Media Continues to Denounce ID, Crown Darwin

first_imgThe news media and journals continue to publish one-sided statements against intelligent design (ID) – even though scientific evidence continues to support design on many fronts (see 05/11/2010, 05/07/2010, 05/06/2010 from just this past week).  Sometimes, in other venues, the kind of rhetoric employed would be characterized as hate speech.  These statements are usually printed without any opportunity for rebuttal.  Often the perpetrators make religious arguments rather than presenting scientific evidence for their claims.  Some of them even say ID is bad theology, and that religious institutions should ally with Darwinism against ID.  At the same time, they typically will never say anything critical of Darwinian evolution.  ID proponents are stuck with having to respond to these charges in their own websites and publications.  Here are some recent examples.John Avise in PNAS1 wrote a paper labeling ID as “religious creationism” but then used religious arguments in a science journal to attack it: i.e., “God wouldn’t make the world this way” –Intelligent design (ID)—the latest incarnation of religious creationism—posits that complex biological features did not accrue gradually via natural evolutionary forces but, instead, were crafted ex nihilo by a cognitive agent.  Yet, many complex biological traits are gratuitously complicated, function poorly, and debilitate their bearers.  Furthermore, such dysfunctional traits abound not only in the phenotypes but inside the genomes of eukaryotic species.  Here, I highlight several outlandish features of the human genome that defy notions of ID by a caring cognitive agent.  These range from de novo mutational glitches that collectively kill or maim countless individuals (including embryos and fetuses) to pervasive architectural flaws (including pseudogenes, parasitic mobile elements, and needlessly baroque regulatory pathways) that are endogenous in every human genome.  Gross imperfection at the molecular level presents a conundrum for the traditional paradigms of natural theology as well as for recent assertions of ID, but it is consistent with the notion of nonsentient contrivance by evolutionary forces.  In this important philosophical sense, the science of evolutionary genetics should rightly be viewed as an ally (not an adversary) of mainstream religions because it helps the latter to escape the profound theological enigmas posed by notions of ID.This paper was part of a lengthy series called the Sackler Colloquium, “In the Light of Evolution IV,” that was completely one-sided for Darwinism.  Not a single pro-ID position was invited, even though there is a long tradition of theological, philosophical and scientific positions answering the types of arguments Avise presented.  David Tyler presented a rebuttal to Avise’s position on the ID blog Access Research Network.Michael Zimmerman leapt for joy at Avise’s paper in the Huffington Post, saying, “In case you had any doubt, the last nail was just placed in the coffin of intelligent design (ID).  And, in case you had any doubt, that last nail joins many others that have been in place for quite some time.”  His article was entitled, “Intelligent Design: Scientifically and Religiously Bankrupt.”  Zimmerman is the activist behind the Clergy Letter Project, trying to get religious leaders to sign a statement in support of Darwinian evolution.  Robert Crowther compared his arguments to the Hindenberg on Evolution News & Views.Michael Ruse called ID an “oxymoron” and a “mountain of waffle resting on analogy” in The Guardian.  “Neither scientists nor believers should touch it,” he said.  Responding to Steve Fuller in The Guardian (a philosopher who has given ID a fair shake; see Uncommon Descent), Ruse called ID “very bad theology.”  Jay Richards wondered on Evolution News & Views why Ruse, a science philosopher and historian, thinks he is an expert on theology.  Casey Luskin also responded on Evolution News & Views, joking, “I love watching atheists try to tell religious people what they should believe about God.”Joshua Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) wrote for Science Blogs that ID and creationism is kind of like – believe it or not – postmodernism and Marxism.  This is a strange charge, considering that most proponents of ID or creationism would be adamantly opposed to both of those ideologies.  Robert Crowther on Evolution News & Views tried to straighten the picture right side up again.Francisco Ayala is a former Dominican priest turned evolutionary biologist.  One might think a person with religious roots would have a soft spot in his heart for thoughts of design in the world, but Ayala has been among the most harsh in his rhetoric against ID, calling ID an “atrocity” that is “disastrous to religion” among other things.  He even accused supporters of ID in the Discovery Institute of not really believing what they are saying.  He made these remarks recently in Spain (see Uncommon Descent for translation).  This set off a series of responses by ID supporters (see idnet.com.au response on Uncommon Descent and Barry Arrington on Uncommon Descent).    Back in March, Ayala wrote a book review critical of Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell for BioLogos, the website of theistic evolutionist Francis Collins.  Ayala used the argument for dysteleology and suffering to call ID a form of “blasphemy” for attributing the human genome to the design of God.  David Klinghoffer complained on Evolution News & Views that Ayala apparently didn’t even bother to read Meyer’s book.  Klinghoffer later in March took Ayala again to task on ENV, and with him, Darrell Falk for allowing a slipshod review by a staunch evolutionist on the BioLogos website.    Meanwhile, Francisco Ayala was welcomed by the National Academy of Sciences’ Sackler Colloquium, “In the Light of Evolution IV,” to present his opinions on the evolution of morality by Darwinian natural selection.  In his paper in PNAS,2 Ayala’s first sentence paid homage to Darwin’s Descent of Man (1871).  After dismissing theological explanations for morality, including those of Aquinas and Paley, he gave Darwin the pride of place.  He explained morality in purely mechanistic terms: as an “exaptation,” or unplanned consequence of natural selection for intelligence, that turned out to be advantageous.  In other words, morality is an impersonal, unplanned accident.  He gave the same explanation for human rationality.  It appears that Ayala repudiates any role for divine involvement for any of the unique features of the human psyche in any way, shape, or form; yet this is the man that BioLogos welcomed as a “a moderating influence in the science/religion dialog.”  Ayala also received this year’s Templeton Prize for progress in “affirming life’s spiritual dimension” – an honor once awarded to Billy Graham, Alexander Solzhenitzen, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright and Mother Theresa (see comment on CMI).At the same time that supporters of intelligent design are struggling to get a fair hearing in the media against an onslaught of what they consider misrepresentation, ridicule and repudiation of their views without opportunity for rebuttal, Darwinists get free rein to pronounce evolution as simply obvious.  Claims of evidence for evolution are often exaggerated and presented uncritically, without opposing viewpoints, often accompanied by triumphal headlines that proclaim Darwinism has been overwhelmingly confirmed.  A good example of this occurred this week when Douglas Theobald, author of a pro-Darwin book, announced in Nature that a formal test confirmed Darwin’s theory of universal common ancestry.3  Mike Steel and David Penny quickly praised this “strong quantitative support” for Darwin’s theory in the same issue of Nature,4  “Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Theobald’s work,” they said, “is not the conclusion – common ancestry is the default view in science.  But a formal test of evolution itself requires considerable ingenuity.”  So Theobald got praise for his ingenuity in devising a test of evolution, because ingenuity is required to test a default view – a very strange situation in science, one might think.    But since Charles Darwin’s name was prominent and paramount in both papers, the popular press was soon on board, too.  PhysOrg announced “First large-scale test confirms Darwin’s theory of universal common ancestry,” without so much stopping to wonder why it took 150 years for the first such test.  National Geographic went overboard, though.  It’s headline, “All Species Evolved From Single Cell, Study Finds,” was accompanied by a large photo of a herpetologist looking face-to-face at a snake, as if to evoke an Adamic curse on anyone who would deny this knowledge of good and evil.  Then the subtitle quoted Theobald’s opinion about his opponents, the creationists, who, naturally, were given no opportunity to respond: “Creationism called ‘absolutely horrible hypothesis’—statistically speaking.”1.  John Avise, “Footprints of nonsentient design inside the human genome,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, print May 5, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0914609107.2.  Francisco Ayala, “The difference of being human: Morality,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print May 5, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0914616107.3.  Douglas Theobald, “A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry,” Nature 465, pp 219�222, 13 May 2010, doi:10.1038/nature09014.4.  Mike Steel and David Penny, “Origins of life: Common ancestry put to the test,” Nature 465, pp 168�169, 13 May 2010, doi:10.1038/465168a.No comments are really necessary here; the articles speak for themselves.  If anyone thinks this situation is fair, or desirable in scientific or intellectual circles, or represents the way an enlightened free marketplace of ideas is supposed to operate, that person needs a serious deprogramming session.  This is Malice in Blunderland, where up is down, in is out, the mobsters are running the city, and the inmates are running the asylum.(Visited 50 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Top judges to gather in SA

