, 2006 12:16 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1971

Feb. 12, 1809 was the day on which both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born. Though we now celebrate Lincoln’s birthday on President’s Day, Feb. 12th is still referred to as Darwin Day and celebrated around the world. This Sunday, it will be celebrated in churches as well. The same folks who put together the Clergy Letter Project, a letter supporting evolution signed by over 10,000 clergy, have organized over 400 churches to celebrate Darwin Day by teaching on the subject in church this Sunday. This is a very valuable project for reaching out to people who have been taught all their lives that evolution equals atheism. For information on Evolution Sunday, go here.

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Comment #78093

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 7, 2006 1:13 PM (e)

Am I the only one who feels a bit queasy over “Darwin day”, and even more so about “Darwin Sunday”?

It’s “just science”, and we really don’t make such days for Newton, Einstein, or, say, Schroedinger, at least not in the US. If the UK has a Darwin day and a Newton day, that would seem appropriate, however I would not want there to be any appearance of a high holy day for “Darwinism” in the USA.

I’m not denying the value in religion embracing science, of course. Whether the two are “compatible” or some such thing is not really much of my concern, but if religion evolves (in the progressive sense) to accept science in all of its implications, I can only applaud. And since I have heard sermons in the past (back when I still went to church at least occasionally) which credited God for science, the least such sermonizers could do is to include God in the credits for evolution as well as for physics. That’s all well and good.

But I know I won’t be making any special plans for “Darwin day” here in the USA. I don’t even especially like focusing on the good, but clearly incomplete, science that we get from Darwin’s hand. I prefer the tack that the journal Science took in celebrating all of the advances in evolutionary studies occurring recently, never mind the fact that the basics were put into place a long time ago. This is the real triumph of Darwin and his ideas, the fact that we continue to achieve an increasing amount of evolutionary science throughout the decades following his own achievement, so much so that we no longer bother to refer to his works except in histories of science.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78095

Posted by chris green on February 7, 2006 1:31 PM (e)

Newton’s birthday is already celebrated in the united states. It is a paid holiday for virtually all employees. All schools and most businesses are closed. Its the biggest holiday in our country.

Comment #78098

Posted by BWE on February 7, 2006 1:51 PM (e)

Paley’s Birthday too.

Comment #78100

Posted by Raging Bee on February 7, 2006 2:01 PM (e)

I know certain European cities celebrate the birthdays of homegrown musicians such as Beethoven or Mozart. Do they do the same for their scientists?

Comment #78102

Posted by Stephen Elliott on February 7, 2006 2:04 PM (e)

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 7, 2006 01:13 PM (e)

Am I the only one who feels a bit queasy over “Darwin day”, and even more so about “Darwin Sunday”?

I might feel queasy after celebrating it! It will involve several beers.

Comment #78103

Posted by Paul Flocken on February 7, 2006 2:08 PM (e)

Comment #78095 Posted by chris green on February 7, 2006 01:31 PM
Newton’s birthday is already celebrated in the united states. It is a paid holiday for virtually all employees. All schools and most businesses are closed. Its the biggest holiday in our country.

But wasn’t that on the Julian Calender or is that already corrected for. ;-)

Sincerely,

Comment #78106

Posted by ChristieJ on February 7, 2006 2:20 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

Am I the only one who feels a bit queasy over “Darwin day”, and even more so about “Darwin Sunday”?

I go back and forth on this one. I don’t like most holidays in general, because most of them are meaningless to me personally - religious holidays, political holidays, ‘Hallmark’ holidays. Science, though, seems (to me) worth celebrating - certainly more so than “Valentine’s Day,” which will be shoved down my children’s throats next Tuesday.

However, the idea of *idolizing* Darwin, or anyone else for that matter – effectively turning him into a secular saint – does make me a little queasy, yes. I suppose there is a danger there, but I think it’s probably a long way off.

I am glad to know that some churches are making sure that their congregants know that evolution is valid. I hope that it will cut down on some of the nuttiness we’ve seen in education lately.

I’ve talked to some friends about attempting a Darwin Day “phylum feast” but unfortunately the 12th is also my MIL’s birthday, and *her* church hasn’t quite got on board with Darwin yet, so I don’t think it’ll happen this year.

Comment #78110

Posted by Anton Mates on February 7, 2006 2:49 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

Am I the only one who feels a bit queasy over “Darwin day”, and even more so about “Darwin Sunday”?

It’s “just science”, and we really don’t make such days for Newton, Einstein, or, say, Schroedinger, at least not in the US. If the UK has a Darwin day and a Newton day, that would seem appropriate, however I would not want there to be any appearance of a high holy day for “Darwinism” in the USA.

Hey, we manage to have Presidents’ Day, and Veteran’s Day, and (some places) MLK Day and Columbus Day, without making any of the people so honored into gods. And Darwin Day isn’t even federally enforced.

I really like the idea. Far from idolizing Darwin, most people don’t know the first thing about him. He’s not a popular figure like Einstein; the only thing the layman’s heard is the assorted Creationist smears about him being a militant atheist or racist or that he recanted evolution on his deathbed or some such. It’s nice to have a chance to illuminate the life of someone who was actually a cool human being as well as a multitalented biologist.

It’s also, of course, a good chance to explain the things that Darwin was wrong on, to illustrate that no scientist’s work gets taken as gospel no matter how respected he is.

If “Darwin Sunday” consisted of the congregation worshipping a graven image of Chuck, queasiness would be warranted…but I can’t really imagine that happening in any church. More likely it would just be an extended explanation that he’s not quite the demonic figure you thought, and that the theory which he contributed to isn’t going to destroy your spirit or devour your children.

Comment #78117

Posted by ChristieJ on February 7, 2006 3:47 PM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

Far from idolizing Darwin, most people don’t know the first thing about him.

So true. I do get excited about the educational opportunities, for my kids, myself, friends, strangers – the Center for Inquiry West is putting on a live reading of the entirety of Origin of Species (expected to take all day) just a couple of hours from where I live: CFI West

Someone on a different board equated celebrating Darwin Day with celebrating Christmas – rather than your very sensible parallel of MLK Day or Presidents Day – as if to do so glorified Darwin to the point of secular sainthood. I can see where certain people might grab hold of that as ammunition in the culture war, (“see? evolution IS a religion! you can’t teach that in schools!”) and I think the comment spooked me a little.

That aside, I like your idea of pointing out where he was wrong and emphasizing the self-correcting nature of science. It really is a great opportunity and potentially a lot of fun.

Comment #78122

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on February 7, 2006 4:30 PM (e)

Two points: (1) The event noted in the post is “Evolution Sunday”, not “Darwin Sunday”. Let’s hear that Litellian, “Never mind”, from Glen now.

(2) Yeah, sure, let’s list the things Darwin was right and wrong about. I’ll spot you guys two items in each category. Right: mechanism of coral atoll formation and importance of earthworms in agricultural soil maintenance. Wrong: Pangenesis and natural selection being the main mechanism of evolutionary change.

