Evolution, Creation and Politics

posted at 1:01 pm on January 30, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

Perhaps the most popular parlour game in American politics is for media types to generate litmus test questions which they can put to every candidate and elected official to feed the news cycle beast. These range from generic items such as asking where they stand on abortion or second amendment rights to party specific queries which include egging on Republicans as to whether or not Sarah Palin is “qualified to be President.” One of the oldest and saddest ones, though, is dredged back up by Steve Benen this week, highlighting the gaudy spectacle of Bill Maher asking Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) if he “believes” in evolution.

“Real Time” host Bill Maher asked Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) a fairly straightforward question: “Do you believe in evolution?” Kingston not only said rejects the foundation of modern biology, (sic) he explained it this way: “I believe I came from God, not from a monkey.” He added, “If it happened over millions and millions of years, there should be lots of fossil evidence.”

Seriously, that’s what he said.

First, by way of disclosure, I personally am comfortable with the theory of evolution. I am also comfortable with the fact that in most cases, religion and science are not mutually exclusive, primarily because faith and laboratory experiments have very little overlap. I can also relate to the temptation to deride those who disagree about evolution or other scientific principles because I did it myself when I was younger. It’s easy, as a young man, to be not only invincible but convinced that you’re smarter than everyone else on the planet – particularly those stupid old people.

But as we age, hopefully we learn a little more tolerance and realize our own limitations.

Not only are science and religion not mutually exclusive, more and more these days we see them working together. One of many examples was the discovery by archaeologists of a stone pylon with the name of Pontius Pilate inscribed on it, taking one character out of the realm of “Bible stories” and inserting his name into the history books. Additional examples abound.

Do we really need to badger office seekers and holders with this question any more? Even if some of us disagree with them, is a fixed belief in literal creation truly an indicator of some lack of “critical thinking in the Republican Party,” as Benen so smugly puts it? They aren’t arguing with you in favor of some different scientific theory which contradicts yours. They’re promoting an entirely different belief which demands no proof from the laboratory.

If the development of the universe and our planet played out over billions of years and life “evolved” here as current theory suggests, I’m not so vain about my own intellect to claim that God couldn’t have designed the entire shooting match to do just that. Matters of timelines could be nothing more than misinterpretation of scale. And what of all those fossils in the ground? Perhaps, as I suspect, they are the result of various animal and plant species rising, changing and dying off. Or, for all I know, I’m totally wrong, the planet actually is only six or seven thousand years old and God put them there on purpose for us to find. Why? I haven’t a clue. You’d have to ask Him.

The point is, no matter how sound any given scientific theory turns out to be, you’re never going to prove that it wasn’t a flashing, infinitely divine creation. And you’re never going to shake the belief of those who find it a bedrock foundation of their faith. So why should you try? And in a land founded in part on religious freedom, why would you want to try?

Just some food for thought on a chilly Sunday.


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IMHO, God is the Big Bang. And it’s a sunny mid-70s here in Texas.

publiuspen on January 30, 2011 at 1:06 PM

I don’t believe we evolved from monkeys, but on the other hand there is Alan Grayson.

50sGuy on January 30, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Do we really need to badger office seekers and holders with this question any more?

I didn’t know that asking politicians questions about their personal beliefs was “badgering” them. We shouldn’t badger them about views that they have that might be controversial, let’s just let them stick to their talking points instead. Otherwise we’d be ‘badgering’ our betters.

Proud Rino on January 30, 2011 at 1:10 PM

And the evolution issue is not moot. States have repeatedly and recently tried to get evolution removed from school textbooks or tried to put stickers warning about how evolution is “only” a theory on science textbooks. If you’re concerned about science education, which is extremely important, the views of politicians regarding evolution is at least relevant and worth discussing.

Proud Rino on January 30, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Albert Einstein said, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” He also said, “Atheists are enslaved by the chains of their own minds”. Though Einstein did not believe in a personal god, he thought when considering the universe, if man felt he is the highest lifeform in its creation, that the force that actually created it would be a god to a mere mortal man.

volsense on January 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

One of many examples was the discovery by archaeologists of a stone pylon with the name of Pontius Pilate inscribed on it, taking one character out of the realm of “Bible stories” and inserting his name into the history books.

No serious (i.e., not radical anti-Christian) scholars ever held Pilate to be mythical.

See: the writings of Josephus, Philo of Alexandria, and Tacitus.

steebo77 on January 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

I don’t believe we evolved from monkeys, but on the other hand there is Alan Grayson.
50sGuy on January 30, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Even evolutionists don’t believe we evolved from monkeys, rather the belief is that we have a common ancestor “far enough back”. And DNA analysis shows that yes, the great apes (not monkeys) and humans share a lot of DNA. Humans and Chimps share 96% of our DNA. (Probably why Chimps have been observed to commit murder, rape, and cannibalism.)

