back to article Royal Society says goodbye to creationism row vicar

The Royal Society has parted company with Professor Michael Reiss following the furore over the reverend slash biologist’s recent comments on how science teachers should tackle creationism in the classroom. The top boffin club issued a statement late yesterday saying that “Professor Reiss and the Royal Society have agreed that …

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Anonymous Coward

Thank Buddah...

I thought it was only wackos here in Kansas that wanted to push creationism in the schools. I'm so glad it's not just us...

PS - Don't let anyone on our state Board of Ed know about this, they may want to hire the guy.

(Feeling Blue in the Red State)

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Ignorant, stupid or insane?

The fossil record alone is more than enough evidence to prove evolution beyond all rational doubt. DNA variance between species alone is more than enough evidence to prove evolution beyond all rational doubt. Observed speciation events are more than enough evidence to prove evolution beyond all rational doubt. Taken together, the evidence is just plain overwhelming.

Robert Harrison, the fact that you are oblivious to all of this sadly means you are undeniably ignorant, stupid or insane.

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@Evolution proven true beyond all doubt

So the lack of supporting evidence from the fossil record is due merely to the funding poverty of paleontologists not being able to mount the field trips to produce it, and the evidence really is out there? So, where 200 years of digging has failed to uncover it, we should have faith that one day it (some) will be discovered?

Evolution and the Big Bang are part of the same grand cosmogenic narrative for the credulous Great Unwashed, who wouldn't know metaphysics if it bit their ass, so can't tell it apart from genuine empirical investigation. Intelligent life should rather ask the question, why is this the preferred narrative? Empirical investigation is in order.

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Point Missed Big Time

With all due respect to my editor, he has missed the scandal in all this.

The Royal Society is a minor outfit, albeit with an illustrious past.

The RS is a lobby, albeit with a smarter membership than some other lobbies.

But...

According to the Times he is "Professor of Science Education at the Institute of Education"

Now *that* is chilling.

We already have academies funded by the state where Creationism is taught as a mainstream topic, and now learn that an obviously senior advisor believes in giving time to crackpot ideas.

Britain has a highly prescriptive national curriculum, and so this defective priest is involved in defining what kids *must* be taught.

Already we know that many teachers chicken out of teaching evolution because it might offend Christians or Moslems, and apparently such complaints by parents are treated seriously not just laughed at.

We now know why teachers feel so insecure in standing their ground. The government actively wants to give time to creationists.

It won't stop there either.

History is not exactly kind to the various religions, and their habit of murdering each other in ghastly numbers whenever they get political power. Physics is not immune either, some stars are >6,000 light years away, is this "controversial" as well, given that the universe is only 6,000 years old ? Geography teaches about old rocks and the continents moving, and the ice ages.

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Unhappy

I would prefer teaching of tolerance

nuff said

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W

@ Mark re:re: Has no place?

"So if a kid wants to talk about sex education in geography, it must be discussed? If they want to talk about music appreciation in maths class, that's okey-dokey? If they want to talk about satanism in RE class, that's fine by you?"

Why not.

What about talking about Chemistry in Physics?

Although if I were teaching evolution and someone wanted to discuss creationism, I'd swiftly neuter all the arguments and point 'em in the direction of the RE class. Or EngLit.

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@Luther Blisset

What "lack of supporting evidence" in the fossil record? Considering how few living creatures actually become fossilised, it's astonishing how complete the fossil record actually is.

I suggest you actually try reading a few science books, rather than parroting the standard line, which wasn't true a hundred years ago, and is even less true now.

Try "Your Inner Fish" by Neil Shubin, or "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters" by Donald Prothero.

And for information about the DNA evidence, try "The Making of the Fittest" by Sean B Carroll.

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@W

"What about talking about Chemistry in Physics?"

If you have a Physics class and a Chemistry class, why don't you talk about Chemistry in Chemistry? An inability to recognise this fairly obvious fact that you are in a class labelled "Physics" and not one called "Chemistry" indicates an inability to think.

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Dead Vulture

NO ONE BACKS CREATIONISM !!!!

The government does not back creationism.

The Royal Society does not back creationism.

The now sacked misrepresented scientist does not back creationism.

Schools do not back creationism.

The only people who support creationism are the lobbying group that tricked the media into publishing this story.

They got this poor chap sacked even though he does not back creationism.

More importantly they have got you lot shouting about people who do not exist supporting creationism, they have magically created support for creationism that does not exist for you to shout about. The problem is because you are all shouting about it some poor sod is going to think "Hay creationism that sounds like a really controversial idea that I want to be a part of!".

