Florida education official uses position to oppose evolution

An employee at the Florida Department of Education sent out an e-mail from her personal account to several people in an attempt to rally them to oppose the new draft of the state science standards because of the way evolution is now included. (Browse through previous posts on this blog for background on this hot issue.)

Here are the first two paragraphs of that e-mail. There are all sorts of problems with what she has to say, but can you spot the one thing that would make a newspaper reporter want to do a story?

My name is Charlie Carraway and I’m a member of Sopchoppy Southern Baptist Church, Sopchoppy , Florida , but I also work for the Florida Department of Education as the Director of the Office of Instructional Materials. That means I oversee the adoption process in the state, and I work in close proximity to the folks in the Office of Mathematics and Science, who have been in charge of the revision of the science standards. I say all of this, obviously, to give this e-mail credibility, so that you’ll continue to read and pass on the information I’m sharing with you.

A lot of people don’t understand “why all the fuss about the new science standards,” so I thought I would try to give more background information. The science standards that are in place now do not include the word Evolution anywhere. In fact, they are ambiguous enough that the districts and schools in Florida have been able to teach evolution as a theory along With other theories. In addition to that, if these new standards are adopted, the new instructional materials adopted and placed in our schools will be aligned to these standards, which means that our new materials will explicitly teach evolution – and not as a theory!!!

If you guessed that it’s because she is using her position to promote a personal view, then you are right! Here’s the newspaper article in the St. Petersburg Times about Ms. Carraway.

“It is inappropriate for any department employee to use their public position to advocate their personal positions,” department spokesman Tom Butler said Friday. “Ms. Carraway has been counseled.”

That means human resources personnel met with Carraway and warned her not to do this again, but she remains on the job.

The reporter goes on to mention an issue in Texas where a state Education Agency’s director of science was forced to resign for forwarding an e-mail about a talk being given concerning evolution and creationism. These two e-mail incidents are hardly similar, contrary to what the reporter claims. (Here’s a New York Times article on the Texas matter.) In Texas, the issue was taken to an extreme by the Education Agency, resulting in a professional losing her job for essentially doing her job: supporting science. Here in Florida, Carraway was only reprimanded, which was the appropriate reaction in this case. And Carraway obviously hasn’t a clue what she is talking about, which is painfully evident in her writing. “… which means that our new materials will explicitly teach evolution – and not as a theory!!!” Yes, Ms. Carraway, evolution will be taught as an established scientific theory, but you apparently don’t have any idea what that really means. Here’s a definition that might help you out:

“In everyday use, the word “theory” often means an untested hunch, or a guess without supporting evidence. But for scientists, a theory has nearly the opposite meaning. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts. The theory of gravitation, for instance, explains why apples fall from trees and astronauts float in space. Similarly, the theory of evolution explains why so many plants and animals–some very similar and some very different–exist on Earth now and in the past, as revealed by the fossil record.”

American Museum of Natural History website.

There is something very important to mention here: Ms. Carraway is very likely not the only person in the Florida Department of Education trying to undermine science education. Perhaps the St. Petersburg Times or some other newspaper will follow up on this to see “how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

Florida Citizens for Science has the entire text of Ms. Carraway’s e-mail. You can view it on the continuation page.

What follows is the text of Charlie Carraway that got her into a bit of hot water. The e-mail mentions that there are some underlines, but the version FCS obtained was in plain text mode, so the underlines and any other such markings are missing.

My name is Charlie Carraway and I’m a member of Sopchoppy Southern Baptist Church, Sopchoppy , Florida , but I also work for the Florida Department of Education as the Director of the Office of Instructional Materials. That means I oversee the adoption process in the state, and I work in close proximity to the folks in the Office of Mathematics and Science, who have been in charge of the revision of the science standards. I say all of this, obviously, to give this e-mail credibility, so that you’ll continue to read and pass on the information I’m sharing with you.

A lot of people don’t understand “why all the fuss about the new science standards,” so I thought I would try to give more background information. The science standards that are in place now do not include the word Evolution anywhere. In fact, they are ambiguous enough that the districts and schools in Florida have been able to teach evolution as a theory along With other theories. In addition to that, if these new standards are adopted, the new instructional materials adopted and placed in our schools will be aligned to these standards, which means that our new materials will explicitly teach evolution – and not as a theory!!!

