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Diffusing creationism in european schools June 4, 2007

Posted by dorigo in books, news, politics, science.
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While my spine was shivering for the amount of disturbing information I read today in Magdi Allam’s article “Islam, in regalo ai prof il libro che nega Darwin” (Islam, the book negating Darwin offered for free to school teachers) on Il Corriere della Sera , I could not help feeling the sort of reassurance that only old-fashioned Hollywood movies can give – the feeling that the division of good and bad can sometimes be perfect even in real life, that the bad ones are not just mean but also obtuse, and that I find myself, for once, rooting for the good.

The facts: A book called “Atlante della creazione” (Atlas of Creation) has been distributed for free in thousands of copies across Italy, but formerly in Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain,  the Netherlands, to secondary schools and science and religion teachers, to libraries, scientific institutes, newspapers. It is a hefty book, 800 pages for 13 pounds, which is ordinarily sold with the price of 75 euros (about 100 US$). The author is the turkish writer and islamic theologist Adnan Oktar, and the publisher is the turkish Global Publishing, which only prints Oktar’s books. As to who pays for the thousands of volumes distributed throughout Europe: Who has interest to plagiarize our children ? That remains a mystery.

So what’s in the book ? Quoting Magdi, “A total dismissal without appeal of Darwinian theories on evolutionism, which is identified as the root of all the evils of our contemporary history: fascism, nazism, and terrorism”. And in the appendix the author maintains that “Islam is not the source of terrorism but its solution”. Oktar wrote many books, where he clearly shows to be either under the influence or deranged. A book called “The lie of the Holocaust”, of 1996, reads “what has been presented as Holocaust is the death of some jews due to the epidemic of typhus because of the war and of famine in the final phase of the germans’ defeat”.

In his insightful article Magdi Allam notes that in Turkey, 75% of high school students do not believe in the theory of evolution. So Oktar may be leaving a mark somewhere. Allam ends by noting that nowadays Europe appears to be conquering ground for creationists of christian inspiration from one side (coming from the US) and creationists of islamic roots from the other. Good lord. I think I’ll move to New Zealand. Kea , do you know of any opening for a HEP physicist down there ?  

Comments

1. goffredo - June 4, 2007

Hi Tommaso. With you on this 100%. Indeed New Zealand is an excellent choice! If I were your age, and with half your brains and talent, I’d pack up and take wife and kids there for some years. Then from a safe distance and after several years maybe re-evaluate coming back. Of course you could always come back for vacation, but then maybe not.

2. John Wilkins - June 4, 2007

Watch out, though. There’s a fair bit of rural creationism in the North Island of New Zealand. The only creationists I ever met “in the wild” were at a café in the North.

3. dorigo - June 4, 2007

Hi goffredo,

Yes, NZ is a nice place I am told. And the way things are going around here… Phoooey.

John, thanks for the warning🙂

Cheers,
T.

4. Kea - June 4, 2007

John, yes, we have a good spectrum of views here too. And we have people trying to brainwash children. But there aren’t too many of them, and the worst ones are quite unpopular.

do you know of any opening for a HEP physicist down there ?

LOL! Well, there was a rumour that the government was hoping to develop some links to CERN, but it’s all twaffle if you ask me. Plenty of Antarctic neutrino physics, though, if that’s your cup of tea.

5. Markk - June 4, 2007

You can find creationists everywhere. I actually think that it is a sign of major change in the world in that creationists are now feeling their beliefs threatened as they never have been before. Of course they will react, but as long as people are willing to stand up for reality they will eventually falter.

6. estraven - June 4, 2007

Just in case you hadn’t heard of it, Magdi Allam is famous for misrepresentation and lies. For instance, the info on Oktar is correct: however, it omits the fact that Oktar is a very controversial figure with no official support in Turkey, as you can find on the relevant wikipedia page (which I trust at least as much as Magdi Allam, and likely more).

The data on the turkish students not believing in evolution comes from a survey of some months ago: Turkey was the only advanced country where this percentage was higher than in the US, where also a lot of money has been invested into keeping students ignorant. Except I guess in Turkey, which is still a very poor country, maybe some students don’t have access to any reasonable education. Well, maybe that’s also true in the US.

I think taking Magdi Allam’s ranting as meaning that science education is at risk in Europe is a gross overstatement. I would much more worry about all the bullsh*t info that me, you, and the rest of Itay were given by the Corriere at the time of the referendum on the law on medically assisted reproduction.

7. Razib - June 5, 2007

I tried a lot to learn chess, but failed! Seems like it’s not possible for me to understand!!

I am trying to tell about the misurable lives of the street people of Bangladesh in my site Canvas of life. Please add a link of the site at your blog to let the world know about them.

8. Alex Wieder - June 5, 2007

Ciao Tomasso,

Landed on your blog as I’m killing some time by reading random thoughts of others. I’m no creationist myself, and have seriuos problems with those that so blindly believe in anything they profess (creationists and religious fanatics). Neither can answer “who created God, then?” or “if Christ was God’s son, what kind of father allows his son to be killed?” – this last one’s from a book I read eons ago (The Jew and the Cross).

Having said that, however, I did spend some time deeply immersed in the religious world and as I have a scientific (engineering, actually) background, I was able to see a good number of occasions where hard science and what I was reading in the Talmud and other scholarly writings, definitely intersected. But nothing that would negate one position or the other.

Have fun!

Alex
PS: If you want to email me, remove the animal from my email address.

9. jeff - June 5, 2007

Estraven.
Please give three examples of Magdi Allam’s misrepresentations and lies.

10. carlbrannen - June 5, 2007

One of the reactions of religious people in the US, to the secular schools (which can be rather ugly places to send children), has been to teach their children at home. When this started, there was a lot of expectation that the children would get a horrible education, or be stunted emotionally. By and large, this hasn’t happened, and home schooled 18-year-olds take home far more than their share of the various ability based scholarships, etc. Math, geography and spelling contests are now dominated by home taught children. So if you don’t like how the US is led by the religious right now, wait till their home-educated children take over.

11. Miguel Martinez - June 5, 2007

For Jeff, n. 9

Just one example out of a thousand.

Magdi Allam in the article mentioned here states, as a fact, which appears also in the titles, that the book was “translated and shipped” (“tradotto e spedito”) by an Italian Islamic federation called UCOII.

The UCOII had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

One member of the UCOII, many years ago, published a book by Adnan Oktar, like he published many others by other authors.

Oktar and the publisher have had no relations since, yet this fact allows Magdi to induce in his readers a totally mistaken idea that there is an organization of Muslims in Italy with enormous resources, launching a campaign against evolution.

Whenever you want, I can come up with other, similar mistakes by Magdi Allam.

12. dorigo - June 5, 2007

Hi all, some short answers below…

“they will eventually falter” – Markk, I hope what you say is true, but unfortunately I don’t see it happening in my lifetime.

CIao Estraven, I had seen the survey myself a few months ago – it echoed in the blogosphere. But I do not see how the wealth of the country can be a strong bias: the poll was among high-school students IIRC. As for the Corriere being a biased medium, thank you for the information – I am well aware of it. A different issue is whether Allam is a liar. He did say Oktar was very controversial in his article.

Razib, chess is not for everybody. If you have talent you grasp it quickly. You might be more like a bridge person (which is what I myself am becoming, LOL!).

Dear Alex, I am a die-hard atheist, and I can only justify delving in religious reading if it is for one’s own culture – seems like it’s your case, so I do not object. Anyway eventually religion and evolution must fight at some level, because evolutionism, if read with a radical eye, means that a god is not necessary either at the beginning of the development of life, in the middle of it, or at the end.

Hi Jeff, don’t be too hard… Magdi can be liked or disliked, as Santoro or anybody else. We do not need to see three instances of him going awry, there certainly are many, as in the works of anybody else.

Hi Carl, I think the sample of home-educated kids is quite biased, and testing against the regular same-age high-school student is unfair. However, if they end up being evolutionists I’m happy, but I tend to believe the opposite.

Cheers to all,
T.

13. dorigo - June 5, 2007

Hi Miguel,

sorry but you got the article wrong, and you really look to me as if you did it on purpose. Let me quote:

“La spedizione è stata fatta dall’ungheria ma l’opera, della casa editrice turca Global Publishing che pubblica solo le decine di libri di Oktar, e’ stata stampata dalla San Ofset di Istambul. Mi fa notare che, in una nota introduttiva, c’e’ scritto ‘Tutte le traduzioni dal Corano sono tratte dal Saggio di traduizioni interpretative in italiano, a cura di Hamza Piccardo, revisione e controllo dottrinale UCOII’.”

Here, you see, Allam does not imply UCOII sent the Atlas around, actually he says it was some other entities who did.

A few lines down, Allam talks of another book, “L’inganno dell’evoluzione”, saying “Successivamente e’ stato venduto direttamente online dalla casa editrice Al Hikma, di proprieta’ di Piccardo…”.

So Allam did not write any lie, apparently, as you also agree that UCOII did send around in 2001 a book against evolution, in the person of his general secretary Hamza Piccardo. Not “one member”, and not “many years ago”, so please do not try to be smart here.

Also, the article does not imply that UCOII is launching an enormous campaign against evolution in Italy. It is your reading that is biased, sorry.

Cheers,
T.

