Sunday, 28 September 2008
The Ancients were not as ignorant as Secular Humanists suppose. Image of the Antikythera Mechanism, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Massimo Pigliucci, who is known for his anti-ID views, wrote a comment on Sarah Palin’s views on science education. His piece was mostly full of rhetoric and empty of facts. Pigliucci, a professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, seems to be afraid that opposing Darwinism raises “a nation of ignorant bigots whose understanding of the world is no better than that of a tribe of ancient middle eastern people wandering around the desert thousands of years ago.”
What Pigliucci has failed to sees is that archaeology and historical finds have shown that ancient people were no ignoramuses. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah, for instance, already knew that the earth was round.
Recent research on the Antikythera Mechanicm revealed that the Greeks were more advanced than we thought. A few weeks ago I visited the ruins of Ephesus and saw that the Romans were no simpletons either.
Pigliucci admits that he is not sure whether Sarah Palin is a creationist but has dug up a two-year old interview in which she advocated open discussion on origin issues in class. She later explained that this would not mean including creationism as part of the curriculum.
Open debate is one thing the Darwinists are afraid of. As Eugenie Scott put it, “In my opinion, using creation and evolution as topics for critical-thinking exercises in primary and secondary schools is virtually guaranteed to confuse students about evolution and may lead them to reject one of the major themes in science.”
Ergo, allowing students to think critically might cause them to doubt Darwinian evolution.
Pigliucci writes that open debate would probably make kids conclude that the earth is flat. In his view, a belief in creation is “superstitious nonsense that harks back to an earlier era of ignorance about how the world works.”
Just how objective is this view? Professor Pigliucci writes for Skeptical Inquirer and has for instance taken part in a conference called One Nation Without God? The others speakers included Christopher Hitchens, Paul Kurtz and Eugenie Scott, who are all atheists.
This might say something about the objectivity of his approach, not forgetting the fact that this conference was arranged by the Council for Secular Humanism.
In a survey of the basic tenets of secular humanism, Fred Edwords says that belief in a transcendent God involves “arbitrarily taking a leap of faith and… abandoning reason and the senses.”
This, of course, is a deeply philosophical stance and cannot be supported by science, history or even evidence.
On the contrary, there is much that speaks for the presence of a transcendent God who has revealed Himself in history as Jesus Christ.
In the Soviet Union, science was seen to support the claims of Marxism. Open political discussion was suppressed. Dissenters were often sent to mental asylums. The attitude of some Darwinists is beginning to sound like the approach of the Soviet comrades who definitely knew they were right and all others were wrong.
The Cowtown Humanist. April 2003 Volume 5, No. 1http://www.hofw.org/news/news-apr-03-3.htm
Edwords, Fred. 1984. Humanism in Perspective. American Humanist Association. Leaflet reprint from the Humanist, Jan/Feb 1984.
Pigliucci, Massimo. 2008. LiveScience. Is Sarah Palin a Creationist? (1 September) http://www.livescience.com/culture/080901-sb-palin-creationist.html
Witham Larry. 2002. Where Darwin Meets the Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
The Fall brought thorns and thisles to the world. Photo from the Greek island of Lesvos.
The Finnish media have been full of question marks following the incident at Kauhajoki in western Finland where a 22-year old catering college student killed ten others before turning his gun on himself. For instance, the daily Aamulehti spread a huge “Why?” over the entire top part of its front page on September 24. People are bewildered. There are few answers and even these are mostly speculations.
When The Times asked G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), a famous British author, to write an essay on the topic ”What's Wrong with the World?" his answer was succinct: "I am. Sincerely yours, G. K. Chesterton."
Chesterton’s answer was biblical. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah wrote: ” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “ Paul wrote in Romans: “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
We live in a world where the consequences of the Fall are very obvious. The sin of Adam and Eve turned a very good world into a valley where tears are not unusual.
The great story that prevails in the western world explains that all that exists has come about by itself. The worldview based on evolution does not acknowledge the existence of God and man does not thus feel that he is is accountable to anyone for his deeds. Man chooses his own norms and values. As Ben Stein’s film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed indicates, this sometimes has tragic consequences.