Seriously, look at “The View” or anything on MSNBC and try and say with a straight face that many humans are not just shaved apes.

SunSword on January 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM

The trouble with people believing false ideas is that they want to teach our children lies like Creationism. So, we cannot give up up asking our politicians this question and voting against those who deny the fact of evolution.

Since there is no problem reconciling the Bible with evolution, this is not a religious question. It’s a matter of judgment.

thuja on January 30, 2011 at 1:21 PM

It is safe to assume that Bill Maher has yet to evolve, since he keeps demonstrating that he has a brain the size of a marble.

pilamaye on January 30, 2011 at 1:23 PM

I gave a presentation on this subject the other day at youth ministry. I explained how Creationism comes from the tradition of Biblical Literalism, which in turn comes from Sola Scriptura (which is outside Catholic teaching).

For that reason, Creationism is not something they need to believe in.

AbaddonsReign on January 30, 2011 at 1:25 PM

deny the fact of evolution

-Thuja

So it is a fact now? Hmmm

CWforFreedom on January 30, 2011 at 1:25 PM

AbaddonsReign on January 30, 2011 at 1:25 PM

And why you should not be presenting at youth ministry.

withmanitisimpossible on January 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Do we really need to badger office seekers and holders with this question any more?…They aren’t arguing with you in favor of some different scientific theory which contradicts yours.

Unfortunately, when creationists demand that intelligent design (divine intervention) be taught in public science classes, they actually are promoting some different scientific theory. If all they wanted was to criticize evolution in science classes while teaching ID it social studies, philosophy etc…, that would be fine. But teaching “we can’t explain it so God must have done it” as part of a scientific curriculum in public school is poisonous to the scientific method. I don’t care what God my politicians believe in (as long as it’s compatible with our republic) but I do care what they demand be taught as science. That’s why it’s a valid interview question.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 1:33 PM

I SOOOOOO wish some polotician would confront questions like that with a simple:
‘what does that have to do with running our country ?’
or
‘what a ridiculous thing to worry about’… etc etc.
Just place the burden of having to answer, back onto them.
DO IT ! PLEASE ! JUST ONCE ?!?!
Might just catch on.
sigh

pambi on January 30, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Hey, I believe in evolution, that plants and animals (humans included) change and adapt to their environment over time. But, I cant put faith in the “humans developed from monkeys” thing. We’re just different from them. It’s called the ‘missing link’ for a reason.

birdhurd on January 30, 2011 at 1:35 PM

The trouble with people believing false ideas is that they want to teach our children lies like Creationism. AGW and Keynesian economics. So, we cannot give up up asking our politicians this question and voting against those who deny the fact…

thuja on January 30, 2011 at 1:21 PM

There, that’s better.

cs89 on January 30, 2011 at 1:37 PM

In the world of physical sciences, entropy plays a huge roll. Increasing entropy is the driver of the whole shootin’ match, if you will. Except for the evolution of species. For some reason this long, long, long, long vector of massively decreasing entropy is acceptable in the case of the evolution of human species, no matter that it is contrary to everything else in the physical sciences.

And you’re an ignorant fool if you think otherwise. So there.

ss396 on January 30, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Do we really need to badger office seekers and holders with this question any more? … They aren’t arguing with you in favor of some different scientific theory which contradicts yours. They’re promoting an entirely different belief which demands no proof from the laboratory.

I have to take issue with your version of “tolerance” Jazz. It seems like you’re saying: ‘Do we really have to bring this up? Obviously some conservatives are nuts who don’t care about reality? So how cruel is it to keep badgering them about reality?’

Christianity is not a fairy-tale history that some people substitute for reality and you should say “not that there’s anything wrong with that.” It’s a belief system that makes actual claims, and is supported by evidence. The history of science is not one of secular discoveries contradicting Judeo-Christian writings, but the opposite. The Old Testament describes the universe as starting with a burst of brilliant light something like 3,000 years before secular science figured out there was a Big Bang. The Old Testament also described the earth as a sphere, and “hangs upon nothing” (earth is located in a vacuum) centuries before anyone else figured that out.

A proper conservative response to Maher’s question would be that you respect the the theory of natural selection (don’t say “evolution”), you know that it’s useful to many domains, and that you follow the evidence with great interest, but scientific theories are not “beliefs”. If he challenges you, point out that there’s no actual evidence that natural selection ever occurred, and certainly not that it explains our origins, but you’d love to hear about it if some evidence was discovered.

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM

“Real Time” host Bill Maher asked Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) a fairly straightforward question: “Do you believe in evolution?”