14. Miguel Martinez - June 5, 2007

Dear Dorigo,

You probably missed the front page headline, which is where most readers stop:

“Atlante ‘storico’ tradotto e spedito dall’Ucoii”.

The fact that another book by Harun Yahya was published by an Italian editor, in a perfectly normal manner, with no money behind it, several years ago, might be a curiosity. Allam takes this curiosity and makes it the centre of his story.

I do not agree that Ucoii “sent around” any book.

Hamza Piccardo had a small, private publishing business, before, during and after his unpaid work as secretary of the Ucoii.

Piccardo never “sent around” his book, which received no funding whatsoever, and Ucoii had nothing to do with it.

The book never sold, and Piccardo had many other priorities, other than promoting it. He discovered that Adnan Oktar was distributing another book (not the one Piccardo published), by reading this article in Corriere della Sera.

Any reader is left with the impression of the headline: that the Ucoii is distributing an extremely costly book to thousands of people in Italy.

The headline says it, and Magdi Allam dwells on Piccardo to create just that impression.

15. jeff - June 5, 2007

Tommaso. am I hard? I just asked for a list of lies of Magdi. I was not impressed at all. Am I being hard? Estraven was hard!!!!

16. dorigo - June 5, 2007

Jeff, I agree. I just wanted to avoid this thread from growing to a diatriba about the merits of Magdi… I think I failed😉

Cheers,
T.

17. dorigo - June 5, 2007

Miguel, I have the newspaper in my office. You force me to get this a bit deeper, but I will only do that tomorrow.

Cheers,
T.

18. Hatim Hegab - June 5, 2007

Peace All,

I have not read a single article of Magdi Allah (Who is an Egyptian just like I am) yet, I have a lot of friends and people who live in Italy and whom I trust. The fact that he is an anti-Islam writer was the common point between all whom I know.
Also, if I could get it write here, is the Darwinism right or wring?
Well, the question is misleading because I think it is the cover of the real question: Is there a God or not? This, I think is the real question which should be asked, why should people candy-cover it with any other question?
As a believer in God, I say Darwinism is wrong, and also as a rationalist. How do you want me to believe in the evolution theorem without being able to prove the origin of mankind?

Now come the point which I think needs some elaboration, Some European countries issued warnings against that book- which I think it is becoming too successful to be ignored by some factions in the western world- which I think is very strange. I believe in the freedom of speech and the freedom to believe, now how come some govt. just decide they should issue warnings against a book!?

I have read a lot of comments about the book, but not in a single article did I find a single sentence to refute the main idea of the book. I would love to find an article which contains some scientific facts against those carried by the book.

One last comment: What does the word Islam in the article’s title had to do with article itself? Just a simple question!

Hatim

19. jeff - June 6, 2007

Hatim
Madgi is of islamic faith. In my eyeys the fact your many friends say he is anti-islamic says more about your friends than is does about madgi.

20. dorigo - June 6, 2007

Ciao Miguel,

first of all, your blog is nice and what you write there is quite interesting. I will keep giving a look.

Second, the title is voluntarily ambiguous, and if you know how a newspaper works, you well understand that it is quite probable that Magdi Allam did not write the title but the piece. I myself have published a few times on major newspapers, and the title gets invariably changed according to the editor’s wishes. I am not as authoritative as Magdi, but he himself does bow to his editors’ choices for titles, I guarantee it. My father was a journalist and he taught me the inner workings of news publishing…

And in fact, the title does not say which book it refers to, and so it is still not totally false, albeit indeed deceiving. I do not have a lot of respect for the Corriere della Sera, but that does not mean that its articles are all rubbish. In fact, I DO read it because I do NOT share the political opinions of most of its collaborators. Anyway, about the title: it is “Islam, in regalo ai prof il libro che nega Darwin”, and below, “Spedito a scuole e istituzioni italiane grazie all’Ucoii”. The title may be talking about the other book! It is only by reading the text, as you say, that one gets to know which book has been distributed and which one was sent around by the general secretary of Ucoii.

What does this tell us ? That of course, reading the fine print is as important in a newspaper as it is in a contract. That Allam is probably not criticizable in this case – as I said, he is not deciding the title of his pieces. And so on. We are discussing irrelevant things here. What I care about is the fact that there indeed are attempts at diffusing creationist theories in Europe by well-financed people of islamic faith. That is my bottom-line, and it is quite annoying to me. If you like creationism, cheer up.

Cheers,
T.

21. dorigo - June 6, 2007

Hi Hatim,

I think I prefer to avoid starting a discussion of whether evolutionary theories can coexist with a belief of god, but let me tell you that you are about to become a scientist, and so if you believe in god you need to find these answers inside yourself. My personal idea is that if you fully marry one of the major faiths – christian or islamic or others too – you will end up jeopardizing your scientific method, because you accept something without scientific proof, and let your life be driven by that concept.

Darwin’s evolutionary theory is proven by many scientific facts. Going against it because of something you accept by turning off the left side of your brain is silly for a scientist. Try instead to understand how your idea of a god can coexist with proven facts about the reality in which we live. You may find some compromise, and that is I think the correct way to go.

In any case, islam or non islam, I find it irritating if a book is spread around with the power of money. I feel it as an invasion of my privacy and that of my family. Indoctrination is something I can jolly well live without, ok ?

Finally, you say that the book “is becoming too successful to be ignored”. I disagree it is successful (to be such, a book has to be bought, not obtained for free in the mail), I agree it should not be ignored – and Allam does not do that, nor do the government, quite the contrary. I consider sending around a book without solicitation exactly like spamming, and as such should be treated.

Cheers,
T.

22. Ed Darrell - June 6, 2007

With any luck, the librarians in the schools who receive the books will determine they are unfit for children or serious students of science, and file them accordingly and appropriately.

Adnan Oktar has demonstrated some adeptness at being an intellectual terrorist, but I have been unable to find any serious research work done under his paradigm. His views ultimately should be at odds with Islam, which holds that God is the creator of the Earth and that God does not create with built-in deception. Serious students of Islam will reject the book for the odd, not-exactly-Chrsitian, certainly-not-Moslem theology.

Teach kids to read, to read a lot and to read broadly, and they will not accept such works as anything other than farce.

23. dorigo - June 6, 2007

Hi Ed,

you are an optimist, like me… I think the books will end up in the bottom shelf together with outdated material. But I think kids are reading less today than they were yesterday, and will read even less tomorrow. That is the source of my optimism with respect to this dubious enterprise. However, it shows that we in Europe are conquer ground for two different kinds of fundamentalists, that’s all.

Cheers,
T.

24. jeff - June 6, 2007

Was it Einstein that said that a pessimist is an optimist with experience?

25. Hatim Hegab - June 7, 2007

Peace all,

To believe in something without a proof is a completely unacceptable idea to me. But I do not want to delve into this, since all proofs those monolithic come (came) with, will be faced with a singularity here or a parallel world there. This topic is very wide and needs a lot of work and talk, which is beyond my power here (and now :)).
I think we are all looking for the ultimate proof, right?
Now the very first word of the post is causing me some uneasiness! “Diffusing!” it makes it feel like there are no creationists at all in Europe, at least this is the meaning I’ve got from this word.
I have an objection which I must raise here. This word means that European children should be protected from and not get exposed to “creationism” which I think contradicts the freedom of choice and all other types of freedom we all believe in.
It tells implicitly that those little children (who are going to grow up, tomorrow) should not be introduced to it, as if it is not there already in their communities. Now, this means that evolutionists do not want anyone to share them the hegemony they have over others! I believe that all ideas should be available to students and they should get “exposed to all kinds of knowledge and information which would help them to decide for themselves, this is how I understand the word “freedom” in a “free” and “open” society.

Accepting something without a proof, humm!
But we have built huge machines for something some believe it exists and some don’t, right? We spent billions of Dollars (Euros!) to look for it. It is true that finding the Higgs is as vital as not finding it, but we all hope to find it, and a great amount of money was spent for this purpose, should we sue those scientists then if they can’t find it. The main reason we build these machines is that we DO NOT know, we are NOT sure.

Now, before Planck gives us his quantum theory, we did not know anything about it, and physics was almost thought of as a closed science, but does this mean quantum theory was not there? Wasn’t it there all the time waiting for someone to uncover it. It was even possible to find quantum mechanics faster if some minor evidences were taken into account when dealing with specific heats of solids. It was there, but hidden, and not scientifically proven, and this does not mean that it never existed before 1900. No one can say we made Quantum Mechanics! We can only say, we discovered QM.

I know that to come forward with a scientific theory, you must prove it scientifically, and the whole scientific community will not accept it if it is not proven their way, the basic very well-grounded scientific way. For example, the Z->bb was there, but how long did it take to get it accepted as a signal? Does this means it was not there before?

