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Has anyone here seen the evolution exhibit at the Natural History Museum in New York City? It is perhaps the finest teaching tool I have ever seen. The exhibit occupies the entire fourth floor, and as the visitor proceeds clockwise around the exhibit (starting at the southwest corner), the entire evolutionary history is traced. Each offshoot in evolutionary history has an alcove or two where the visitor can use interactive technology to see what changes were represented at that point in the evolution of species. Leading paleontologists explain the specific differences from one form to another as seen in the fossil record. This is a real opportunity to see almost first-hand how compelling evolutionary theory is. I recommend the exhibit most highly, and wonder if anyone here has seen it.

Jeez, I'm not sure whether this thread should be entitled "Attack of the Intellectual Snob Atheists" or the "Counter-Attack of the Blindly Faithful Christians". How on Earth can either side be so smug in their correctness when no one - and I mean no one - can be sure of what the truth is (not even Abe Vigoda - and he's been around for a REALLY long time).

Paul - I know what your counter-argument will be already - and it's valid. However, the point I am making is that scientific theory has been required adjustment over and over and over again because it was wrong (and probably continues to be)? For example, when I was a kid, Pluto was a planet and Saturn had three rings. Those answers on a 10 question galaxy quiz today would guarantee you a B at best. It's a simplistic statement, but you get my point.

Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't pursue advanced scientific theory. That's not something that's exclusive to you and your Atheist friends posting here. Someday, the sun is going to burn out and the Earth will stop spinning, so we're going to have to figure out some way to get off this rock if we're going to survive as a species (and it ain't going to happen at my church's bake sale). But your attack on Christians is overly broad. Not everyone who goes to Church on Sunday (or Temple on Saturday for that matter) thinks that Dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark (although that opens up a new novel for Michael Crichton). But, I have yet to view any scientific theory that adequately dissuade me from my belief in God. As Sir Isaac Newton once stated (paraphrasing), "In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence".

Listen Paul, I know that you have an agenda here. I imagine that being an Atheist in an Theists' world must make you sensitive. And being an Atheist in a Christian country has got to make you nuts (be thankful you don't live in the Bible Belt - I've been here - scary). But I'd ask you not to be as general in your attacks on Christians (or at least as you seem to be in this thread). And I'd love to see you redirect that energy into something more worthwhile than debating evolution (although I'm not sure why people are so convinced that Creationism and Evolution must be mutually exclusive). What's the phrase - for those who do not believe, no explanation will do - for those who believe, no explanation is necessary. Don't howl at the moon, my friend, there's so much more good you can be doing.

Merry Christmas.

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Guest 2smart4u
Has anyone here seen the evolution exhibit at the Natural History Museum in New York City? It is perhaps the finest teaching tool I have ever seen. The exhibit occupies the entire fourth floor, and as the visitor proceeds clockwise around the exhibit (starting at the southwest corner), the entire evolutionary history is traced. Each offshoot in evolutionary history has an alcove or two where the visitor can use interactive technology to see what changes were represented at that point in the evolution of species. Leading paleontologists explain the specific differences from one form to another as seen in the fossil record. This is a real opportunity to see almost first-hand how compelling evolutionary theory is. I recommend the exhibit most highly, and wonder if anyone here has seen it.

No one is denying that species evolve over the millennium; birds grow shorter/longer beaks, etc., that's what the Museum of Natural History exhibit shows.

What Darwiniacs claim is man evolved from a worm that crawled out of the ocean a billion years ago. Their goal is to take God out of the world, separation of church and state gone wild. Ann Coulters book, "Godless", chapters 8,9 and 10 lays it out for anyone interested in the subject.

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Guest 2smart4u
For more than a generation now, the radical right has been whining about a supposedly liberal media, political correctness, etc. For a generation, Americans have been buying it. The truth is that the excesses of the previous, comparatively liberal period in American history pale in comparison to the atrocities perpetrated by the right, culminating in the gradual erosion of the rule of law, the obscene redistribution of wealth toward the top, and now in the nation being lied into a war.

It is time --- no, it is long past time --- for the majority of Americans to re-assert genuine, time-tested American principles, re-assert the rule of law over the whim of individual men and women, and above all, perhaps, stop being bullied by people who can be appeased but never satisfied. As is clearly obvious from the posts on this site, the radical right cares not one whit about the facts. Cite them to the leading authors in evolutionary science, and they'll make a completely irrelevant point about whether John Scopes was put up to it. (Apparently the prosecutor was an ACLU stooge, too.) Whether the battleground is politics, education, religion or science, all they care about is their ideological agenda. Reality is crafted around belief, instead of belief being based on the facts --- exactly the opposite of what reason, and for that matter a civilized society, requires.