I find that there is something inherently comical about high and mighty pseudo intellectuals who ask this question. Why do the ask it? To make someone look like an anti-intellectual, anti-science bumpkin, and to ridicule religion.

But take a closer look at the question. They never ask, “Do you accept the theory of evolution as an expression of scientific fact?” No, they ask, “Do you BELIEVE in evolution? The word “believe” is a religious word. It means to accept something as true on the basis of faith, rather than fact.

Is evolution true? The fact is that some people BELIEVE it is true, and some people do not BELIEVE it is true. Evolution remains a scientific theory. The nature of the theory precludes the possibility of it being “proved” by the scientific method (which requires the use of “repeatable” lab experiments that consistently produce the same results – unfortunately, since evolution takes place over millions, if not billions, of years, it is difficult to come up with a workable lab experiment to test the theory).

So, asking someone if they BELIEVE in evolution is the proper way to phrase the question. The answer, whether positive or negative, is a matter of faith, not fact.

Ordinary American on January 30, 2011 at 1:39 PM

withmanitisimpossible

Good sir, it is not up for you to decide.

AbaddonsReign on January 30, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Evolution, which is a change in gene frequency in a population over time, is not a belief. It is the cornerstone of modern biology and represents knowledge based on scientific method; thousands of carefully controlled scientific studies published in refereed journals. Knowledge is based on scientific method; belief is everything else. Evolution is even accepted by many theologists and major religious groups. In fact, evolution has been recognized as valid even by the catholic church since 1950, and reaffirmed not to be in conflict with religious beliefs by Pope John Paul II in 1996. Evolution is totally neutral in respect to divinity and only conflicts with ones beliefs if one wishes them to conflict.

nazo311 on January 30, 2011 at 1:41 PM

There is no doubt in any true Christian’s mind that God created man. How that process came about is up for debate. But for people to disregard such a fundamental article of belief is absurd.

njrob on January 30, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Sky gazers vs lizard chasers, and on a Sunday no less.

Man, I miss football already; basketball sucks.

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Unfortunately, when creationists demand that intelligent design (divine intervention) be taught in public science classes, they actually are promoting some different scientific theory. If all they wanted was to criticize evolution in science classes while teaching ID it social studies, philosophy etc…, that would be fine. But teaching “we can’t explain it so God must have done it” as part of a scientific curriculum in public school is poisonous to the scientific method. I don’t care what God my politicians believe in (as long as it’s compatible with our republic) but I do care what they demand be taught as science. That’s why it’s a valid interview question.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Yet considering man-made global warming as fact without any evidence is considered science. Just replace the word God in your above paragraph with the word man and you’ll have AGW belief.

njrob on January 30, 2011 at 1:44 PM

I didn’t know that asking politicians questions about their personal beliefs was “badgering” them. We shouldn’t badger them about views that they have that might be controversial, let’s just let them stick to their talking points instead. Otherwise we’d be ‘badgering’ our betters.

Proud Rino on January 30, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Okay.

Why do you like Killing Children?

portlandon on January 30, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Hey, I believe in evolution, that plants and animals (humans included) change and adapt to their environment over time. But, I cant put faith in the “humans developed from monkeys” thing. We’re just different from them. It’s called the ‘missing link’ for a reason.
birdhurd on January 30, 2011 at 1:35 PM

As someone pointed out earlier we really didn’t evolve from monkeys we just share a common ancestor.

That said, my only concern is with politicians try to shove religious studies into the science classroom. They both have their place.

harry on January 30, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Man, I miss football already; basketball sucks.

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Ain’t it the truth!

ladyingray on January 30, 2011 at 1:48 PM

for media types to generate litmus test questions which they can put to every candidate and elected official to feed the news cycle beast

it’s getting old…

cmsinaz on January 30, 2011 at 1:48 PM

nazo311 on January 30, 2011 at 1:41 PM

+1

harry on January 30, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Looks like the commenters have already answered the question that Jazz posed. We ask the question of politicians because anyone who does not swallow evolutionary theory as fact is a bible-thumping moron.

Evolutionary theory stopped being science a very long time ago, when evolutionists assumed its “truth” and started molding new discoveries to fit their template. Many evolutionists are as zealous with their BELIEFS as any religious believer.

JannyMae on January 30, 2011 at 1:48 PM

So why should you try? And in a land founded in part on religious freedom, why would you want to try?

Because anyone willing – without any education in genetics – to discount the notion that all life on this planet is intimately related ought to be corrected, or at least kept away from textbook publishing.

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

That said, my only concern is with politicians try to shove religious studies into the science classroom. They both have their place.

harry on January 30, 2011 at 1:46 PM

The problem is, that both are theories, and the classroom is where these theories are supposed to be introduced, right?