Darwin theory was proven by many facts? Humm, where is the missing link between the human beings and the (money like creature they claim, I do not know the name of it, but I know it is still missing?)
How come a fossil tells that a forge is a forge as it is now as it is 2 billion years ago!? and I am still supposed to believe it evolved from something else!?
How come Oxford is reviewing its position against Darwin theory?
Darwinism was not proven %100, so I still have a right to doubt it unless I am deprived that right. Believe me all, and you Tommaso, I am doing exactly what you have advised me to do, I am always trying to see how the scientific facts I learn every day ‘strengthen’ my ideas of a God (I do not want to discuss myself here, am I?) and I am kept convinced every time, not because I am giving it the left side of my brain, but simply, this is how I see it in complete agreement with my believes (which, again, are not the main theme here.)
A compromise is not a word to describe things here, it is either “strengthen” or denies the fact that God exists, you see, I am even more demanding here than you want me to be🙂

Now come the point of money, and I am always too bad when it comes to money, so bear it with me guys!
money is the engine for everything in the west now, and as you all now, those who run for a public position spend a lot of money, just to serve their own people! Now why is it strange that someone spends money to spread an idea he believes in and he thinks that this way he is “serving” his people (I will be eaten alive if I say humanity!)

Up to this point, no one refuted any of what the book says, which i find a little bit strange. We are discussing something we did not read, we are not refuting the ideas in the book, we are against the basic principle of spreading knowledge.

Finally, We still do not have a reliable theory to tell us why particles have mass, all our theories are very successful when describing massless particles, does this mean mass does not exist? But it does.

Jeff:
I know that Magdi Alam is of an Islamic faith, but I can easily find a person who was born and baptized a catholic, and he is, let us say, an atheist now.

H

26. dorigo - June 7, 2007

Hi Hatim,

diffusing is a correct word. You may like it or not, but even if according to a minority the evolutionary theory of Darwin is not “definitively” proven, it is the science we teach in italian school, period. Going against this, trying to permeate the distribution of information we give our children by distributing books which are unwelcome and contrary to most people’s feelings, is not going to make people happy.

In Italy there are lots of catholics, but most believe in the theory of evolution. They are rightly taught evolutionism at school, and if they want to read something else they can do so outside school. I am sorry, but offering a wild choice of different ideas to children is not the way I think education should work.

Moreover, I do not accept your putting creationism and evolutionism on the same ground, because the former is not a scientific theory. Again, if you want to become a scientist, please understand what is the difference between a scientific theory and a untestable pile of beliefs.

Money issue: you seem to like the way politics is made, by arguing it is right to spend money to run for office or for keeping alive an idea that science has buried. I object to both things.

Finally, nobody refutes what the book says because nobody finds it useful to do it. And I am happy that way.

Sorry if I sound hard, I respect your ideas but it is useless to argue, we are on opposite sides here.

Cheers,
T.

27. jeff - June 7, 2007

Hatim.
Of course I imagined you knew that Magdi is of islamic faith. And I know you can find a person of catholic birth and is an athiest.

Regards Darwin. Of course I assume you and others know that scientific theories are never proved. At best they are disproved. No finite set of observations or experiments can prove any theory, while it just takes one observation or experiment to disprove a scientific theory. If you dislike a theory then it is good science to try to concieve an experiment or and observation that could disprove it. Of course not all so-called theories can be backed into a corner. Some “theories” have a way of slipping away from confrontations. These are not scientific. To be scientific you at least need to stick your neck out. A good scientific theory is good because assuming it valid allows us to plan a way to acquire new knowledge and that new knowlegde reinforces connections suggested by that theory. It proves it worth when it is used. But when it is used it is running risks, and running risks make it scientific. Because if any annomaly shows up it could mean that the theory is wrong. Non-scientific theories are capable of avoiding risks but they are for that very reason they are sterile! They are useless. If you cann’t use a theory to plan acquiring new knowledge and navigate uncharted waters then it is not scientific.

The claim that no theory can be proved should not be turned around. It is not fair to say that Darwin is not good because one day an experiment could be performed that debunks it. That would be dishonest. Don’t you agree?

28. Moataz Emam - June 7, 2007

Hello all
Response to Hatim:

“I have an objection which I must raise here. This word means that European children should be protected from and not get exposed to “creationism” which I think contradicts the freedom of choice and all other types of freedom we all believe in.”

OK, let us say someone proposes teaching Aristotelian physics (heavier things fall faster and such things) in parallel to the ordinary physics curriculum and giving the students the choice of which they like better, what would you say? Freedom has nothing to do with Education. In fact, a class room, as I always say, is a dictatorial system!! You simply cannot allow young impressionable kids to be exposed to something you know is wrong!

“How come a fossil tells that a forge is a forge as it is now as it is 2 billion years ago!? and I am still supposed to believe it evolved from something else!?
How come Oxford is reviewing its position against Darwin theory?
Darwinism was not proven %100,”

Sorry my friend, but you have been missled. I think that what you should do is walk over to the biology department and ask someone to explain evolution to you or give you a good book to read. That’s what I did! The fact of the matter is that evolution is supported with a huge amount of evidence, as much as supports relativity perhaps! It is a fullt testable and falsifiable theory, which creationism simply isn’t.

And just for the record, I see and have never seen any contradiction between the concept of God and evolution. Also as far as I am concerned there are no verses in the Quran that contradicts evolution, but there are actually verses that may be taken to support it!! I do not want to discuss my faith here either, but I thought this is a point to be made, since most Muslims who attack evolution only do so out of the misinformed belief that Islam contradicts it.

Thanks all…
Moataz Emam

29. dorigo - June 7, 2007

Dear Moataz,

thank you for your contribution. I fully agree with what you say, and I find your example of teaching Aristotelian physics right on the money.

Cheers,
T.

30. Moataz Emam - June 7, 2007

Dear dorigo
Thanks! Clearly I agree with you as well. By the way, perhaps I should introduce myself. In a nut shell:
assistant professor of physics, research in supersymmetric gravity (some people have told me that if I believed in that it is no wonder I believe in evolution LOL)
I am an Egyptian Muslim. Hatim (who invited me here) is my friend in real life and God knows we have had the “Evolution” debate before.
love your website/blog.
Moataz …

31. dorigo - June 7, 2007

Hi Moataz,

very good then. Welcome to this site. I hope you’ll be around for more debatable scientific discussions😉

Cheers,
T.

32. charles soper - June 7, 2007

I like your site, and often visit, Tomasso.
‘Darwin’s evolutionary theory is proven by many scientific facts’, and we all know Dawkins likes to claim it’s as well established as the solar orbit. Having been brought up and breastfed evolution as a child, I’d like to introduce myself as a creationist. I have been profoundly unconvinced of evolution since med school, especially after I looked at the data on abiogenesis – a chasm of desperate speculation if ever there was one. The data on human evolution is beset by a series of dubious exaggerations, and some curious data avoidance.
Some of the best theoretical physicists Clerk Maxwell for example, and empirical physicists, Michael Faraday and Lord Kelvin were direct opponents of Darwin – their opposition was not sentimental, nor religious alone -read their thoughts, and whilst I don’t agree with some of Kelvin’s arguments, I think you are unwise to believe evolution is the pure science you profess here.

33. dorigo - June 7, 2007

Hi Charles,

I feel uneasy to discuss merits and demerits of Darwinism here, because the discussion is indeed not an easy one, nor am I one of the best informed persons on the planet on this particular topic. What I think I have already said: you cannot put the two things on the same ground. One is a theory, has some dark spot, has strong points and more work ahead for biologists to understand some details. The other is not a theory, is untestable, is based on faith rather than critical thinking, and cannot even be compared from afar.

You are entitled to believe in the flying spaghetti monster if you wish, but cannot claim it should be taught to children.

About Maxwell, Kelvin, and the like, they were all great thinkers, but they lacked the evidence we have now. Why neglect 150 years of research just to rub elbows with them ? And they were not great biologists, but great physicists. There was some difference even back then.

Cheers,
T.

34. charles soper - June 7, 2007

Thanks Tomasso,
I agree here’s not the place to go into detail.

‘The other is not a theory, is untestable, is based on faith rather than critical thinking’, forgive me but that was very much my impression of abiogenesis having read about it in some detail.

As to whether faith can be tested – let me offer some data. First one rather basic sociological test, how many unitarian churches have survived more than 100 yrs? Why, if it’s all just flying spaghetti? Or some basic archaeological tests, when Sir Leonard Wooley discovered Ur of the Chaldees, why did many doubters have to revise their commentaries about the probable nonexistence of Abraham? Likewise why were so many evolutionary minded theologians astonished at the precision of the confirmation of the Masoretic text with the Dead Sea MSS? Or Cyrus seal confirming Ezra/Nehemiah now here in London? Likewise the Mernepteh stele now in Cairo museum describing the nation of Israel in the 11-12thC BC (too early for doubters)? one could go on at length, and look at other fields too, but here I forbear.

As to the avalanche of real biological problems with current neo-Darwinism, especially from molecular biology and genetics, I will only write this – for those who imagine ID is a kind of right wing, US-generated attempt to reclaim political ground, they really should look more carefully at the writings of Michael Behe, Michael Denton and others – there is a rigorous empiricism which shames many of Dawkins or Gould’s popular books.

I shall sign off and probably not write again here now,

Best wishes with your intriguing blog – though I freely confess I don’t understand much of it, being a humble medic – nevertheless I will revisit,

C

35. Miguel Martinez - June 7, 2007

Thank you for detailed reply (n. 20)

There is a little misunderstanding here.

Your point concerns the diffusion of a creationist text, mine (naturally secondary, from your point of view) the reliability of Magdi Allam.

I have no issue with your main point, I just wanted to clear up the specific question of whether or not the Ucoii was invading Italy with publications.