Creationism is an American problem and it is extremely unlikely to catch on over here, so a little more care in vetting your story's please El Reg unless your hidden agenda is to manufacture support for creationists?

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J
Boffin

Beyond rational doubt

Yes, evolution (the fact that organisms change with time) is beyond rational doubt. Irrational doubt on the other hand... can not be meaningfully discussed, of course. Lots of fine points in different aspects of evolutionary biology are still being discussed, tested, accepted or rejected as new data and ideas come forward. That's healthy science for you. IDiots, on the other hand, get their answer from one (wrong) book.

@Robert Harrison "When the first molecules spontaneously began replicating themselves"

Hm... what does abiogenesis have to do with evolution, exactly? That's right, nothing. Origin of life is NOT part of evolutionary biology, in spite of all the ignoramuses "critics of evolution" talking about it in their ramblings (and you swallowed it hook, line, and sinker). Evolution only enters the picture when something starts reproducing. We've got nothing to do with what happened before that -- although we are obviously very interested in that, because it's a cool topic.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark

Mark

sigh

>You seem somewhat bigoted yourself, AC. You do not believe in the Royal Societies requirements for senior members to remain senior members and instead of accepting this as the opinion of a group you will not be interacting with, you deride them with the perjorative "bigot".<

Please read what I said. I said that _those who were baying for Michael Reiss' blood were bigots_. I don't know what proportion of the membership this might be, do you? I also gave two reasons why they were bigots. The first, that they were damning him for what he did not say, the second, that their favoured belief is just that, a belief. It shows a sad state of affairs when a scientist is drummed out of the RS for merely saying that questions should be answered.

I wonder how you would have described it if the roles had been reversed and Creationists had been demanding the resignation of someone who had said that Evolution should be discussed in the classroom.

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Ignorance

There is a marked ignorance in most of these comments about Evolution and Creation.

1. Abiogenesis has everything to do with Evolution since the alternative to abiogenesis is Creation which thus destroys the argument for Evolution. (OK some weirdos believe aliens planted life on Earth - but where did the aliens come from?)

2. Evolution is not that organisms change with time but that all life has developed from an original parent by means of small changes over a very long period.

3. There is no supporting evidence for Evolution in the fossil record. (There should be, if Evolution were true, a vast number of intermediate fossils. There are none.)

4. DNA variation between types of creatures does not support Evolution.

5. Creationists believe that the original forms of life, by means of their inbuilt variability, have diverged into the many species we have today.

6. Fossils, in general, are dated based on their presumed position in the evolutionary tree or, very occasionally, because of the radiometric dating of the igneous material they are found between.

Right, that should be sufficient to start a flame war!

Martin

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Wot about the facts?

Reiss did not say that he supported creationism. He said that if it was brought up in a science class, teachers should know how to deal with it. There is nothing wrong with that. There are all sorts of urban legends out there that can be demonstrated to be wrong using science and there is nothing wrong with dealing with these in a science class (take a look sometime at Myth Busters on the TV).

Reiss' big sin was saying what he did whilst being ordained in the Church of England. The RS has admitted as much. If the RS gets rid of Reiss for being an ordained minister, then they must also look at how they might treat the scientific work of other ministers. As an example, let us take a look at Mendel (sometimes called the father of genetics). He was a priest. Let us then discredit him and remove all mention of his name from the RS. Copernicus was a Cannon in the Catholic church, oh dear. How about Lemaître, a catholic priest who proposed the theory that eventually became known as the Big Bang theory. Yup, best get rid of the lot, damned religious nuts!

The icon....I know where I am going.

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Philosophy of science

The answer is to teach the Philosophy of Science - but this would open a huge can of worms. How many evangelical Christian or Islamic parents would be happy to have their children coming home and saying "sorry, mum, I don't believe in God\ Allah now because the limits of human perceptions and the subjective nature of our thoughts mean that objective knowledge is ultimately dependent upon empirical observation and testing, and as there is no empirical support for God's existence it is irrational for me to accept that he is a real entity".

Would the deeply Christian Gordon Brown tolerate science teachers training children to be agnostics and atheists? I went to a CofE school where 15 years ago loopy Christian parents forced the removal of Zodiac pendants from the school's summer fête because they were afraid that the symbols encouraged their kids to be Satanists. There are even quite a lot of scientists who are unable to take the principles of science they use on a daily basis and apply them to their own personal beliefs. Society isn't ready to give up its addiction to religion yet, so Creationism is a burden we're just going to have to bear for the foreseeable future.