For example, these are some of the science standards we have now: (the underlining is mine)

At 9-12 the student knows various scientific theories on how the universe Was formed.

At 9-12 the student knows that the structure of the universe is the result Of in teractions involving fundamental particles (matter) and basic forces (energy) and that evidence suggests that the universe contains all of the Matter and energy that ever existed.

At 9-12 the student understands the mechanisms of change (e.G., mutation and natural selection) that lead to adaptations in a species and their ability to survive naturally in changing conditions and to increase species diversity.

You must notice the difference between the above benchmarks and the new ones that are being proposed. First of all, under the proposed “Evolution and Diversity” Standard, there are three “Big Ideas.” They are:

A. Evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence.
B. Organisms are classified based on their evolutionary history.
C. Natural selection is the primary mechanism leading to evolutionary change.

Then the teacher will be required to teach and the student will be required to learn the following benchmarks at 9-12:

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.1: Explain how evolution is demonstrated by the fossil record, extinction, comparative anatomy, comparative embryology, biogeography, molecular biology (crosscuts with earth/space), and observed evolutionary change.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.2: Discuss the use of molecular clocks to estimate how long ago various groups of organisms diverged evolutionarily from one another.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.3: Explain the reasons for changes in how organisms are classified.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.4: Compare and contrast organisms at kingdom level.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.5: Discuss distinguishing characteristics of major kingdoms, vertebrate phyla and classes taking typical examples.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.6: Describe how and why organisms are hierarchically classified and related with emphasis on the Linnaean system and cladistics.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.7: Express scientific explanations of the origin of life on Earth.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.8: Explain the role of reproductive isolation in the process of speciation.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.9: Identify basic trends in hominid evolution from early ancestors six million years ago to modern humans.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.10: Discuss specific fossils hominids and what they show about human evolution.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.11: List the conditions for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in a population and why these conditions are not likely to appear in nature. Use the Hardy-Weinberg equation to predict genotypes in a population
from observed phenotypes.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.12: Describe the elements of natural selection, including overproduction of offspring, inherited variation, and the struggle to survive, resulting in differential reproductive success.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.13: Discuss other mechanisms of evolutionary change such as genetic drift, gene flow, founder effect.

Benchmark SC.912.L.2.14: Discuss mutation and genetic recombination as sources of variation.

Once these become adopted standards and benchmarks, FCAT assessment will be based on them. That means students will be held accountable to learn these benchmarks. Districts will not have a choice in teaching evolution as a theory, but will be expected to teach it as stated in these standards, big ideas, and benchmarks. Why? Why is this change necessary? Whose agenda is this and will the Christians in Florida care enough to do something about it?

Not many people know about this, but there are actually public meetings being held in November so that people can come and give their input. The notice just came out, and I am pasting it in this e-mail. Please encourage interested parties to write the State Board members in the Department of Education and let them know how they feel about the change to these standards. The State Board will have the final say as to whether these standards are approved. I have listed their names and addresses at the end of this message.

Here is the notice about the public input and meetings.

Florida’s Proposed New Science Standards the draft Sunshine State Standards for Science are now available on
www.flstandards.org for public review and comment. In the interest of ensuring that these standards are clear, concise, and accurate, the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Mathematics and Science invites you to
rate each of the benchmarks and provide valuable feedback to the writers. Public input will close on December 14.

Input concerning the proposed standards can also be provided during four public meetings scheduled to take place in November at the following locations:

November 7, RA Gray Building, Tallahassee
November 15, Jones High School Auditorium, Orlando
November 20, Jefferson High School, Tampa
November 28, The Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership,
Jacksonville

For more information, please contact Todd Clark, Office of Mathematics and Science, at (850) 245-0764 or visit www.fldoestem.org.