Make your entries in this thread.

Comment #78126

Posted by Anton Mates on February 7, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

ChristieJ wrote:

Someone on a different board equated celebrating Darwin Day with celebrating Christmas — rather than your very sensible parallel of MLK Day or Presidents Day — as if to do so glorified Darwin to the point of secular sainthood. I can see where certain people might grab hold of that as ammunition in the culture war, (“see? evolution IS a religion! you can’t teach that in schools!”) and I think the comment spooked me a little.

Yeah, I don’t doubt that some people will do that. Many ID/Creationism publicizers are quite skilled at hypocrisy, and have no problem simultaneously a) arguing that biologists think Darwin’s a god that can do no wrong, and b) recycling criticisms of Darwin that were borrowed from biologists in the first place! We can’t do much about b), but this is a good chance to refute a).

Mind you, if I had to worship a scientist, it’d probably be Darwin. He really is my role model for what a scientist should be–creative, meticulous, honest, modest and endlessly curious. The breadth of his achievements is simply amazing–forget evolution, who wouldn’t like to be the guy who figured out how coral atolls are formed, and who established just how important earthworms are for soil quality, and who published ground-breaking work on orchid pollination and insectivorous plants? Admittedly, I’d probably commit suicide if I had to do his work on barnacle systematics, but just about anybody can find something to interest them in his body of research.

I also like the admiration he shows for strapping men of other races in The Voyage of the Beagle, but I suspect that publicizing that wouldn’t exactly endear him to the average fundamentalist….

Comment #78147

Posted by Peter Henderson on February 7, 2006 6:36 PM (e)

As a christian I would tend to agree with Glen on this one. Groups like AIG, who are up in arms about this by the way (Have a look at their special broadcast by Ken Ham and Mark Looey), often claim that evolution is a religion and I sometimes feel that having a Darwin day just gives them ammunition.

OK so maybe Newton’s birthday is celebrated in the US, but what about other great scientists who have made ground breaking discoveries. What makes Darwin so special ? Why not have an Einstein day, a Pasteur day, a Lyell day, a Hutton day, a Kelvin day or even a Hubble day. Maybe in the future we might have a Hawking day or even a Dawkins day (wouldn’t it be ironic if that one was celebrated in churches in years to come !)

I have no problem accepting scientific discoveries,even if they do disagree with the bible and in particular the book of Genesis. However, but I’m not that comfortable with the event being celebrated in churches. As far as I’m aware Darwin didn’t express any christian beliefs (I think in the end he was an agnostic but I could be wrong) and certainly wasn’t an evangelist in the same way that say Martin Luther, or John Wesley was.

I do feel though that the church, and especially the evangelical wing, should make a statement regarding a persons belief in origins and their salvation. I always thought that what a person believed on say the age of the Earth for instance, should not affect their salvation, but the message that I am now getting more and more from the fundamentalists is that unless a person believes in a young Earth then they are not really saved. All too often I have heard the statement “If you can’t believe the book of Genesis then how can you believe John 3:16”

Comment #78151

Posted by ChristieJ on February 7, 2006 6:54 PM (e)

Peter Henderson wrote:

What makes Darwin so special?

I’m sure everyone would have a different answer for this one, but here’s mine: Darwin is special because unlike the other scientists in your list he opened new doors to understanding *ourselves.* Life is of paramount importance to human beings, and seeing where we fit in with the rest of it is pretty mind-blowing. Astronomy, physics, and geology are all fascinating studies, but they don’t have to do with *us* as people (or critters.)

Comment #78165

Posted by Peter Henderson on February 7, 2006 8:25 PM (e)

Christie: I see what you are trying to say about Darwin and I don’t disagree with you. My person on that list however would be Edwin Hubble. I think his achievements in the field of astronomy are often over-looked.

Up until his distance measurements with Cepheid variable stars people thought that the boundary of the universe was the edge milky way. All of a sudden it became a much bigger and larger place. For anyone alive at the time his observations were surely mind-blowing and at least on a par with those of Darwin. Even the great Einstein was thrown off by his discovery of cosmological red-shift and the destruction in the belief of a static universe

Comment #78167

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 7, 2006 8:37 PM (e)

Two points: (1) The event noted in the post is “Evolution Sunday”, not “Darwin Sunday”. Let’s hear that Litellian, “Never mind”, from Glen now.

How about getting it right, Wayne? I did notice the title, but I read more than the title. Why didn’t you?

Though we now celebrate Lincoln’s birthday on President’s Day, Feb. 12th is still referred to as Darwin Day and celebrated around the world.

Pretty damned snarky for someone who didn’t even read the text with reasonable comprehension. Obviously there is nothing wrong with my segueing into “Darwin Sunday” from “Darwin Day”, and in fact it is rather more correct than the title of the piece. I really don’t know why you’re attacking, let alone so ignorantly.

Also, I don’t know what “Litellian” is supposed to mean. It doesn’t come up on Google. One might think it has to do with Rosannrosannadanna (does she have a last name?), but I fail to make the connection. Anyway, to hell with “never mind”, as if your attack has any merit.

(2) Yeah, sure, let’s list the things Darwin was right and wrong about. I’ll spot you guys two items in each category. Right: mechanism of coral atoll formation and importance of earthworms in agricultural soil maintenance. Wrong: Pangenesis and natural selection being the main mechanism of evolutionary change.

Unfortunately your reading skills fail utterly once again. I only wrote that Darwin’s science was incomplete (“the good, but clearly incomplete, science that we get from Darwin’s hand”), while your ad hominem attack falsely implies that I was saying he was wrong. To be sure, he was wrong about inheritance of acquired characteristics and a few other things, but I didn’t say this and I know that these issues are not terribly important to his overall scientific contribution.

So what are you going to say, Wayne, “Never mind”? Or are you going to at least deal with the inadequacies of your attack?

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78168

Posted by Anton Mates on February 7, 2006 8:42 PM (e)

Peter Henderson wrote:

OK so maybe Newton’s birthday is celebrated in the US, but what about other great scientists who have made ground breaking discoveries. What makes Darwin so special ? Why not have an Einstein day, a Pasteur day, a Lyell day, a Hutton day, a Kelvin day or even a Hubble day. Maybe in the future we might have a Hawking day or even a Dawkins day (wouldn’t it be ironic if that one was celebrated in churches in years to come !)

Why not indeed? One could make various arguments for why scientists in that list are more or less deserving, but really, the more celebrations of this sort, the better! If you want to start up a Hubble Day, I’d certainly attend the festivities.

Comment #78169

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 7, 2006 8:43 PM (e)

OK so maybe Newton’s birthday is celebrated in the US

I don’t know if you’re joking there or not, but if you’re not American I’m thinking that you might be serious.

What I did not realize when I wrote my first post was that Newton was born on Dec. 25, which would complicate the celebration of his birthday. Others pointed out his date of birth obliquely, by pretending that Newton’s birthday is celebrated on Dec. 25.