I have often thought that we need a term comparable to "champagne socialist" that can be applied to scientists who strictly adhere to the principles of science where other people's ideas are concerned, but refuse to allow those principles interfere with any superstitious personal belief systems they may hold themselves. The aforementioned Rev Reiss is a fine example of this hypocrisy, which is probably why he's taken suck a hammering.

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Who are the bigots here?

This poor man has been persecuted for merely mentioning what now appears to be a taboo word while being a church member.

Personally I believe that Bertrand Russell debunked religion in a short sentence, but that doesn't mean that discussing Creationism in a school should be be a stoning offence. Discussion is not the same as teaching

Some of the comments above belong in Malleus Malleficorum rather than a blog.

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Boffin

Ignorance - displaying yours @Yirrell

Your answers:

1. Why a single point? There can have been many events and many replicating structures formed - we're talking hundreds of millions of years here. Still bugger all to do with evolution though.

2. Nope, evolution is that genetic traits are selected by having a competitive advantage in the niche the organism occupied - never gets more complicated than that.

3. There's an enormous amount - do some real reading and research, stop parroting a US backed religious lobby.

4. A remarkably stupid comment and the opposite of the facts as we know them. Again do some research based on scientific studies.

5. Creationist also believe in a magical sky creature...

6. Fossils are usually dated by the geological strata they appear in. This is in sedimentary rock as igneous or metamorphic would destroy the fossil.

Are you making this up off the top of your head?

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Boffin

Even though noone will read this down here...

WRT the article - I too think it's a shame he was forced to resign, as the RS should have stood up for it's views, and taken a stand against the media which has twisted the message.

My GCSE tutor took an entire lesson to allow the debate to take place - allowing students from a creationist background to UNDERSTAND not only EVOLUTION/ BIG BANG etc, but the SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES behind the theories. therefore WHY THEY WERE BEING TAUGHT IN SCIENCE.

Whether they believed in it or not in the end, they understood why it was science, and not another religion - and why humans didn't just "one day pop out of a gorrilla".

Can I also please point out that neither "Creationism" nor "Intelligent Design" cannot be considered theories, and calling them that is misleading.

A theory must be able to predict outcomes of an experiment or observation - applied as a hypothesis.

We cannot test "creationism" or "ID", cannot form a hypothesis from them, and cannot predict any outcomes over a given time. "God will do x" does not count.

With the theories of Evolution and Natural Selection we can accurately predict outcomes given conditions. This is what the galapogas island finches are famous for - and the reason Darwin is in your wallet.

IE: The finches EVOLVED as a result of NATURAL SELECTION from ONE SPECIES to MANY DISTINCT SPECIES following ISOLATION and UNIQUE CONDITIONS.

CAN BECOME:

The finches WILL EVOLVE as a result of NATURAL SELECTION from ONE SPECIES to MANY DISTINCT SPECIES IF ISOLATED, and presented with UNIQUE CONDITIONS.

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Dead Vulture

It's easy...

1. You do not exist

2. You exist

3. You no longer exist

That's it guys!

Sorry, no invisible sky daddies to come to your rescue....or willing virgins, etc

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You're the bigot robbie

You demand that your sky fairy be allowed as the right and true answer.

What about all the other creation myths? Why can't they get their fifteen minutes of fame in science class?

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@Anonymous Coward

Nobody is baying for his blood.

Not one.

Some asking for his resignation.

Some demanding his reinstatement.

Not one baying for his blood.

Why is it OK when the Archbishop is called down when he says something like "we should allow abortions" but not when the head of the RS says that religion should be given time in science classes?

Because the latter gives you a chance to both knock the scientists and a chance for promotion of your specific creation myth (as opposed to the hundreds of other myths).

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WTF

There is a marked ignorance from Martin about Evolution:

1. Abiogenesis has *nothing* to do with Evolution. You can believe that life was created by a supernatural being, but it doesn't say anything about which supernatural being or what created that supernatural being. Evolution is about evolution of species not the creation of life. Seriously look it up: Where did the aliens come from? Where did your particular god come from? And is your god not an alien? (i.e not of this earth?)

2. Evolution is "the process of change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next". It does not claim that all life has developed from one original parent; if/when we find life on other planets, I would presume that there was an independent tree.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution If you are going to argue about it, spend 2 minutes and at least find out what Evolution really is!