If you assume that these people think like you do --- like any reasonable person would think --- none of this will make any sense. Once you recognize the radical right game for what it is, and stop taking it seriously, it all makes sense. This is the key shift Americans must make if they are to free themselves from the strangle-hold of radical right-wing thinking --- and I use the term "thinking" loosely.

The radical right has openly abandoned reality-based thinking in favor of what they call "faith-based" thinking --- a disparagement of real Faith if ever there was one! They're operating from a fantasy world that exists only in their thick heads. I hate to be that mean to anyone, but having witnessed the authoritarian personality first-hand, I know that the only way to deal with it is to understand it, and not take it seriously. Take an authoritarian seriously, and he's got you, because he's "never wrong" and he's always on the offensive, by any means necessary, fair or unfair (but usually unfair), logical or illogical (but usually illogical). Once Americans wake up to that, the game of the radical right is over, and we can get back to being "one nation" again. It's no accident that the USA is more divided now than ever before --- that is what happens when radicals take power. The majority of us, who are not radical-right ditto-heads, must fight back. Whether liberal or conservative, reasonable people ought to be on the same side of this battle.

Re-introducing real science into the public schools is important on its own terms, regardless whether one sees it in context of this larger picture. Several have wondered where the school board is in all of this. Excellent question: Where, indeed?

"Re-introducing real science" ?? Please give me an example or two of "real science".

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Guest Paul
Guest #16, #19 and Paul-Sometimes you have to use a different method to get someone to listen. The moral to the story is plain and simple. You deny God don't expect him to be there when you call. Remember, he held the door open, the Atheist closed it.

God doesn't send people to Hell, they do it to themself. That is called free will. If you sin, all it takes for forgiveness is admitting you did wrong, taking responsibility for your actions, being sorry for what you have done, and try not to do it again. Jesus died on the cross so sins could be forgiven.

In the end what will happen-

  If I'm wrong I'll still rest in peace.

  If the unbeliever is wrong then they will have there proof. But what price will they pay,when all they had to do was know him and live by his word.

  So we will see, won't we?

  Each person is free to worship or not to worship as they choose. God is my choice.

Peace to all.

“My precious Angel, how could you think so little of me? How could you think that I would ever allow even one of my precious children to suffer eternally in a fire that burns and causes them pain forever? Why would I do that? Would you do that to your child? What kind of parent would that make you, even to allow that to happen?

“How can you be so presumptuous as to think that if one of my children does not see me as you see me that I would allow them suffer forever? How could you imagine that any of my children would choose to be tormented forever? If you think that way about your brother or your sister, something is wrong with your thinking. None of my precious children thinks like that. None ever has, and none ever will. It is not in their nature. They are my children, created in my image, and contrary to what you have said, I do not make junk. All of my children freely choose to be happy, not to suffer. It is how I made them. It is how I made you.

“The purpose of punishment is to teach someone so they will be better. If punishment was eternal, it would serve no purpose. Why couldn’t you see that? Why wasn’t it obvious to you? Were you so stubborn or so desperate or so afraid that you were willing to see your brothers and sisters tormented forever so you could cling to your beliefs? Shame on you for having so little courage, and for abandoning your brothers and sisters in your heart and in your mind just because it suited you.

“Perhaps I should be angry with you for thinking so little of me, but happily for you, there is no hell, no eternal torment, because I am not about anger or jealousy. They are not in me. There is only Love, and the only justice is Love. How dare you call the eternal torment of one of my precious children ‘justice?’

“So come on in, all is forgiven --- you arrogance, your stubbornness, your presuming to tell your brothers and sisters about a god you never really knew: all forgiven, all free of charge. No sacrifice was necessary. It is What I Am. Everyone you ever knew is here, every Christian, every atheist, every Buddhist, everyone.

“Your life on Earth is over. Be with me now. Come, enjoy your reward. Let us all be happy together. It is what I intended. Why did you ever imagine that my will would be denied?”

If there is a god, and he says that to you, Angel, what are you going to do? Argue with him?

You see, Angel, I know that I do not know many things, but I do know something about Love. I can’t teach it to you, but deep down, if you let yourself, you know it.

The atheist did not close the door, Angel. You did.

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Guest 2smart4u
“My precious Angel, how could you think so little of me? How could you think that I would ever allow even one of my precious children to suffer eternally in a fire that burns and causes them pain forever? Why would I do that? Would you do that to your child? What kind of parent would that make you, even to allow that to happen?