Most science teachers teach evolution as the end all be all, no other possible explanation for life on this planet. They openly mock intelligent design, forgetting that evolution is a theory as well.

portlandon on January 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Why do you like Killing Children?

portlandon on January 30, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Asking someone if they like killing children is assuming that they do kill children. Asking someone if they believe the theory of evolution or not does not make any similar type of assumption. So that’s a bad analogy.

Proud Rino on January 30, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Even evolutionists don’t believe we evolved from monkeys, rather the belief is that we have a common ancestor “far enough back”. And DNA analysis shows that yes, the great apes (not monkeys) and humans share a lot of DNA. Humans and Chimps share 96% of our DNA.
SunSword on January 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM

So we come, not from monkeys, but something “lower.” Why are there monkeys, since we surpassed them? They’re obviously superfluous.

Oh, and we share 40% of our DNA with bananas. What’s that prove?

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM

If a Battlestar ever shows up in orbit, someone is going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Oh, and we share 40% of our DNA with bananas. What’s that prove?
Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM

That we will taste good in Soylent smoothies when ObamaCare hits full stride.

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 1:55 PM

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/transcripts/collins.html

Bob Abernethy’s interview with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health.

Really interesting read.

Well, evolution is a theory. It’s a very compelling one. As somebody who studies DNA, the fact that we are 98.4 percent identical at the DNA level to a chimpanzee, it’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that when I am studying a particular gene, I can go to the mouse and find it’s the similar gene, and it’s 90 percent the same. It’s certainly compatible with the theory of evolution, although it will always be a theory that we cannot actually prove. I’m a theistic evolutionist. I take the view that God, in His wisdom, used evolution as His creative scheme. I don’t see why that’s such a bad idea. That’s pretty amazingly creative on His part.

harry on January 30, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Most science teachers teach evolution as the end all be all, no other possible explanation for life on this planet. They openly mock intelligent design, forgetting that evolution is a theory as well.

portlandon on January 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

I have a theory that the universe is just like, one big atom, man. Let’s teach that in school with all the other things we can easily call theories regardless of whether there is any data to support said theories. Or maybe we could just teach the kids actual science and leave religion to the parents.

Proud Rino on January 30, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Follow the sheep and ignore the goats, you’ll end up in the right line in the end.

Don L on January 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Most science teachers teach evolution as the end all be all, no other possible explanation for life on this planet. They openly mock intelligent design, forgetting that evolution is a theory as well.

portlandon on January 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

The problem is ID isn’t a scientific theory. Science teachers could spend the first class each year talking about the difference between a scientific theory and the word theory in its colloquial use.

dedalus on January 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

PR again? Wow. Weird.

CWforFreedom on January 30, 2011 at 2:01 PM

The proper answer to Maher would be that, as our Founding Fathers believed, we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights” etc.

Since there must be no religious oaths required for federal office, Maher’s evolution litmus test is as stupid as it is irrelevant.

Maher would never inquire of a liberal if he agreed with George Washington that, “It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being,” -George Washington, A Life of Washington (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835), Vol. II, p. 209.

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Every tongue shall confess.

Inanemergencydial on January 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Just replace the word God in your above paragraph with the word man and you’ll have AGW belief.

njrob on January 30, 2011 at 1:44 PM

There actually is scientific evidence for AGW and probably as much refuting it. That’s why a free thinking non-politicized scientific community would classify AGW as just one of several plausible theories for global warming (assuming the globe is warming).

But there is no credible scientific challenger to evolutionary theory. There is no scientific evidence for ID, just criticism of evolutionary theory and then an assertion that God did it. That’s why it’s not a scientific theory. That’s why it should not be taught in public science classes.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 2:07 PM

The problem is ID isn’t a scientific theory. Science teachers could spend the first class each year talking about the difference between a scientific theory and the word theory in its colloquial use.

dedalus on January 30, 2011 at 2:00 PM

I am not saying that ID should be taught in school. Just that it should not be taught AGAINST in class. My best friend is a High School Science Teacher here in Oregon. He is a Christian as well. He doesn’t mention intelligent design at all. He teaches evolutionary theory and has no problem with it. What he and I have a problem with, are his colleagues mocking ID or Religion WHILE teaching Science. They drop little hate bombs like “Flying Spaghetti Monster folks” or other little nuggets of bigotry.

portlandon on January 30, 2011 at 2:09 PM

No teaching about creationism but kids can be taught songs that extol the virtues of a single man, “Mmmmmm mmm mmmmmm…” as if he were better than the rest of us. Like a god, sort of.

Eh, what do I know, I don’t attend church and have nothing but contempt for most public schools.

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Because anyone willing – without any education in genetics – to discount the notion that all life on this planet is intimately related ought to be corrected, or at least kept away from textbook publishing.