3. There is vast amounts of supporting evidence for evolution in the fossil record, including 'intermediate' fossils. You ever been to a real museum and touched fossils?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_fossil

4. DNA variation between types of creatures supports evolution perfectly. DNA evidence (which obvious Darwin never knew about), provides I think the best possible evidence for evolution. You can test your DNA, your parents and your children's and find the shared traits passed down, the new variations. You can also compare your DNA with animals that look similar (i.e. a Chimp) and find huge degree of similarity and with other mammals like dolphins & show the relationships.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_theory_and_fact#Predictive_power

To not believe in DNA is probably the biggest WTF in your post.. which bit don't you believe? that DNA exists?, that it shows genetic traits and changes? or that it shows the relationships between species. Excuse yourself from serving on a jury of any court case that might require DNA evidence because you obvious can't understand evidence.

5. Creationists believe in all sort of crap; some believe that the original forms of life, by means of their 'inbuilt variability' have diverged into the many species we have today, others believe the world blinked into existence recently with all animals essentially unchanged. Which leaves all sorts of unanswered questions about why fossilised bones in the ground, and why all the evidence from a range of sciences prove evolution is a fact and yet creationists try and make up all sorts of crap.

6. Fossils are dated by a number of means - mainly by strata.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil

Right, that should be sufficient to prove that Martin knows nothing about evolution & should be ignored.

Just to be clear; evolution is a fact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_theory_and_fact#Evolution.2C_fact_and_theory

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Pirate

"Creationism has no scientific basis."

Or to rephrase, "A supernatural event can't be explained by natural means."

The man is a genius! Give him a peanut, he's obviously playing to the gallery!

I don't think anyone wants creationism taught in school science classes, but I do have to wonder at why we want to teach evolution in science classes. Why not teach kids some useful maths, physics, biology or more recent history instead? Regardless of the truth, what is to be gained by telling children that they are an accident?

Life: You don't know how it works, you weren't there when it started, there have been no significant changes to it in recorded history, you can't repeat pre-history to see what happened and the data collected over a few hundred years is being used to extrapolate back over billions of years. For a scientific community which argues amongst itself over the details and implications of current climate change, it is breathtakingly assured.

There is a huge difference between forensic science and experimental science. One takes circumstantial evidence and draws conclusions whereas the other can actually demonstrate its validity. To assign equal weight to both systems would be foolish. In experimental science, new discoveries add to our knowledge rather than invalidate existing knowledge. In evolution, the "truth" has to be continuously changed to fit new evidence, because it is just a theory, not actually truth.

Anyway, its all pretty much irrelevant. Apart from the academics whose research grants depend on it, the mechanics of how humans came to be isn't particularly relevant to most people's lives. The heat generated by the debate is from the implications of creationism and the implications of secularism. Its really about the choice between: " I really want to do what I want to do, guilt free, with no-one telling me there are consequences," and "I will be held accountable for my actions, even the ones no-one knows about." Can you guess which one will be popular?

I can see why Christians get upset over evolution being taught in schools - they wouldn't want their children to miss out on living forever because some of some theory, but what are the evolutionists getting all het up about? What are the consequences of of not believing evolution? If you believe you're just an insignificant freak of biochemistry, then why argue over what's taught to kids? How are they any different?

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You know...

When this story first hit the Reg, I commented that Reiss was not in fact saying anything controversial, and simply was being misquoted by the "teach creationism" headlines - what he was actually saying was "teach why creationism is a load of dingos' kidneys".

And I recall the regular Reg commentors baying for his blood.

And I said "nothing to see here". And there wasn't. Royal Society professor says "teach why creationism is bullshit". Bears shit in woods. Pope still Catholic. More news at 11.

Except that because of the misreporting, and the reaction of many like the Reg commentors, the poor bloke's position in the Royal Society is history.

Too many people acting like Daily Wail readers and reading the headlines instead of the actual story. Too many people thinking with their spleen instead of their brain.

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@ The idiots.

I see some foolish people here pretending that evolution and creationism are somehow equivalent, you can see how they love to confuse the common use meaning and the technical meaning of the word 'theory' you can see how they love to confuse evolution with abiogenesis, and if that starts to be answered straight to the big bang, particle physics and string theory.

What is all this stuff about respect for other views? You may not like this about science theistic cretins but science is about uncovering the truth - if we know that 2 + 2 = 4 why should they privately held, sacred and deeply personal belief that it = 5 be 'respected'?

I feel sickened that I share a world with such supersitious animals.

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Boffin

Re: "Creationism has no scientific basis."