“How can you be so presumptuous as to think that if one of my children does not see me as you see me that I would allow them suffer forever? How could you imagine that any of my children would choose to be tormented forever? If you think that way about your brother or your sister, something is wrong with your thinking. None of my precious children thinks like that. None ever has, and none ever will. It is not in their nature. They are my children, created in my image, and contrary to what you have said, I do not make junk. All of my children freely choose to be happy, not to suffer. It is how I made them. It is how I made you.

“The purpose of punishment is to teach someone so they will be better. If punishment was eternal, it would serve no purpose. Why couldn’t you see that? Why wasn’t it obvious to you? Were you so stubborn or so desperate or so afraid that you were willing to see your brothers and sisters tormented forever so you could cling to your beliefs? Shame on you for having so little courage, and for abandoning your brothers and sisters in your heart and in your mind just because it suited you.

“Perhaps I should be angry with you for thinking so little of me, but happily for you, there is no hell, no eternal torment, because I am not about anger or jealousy. They are not in me. There is only Love, and the only justice is Love. How dare you call the eternal torment of one of my precious children ‘justice?’

“So come on in, all is forgiven --- you arrogance, your stubbornness, your presuming to tell your brothers and sisters about a god you never really knew: all forgiven, all free of charge. No sacrifice was necessary. It is What I Am. Everyone you ever knew is here, every Christian, every atheist, every Buddhist, everyone.

“Your life on Earth is over. Be with me now. Come, enjoy your reward. Let us all be happy together. It is what I intended. Why did you ever imagine that my will would be denied?”

If there is a god, and he says that to you, Angel, what are you going to do? Argue with him?

You see, Angel, I know that I do not know many things, but I do know something about Love. I can’t teach it to you, but deep down, if you let yourself, you know it.

The atheist did not close the door, Angel. You did.

Paul, whatever you're smoking, how do I get some ??

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Guest Paul
Jeez, I'm not sure whether this thread should be entitled "Attack of the Intellectual Snob Atheists" or the "Counter-Attack of the Blindly Faithful Christians".  How on Earth can either side be so smug in their correctness when no one - and I mean no one - can be sure of what the truth is (not even Abe Vigoda - and he's been around for a REALLY long time). 

Paul - I know what your counter-argument will be already - and it's valid.  However, the point I am making is that scientific theory has been required adjustment over and over and over again because it was wrong (and probably continues to be)?  For example, when I was a kid, Pluto was a planet and Saturn had three rings.  Those answers on a 10 question galaxy quiz today would guarantee you a B at best.  It's a simplistic statement, but you get my point.

Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't pursue advanced scientific theory.  That's not something that's exclusive to you and your Atheist friends posting here.  Someday, the sun is going to burn out and the Earth will stop spinning, so we're going to have to figure out some way to get off this rock if we're going to survive as a species (and it ain't going to happen at my church's bake sale).  But your attack on Christians is overly broad.  Not everyone who goes to Church on Sunday (or Temple on Saturday for that matter) thinks that Dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark (although that opens up a new novel for Michael Crichton).  But, I have yet to view any scientific theory that adequately dissuade me from my belief in God.  As Sir Isaac Newton once stated (paraphrasing), "In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence".

Listen Paul, I know that you have an agenda here.  I imagine that being an Atheist in an Theists' world must make you sensitive.  And being an Atheist in a Christian country has got to make you nuts (be thankful you don't live in the Bible Belt - I've been here - scary).  But I'd ask you not to be as general in your attacks on Christians (or at least as you seem to be in this thread).  And I'd love to see you redirect that energy into something more worthwhile than debating evolution (although I'm not sure why people are so convinced that Creationism and Evolution must be mutually exclusive).  What's the phrase - for those who do not believe, no explanation will do - for those who believe, no explanation is necessary.  Don't howl at the moon, my friend, there's so much more good you can be doing.

Merry Christmas.

Whoa, pal, you're making quite a few assumptions. For starters, I'm not attacking Christians. Where are you getting that?

Second, if you don't like attacks, then why did you refer to this topic in such a disparaging way? You're as capable of bringing your biases into this as anyone. What's wrong with the title I gave it?

Third, if you try to categorize my personal religious beliefs, you might be in for a few surprises, not that I'll necessarily share all of that publicly. People are free to call me an atheist if they like, but if you knew me, you would know it's more complicated than that.

Fourth, I think evolution is one of the most important ideas in intellectual history. Many, probably most scholars are of the same view. Evolutionary theory is applied to everything from biology to social systems. If you saw the film "A Beautiful Mind," for example, John Nash of Princeton spent his working life on game theory, an outgrowth of evolutionary theory applied to social settings. It shocks me that this fundamentally important theory is so thoroughly misunderstood, even by faculty at our high school. So I'll make my own judgments how to spend my time, thanks. You're free not to follow this. Why does it bother you?