Forgive me if I am telling you what you already know, but I did think it possible that you are not American and so might not catch the meaning of those who say we celebrate Newton’s birthday.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78174

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 7, 2006 9:12 PM (e)

I guess I can back off slightly from some of what I said, since apparently “Darwin Day” is being called “Evolution Sunday” by clergy. Whatever. The article did not make that clear in the least, I didn’t bother with the link (it’s really going to be informative?), and in any case it’s “Darwin Day” on Sunday which hardly changes because of the fact that some have chosen to call it “Evolution Sunday”. The particular title used was hardly what I was questioning, unlike what Wayne falsely suggests.

The concept was my concern, and clearly it is a Darwin Sunday via derivation (or evolution) from the fact that “Darwin day” falls on a Sunday. Attacks based on a shifted label, and facts left out of the article, are hardly called for, and merely pretend to deal with the substance in a manner analogous with renaming creationism “Intelligent Design”.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78179

Posted by Dean Morrison on February 7, 2006 10:00 PM (e)

I think people here are conflating the notion of a ‘Day’ for something with ‘National Holidays’ ‘Street Parties’ ‘Ticker Tape parades’, and the like.

I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting this - although if a lot of my compatriots thought they could get a day off work for it - then they’d sign up whatever their beliefs.

What is wrong with celebrating the birthday of the greatest biologist that ever lived? Other sciences may have their heroes - but Newton has to fight it out with Einstein and others in Physics for example (plus he wasn’t a aparticularly nice bloke); Chemistry doesn’t seem to have one single leading figure .

Darwin was clearly the greatest Biologist that ever lived. Even Wallace - who deserves credit for coming up with the same idea and prompting Darwin to publish - deferred to him.

Darwin’s rather simple ideas are still poorly understood by the public. What’s wrong in indulging in an opportunity for a little public education and a chat with friends over a few pints? (which I am looking forward to with Steve et al - all paid for with British ‘Tenners with a picture of Darwin on the back!)

We mark enough wars, deaths and nationalistic struggles between people with ‘real’ holidays. Why not informally celebrate the life of a peaceful and kindly man who shone a bright light on our understanding of life on earth?

Unless your a Creationist of course - but then you have Christmas, Easter, Whitsunday and all sorts of other Christian festivals including a Saint’s day for every day of the year if you’re that way inclined. Today is Saint Ava’s; Saint Richard’s and Saint Nivard’s day if you’re interested: ‘Saint’s Days’

Comment #78181

Posted by Dean Morrison on February 7, 2006 10:09 PM (e)

we’re celebrating Darwin Day on Monday by the way - so won’t be offending any Sunday observance kind of thing. The SaintsDay link I gave earlier may be innacurate unless you’re a German child - Wikipedia give a better account.

It also mentions my favourite Saint - Saint Fiacre (1st Spt or 18 Aug) the patron Saint of:

Taxi Drivers

Veneral Disease

Heammerroids

- and if you don’t believe me! check here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiacre

Comment #78189

Posted by Henry J on February 7, 2006 11:18 PM (e)

Re “Chemistry doesn’t seem to have one single leading figure”
Maybe the guy that invented the periodic table? (Mendelev?)

Henry

Comment #78192

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on February 7, 2006 11:27 PM (e)

Two points: (1) The event noted in the post is “Evolution Sunday”, not “Darwin Sunday”. Let’s hear that Litellian, “Never mind”, from Glen now.

How about getting it right, Wayne? I did notice the title, but I read more than the title. Why didn’t you?

I don’t know who this “Wayne” character might be, but since that’s my text being quoted, I’ll take a stab at this.

The point at issue is not Dick Hoppe’s [whoops, should be Ed Brayton instead – WRE] reportage, but how the organizers have presented the event, which Glen later seems to have come to realize, at least in part.

The character whose trademark signoff was “Never mind” was “Emily Litell”, another one of Gilda Radner’s.

As for Darwin being wrong, I never said that that part of my text was directed at Glen. Hint: I don’t usually use a plural to refer to one person. Nor is any part of what I said there in any sense “ad hominem”.

Comment #78195

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 7, 2006 11:34 PM (e)

we’re celebrating Darwin Day on Monday by the way - so won’t be offending any Sunday observance kind of thing.

Well that sounds like a reasonable attempt to keep from offending folk, though it’s not going to change the fact that “Evolution Sunday” is on the traditional “Darwin Day” and Darwin’s birthday in the bargain.

And no, I didn’t confuse Darwin Day with some grand fling. We just don’t have “scientists’ days” in the US (not that anyone notices–except perhaps that Franklin’s birthday was slightly noted recently), and however impressive Darwin may be, there may be an overtone of making Darwin out to be somehow the “greatest scientist” (hardly unarguable) if the day were to gain prominence in the US without any counterbalancing figures from the other branches of science.

Lavoisier might very well count as the most important figure in chemistry (due in part to the time he lived–but that would be true of most important pioneers in science), even though, oh my God, he’s French. He did much to shift chemistry toward a more rationalistic point of view, to chemistry as combinations of atoms rather than as affinities (in the old sense) and mysterious influences.

But anyway, I’m not terribly concerned about Darwin Day, even if it is on a Sunday. It likely won’t be noticed much at all, except by creationists/IDists, and if they’ll probably set up a fuss it will be they who are the obviously annoying ones.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/pharyngula

Comment #78198

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 7, 2006 11:49 PM (e)

Okay, not Wayne. Whoever, just someone who attacks without cause.

The point at issue is not Dick Hoppe’s reportage, but how the organizers have presented the event, which Glen later seems to have come to realize, at least in part.

That’s your point, not mine. There are two meanings to quote marks, one of which is to set off a title, another which says something like, “so to speak”. As I said, I care little about the title, and do care about what the day is. Once again you ignored the import, apparently deliberately.

As for Darwin being wrong, I never said that that part of my text was directed at Glen.

Then why don’t you try to find anyone on this thread who was claiming that Darwin was wrong? I know very well that you can’t do it. The closest anyone came was where I stated that Darwin’s works were incomplete, and that was nothing like saying he was wrong. So either you’re hallucinating people who claimed he was wrong or you’re simply using misdirection (once again) to obscure the fact that your attack was false, unwarranted, and referred more closely to my post than it did to any other actual posts. Needless to say, I don’t accept your lame excuse.

Hint: I don’t usually use a plural to refer to one person.

Okay, so instead of falsely accusing one person, you’re claiming to have accused a plurality of persons, when there weren’t any who said Darwin was wrong. Can’t you see how this makes things worse for your false accusations?

Btw, there is a convention of using plurality to avoid referring directly to a single person, even when that one person is being singled out. I’m hardly convinced that you were really faulting a plurality of individuals who didn’t exist, rather than one person who you misread.

Nor is any part of what I said there in any sense “ad hominem”.

