Since it is Darwin Day, this topic seemed to be just right. Intelligent Design vs Evolution.
NPR, the educational choice in radio listening, went out of there way to tell us that Darwin's 200th birthday is coming up.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, and to say Darwin mania is gripping England does not overstate the case.
The Royal Mint has created a Darwin coin, the Royal Mail has made a Darwin stamp set, and there are countless lectures and exhibitions throughout the country.
Bob Bloomfield is in charge of Darwin200, a program coordinating the celebration. He says there's even a group of knitters paying tribute to Darwin.
"The group created artistic knitted elements which are evocative of evolution processes," says Bloomfield. "Similarly there's a very small group also doing quilts which are doing a Bayeux tapestry of the Beagle voyage."
In other words, Darwin is not the controversial figure in the United Kingdom that he continues to be in the United States. Bloomfield says the reason for this is science has proved Darwin right.
"Unless you want to disregard the weight of evidence, there's not really a controversy," says Bloomfield. "Most difficulties come from people who have a fixed perspective on either the nature of time or either the created nature of the natural world."
But in Britain, even those who see the hand of a creator in the natural world don't have a problem with Darwin. The reason is that science and religion answer different questions, says the Right Rev. Lord Harries of Pentregarth, a member of the House of Lords and the former bishop of Oxford for the Church of England.
"Science is trying to address the question, 'How do things happen?'" says Harries. "In answer to that you get the theory of evolution. Things happen gradually over a very long period of time by natural causes. But if you ask 'Why did things happen?' Then you get a completely different answer."
It's the way of life that belongs in the spiritual domain. Harries believes the problems some religions have with Darwin and evolution come from a literal interpretation of the Bible. According to Harries, while the Bible contains profound truths, it is not word for word true.
"First of all, take the issue of the age of the Earth," says Harries. "Do people really think that the universe is only 4,000 years old when every science — chemistry, paleontology, physics, astronomy … points to, with substantial evidence, to the Earth being billions of years old and the universe more than billions of years old. So you have to ask people, do you think that the vast majority of scientists … are liars?"
The Rev. Malcolm Brown says the Church of England did have problems with Darwin's theory at first, but quickly realized it was not an attack on Christian faith. Nevertheless, by getting the first reaction wrong, "We legitimized, to some extent, later movements, particularly in the United States during the early 20th century, to raise creationism as an ideology and make Darwin a whipping boy."
The creationist ideology, now repackaged as a theory known as intelligent design, still runs strong in certain parts of America.
The University of Kansas in Lawrence actually has one of the 1,250 copies that make up the first edition of On the Origin of Species. But unlike in England, where it seems every scrap of Darwin memorabilia is on public display, this copy of the first edition stays mainly in the vault.
Leonard Krishtalka is a paleontologist and head of the natural history museum on campus. Krishtalka knows the book, with it's notions about how life appeared on Earth, is threatening to some people. And even though Kansas has grabbed headlines with its fights over teaching intelligent design as an alternative to Darwin's theories in schools, it's not a problem unique to Kansas.
"There are actually 34 states in the United States that have passed anti-evolution laws of one kind or another," says Krishtalka, "whether it's stickers in textbooks or warnings that 'Reading this book with be injurious to your mental health," whether it's California or Alabama or Louisiana. For the record, in Kansas, the teaching of evolution in schools never stopped because all of the regulation and rules that the anti-evolution segment of the Kansas City Board of Education tried to get through were never enacted."
But the fight continues. It's not a scientific fight. Science has already proclaimed Darwin the winner. It's a social tug of war. A tug of war that started 150 ago and shows no signs of abating.
America continues to prove its ass-backward mentality, and the UK is chock full of 'chavs.' however, 'chavs' aren't as dumb as the university of Kansas. Britain did something right, in all of its imperialistic glory.
This is the one that gets me though...
"There are actually 34 states in the United States that have passed anti-evolution laws of one kind or another," says Krishtalka, "whether it's stickers in textbooks or warnings that 'Reading this book with be injurious to your mental health," whether it's California or Alabama or Louisiana.what in the mother of fuck is wrong with you, America?
There are actually 34 states in the United States that have passed anti-evolution lawsIt's against the law to evolve in the US? That explains a lot. All along America has been water boarding the wrong people. I think I can explain it. People receive inadequate science education in school and do not learn critical thinking skills. These people join schools boards where they vote against adequate science education and classes on critical thinking. also they cut funding for arts and music classes so they have enough for new football jerseys.
Then again, Britain isn't looking so hot either.
More than half of the public believe that the theory of evolution cannot explain the full complexity of life on Earth, and a "designer" must have lent a hand, the findings suggest.But as this chart shows... maybe that's not accurate
And one in three believe that God created the world within the past 10,000 years.
So I say to you, Happy Darwin day. Much like Christmas when we're bombarded with Christmas specials, all these Darwin and evolution programs the bbc have been putting out over the past few weeks have been awesome. Then again, most people only look to BBC to see Monty Python or Benny Hill.
I'm just surprised that creationist are having a hard time understanding that we evolve. Don't we see that in our full life time anyway? When you're young you grow up and you become someone entirely different. The me from 10 years ago is completely different than the me today.
Evolution. It's just that simple. It's responsible for things which are so goddamn spectacular that most just cant fathom complex parts being developed through chance, I mean hell even I cant figure out how photoreceptors developed through genetic mutation, let alone how my microwave actually cooks my Hot Pockets and that's why we have religion. Because people can't accept how fucking amazing the universe is without magic.
The worst arguments I've heard are that evolution does not explain the origin of life(even though it doesn't even attempt to) therefore it is completely false, and the "missing link", which is nit picking a whole theory and trying to render it false(even though the "missing link" only applies to humans). I also like the classic "I'm as skeptic of evolution as I am of creationism, and until there is scientific evidence for any i will believe neither". My response to that is that my book on carpentry doesn't explain how to build a car. It's two separate issues entirely.
Forbes currently has a ton of Darwin related articles. The article about social darwinism is a nice example of "I dislike this theory on a personal level therefore it must be wrong" and on a final note Did you know that Dawrin's tortoise died three years ago but lived for 176 years?
Darwin's tortoise, Harriet, dies at 176In the end, I just default to the way Monty Python would solve this issue.
By Tom Whipple
SHE visited three continents, inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution and made it into the record books, yet for more than a century everyone thought she was male. Harriet, the world’s oldest tortoise, has died in an Australian zoo, aged 176.
Weighing in at 150kg (24 stone) and roughly the size of a dinner table, the Giant Galapagos tortoise was considered by Guiness World Records to be the world’s oldest living animal in captivity.
John Hangar, Australia Zoo’s senior vet, said that her death came quickly. “She had been sick yesterday with, in effect, heart failure,” he told ABC Radio. “She had a fairly acute heart attack and thankfully passed away quickly overnight.”
Longevity is not Harriet's only claim to fame. Originally named Harry, some believe that in 1835, at the age of 5, she was among the animals transported from the Galapagos Islands by Sir Charles Darwin’s expedition on the Beagle.
She stayed briefly in Britain, but by the mid-1800s had found her way to more tortoise-friendly climes in the Botanic Gardens, Brisbane. She was moved to the Queensland zoo in 1980.
Steve Irwin, the zoo owner and wildlife celebrity, said: “I have grown up with this gorgeous old girl and so have my kids. She was a grand old lady.”
Oddly enough, Steve Irwin died three months later.
So enjoy this Darwin day and take a look at all the wonders we may never have an explanation for, but that doesn't mean they're not any less amazing.