"I don't think anyone wants creationism taught in school science classes, but I do have to wonder at why we want to teach evolution in science classes."

Because it provides a useful understanding of the natural world and is highly relevant to anyone wanting to go on and have a career in the biological sciences. The mechanisms at work around evolution by natural selection are becoming increasingly important in the medical domain - it's not all about "drink this chemical and you get better" any more. Children who go on to pursue such careers will have their work cut out in higher education if exposed to an impoverished evolution-free school curriculum, and their contemporaries will hardly be able to make the rational decisions about scientific policy required of them as fully involved members of the electorate.

"Why not teach kids some useful maths, physics, biology or more recent history instead? Regardless of the truth, what is to be gained by telling children that they are an accident?"

With the latter question, it's hard to know whether you're betraying your own insecurity when confronted with a universe without some kind of "executive director", or whether you've reduced the outcomes to an oversimplistic "all or nothing" picture of the universe's behaviour where if no such "executive director" exists then everything must be just a orgy of randomness. What's wrong with the children seeking meaning in who and what they actually are?

"I can see why Christians get upset over evolution being taught in schools - they wouldn't want their children to miss out on living forever because some of some theory, but what are the evolutionists getting all het up about?"

The concern is that if people start to insist that stuff in nature takes place because of some magic or other whose workings shouldn't be open to inspection - that people should just accept it as a matter of faith and not dare to question it - then aside from the devastating effects on critical fields of endeavour like medicine with all the horrifying consequences on public health, life quality, mortality, and so on, it opens the door for lots of other things to be sealed off and stamped with some inscrutable magic incantation, with the end result being that instead of understanding the natural world, everyone ends up parroting nonsense to each other over countless generations and wondering why "the spirits are angry" at them.

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Scientific BS

Scientists have large egos and little else. Of course there is a scientific basis for creationism we're all here with massive (er total) dependence between the organic and the inorganic. WTF that's got to do with a process called evolution is best left to dickheads. The Universe shouts design and that inevitably means designer or designers. It just happened don't hack it well not to the rational. Whether the designer(s) have anything to do with world religions is yet another debate.

Both evolution and creationism should be in some obscure university course neither have much relevance to modern life.

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re: You know...

You don't know.

You missed completely my query "how do you tell someone they are wrong without disrespecting their faith".

Because you're blinded by your NEED to make this barnpot a victim. Because you want creationism given consideration (i.e. time) to ensure it is promulgated far and wide. Why YOUR version of the creation myth gets this special treatment is unknown.

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re: It's easy...

Well, define "Sci-Fi".

You can't.

Except by pointing to a book and saying "that's SciFi" and another "that's not SciFi".

But that doesn't mean we can't write SciFi books, nor that we can't tell what a SciFi book IS when we see one. One may argue about corner cases, but that's all.

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Boffin

Re: Scientific BS

"scientific basis for creationism"

Science is all about attempting to not only describe the universe but also to use that knowledge to predict the behaviour of things in the universe. Looking at nature and saying, "Ooh! Deity XYZ made all this! Isn't it all wonderful stuff?" does not meaningfully describe nature, nor does it help us predict any subsequent events which may happen to the "wonderful stuff". If you start delegating everything to Deity XYZ then you lose all ability to rationalise about anything. You end up in a situation where if it rains and you roll around in the mud for a couple of hours and get sick, then shaking your fist at the sky and passing the buck on to Deity XYZ who was obviously angry at your "immoral" behaviour (so you pass it right back to yourself) is all you've got left.

"neither have much relevance to modern life"

Understanding biology beyond nursery school sing-alongs pretty much requires an exposure to evolution at some point. To reject perhaps the most powerful tool available to biological science means rejecting any chance of understanding how a range of biological mechanisms work and ultimately giving up on detecting, curing or treating a huge range of medical conditions. So we're quite clear on evolution's relevance.

Meanwhile, the relevance of creationism in modern life is limited strictly to understanding why anyone would seek to emit the kind of idiocy which dresses creationism up as science in the way that small children may dress up as doctors but are not, obviously, trained medical professionals, and which talks about "modern life" - enjoying all the scientific benefits of such, too - whilst advocating a pseudo-scientific toolbox that is so flimsy that had our societies adhered to such a backward set of beliefs, it wouldn't just have taken away the tools that permit such idiocy to propagate - it would have condemned us to medieval levels of misery.

But thanks for the BS, Bob. Don't forget to thank those generous scientists whose work let you live such a lifestyle of unhurried contemplation and let you share the fruits of that with the rest of the planet.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark

>Nobody is baying for his blood.

