waywardcats: (double door)
I have been following the uproar on the internets over the soon-to-be-released quasi-documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. A movie hosted by conservative actor Ben Stein that accuses "big science" of persecuting teachers who wish to teach alternate theories of evolution (ie intelligent design).  It's a full on battle out there, but someone has hit on a great idea:

The Atheist Ethicist has come up with the notion of buying Truth Tickets to offset the possible revenues of this movie.  Simply put, make a donation to the National Center for Science Education instead of spending money to see the ID propaganda film.  I'm going to buy enough Truth Tickets to cover the few ID believers I know, I hope you will consider doing the same.

waywardcats: (double door)
Ronald Bailey has a good opinion piece in Reason magazine about what each candidate has said about their beliefs about evolution and religion and why we should care.

My favorite response from any candidate about the evolution/creationism debate was from former Sen. Mike Gravel (Alaska). When LiveScience asked the senator if he thought creationism should be taught in public schools, Gravel replied, ""Oh God, no. Oh, Jesus. We thought we had made a big advance with the Scopes monkey trial....My God, evolution is a fact, and if these people are disturbed by being the descendants of monkeys and fishes, they've got a mental problem. We can't afford the psychiatric bill for them. That ends the story as far as I'm concerned."

All of the candidates say they believe in God. So even those candidates who accept biological evolution as the scientifically valid way to describe how living things came to be are theistic evolutionists. They believe that God has somehow guided the process of evolution to create us (perhaps by intervening undetectably at the quantum level).

A larger question is whether a candidate's belief about the validity of evolutionary biology has anything to say about his or her ability to evaluate evidence. A January 4, 2008, editorial by Science editor Donald Kennedy correctly argues, "The candidates should be asked hard questions about science policy, including questions about how those positions reflect belief. What is your view about stem cell research, and does it relate to a view of the time at which human life begins? Have you examined the scientific evidence regarding the age of Earth? Can the process of organic evolution lead to the production of new species, and how? Are you able to look at data on past climates in search of inferences about the future of climate change?" Kennedy concludes, "I don't need them to describe their faith; that's their business and not mine. But I do care about their scientific knowledge and how it will inform their leadership."

I would really like to hear these answers before I cast my vote as well.
waywardcats: (Me & Dart)
If you are even remotely interested in these subjects, I highly recommend John Hawks primer on the history of the study of natural selection and its relationship to demographics and mathematics.  It is a long blog post, but (I think) very informative and interesting.  Makes me wish that I were less like Darwin and better able to sit still for math classes.
waywardcats: (Default)
I wish that I were shocked to hear that 30% of the announced Republican candidates for US President who debated last night do not beleive the theory of evolution.  The scariest part is that puts them ahead of the "American public".  According to a 2006 Gallup polling sample 53% or Americans beleive that humans were "created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years or so".

I am in the minority I guess, and proud to be here.

References BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6620801.stm
Gallup: http://www.galluppoll.com/content/?ci=23200&pg=1


waywardcats: (Default)

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