You're absolutely right that scientists consider all scientific "truths" to be provisional, meaning they are always subject to revision. Science progresses precisely because it is open to change, and in fact changes. Old theories are replaced with new ones as scientists learn more. That is why we have PCs and MACs now instead of those huge monsters that were our first computers. That is why scientists, not priests, can do heart transplants. This is not a disparagement of religion, just a fact. Each has its place, and each has its potential for wrong turns. I made that point in an earlier post. I also made the point, quite recently, that proof of the evolution of species does not disprove the existence of a god. Why are you attacking me on this point? As I read you, I'm on your side.

However, if we expect to be ready to leave this planet when the sun burns out, experience tells us that we're more likely to be able to do that by following the scientific method, for all its fits, starts and wrong turns, than by imagining ourselves projected onto the Hale-Bopp comet next time it comes around, or taken up to heaven in a "rapture." You may not believe in the Hale-Bopp comet as a vehicle of transport, or in what many fundamentalist Christians call the rapture, so I'm not targeting you. I don't put things in broad categories like that, as you will see if you read my posts more carefully than you seem to have done. However, the fact is that while evolution may be controversial among the general public, it is not controversial among scientists. It is thoroughly accepted and widely applied. If we don't educate our high school students about it properly, those who choose to pursue careers in science will not be equipped to compete.

In any case, a Merry Christmas to you, too. This is a wonderful time of the year.

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Guest Paul
"Re-introducing real science" ??  Please give me an example or two of "real science".

One example of real science is what the science department at KHS teaches in biology class. Evolutionary theory is basic to modern biology. If you took biology there in the past few years, you studied it, and it's real science.

What is not real science is telling students there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark, and telling them that evolution is not science. That is the distinction that prompted this topic. It is not appropriate for the biology teacher to teach real science, and then have the history teacher, in his ignorance on this subject, tell the same students that it isn't. It's not a question of contrary opinions. It's a matter of educating versus misinforming, or to put it another way, educating from knowledge versus misinforming from abject ignorance.

To your earlier post, scientists by and large don't have an agenda of the kind you're ascribing. Evolutionary theory didn't develop because someone thought "Gee, wouldn't it be neat if species evolved." It developed because people made observations and thought deeply about them.

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Guest 2smart4u
It chills me to the bone to know that the person who wrote this is probably serious. How can this be happening in the 21st century, ten miles outside one of the greatest centers of culture and learning in the world?

Ann Coulter has no training to qualify her to discuss this subject. She's obviously biased. This is like saying consult a voodoo practitioner to do brain surgery.

Far better books to read on the subject include the following:

Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is

Niles Eldridge, The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism

Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Or, if you really want to dig into modern evolutionary theory, try reading:

Stephen Jay Gould, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

Jerry A. Coyne and H. Allan Orr, Speciation

John C. Avise, Molecular Markers, Natural History and Evolution

Jeremy B.C. Jackson, Evolutionary Patterns: Growth, Form and Tempo in the Fossil Record

the list goes on and on --- just look on Amazon starting with any of these books

These and other scientists have spent their lives studying this subject, and they have a proven track record of results. Mayr, for example, has been in this field for more than 70 years (Harvard) --- I think he knows a wee bit more about it than Coulter. It's frightening that some people literally prefer ignorance because it's comforting and easier to comprehend.

If you seriously want to educate yourself on this subject matter, read works by people who actually know something about it. And if you wish to discuss the subject on the merits, feel free to post something substantive.

What's very interesting is that none of the authors listed above can point to one shred of physical evidence to support evolution.

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Guest Paul
To say "Just because it hasn't been found does not mean it does not exist" is stupid.  It would be more logical to say "because no evidence has ever been found, we cannot say it ever existed".

Out of context, that is true, but in the context of all we know about evolution, the missing pieces are tiny compared to the parts of the puzzle that are filled it. When you have a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and 998 pieces are in place, the absence of the other two pieces may be a real disappointment for the jigsaw completist, but it doesn't prevent you from knowing what the puzzle looks like. Similarly with evolution: Almost surely, we do not have fossils representing every species, but we have more than enough to see undeniable evolutionary patterns. In that context, as a biology teacher, doesn't it make more sense to say that the pattern speaks for itself, and that if you've see the ball traveling through 90% of its arc, you can reliably trace the 10% you can't see?

One writer raised the argument of the so-called missing link. That argument is outdated given all we've learned in the past few decades. Equally important, to what link does this refer: between what two species, and on what basis is it known that there must be an intermediate species to be consistent with evolutionary theory?