I agree with you about headlines not being generally written by journalists; however, Magdi Allam, being the “vicedirettore” of Corriere della Sera, probably would have a little say.

I have reason to say that Magdi Allam’s problem is not with creationism, but personally with Hamza Piccardo, against whom he has written dozens and dozens of articles.

Hamza Piccardo is a very peaceful small publisher, whose ideas one may or may not agree with.

However, he is anything but an extremist, and there is something rather ridiculous in Magdi’s obsession with him.

In January, Magdi went so far as to put on the front page of Corriere della Sera a private e-mail he had somehow got hold of, where Hamza’s former fiancée said some unpleasant things about Hamza’s character.

Magdi was jointly sued for this by both Hamza and the former fiancée.

Magdi Allam generally does not tell direct lies: what he does is create an atmosphere.

For example, I once gave a lecture on religious fundamentalism in the USA.

Magdi Allam mentioned this lecture together with a poster by a neo-Nazi group attacking the USA, a critique of the USA by a member of the Red Brigades, a false quote in favour of Hitler attributed to a quiet left wing anti-globalist (this quote was an invention), interspersed with talk about September 11, and ended up by rhetorically asking how soon all this would turn into violence.

True, he didn’t actually say I was throwing bombs at anybody, but what would the average reader think at the end?

Sometimes Magdi does lie directly: after the Madrid bombing, he accused a small left-wing political group in Italy, which has no secrets whatsoever, of having organised the bombing together with the ETA: when asked where on earth he had got such weird information, he simply said “sources in the secret services”, which of course nobody can check.

This weird accusation was of course totally without any foundation (no judge even started to investigate on it), but the mud sticks.

I appreciate your blog (I am a friend of CICAP, which you probably know).

Sorry if I went slightly off the tangent with this Magdi Allam issue, and best wishes.

36. Ed Darrell - June 8, 2007

Charles Soper said:

Likewise why were so many evolutionary minded theologians astonished at the precision of the confirmation of the Masoretic text with the Dead Sea MSS? Or Cyrus seal confirming Ezra/Nehemiah now here in London?

“Evolutionary minded theologians?” What a bizarre claim, completely unsupported by any facts. How does any archaeology find suggest any problem with evolution? It doesn’t.

37. Ed Darrell - June 8, 2007

Charles Soper said:

As to the avalanche of real biological problems with current neo-Darwinism, especially from molecular biology and genetics, I will only write this – for those who imagine ID is a kind of right wing, US-generated attempt to reclaim political ground, they really should look more carefully at the writings of Michael Behe, Michael Denton and others – there is a rigorous empiricism which shames many of Dawkins or Gould’s popular books.

What “avalanche?” Under oath, on the witness stand in the Pennsylvania trial in 2005, Michael Behe couldn’t offer any serious problem with evolution theory. None. Worse for your case, he couldn’t offer any science to support any alternative to evolution theory, which now has survived serious attempts to disprove it for 150 years (including 20 years of work to disprove it by Charles Darwin, who was an outstanding, and oustandingly ethical, scientist).

Repeated claims of “rigorous empiricism” against evolution theory have been shot down in U.S. federal courts, since the late 1960s. In the 20 years we’ve had to put up with claims of “intelligent design” there have been exactly two peer-reviewed papers published in favor of the idea. Neither of the papers offered any new research to suggest any problem with evolution, and neither offered a counter-hypothesis to support intelligent design. Both papers have been debunked.

In contrast, about 10,000 papers a year are published reifying evolution. In 20 years, that’s 200,000 papers for evolution, versus 2 papers for ID.

Evolution stands as a theory because it is what nature demonstrates. If you believe, as we Christians do, that nature is created by God, then you should accept that what nature shows is an accurate reflection of God’s desires.

Intelligent design is bunk.

38. charles soper - June 8, 2007

OK Ed, much could be written in response to what you have claimed, but let’s start with a few simple questions.

‘Evolution stands as a theory because it is what nature demonstrates’.

Let’s focus for starters on abiogenesis.

How do you get pyrimidine nucleotides in Miller-Urey conditions?
How do you preserve against the instability of cytosine if you believe some form of proto-RNA is involved?
How can you explain the colocalisation of sugars and bases – since they need quite different synthetic conditions, and how do you prevent the precipitation of phosphate? How do you explain general dearth of geological data to corroborate the intensely reducing atmosphere needed for the usual models of generating basic biological substrates?

What’s you favoured model for the generation of the first self-replicating organism? Let us look critically at the one you choose.

As to the avalanche of problems related to the central problem of irreducible complexity for gradualistic neoDarwinism, I am ready to turn to that later.

CS

39. Hatim Hegab - June 8, 2007

To Moataz:

Your example is unaccepted by me. Simply, it was “scientifically” proven that this theory is %100 wrong. But, you, yourself, being aware of it means that you were told about it, you were allowed to be diffused by such ideas. So, how old were you when you were taught these ideas. You see, Darwinism is not a 100% “scientifically” proven theory, is it?
And let me make it clear here, when you say that certain things develop or change as natural (unplanned) outgrowths of those that existed before, in contrast to beliefs that these things are fixed and, somewhat, immutable, then I am against it almost totally. i can not accept that a certain creature, a certain type of fish say, was something totally different than the same type we have today.
Opposed to your stance my friend, I think you should re-read, the verses which you say supports evolution (if you mean the same evolution I am talking about) Because contrary to what you said, the verses are there which proves that all living things were created the way they are.
BUT, I have no objection at all to accept, which I do, that some creatures undergo “mutations” but in an (unplanned) way, NO, I am sorry I cannot buy that.
Also, if the idea of the “strongest survives” is implanted in this theory, again, I cannot buy it.

H

40. Moataz Emam - June 9, 2007

“a 100% “scientifically” proven theory”

“I am against it almost totally”

“i can not accept ”

“I cannot buy that.”

Hatim, my high energy physicist friend: Do you hear yourself?
🙂

41. Moataz Emam - June 9, 2007

One more thing to Hatim:
When you say:
“Simply, it was “scientifically” proven that this theory [evolution] is %100 wrong”
This is such a strong statement.
Would you please provide me with a reference? Papers, books, conferences etc?

42. dorigo - June 9, 2007

Hi all,

as I said already, I feel unqualified to talk in favor of the evolutionary theory here, so I avoid commenting here further. However, I note that a compromising position is unreachable on this issue. So let’s leave ID supporters with their god and their rituals, incense and kneeing in a direction tangential to the Earth’s surface. I am not quite interested in their ideas.

Cheers,
T.

43. Hatim Hegab - June 9, 2007

Dorigo,

I those who knee in a direction tangential to the earth’s surface do this because they believe and this is their way to pray to their God, I can only say that they should be respected and not being laughed at, they are not insane people.

Moataz,

The theory I mean, as I said, is your example, the aristotelian example, not the Darwinism. As I said, it is not a %100 proven theory, so do not ask people to embrace it, at least for now. I also said I accept and believe mutations happen, but in an “unplanned” way, NO, not accepted. I hope I am clear now.

44. Hatim Hegab - June 9, 2007

Doirgo,

What is the meaning of Diffusion?

H

45. dorigo - June 9, 2007

Hi Hatim,

I have no ambition to tell believers how to behave, and they should likewise leave me and my twisted sense of humor alone. I am free to laugh at whatever I find hilarious, and if you do not like that, well, it’s your problem, not mine. Respect has nothing to do with humor.

Cheers,
T.

PS as to what is the meaning of diffusion, I think you can find a better answer than what I can give by consulting webster or other sources. I think it is quite clear what I mean in my post, please do not carry on with this discussion here: it is clear we feel differently on the issue.

T.

46. Hatim Hegab - June 9, 2007

😦

47. jeff - June 9, 2007

From a cartoon I found on web (but cann’t make out author)

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
A professor to a student. “Here are the facts. What conclusions can we draw from them?”

THE CREATIONIST METHOD
A professor to a student. “Here’s the conclusion. What facts can we find to support it?

48. Moataz Emam - June 10, 2007

“THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
A professor to a student. “Here are the facts. What conclusions can we draw from them?”

THE CREATIONIST METHOD
A professor to a student. “Here’s the conclusion. What facts can we find to support it?”

EXCELLENT!
I totally agree. This is very accurate.

But then on another hand. As a religious person and a scientist, I honestly do not and have never seen any contradiction between the two. Also Hatim: I will have to disagree with you (again). Unplanned mutations do not necessarily contradict God. In my view God does not quite plan and do things the way humans do. This is the matter of applying our logic to Him. By itself this is a problematic topic. Consider the following:

Whether or not you believe some sort of God exists you will have to concede that the very definition of God (even if he doesn’t exist we can still define him!) is that He (or She🙂 ) is the creator of everything. Most people forget that mathematics, space, time and logic itself are “things” and as such are part of the creation. Now God (again it doesn’t matter if you believe or not, I am simply trying to extend a thought to its conclusion) having created everything, can exist without his creation, which means that he is not subject to any of his creation. For example, God is not confined in spacetime and one cannot ask questions like “how big is he” or “how old”.
Conclusion: God is illogical! This does not mean he doesn’t exist, it simply means that whatever logical argument you make about him may not be necessarily true, as logic is one of his creation!
Now, saying that “God designed and planned the universe” is a logical argument being applied to God, which means it can neither be true nor false.

