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Old 08-21-2005, 08:01 PM   #181
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Heh, that's a very well-written piece.

Luckily, one of the first things my biology teacher said to us (while going over the cirriculum) was, "Yes, we will be studying evolution this year, and no that's not a bad word. If you like you can bring your preacher, your rabbi, your dad, whoever, and we can have a nice little conversation where I'll explain how evolution can fit with any religious belief you choose to follow." I think I like her....she also showed us how to light up a pickle...yeah that was pretty cool...
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Old 08-21-2005, 08:11 PM   #182
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Originally posted by melon
Australia got all the convicts and America got all the religious fanatics.

Melon
I think OZ got the better deal.
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Old 08-21-2005, 11:41 PM   #183
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Australia got all the convicts and America got all the religious fanatics.

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Which one would be the result of inbreeding / Adam and Eve? And before someone either reports me or rolls their eyes, keep in mind that it is the church who started this 'we began from 2 people' caper.
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Old 08-22-2005, 04:12 AM   #184
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NYTimes "Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive"

By JODI WILGOREN
Published: August 21, 2005

SEATTLE - When President Bush plunged into the debate over the teaching of evolution this month, saying, "both sides ought to be properly taught," he seemed to be reading from the playbook of the Discovery Institute, the conservative think tank here that is at the helm of this newly volatile frontier in the nation's culture wars.

After toiling in obscurity for nearly a decade, the institute's Center for Science and Culture has emerged in recent months as the ideological and strategic backbone behind the eruption of skirmishes over science in school districts and state capitals across the country. Pushing a "teach the controversy" approach to evolution, the institute has in many ways transformed the debate into an issue of academic freedom rather than a confrontation between biology and religion.

Mainstream scientists reject the notion that any controversy over evolution even exists...

Financed by some of the same Christian conservatives who helped Mr. Bush win the White House, the organization's intellectual core is a scattered group of scholars who for nearly a decade have explored the unorthodox explanation of life's origins known as intelligent design.

Together, they have mounted a politically savvy challenge to evolution as the bedrock of modern biology, propelling a fringe academic movement onto the front pages and putting Darwin's defenders firmly on the defensive.

Like a well-tooled electoral campaign, the Discovery Institute has a carefully crafted, poll-tested message, lively Web logs - and millions of dollars from foundations run by prominent conservatives like Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, Philip F. Anschutz and Richard Mellon Scaife. The institute opened an office in Washington last fall and in January hired the same Beltway public relations firm that promoted the Contract With America in 1994.

"We are in the very initial stages of a scientific revolution," said the center's director, Stephen C. Meyer, 47, a historian and philosopher of science recruited by Discovery after he protested a professor's being punished for criticizing Darwin in class. "We want to have an effect on the dominant view of our culture."

For the institute's president, Bruce K. Chapman, a Rockefeller Republican turned Reagan conservative, intelligent design appealed to his contrarian, futuristic sensibilities... More student of politics than science geek, Mr. Chapman embraced the evolution controversy as the institute's signature issue precisely because of its unpopularity in the establishment.

"When someone says there's one thing you can't talk about, that's what I want to talk about," said Mr. Chapman, 64.

As much philosophical worldview as scientific hypothesis, intelligent design challenges Darwin's theory of natural selection by arguing that some organisms are too complex to be explained by evolution alone, pointing to the possibility of supernatural influences. While mutual acceptance of evolution and the existence of God appeals instinctively to a faithful public, intelligent design is shunned as heresy in mainstream universities and science societies as untestable in laboratories.

From its nondescript office suites here, the institute has provided an institutional home for the dissident thinkers, pumping $3.6 million in fellowships of $5,000 to $60,000 per year to 50 researchers since the science center's founding in 1996. Among the fruits are 50 books on intelligent design, many published by religious presses like InterVarsity or Crossway, and two documentaries that were broadcast briefly on public television. But even as the institute spearheads the intellectual development of intelligent design, it has staked out safer turf in the public policy sphere, urging states and school boards simply to include criticism in evolution lessons rather than actually teach intelligent design.