Florida’s State Board of Education Members

Mr. T. Willard Fair
Chairman, State Board of Education
Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc.
8500 NW 25th Avenue
Miami , Florida 33147

Ms. Donna Callaway
State Board of Education, Member
325 W. Gaines Street
Turlington Building, Suite 1514
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dr. Akshay Desai
State Board of Education, Member
American Family and Geriatric Care
150 2nd Avenue, North, Suite 400
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-3340

Mr. Roberto Martinez
State Board of Education, Member
255 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables , Florida 33134

Mrs. Phoebe Raulerson
State Board of Education, Member
325 W. Gaines Street
Suite 1514
Tallahassee , FL 32399

Ms. Kathleen Shanahan
State Board of Education, Member
WRS Infrastructure & Environment, Inc.
221 Hobbs Street, Suite 108
Tampa , FL 33619

Mrs. Linda Taylor
State Board of Education, Member
13451 McGregor Blvd., Suite 27
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg
Florida Department of Education, Office of the Commissioner
325 W. Gaines Street
Suite 1514
Tallahassee , Florida 32399

Please join me in keeping these standards from being approved and adopted by our State Board of Education at their December meeting. The least we can do is make sure evolution is presented to our children and grandchildren as a
theory as it has been in the past. Hopefully, though, we can do better than that.

Thank you,

Charlie Carraway

13 Responses to “Florida education official uses position to oppose evolution”

  1. Mike Haubrich, FCD Says:

    In 2003-2004, Minnesota was in the process of revising its Mathematics and Science standards. A woman you are familiar with by now, Cheri Pierson Yecke was the Commissioner of Education at the time. She had formed a review board for M&S along with History. She was careful to select a “balanced” review board; meaning that on M&S the number of Creationists/ID’ists roughly equaled the number of people who could tell the difference between shit and Shinola.

    Once the initial draft had been prepared, the board setup a series of “Town Hall” meetings(like they are doing in Florida,) and I attended the one in St. Paul at Central High School. Most of the floor comments dealt with the fact that the history standards had a decidedly right-wing slant and basically neglected the positive contributions that any liberals had made in the United States, and that the standards had no provision for the wildly popular “History Day” events.

    On the Math & Science standards, people from the floor attacked even the weakened versions of evolution in the standards (which didn’t even include the “E” word.) “It’s just a theory”, “it’s just a theory”, “it’s just a theory”ad nauseum. They decried that there were no explicit references to Intelligent Design in the standards. Only a few people voiced opinions in support for real science; one of them was a lawyer from the ACLU who threatened to sue the state if the current standards were put in place. That one didn’t serve to persuade the conservatives on the commission.

    One other important voice was that of a professor of the Philosophy of Science, semi-retired from the University of Minnesota. He made the point that until Intelligent Design made any sort of headway in demonstrating its scientific value, it should be left out of the curriculum standards. “Until then, Evolution is the best explanation that we have for how life works, and that is the only thing we can teach.”

    The standards which made it through and passed the legislature, and were signed by the governor who had appointed Yecke, included the word Evolution in all the necessary places in the benchmarks. Of course, this doesn’t stop John West from claiming that Minnesota has standards which allow for the teaching of ID.

    Sometimes you can’t win, even when you have won.

  2. Abel Pharmboy Says:

    I don’t mean to make light of the obvious scientific objections to Ms. Carraway’s comments, but there is a serious side that impacts upon her being from Sopchoppy. As I posted today, Darwin had much to say about the practice animals and people used to coax worms out of the ground. I submit that the Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin’ Festival would not be possible without the natural history observations of Darwin. To deny evolution is to deny worm gruntin’.

  3. Frustrated Scientist... Says:

    Maybe what we scientists need is a new word to replace our use of the word “theory,” one that doesn’t come with the baggage of what the ID sheep mean when _they_ say “theory.” It might make it easier to make it clear to the uninformed that the ID’s are a mix of clueless idiots who know nothing about science, and the willfully ignorant, who are “choosing” to be wrong to more easily push their own agenda…

  4. Howard R. Jeter Says:

    We have got to find a way to stop our school system from teaching our children this garbage about evolution.

    Today’s scientists, using modern science and technology have proven that most, if not all, of Darwin’s theories are wrong. Even Darwin stated that his theories were just that, theories.
    The proper definition of the word ‘theory’ from the American Heritage Dictionary is, Something taken to be true without proof.

    The US Supreme Court, in Abington v Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 affirmed the educational use of religious materials, presented objectively.
    The Court said: Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.