Platitudes and generalizations won't answer these questions, when top scientists all over the world are applying the theory in its specifics. It's fascinating but all-too-predictable that none of the people who've challenged evolutionary theory on this topic have said a single word in any depth on the subject, or commented on any of the leadings works in the field. Obviously they have not based their "opinions" on a fair and thorough study of the science --- they have merely promoted their biases to the level of opinion.

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Guest Paul
No one is denying that species evolve over the millennium; birds grow shorter/longer beaks, etc.,  that's what the Museum of Natural History exhibit shows.

    What  Darwiniacs claim is man evolved from a worm that crawled out of the ocean a billion years ago. Their goal is to take God out of the world, separation of church and state gone wild.  Ann Coulters book, "Godless", chapters 8,9 and 10 lays it out for anyone interested in the subject.

Have you actually seen the exhibit? From your post, it doesn't seem so. The exhibit traces evolution all the way from invertebrates through worms, birds and primates, including humans. How can you make the statement that it only traces evolution within species, when that simply is not true?

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Guest Paul
1. All scientific truths are provisional, meaning they are always subject to further evidence, examination and change. By contrast, while theistic beliefs change in practice over time, many theists claim their beliefs to be unchanging and eternal.

2. Science begins with a hypothesis, and proceeds through the collection of data toward theory. By contrast, theism begins with doctrines and dogmas, sometimes looking at evidence along the way but sometimes ignoring the evidence to preserve current belief. Interesting enough, scientists sometimes do that too, but once it is recognized, it is considered a departure from the scientific method.

3. Sometimes hard-line theists (not all theists fit this description!) mock people of science because their theories are constantly changing over a broad span of time. What those changes represent is growth. There's little to be proud of in never changing. It means there is no growth. The hard-line theistic argument assumes that the natural state of affairs is for humans to know the final answers to the greatest of all questions, when the fact is we don't even know what questions to ask or how to ask them.

4. Many theists can reconcile their beliefs with science. For example, some have no difficulty accepting evolution of species and still believing in the Bible — they interpret the Bible symbolically and spiritually. Others take a hard-line, literalistic approach to scriptural interpretation. Inevitably they run into major conflicts with science, and inevitably over time, they lose. Copernicus' idea that the earth revolves around the sun is one example. Today, evolution of species is another.

A fundamental distinction is in play here between the scientific mode of thinking and the mode of thinking characterized by hard-line religious fundamentalism. (This latter mode of thought does not characterize all Christians or all religious people, and is not limited to Christians or other theists. It is neither characteristic of all religious people nor exclusive to them.)

Good science is patient, but diligent. It takes the available data, draws the conclusions it can, uses the conclusions to test and apply, leaves the door open to revision based on further evidence, and when the conclusions are no longer defensible, it adapts.

Bad science is rigid, and at times scientists in every discipline have been guilty of practicing bad science. Thomas Kuhn discussed this in his classic (1962) book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." The observations in this book are fundamental to understanding how science has at times limited its own advance.

Good religion is humble. It recognizes that the universe does not bend itself to our every desire, and that our duty is to conform ourselves to the unseen order, which many people call God. We cannot have it both ways: at once say that God is a mystery, and at the same time claim to know the ultimate answers to the greatest questions.

Bad religion is arrogant. It presumes to know for sure final answers to questions we can only begin to ask, and even then we can't be sure we're even asking useful questions. That is how far beyond us the ultimate is. While it is everyone's right and privilege to worship as they choose, bad religion forces itself on others, judges others but not itself, and makes claims inconsistent with good science. That is what happened in the Middle Ages, when religious leaders in the West declared Copernicus a heretic for pointing out that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and not the other way around.

The reason I titled this topic "Science and religion," instead of "science versus religion" is that there is no necessary conflict between the two. Just the opposite, science is part of humanity's quest to understand, which is also a basic driving force behind religion. The conflict comes when one side or the other exceeds its scope. Sometimes scientists do that, but usually hard-line practitioners of bad religion (yes, that's my value judgment) do it. They persist in taking indensible positions contrary to all the evidence, which they refuse even to examine. Look at this thread. How many of the people who have posted here have read any of the main works in evolutionary theory? Apparently no one, because no one has discussed any of them.

The reason for this is that many people operate from a need for a sense of security. They're more interested in being self-satisfied that they're right than they are in actually seeking the truth. When that need is threatened, they will do ANYTHING to protect their way of looking at things, which means that what they really worship is not God, but their own opinions. That is how strong the need for this false sense of security is, and we see it over and over in history.

Many Christians, and people of all religious faiths, will be entirely comfortable with what I just wrote. They are among the ones who recognize that the natural state of affairs is not that human beings know the answers to all things, but that through the processes of living and learning, we add to our knowledge over time. It requires patience, both in science and in religion. You can see the difference even in the way people write.