Blank assertion, with no basis in fact. Obviously if you’re accusing either a plurality or a single individual of comments which weren’t made, your attack is ad hominem. It doesn’t refer to anything actually said, so it can only be directed at one or more individuals, rather than to any actual statements. I’m not letting you off for your incorrect implications, and I really don’t care if you expect to get away with false charges because of your position.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78199

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on February 7, 2006 11:57 PM (e)

Then why don’t you try to find anyone on this thread who was claiming that Darwin was wrong? I know very well that you can’t do it.

Bizarre.

Comments in this thread where people have said Darwin was wrong on things, and where those people are not Glen, are here and here. My initial comment follows directly after the second linked comment.

It’s also, of course, a good chance to explain the things that Darwin was wrong on, to illustrate that no scientist’s work gets taken as gospel no matter how respected he is.

[and]

That aside, I like your idea of pointing out where he was wrong and emphasizing the self-correcting nature of science. It really is a great opportunity and potentially a lot of fun.

Comment #78201

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 8, 2006 12:22 AM (e)

Well, OK, I guess I owe you an apology, Elsberry. I am sorry that I jumped to conclusions, even if the lead-in tends to suggest that I was one of the ones who said he was wrong “on some things”.

One problem is that one typically responds to one poster at a time, or mentions the switch to another person. Another problem is more definitely mine to own, that I took your link to mean that someone was saying that “Darwin was wrong”, which is what I found to be wrong (the implication is there, but the proper distinctions are also made, and I should have recognized them), not the correct “wrong on some things.” I may be excusing myself, or at least explaining, but I remain apologetic because I should have certainly been more careful.

The upshot is that I was wrong, and continued to be wrong, and I sincerely apologize.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78204

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on February 8, 2006 12:32 AM (e)

Thank you, Glen. And I will apologize for not having been more clear in distinguishing what comments referred to who in my initial set of points. I’ll try to do better on that in the future.

Comment #78209

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 8, 2006 1:21 AM (e)

With that concluded (except to say that I appreciate your graciousness, Dr. Elsberry), I’ll expound a little on the “wrongness” of Darwin accepting the idea that acquired characteristics are inherited.\

In truth, I don’t know how “wrong” he was to accept the notion of the inheritance of acquired traits, when experimental evidence was presented to back up the claim.

On the other hand, it is said that Wallace did not accept the “experimental evidence” that convinced Darwin, and surely one must think it likely that he refused to believe such results for good reason. A lot of fairly obvious reasons exist to doubt that acquired traits are passed on, like the blacksmith’s son who becomes a doctor and hardly develops the same way, or various human features that the possessors hate in a presumably Lamarckian sense, but which nevertheless persist (certain noses, perhaps, or hemophilia). Many traits aren’t amenable to phenotypical change at all, while the rest of the changes don’t obviously persist in the lineage except as one might expect non-acquired traits to do.

One other factor that Darwin would know which almost certainly tells against inheritance of acquired traits, or at least allows only a bare minimum of this kind of inheritance. This is the rather slow change of organisms through time, which was known early on. One would think that acquired traits would speed up evolution tremendously, which is also how many in the 19th and early 20th centuries understood the issue. I know that Freud and Nietzsche tended to suppose evolution to be rapid compared with what we recognize today, and this was precisely because they thought that wills and aquisitions substantially drove evolution.

The fact, though, is that it is difficult to be sure whether Wallace dismissed “experimental evidence” for good reason, or if Darwin accepted such “evidence” for the same reasons that we accept most results published in good journals. We’d have to know how plausible the report of “verification of the inheritance of acquired trains” was in order to know if Darwin really should have rejected the spurious results.

What is the case, I believe, is that Darwin’s agreement with the claim that acquired traits are passed on seems to have prolonged that idea in the minds of some scientists. I know that Freud (quite arguably not a scientist, but taken to be one for a considerable period) kept the idea alive in his writings even after most biologists had rejected the claim–and he defended his belief in inheritance of acquired traits based on Darwin’s acceptance of same.

Nevertheless, this continued mistaken belief was hardly due primarily to its persistence in Darwin’s writings, instead it was a belief widespread throughout biological community, up to about the 20th century. I doubt that Darwin’s acceptance of the idea made a huge difference in the biological understanding of evolution. One perhaps could even argue that Darwin’s acceptance of inheritance of acquired traits kept natural selection alive as an option among those who rather preferred to believe that evolution proceeds via the breeding of acquired traits into bloodlines. Wallace’s stance might have provoked opposition to the idea of natural selection, had Darwin concurred fully with Wallace.

Perhaps I should have posted this on the linked site, but I’m not registered for it, and I didn’t know if it might be too much trouble. Anyhow, the issue of “where Darwin was wrong” was raised here, and might also be discussed here. On the whole I am not inclined to make too much of where he was wrong, since it seems like one ends up reaching, and discussing a whole lot of ambiguous factors like I did above. It is rare indeed that Darwin was very wrong on scientific matters that could be readily known at the time.

One could easily resort to caviling with regard to the areas where “Darwin was wrong”, in the same way that it appears specious and tendentious for school boards to mandate “teaching the criticisms of evolution” in a manner that is not done in the other sciences.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78212

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 8, 2006 1:32 AM (e)

Posted by **Wesley** R. Elsberry on February 7, 2006 04:30 PM (e)

Two points: (1) The event noted in the post is “Evolution Sunday”, not “Darwin Sunday”. Let’s hear that Litellian, “Never mind”, from Glen now.

How about getting it right, **Wayne**? I did notice the title, but I read more than the title. Why didn’t you?

It seems there was something else other than the title that you didn’t notice …. .

Comment #78225

Posted by GT(N)T on February 8, 2006 7:22 AM (e)

1) who cares if the creationists/IDers choose to paint ‘Darwin Day’ or ‘Evolution Sunday’ as proof of the religious nature of science. They will make that incorrect point regardless of whether there is a Darwin Day or not.

2) No one would object to a day honoring Beethoven or Michelangelo. Why should scientists and their acheivements be left out?

Remember Darwin on 12 February. Drink a Shiner Bock in his honor. And if you’re religious, thank your god(s) for Charles and his work.

Comment #78276

Posted by Peter Henderson on February 8, 2006 12:21 PM (e)

Glenn:re. Newton’s birthday: I hadn’t realised that it was on Dec. 25th. Please excuse my ignorance !

The point I was trying to make though, was that all the other great scientists that I mentioned all complemented one another. Lyell, who was an acquaintance of Darwin, along with Hutton revolutionised geology. Didn’t Darwin take a copy of “The principles of geology” along with him on the Beagle ? But Lyell, who I’ve heard being attacked by creationist John Mckay on more than one occasion because he said that we relied too much on the book of Genesis, developed the idea of uniformiterianism, and long periods of time for the processes which have shaped the Earth’s surface, rather than the flood geology model which was prevalent at the time. He resisted Darwin’s theories for a long time but when he did finally accept the concept that one species could change into another, given enough time, he realised it was so obvious that he wondered why he didn’t accept it sooner.