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

All cars on the road today share 90% of their “DNA” with the Ford Model T. Does that mean that they’re all one big family that evolved by natural selection?

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 2:10 PM

But there is no credible scientific challenger to evolutionary theory. There is no scientific evidence for ID, just criticism of evolutionary theory and then an assertion that God did it. That’s why it’s not a scientific theory. That’s why it should not be taught in public science classes.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 2:07 PM

There is NO scientific evidence for natural selection. (I recommend you stop calling it “evolution”, because both natural selection and intelligent design are theories of evolution.) But there is NO evidence that natural selection ever happened, or that it is responsible for our origins. After 100 years of trying to fabricate it, you still have nothing.

All the circumstantial evidence for NS is also circumstantial evidence for ID: we’re here, we share several similarities with all the other “designs” on earth, the “designs” appear to have grown in complexity and features over time, and so on…

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 2:14 PM

He (Albert Einstein) also said, “Atheists are enslaved by the chains of their own minds”.

volsense on January 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

The only person to have ever said that is you.

yelnats on January 30, 2011 at 2:15 PM

But there is no credible scientific challenger to evolutionary theory. elfman on January 30, 2011 at 2:07 PM

So if you disagree with it, it’s incredible. Funny how that works.

Here’s your worldview:

1. giant explosion.
2. ???
3. Space shuttle.

Put another way, “Everything was made by nothing. Therefore, nothing exists, and is greater than everything.”

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:15 PM

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 2:10 PM

You know, given your market oriented mindset, I’m surprised you didn’t jump on your own analogy. Consumers choosing some makes and models over others, leading eventually to splits like SUVs vs. sedans vs. minivans, could almost be seen as a form of “natural selection”. Massive government intervention could be seen as externalities like ice ages or asteroid hits, leading certain mutations (the seatbelt, for instance) gaining wide acceptance. You could even attempt to identify common ancestors: cars and motorcycles could even be seen as “evolving” from predecessors like bicycles and carriages, who in turn all evolved from that first wheel!

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM

My solution: Have public schools teach the basics of both THEORY of Creation and the THEORY of Evolution with the disclaimer that neither side can be proven 100%. Use the time and energy saved from not squabbling over an unwinnable debate to teach known facts and history. Let non-public schools hash this out however the #@!$% they please.

Yeah…I know…heaven forbid we deny both sides the ‘right’ to indoctrinate the little darlings, or tell students outright that adults don’t have all the answers.

Dark-Star on January 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Save for the fact genetics doesn’t prove evolution anymore than it proves ID. It all depends on you the scientist interprets the facts before them. Take the human genome project for example:

It found that all humans are 99.999…% genetically identical.

Evolutionist: “Well, that just proves that we came from the same ancestor when we evolved. Chalk one up for ‘science.’ Take that you religious turds!”

Creationist: “Seeing as how we all came from Noah’s family what else would you expect.”

ID: “Obviously the intelligent being that created us followed a particular design pattern. You’ll find that most single-arch bridges are also very similar.”

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 1:33 PM

I know this will break your little heart, but the theory of evolution (one animal morphed into another over time “macro evolution” and the Big Bang “crystals on the backs of proteins”) is no more scientific than the theory of Creation. You cannot reproduce the results, you cannot observe it. Don’t pull that mutations, micro-evolution crap either. Both ID and creationism allow for that without any problem…they also both ascribe to natural selection.

If you wanna stick to science in the classroom here’s a novel idea…NO theory of evolution, ID, or creationism. Focus on biology that we can observe and know. Stop teaching the “origins” and let the kids figure that out on their own. They don’t need to know it to do science. Surely you aren’t going to argue that knowing evolution is the cornerstone of science, because I know a few fathers of modern science who might take issue.

Pattosensei on January 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM

“Never trust an atheist.”

-General George Patton

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 2:18 PM

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Except that everything you mentioned was intelligently designed, Che.

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:18 PM

1. giant explosion.
2. ???
3. Space shuttle.

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Absolutely, though personally I feel that chemistry is at the heart of why that’s true, rather than biology.

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Dark-Star on January 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Easy now, you and I start agreeing and there may be horrible consequences.

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM

You know, given your market oriented mindset, I’m surprised you didn’t jump on your own analogy. Consumers choosing some makes and models over others, leading eventually to splits like SUVs vs. sedans vs. minivans, could almost be seen as a form of “natural selection”….

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM

A form of “natural selection” called “intelligent design”. Yes.

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Except that everything you mentioned was intelligently designed, Che.

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:18 PM

I realize that. I thought it was at least readily apparent that I was being slight facetious. Either way, comparing “evolution” to machine generations as a way of falsifying the notion that we’ve all evolved from common ancestors is quite ridiculous.