first_imgConstitutional Court judges deliberatingconstitutional issues amongst each other.(Image: nextbook.org)Khanyi MagubaneOver 260 senior judges from 93 countries will descend on South African shores for a high level conference focusing on constitutional court judges.The World Conference on Constitutional Justice Conference will take place on 23 and 24 January in Cape Town, and will see judges not only from constitutional courts, but also equivalent institutions and their representatives coming together for the first time.South Africa’s constitution is respected across the world, not only for its inclusiveness for all South Africans, but also for some groundbreaking judgements that have been handed down by the constitutional court.Constitutional court chief justice Pius Langa told journalists on 19 January that the conference would enable judges to share and exchange ideas on constitutional matters and jurisprudence.Langa said the conference would also help in promoting cooperation between courts engaged in constitutional review, in addition to advancing global human rights principles.“This conference will provide both developed and evolving democracies an opportunity to examine and compare the effectiveness of systems and strategies in different jurisdictions for the achievement of accepted goals.”The keynote address will be made by South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on the opening day of conference.The historic event will be hosted in conjunction with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, which is an advisory body to the Council of Europe on constitutional issues.Constitution influencing societyThe theme for the inaugural conference is: “Influential Constitutional Justice – its influence on society and on the development of a global jurisprudence on human rights.”Langa said the theme would pave the way for the issues that justices will deliberate on, including the all-important one of independence and accountability of the judiciary.Other issues to be thrashed out include interference and the exertion of improper pressure from public representatives, including the media.This is especially true for South Africa, as Langa also took the opportunity during the media conference to lambaste politicians who publicly criticised the judiciary.Langa said attacks on judges had the potential to weaken South Africa’s democracy.Judges have recently come under duress from the ruling ANC party and its alliance partners, mainly as a result of rulings which have been unfavourable to the its leader Jacob Zuma who is trying to avert being tried on corruption charges.In 2008 the attacks worsened when ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe accused Constitutional Court judges of being “counter- revolutionaries” when they ruled on Zuma in a matter he had brought before the court, relating to the criminal charges brought before him.Mantashe responded to the reports that he labelled the judges “counter-revolutionaries” saying that he was quoted out of context.Langa said that while the judiciary was not against the public remarking on rulings made, the criticism should be fair, “What we would not want is criticism which goes to the integrity of the person. A ‘drunk’ or ‘counter- revolutionary’ or whatever.“I mean those are things we don’t expect to hear from the general public because it does not tell us that they have read the judgments that we have given,” he added.The chief justice also noted that judges respect the publics’ right to freedom of expression, but that it should not extend to being insulting to judges.Upholding the rights of SA citizensThe work of the Constitutional Court is rooted in deliberating cases brought before it for evaluation against the country’s constitution.As the highest court in the land, the Constitutional Court has the final say on matters relating to the interpretation, protection and enforcement of the constitution.It deals only with constitutional matters – some cases raise concerns about the application or interpretation of the constitution.Outside of the Constitutional Court, The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein in the Free State, is the highest court in the country as far as other law issues are concerned.Although the Constitutional Court only hears constitutional matters, all courts in South Africa have to apply the constitution and the law “without fear, favour or prejudice” (According to section 165) of the constitution.There are various ways in which a case can reach the highest court.The constitutional court will see a case if it is:The result of an appeal from a judgment of the High Court or the Supreme Court of Appeal;A direct application to the Court, asking it to sit as a court of first and last instance because of the urgency of the matter;The result of the court below declaring a piece of legislation invalid, which requires confirmation by the Constitutional Court; orA Bill parliament asks the Court to review.The judges of the Constitutional Court always deliberate as a unit before handing down a ruling.In a case where judges decide to grant leave to appeal, or if it is unsure and wishes to hear an argument on whether leave to appeal should be granted, a case date is set and parties involved are invited to present their arguments before the court.The Constitutional Court doesn’t hear evidence or question any witnesses.Each party will hand in written submissions before the court date to allow judges to familiarise themselves with their arguments and the different position taken by each party.If there are other parties outside of those directly involved in the case who also wish to make written submissions, they are also invited to do so as amicus curiae (friends of the court).This is usually the case with advocacy groups like anti-abuse, or anti-gender discrimination groups.If favoured, the friends of the court are sometimes allowed to make oral arguments during the case.Do you have any queries or comments about this article? Contact Khanyi Magubane at: [email protected] Related articlesCameron in Constitutional Court Goldstone to get McArthur prize South Africa’s constitution Judge Sachs honoured in New York Useful LinksThe Constitutional CourtVenice Commission of the Council of Europe Chief Justice Pius Langa BiographyJudicial Services Commissionlast_img read more