Since the presidential election last fall, the movement has made inroads and evolution has emerged as one of the country's fiercest cultural battlefronts, with the National Center for Science Education tracking 78 clashes in 31 states, more than twice the typical number of incidents. Discovery leaders have been at the heart of the highest-profile developments: helping a Roman Catholic cardinal place an opinion article in The New York Times in which he sought to distance the church from evolution; showing its film promoting design and purpose in the universe at the Smithsonian; and lobbying the Kansas Board of Education in May to require criticism of evolution.

These successes follow a path laid in a 1999 Discovery manifesto known as the Wedge Document, which sought "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies" in favor of a "broadly theistic understanding of nature." (italics mine.--echo)

...

Detractors dismiss Discovery as a fundamentalist front and intelligent design as a clever rhetorical detour around the 1987 Supreme Court ruling banning creationism from curriculums. But the institute's approach is more nuanced, scholarly and politically adept than its Bible-based predecessors in the century-long battle over biology.

A closer look shows a multidimensional organization, financed by missionary and mainstream groups - the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides $1 million a year, including $50,000 of Mr. Chapman's $141,000 annual salary - and asserting itself on questions on issues as varied as local transportation and foreign affairs.
...

But even as intelligent design has helped raise Discovery's profile, the institute is starting to suffer from its success. Lately, it has tried to distance itself from lawsuits and legislation that seek to force schools to add intelligent design to curriculums, placing it in the awkward spot of trying to promote intelligent design as a robust frontier for scientists but not yet ripe for students.

The group is also fending off attacks from the left, as critics liken it to Holocaust deniers or the Taliban. Concerned about the criticism, Discovery's Cascadia project, which focuses on regional transportation and is the recipient of the large grant from the Gates Foundation, created its own Web site to ensure an individual identity.

...

In late 1993, Mr. Chapman clipped an essay in The Wall Street Journal by Dr. Meyer, who was teaching at a Christian college in Spokane, Wash., concerning a biologist yanked from a lecture hall for discussing intelligent design. About a year later, over dinner at the Sorrento Hotel here, Dr. Meyer and George Gilder, Mr. Chapman's long-ago Harvard roommate and his writing partner, discovered parallel theories of mind over materialism in their separate studies of biology and economics.

...

That summer of 1995, Mr. Chapman and Dr. Meyer had dinner with a representative of the Ahmansons, the banking billionaires from Orange County, Calif... Dr. Meyer...recalled being asked, "What could you do if you had some financial backing?"

So in 1996, with the promise of $750,000 over three years from the Ahmansons and a smaller grant from the MacLellan Foundation, which supports organizations "committed to furthering the Kingdom of Christ," according to its Web site, the institute's Center for Science and Culture was born.

The institute would not provide details about its backers "because they get harassed," Mr. Chapman said. But a review of tax documents on www.guidestar.org, a Web site that collects data on foundations, showed its grants and gifts jumped to $4.1 million in 2003 from $1.4 million in 1997, the most recent and oldest years available. The records show financial support from 22 foundations, at least two-thirds of them with explicitly religious missions.

There is the Henry P. and Susan C. Crowell Trust of Colorado Springs, whose Web site describes its mission as "the teaching and active extension of the doctrines of evangelical Christianity." There is also the AMDG Foundation in Virginia, run by Mark Ryland, a Microsoft executive turned Discovery vice president: the initials stand for Ad Majorem Dei Glorium, Latin for "To the greater glory of God," which Pope John Paul II etched in the corner of all his papers.

And the Stewardship Foundation, based in Tacoma, Wash., whose Web site says it was created "to contribute to the propagation of the Christian Gospel by evangelical and missionary work," gave the group more than $1 million between 1999 and 2003.

By far the biggest backers of the intelligent design efforts are the Ahmansons, who have provided 35 percent of the science center's $9.3 million since its inception...

"We give for religious purposes," said Thomas H. McCallie III, its executive director. "This is not about science, and Darwin wasn't about science. Darwin was about a metaphysical view of the world."