Not one.<

Really?

'The zealots' point-man was Richard 'Mad Mullah' Dawkins, who compared having "a clergyman" directing education at the Royal Society to "a Monty Python sketch". But the real heavies are known only to seasoned observers of scientific fundamentalism: Sir Richard Roberts, Sir Harry Kroto and Sir John Sulston, Nobel Prize winners all.

Roberts plunged the knife, firing off a letter to the President of the Royal Society, Lord Rees, demanding to know "who on earth thought that [Reiss] would be an appropriate director of education?" and describing Reiss's religious occupation as "worrisome"'

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/45412,opinion,royal-society-or-rotten-society

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@Stephen

1. So you don't actually understand ToE then.

2. Obviously you don't understand ToE

3. There is _no_ evidence for Evolution in the fossil record - otherwise you would have mentioned some.

4. Obviously you cannot answer my point so you make an ad hominem attack.

5. You don't understand Creationism or Christianity or you wouldn't say that.

6. ROFL so how are the strata dated, by the fossils they contain and the fossils are dated by the strata they are in and the strata are dated by the fossils they contain and the fossils are dated by the strata they are in - ad infinitum.

Don't feel too bad, it's about the standard I've come to expect from evolutionists.

Martin

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The Badger

Your first paragraph is way outside evolution and yes it is amusing to watch theoretical physicists jump through hoops trying to explain the inexplicable. From the no strings attached brigade to the spaghetti monster most of it is pure vaudeville. Why would one want to predicate things aeons into the future it's irrelevant to the present.

Er medicine is about the here and now not all our yesterdays. I wouldn't take kindly to my doctor reading "the origin of the species" whilst treating me for some illness. He don't need to know much about evolution either. I already accepted that evolution was a process but so is the formation of elements; I suspect neither is random.

btw most of life's little luxuries are done by engineers not scientists Oh and designers! Mostly scientists just observe things.

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@Anonymous Coward

Nope, no blood.

Sacking does not (unless you're defentrated in the course of being sacked) cause blood to flow.

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Alien

@Anonymous Coward

1. No, you don't understand it.

2. It's obvious you bulk out bullet points by repeating yourself

3. there is evidence in the fossil record, but he has no need to cite each and every proof to you

4. You invite ad hom because you're a freaking idiot. There's nothing to you apart from that idiocy. Certainly no arguments (as in reasons for your stance)

5. God is a magical sky fairy. In what way is he not

a) magical

b) "our father who art in heaven" (i.e. up in the sky)

c) invisible and able to grant wishes just like a fairy

6. Nope, the depth is the measure of age of the strata.

Go back to your pagan worship. Your sky fairy is a big grown up sky fairy now and can look after himself. If he doesn't like people, he can deal with it.

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Paris Hilton

Bob Hitchen

Two words for you:

Bird Flu

If your doc doesn't need to know about evolution, why would this be a problem for humans. They aren't birds.

MRSA.

Same again.

What about "finish your course of antibiotics"? Done so that you remove all your invading infection and don't leave some to **evolve** resistance to antibiotics. (see MRSA).

PS there's no full stop at the end of Bob, unless you're ending a sentence.

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Flame

Re: The Badger

@Bob. Hitchen Posted Thursday 18th September 2008 20:07 GMT

<quote>

Er medicine is about the here and now not all our yesterdays. I wouldn't take kindly to my doctor reading "the origin of the species" whilst treating me for some illness. He don't need to know much about evolution either. I already accepted that evolution was a process but so is the formation of elements; I suspect neither is random.

<unquote>

Organisms such as bacteria and viruses replicate very rapidly compared to organisms such as people. They also undergo genetic mutation more quickly. You can watch a population of disease-causing bacteria evolve **HERE AND NOW**. An example of such evolution is the development of resistance to drugs. That is why MRSA is such a problem. Penicillin was discovered in the mid-twentieth century, and within twenty years or so doctors were finding infections that did not respond to it. Doctors give patients an antibiotic, and the bacteria that survive the onslaught are those that have (randomly) mutated to be just that bit better at surviving in the presence of that drug. These more resistant bacteria give rise to the next round of infections. Repeat this for a few generations, and you have a population of bacteria against which your antibiotic has no effect.

You might be happy being treated by some ignoramus who does not understand this, but I prefer my doctors properly qualified, thanks, which means that they know that drug resistance in bacteria can (and will) occur, understand how it occurs, and so can act to avoid (or at least delay) it.