Darwin was also heard to say that he was frightened of Kelvin (who did a lot of his work here in Belfast by the way). His work on calculating the age of the Earth using the Earth’s primordial heat, resulted in a figure of 20-30 million years, nowhere long enough long enough to allow macro-evolution to occur and to explain the bio-diversity that Darwin observed. Kelvin of course did not know about radio-activity, which was discovered later and I’m sure Darwin would have been fascinated with modern radiometric dating techniques which would have complimented his findings.

I have no doubt that He would also I have been amazed at the work of Einstein and Hubble, again confirming the great age and vastness of the Universe and that it wasn’t a mere 6,000 years old.

Comment #78312

Posted by Timothy Chase on February 8, 2006 2:05 PM (e)

Personally, I think the idea of an Evolution Sunday is a great idea. The good majority of americans are Christian. There is no getting around that. They also tend not to have that good of an understanding of science. Perhaps that is something we can change. But so long as they are predominantly sympathetic towards creationism, and as a result of an overly-literalistic interpretation of Genesis (as opposed to something more allegorical in nature), we can expect a certain amount of defensiveness and hostility whenever the subject of evolutionary biology come up. This is an instance of a basic principle of human psychology: when someone feels that either they or some of their most cherished beliefs are under attack, they tend have difficulty thinking clearly. They are less rational. They tend to view those who are challenging their most cherished beliefs as the enemy, and try to grasp at any possibility to disagree.

The Discovery Institute, the Intelligent Design movement, and the rest of the creationists have been playing on this for quite some time, trying to argue that the essential reason why anyone would support evolutionary biology (i.e., “Darwinism”) is not due to the recognition of any facts or evidence, but because one is fundamentally opposed to the more traditional view of a Christian god, that it is a matter of hate-filled rebellion against “God.” Just as certain extremists in the past complained that the Jews had taken over their society, today’s extremists claim that “atheists, materialists, humanists, secularists and evolutionists” (or any subcollection of the above, since in their view all of these terms are interchangable) who are part of some vast conspiracy and who have already largely taken over our society. But since their more extreme rhetoric won’t necessarily play that well with the majority of americans as of yet, rather than advocating the end to the Separation of Church and State or the overthrow of secular society, currently they are simply asking for a degree of “balance” and “fairness” in the presentation of “the two opposing worldviews.”

Now I think that it would be very foolish to believe that “balance” and “fairness” are all that the creationists are interested in. What they want taught alongside evolution (to the extent that anyone is permitted to teach evolution) is propoganda – essentially fundamentalist propoganda against science, against secularism, and against their enemies, to the extent this becomes possible. Their purpose is to foment blind, ignorant hatred which they hope will grant them the power with which to transform our society into a theocracy. This is why the Discovery Institute has received so much financial support from the Dominionists.

Recognizing the value of science and the threat posed by fundamentalism, a great number of clergy have come together to voice their support for evolutionary biology, science. They have come together to proclaim that the fundamentalists do not speak for them. They have chosen to put themselves on the line as far as the support of their congregations are concerned as part of an effort to defend science and a pluralistic society against a campaign being launched by the fundamentalists. As such, in my view, they are defenders of freedom, and I must regard their efforts as heroic. And they are trying to open the minds of their congregations to understanding the scientific case for evolution by demonstrating that in their own view, there is nothing threatening and nothing to fear in the recognition of evolution.

I realize, of course, that many of those who are not religious will have certain mixed feelings regarding Evolution Sunday. This is understandable. But I would remind them that it is difficult to change the minds of those who think that their most cherished views are being attacked by those who are “gunning for God.” Changing someone’s basic religious views through reason is a nearly impossible task. Attempting to change the basic religious views of an entire nation, foolish. Indeed, when those who are non-religious argue that the conflict between evolutionary biology and creationism is simply a conflict between science and religion, and expecting people to side with science as opposed to their own personal religious views, they are unwittingly handing the creationists victory on a front we cannot afford to lose. But if religious leaders show the majority of americans that a more allegorical understanding of their religious views is possible, one which does not threaten their most basic beliefs, I believe this stands a chance. Moreover, it knocks out from under the creationist movement the most central pillar of their argument and illuminates the extremist nature of their crusade.

Rather than attempting to convert the rest of society to some form of “scientific atheism” as some suggest on various occasions, I believe that those who are not religious would best serve the cause of their freedom by calling for and defending the principles of religious tolerance, religious freedom, the Separation of Church and State, and the importance of a pluralistic society. Moreover, rather than attacking those who may not agree with them on all points, but who have chosen to be their allies, I believe they should applaud the efforts of those who have chosen to act in common cause.

Comment #78313

Posted by AC on February 8, 2006 2:06 PM (e)

Peter Henderson wrote:

…the message that I am now getting more and more from the fundamentalists is that unless a person believes in a young Earth then they are not really saved. All too often I have heard the statement “If you can’t believe the book of Genesis then how can you believe John 3:16”

An excellent question - but a question each individual must answer for himself. The fact that they want a person to use their prefab answers instead of reaching his own - and threaten him for daring to think for himself - proves that the purpose of such churches is pure, simple control.

Comment #78346

Posted by Peter Henderson on February 8, 2006 3:35 PM (e)

If it’s a choice between a supernatural explanation and reason, AC, to explain things then I will choose reason ( which in my opinion is truth arrived at by looking at the evidence ) every time. I feel that John 3:16 is a separate issue from someones beliefs in origins. If the truth contradicts Genesis then how can you tell lies in order to make it fit your own presuppositions ?

In my opinion Young earth creationism destroys science. Why bother doing any scientific research when the answers are there already (I’ve even heard this view from the pulpit by the way)

Comment #78496

Posted by ivy privy on February 9, 2006 10:56 AM (e)

Five days of Darwin Day festivities start today in America’s most enlightened town. February 9-13, 2006.

Comment #78930

Posted by Teno Groppi on February 11, 2006 11:48 AM (e)

Dr. Michael Zimmerman is the dean of science at our local university here in Oshkosh, the spearhead of Evolution Sunday, as well as the sponsor of the Clergy Letter site that proves evolution is a religious concept by having members of the clergy profess their faith in evolution. He is the best proof for evolution that exists. A few years ago he turned into a chicken right before my eyes.

He published a book called “Science, Non-Science, and Nonsense”. We had Kent Hovind coming in right after Zimmerman’s book was released, so I tried to arrange a debate between the two. Zimmerman is a brash, arrogant evolutionist - the American version of Richard Dawkins. I called him, left a message, and he never returned my call. So I sent him a registered letter, which was returned because he refused to sign.

I knew most evolutionists are afraid to step out of their office to defend their faith, but I thought Zimmerman would jump at the chance to publicize his new book.

The newspaper caught on to the interest because of several letters to the editor calling him out. They said they tried to get him to do a written debate and he wanted nothing to do with it. Then a local radio station said they tried to get him to do an on-air phone debate and he refused that. He ducked Hovind so many times I think he needed to see a chiropractor. Finally I challenged him myself (letter to editor) and he won’t even debate me.