    It further stated: Therefore, religion, including the religious belief in creation, is appropriately brought into the public school curriculum wherever it naturally arises–as it does in the study of origins. Scientific evidence pertaining to all
    theories of origin can be objectively overviewed in a public school science class without the teacher crossing the constitutional line of proselytizing or devotional use of religion. In fact, the student who is only taught to blindly accept the unproven theory of Darwinian macroevolution despite mounting scientific evidence against it is poorly served by the school district.

  5. Howard R. Jeter Says:

    Sorry about the length of this comment, but the subject is complicated.

    LEGAL OPINION MEMORANDUM
    1.March 2000
    On Legal Issues Involved in the Teaching of Evolution and Creationism
    in America’s Public Schools
    By
    The Christian Law Association
    Seminole, Florida
    Question Presented
    May creationism be legally taught in a public school science setting?
    Summary
    While creationism may not legally be taught in America’s government schools, nothing prohibits public school teachers from presenting legitimate evidence in science class that both supports and refutes Darwinism, even if such evidence would tend to support the religious theory of creation.

    Legal Analysis
    The United States Supreme Court has held that scientific creationism is a religion, while it does not regard evolution as religious. This was the Court’s determination in the case of Edwards v. Aquillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987). The key case regarding the teaching of religion in public schools is Abington v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963), which prohibited the devotional use of religious materials in public school classrooms. At the same time, however, the Court affirmed the continuing educational use of religious materials, presented objectively.
    The Court said:
    Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.
    Therefore, religion, including the religious belief in creation, is appropriately brought into the public school curriculum wherever it naturally arises—as it does in the study of origins. Scientific evidence pertaining to all theories of origin can be objectively overviewed in a public school science class without the teacher crossing the constitutional line of proselytizing or devotional use of religion. In fact, the student who is only taught to blindly accept the unproven theory of Darwinian macroevolution despite mounting scientific evidence against it is poorly served by the school district.
    The real issue regarding the teaching of evolution in public schools is not a legal question. The real question is whether a science teacher who does not recognize that evolution is merely a theory and not a scientifically proven fact is qualified to teach it in a public school science class. Public school teachers should be required to keep up with current scientific data on evolutionary theories of macroevolution.
    One good starting point for a teacher to update his or her skills would be to read the significant work of Dr. Michael Behe of Lehigh University, who has effectively challenged Darwinian theories based on recent scientific data in his book, Darwin’s Black Box.
    Dr. Behe teaches biochemistry and molecular biology at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In his book, Dr. Behe spells out his theory of “irreducible complexity.” Both the book and the theory were favorably reviewed in the New York Times and Dr. Behe was himself asked to produce a column for the Times outlining his theory. Public school teachers of evolutionary theory should be required to keep up with such new information.
    Even before Dr. Behe’s book appeared, Dr. Charles Thaxton was the first scientist to propose the theory of “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution. The forward to Dr. Thaxton’s groundbreaking book was written by a prominent atheistic scientist. Dr. Thaxton, who now teaches in Czechoslovakia, first presented his views on The Mystery of the Origin of Life at the state university at Austin, Texas, in 1989. He demonstrated that when scientists attempt to prove evolutionary theory, they are required to manipulate the building blocks of life in a manner that actually disproves evolution and points toward the necessity for an intelligent designer of the processes of life. This theory is compatible with religious views of creation, but not with Darwinism. It is this sort of evidence that must be presented to school children in order to educate them sufficiently in the most modern views of evolution. Instead of presenting a religious theory, public school teachers need only present these new scientific evidences and let the students evaluate which theories of origin they best support. Information about what various religions believe about the origins of life can be presented in an objective manner. Evolutionary theories can be weighed objectively against the emerging evidence to see whether they hold up. This is not teaching religion, but teaching good science.
    While Dr. Behe and Dr. Thaxton never mention creationism, their theories support the thesis that some intelligent designer must be linked to the origin of life in much the same way that computer programs can be shown to be intelligently designed. Dr. Phillip Johnson and Charles Colson have both authored numerous books analyzing and debunking myths associated with evolution. Mr. Colson’s new book, How Now Shall We Live, focuses on the fact that evolution is primarily a philosophy that undergirds a specific secular world view, and is not a science at all.
    Evolution’s hold on academe is weakening and will likely continue to wan rapidly as new scientific evidence regarding DNA and the building blocks of life are unlocked. The new scientific evidence presented by Dr. Behe and Dr. Thaxton has not been refuted by evolutionary scientists.
    Dr. Behe notes that Darwin himself recognized that if some irreducibly complex organism were identified that did not permit gradual evolution, the theory of evolution would become untenable.