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Guest Paul
Paul-

Do you and your family celebrate Christmas?

Just curious.

I won't generally answer personal questions like this. They're not germane, and they are personal. However, I'll make an exception for this question.

We definitely celebrate, and we have a tree decorated in the traditional manner. Whether you or someone else would call that celebrating Christmas would depend on how you, or they, look at things.

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Guest Paul
What's very interesting is that none of the authors listed above can point to one shred of physical evidence to support evolution.

Obviously you haven't read any of these books. Be honest, how.

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Guest 2smart4u
Out of context, that is true, but in the context of all we know about evolution, the missing pieces are tiny compared to the parts of the puzzle that are filled it. When you have a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and 998 pieces are in place, the absence of the other two pieces may be a real disappointment for the jigsaw completist, but it doesn't prevent you from knowing what the puzzle looks like. Similarly with evolution: Almost surely, we do not have fossils representing every species, but we have more than enough to see undeniable evolutionary patterns. In that context, as a biology teacher, doesn't it make more sense to say that the pattern speaks for itself, and that if you've see the ball traveling through 90% of its arc, you can reliably trace the 10% you can't see?

One writer raised the argument of the so-called missing link. That argument is outdated given all we've learned in the past few decades. Equally important, to what link does this refer: between what two species, and on what basis is it known that there must be an intermediate species to be consistent with evolutionary theory?

Platitudes and generalizations won't answer these questions, when top scientists all over the world are applying the theory in its specifics. It's fascinating but all-too-predictable that none of the people who've challenged evolutionary theory on this topic have said a single word in any depth on the subject, or commented on any of the leadings works in the field. Obviously they have not based their "opinions" on a fair and thorough study of the science --- they have merely promoted their biases to the level of opinion.

Your egotism must drive your family crazy. You quote all this psudo-scientific nonsense as if it were cold facts. "1000 piece jigsaw puzzle" ?? Is that an analogy taken from a scientific journal or just your own dreamworld. Until someone, somewhere comes up with direct archiological evidence that man evolved from some lower life form, evolution remains a theory, no more no less.

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Guest Patriot
A fundamental distinction is in play here between the scientific mode of thinking and the mode of thinking characterized by hard-line religious fundamentalism. (This latter mode of thought does not characterize all Christians or all religious people, and is not limited to Christians or other theists. It is neither characteristic of all religious people nor exclusive to them.)

Good science is patient, but diligent. It takes the available data, draws the conclusions it can, uses the conclusions to test and apply, leaves the door open to revision based on further evidence, and when the conclusions are no longer defensible, it adapts.

Bad science is rigid, and at times scientists in every discipline have been guilty of practicing bad science. Thomas Kuhn discussed this in his classic (1962) book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." The observations in this book are fundamental to understanding how science has at times limited its own advance.

Good religion is humble. It recognizes that the universe does not bend itself to our every desire, and that our duty is to conform ourselves to the unseen order, which many people call God. We cannot have it both ways: at once say that God is a mystery, and at the same time claim to know the ultimate answers to the greatest questions.

Bad religion is arrogant. It presumes to know for sure final answers to questions we can only begin to ask, and even then we can't be sure we're even asking useful questions. That is how far beyond us the ultimate is. While it is everyone's right and privilege to worship as they choose, bad religion forces itself on others, judges others but not itself, and makes claims inconsistent with good science. That is what happened in the Middle Ages, when religious leaders in the West declared Copernicus a heretic for pointing out that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and not the other way around.

The reason I titled this topic "Science and religion," instead of "science versus religion" is that there is no necessary conflict between the two. Just the opposite, science is part of humanity's quest to understand, which is also a basic driving force behind religion. The conflict comes when one side or the other exceeds its scope. Sometimes scientists do that, but usually hard-line practitioners of bad religion (yes, that's my value judgment) do it. They persist in taking indensible positions contrary to all the evidence, which they refuse even to examine. Look at this thread. How many of the people who have posted here have read any of the main works in evolutionary theory? Apparently no one, because no one has discussed any of them.

The reason for this is that many people operate from a need for a sense of security. They're more interested in being self-satisfied that they're right than they are in actually seeking the truth. When that need is threatened, they will do ANYTHING to protect their way of looking at things, which means that what they really worship is not God, but their own opinions. That is how strong the need for this false sense of security is, and we see it over and over in history.

Many Christians, and people of all religious faiths, will be entirely comfortable with what I just wrote. They are among the ones who recognize that the natural state of affairs is not that human beings know the answers to all things, but that through the processes of living and learning, we add to our knowledge over time. It requires patience, both in science and in religion. You can see the difference even in the way people write.