Philosopher David Berlinski writes about the Nazis who at the beginning of the Second World War stormed into eastern Europe and forced Jews to dig their own graves. An SS officer watched as an old bearded Jew was digging a deep hole that he knew would be his grave. The old man stood up and said, “God is watching what you are doing.”
While some might welcome Darwinian evolution as an excuse for getting rid of biblical norms and values, some others might regard it as a source of despair and hopelessness. In November 2007 Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot eight people and himself at Jokela High School in southern Finland. He admitted being an evolutionist who wanted to help natural selection in getting rid of the less fit individuals. Matti Saari, the Kauhajoki gunman, seemed to have shared Auvinen’s disposition.
If the SS officer and the Finnish gunmen had believed that God saw what they were doing they might have desisted from shooting their victims.
Unfortunately, society does not tolerate those who dissent from the prevailing philosophy of hopelessness. However, a return to a Christian worldview might make Finland a safer place.
Faith in God can be an excellent resource solving the problem of hopelessless. “For I know the plans I have for you,’declares the LORD,’plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “ (Jeremia 29:11).
Berlinski, David.2008. The Devil’s Delusion. Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions. New York: Crown Forum.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
A leading scientist was expelled from the Royal Society.
Creationism is a dangerous word – at least if you say it aloud. Professor Michael Reiss, Director of Education at the Royal Society, the leading science organisation in Great Britain, was forced to step down after he was accused of instructing teachers to discuss creation in science classes.
Although the British press invented colorful headings of the dispute, professor Reiss, who has a PhD in biology and is also an ordained priest of the Church of England, did not encourage teachers to treat creationism as a valid alternative to Darwinian evolution. He merely said that creationism is a worldview that should not be disparaged.
However, professor Reis did not say that creationism was wrong, and this caused Darwinists to call for his resignation.
For instance, Richard Dawkins, who makes no bones about being an atheist, questioned the right of a Christian to be the director of education of a leading science organisation.
But Index on Censorship, an organisation committed to freedom of speech, lamented the lack of academic freedom in Great Britain.
It seems that the basic thesis of Ben Stein’s recent documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is very obvious in Europe. Critics of Darwinian evolution are discriminated against. Scientists do not even have to criticise evolution. Just a mention of the word creationism is enough to bring them into trouble. The same is true of another forbidden word, design, especially if it is preceded by the term intelligent.
In October 2007 the Council of Europe claimed that creationism was a potential threat to human rights. Now it seems that panic has also spread to the British isles. At least the leading science publications Nature and New Scientist have sternly warned their readers about the dangers of dissenting from orthodox Darwinism.
Steve Fuller, a professor of sociology at the University of Warwick in the U.K. thinks that the fear of creationism is at least partly due to the popularity of intelligent design in Britain.
For instance, Truth in Science, an organisation run by highly placed scientists, has campaigned for a more honest approach to the teaching of evolution in schools.
But with the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species approaching in 2009, his supporters are nervous and this seems to have resulted in panic reactions.
Fuller, Steve. 2008. Science shouldn’t shut down discussion. Index on Censorship. http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=622
Intelligent Design The Future. 2008. Expelled in England: Steve Fuller Shares View on Education Director’s Resignation. (19 September.) http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2008-09-19T15_39_27-07_00
Smith, Lewis ja Frean, Alexandra. 2008. Leading scientist urges teaching of creationism in schools. Times Online. (12.9.)
Times Online. 2008. Unintelligent Design. (editorial, 12 September). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article4735469.ece
Sunday, 21 September 2008
This tiny lizard resisted evolution for a very long time. Image from Wikipedia.
Geckos are fascinating lizards that climb up walls and walk upside down on ceilings. A new discovery indicates that this ability did not develop very recently.
As reported by National Geographic News, researchers found the gecko's foot, toes and part of its tail in fossilised amber or tree sap. They were preserved so well that the lamellae, that is, the sticky hair-like structures that give geckos the ability to climb vertical walls and hang upside down from ceilings, are clearly seen.
The gecko looks exactly like its modern-day relatives although researchers at the Oregon State University estimated its age at 100 million years. The gecko, which was found in Burma (Myanmar), is said to be 40 million years older than the oldest known gecko fossil. It was thought to have lived in the lower Cretaceous before the heyday of Tyrannosaurus rex.