That is just ONE example of how an understanding of evolution is essential to a medical practioner.

<quote>

btw most of life's little luxuries are done by engineers not scientists Oh and designers! Mostly scientists just observe things.

<unquote>

You mean like Alexander Fleming "just observing" some interesting empty patches in his petri dish? Obviously you think that not dying of septicemia after a minor scratch is a "little luxury". WTF are engineers and designers (and drug manufacturers, in the example I have used) supposed to base their work on if not on scientific understanding, and how are they supposed to develop or design anything if they cannot work in a scientific way?

I don't know which to fear most: superstitious bigots (whether Christian, Muslim, Scientologist, or whatever) for whom ignorance is a desirable quality to inculcate into children, or those like you who are too ignorant even to realise that knowledge matters.

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Brock et al

Like I said most modern appliances are the result of design/engineering. Science may have discovered/observed electricity but didn't do much with it. Designers use practical versions of laws which are not exact. btw I don't think electricity has changed much since the start of the Universe. Like most stuff those laws were set in concrete right at the outset and are the basic components on which everything is built. Happenchance don't hack it. Science just and often accidentally discovers them. A whole army of different disciplines produce the goods.

That's what I call creation everything else is just a process. Nobody knows how those laws came into existence.

Now life

Everybody got taught there was a primeval ooze and lightening to produce the first cell which is crap so now its those mysterious deep sea volcanic vents. Nobody really knows how life started.

So for all that science stuff the two basic questions are as remote as ever. The design answer covers both.

Evolution is just a process which can be random or designed might be complex but it is driven by triggers.

Only bigots I know are those who pretend to know things but in reality a 5 year old can expose the depth in short order.

Oh btw MRSA is a result of crap management and cleanliness so it's not a good example. Anti-biotic resistance is just another trigger just like someone taking heavy levels of drugs a resistance builds up. A doctor needs to know sod all about the historic nature of all the forms of life that have existed only what works today and what doesn't.

You have me with the full stop I apologise for offending yer grammatical sensibilities.

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Boffin

Re: The Badger

"Your first paragraph is way outside evolution and yes it is amusing to watch theoretical physicists jump through hoops trying to explain the inexplicable."

Yes, it's all magic isn't it, Bob? Others have issued appropriate responses to your pantomime-level argumentation, but your idea of what science is and how it contributes to your comfortable lifestyle seems to be stuck at the dress-up box. But then for creationists and neo-creationists, it's all about trying to redefine science as some kind of "science light" where you take away all the bits that give scientific pursuit any value or meaning and replace them with meaningless made-up filler that gives its practitioners that happy, warm feeling, letting them bask in their own ignorance, pretending that their special supernatural knowledge gives them the same level of insight as everyone else.

Watching the usual creationist's rejection of science is a bit like watching a Hollywood movie or series set in medieval times and having someone say, "But everyone had nice and clean white teeth, blemish-free skin, and great hair back then! Wouldn't it be cool to have been living back in that period?"

P.S. The arguably sad thing about this whole affair is that the spokesman in question may have been a run-of-the-mill Anglican, quite able to keep science and the spiritual domain separate, knowing that evolution doesn't threaten his own beliefs. In contrast, the simpletons who promote various brands of neo-creationism feel threatened by every new scientific announcement because their unsophisticated belief systems just can't adapt to any new information. Indeed, those people should just leave the heavy religious pontification to the Anglicans, who at least have a bit of experience in moving the goalposts without looking like foolish amateurs.

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Stop

There are two Martins with opposing views....

"Right, that should be sufficient to prove that Martin knows nothing about evolution & should be ignored.

Just to be clear; evolution is a fact."

Just for the avoidance of doubt - I am the Martin who does believe evolution is a fact. The other Martin is Martin Yirrell, who, I agree, clearly knows nothing about evolution.

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Paris Hilton

re: Brock et al

"Oh btw MRSA is a result of crap management and cleanliness so it's not a good example."

Uh, how does crap management mean that MRSA didn't ***evovle*** resistance to the antibiotics being used poorly?

Crap management: use less cleaner because that's cheaper than using enough cleaner.

Result: bugs are allowed to survive damage from the cleaning.

Bugs that are more resistant have more bug-children.

The bug-children have the genetic traits of their parents plus some random changes from transcription errors.

The bug-children are left to survive the next round of cleaning.

Those bug-children best able to survive out of this already survivable race of bugs have more bug-children.

This is the theory of evolution by natural selection that you say doesn't exist.