Interesting how you post a long-winded thread and then respond to it yourself. I can paraphrase your entire diatribe in a few words; You're a radical left wing nutcase that wants to take God out of everything, including our own existence. You should take your psycho-babble someplace where you might have an audience. I'm thinking the Ape House at the Bronx Zoo.

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Guest a proud american
For more than a generation now, the radical right has been whining about a supposedly liberal media, political correctness, etc. For a generation, Americans have been buying it. The truth is that the excesses of the previous, comparatively liberal period in American history pale in comparison to the atrocities perpetrated by the right, culminating in the gradual erosion of the rule of law, the obscene redistribution of wealth toward the top, and now in the nation being lied into a war.

It is time --- no, it is long past time --- for the majority of Americans to re-assert genuine, time-tested American principles, re-assert the rule of law over the whim of individual men and women, and above all, perhaps, stop being bullied by people who can be appeased but never satisfied. As is clearly obvious from the posts on this site, the radical right cares not one whit about the facts. Cite them to the leading authors in evolutionary science, and they'll make a completely irrelevant point about whether John Scopes was put up to it. (Apparently the prosecutor was an ACLU stooge, too.) Whether the battleground is politics, education, religion or science, all they care about is their ideological agenda. Reality is crafted around belief, instead of belief being based on the facts --- exactly the opposite of what reason, and for that matter a civilized society, requires.

If you assume that these people think like you do --- like any reasonable person would think --- none of this will make any sense. Once you recognize the radical right game for what it is, and stop taking it seriously, it all makes sense. This is the key shift Americans must make if they are to free themselves from the strangle-hold of radical right-wing thinking --- and I use the term "thinking" loosely.

The radical right has openly abandoned reality-based thinking in favor of what they call "faith-based" thinking --- a disparagement of real Faith if ever there was one! They're operating from a fantasy world that exists only in their thick heads. I hate to be that mean to anyone, but having witnessed the authoritarian personality first-hand, I know that the only way to deal with it is to understand it, and not take it seriously. Take an authoritarian seriously, and he's got you, because he's "never wrong" and he's always on the offensive, by any means necessary, fair or unfair (but usually unfair), logical or illogical (but usually illogical). Once Americans wake up to that, the game of the radical right is over, and we can get back to being "one nation" again. It's no accident that the USA is more divided now than ever before --- that is what happens when radicals take power. The majority of us, who are not radical-right ditto-heads, must fight back. Whether liberal or conservative, reasonable people ought to be on the same side of this battle.

Re-introducing real science into the public schools is important on its own terms, regardless whether one sees it in context of this larger picture. Several have wondered where the school board is in all of this. Excellent question: Where, indeed?

I could not have said it any better than you did Paul. If you have read John Deans book as I have, than you know that there is hope that people will see these authoritarians for what they truly are. What is sad though is that people either can't or won't see how they are being manipulated by the right. There is another book written by David Brock called Blinded by the Right that explains it all. And what makes his book interesting is that he used to be a conservative author who wrote the first Hillary Clinton book. If you haven't read it you should and everyone should. The end of his book says it all. How they treat you when you stop doing their dirty work. I hope that someone will read this, go to the library and actually read these two books.

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Guest 2smart4u
One example of real science is what the science department at KHS teaches in biology class. Evolutionary theory is basic to modern biology. If you took biology there in the past few years, you studied it, and it's real science.

What is not real science is telling students there were dinosaurs on Noah's ark, and telling them that evolution is not science. That is the distinction that prompted this topic. It is not appropriate for the biology teacher to teach real science, and then have the history teacher, in his ignorance on this subject, tell the same students that it isn't. It's not a question of contrary opinions. It's a matter of educating versus misinforming, or to put it another way, educating from knowledge versus misinforming from abject ignorance.

To your earlier post, scientists by and large don't have an agenda of the kind you're ascribing. Evolutionary theory didn't develop because someone thought "Gee, wouldn't it be neat if species evolved." It developed because people made observations and thought deeply about them.

Dinisaurs were extinct a million years before Noah.

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Guest Paul
I could not have said it any better than you did Paul. If you have read John Deans book as I have, than you know that there is hope that people will see these authoritarians for what they truly are. What is sad though is that people either can't or won't see how they are being manipulated by the right. There is another book written by David Brock called Blinded by the Right that explains it all. And what makes his book interesting is that he used to be a conservative author who wrote the first Hillary Clinton book. If you haven't read it you should and everyone should. The end of his book says it all. How they treat you when you stop doing their dirty work. I hope that someone will read this, go to the library and actually read these two books.

I did read Dean's book, thought it was excellent. We have an authoritarian here, don't we.

