‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

David Attenborough in the News

David Attenborough has a new series coming out for the Darwin celebrations, and has been giving some interviews to the press. Today he claims that creationists have been sending hate mail to him for deny God. "They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance" he complains. Attenborough reveals creationist hate mail for not crediting God

There is no excuse for Christians to send hate mail to anyone, not least because Attenborough can milk it for all its worth and avoid drawing attention to the real hate campaign against those who reject the orthodox Darwin dogma - such as has been exposed in the Expelled film. Even those who suggest that children’s beliefs should be respected in the classroom find themselves on the sharp end of the Darwinists’ Doctor Martins, such as Michael Reiss who was booted out of his position from the Royal Society for this reason.

But Attenborough wants us to believe that evolution is a fact not a theory. “Evolution is not a theory; it is a fact, every bit as much as the historical fact that William the Conqueror landed in 1066." I will save the detailed lecture on why this is false, but suffice it to say that scientific findings should always be held tentatively as often fresh data contradicts what has been found before. When considering our unobserved origins we might wish to proceed with extreme caution if one is really a scientist. But Attenborough is promoting Darwinism with devotion that reveals his religious fervour as an evangelist for atheism. For Attenborough, Darwinism just has to be true, or otherwise he might need to think about his responsibility towards a higher power. He freely admits that he had no religious instruction in his upbringing "It never really occurred to me to believe in God - and I had nothing to rebel against, my parents told me nothing whatsoever.’ It shows!

David Attenborough is also in The Times. David Attenborough on Charles Darwin Attenborough finds himself outraged by creationism and intelligent design. He apparently has ‘beef’ with those who want to teach creationism or intelligent design. Noting a recent survey that found that around a quarter of science teachers in state schools want creationism taught alongside evolution in science lessons he comments. “That is terrible. That is really terrible … I don't know about national [disgrace]; it's a human disgrace that you don't recognise the difference between these things,” he adds. A disgrace to whom I wonder?

He is a charming enough fellow and an excellent presenter, in fact many people have commented that they find him to be one of the greatest story tellers on the television. With lots of brilliant photography his programmes are very watchable. But that is all we have from him, charming stories and iconography with little attempt to show in detail every step of the claimed evolutionary pathway.

It is the work of intelligent design supporters that exposes the falsity of evolutionary pathways that Attenborough and his friends want to keep off our screens and out of the classroom. There is some irony that Attenborough’s new programme is called “Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life” (BBC One, 9pm, Sunday, February 1) when the New Scientists has boldly proclaimed 'Darwin is Wrong' on the question of the tree of life. I guess the New Scientist could have timed its front cover a little better, but perhaps Attenborough can tell us which one to believe and include in textbooks? His version or the New Scientist version?

If the Darwinists have their way then science can Rest in Peace for another 150 years with the sacred Darwin religion held sacred in its place.

Andrew Sibley

BBC, Gaza and Impartiality

It is noteworthy that the BBC is making a song and dance about impartiality as the reason for refusing to show an appeal from the DEC. Is there a link between the Ross affair, Gaza and Darwin? Clearly the BBC is a law unto itself.

It would seem that such impartiality doesn't extend to the Darwin day celebrations where the BBC sometimes doesn't even pretend to be balanced - as a recent radio 4 programme demonstrated by talking about creationists, not to them.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Will scientists and creationists spoil Darwin's big day?

The Sunday Times has an interesting article about the forthcoming Darwin Day celebrations, taking a thoughtful angle compared to some of the Darwin hysteria seen in some of the programming from the BBC For God’s sake, have Charles Darwin’s theories made any difference to our lives? - It is the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth but creationists and scientists alike may spoil the party

A number of interesting points come out of this article by Bryan Appleyard. Dr James Le Fanu has a new book out Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves. Le Fanu is a journalist and a medical doctor and is reported in the Sunday Times as saying that "new biological discoveries have overthrown Darwin. The old man is “screwed”, he says gruffly."

The article continues to quote Le Fanu's view; "Perhaps most startling is the discovery from the deciphering of the human genome that we have only between 20,000 and 25,000 genes. We were previously thought to have 100,000. A mere 25,000 doesn’t seem to be enough to sustain our vast complexity and yet genes are supposed to be the heavy lifters of the Darwinian enterprise. “I wouldn’t get out of bed for 25,000 genes,” says Le Fanu, “and we don’t find form in the genome. We share most of our DNA with chimpanzees, but nowhere in the genome have we found what it is that makes us so different from chimps.”