Later he ducked Dr. Joe Mastropaolo and last year he ducked John Pendleton. This Evolution Sunday stunt proves that he is proselytizing for a Darwinist religion rather than a science, but he’ll only defend his religion on a one-way street.

Teno Groppi
GEM (Genesis Evidence Ministry):
http://www.genesisevidence.org/

Comment #78933

Posted by Douglas Williams on February 11, 2006 12:15 PM (e)

I just learned of Evolution Sunday. It seems to me that when most people speak of evolution, they talk about biology and Charles Darwin. Now, I’m just what I guess most of you would probably call a Christian “fundamentalist.” So, I’m wondering if anyone out there could say just exactly how the celebrated Darwin explained “the origin of species.” I mean, I can see finch beak sizes (etc.) changing, and I can see how some could extrapolate such things to the production of new species, but would someone tell me how such processes explain (to use Darwin’s phrase) the origin of species. i.e., life itself. Now, please don’t offer some vague abiogenetic philosophy – just show me some real scientific evidence. And while you’re at it, please explain where all this evolving stuff came from in the first place, i.e., the origin of the universe. Again, no philosophy please, just hard science (i.e., no pretending the Big Bang explains it unless you can scientifically prove where that came from, etc.).

Now, if you can’t scientifically account for abiogenesis and/or cosmogony, then maybe you’re worshipping the wrong person. And maybe your lifestyle reflects (and/or precedes) that. Have you read Romans 1:18-32 lately?

Douglas Williams

Comment #78938

Posted by Douglas Williams on February 11, 2006 12:32 PM (e)

I just learned of Evolution Sunday. It seems to me that when most people speak of evolution, they talk about biology and Charles Darwin. Now, I’m just what I guess most of you would probably call a Christian “fundamentalist.” So, I’m wondering if anyone out there could say just exactly how the celebrated Darwin explained “the origin of species.” I mean, I can see finch beak sizes (etc.) changing, and I can see how some could extrapolate such things to the production of new species, but would someone tell me how such processes explain (to use Darwin’s phrase) the origin of species. i.e., life itself. Now, please don’t offer some vague abiogenetic philosophy – just show me some real scientific evidence. And while you’re at it, please explain where all this evolving stuff came from in the first place, i.e., the origin of the universe. Again, no philosophy please, just hard science (i.e., no pretending the Big Bang explains it unless you can scientifically prove where that came from, etc.).

Now, if you can’t scientifically account for abiogenesis and/or cosmogony, then maybe you’re worshipping the wrong person. And maybe your lifestyle reflects (and/or precedes) that. Have you read Romans 1:18-32 lately?

Comment #78940

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 12:37 PM (e)

Now, if you can’t scientifically account for abiogenesis and/or cosmogony, then maybe you’re worshipping the wrong person. And maybe your lifestyle reflects (and/or precedes) that. Have you read Romans 1:18-32 lately?

But ID isn’t about religion. No siree Bob. Not a single religious motive, aim or effect here. None at all.

Douglas, PLEASE do me a favor and write a letter to the editor, echoing everything you said above, and send it to every major newspaper in Michigan. Please do that for me. I’ll even be happy to pay the postage for you.

I love this – absolutely LOVE it. The IDers are STILL too stupid to see why they lost in Dover, and they STILL can’t shut up about their religious motives and goals.

Thanks, Douglas, for once again demonstrating the point I have been making all along —- ID is doomed right from the start. In order for ID or any other anti-evolution movement to succeed, it MUST, absolutely MUST, convince all its supporters to shut their big mouths about the one thing they care about most, their religious opinions.

As Douglas is so kind as to demonstrate, they simply can’t do it. Can’t NONE of them go ten minutes without preaching to all and sundry. Not only CAN they not shut their big mouths, but they don’t WANT to.

Thank God the IDers really are this dumb. It makes it soooooooo much easier to thrash them in court.

I hope Beckwith and Luskin and the rest are reading Douglas’s post. I can just picture them slumping in their chair and putting their head in their hands. Again.

(snicker) (giggle)

Comment #78941

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 12:39 PM (e)

We had Kent Hovind

Speaking of “Dr” Hovind, is he in jail yet?

Comment #78942

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 12:40 PM (e)

he won’t even debate me

Um, who the hell are you?

Comment #78967

Posted by Douglas Williams on February 11, 2006 2:23 PM (e)

Dr. Lenny

Evolution Sunday extols the virtues of dispassionate science. Please notice that I didn’t mention ID – you did. My only agenda is getting scientific answers to my questions. If you can’t provide any – fine. No need to be rude or disingenuous about it. I would think that any good scientist would stay away from straw man and ad hominem fallacies and stick to the relevant data.

Anyone out there who can do more than “snicker and giggle”?

Douglas

Comment #78971

Posted by steve s on February 11, 2006 2:39 PM (e)

but would someone tell me how such processes explain (to use Darwin’s phrase) the origin of species. i.e., life itself.

Creationists love confusing evolution with abiogenesis, don’t they? Talkorigins lists the following such arguments made against evolution:

# CB0: Abiogenesis

* CB000. Pasteur proved life only comes from life (law of biogenesis).
* CB010. The odds of life forming are incredibly small.
o CB010.1. Even the simplest life is incredibly complex.
o CB010.2. First cells could not come together by chance.
* CB015. DNA needs proteins to form; proteins need DNA.
* CB020. Why is new life not still being generated today?
* CB025. Not all amino acids needed for life have been formed experimentally.
* CB026. Abiogenesis experiments produce toxins, such as cyanide and formaldehyde.
* CB030. Early molecules would have decayed.
o CB030.1. Early molecules would have been destroyed by ultraviolet light.
* CB035. Miller’s experiments had an invalid assumption of the type of atmosphere.
o CB035.1. Earth’s early atmosphere had abundant oxygen.
o CB035.2. Earth’s early atmosphere had no reducing gases.
o CB035.3. Amino acids are not generated from just CO2, nitrogen, and water.
* CB040. Life uses only left-handed amino acids.
* CB050. Abiogenesis is speculative without evidence.
* CB090. Evolution is baseless without a theory of abiogenesis.

and I think the last one is relevant here

Claim CB090:
Evolution is baseless without a good theory of abiogenesis, which it does not have.
Source:
Mastropaolo, J., 1998 (2 Nov.). Re: The evolutionist: liar, believer in miracles, king of criminals. http://www.asa3.org/archive/evolution/199811/0040.html
Response:

1. The theory of evolution applies as long as life exists. How that life came to exist is not relevant to evolution. Claiming that evolution does not apply without a theory of abiogenesis makes as much sense as saying that umbrellas do not work without a theory of meteorology.

Oh, and Douglas, the next 400 devastating arguments against evolution you’ll make are already refuted here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

Now, if you can’t scientifically account for abiogenesis and/or cosmogony, then maybe you’re worshipping the wrong person.

Angelina Jolie? What’s she got to do with abiogenesis?

