Genesis in the classroom
by David Benkof
Jerusalem Post (Israel), p. 16
November 27, 2008
Evolution and creation rely on two different knowledge disciplines
The creation/evolution debate in the United States has pitted traditionalists (including many Orthodox Jews) against those who embrace the separation of church and state (including many liberal Jews). But there is a way to teach both creation and evolution in public schools that can be embraced by people on both sides of the controversy.
In the 1987 US Supreme Court case of Edwards v. Aguillard, in a 7-2 decision, the justices ruled that the teaching of creationism in public schools violated the First Amendment ban on an establishment of religion. Ever since, secularists (then and now a minority nationally) have known that the ruling meant traditionally religious parents would not have their views represented in public schools. Did they ever pause to ask, “Wait, this seems unfair. How can we be respectful of everyone’s ideas without violating the Constitution?” No way. Instead their reaction was in effect, “Whoopee! Now we can teach America’s young people the Truth, no matter what nonsense they learn at home and in church.”
Exhibit reveals Darwin as reluctant evolutionary
by Mitch Potter
Toronto Star (Canada), p. A2
November 23, 2008
Origin of Species writer tormented by findings Christian thought is still trying to reconcile
LONDON— Wandering through this biggest-ever reappraisal of Charles Darwin, you do not get a sense that here lies the enemy of God.
A doubter? Unquestionably. A man born to the clergy, yet one who lived in quiet agony as the evidence of science and the articles of faith did battle for decades between his ears? That too.
And finally, a man so wary of societal outrage that he held his silence a full 22 years before reluctantly publishing the revolutionary theory that upended our understanding of the world.
This is the man unveiled in “Darwin,” the newly installed celebration of the famous scientist’s life changing journey at the Natural History Museum in London.
Another phony “study” conducted by an anti-creation/ID activist group, the Texas Freedom Network. To be fair, they are also against all religious organizations except those endorsing evolution…
Most Texas profs support no limits on evolution teaching
By Gary Scharrer
Houston Chronicle, p. B1
November 18 2008
The verdict from Texas scientists is nearly unanimous: 98 percent favor the unadulterated teaching of evolution in public school classrooms, according to a report released Monday as the State Board of Education prepares to weigh in on the controversy.
A vast majority of the scientists say students would be harmed if the state requires the teaching of the “weaknesses” of evolution, according to the survey conducted for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, an organization that works on issues involving religious freedom, civil liberties and public education.
In the documentary, Expelled : No Intelligence Allowed, Ben Stein uses the phrase “BIG Science” to great effect:
All over the world, Big Science is on the march, making sure that Neo-Darwinian Materialist Theory is protected, and that any challenges and challengers are dealt with…properly.
It’s pretty cute and a rather good 60 second sound bite. Today I’ve finally figured out where Ben got the idea for “Big Science”. You see, Stein is also known as a financial expert and frequent guest on cable TV money shows. But less well know is Ben Stein’s advocacy for BIG Government. In his blog posting on Larry King’s CNN website, Stein makes a rather shrill call for a BIG government, taxpayer-supported bailout of failing BIG companies.
Until now, I rather respected Ben Stein. It seems Stein is another wealth distributing useless idiot running around with his hair on fire saying we need IMMEDIATE action to save the BIG 3 car companies, the investment companies, the banks, and whoever else gave money to our politicians. Judge for yourself with this quote from Stein:
There is no other entity besides the government that can restore this situation to a full employment equilibrium position. State governments are suffering and so are municipalities. Corporations are obviously suffering. Only the federal government can literally print money to restore the situation.
No, this is not a quote from his Comedy Central quiz show, Win Ben Stein’s Money. It’s also not April 1st.
I’m extremely disappointed. While I think Expelled is a great documentary, my enthusiasm for promoting him and the DVD is all but gone.
At least Ben Stein doesn’t believe in social Darwinism…
While Observer writer, Robin McKie, teased readers with a purported review of the new Darwin Bicentennial exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London, her real intent seemed be another “save the species” (i.e, the planet) call for action.