But the evolution controversy has cost it the support of the Bullitt Foundation, based here, which gave $10,000 in 2001 for transportation, as well as the John Templeton Foundation in Pennsylvania, whose Web site defines it as devoted to pursuing "new insights between theology and science."

Denis Hayes, director of the Bullitt Foundation, described Discovery in an e-mail message as "the institutional love child of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell," saying, "I can think of no circumstances in which the Bullitt Foundation would fund anything at Discovery today."

...

The 40 fellows affiliated with the science center are an eclectic group, including David Berlinski, an expatriate mathematician living in Paris who described his only religion to be "having a good time all the time," and Jonathan Wells, a member of the Unification Church, led by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who once wrote in an essay, "My prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism."

...

Discovery sees the focus on its fellows and financial backers as a diversionary tactic by its opponents. "We're talking about evidence, and they want to talk about us," Dr. Meyer said.

But Philip Gold, a former fellow who left in 2002, said the institute had grown increasingly religious. "It evolved from a policy institute that had a religious focus to an organization whose primary mission is Christian conservatism," he said.

That was certainly how many people read the Wedge Document, a five-page outline of a five-year plan for the science center that originated as a fund-raising pitch but was soon posted on the Internet by critics.

"Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions," the document says. Among its promises are seminars "to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence that support the faith, as well as to 'popularize' our ideas in the broader culture."

Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/21/na...ed=2&th&emc=th

The Wedge Document:
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaver...437/wedge.html
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Old 08-22-2005, 04:28 AM   #185
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The group is also fending off attacks from the left, as critics liken it to Holocaust deniers or the Taliban. Concerned about the criticism, Discovery's Cascadia project, which focuses on regional transportation and is the recipient of the large grant from the Gates Foundation, created its own Web site to ensure an individual identity.
Wow - apparently the taliban reference is much broader that FYMers.
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Old 08-22-2005, 04:36 AM   #186
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I am busting my hump performing a parsimony analysis on gastropods right now in PAUP, I am using ancesteral traits between gastropods and other molluscs to identify the shared traits and it is giving results. This is intuitive stuff and it is able to map it out in front of me when I assign values. This is evolutionary biology and it makes sense!

If you look at these shells you can see it intuitively and if you take the time you can map it out. The similarities in growth patterns, the changes in shell apetures and shape, the environments of each snail, it is all connected.

The best explaination for the gradient of changes (from the round shell of the most basic sea snail to the elaborately extruded and infolded conch shell) is evolution.

Why would an intelligent designer leave a pattern that points so heavily to a history of change, why would they allow the organisms to be changing today, why would they stick vestigal elements on organisms.

Saying it's complex ~ somebody must have invented it is intellectual lazyness when when there is no evidence for such an element and while there is a perfectly testable theory supported by the observed facts.
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Old 08-22-2005, 04:44 AM   #187
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I am busting my hump performing a parsimony analysis on gastropods right now in PAUP, I am using ancesteral traits between gastropods and other molluscs to identify the shared traits and it is giving results. This is intuitive stuff and it is able to map it out in front of me when I assign values. This is evolutionary biology and it makes sense!

If you look at these shells you can see it intuitively and if you take the time you can map it out. The similarities in growth patterns, the changes in shell apetures and shape, the environments of each snail, it is all connected.

The best explaination for the gradient of changes (from the round shell of the most basic sea snail to the elaborately extruded and infolded conch shell) is evolution.

Why would an intelligent designer leave a pattern that points so heavily to a history of change, why would they allow the organisms to be changing today, why would they stick vestigal elements on organisms.

Saying it's complex ~ somebody must have invented it is intellectual lazyness when when there is no evidence for such an element and while there is a perfectly testable theory supported by the observed facts.
Italics--Good point. And one that I'm sure they can't answer to anyone's complete satisfaction.

To me it seems that they are (purposefully) confusing science and philosophy. And it ticks me off.