When it comes to a being as indescribable as the creator, saying that he had a finite number of options (planned everything, didn’t plan everything) is tantamount to confining an essentially infinite being (absolutely infinite in a Cantorian sense) to a finite box.

Philosophy is not my best suite, so I am not sure if I managed to explain myself clearly.
🙂

Peace to all …

49. David - June 10, 2007

Adnan Oktar says in his interview with international media reporters: “Guys there is really no evolution” This is the brief explanation of Adnan Oktar’s speech. I admire his honesty and yesterday I read an article about Adnan Oktar in Washington Times’ front page. Adnan Oktar says “We will not deceive ourselves that scientists have a monopoly on truth,” This is the naked truth behind the curtain. I support Adnan Oktar. Anybody who wonders Adnan Oktar’s ideas can watch his interview from youtube. here is the url

50. jeff - June 10, 2007

David.
good for you.
Dishonesty and deception. Those have always been the deepest evils of the world. But things are getting worse. Hope you live up to your own standards.

51. charles soper - June 10, 2007

Here’s still hoping for a more empirical response to my questions about abiogenesis – so far lots of noise, not so much substance. Looks like we’re dealing with believers on both sides to me – only one side isn’t so keen to own up to its assumptions – and seems strangely reluctant to grapple with difficult objective data. It’s a pity to resort to abuse instead of proper argument – and rather demeans the writers who use it.

Perhaps (if Tomasso will permit), I could just add a few sample awkward questions from another field: this time from human evolution.

Why does Leakey’s skull and femur KNM-ER 170 & 1481 dated c.1.9 Mya (Homo rudolfensis) have a normal Broca’s area for speech (Dean Falk and Ralph Holloway’s unusually concur on this) (1)
Why is it not possible to distinguish Australian homo erectus morphology and modern specimens by mtDNA lineage? (2)
Why are Neanderthal morphology and modern human skeletons found buried together? (3) Why did the Selenka expedition find a normal human molar in beds deeper than Dubois’ Pithecanthropus (h erectus), and charcoal and modern gastropods at the same levels.The data suggest h erectus is a normal human variant. (4,5)

1 AnthroQuest, Leakey Foundation, no 43,’91:13.
2 Adcock G. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan 16;98(2):537-42.
3 Corruccini RS.Am J Phys Anthropol. 1992 Apr;87(4):433-45.
4 Theunissen, L. Eugène Dubois and the Ape-Man from Java, Springer, 2006, 164.
5 MacCurdy, G. Human Origins, NY, Appleton & Co, 1924, 127.
(an especially telling contemporaneous comment)

My promised avalanche of confouding molecular biological data is still to come if there’s interest.

52. Ed Darrell - June 10, 2007

Hey, Soper, you’re not sticking to the topic. Evolution theory does not included (and never has included) origins of life. If you wish to claim that abiogenesis shouldn’t be taught, make a case on that point — but in any case, abiogenesis is not evolution.

Darwin himself gave credit for creation of life to someone or something that “breathed” life “into one form or many.” The point is simple: Evolution is what we observe in living things today; regardless how life got started, evolution exists.

You’re way out in left field on abiogenesis, too — I’d recommend you get to the astrobiology site at NASA’s web and spend a few weeks reading the material there.

53. Ed Darrell - June 10, 2007

Soper, I’m not sure that Neanderthal and H. sapiens are found buried together — but the simple fact is that the two species occupied much of the same territory for at least 50,000 years, from the Trans-Jordan area across the northern tier of the Mediterranean into Europe. The last stand of Neanderthal appears to have been on Gibralter about 50,000 years ago. It might be expected that burial sites might get mixed, but I can’t find any such references. There is also very little evidence of hybridizing between the two species (though there is some).

But what’s your point? Earlier somebody asked for “the missing link,” rather ignoring that we have 20 distinct species of hominid between our last common ancestor with chimpanzees and modern humans. The “link” isn’t missing — there are at least 20 species known, and probably at least a few more to be known, as well as dozens of species that never fossilized.

How much weight of evidence does it take to convince someone who refuses to be convinced?

Here, get some real data, from real scientists, in real science journals: http://www.nature.com/nature/ancestor/index.html

54. Ed Darrell - June 10, 2007

Why would anyone support Adnan Oktar when his ideas are completely sterile so far as research?

Get a grip, people! Evolution theory is essential to the treatment of diabetes. Evolution theory undergirds our war against cancer.

Oktar pretends otherwise? What a charlatan.

55. Ed Darrell - June 10, 2007

You see, Darwinism is not a 100% “scientifically” proven theory, is it?

It would be more accurate to say 100% of the attempts to disprove evolution have failed.

Good heavens! Where and how do you think we got modern beef, when we know the aurochs has been extinct for a thousand years? If evolution doesn’t exist, then neither can broccoli, nor Brussells sprouts, nor radishes — all bred from mustard. If evolution doesn’t exist, one flu shot would serve you for a lifetime. If evolution doesn’t exist, drug-resistant tuberculosis wouldn’t be in all the U.S. newspapers right now.

Do no creationists ever think about what they’re saying?

The evidence for evolution is quite overwhelming. Failing to understand it is not an excuse. Failure to document each molecule of water doesn’t mean the tide doesn’t come in.

Here, check this: http://www.hhmi.org/genesweshare/e120.html

And even simpler and more direct, go here:
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

56. Fred - June 10, 2007

And the band played on while the pirate ship moored. Each and every one of us deserve a flogging because we enjoy shooting from the hip. It is also heartening to see other cultures enter into the fray and I hope they will not be offended by the frequent bluntness of this site’s discourse. A special award has to go to Hatim’s perfectly succinct response at #46. Charles, sadly (because your arguments are passionate and sincere), you are not going to get a more empirical response here or anywhere else. Your brilliant tosses of magician’s dust cloud our vision of your understanding of evolution because knowledge can be constructed with facts to disprove anything, including life itself. Ed is over here, building walls around and through many of you faster than a master mason armed with incentive-heavy contracts. Creationism, a theory evolved by humans, is built on faith, historic action and words, so we are not going to convince anyone about anything. Many of us don’t embrace any religion or ism, we’re too busy just trying to enjoy life, survive, beg for mercy and not kill each other, hopefully with the love and help of our neighbors. Until God shows up in the Great Big Sky with the Big Megaphone (um, we certainly won’t see that in our lifetime and it definitely won’t be premiered on the Web), we are on our own. But the biggest and funniest joke is on Tommaso because he tried to kill the snake twice and it keeps on hissing and writhing, and certainly not in pain.

p.s. Ed, I thought you were sworn to secrecy concerning the death of the aurochs? Now who are we supposed to build a bonfire for, Mean Mr. Mustard and The Broccoli Heads?

57. dorigo - June 10, 2007

Yes, Fred. I think I will not post about creationism/evolutionism here any more, it is too hot a topic for this rather laid back, calm blog.

I take the opportunity to apologize if I said anything that offended or disturbed anybody, or if I seemed to show disrespect for other ideas.

Cheers,
T.

58. Frank Stadbury - June 10, 2007

I was really startled seeing you fear any teaching of creationism in schools? OK then, but where is the democracy and liberality our European “humanity” has been talking about for years? Why forbid reading any books in schools? Are we in the Middle Ages? I am afraid so…

Before making a judgment on any issue, I guess educated people should see what both sides are trying to explain. We should be evaluating the facts put forward by both ideas in order to decide which one we should choose.

Adnan Oktar, in his press conferences broadcast on YouTube, frequently emphasizes that he is open to all ideas and he would respect the atheists, communists and also Darwinists. He is saying that all different ideas should be discussed freely and there should not be any bans against thinking and discussing. Now, this is the actual and practical way of being democrat and liberal. In this case Adnan Oktar is much more democrat and liberal than most of us.

59. Mark - June 10, 2007

In the book Atlas of Creation by Harun Yahya and at Museums all over the world, it is possible to see fossils dating back to millions of years. These fossils, belong to various species from insects to reptiles and mammals to fish. Do you know what these fossils all have in common?

“They have not changed even a bit and they exactly have the same form since the date of their presence on the earth.” Why not accept this fact and see that evolution is really not happening at all. Why are we indoctrinated in schools and in the media with Darwinism in a systematic way?

Science should be based on evidence and where is the evidence of transitional forms? Up to now, Archaeopteryx, Piltdown Man, Coelacanth, the so-called intermediaries were understood to be all forgeries? Who can establish a theory on forgery?

I congratulate Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya) on his courage, in standing up against this deceit which has blurred all minds in the last century. Rather than oppose him, I think the media should asap try to understand his implicit and impressive words…

60. Alan - June 10, 2007

First of all for a theory to be accepted it has to be proven true, not the other way round. Any fool could put forward a theory and then claim that if you cant prove the contrary you should accept it. Besides in case of Evolution, the contrary has many many times been proved for the eyes that can see. Every single fossil that has been digged out to the sunlight refutes the claims of evolution. The fossils declare themselves to be created with their perfect state as they are today millions of years ago. The fossils which were once the only hope Darwinists had to prove their claims, had definetely crashed the theory. Charles Darwin himself said if his theory were true the layers of earth should have been bursting out fossils of intermediate forms.That didnt happen, not a single intermediate form had ever been found. I of course do not count the forged ones.They only prove the desperate state of the theory. However once this fact is surfaced one should not be overwhelmed with the panic Darwinists are in nowadays. The play that was on for years is finaly over. The age of believing without questioning is going to be over as Mr.Oktar said in his press conference.