Evolutionists believe that thanks to its sticky lamellae this tiny gecko was able to walk upside down on cave ceilings much earlier that was supposed. Once again a fossil find suggests that evolution does not happen even in a hundred million years.
In On The Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin admitted that the lack of suitable fossils weakened the credibility of the theory of evolution. In the book, Darwin discussed this problem for a whole chapter he chose to call “On the imperfection of the geological record”. He had to acknowledge: ”the distinctness of special forms, and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficulty.”
Darwin hoped that scientists would eventually find the needed missing links. However, 150 years after On The Origin of Species, the case for transitional forms is even weaker than it was Darwin’s day. For instance, nowadays many experts say that Archaeopteryx, which was advertised as the link between birds and reptiles, is a true bird. Moreover, living fossils such as the Coelacanth and the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) also weaken the credibility of Darwinian evolution. The new gecko find likewise suggests that biological evolution is a theory that is not supported by facts.
What is more, the tiny gecko with its incredibly fine lamellae looks as though it has been designed ingeniously. After all, engineers are trying to find out whether they could emulate the sticky gecko foot in robot technology.
Darwin, Charles. 1988 (1859). The Origin of Species. Ware: Wordsworth.
National Geographic News. 2008. Photo in The News. Oldest Gecko Fossil Found in Amber.(3 September) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/080903-gecko-amber.html
Friday, 19 September 2008
Charles Darwin. Image from Wikipedia.
The Vatican's culture minister Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi who recently announced a science conference that will be held in Rome next March, says that evolution is not in conflict with the Bible. He went on to say that the Vatican will nevertheless not apologise to Charles Darwin for rejecting The Origin of Species 150 years ago.
Nowadays the Catholic Church widely accepts the Darwinian idea of evolution although it insists that God has put evolution in motion and also guides it. In 1950 Pope Pius XII said that evolution was a valid explanation of the development of humans. In 1996 Pope John Paul II announced that evolution is “more than a theory”.
English Anglican churchman Malcolm Brown said recently that the Church of England should apologise to Darwin for her negative attititude to Darwinism. However, Charles Darwin has rested in his grave since 1882 and would probably not benefit greatly from apologies.
But as John G. West, who has a doctorate in political science, documents in his book Darwin Day in America, the implications of the theory of evoluution on society have been extremely negative.
Darwin should have apologised for even publising his views in the first place. Darwinism encouraged eugenetics and Nazism. It provided the pretext for liberating criminals from guilt. Some evolutionary psychologists began to look for models in the animal kingdom. They ”discovered” that rape and unfaithfulness were natural since animals indulged in them. Evolution also inspired Alfred Kinsey to suggest that bestiality and paedophilia were perfectly acceptable.
It thus seems that neither Catholics nor Protestants should have any reason to apologise to Charles Darwin or even celebrate his anniversary.
Muehlenberg, Bill. 2007. A review of Darwin Day in America. By John West. Culture Watch. http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/01/30/a-review-of-darwin-day-in-america-by-john-west/
New Scientist. 2008. Vatican says it does not owe Darwin an apology. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14751?promcode=nletter&DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=dn14751
Image: Wikipedia/ Fabio Pozzebom, Agência Brasil
Next year will be the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species and 200 years since his birth. For supporters of evolution the year 2009 presents many opportunities to propagate their pet theory of biological evolution.
Two Catholic universities, the Pontifical Gregorian University (Pontifica Universitas Gregoriana) in Rome and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, will arrange a science conference in Rome in March 2009 in which they plan to examine evolution critically.
The Vatican’s stance towards evolution has been vaguely positive. In 1996 Pope John Paul II said that Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution were basically sound, provided they admitted that God is the Creator. He also said that evolution was ”more than a hypothesis”.
Benedict XVI has published a book on creation and evolution. He has pointed out that the theory of evolution “is not a complete, scientifically proven theory” and that naturalistic evolution is not the whole truth.
However, Benedict has also suggested that many scientific facts speak for evolution. He nevertheless feels that evolution is unable to answer the all-important question of how everything came into being. In his view, the dispute between creation and evolution is absurd, since we have proof of both.