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 2:21 PM

I musta missed the memo where cross species evolution has been proven… of course only a simple mind could possibility distill the many facets and complexities of this multifaceted theory into a simple yes or no answer. I don’t happen to believe Caucasians are biologically or mentally superior to Negros as Darwin himself did ….. And if you believe in the dogma of evolution then you can’t possibly believe that homosexuality is something you are born with. If you do then how do you square a trait that at it’s very core is completely void of the ability to procreate and would of vanished within a few generations…… RIGHT?

roflmao

donabernathy on January 30, 2011 at 2:21 PM

God is sitting kicked back with a really great brew in hand thinking “I gave them free will for this?”

Old Dog on January 30, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Even evolutionists don’t believe we evolved from monkeys, rather the belief is that we have a common ancestor “far enough back”. And DNA analysis shows that yes, the great apes (not monkeys) and humans share a lot of DNA. Humans and Chimps share 96% of our DNA.
SunSword on January 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM

.
There some huge holes in speciation, that many try very hard to over look.
How is it we have a different number of chromosomes from Orangutans, Capuchin Monkey, but the same as Apes and Chimps if we all came from a common ancestor?
How is it we don’t have salicylic acid in our glycoproteins?
How is it that most (~ 80%) of the proteins expressed by chimps are different than humans?
How is it we got our big honking brain (about 3x the size of chimps), if intelligence is a positively selected factor in evolution please explain Congress?
.
Speciation is a theory with more holes than answers, but it gives comfort to atheists and the intellectually obtuse.

LincolntheHun on January 30, 2011 at 2:23 PM

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM

If that’s what you want to call it. So long as “ID” views the biological record for what it is – explicit and obvious evidence of a genetic relationship that linearly connects all life on earth – I have no problem. So long as this talk of “I didn’t come from no monkey” goes away.

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 2:24 PM

But there is no credible scientific challenger to evolutionary theory. elfman on January 30, 2011 at 2:07 PM

That was easy enough.

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Easy now, you and I start agreeing and there may be horrible consequences.

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM

<|-} It's a weird world, isn't it?

Honestly, America is doing so poorly educating her students in the three R's, I don't know why the heck we're even having this debate. If you can barely read, write, or think critically worth a hoot – what's the real victory in making you into a staunch believer on either side?

Dark-Star on January 30, 2011 at 2:25 PM

The evolutionist has to believe that sexual reproduction is an accident.

That takes a lot of faith!

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Oh, and we share 40% of our DNA with bananas. What’s that prove?

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM

.
Gonna remember that one. Most people have no idea that nanners are triploid.

LincolntheHun on January 30, 2011 at 2:28 PM

The word “believe” is a religious word. It means to accept something as true on the basis of faith, rather than fact.
Ordinary American on January 30, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Nope. It’s an intensional-semantic function that means that a proposition is consistent with what you perceive to be the facts of the real world.

What does scientific controversy have to do with running a country? Well, if a politician is prepared to disregard evidence because they want so badly to believe their preferred foregone conclusion when it comes to science, then it seems likely that the same thing will also happen with data from, say, foreign intelligence or economic projections.

This is different from global warming because “evidence” that has been used to “back up” the theory of global warming has been deliberately tampered with in order to do things like “hide the decline”.

ClassicalMusicNerd on January 30, 2011 at 2:30 PM

LincolntheHun on January 30, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Gene expression and repair are the cutting edge of genetic science right now; perhaps you ought to apply to a lab and help answer these and other wonderful questions?

ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 2:31 PM

What he and I have a problem with, are his colleagues mocking ID or Religion WHILE teaching Science. They drop little hate bombs like “Flying Spaghetti Monster folks” or other little nuggets of bigotry.

portlandon on January 30, 2011 at 2:09 PM

I see your point and agree that humility is important for students and educators. In a century or two the science of today will look comparably modest.

Materialism in science would seem to limit the claims that it can make about God. If one sees man as the inspired creation of God and the Bible as the inspired word, then it seems possible to maintain both faith and science. The conflict seems to come either from viewing the Bible as natural history or from over estimating the bounds of science.

dedalus on January 30, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Dark-Star on January 30, 2011 at 2:25 PM

I’m with you there. Give kids to tools to think critically and rationally on their own and one of them might just one day find the answers to all these pressing questions.

But hey I’m old fashioned.

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 2:31 PM

What does scientific controversy have to do with running a country? Well, if a politician is prepared to disregard evidence because they want so badly to believe their preferred foregone conclusion when it comes to science, then it seems likely that the same thing will also happen with data from, say, foreign intelligence or economic projections.

ClassicalMusicNerd on January 30, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Perhaps, but most people who “believe” in “evolution” don’t do so because of a desperate need to rationalize their atheism. Because our culture and educational system treats this belief as a foregone conclusion, they may simply not know it’s controversial. You can’t hold that so strongly against them.

