Sunday, December 16, 2007

I am not the only person saying this stuff

Last month Dr. Steve Kay, dean of UCSD's Division of Biological Sciences, wrote "Why evolution matters," for the San Diego Union-Tribune. (It can be found here.) Dr. Kay continued his discussion on evolution and its importance in modern biology by answering questions. Here are a few that I particularly liked:

Censorship is in the eye of the beholder:

wild_card(Q) Regarding the stats on Americans that do not believe in evolution, what is your response to those who reject it on the basis that it is said to censor other scientific theories, such as Intelligent Design?

dr_steve_kay(A) To put the record straight, Intelligent Design is not a credible scientific hypothesis, because it relies on the supernatural belief of a creator. My impression from reading some of the ID literature is that this is not a theory or hypothesis, it makes no predictions, and it has no place in the science classroom because of this. It is therefore a false assertion that evolution "censors" ID. ID is not in the domain of science.

Is Evolution a religion?

dgish(Q) Dr Kay, Michael Ruse an evolutionist and a philosopher of science professor now at Florida St Univ published the following statement in an article in a Canadian newspaper in which he said: "evolution is promoted by its practiioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion--a full fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality.....evolution is a religion."

dr_steve_kay(A) Understanding and accepting evolution does not equate with morality or religion any more than any other major scientific theory - be it quantum theory or relativity. I find myself more in awe of nature as I learn MORE about it, not less. My understanding of how life has evolved on this planet and generated such marvelous biodervisity inspires me to want to protect it better - to be a better steward of this planet. I hope others would feel the same.

The Gonzales whine:

wild_card(Q) How would you respond to legitimate scientists with legitimate degrees from secular universities being fired or denied tenure for refusing to accept or teach evolution because they wish to explore other options for the origins of life, a concept that is fundamentally the basis for scientific inquiry?

dr_steve_kay(A) I would expect faculty not to contaminate their scientific views with their personal belief systems - our students need to learn the plethora of science out there by learning modern scientific methods and thoughts. My perusal of the news also turns out more teachers and professors being disciplined due to their stand on evolutionary science, rather than their opposition to it.

I like his final point "My perusal of the news also turns out more teachers and professors being disciplined due to their stand on evolutionary science, rather than their opposition to it." While The Discovery Institute makes such a point about folks like Gonzales, but have they said anything about Comer?

I guess I need more in another post on this one. Macro evolution and Micro evolution are smokescreens to give Intelligent Design proponents an excuse to accept parts of evolutionary theory.

Bohr(Q) Do you feel that the terms micro and macro evolution are simply a dodge, in the sense that creationists and ID'ers are simply looking for a way out when confronted by the evidence of evolution presented in species with much shorter life cycles (and hence generations), such as bacteria?

dr_steve_kay(A) Yes, i think that micro and macro evolution is used as a dodge. Evolutionary biologists use micro evolution - the study for example of how microbes can change in successive generations, to learn about detailed specific mechanisms that may contribute to the larger picture of how organisms evolve under natural conditions.

Religious Belief, I like the way he worded it!

mayday(Q) I'm bothered by the phrase "believe in evolution", as though it is an article of faith. Nobody asks about belief in relativity or quantum theory.

dr_steve_kay(A) You are right, it is more accurate to type that they are convinced or adhere to the body of evidence, rather than "believe" in it.

It's nice to see support for my own thoughts on the subject!

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