Thursday, March 23, 2006

Believing on faith alone and disbelieving despite a deluge of evidence

There are all sorts of delusions. Creationism (including the latest strain--Intelligent Design) surely must be one of most crazy.

Here are a couple of comments offered by university department heads during a recent survey conducted by Robert Camp on the much bandied, but actually chimeric, "controversy."

The entire biological sciences field from biochemistry to ecology is predicated on the fact of evolution. In 100 years of intensive research no facts inconsistent with evolutionary theory have ever been found. On the contrary, as we have obtained more and more detailed information, especially at the molecular and genomic levels, both the fact that evolution has occurred, creating the species currently existing on earth (including man), and the various mechanisms by which this occurs have become more and more clear. The question is not whether evolution has occurred, but which mechanisms have been most important. There is no need to invoke the supernatural or any higher power to explain life on earth. There is no controversy whatsoever among the many thousands of scientists in the field about the fact of evolution.

--Tom Blumenthal

The faculty in my department variously regard the [Intelligent Design] crowd as insane, ignorant, dangerous, or the butt of jokes. Among our group, ID is considered a not-so-subtle cover for Christian fundamentalist creationism. There are ongoing controversies within the field of evolutionary biology, as in ALL intellectually vibrant scientific disciplines. However, there is no controversy among our faculty about the broad ideas of modern evolutionary biology; that evolution has occurred through processes of natural selection, isolation with genetic drift, and sexual selection. In life sciences, evolution has the same status as a "theory" as the idea that genetic information is encoded by nucleic acids, or that cells are bounded by membranes. That is to say, the evidence is so strong and comes from so many directions, that to deny these fundamental concepts is, in the Year of Our Lord 2006, to be delusional.

--Stuart Dryer

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