Comment #78972

Posted by steve s on February 11, 2006 2:44 PM (e)

So many times have we seen creationists arrive with absolutely no knowledge of biology or evolution, but asserting it’s wrong, we really should have a standard welcome package, an intro to evolution, cooked up or linked to.

Comment #78981

Posted by Douglas Williams on February 11, 2006 3:17 PM (e)

Steve S

Please notice that i didn’t claim that evolution doesn’t happen, only that whatever biological evolution takes place must logically do so within two larger contexts: 1) inanimate stuff must somehow become animate, 2) All this stuff must first somehow come from somewhere.

If you think my logic is wrong on these two points, i’d appreciate you showing me where up front. If you can do that, then, if you like, we can wade through some of the reams of data you feel supports your position. OK?

Douglas

Douglas

Comment #78985

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 3:22 PM (e)

My only agenda is getting scientific answers to my questions.

(yawn) Don’t bullshit me, Douglas.

Comment #78986

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

Angelina Jolie?

Heretic !!!!!

Jennifer Love Hewitt is the only true goddess.

Comment #78987

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 3:26 PM (e)

Please notice that I didn’t mention ID – you did

My mistake — I’m guessing you’re probably pals with this guy:

Teno Groppi
GEM (Genesis Evidence Ministry):
http://www.genesisevidence.org/

and thus you are just a YEC nutball who is even less worthy of serious treatment than the IDers are.

IDers at least still get their day in court. YEC’s lost theirs 25 years ago. (shrug)

Comment #78998

Posted by steve s on February 11, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

if you like, we can wade through some of the reams of data you feel supports your position. OK?

Why would I need your analysis of data? Why would I think you’d be capable of doing that? I pointed you to a resource, I wasn’t asking your opinion of biological data, because you obviously don’t have any biology training. But if you want to learn some things about why the creationist arguments are wrong, that TalkOrigins link is very valuable.

Comment #79002

Posted by Anton Mates on February 11, 2006 4:10 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #79004

Posted by Anton Mates on February 11, 2006 4:14 PM (e)

Douglas Williams wrote:

Steve S

Please notice that i didn’t claim that evolution doesn’t happen, only that whatever biological evolution takes place must logically do so within two larger contexts: 1) inanimate stuff must somehow become animate, 2) All this stuff must first somehow come from somewhere.

So if your problem isn’t with evolution, you’ve got no beef with Evolution Sunday, yes? Why not complain when Big Bang Sunday and Chemical Abiogenesis Sunday roll around instead?

If you believe that “all this stuff coming from somewhere” requires a God to explain, great. I think most of the clergy participating tomorrow would agree. That’s kinda why they’re clergy, and doing it in church and all.

Comment #79011

Posted by Douglas Williams on February 11, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

Dr. Lenny and Steve S

I’d rather not have to say this, but based upon your responses it’s pretty difficult for me to see how you are being honest. All the straw man, ad hominems, and school yard antics in the world can’t hide the fact that biological evolution must necessarily operate within a larger ontology. Why are you (apparently) afraid to admit or even discuss that? Maybe Romans 1:18-32 isn’t so far off the mark after all, eh?

Like I said, if you can refute that ontological necessity (in your own words please (instead of lengthy and spurious importations and/or denials)) I’ll be happy to read whatever relevant data you feel supports your position. That’s part of what scientists do, right - review theory and data? If that doesn’t interest you, I guess there’s no reason to talk further.

Douglas

Comment #79026

Posted by steve s on February 11, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Comment #79011

Posted by Douglas Williams on February 11, 2006 04:38 PM (e)

Dr. Lenny and Steve S

I’d rather not have to say this, but based upon your responses it’s pretty difficult for me to see how you are being honest. All the straw man, ad hominems, and school yard antics in the world can’t hide the fact that biological evolution must necessarily operate within a larger ontology. Why are you (apparently) afraid to admit or even discuss that? Maybe Romans 1:18-32 isn’t so far off the mark after all, eh?

My degree is in physics, not biology, I’m actually much more capable of and interested in discussing that larger context of the big bang than I am in discussing evolution. But you don’t want to discuss the big bang, you want to turn the big bang into a deficiency in evolutionary theory, which is a stupid idea that we have heard about a million times before. If you want to see why the hundreds of things creationists say, which look like fatal problems in evolution to people like yourself, are wrong, checkity-check out that TalkOrigins link I provided.

Comment #79028

Posted by Douglas Williams on February 11, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

Douglas

Anton Mates

I don’t think I said I had a problem with nor do I see where I was “complaining” about evolution Sunday, only that when most people speak of evolution they mean only biological evolution, usually to the exclusion of the evolution of the planets and universe(s) necessary to produce biology. You may be right that some churches may address this issue tomorrow, I don’t know. But either way, most people don’t, as evidenced by recent responses on this site. So, since science is said to be an institution that seeks naturalistic explanations for phenomena, I was hoping to hear some naturalistic explanations for biological context, i.e., abiogenisis and cosmogony. Instead, all I’ve heard are dispersions and references to someone else’s (often irrelevant) works. I was hoping someone on this site could instead give me their own naturalistic explanation of such phenomena in their own words. As you can see, this hasn’t happened.

Interesting, don’t you think?

P.S. If i ever hear of a Big Bang and/or abiogenisis sunday i’ll be sure to log on.

Thanks,
Douglas

Comment #79033

Posted by steve s on February 11, 2006 5:36 PM (e)

Holy crap, is this guy going to go all Jack Chick on us?

( http://www.chick.com/tractimages5269/0055/0055_08.gif )

Comment #79046

Posted by Douglas Williams on February 11, 2006 6:03 PM (e)

Steve S

OK, so you think I’m stupid. I don’t mind the stereotype. But I do mind your logic. I’ve already said a couple of times that I’m not objecting to the functionality of biological evolution. OK, do you hear me saying that? What I object to is I guess what I’ll call some form of biological ostrichism, like ontologically what supports biological evolution is unimportant (which is a different concept than does evolution work, OK?). Nowhere is this better spelled out than your referenced CB090 #2 response, which is pure tautology. Yes of course abiogenisis is fact, but that’s not the question. The question is just what, exactly, in the name of science, is the naturalistic explanation and evidence for it. If you yourself have something to say on this exact topic, I’d like to hear it. If not, I guess that speaks for itself.

Douglas

Comment #79062

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

I’d rather not have to say this, but based upon your responses it’s pretty difficult for me to see how you are being honest.

Blah blah blah.

How old do you think the earth is, Douglas. Give us all a good laugh.

Tell everyone how fossils are the drowned animals from Noah’s Flood, Douglas.

YECers are nothing but a laughingstock anymore, Douglas. Even the IDers make every effort possible to dissassociate themselves from YECers.

Must be rough, huh. Two decades ago, YEC was the largest and most influential anti-evolution movement around.

Now, it’s a political nonentity. Nobody even bothers to read ICR’s press releases any more.

My, how the mighty have fallen….