(Good job on the gastropods. )
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Old 08-22-2005, 08:38 AM   #188
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Originally posted by VertigoGal
Luckily, one of the first things my biology teacher said to us (while going over the cirriculum) was, "Yes, we will be studying evolution this year, and no that's not a bad word. If you like you can bring your preacher, your rabbi, your dad, whoever, and we can have a nice little conversation where I'll explain how evolution can fit with any religious belief you choose to follow." I think I like her....she also showed us how to light up a pickle...yeah that was pretty cool...
LOL . She sounds pretty neat.

Angela
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Old 08-22-2005, 09:19 AM   #189
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Maybe we should create an alternative "theory" to "intelligent design" and call it "mentally retarded design." Then we can point to our appendices that are useless and get inflamed. Or we can point to the fact that the only thing standing in our way between cancer and complete health is one easily mutated "tumor suppressor gene." And how about all the congenital diseases we get? There's been many an instance of having a perfectly normal newborn fall into a progressively fatal illness (and there's more than one) by the age of 2. And isn't it something like 70-80% of all fertilized eggs never attach to the uterus, and, in essence, "spontaneously abort" without anyone ever knowing?

How is that "intelligent design"? Hence, "mentally retarded design."

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Old 08-22-2005, 09:41 AM   #190
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Originally posted by melon
How is that "intelligent design"? Hence, "mentally retarded design."


why are you so hostile to other viewpoints? after all, isn't the point of education to expose people to different views they might not have considered, and *then* the student can make up his own mind?

for example:

we only think the earth revolves around the sun; i think we need to present the pre-Gallileian viewpoint that the sun revolves around the earth

you know, i've been to many different countries and driven across the USA, and not once did i notice that the earth was round; i think we need to present the other view, that the earth is *flat.*

you might call it "gravity;" i prefer to call it "intelligent falling."
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Old 08-22-2005, 10:19 AM   #191
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You know, I wish someone from Beijing or Bangalore or Seoul could come here and give a rapturous hosanna over their latest scientific discovery that took place while we dinosaurs in what is supposedly the most advanced nation on earth, who *USED* to dominate the science and technolgy fields but does so exclusively no longer, is even seriously *talking* about this stuff. The general public in other nations, as well as the world scientific community, are probably laughing us off the stage.

Bush is getting more and more desperate, it seems, to keep Iraq off the front page. This crap dominates the national discourse while our soldiers are suffering and dying to the thunderous tune of public indifference. It makes me sick, and I'm anti-war. If we resopond to this crap..THIS is out way of "supporting the troops'? Well, a year from now, I think he'll have exhuasted all the options.
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:19 AM   #192
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You know, I wish someone from Beijing or Bangalore or Seoul could come here and give a rapturous hosanna over their latest scientific discovery that took place while we dinosaurs in what is supposedly the most advanced nation on earth, who *USED* to dominate the science and technolgy fields but does so exclusively no longer, is even seriously *talking* about this stuff. The general public in other nations, as well as the world scientific community, are probably laughing us off the stage.

great point.

i'm sure China is *thrilled* that we're wasting time even countenencing this idea.
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:38 PM   #193
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Here's something else to consider (related to Teta's point): the U.S. is experiencing a "brain drain" of talent in science and engineering (part of the reason why you see so many jobs in these areas going to Indian and Chinese folks on H-1B visas...not being outsourced, but going to foreigners nonetheless). Do we really think that neglecting to teach basic scientific principles to our schoolchildren in favor of subjective pseudoscientific theory is going to make them any more fit for the global scientific workplace a few decades down the road?

What the anti-evolution folks also fail to consider is that for many, many people, evolution is not at all anti-Christian or anti-religious. Evolution is at its heart a very basic and simple idea: that species change over time according to various natural influences. It's not a stretch for me, as a Christian, to believe that evolution is one tool in God's vast box for unfolding the universe as it is meant to be. Why is that so hard for other people?
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:42 PM   #194
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Why is that so hard for other people?


because everyone likes to feel persecuted.
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Old 08-22-2005, 10:04 PM   #195
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I heard a comment from someone today that science, in their words "has nothing to do with the creation of life" It was all God and nothing else had anything to do with it .

Yeah. There's someone I trust to enter that real world working experience and such that pax pointed out....

Angela
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