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Even without the study of reason, logic, and the ethics of rhetoric, an illiterate man who found a garden in the wilderness would posit a designer, and realize that he’s not alone.

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Olbermann’s gone. Isn’t that proof enough?

50sGuy on January 30, 2011 at 2:42 PM

The proper response to Maher should have been “Why? Is it important?”. Believing in evolution or not, and in this case they are speaking of macro evolution as usual, has no practical impact at all. It is not the “foundation of modern biology”. Not even the most ardent Creationist denies the fact of micro evolution.

Rep. Jackson should then have gone on to explain that he holds federal office and he thinks the federal government has no business at all in determining school curriculum and he would fight tooth and nail to insure local schools have the right to determine what should be taught to their children.

Rocks on January 30, 2011 at 2:42 PM

To accept the belief that a one celled creature over eons of time evolved to become a human with a reproductive system, a circulatory system, an extremely complex spinal column and muscular system, with a skeleton to hold it all together and a brain to enable everything to function takes faith in an enormous amount of theory and assumption.

Rose on January 30, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Ok but is teaching a religious belief of the origin of all things to be done in the classroom for all kids? Too many religions, which one gets primacy, or do we teach the younglings a little bit of all of them?

Bishop on January 30, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Gene expression and repair are the cutting edge of genetic science right now; perhaps you ought to apply to a lab and help answer these and other wonderful questions?
ernesto on January 30, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Most PhDs spend an inordinate amount of time chasing government grants, and trying to get results published. They leave the doing science to grad students and post docs. If I want to work 16 hours a day for little money, I’ll join the military where I at least get a cool uniform and can take redheads to the Army Ball…oh wait.

LincolntheHun on January 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM

What does scientific controversy have to do with running a country? Well, if a politician is prepared to disregard evidence because they want so badly to believe their preferred foregone conclusion when it comes to science, then it seems likely that the same thing will also happen with data from, say, foreign intelligence or economic projections.

ClassicalMusicNerd on January 30, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Like Obama has lowered cigarette taxes and allowed smoking everywhere is that what you mean? And why is someone believing a guy healed the blind with some spit and dirt any more reasonable than thinking the earth is 7000 years old? There isn’t anything scientific about that and Maher doesn’t ask if he believed Jesus healed the blind.

Rocks on January 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM

One does not “believe” in a scientific theory, one tests it and lives with its best approximation of reality, discoverable through reasonable research and experience… until that theory is either revised or overthrown.

It’s an evolving form of existence, in itself.

The fittest ideas survive.

Whether there is a God or not is beyond the purview of Science.

(However, if the God of Islam is behind things, then God help us.)

profitsbeard on January 30, 2011 at 2:48 PM

If we evolved from monkeys…..why are there still monkeys?

whatzit2u on January 30, 2011 at 2:49 PM

To accept the belief that a one celled creature over eons of time evolved to become a human with a reproductive system, a circulatory system, an extremely complex spinal column and muscular system, with a skeleton to hold it all together and a brain to enable everything to function takes faith in an enormous amount of theory and assumption.

Rose on January 30, 2011 at 2:46 PM

It’s quite an assumption to assume without evidence that just because something is very complicated means that it was “designed,” and for no other reason than you can’t (or won’t try to) understand the process by which it may have happened without resorting to a supernatural explanation that ends up explaining “everything” (and hence, ends up explaining nothing).

Good Lt on January 30, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I’m not a fan of litmus tests. I really don’t understand voters who would use this particular issue to decide for whom they would vote. I could possibly understand it if you were voting for a local school board, but a national politician that has the power to make decisions affecting every aspect of your life… it just makes no sense to me at all.

painfulTruthDisciple on January 30, 2011 at 2:55 PM

If we evolved from monkeys…..why are there still monkeys?

whatzit2u on January 30, 2011 at 2:49 PM

If everything is “designed,” who designed the designer?

Good Lt on January 30, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Good Lt. So you are agreeing that evolution is a belief system because it cannot be observed or proven to be true. So what you have are two competing belief systems.

Rose on January 30, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Even without the study of reason, logic, and the ethics of rhetoric, an illiterate man who found a garden in the wilderness would posit a designer, and realize that he’s not alone.