Comment #79080

Posted by Douglas Willaims on February 11, 2006 8:31 PM (e)

Dr. Lenny

I guess now we’ll have to add ‘red herring’ to your list of automatic fallacious responses. Perhaps you didn’t notice that I made no reference to the age of the earth. I didn’t even know what a YEC is until I saw the context in which you used it. Nevertheless, even if you’re afraid to answer my questions (I guess because you’re also afraid to admit (even to yourself) that you don’t have one), I’ll answer your (protective distractions) anyway – how old is the earth? I don’t mind saying that I don’t know, and I’m not sure you do either. Since most of us haven’t done our own primary research on the matter, it seems to me the best most of us can do is take the “experts” word for it. Is that what you’ve done?

I can understand having faith in consensus of opinion, especially if that opinion tends to legitimize one’s own personal preferences, and if it’s backed up by a consensus of research. But none of this group think has the certainty of some basic logic, which any one in their right mind has direct access to. Though you struggle against it, somewhere, at some time in your life I presume you’ve considered the obvious – that necessarily, there are things outside the realm of biology which biology itself is dependent upon. To assert/believe that its just more natural processes without reasoned scientific evidence is an unwarranted leap of faith and an ironic betrayal of the scientific method. Does that therefore prove there is a God? No. It just proves that science doesn’t have (scientific) answers to some of lifes biggest questions.

So, continue in denial if you think you need to. Throw in as many distractions and insults as you like. Does it make you feel better? It won’t always. Some consensus psychologists say such things are a measure of your own desperation and depravity. Do you believe them (too)? It’s your life, and your future. And deep down, both of us know you’re busted.

Douglas

Comment #79084

Posted by steve s on February 11, 2006 8:44 PM (e)

how old is the earth? I don’t mind saying that I don’t know, and I’m not sure you do either. Since most of us haven’t done our own primary research on the matter, it seems to me the best most of us can do is take the “experts” word for it.

LOL

Comment #79085

Posted by Colin Purrington on February 11, 2006 8:48 PM (e)

I think celebrating _only_ Darwin Day (or Evolution Sunday, if it pleases you) would be strange. I am therefore going to start celebrating Heliocentrism Day, to honor Copernicus and Galileo. I hope you all will join me.

Comment #79088

Posted by steve s on February 11, 2006 8:53 PM (e)

Don’t expect Douglas to be there. He’ll be busy retaking Brahe’s data, and performing Copernicus’s calculations, so that he can say for sure whether the earth goes around the sun, or vice versa. Primary research, don’t you know.

Comment #79090

Posted by steve s on February 11, 2006 9:08 PM (e)

Hey Douglas, this guy’s right up your alley. You’ll probably find him wise and insightful.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-na-creation11feb11,0,1477689,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Comment #79109

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 10:29 PM (e)

Perhaps you didn’t notice that I made no reference to the age of the earth.

Perhaps you didn’t notice that I asked you what you think the age of the earth is.

Perhaps everyone noticed that you didn’t answer.

Perhaps then I will ask again. And again and again and again and again. As many times as I need to, until you answer or run away.

How old do you think the earth is, Douglas.

What’s the problem with just answering that simple question, Douglas.

Why are ID/creationists such dishonest evasive deceptive liars, Douglas.

Comment #79201

Posted by Anton Mates on February 12, 2006 12:45 PM (e)

Douglas Williams wrote:

I don’t think I said I had a problem with nor do I see where I was “complaining” about evolution Sunday, only that when most people speak of evolution they mean only biological evolution, usually to the exclusion of the evolution of the planets and universe(s) necessary to produce biology. You may be right that some churches may address this issue tomorrow, I don’t know. But either way, most people don’t, as evidenced by recent responses on this site. So, since science is said to be an institution that seeks naturalistic explanations for phenomena, I was hoping to hear some naturalistic explanations for biological context, i.e., abiogenisis and cosmogony. Instead, all I’ve heard are dispersions and references to someone else’s (often irrelevant) works. I was hoping someone on this site could instead give me their own naturalistic explanation of such phenomena in their own words. As you can see, this hasn’t happened.

Interesting, don’t you think?

Er…no. You posted on a thread on Evolution Sunday, on a website themed around evolution. Why exactly would you expect lots of people to jump into a discussion of the Big Bang and abiogenesis? I mean, those are interesting and worthwhile subjects, but this is kind of like going to an astronomy website and saying, “If you’re so smart, let’s have a naturalistic explanation of antibiotic resistance in bacteria!”

Although I notice you’ve stopped talking about the Big Bang, since Steve S mentioned he actually had some knowledge in that area…

Anyway, answers for “Why the Big Bang?” could range from “Because it just happened” to “Because a previous universe ended in such a way as to produce it” to “Because a god or gods arranged it that way” to “Because the universe is governed by [insert preferred Theory of Everything here], which requires it” to “Because the universe is a simulation on a giant computer, and computer gamers like things to start off with a bang.” None of these are particularly testable at the moment, although some clever person may figure out how to test some of them in the future. Obviously you’ve chosen your particular answer, and that’s fine, but on scientific grounds we can only admit uncertainty.

Abiogenesis is more amenable to scientific investigation. Obviously no one’s actually figured out exactly how to create life from scratch, but there have been steps in that direction, while no one’s been successful at all in showing that life can’t be created from scratch under the known laws of chemistry. So, not much reason to invoke any miracles just yet.

Comment #82262

Posted by Calvin Howell on February 26, 2006 11:25 AM (e)

I am not opposed to reaching out to different persuasions. This is our duty, but to sacrifice vital points of doctrine for unity sake at the expense of violating your own conscience and dishonoring God or the gods that our worshiped is, not nor will ever be the best policy.

Evolution though not on the same level as atheism, it is atheism in another form. It is essentially another species of atheism. To deny that God created the earth and man in six literal days is both insensible and without foundation. God is denied. If one would reason unbiasedly and objectively from cause to effect they would not and cannot candidly at least at heart deny the existence of a personal God who created all things from a heart of love. But in a pluralistic society they have the liberty to deny God.

Another disturbing point that is often overlooked even by those who support it is “Sunday Sacredness”. Though there is no scriptural basis, an overwhelming majority of Christians who I believe love the Lord will not yield up nor investigate this subject for various reasons, let Go be the judge.

Sunday sacredness denies the seventh day of creation. This doctrine essentially denies God as the creator. Therefore, evolution and Sunday sacredness though not on the same level as atheism are an extension of atheism in another form calculated to attract the christian but does not lead to true worship. So Sunday sacredness and evolution have some similarities in this area.

In conclusion, I would be very careful with this movement “evolution Sunday” there seems to be an agenda, possibly to bring Sunday back into public law, thus repeating history. For all forced worship always lead to persecution of “so called heretics” and is not in harmony with the supreme principle of scriptures “The Law of Love & Liberty”. The bible says, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”.

Comment #82264

Posted by steve s on February 26, 2006 11:30 AM (e)

Calvin, may I direct you to http://uncommondescent.com . There you will find people who share both your religious beliefs, and your command of science.