Are you a throwback?

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Boffin

Re: Brock et al

"The design answer covers both."

Nope, the "design answer" is just a label that covers up the hole in your knowledge, indicating that not only do you have no idea about what went on, but also that you have no intention of finding out.

"Only bigots I know are those who pretend to know things but in reality a 5 year old can expose the depth in short order."

Having your "answers" crack under the scrutiny of five year olds is clearly something you have a lot of experience with.

"A doctor needs to know sod all about the historic nature of all the forms of life that have existed only what works today and what doesn't."

And what works today, Bob, and how do we know it works? Angels whispering the answers into people's ears? Perhaps they can get you up to speed on all the other topics you've touched upon while they're in a talkative mood.

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addendum to "re: Brock et al"

Oh, and if the bacteria only live months, how come each generation doesn't have to start from scratch in their "drug tolerance" like drug users' children do if this resistance/tolerance is not inheritable?

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Anonymous Coward

Nope, no blood

sigh

"baying for someone's blood" doesn't actually require the shedding of blood nor does it imply that anyone requires the shedding of blood.

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@Mark

Mark

Sorry, but it is plain you do not have the faintest idea about either Evolution or Christianity. I was not asking for "each and every proof" just pointing out that Stephen had provided none, just as you have not. It ill behoves you to call anyone an idiot when you appear incapable of reasoned argument. As to fossils being dated by "the depth" they are found at, how would this be affected by erosion? Perhaps you need to go back and think again. At to God, no He doesn't grant wishes and no, Heaven does not equate to sky. However, if He exists you will meet Him one day.

Martin

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Drug tolerance

Mark

That bacteria inherit drug tolerance is not Evolution but variation. It does not require new information in the genome but may be produced by the loss of information. The bacteria have not evolved, they are still bacteria.

Martin

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Re: Brock et al

No the design hypothesis theory call it what you like is a perfectly reasonable position I've read quite a bit of theoretical physics albeit without all that fuzzy maths. True I have no idea what went on and currently that applies to every member of the human race. The EU is currently spending some of my loot looking for some Noah's Ark particle that's supposed to be the answer to everything.

Five year olds just need to ask why or how a few times and the honest person is stumped.

Er how does one know something works er they don't snuff it. Most medicine is based on experience through trial and error. True drug companies and University types discover new things but for most that's jam tomorrow.

Oh and only the lucky and able to breed (not the fittest) survive same as MRSA bacteria. Odd thing is the human race survived for tens or hundreds of thousands of years without any knowledge of bacteria. The answer to the addendum question is genetics. Those that don't suit there current environment cease to exist. Mind you all dem genes are useless against natural disasters like volcanoes or impacts it's 'goodnight Vienna' no matter how fit one is.

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Boffin

@Yirrel

Then how come there didn't USED to be MRSA? How come DDT resistant mozzies weren't there until DDT had been used for a while? Why were they not as effective at resisting the problems of us trying to kill them in the past as now?

If it is merely "variation", then the variation would remain the same and the problem would not be getting worse.

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Boffin

@BobPeriod

We used to die a lot too. Our infant mortality rate went down as we discovered why children were getting unwell. As we discovered penicillin we found a way to kill many more bugs. And this was effective for many years.

Then we started to see resistance to penicillin in the organisms that used to die from its application.

Why did we see that *come into existence*?

Then we invented or created new forms of penicillin. Versions these creatures had never seen before and these versions worked.

For a while.

Why is it they used to work if the variation to resist the new forms was as strong a hundred years ago as they are now?

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IT Angle

re: Nope, no blood

So no knives being pushed in, either.

Hyperbole, this is called.

Now would it be considered rude to ask that the Pope be removed from his position if he said "well, y'know, maybe God doesn't exist. He's never talked to me, for a start."?

Or is this too "baying for blood"?

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Gates Halo

@Yirrell

"Sorry, but it is plain you do not have the faintest idea about either Evolution or Christianity."

If you're going to make claims like this, it looks better if you don't say things like "Creation destroys the argument for Evolution" since the grown-up Christian groups have been quite able to accept evolution alongside whatever creation beliefs they may have for quite some time. Indeed, I think I could probably name at least one vicar who could give you advice on the matter, should you be interested. ;-)

"At to God, no He doesn't grant wishes and no, Heaven does not equate to sky."

Actually, the whole "heaven" and "sky" correspondence is quite obvious in scripture translated to a number of languages. Feel free to cite the original to back up your assertion, though.

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