    Dr. Behe has done exactly that in his work on cellular biology. Public school boards need to mandate that evolution be taught by presenting both the scientific pros and cons. There is no question that such a curriculum would be constitutional. The new evidences are not based on God, but on science. Students would need to take the next step on their own if they choose to plug in God as the “intelligent designer.” That is as far as teachers can constitutionally go at the present, but it is probably far enough.
    The Kansas Board of Education recently voted to omit questions on evolution from the statewide science exam because they did not feel the state recommended science textbook, which only provided a positive view of evolution, was factual. The Supreme Court has never mandated that Darwinism must be taught as fact; nor have they ever prohibited science teachers from teaching scientific evidence disproving evolution to public school students. If such scientific evidence better supports religious views of the origin of life, there is no constitutional foul. Public school science teachers may constitutionally teach the fact that scientists are beginning to take a new critical look at evidence supporting evolution, which is an objective development in the field of science.
    By any modern scientific measure, macroevolution is a theory, not a proven fact. Students who are not given arguments that both support and refute this theory are not being given a good science education. This issue transcends the question of whether the Supreme Court would ever permit the teaching of creationism in public schools. The issue really becomes whether public school science teachers are well or ill informed regarding their subject matter from a scientific perspective.
    The United States Supreme Court struck down the State of Arkansas’ anti-evolution statute that prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools. The Court found in Epperson v. Arkansas, 939 U.S. 97 (1968), that the primary purpose of the Arkansas statute was religious and had no objective secular or scientific basis. The Supreme Court ruled in Edwards v. Aquillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987), that a state could not mandate the teaching of creationism by requiring that creation theories be taught whenever evolutionary theories were taught. But objective presentations of religious views, which are not devotional or proselytizing, have never been banned from the classroom where they logically fit as they do in any analysis of the origins of life.
    There are two lower court cases where teachers were prohibited from presenting views contrary to evolution in a science class. In one, Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School Dist., 37 F.3d 517 (9th Cir. 1994), the teacher was combining religious proselytizing with teaching about creation in the classroom. In the other, Webster v. New Lenox School Dist., 917 F.2d 1004 (7th Cir. 1990), the issue was whether the teacher’s First Amendment rights were violated by the school curriculum policy regarding evolution. The court held that the teacher “had not been prohibited from teaching any nonevolutionary theories,” but was merely prohibited from “religious advocacy.” Id. at 1008.
    Finally, it is entirely constitutional for a teacher to permit a student to bring his or her own religious perspective into the science classroom discussion. It is perfectly appropriate for a teacher to permit students to present scientific evidence against macroevolution, even if that evidence includes discussion of a religious perspective. It is not good educational policy to advocate a blind adherence to any particular evolutionary scheme. Furthermore, it is religious discrimination to prohibit students from expressing their religious viewpoints objectively in class. Teachers could set up student debates and other assignments where students were invited to evaluate the conflicting scientific evidence that is currently emerging.
    The teacher is an agent of the state capable of violating the Establishment Clause if he or she brings religion into the classroom in a non-objective manner. The student, on the other hand, stands outside of an Establishment Clause analysis because the student is not an employee or agent of the state. With respect to student debates or discussions, the issue is placed squarely into a Free Speech analysis where the issues become religious discrimination and the free expression rights of students in school.
    The United States Supreme Court held in the case of Bd. Of Educ. V. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226, 250 (1990), that “there is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion which the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses protect.” While the teacher’s speech is government speech, a student’s speech is private speech protected by the Free Speech Clause even in the public school classroom.
    Guidelines for Religious Freedom in Public Schools, was a document that was first issued to all school districts in the United States by President Clinton, Attorney General Reno and Secretary of Education Riley in August, 1995. It was reissued by Secretary Riley in May, 1998. In the section regarding the rights of students with respect to class assignments the document states:
    Student Assignments: Students may express their beliefs about religion in the form of homework, artwork and other written and oral assignments free of discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Such home and classroom work should be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.
    It is not a legitimate pedagogical concern for a teacher to prohibit a student from expressing scientific and objective information that refutes evolution, even if such information contains a religious viewpoint. Every school should have a copy of the Religious Expression Guidelines in its school library and educators should abide by its legal conclusions. The Guidelines reflect the current state of the law.

