Whirled view evolution

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There was a Readers' Forum op-ed in today's Whirled written in opposition to Intelligent Design. You can't read that online, but you can read the thorough rebuttal by Dan Paden at No Blog of Significance, specifically dealing with the question of the fossil record. Dan's concluding paragraph:

Evolutionists frequently amaze me. To sum up their public position, they say: We don't agree on whether evolution happened gradually, in tiny steps, or rapidly, in great, big jumps. We don't agree on mechanisms for driving evolution. We don't agree on the implications of the fossil record. We don't have a workable scenario for the origin of life other than spontaneous generation, which, embarrassingly, Louis Pasteur disproved more than a hundred years ago. We can't even agree on the value of the Hubble Constant. But by gum and by golly, we expect you, the public--great unwashed mass of idiots that you are--not only to kowtow to us and believe that this same body of evidence that doesn't even produce agreement amongst ourselves somehow establishes evolution as a fact, but to pony up the funds to indoctrinate your own children with this idea. Once again, I kid thee not. That's what they say.

Another Reader's Forum op-ed in today's Whirled dealt with the proposed display of Genesis 1 at the Tulsa Zoo. John Sieler, who volunteers at the zoo and at the Oklahoma Aquarium, says that the reason it's appropriate to display a Hindu idol, a pantheistic slogan, and Maasai theology at the zoo is because all of those have to do with the cultural context in which animals are encountered, while the proposed creation exhibit was for the purpose of making converts to Christianity:

The question is not what symbols are displayed, but why. It is necessary to talk about cultures; it is illegal to use public property to advocate one religious viewpoint. Conservative Christians are evangelical -- they want to talk about their faith in order to promote it and gain converts. But they incorrectly assume that any mention of another faith is for the same purpose. No Inuit or Maasai ever asked the zoo to put up an exhibit in order to recruit new members.

This comment is either ignorant or disingenuous. Here is the proposed creation display. It is simply the text of Genesis 1:1-2:3, from the King James Version, with a photo illustrating an aspect of each day of creation. A disclaimer was to accompany the display: "Accounts of creation are contained in the literature of many cultures. This display is an example of one widely held view of origins."

The display is not a copy of the Four Spiritual Laws or any other gospel tract. It does exactly what Mr. Seiler claims the other religious zoo displays do -- provides a cultural context for understanding how some people regard our relationship to and responsibilities with respect to animals and to the natural world. For centuries, the Judeo-Christian understanding of creation, with its emphasis on man as the pinnacle of God's creation, made in His image and placed by Him over the rest of creation, have shaped the way western cultures treated animals.

The man whose efforts succeeded in getting approval for the display at the zoo -- for a month, anyway, until opponents regrouped and successfully pressed for a reversal of the decision -- is Dan Hicks. Last month Tulsa Chiggers posted an item about Dan Hicks, whom Red Bug (the blogger at Tulsa Chiggers) knows through school and kids' sports. His evaluation of Dan matches what I know of him -- certainly enthusiastic and persistent for his cause, but never rude or arrogant

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» Whirled views evolution from Don Singleton

In other words they can't prove anything, except they know that God was not involved (but they can't prove that either.) Read More

5 Comments

Dan Paden said:

Kind words are always much appreciated. Thanks.

George said:

Talk about disingenuous!

No serious scientist doubts evolution. There is no disagreement among scientists on the fundamentals: the earth is over 4 billion years old and the fossil record and all forensic science supports the fact that simpler life forms have evolved and given way to more complex life forms over the past 2-3 billion years.

Those are facts. Evolution is a fact.

Now, as Dan states, scientists do disagree on the mechanisms driving evolution. The hypotheses include natural selection, and, yes, intelligent design. These hypotheses will continue to be researched and contested--that's the way of science. If evidence and experiments ever support intelligent design, scientists will accept it.

There is no scientific basis or rationale that supports a literal interpretation as described in any translation or version of Genesis. If you want to discuss, support or advocate for Genesis, by all means, do it in your home or your church. It has no place in a living museum.

Phelps said:
No serious scientist doubts evolution.

This is tautology. "If a scientist doubts evolution, he isn't serious." Tautology isn't science.

There is no disagreement among scientists on the fundamentals: the earth is over 4 billion years old and the fossil record and all forensic science supports the fact that simpler life forms have evolved and given way to more complex life forms over the past 2-3 billion years.

This also smacks of tautology. What defines "more complex"? That they are newer? Also, ID presumes that Earth is 4BB years old. In fact, the age of the Earth is a vital part of the statistical analysis that disputes evolution.

There is no scientific basis or rationale that supports a literal interpretation as described in any translation or version of Genesis.

Strawman argument. There is no reliance on any interpretation of Genesis in any version in any presentation of Intelligent Design that I've seen.

George said:

Phelps, re: your "Strawman argument..." I am not trying to mix Intelligent Design with Genesis (although it seems to me that many fundamentalists want to). The original article mixed a rebuttal of intelligent design with the mention of the Genesis display in the zoo, thus the reference to Genesis in my comment and the response that it has no place in the zoo.

Fine on your complaint about using the adjective "serious" with scientist. Still, let's line up all scientists in the field, and let's just evaluate the number and quality of Intellignet Design advocates. We can define quality up front.

Regarding what defines "more complex," I'm satisfied with Merriam-Webster or the dictionary of your choice. Complexity is determinied by the number of parts and their relationships, and the number of systems within an entity. The more interdependencies, the more parts, the more relationships, the more complex it is. So, we should be able to agree that today's typical mammal is more complex than the organisms determined to be 2-3 billion years old.

Dan Paden said:

No serious scientist doubts evolution.

I could cite several off the top of my head; quickest and easiest is John Baumgardner (might be Baumgartner--can't remember), universally acknowledged to be one of the world's foremost experts on plate tectonics, and a young-earth creationist. This isn't a question of interpretation, you're just flat incorrect right off the bat in your argumentation.

There is no disagreement among scientists on the fundamentals: the earth is over 4 billion years old and the fossil record and all forensic science supports the fact that simpler life forms have evolved and given way to more complex life forms over the past 2-3 billion years.

More than half my post was quotes from scientists who do, in fact, disagree as to whether you can prove much of anything from the fossil record. Well, anything but stasis, which is far more supportive of special creation than of evolution of any stripe. They might be surprised to learn of this supposed unanimity in their field.

No scientist? All forensic science? Those are bold claims indeed, bordering on a claim to universal knowledge.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 12, 2005 1:01 AM.

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