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Guest Paul
Your egotism must drive your family crazy.  You quote all this psudo-scientific  nonsense as if it were cold facts.  "1000 piece jigsaw puzzle" ??  Is that an analogy taken from a scientific journal or just your own dreamworld. Until someone, somewhere comes up with direct archiological evidence that man evolved from some lower life form, evolution remains a theory, no more no less.

In other words, you don't have an ounce of knowledge about evolution, and have nothing better to say than to insult. Please forgive me if I don't respond should you choose to post again. Likewise for Patriot's most recent post.

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Guest Paul
Your egotism must drive your family crazy.  You quote all this psudo-scientific  nonsense as if it were cold facts.  "1000 piece jigsaw puzzle" ??  Is that an analogy taken from a scientific journal or just your own dreamworld. Until someone, somewhere comes up with direct archiological evidence that man evolved from some lower life form, evolution remains a theory, no more no less.

Apparently you missed the explanation of what a theory is, both in my lead post for this topic, and in your science classes in school. Mr. Paszkiewicz obviously missed it, too, which is one reason my nose was put so far out of joint.

A theory is an organized explanation based on evidence. Scientists distinguish a theory from a hypothesis by the degree of reliability, which is based on the quality of evidence supporting the explanation. If there is enough evidence for the explanation to be considered reliable, it is called a theory; if not, it is called a hypothesis. There is, of course, no hard-and-fast rule for the distinction. These are merely general categories, but mainly scientists refer to an explanation as a theory when they are actively using and applying it; and a hypothesis when they are still in the pre-application stages of data gathering, or when it is essentially sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

For example, Newton's laws of physics are all theories (explanations). Yet they have informed science for centuries, made the industrial revolution possible, and led to the advanced technologies we have today. So yes, evolutionary science is a theory. It is also a fact. You can refuse to believe it, but that is the concensus among scientists all over the world.

I would truly be interested to know whether anyone posting here has read any significant work --- book or trade journal publication --- by any leading figure in evolutionary science.

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Guest 2smart4u
Apparently you missed the explanation of what a theory is, both in my lead post for this topic, and in your science classes in school. Mr. Paszkiewicz obviously missed it, too, which is one reason my nose was put so far out of joint.

A theory is an organized explanation based on evidence. Scientists distinguish a theory from a hypothesis by the degree of reliability, which is based on the quality of evidence supporting the explanation. If there is enough evidence for the explanation to be considered reliable, it is called a theory; if not, it is called a hypothesis. There is, of course, no hard-and-fast rule for the distinction. These are merely general categories, but mainly scientists refer to an explanation as a theory when they are actively using and applying it; and a hypothesis when they are still in the pre-application stages of data gathering, or when it is essentially sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

For example, Newton's laws of physics are all theories (explanations). Yet they have informed science for centuries, made the industrial revolution possible, and led to the advanced technologies we have today. So yes, evolutionary science is a theory. It is also a fact. You can refuse to believe it, but that is the concensus among scientists all over the world.

I would truly be interested to know whether anyone posting here has read any significant work --- book or trade journal publication --- by any leading figure in evolutionary science.

Let's cut through all your long-winded definitions and psudo-science spinning. Yes, lower forms of life have evolved over the millennium and there's evidence of that. However, there is no evidence of man having evolved from a lower life form. That is a fantasy of the radical left that wants God out of our world. There is simply no archiological evidence to support the evolution of man . You can quote all the radical left scientists you want, it doesn't change the facts.

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Guest Patriot
Apparently you missed the explanation of what a theory is, both in my lead post for this topic, and in your science classes in school. Mr. Paszkiewicz obviously missed it, too, which is one reason my nose was put so far out of joint.

A theory is an organized explanation based on evidence. Scientists distinguish a theory from a hypothesis by the degree of reliability, which is based on the quality of evidence supporting the explanation. If there is enough evidence for the explanation to be considered reliable, it is called a theory; if not, it is called a hypothesis. There is, of course, no hard-and-fast rule for the distinction. These are merely general categories, but mainly scientists refer to an explanation as a theory when they are actively using and applying it; and a hypothesis when they are still in the pre-application stages of data gathering, or when it is essentially sitting on the shelf collecting dust.

For example, Newton's laws of physics are all theories (explanations). Yet they have informed science for centuries, made the industrial revolution possible, and led to the advanced technologies we have today. So yes, evolutionary science is a theory. It is also a fact. You can refuse to believe it, but that is the concensus among scientists all over the world.

I would truly be interested to know whether anyone posting here has read any significant work --- book or trade journal publication --- by any leading figure in evolutionary science.

Paul, I think you have a friend in "proud american". You're both radical left Kool-aid drinkers. You guys should get together, you can hang out and talk about how you both evolved from worms.

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