61. jeff - June 10, 2007

I fear this is so typical of discussions between people that are not open at all. What offends me the most is the dishonesty of those that say that all ideas should be listened too.

Words of advice: when you come across a religious or ideological person that says that he respects all ideas then, according to circumstances, put your hand on your wallet, never give them your back, and especially don’t bend over when taking a shower.
I get really pissed when I hear and read those that want to discuss all ideas openly when in truth they are not open at all. It is the paradox of democracy that there are people that are not at all democratic and that can take advantage of freedom of speech and can “take power”. It happend before and it WILL happen again. It only a matter of time. Every generation has to rediscover what is worth fighting for.

Jeff

p.s. MARK take care of your self and do not do to others what you don’t want others to do to you.

62. jeff - June 10, 2007

ALAN
you said
“First of all for a theory to be accepted it has to be proven true, not the other way round. Any fool could put forward a theory and then claim that if you cant prove the contrary you should accept it.”

ALAN. Scientific theories are never proven! Its not like provin a theorem in math! Good theories make predictions and claims that can in principle be disproven. They take risks. A theory that is too vague is not a good theory. It is scientifically useless. Regards the theory you are in love with, ask yourself what it would take to make you change your mind. If nothing can change your mind then you are not being scientific. That may be just fine. But you are not being scientific. That “theory” might be uselful to you and to your community as it makes you happy and makes you feel you safe in this strange universe, but it is scientifically useless.

63. dorigo - June 10, 2007

Jeff, very well said. Thank you for your stand on this. Of course it is a lost cause to try and argue with people who, as you correctly point out, have faith in something and so are utterly unable to change their mind in any way.

Cheers,
T.

64. sahver aydin - June 10, 2007

Yes of course in Turkey, indeed more than 75 % of the high school students do not believe this theory of evolution. The works by Mr Adnan Oktar serve as a symposium of intelligence that lightens the brains, pour comfort in the hearts. We are hopeful about our children’s future because they have the great opportunity to read this valuable author’s books, watch his documentary films.

65. dorigo - June 10, 2007

Another attempt at bringing this useless debate to an end: as Garrison puts it in South Park, “you are the result of a series of a°°-°°°°s between monkeys and squirrel-fish”.

Cheers all,
T:

66. Ed Darrell - June 11, 2007

Adnan Oktar, in his press conferences broadcast on YouTube, frequently emphasizes that he is open to all ideas and he would respect the atheists, communists and also Darwinists.

And we “Darwinists” will respect arguments from murders, robbers, burglars, arsonists, embezzlers and creationists, too — but we give credence to arguments backed by facts. If you think my argument a bit skewed, is it any more skewed than Oktar’s? And do you understand a little bit better that his entire case is built on emotionalism, fraud (and farce), and not on facts?

Hey, if you’re tired of discussing the topic here, if it’s too hot, c’mon over to my blog, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. Do a search for “intelligent design” and start posting away. I doubt any creationists will be convinced quickly, but the facts are, as Ronald Reagan used to say, very stubborn things. Evolution is good theory. Creationism/intelligent design is not theory at all.

67. Ed Darrell - June 11, 2007

Every single fossil that has been digged out to the sunlight refutes the claims of evolution.

You’re joking, right? That’s satire — right?

Human fossils: http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/projects/human/
Whale fossils (for kids!):
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/classification/Whalefossils.shtml
Fossils in Australia, and evolution:
http://www.cap.nsw.edu.au/bb_site_intro/secondary_modules/Evolution/index.htm

68. jeff - June 13, 2007

Hi guys
here is an interesting book that I am reading.
“Breaking the Spell” by Daniel C. Dennet, 2006, Viking Penguin.
I am reading it in italian
“Rompere l’incantesimo: la relgione come fenomeno naturale”, Editore Raffaello Cortina, collana SCIENZA E IDEE, 32 Euro.

I will read it two times before even thinking of attempting a review. It is a fast and fun read but it is so full of non-banal ideas and I am in fibrillation. Because of the book? Well I did forget to take my medication

69. charles soper - June 13, 2007

Ed,
why dodge the questions about abiogenesis – problem with the data perhaps?
It’s completely novel to claim it’s not part of evolution – Dawkins, Riddell, Dobzhansky all start their books with it.
Of course it may be embarrassing to maintaining a historical fiction to have to also defend outright fantasy – but it’s one whole package.

Now, the answer to my questions,O hard nosed empiricist? Or take back what you have claimed.

70. charles soper - June 13, 2007

Now Ed,
As to the issues about human evolution, I don’t think most people would claim that the four references I cited (#51 )are not ‘real data, from real scientists, in real science journals’.
Nor am I claiming that any of them are written by creationists, I am claiming that all is not rosy, when for example new data like the mitochondrial DNA analyses of the homo erectus from Kow Swamp – turn out to be indistinguishable from modern specimens!
There are many other similar examples of serious problems with present constructs – some of which I have cited.

By the way, I couldn’t agree with Jeff (# 61) more – it’s embarrassing how religious evolutionists have become.

71. charles soper - June 13, 2007

Now I have promised more on molecular biological problems for evolution, if there’s interest, but I would like to return to one other key statement by Ed Darrell.

‘“Evolutionary minded theologians?” What a bizarre claim, completely unsupported by any facts.’

It is amply documented that social Darwinism, one of the main roots of Nazi racism, its eugenic program, and the euthanasia of the handicapped and infirm (strangely recurring again now), arose as a consequence of the largely unopposed and credulous acceptance of Darwinism. One of the principle culprits were foolish theologians who sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. As Chaucer says, ‘when the gold rusts what shall the iron do’, or to paraphrase Jeremiah wrote, ‘they have rejected the word of the Lord and what wisdom is in them?’. If the Bible is a pack of myths – throw it out – don’t pretend to follow it and couple it with an antithetical philosophy, ie evolution. Even Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog, despaired of the shallow naivety of ‘evolutionary minded theologians’ of his last days. If on the other hand, neo Darwinism is simply pseudo-science masking profound ant-theistic prejudice, don’t pander to popularity, expose it and its vile moral consequences.
The truth is all important.

One reason why archaeology is vital here is because it bears directly on the veracity of the Bible, and as an empirical test of the two camps (opponents and proponents of Darwin). As a general principle those who base a thesis on opposing the testimony of Scripture, decades later regretted it, when the evidence of the sands have belied them – the examples I alluded to above are a small selection of some illustrations of this.

72. dorigo - June 13, 2007

Charles,
I respect your obvious knowledge of the field, slightly less your attempt at winning arguments on whether evolution is a good paradigm or a failed theory.
In particle physics we have a model, which we call Standard, which allows us to calculate observable quantities, to set up experiments, to test our understanding of the phenomenology. We know it is insufficient, and we know it is incomplete – it must be! It will one day be modified and incorporated in a more general one which includes gravity, explains several problems, and hopefully lets us understand more of our world. It is a theory, and -as Jeff explained very well- a theory cannot be proven right, but nonetheless it forms the basis of our beliefs to continue exploring, which is the right way to go in science.
In Cosmology there also is a “Standard Model”, and it is much more controversial in its assumptions, in its conclusions, and in the data it explains and fits and in those it discards. But it is just as much a good working hypothesis. There are other theories there, and they also are, to some extent, good alternative hypotheses. The situation in Cosmology is much more open, if you will. But scientists do not concentrate on the weak spots of the standard model, rather they try to show the strong points of alternative explanations. That is the correct way to do science.
On the issue of abiogenesis -admittedly a weak point of evolutionism-, matters are made to diverge from a sane scientific method by the fact that those who dislike the theory of evolution feel they know the answer already because of their religious beliefs, and do not counter the theory with an alternative, but stick to criticizing its weak points, failing to understand that a theory cannot be killed by arguing on what it does not explain, but rather on what it does explain best.
You seem to like the scientific method, so please stop arguing and if you have a good idea on how to disprove conclusively the theory of evolution, please go ahead and publish it. Arguing on the weak spots does not help a lot the progress of science, instead. Start arguing on how viruses evolve, for instance. Disproving that would break new ground.
Cheers,
T.

73. charles soper - June 13, 2007

‘”Get a grip, people! Evolution theory is essential to the treatment of diabetes. Evolution theory undergirds our war against cancer.”‘ #54

A more profound deficiency of understanding of how little role evolution really plays in medical research (either in strategic direction or in predicting useful avenues) I have not read anywhere. It’s interesting expecially that of all people particle physicists, who rely on theoretical models, on the value of maths and symmetry in guiding their thinking, not to have noticed how impoverished evolution is particularly in this respect.

(Sorry to hog the page for a short while, Tomasso, though I guess you’ve given up on us by now).

enlightened one - February 17, 2010

My friend has a PhD in physics and thinks that evolution is a bunch of bullshit theoretically and practically.

Creationism, however does have strong support from physics by the very fact that we now know that the universe had a beginning (big bang) and will have an end (something that was denied by “scientists” that theorized that the world has always been around, and always will be around).

Furthermore, modern molecular biology and genetics (documentation of the human genome for example) prove that life is much more complicated than pure randomness, which Darwinism professes.

