Touting freedom of “no religion”
by Janet I. Tu (Seattle Times religion reporter)
Seattle Times, August 27, 2008
A Redmond man paid for the sign in Seattle to get people thinking. It’s drawn support here, unlike similar signs in other cities.
Putting up a billboard saying “Imagine No Religion” at the base of Capitol Hill, in the heart of not too-churchgoing Seattle, is a bit like preaching to the choir. So to speak.
Mike Christensen knows this. But he’s OK with it.
When he paid for the sign about a month ago in support of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, his goal never was to change people’s minds. It was to get people thinking and talking. And maybe, just maybe, get a few more members for the foundation, which fights for the separation of church and state. Mission accomplished. The 14-foot-by-48-foot billboard, on Denny Way near Stewart Street, has brought in five new members and about 20 prospective ones, according to the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation: www.ffrf.org foundation.
Earlier this summer my wife and I were treated to the sight of these two young male pileated woodpeckers circling the base of a tree in our backyard. We watched for about 15 minutes as they circled back and forth with an occasional display of outstretched wings! We’ve now seen the six species of woodpeckers in our part of the country: hairy, downy, red-belly, yellow-shafted flicker, yellow belly sapsucker, and these pileated youngsters.
Once again the New York Times publishes a hit piece on creation and the faith of Christian students. This time, they enlist the aid of Florida high school biology teacher, David Campbell. Campbell reveals his bigotry in the closing comments:
“ We also failed to include astrology, alchemy and the concept of the moon being made of green cheese,” he said. “ Because those aren’t science, either.”
Science teachers’ methods evolve to not drive off faithful students
by Amy Harmon (New York Times)
Charlotte Observer, August 24, 2008
David Campbell switched on the overhead projector and wrote “ Evolution” in the rectangle of light on the screen.
He scanned the faces of the sophomores in his Biology I class. Many of them, he knew from years of teaching high school in this Jacksonville suburb, had been raised to take the biblical creation story as truth. His gaze rested for a moment on Bryce Haas, a football player who attended the 6 a. m. prayer meetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the school gymnasium.
In February, the state Department of Education modified its standards to explicitly require, for the first time, public schools to teach evolution, calling it “ the organizing principle of life science.” Spurred in part by legal rulings against districts seeking to favor religious versions of natural history, over a dozen other states have also given more emphasis in recent years to what has long been the scientific consensus: that all of the diverse life forms on Earth descended from a common ancestor, through a process of mutation and natural selection, over billions of years.
Science and religion can go hand in hand
by Renee K. Gadoua (Religion News Service)
Leader-Post (Canada), August 23, 2008
The Rev. Michael Dowd’s Dodge Sprinter van bears an image of kissing fish. The fish, labelled “Darwin” and “Jesus,” reflect his belief that evolution is sacred and that science and religion go hand in hand.
“I’m not into reconciling science and religion,” said Dowd, 49, a former believer in creationism. “If evolution doesn’t wholly jazz someone religiously, they should continue to reject evolution.”
Dowd, a pastor in the United Church of Christ, is the author of the new book, Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your World.
Since 2002, he and his wife, Connie Barlow, an atheist and a science writer, have lived on the road, sharing their perspective that an understanding of evolution strengthens, rather than undermines, faith.
An atheist plays God’s advocate
by Michael Deacon
Daily Telegraph, Saturday Arts & Books (United Kingdom), August 9, 2008
God is omnipresent. If not in the universe, then certainly, these days, in the work of Richard Dawkins. On Monday the author of the atheist diatribe The God Delusion presented a documentary about evolution, The Genius of Charles Darwin (Channel 4). It was meant as a paean to Darwin, but somehow God kept managing to elbow His way into it.
Evolution “is one reason I don’t believe in God”, announced Dawkins at the start. Darwin “made it possible no longer to feel the necessity to believe in anything supernatural”, he added later. “It’s not God at work here in all this squalor and suffering,” he sighed while visiting a Nairobi slum. It was like listening to a teenage boy who professes disdain for the most popular girl in class, yet can’t stop talking about her.
Poor Denyse O’Leary! She gets no respect from evolutionists. And, we don’t see why she should get any respect from creationists either. As more of O’Leary’s opinion piece reveals, she’s certainly swallowed large amounts of evolutionary speculation when it comes to the origin of life and species. But like many of her fellow theistic evolutionists and progressive creation comrades, this doesn’t seem to bother her at all.
*SIGH* Perhaps O’Leary should just be quiet and stop talking about things she knows nothing about.
Theory needs a paramedic, not more cheerleaders
by Denyse O’Leary
Calgary Herald (Canada), August 16, 2008
Re: “What is it about evolution theory that Albertans don’t get?” Rob Breakenridge, Opinion, Aug. 12.
Rob Breakenridge has cobbled together key talking points of the American Darwin lobby. The resulting column is an excellent illustration of why one should not write about big topics without basic research.
The 2005 Judge Jones decision in Pennsylvania, to which Breakenridge devotes much of his column, has not crimped the worldwide growth of interest in intelligent design. That is no surprise. A judge is not a scientist, and Jones cannot plug gaping holes in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Evolution is — contrary to its (largely) publicly funded zealots — in deep trouble, for a number of reasons.
The history of life has not been the long, slow “survival of the fittest” transition that classical evolution theory requires. Life got started on Earth soon after the planet cooled. All the basic divisions of animal life took shape rather suddenly in the Cambrian seas, about 550 million years ago. Later, there was, for example, the Big Bang of flowers and the Big Bang of birds, where many life forms appeared quite suddenly. Modern human consciousness is one of these leaps, judging from the superb cave paintings from recent millenniums. The creationists whom Breakenridge derides may be wrong on their dates, but not on much else.
Evolution is the framework
Olivia Judson is a contributing columnist for the New York Times
The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 17, 2008
Ignore it, and biology becomes a hodgepodge of disconnected facts.
When the dog days of summer come to an end, one thing we can be sure of is that the school year that follows will see more fights over the teaching of evolution and whether intelligent design, or even Biblical accounts of creation, have a place in America’s science classrooms.
For instance, we are causing animals to evolve just by hunting them. The North Atlantic cod fishery has caused the evolution of cod that mature smaller and younger than they did 40 years ago. Fishing for grayling in Norwegian lakes has caused a similar pattern in these fish. Human trophy hunting for bighorn rams has caused the population to evolve into one of smaller-horn rams. (All of which, incidentally, is in line with evolutionary predictions.)
What is it about evolution theory that Albertans don’t get?
by Rob Breakenridge
Calgary Herald (Canada), August 12, 2008
However you describe it — distinct, peculiar, or stubborn — it’s undeniable: Albertans possess a unique propensity for bucking national trends.
Not that we’re troubled by it, mind you; quite the opposite, in most cases. When Albertans are seen to be out of step with much of the country, we wonder what’s wrong with everyone else.
This is a case, however, where we should be wondering what’s wrong with us — a case where Alberta’s anomalous body of opinion is not a source of pride, but rather a deep embarrassment.