Appleyard comments that Le Fanu considers that Darwin is directly implicated in a contemporary cultural malaise: “He changed the world fundamentally. Along with those now fallen idols Marx and Freud, he accounts for the secularisation of western society. Darwinism is the foundational theory of all atheistic, scientific and materialist doctrines and of the notion that everything is ultimately explicable and that there is nothing special about it – the self-denigration and self-hatred, the great ‘nothing but’ story.”

Appleyard further comments on the division in modern biology as a result of the complexity now observed. "Even among Darwinists, this unexpected complexity has produced confusion and rancour, not least in the deep disagreements between Dawkins and the late American evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould." and "The division remains, deep and unresolved. And beyond that, there are even some scientists who think Darwinism is, in effect, a sideshow. In their book Form and Transformation, Brian Goodwin, a developmental biologist, and Gerry Webster, a philosopher, argue that it is in the mathematics of complex systems that we shall find the real solution to the problem of life. The theory of evolution provides “only limited insight”; what matters is the dance of possible forms within nature."

The article goes on to comment that "Almost from its first appearance, the Darwinian idea has been used to justify appalling behaviour." Citing the writing of Herbert Spencer and the influence that Darwinism had on Hitler, Appleyard finishes by commenting that although Darwinism might be an 'amazing story' no one knows what it really means for humanity.
Andrew Sibley

Monday, 12 January 2009

Lord Carey in the Telegraph

In a Telegraph article, Lord Carey criticises creationism as ‘pseudo-science’ offering to 'sympathise to a degree' with atheist critics. He believes that Christians are playing into the hands of the militant atheists by defending literal Biblical accounts of the earth's history. Carey also praised Charles Darwin as ‘one of the greatest human beings of all time’. Wow!

He is reported to have said: "Creationism is the fruit of a fundamentalist approach to scripture, ignoring scholarship and critical learning, and confusing different understandings of truth.... The argument for intelligent design may have some appeal for many Christians but is ultimately a negation of what science is about, which is to make a hypotheses from what is observable and then conduct experiments in a constant process of testing."

A shame that he, like many other theologians, need to equate creationism and ID with fundamentalism - for some it may be about fundamentalism, but for others it is about truth in science and faith and how we understand theology - spiritually significant truths rooted in real historical events, often miraculous, historical events such as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is some irony that theologians such as Carey wouldn't dare reject Jesus' symbolic miracles in the New Testament Gospels, such as turning water into wine and raising Lazarus from the dead, but will criticise Jesus' creation of the vine in the first place and creation of Adam from the dust of the ground.

The Wiki entry on George Carey suggests he doesn't have much of a background in science, but trained from scratch in divinity. It would be nice for a theologian such as Lord Carey to have more respect and understanding for his those creation scientists and intelligent design supporters who have studied Darwinism in depth and believe it is sadly lacking in evidence. The argument is always turned into a critique of Scripture, while the fact that creationists and IDers spend a lot of their time examining the claimed evidence for Darwinism is generally ignored or suppressed. Hardly fair is it?
Andrew Sibley

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

BBC and a Darwin Love Fest

The BBC is getting excited about Darwin's 200th birthday with a whole series of programmes on Darwin and evolution. Although a national broadcaster, there doesn't seem much attempt at balance, preferring for instance to talk about creationists rather than talk to creationists. This was the case with the Beyond Belief programme broadcast last night on BBC radio 4 - 5th Jan 2009 16:30pm Beyond Belief in which three Darwinists were brought on from Judaism, Islam and Christianity to tell us what they think creationists and intelligent design supporters believe (again - intelligent design is lumped in with creationism).

Alister McGrath spoke for the Christian faith, informing us that Protestant creationists were in a sort of holy huddle mentality afraid of the light of the Darwinists and circling with their wagons. Other Christians, he commented, were in a state of disbelief that such people might still exist. Much as I respect and like Alister, and have valued some of his books, this programme did come across as ever so slightly pompous. If the BBC wants to know what creationists believe then why not ask them straight, instead of talking about them and treating them as some sort of laboratory rats to be examined by sociologists.

So why do creationists reject Darwinism? It cannot possibly be that creationists have actually looked behind the Darwinian curtain, examined the evidence in depth, and found little to get excited about? Could that be possible? The Darwinists have got it so ingrained into their minds that creationists are stupid and mentally weak that they fail to see that their own position is built on a mutually supporting, back-slapping, paradigm with no pressure to test the evidence in depth. For creationists, Darwin's theory is like the small Wizard of Oz - a small guy with a big megaphone. In other words, there is some truth in Darwinian claims, but Darwinism is not a universal explanation, instead it is limited in scope to change within created kinds. It would be nice for the Darwinists to acknowledge that creationists and intelligent design supporters have principled and well thought through objections to Darwin's theory based on logic and evidence.
Andrew S