Saying that humans just came into existence by chance and randomness, would be akin to saying that a Rolex could be made by shaking a box filled with sand for 4 billion years, only the human being is infinitely more complex than a Rolex.

74. charles soper - June 13, 2007

Apologies I wrote while you posted.
Darwin and Dawkins defined the test of evolution, the test has been met many times.
Here’s my own example
http://www.geocities.com/csoper.geo/mechanism.pdf

It has been sent to 10 renal physiologists, of international reputation, about half cordially replied, none with material solutions, some added to the problems I had raise. I was encouraged to publish it by the editor in chief of Kidney International, but I had a curiously contradictory response from two reviewers.

Here is Dawkins’ reply to it, in its original more concise form.

http://www.geocities.com/csoper.geo/dawkins.htm
Please note that he rehearses his unswerving faith.

75. Ed Darrell - June 13, 2007

Soper sez:

Ed,
why dodge the questions about abiogenesis – problem with the data perhaps?
It’s completely novel to claim it’s not part of evolution – Dawkins, Riddell, Dobzhansky all start their books with it.
Of course it may be embarrassing to maintaining a historical fiction to have to also defend outright fantasy – but it’s one whole package.

Now, the answer to my questions,O hard nosed empiricist? Or take back what you have claimed.

My point, Charles, which you fail to address in any form, is that evolution occurs regardless how life began. Darwin, as I pointed out and you pointedly fear to answer, assumed that God breathed life onto the Earth. Evidence of evolution is quite overwhelming, regardless how life got started, spontaneously, with a push from aliens intending to farm the plane, with an accidental push from aliens, or with the direct intervention of a deity.

Now, Charles, quit hurling insults and answer arguments.

Abiogenesis? What is there to fear. We now know that the essential, complex chemicals required for life on Earth spontaneously assemble where conditions are ripe — such as, almost everywhere on this planet. Our telescopes also reveal that these complex chemicals occur throughout the universe. So we know the essential chemicals of life require no divine intervention to get going.

The toughest part of abiogenesis was thought to be the creation of a cell membrane. Sidney Fox conducted experiments that show such membranes also spontaneously form, in conditions that are present in many places on the Earth. Fox stopped short of saying he created life, but we’ve had to scramble to define life to exclude what has already been created in the lab. Fox’s protocells spontaneously form, consume nutrients from the environment, exhibit motility, and reproduce themselves.

What part of abiogenesis is it you claim has not been demonstrated in the lab, Charles?

So, if you wish to include abiogenesis as something that needs to be demonstrated, we can probably meet that challenge. Evolution theory, however, does not include abiogenesis, and your religious qualms about it aside — I assume you fear what happens to your faith when you understand we can create life — it is not a disproof of evolution in any way.

Quite the contrary, there is absolutely no evidence of divine intervention anywhere at any time in the creation of life. We know that human pregnancies do not require divine intervention — otherwise, we’d have to assume that each and every pregnancy, especially those out of wedlock, were God-blessed and God-intended. That would mean that any stigma we attach to such pregnancies would be actions contrary to the will of God.

So, since all the evidence — and there is much of it — supports abiogenesis, why in the world would bother to make an argument there? Clearly you didn’t bother to check out Astrobiology Magazine as I recommended.

My claim is that you are ill-informed, and that you’re spreading misinformation. Empirically, that’s relatively easy to demonstrate.

Now, do you have any empirical claims to make against evolution? Offer citations next time.

76. charles soper - June 13, 2007

Dear Ed,
I’d be quite flattered to be called a hard nosed empricist, I don’t think that’s in the least insulting!
The questions you need to answer are in post 38 – no they haven’t been demonstrated to the best of my knowledge in any lab anywhere, yet. Prove I’m wrong.
The rest of what you have written is opinion.

77. Ed Darrell - June 13, 2007

Charles, you’re not making arguments. You’re hurling bizarre claims, and clipping citations. From your post, #51, above:

Why does Leakey’s skull and femur KNM-ER 170 & 1481 dated c.1.9 Mya (Homo rudolfensis) have a normal Broca’s area for speech (Dean Falk and Ralph Holloway’s unusually concur on this) (1)
Why is it not possible to distinguish Australian homo erectus morphology and modern specimens by mtDNA lineage? (2)
Why are Neanderthal morphology and modern human skeletons found buried together? (3) Why did the Selenka expedition find a normal human molar in beds deeper than Dubois’ Pithecanthropus (h erectus), and charcoal and modern gastropods at the same levels.The data suggest h erectus is a normal human variant. (4,5)

1 AnthroQuest, Leakey Foundation, no 43,’91:13.
2 Adcock G. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan 16;98(2):537-42.
3 Corruccini RS.Am J Phys Anthropol. 1992 Apr;87(4):433-45.
4 Theunissen, L. Eugène Dubois and the Ape-Man from Java, Springer, 2006, 164.
5 MacCurdy, G. Human Origins, NY, Appleton & Co, 1924, 127.
(an especially telling contemporaneous comment)

1. Why shouldn’t an old hominid have a “normal” Broca’s area? This would present no problem for evolution. But if you look again at your sources, you’ll see that there is no claim that the Broca’s area in H. rudolfensis is the same as modern humans, only that it is developed to the point we might believe the creature used it for communication.

Is it necessary for me to explain that no femur has a Broca’s area? Recheck your KNM numbers, if you would, and figure out whether you’re arguing that legs have brains, or just what your claim is that would make such evidence a problem for evolution. As you know, these hominids demonstrate gradual modifications between an ancient proto-ape and modern humans. You’ve not pointed to anything that would not comfortably fit on such a continuum, and your reference to Broca’s areas in femurs is just baffling.

2. We can’t distinguish much for most fossil humans on mtDNA bases, Charles, because we can’t get DNA of any sort from stone. We can’t distinguish T. rex from modern humans on mtDNA, for the same reason. What is your point?

3. Modern humans and Neandertal are sometimes found buried together because they lived together. Best evidence is that for at least 50,000 years, from the Fertile Crescent through Europe, Homo sapiens and Homo Neanderthalensis lived alongside each other. It also appears there was not a lot of interbreeding, suggesting again that they were very much distinct species.

Did you have a point to that claim? Is there some mystery there that you think suggests a problem with evolution theory? Evolution theory tells us that similar species will live alongside each other for a long time, until some event causes a selection between them. In fact, we should expect to find several instances where contemporary species of hominids lived in the same area. You highlight one.

4. I’m wholly unaware of any Selenka expedition and any odd find from it. If indeed it found a modern human molar in beds dated older than those Dubois worked, all it suggests is that hominids were there long before. As you know, tooth identification can be treacherous to non-experts.

Let’s assume your claim is correct: So what? What possible problem would such a find pose for human evolution, or for evolution theory generally? Such a find only serves to emphasis the ragged nature of evolution. What’s your point?

Debates about where to draw the line between H. erectus and the next species are old, and probably will continue. So what?

78. Ed Darrell - June 13, 2007

I said earlier: ‘”Get a grip, people! Evolution theory is essential to the treatment of diabetes. Evolution theory undergirds our war against cancer.”‘ #54

Charles Soper responded:

A more profound deficiency of understanding of how little role evolution really plays in medical research (either in strategic direction or in predicting useful avenues) I have not read anywhere. It’s interesting expecially that of all people particle physicists, who rely on theoretical models, on the value of maths and symmetry in guiding their thinking, not to have noticed how impoverished evolution is particularly in this respect.

(Sorry to hog the page for a short while, Tomasso, though I guess you’ve given up on us by now).

If there is some profound misunderstanding there, Charles, you missed it? What misunderstanding? As you know, diabetes’ cause was discovered through a simple application of basic evolution theory (all mammals are related, including the dogs to whom diabetes was caused by surgery); the original, successful insulin treatments for diabetes are based on the same science (bovine insulin); and the new treatments — using e. coli to manufacture human insulin — are based on genetic engineering that was made possible through applied evolutionary theory, and works extremely well because of quirks of evolution.

Of course, when I mention this string of discoveries that keeps several hundreds of thousands of Americans and a few millions worldwide alive today, you hand wave, claim that I misunderstand.

I understand that you will deny any evidence presented. You’re only making that clear. Others may see through your ruse.

Evolutionary medicine is vitally important today. Randolph Nesse can acquaint you with the issues, if you’ve missed them previously: http://tinyurl.com/3yvd9p

79. jeff - June 13, 2007

Guys this discussions is heavy.

A Joke. (I ask forgiveness in advance)
In an inter-religious convention, a catholic priest, a mullah and a rabbi from New York make friends. The last evening together, after dinner, they tell each other the moment in their lives when they realized they had a mission in life.

The priest tells of when he was just a boy, not yet a man, on a fishing ship. A terrible storm caught the ship far out at sea. The sky and sea were black, the waves like mountains, the boat quickly filling with water, the radio broken, the grown expert men and the captain were all crying and praying for their souls. He too started praying the Virgin Mary to save him when, even before he could finish the prayer, SUDDENLY, right where they were, the wind stopped, the waves calmed, the sky opened, while all around the furious storm continued to spin. They were safe! Impressed by miracle, and the efficiency of the Virgin, he decided to dedicate his life to Christ and the Virgin Mary.

