Sunday, February 05, 2006

Britons unconvinced on evolution #2

Britons unconvinced on evolution, BBC, 26 January 2006 ...

Continued from part #1. My comments are bold and in square brackets.

The findings prompted surprise from the scientific community. Lord Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society, said: "It is surprising that many should still be sceptical of Darwinian evolution. Darwin proposed his theory nearly 150 years ago, and it is now supported by an immense weight of evidence. [Rees is just deluding himself. The "immense weight of evidence" for "Darwinian evolution" is all microevolution. There is little, if any, evidence that "Darwinian evolution," i.e. the natural selection of random micromutations, was responsible for major changes (macroevolution) in life's history. Indeed there is positive evidence against it, e.g. the fossil record does not (and never has) been a good fit to Darwinian theory, as one of the world's leading paleontologists, Robert L. Carroll, points out:

"The most graphic demonstration of the inadequacy of Darwin's hypothesis of the constancy of evolutionary patterns over all time scales can be seen by comparing his hypothetical representation of the patterns of evolution for both very short and very long periods of time with the patterns of evolution that have since been reconstructed on the basis of the fossil record of multicellular plants and animals over the past 500 million years (Figs. 1.2-1.4). The diagram used by Darwin to illustrate evolution both at the level of populations and species and over the vast expanse of geological time is characterized by gradual and continuous change. Most populations within species, or families with in orders, diverge progressively. Some lineages continue with little change, but most eventually become extinct. The entire adaptive space is occupied by the groups diagramed, and the rate of change, indicated by the slope of the lines, remains fairly constant. The patterns established from the fossil record of the major groups of vascular plants, vertebrates, and nonvertebrate metazoans are conspicuously different. There are relatively few major lineages, all of which are very distinct from one an other. Gaps between the lineages indicate that adaptive space is not fully occupied. Instead of showing gradual and continuous change through time, the major lineages appear suddenly in the fossil record, already exhibiting many of the features by which their modern representatives are recognized. It must be assumed that evolution occurs much more rapidly between groups than within groups. For most of their evolutionary history, fundamental aspects of the anatomy and way of life of these lineages do not change significantly. Very few intermediates between groups are known from the fossil record." (Carroll R.L., "Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1997, pp.2, 4. My emphasis)]

"We are, however, fortunate compared to the US in that no major segment of UK religious or cultural life opposes the inclusion of evolution in the school science curriculum." ... [Again Rees is deluding himself. There is no major segment of US religious or cultural life that opposes the inclusion of evolution in the school science curriculum either. Since at least the 1980s (if not before) the emphasis of both major creationist and ID groups has been that both evolution and its alternatives be taught in the school science curriculum. In particular, the ID movement's publicly stated position is "Teach the Controversy,", i.e. "... teach the scientific controversy about Darwinian evolution. Teachers should teach students about the main scientific arguments for and against Darwinian theory."]

Four out of 10 say science classes should include intelligent design, The Guardian, James Randerson, January 26, 2006 ... Four out of 10 people in the UK think that religious alternatives to Darwin's theory of evolution should be taught as science in schools, according to a BBC poll. [That's a nice headline! But the definition of "intelligent design theory" was wrong, being "that certain features of living things are best explained by the intervention of a supernatural being, e.g. God" which is not what the ID movement claims that ID is. And ID is not a "religious alternative to Darwin's theory," it is a secular scientific theory, based solely on the evidence of nature and countering the claim of Darwin's theory that the evident design of living things is just an illusion:

Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986.21)]

The natural history broadcaster Sir David Attenborough said scientists should defend the boundary between science and religion: "Science teachers know perfectly well that science is based on evidence and that intelligent design is not based on evidence - in fact, quite the reverse." [Attenborough is deluding himself too. The Darwinists problem is that the longer they keep on saying things that the public increasingly know are false, the worse they make it for their case.]

Intelligent design (ID) is the notion that some structures within cells are too complicated to have just evolved and must have been placed there by a divine creator. [Again this is false. ID says nothing about "a divine creator." All that ID says is that there are certain features of the natural world that theinference to the best explanation is that they were not produced solely by unintelligent causes, but at least partly by intelligent cause(s). ]

"That is not a scientific statement," said Sir David. [This is the usual Darwinist word-game with "scientific" and "science". The only issue is whether intelligent design is true.]

"If you inject that into science classes you are denying the very intellectual processes that you are supposed to be teaching as part of science." [The simple fact is that if it is "science" for Darwinists like Dawkins to claim that there is no design in nature, then it is also "science" to claim that there is design in nature. I have added this to my work-in-progress ID FAQ.]

When asked what should be taught in science classes, 69% said evolution, 44% said creationism and 41% said ID. When given the option of three explanations of the origin of life, 48% of the 2,112 adults polled by Ipsos Mori between January 5 and 10 opted for evolution without God, 22% chose creationism and 17% chose ID. The Oxford University evolutionist Professor Richard Dawkins dismissed the results as "of very little interest". "If somebody professes disbelief in evolution, it is highly probable that they know nothing about it," he added. [At least he is not claiming that they are "insane" or "wicked" (see part #1)! But now it is Dawkins turn to delude himself! Note that he cannot bring himslef to say that "somebody doesn't believe in evolution," but rather "somebody professes disbelief in evolution"! Remember we are talking about "evolution" here in the context of the Ipsos MORI poll definition:

"1. The `evolution theory' says that human kind has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process." (my emphasis)

What about ID's Michael Behe, Bill Dembski and Jonathan Wells? Is Dawkins claiming that they "know nothing about it [evolution]"? Or what about lesser lights like yours truly who debated evolutionists on a daily basis for over a decade from 1994-2005, completed a biology degree in 2004, and yet still disbelieves "evolution"? The fact is that, due to decades of teaching of evolution in schools and universities, as well as in the media, it must be assumed that the public is not ignorant about evolution, yet a majority still do not accept it.]

"These ignorant people would probably welcome enlightenment. It is up to scientists to get out of their labs, from time to time, and enlighten." [This is a tacit admission of failure by Dawkins, who is the greatest living populariser of evolution, and Oxford University's Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. If Dawkins has not been able to "enlighten" an overwhelming majority of the public (in the land of Charles Darwin) to accept evolution, then how could the ordinary "scientists" in their "labs" do it? The problem for Dawkins and his ilk is that a large segment of the public is enlightened enough to decide that Dawkins' `blind watchmaker' ("God had no part in this process") version of evolution is inadequate. Indeed, I would not be surprised if those who rejected evolution know more about it than those who accepted it!]

The poll coincides with Horizon: A War on Science, which airs tonight on BBC2. ... [There is no "war on science." The general public has no problem with science generally. The "war" is against a "science" that has been taken hostage by an atheistic philosophy, whose very definition of their "science" is religious, i.e. what "God" (allegedly) did not do!]

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

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