Akzed on January 30, 2011 at 2:36 PM

One would think

darwin-t on January 30, 2011 at 2:58 PM

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 2:14 PM

See my post above.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 2:59 PM

nazo311 on January 30, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Congrats Jazz on milking a post. Genetic migration and Evolution as a theory are two different things. Yes we can all agree that there are changes within species, due to genetic changes, there can even be changes between species such as the mule, but the mule is sterile and cannot reproduce. If you are truly to have evolution there must be entirely new species emerging (mutants) and as we can prove by the scientific method, mutants can not survive because, either they are sterile or they have a poor genetic makeup that makes them susceptible to disease causing them and any offspring that they may produce to eventually die. Evolution is not a fact, it is a theory that is yet to be proven by scientific fact. It is a belief system just like Creationism is a belief system. No one was there to see it happen, so you either, as a previous commenter said “believe” in the theory of evolution or you “believe” in the theory of creation. Having a common genetic background only proves a commonality in the plan not a relationship between the species.

flytier on January 30, 2011 at 2:59 PM

It’s quite an assumption to assume without evidence that just because something is very complicated means that it was “designed,”…

Good Lt on January 30, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Perhaps, but the design side has a significant advantage. We have observed intelligent design at work. Several species (domesticated dogs, livestock, plants like maize) are known to have been created through the intelligent, goal-oriented action of humans. No species are known to have evolved by natural selection.

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 3:00 PM

See my post above.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Which one?

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 3:01 PM

joe_doufu on January 30, 2011 at 2:14 PM

See my post above.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Hmmm, It didn’t post. See my repost in a few minutes.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 3:02 PM

It’s quite an assumption to assume without evidence that just because something is very complicated means that it was “designed,” and for no other reason than you can’t (or won’t try to) understand the process by which it may have happened without resorting to a supernatural explanation that ends up explaining “everything” (and hence, ends up explaining nothing).

Good Lt on January 30, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Is it? Why is it unreasonable to assume nature was designed when it’s clear every other complicated thing was designed? Isn’t the natural assumption to be made that it was designed too? Doesn’t evolution rest on the assumption it wasn’t designed to begin with? Why is one assumption better than the other?

Rocks on January 30, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Evolution is up there with the ‘Theory of Peak Oil’. One man posed the possibility and soon it was heralded as fact.

darwin-t on January 30, 2011 at 3:05 PM

If you don’t believe in evolution, you probably shouldn’t believe in MERSA infections either.

Or cats. Cats aren’t mentiioned in the Bible.

DarthBrooks on January 30, 2011 at 3:06 PM

If you don’t believe in evolution, you probably shouldn’t believe in MERSA infections either.

Or cats. Cats aren’t mentiioned in the Bible.

DarthBrooks on January 30, 2011 at 3:06 PM

They aren’t claiming they don’t believe in anything not mentioned in the Bible. They are claiming they believe the things that are mentioned.

Rocks on January 30, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Is there a non-evolutionary explanation for MERSA?

DarthBrooks on January 30, 2011 at 3:10 PM

For some reason my posts aren’t being accepted. I’ll try again without formating the hyperlinks.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Or cats. Cats aren’t mentiioned in the Bible.

DarthBrooks on January 30, 2011 at 3:06 PM

Lions

darwin-t on January 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM

I am certainly no scientist, but I find science fascinating. I have no fear of it, because my faith is too strong to believe that science will ever ‘disprove’ the existence of God. I’m sure that is/was the feeling of the many men of both science and faith throughout the centuries. Galileo, for instance, was searching for some truths about the way nature (the heavens) worked, apparently never once doubting the full Truth, that God was behind it, much less suggesting otherwise.

Just as scientific discovery only continues to confirm the truth of human life at conception, I’m sure science will do no harm to faith in God when presented honestly without the conjecture thrown in to support an agenda. After all, God created the laws science uses and is constrained by. One thing that always sticks out to me is the lovers of ‘real science’ and ‘scientists’ who try to shut up honest, truth seeking scientists who are studying the theory of intelligent design. Why? What do they fear? Who is closed minded? /rhetorical questions.

Evolution does not frighten me, because it does not prove lack of God. Try as atheistic scientists might, they haven’t even been able to conclusively disprove the theory that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Christ, which is a tangible piece of fabric. Many religious scientists are still studying it, believing that it is real, and not fearing what their sincere study will find. For one thing, even if it were to be proved a ‘fake’, it wouldn’t prove Jesus was. But they don’t expect it to do anything but further reveal some truths about the Truth of Jesus, and in fact, scientific procedures, forensics, are helping to connect the Shroud to the Sudarium of Oviedo. The Sudarium has blood type AB. I wish they’d confirm the type on the Shroud, particularly in light of the scientific testing done on the Eucharistic miracle at Lanciano in 1970. Wow… Science has helped to establish the likelihood that Jesus’ blood type is AB. Awesome!!

I love science.

pannw on January 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM

For some reason my posts aren’t being accepted. I’ll try again without formating the hyperlinks.

elfman on January 30, 2011 at 3:11 PM

You’re on ‘The List’.

darwin-t on January 30, 2011 at 3:12 PM

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