    Conclusion
    A teacher does not engage in prohibited religious speech when the teacher presents credible scientific information in a public school science class that refutes the theory of evolution. Similarly, a teacher does not violate the Establishment Clause when he or she teaches objectively about various religious beliefs regarding origins. Furthermore, it would be a violation of the First Amendment right of Free Speech in public school if a teacher prohibited students from doing assignments or making class presentations analyzing which theories of origins best fit with current scientific evidence—whether those theories are secular or religious. Teachers may not chill students’ exercise of their own constitutional rights of free speech in completing school assignments. A science teacher may not teach the religion of creationism in the classroom, but may present evidences to objectively support and refute all theories of the origins of life and the universe.

  6. PaceAllen Says:

    Haven’t many genetics studies proven there is no genetic link from ape to human? Hasn’t the study of mitochondrial DNA in women and the Y chromosome in men shown that there is no link between Neanderthal – Homo erectus and humans?
    See. http://www.taxteaparty.com/evolution

  7. Allan Brack Says:

    I am becoming concerned that I live in Florida. This argument is beyond belief. Imperical science being replaced by wishful thinking is not a positive move. Let’s change the word ‘run’ (political implications and a verb for motion) to ‘rapidly moving feet to propel forward’. No one can now be offended by ambiguity.

  8. J.H. Jeffery Says:

    I reply to Mr. Jeter and respectfully disagree.

    I looked at my Florida Bar Journal to see if he was licensed to practice law in this state and did not find his name. As an expert on the Establishement Clause of the U.S. Constitution, I submit that he is giving very misleading advice. The reason ID/creatiionism cannot be taught in science classrooms is simple: it is not science. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that life was created by magic. Over and over the courts have ruled so, and the offending school board is always the one stuck with the prospect of paying attorney’s fees for the plaintiffs.

    The agenda-driven piece by Mr. Jeter would be very bad advice for a board to heed. He must reread the first test of Lemon v. Kurtzman.

    J.H. Jeffery

  9. Karen R Says:

    Mr. Jeffery, thanks for the post – I am always glad to hear an educated lawyer remind these folks that they will lose, and it will end up costing our students.

    That brief above refutes itself, however – the conclusion begins with “A teacher does not engage in prohibited religious speech when the teacher presents credible scientific information in a public school science class that refutes the theory of evolution.” There is no credible scientific information available refuting the theory of evolution, making all the legal babble sort of moot.

  10. Shaun Johnston Says:

    Teaching evolution and teaching natural selection are two different issues. Two books criticising natural selection on scientific grounds are Robert G. B. Reid, “Biological Emergencies,” published November 2007, and “Save Our Selves From Science Gone Wrong,” to be published next month. For information and advance copies of “Save Our Selves…,” a “popular” manifesto against natural selection, visit http://www.evolvedself.com. Reid is Emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Both books provide credible scientific non-religiously-based arguments against natural selection.

  11. Prove evolution...you can't Says:

    If you call yourself “atheist”; an atheist believes there is no God. Are you certain there isn’t? Then how did life begin? Do you know anything about biology? A man named Stanley (working under Urey) did an experiment — a flask of methane, ethane, ammonia, water — presumed “prehistoric organic SOUP” — was subjected to an electric arc (presumably to simulate prehistoric lightning). HEY!!! He got AMINO ACIDS, the building blocks for LIFE!!! He PROVED evolution!!!

    Not…

    His experiment was NOT closed, it had a circulatory system and an amino acid TRAP to catch and PROTECT the amino acids — without that trap the destruct rate is a billion to one. The experiment had NO oxygen (’cause that would have POISONED the process) — though geology has not found a layer of earth that was made WITHOUT oxygen (apparently oxygen has ALWAYS been here). But let’s say the experiment was NOT a fraud — from the “soup” of left-handed and right-handed amino acids (do you know about isomers?), ONLY left-handed ones got together, and formed DNA; then created the first living cell, and LIFE BEGAN.

