Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rafting with Fossils

The New York Times has an interesting article on Evolution describing parallel viewpoints of two trips down the Grand Canyon, one by a group of scientists and one by a group of creationists. Here is one cogent quotation by a serious Christian.

"Ultimately, creationism is not just bad science to me, it's bad Christianity, it's Bible worship," said Mr. Gishlick, 32, a paleontology Ph.D. "There's just no reason to look at these patterns of layered sediment, or in the fossil record, or at the stars, and think that what you're seeing isn't what you're seeing. God doesn't require you to be stupid, to deny what you see, to deny what you know."

10/6/2005 8:34 AM

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At Sunday, October 09, 2005 4:49:00 PM, Blogger mal said...

the whole debate in my mind is between those who can think new thoughts and seek new understandings versus those who believe that progress and growth are not possible

I refuse to accept that. Were we given minds so that we could not use them? Is it not the ultimate Hubris to assume we know the mind of God more completely than our brothers and sisters? Seems wars get fought for just that reason....Silly

At Sunday, October 09, 2005 10:03:00 PM, Blogger Frank Warner said...

It might be a good idea to teach Intelligent Design in biology and math classes -- not as fact, but as a regular experiment.

Ask the students to test the Intelligent Design hypothesis: That life simply could not have evolved from frogs (or whatever) to humans as "fast" as the evolution proponents argue it did.

How fast is fast in the development of the species? How long does it take DNA to change as animals adapt or die? How much DNA had to change to progress from frog to human? Can the timeline be explained?

Rather than just avoid the subject, go at it head-on. We'd learn something.

At Monday, October 10, 2005 1:55:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...


That is exactly right! Teach ID as a theory, no dogma permitted. You could recapitulate the entire historical argument. Quantitatively: measuring the ages of things, the speed of change, genetic frequencies, distributions of traits, coefficients of relatedness, etc. You could teach biology, geology, genetics, sociology, statistics, mathematics, psychology, history and even comparative religions under the same umbrella. Just the question of what is intelligence, recognizing it when your see it, is profound. Scrap the rest of high school! Let's teach nothing but Intelligent Design!

At Monday, October 10, 2005 2:17:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...


People value the benefits of received wisdom differently. I think there is a lot of wisdom in common knowledge and tradition, but I despair over those who have made final assessments, those who know exactly which end of the egg to crack and will kill and die for that belief. Atheists are just as willing as religious fanatics to die for an unexamined cause.

The real cause of all this is social bonding and laziness. It's much easier to accept an attractive idea than to study it, understand it, learn its implications. If someone you like tells you the "truth", then it would be ungrateful to disagree or question.

I have a friend who takes things apart before he uses them, appliances, cars, toothpaste tubes. If he can't understand it completely, he never feels comfortable with it. This is very inconvenient for him, but I do envy him. I aspire to be more like that regarding the philosophies and traditions that I have inherited.

At Monday, October 10, 2005 2:18:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

I have talked about ID in a previous post.


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