The Pope has nonetheless failed to see that evolution is basically an attempt to make God superfluous. It is a worldview that is opposed to Christianity. And when we examine critically the facts that are offered in support of Darwinian evolution we notice that they do not necessarily support evolution which, after all, has its roots not in science but in ancient Greek philosophy.
The evidence speaks for creation. As St. Paul wrote in Romans 1:20: ”For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”
Eddy, Melissa. 2007. Pope says evolution can't be proven. USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-04-12-pope-evolution_N.htm
MSNBC News Services. 2007. Pope: Creation vs. evolution clash an ‘absurdity’. (25 July)
Vatican information Service. 2008. Congress on evolution to be held in 2009. (16 September)
Saturday, 6 September 2008
The lower branches of this tree are in danger.
In 2001 a nearly complete skull was found in the Chadian desert. Called Toumai or Sahelanthropus tchadensis, it was announced to be a 7 million year old human ancestor. However, some critics refused to believe that the fossil had anything to do with human ancestry. Due to the small size of the skull, they calculated that Toumai could not be taller than 120 centimeters (four feet) and would thus be a chimpanzee. Recently, Physorg.Com. reported on the dispute that is still brewing over this skull.
French paleontologist Michael Brunei of the College de France continues to maintain that Toumai represented the stage when chimpanzees and hominids had just diverged from a common ancestor.
Recently, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study, confirming the age of the soil in which the fossil was found at between 6.8 million and 7. 2 million years.
The finding seemed to verify professor Brunei’s view. However, Alain Beauvilain of the University of Paris has challenged the date. Beauvilain was the man who found the skull. He recently told AFP that contrary to what Brunei had asserted, the cranium was found above the ground in loose sand. Commenting on the find in the South African Journal of Science, he added that the skull was encrusted with a blue ferruginous or iron-based mineral. This indicated that it had weathered in the desert conditions above the ground. Moreover, wind or erosion could well have shifted both the ground around the skull and the skull itself, making the date of 7 million years unreliable.
In the evolutionary paradigm, views on human origins seem to be almost as shifting as the Chadian desert sands in which Toumai was found. Radiometric dating does not fare much better.“Bad” dates are not as uncommon as is generally supposed as it is practically impossible to control all factors involved in the dating. It thus seems that it is time to say farewell to Sahelanthropus tchadensis.
Physorg. Com. 2008. Finder of key hominid fossil disputes 7-million-year dating. (1 September). http://www.physorg.com/news139493724.html
Friday, 5 September 2008
Richard Dawkins refuses to debate the views of Darwin. Image from Wikipedia.
Turkish activist Adnan Oktar, who uses the pen name Harun Yahya, is a colourful anti-evolutionist. Yahya is a devout Muslim and often comments on fossil finds and the reporting of science publications. His views have spread throughout the world through books, DVDs and the Internet and for instance National Geographic and New Scientist have written about him.
Recently, Harun Yahya challenged Richard Dawkins to debate evolution but Dawkins turned down the offer. Dawkins explained that he has vowed not to debate with creationists. Yahya concluded that Dawkins is unable to defend evolution.
Yahya’s claim might have some truth in it. Darwins could well be afraid that he would lose the debate. When American creationist pioneers Henry M. Morris and Duane T. Gish of the Institute of Creation Research (ICR) debated with evolutionists in several US universities in the 1970s, they almost always won the debates.
Although Harun Yahya has brought about much good with his writings, Christians should take a critical approach to his views on science and Christianity. He believes in millions of years of earth history and as a Muslim he rejects the Jewish-Christian idea of the Jews being God’s chosen people. In addition, he claims that the doctrine of Trinity is a heresy.
We should keep in mind that although resisting evolution is recommendable, God has revealed to us in the Bible that He has chosen Abraham’s descendants as His special people and that we can only be saved through faith in Jesus Christ, who is God’s only begotten Son (and not only a prophet as Muslims believe.)
Morris, John D. 2002. Duane Gish: The “Bulldog” of Creation Ministry. Acts & Facts 31:3, 1-2 (March 2002)
Yahya, Harun. 2008. Darwinism-Watch. Com. http://www.darwinism-watch.com/index.php?git=makale&makale_id=1577