    …uhmmm, actually that process happened TWICE, first for the beginning-cell, THEN for mitochondrea (a different type of cell). SOMEHOW the two got together and formed a mutually-beneficial symbiosis.

    THAT is the beginning of evolution — and it’s what you believe if you reject the existence of God.

    Hmmm; a simple virus (which has NO cellular processes — viruses only hijack OTHER cells to work and live) — has thousands of configurations of amino acids. A Human cell has 23 chromosone pairs, 46 genes — each one comprised of A, C, T, and G, in THREE BILLION sequences. Three billion — you could COUNT that high, counting three-per-second (and no sleeping eating or bathroom breaks!), it would take you THIRTY TWO YEARS!!!

    A cell cannot reproduce without DNA to instruct it — and it’s HIGHLY complicated. DNA cannot work WITHOUT cellular walls, and endocellular reticulum; WHICH CAME FIRST? How did simple amino acids assemble themselves into a LIVING CELL?

    Any idea? Do you have the faintest CLUE? No one else does either; they just BELIEVE…

    It turns out, that it takes MILLIONS of times more FAITH to be an “atheist” than it does to believe in God!!!!!

    Pick up a pencil; what do you see? Wood? Clay? Carbon? Electrons, protons, up-quark and down-quark and neutrinos — it’s ENERGY, somehow bound into MATTER? This question has existed for centuries; you don’t KNOW what that pencil IS! So how do you KNOW that there IS NO GOD???

    Do you know everything there is to know in the Universe? Do you know HALF of everything there is to know in the Universe? Will you consider the possibility that God could exist, in the HALF that you don’t KNOW?

    Now, if you are an unbeliever and you’ve read this far, we’ve established that you are FOLLOWING a religion, even if only the religion of ATHEISM. You CANNOT say with certainty that there is no God — indeed, only your FAITH stands against all the evidence that says “life is too complicated, there are too many irreducible complexities (which came first, amino acids or polypeptides? DNA or cellular walls? Feathers or flying animals?) for there NOT to be a God.

    So — I am questioning your faith. Suppose you are right — suppose there is no God, and you and I die; there is only darkness. I have lived righteously, avoiding many diseases, possibly and early death with the structure that my belief brings. Have I lost anything? No. NOW — suppose you are WRONG — and you and I die, and both of us find ourselves standing in JUDGMENT before GOD! Is that a risk you are comfortable TAKING?

  12. PC-Bash Says:

    That has to be one of the worst arguments against evolution I have seen so far, evidence that the previous poster has absolutely no clue what he is talking about.

    Evolution and abiogenesis (how life began) are two separate things, but you treat them as the same thing.

    You also attempt (poorly) to argue from the position that it is safer to believe in a god than to approach the world from a naturalistic perspective. If I choose to believe in a god, which god should I believe in. Most religions make it painfully obvious that if I choose the wrong god, it is worse than not choosing any god at all. Your argument hinges on the idea that your choice of a god is correct, which is ridiculous given the THOUSANDS of religions to choose from.

    Calling atheism a religion is a construct that only a theist could think of. The disbelief in something is not the same as the belief that something does not exist. This is a common fallacy that only one’s mind that has been tainted by religion would repeat.

    I’d recommend that instead of parroting religious talking points, you start reading on what modern biology and evolution actually say, you’d probably be surprised as it is different than whatever propaganda you have been reading.

  13. DC Says:

    Here we go again. There are at least FIVE mutually exclusive Christian creation ‘theories’ in play right now: Young Earth, Old Earth, Theistic (catholic church), and Intelligent Design. They directly contradict each other, if one is to be true the rest are wrong. And this is just the Christian beliefs chapter in our new biology book. We have to consider a bunch more since they are in somebody’s written scriptures as well (Hundu, Buddist, Shinto, Muslim, Taoist, etc). (We can leave out Zeus, Thor and the rest of the Greek and Roman stuff since they don’t have much in the way fan clubs.)
    So which one do we put in the science books?
    Why don’t you all fight it out and get back to us with one consensus.
    I’d vote we teach them all in a compartive religion class, it would be really interesting (seroiusly) and make our kids wiser.