The mullah and rabbi look at each other, and only a malicious person would have noticed an almost imperciptible spark of complicity in their eyes after the priest uses the word “miracle”.

The mullah then speaks. He too was just a boy on a caravan in the ocean, not of water but of sand. The caravan was caught in a sudden and violent sand storm, the camels and the men were being burried alive, the sand cut at the skin and eyes, breathing was becoming impossible, and the sound was deafening terrifying all the expert men that lost all hope and cried like children. He lowered his head between his knees, covered his face and prayed Allah to have, in paradise, a modest oasis with a fresh water pond to heal and rest his soul. Just as he finished the throught, SUDDENLY, right where they were, the wind stopped, the sand stopped torturing them, the sky opened, all while about the furious sand storm continued to spin. They were safe! Humbled by the will of God, he decided to dedicate his life to teaching his faith.

The rabbi leans over with his elbows on the table and tells his story with a soft voice. It was sabbath and he was slowly strolling in Central Park. He noticed a black briefcase behind a bush. He cautiously looked about, saw no one, and took some time to decide to move close to it. Checking again that he was alone he quickly stooped and…. opened it! It was full of 100 dollar bills! “It must be a million!”. But it was sabbath. He was feeling guilt for touching it, for opening it, but couldn’t resist a flod of thoughts of what good he could have done with such a sum. He could have restored the synagogue, he could have taken his parants, his WHOLE family to Jerusalem, he could have…. He shouldn’t even have been thinking of things he could DO on sabbath! He was torn by these dilemmas when SUDDENLY, right where he was, it was FRIDAY, all while sabbath was spinning around him.

80. Ed Darrell - June 14, 2007

Soper, Dawkins handed you, on a silver tray, a great idea for a publication. Have you checked with Nilsson and Pelger about whether they could do a computer analysis for you of the potential for evolution?

81. charles soper - June 15, 2007

Dear Ed,

Forgive me I haven’t given you an instant reply – I have work away from my desk. I appreciate the time you’ve given at least to reading Dawkins’ reply to my paper.

First, I note you’re still not addressing difficult questions about abiogenesis – not that I blame you that much – they are quite impossible. Discussing the formation of membranes is a trifle premature, even though it is yet another seemingly insoluble obstacle, it’s a little like examining the building a a space station when the jet motor hasn’t yet been devised. If you can’t synthesise pyrimidine nucleotides, retain cytosine in a stable condition, combine bases and sugars after separate synthesis, prevent phosphate precipitating, attain perfect chirality etc etc- you haven’t even begun the journey to the Alpha Centauri (a self replicating, self reparing entity) you dream of! This isn’t science, it looks very much like fantasy. Your allusion to the involvement of aliens reinforces that impression rather! (Incidentally I’ve seen NASA’s site and used it several times before now – it has some value, but it has a rather ideological flavour to it, a little like the ageing SETI program)

The questions about human evolution are a small selection of some serious problems, I can add plenty of others, that show there are fundamental flaws with the paradigm.

1. A full developed Broca’s area suggests speech (and yes, as a practising physician I was aware it’s not located in the femur! (you’re right of course that 1481 refers to the femur). The terminology in fact is now a little obsolete, but the anthropologists still use it). That is very odd in homo erectus, as opposed to h. sapiens (the wise). The claim is in the analysis by Dean Falk and Ralph Holloway, who are not exactly card carrying creationists! – Leaky’s reference is already given.

2. DNA analysis is sometimes possible, though I agree it’s difficult and often fragmentary. When it is, it’s highly unusual to find such close homology between ancient morphology homo erectus and moddern specimens that they were indistinguishable. The authors of the paper gently state, ‘Our results indicate that anatomically modern humans were present in Australia before the complete fixation of the mtDNA lineage now found in all living people. Sequences from additional ancient humans may further challenge current concepts of modern human origins.’

3 Do Jews and Palestinians consent to be buried together, or Turks and Armenians? It’s very odd then that Neanderthals and humans were, and it suggests more than occasional social intercourse – it makes it extremely unlikely they were reproductively isolated (which I accept you allow at least rarely).

As to N and P’s paper – I had read it after seeing it in Dawkins’ Mt Improbable, before his prompting. It’s hardly the most compelling piece of data I’ve read, looks like a series of statistical guesswork and hopeful assumptions – I certainly wouldn’t trust a program like that for real time medical problems – it would be negligence to do so.

OK, Ed, if evolution is so important strategically, give one single clear example of medical research that could not have been undertaken on the basis of the ideas of Darwin’s opponents, the typologists. All researchers know there are homologies between related species- that’s not an evolutionary legacy! Shirley Tilghman spent a lot of breath in 2005 at Oxford University extolling the illuminating power of evolution. She didn’t cite one example of the kind I’ve just sought from you, and a sift through her own papers shows how little evolution has been mentioned in her methods (1,2). It’s looks like a creed that must be rehearsed, but isn’t actually of much practical use – very different to particle physics I think! Actually, it’s often said the counter-evolutionary concept of teleology is the physiologist’s mistress (illegitmate but highly useful).

Likewise Homer Smith, that doyen of American renal physiologists for 8 years opposed the most important conceptual breakthrough in his own field in a long time, largely because of his famous gradualist assumptions, as my paper recalls. Evolution is a blinker, a intellect blinder, not a light.

Now I’m sure Tomasso’s patience and hospitality has been stretched to its limits, I don’t intend to post again, unless it really is valuable to do so.

Best wishes to all, I deeply envy your pursuit of the most basic material truth of all, and wish you well,

1 http://www.princeton.edu/president/speeches/20051201/index.xml

2
http://www.geocities.com/csoper.geo/tilghman.htm

82. dorigo - June 15, 2007

Hi Charles,

this is a public site, and people who does not leave sex link or utter profanities are always welcome to discuss things in the comments columns. I only had to stop my attempts at being part of the discussion, because of obvious lack of the required knowledge. But I read with interest the development of the discussion here.

Cheers,
T.

83. Ed Darrell - June 15, 2007

OK, Ed, if evolution is so important strategically, give one single clear example of medical research that could not have been undertaken on the basis of the ideas of Darwin’s opponents, the typologists.

Just off the top of my head, the search for treatments for HIV/AIDS is impossible without use of the Darwinian paradigm. That the virus evolves so quickly frustrated creation of a vaccine (I was there when HHS Sec. Margaret Heckler predicted the vaccine was just “months” away; very sad, in retrospect). It also frustrates most treatments. Only a model that incorporates rapid evolution (quite the contrary of your paper’s dubious claim about what evolution “assumes,” yes) offered answers that led to cocktails of pharmaceuticals that arrest the progress of the disease — still no cure, still no vaccine.

I’m sure you’re busy, and don’t have a lot of time to read, but let me encourage you still to look at Astrobiology Magazine and the astrobiology site at NASA. Pay particular attention to the work of Andrew Ellington from the University of Texas. Most of your “impossibles” of abiogenesis are demonstrated to be no obstacles at all.

Similarly, look at Nesse’s work. He’s more technical, and should give you some technical, scientific background you ask.

In the interim, here are 13 questions that evolution answers that other models do not, in health care, devised by a high school biology teacher in Austin:

Stephen Bratteng of Austin put this together: Here are questions that evolution can answer, but intelligent design cannot:

13 Questions

1. Why does giving vitamin and mineral supplements to undernourished anemic individuals cause so many of them to die of bacterial infections.
2. Why did Dr. Heimlich have to develop a maneuver to dislodge food particles from people’s wind pipes?
3. Why does each of your eyes have a blind spot and strong a tendency toward retinal detachment? But a squid whose eyesight is just as 10 sharp does not have these flaws?
4. Why are depression and obesity at epidemic levels in the United States.
5. When Europeans came to the Americas, why did 90 percent of the Native Americans die of European diseases but not many Europeans died of American diseases?
6. Why do pregnant women get morning sickness?
7. Why do people in industrialized countries have a greater tendency to get Crohn’s disease and asthma?
8. Why does malaria still kill over a million people each year?
9. Why are so many of the product Depends sold each year.
10. Why do people given antidiarrheal medication take twice as long to recover from dysentery as untreated ones?
11. Why do people of European descent have a fairly high frequency of an allele that can make them resistant to HIV infection?
12. And close to home: Why do older men often have urinary problems?
13. And why do so many people in Austin get cedar fever?

84. enlightened one - February 17, 2010

I won’t talk about myself, but I think that I have more authority and credibility to talk about darwin, biology and psychology than 99% of you. You deny God because of feelings of self grandeur, failing to realize that as mortals your existence in the scope of eternity and all that exists is not even worth mentioning. Salvation and greatness are only achievable through eternal life in Christ.

Darwin and his ilk were open satan worshipers, NWO (new world order) thugs/cooks that run the world even today. Read into it, it’s no secret. He believed in a “god”, but not in Jesus Christ (the only true God). He believed in the false god, satan (the one that is present on the US $1 bill). These are simple facts, but they are lost in all the garbage that we are fed by corporate media & NWO “enLIGHTENED” (ie luceferian) educational system, all of which are also run by powerful NWO satanists.

The way satanists operate is, they will give you a heap of truth, appear truthful and sincere, but they will also instill fundamental lies to further their own cause.

In short, Christ is God and the only path to the light and truth are through Him alone.


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