Of course, political correctness gone wild is not limited to pop science writers. The same issue of The Observer has another article by Robin McKie in which she notes evolutionist Steve Jones is upset with the Bank of England for allowing a hummingbird to be on a 10 pound note commemorating Darwin’s Galapagos Island studies. Hummingbirds do not exist in the Galapagos Islands and apparently Darwin never even discussed these birds in any of his writings!
Looking the truth right in the eye
by Robin McKie
The Observer (UK), The Critics, p .11
November 16, 2008
Confronting visitors as they enter the Natural History Museum’s bicentennial tribute to Charles Darwin is a plinth with a plush purple cushion on top. Two pale-coloured mockingbirds rest there in elegant repose, their labelled claws pointing upwards. Caught by Darwin in the Galapagos in 1835, the birds – previously stored in the museum’s vaults – are being displayed in public for the first time.
These are no mere historical curios, however. Although at first glance they look similar, a closer examination reveals key differences. One bird – from the island of Floreana – is darker and has wing bands and a relatively large beak, features that surprised Darwin at the time. Until then, the young naturalist had thought all mockingbirds would be light-coloured like the second specimen (from San Cristóbal island) on the plinth. Such differences – in creatures supposedly from the same species – intrigued Darwin and set him thinking about how animals might change and then evolve into new creatures. ‘Such facts undermine the stability of species,’ he wrote of his mockingbirds in a notebook, also displayed here.
To understand a mockingbird: specimens that sparked Darwin’s theory of evolution
by Ian Sample Science correspondent
The Guardian, p. 3
November 14, 2008
The significance of the two birds lying side by side on a purple cushion with tags dangling from their feet is easy to miss. But the subtle differences — a strip of white on the wing, a smudge of dark on the breast — set Charles Darwin on course to develop the most important scientific theory ever conceived: the evolution of species through natural selection.
The mockingbirds are perhaps the most important specimens Darwin collected from the Galapagos during his five-year voyage aboard HMS Beagle in the 1830s, and today they go on show as part of a major exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London. It reveals Darwin as a tenacious scientist, a pragmatic lover, and a man pained by losing his religion.
The Dawkins delusion Science writer displays small mind in ‘Potter’ put-down
Washington Times Daily, p. B1
November 7, 2008
Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and “God Delusion” polemicist, recently offered a frightening glimpse of what might be called the reverse-fundamentalist worldview. Mr. Dawkins mused to a British television network that fairy tales and supernatural-themed books such as the “Harry Potter” series are “anti-scientific.”
“Whether that has a pernicious effect, I don’t know,” the 67year-old British writer said. “Looking back to my own childhood, the fact that so many of the stories I read allowed the possibility of frogs turning into princes, whether that has a sort of insidious effect on rationality, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s something for research.”
A new perspective on an old debate
by Colin Dabkowski (Arts & Entertainment)
The Buffalo News, p. C5
November 8, 2008
As literary nonfiction, the time surrounding the publication of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” surely makes for one of the most engrossing debates between religion and science in history.
As dramatic quasi-fiction, however, it loses quite a bit of its punch. That’s what we’re dealing with in Alleyway Theatre’s “Tromping on Sacred Ground,” a tightly written and well-constructed look at the fraught atmosphere in mid-19th century England, when Darwin’s divisive treatise had just come out and the entire country was embroiled in a crisis of conscience over the antibiblical nature of his work.
The show, winner of Alleyway’s annual Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition, is by playwright Suzanne C. Dickie, a retired professor of philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago. It centers around the British scientist Thomas Henry Huxley (Casey Denton), a vociferous exponent of Darwin’s work, and the debates — both personal and public — in which he engaged to defend the supremacy of science over religion. Dickie has fluidly transposed the public confrontations to Huxley’s personal life, in which the power of religion still has a firm grasp over his intellectually curious wife, Nettie (Kelly Beuth). Huxley is supported in his support, as it were, by fellow scientist John Tyndall (Christopher S. Parada) and vexed by the clerical assertions of Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (Dennis Keefe).