Vergissmeinnicht – Geocache of the Week

first_img SharePrint Related Difficulty:4Terrain:3 Location:Niedersachsen, GermanyN 52° 28.379′ E 007° 33.964′ Vergissmeinnicht tells the story of Wilhelm, a scientist who is obsessed with building a time machine. After a few failed attempts (one of them leading to the untimely demise of a wiener dog) Wilhelm and his friends, Conrad and Carl Eduard, are ready for another promising test. And while everything looks good at the beginning, a catastrophic failure causes the electricity which powers the time machine to short circuit and go out with a loud bang.Wilhelm was gone — but where in time did he end up?His story is re-discovered when you, the cacher, find a letter from Wilhelm to his lover Sophie, in which he asks her to return to his house, restart the time machine, and set things right. He left clues within the house to help you figure out how to reactivate the time machine and bring Wilhelm back.DiePastorentöchter is a team of six geocachers who found an abandoned house and immediately thought it was a great place to design an elaborate Multi-Cache. They rented the property and developed the background story so the cache had a central theme. Each room was decorated in a different way and contains different challenges for cachers to solve. It took about a year to build everything before the cache was available to the public and the cache owners are still making small refinements to enhance the experience.The cache is designed for a group of three cachers with a maximum of four at the same time, and takes four to six hours to complete. It has accumulated over 1100 Favorite points and is so popular that a reservation is required. Currently, there are no open spots until summer 2020.What is the most impressive geocache that you have found?Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.Share with your Friends:Morecenter_img Multi-CacheGC6Z4NPby DiePastorentöchter Cache owners are the cornerstone of geocaching and many of them spend a lot of time, energy, and money to create memorable caches for the geocaching community. Some cache owners may even rent an entire house and turn it into a Multi-Cache which everyone who visits it will never forget.last_img read more

SHELDON WOMAN DIES IN A-T-V CRASH

first_imgAuthorities say a Sheldon woman has died after the crash of an all-terrain vehicle in northwest Iowa.25-year-old Shaleah Donavon was a passenger on an ATV driven by 26-year-old Garrett Crowl, of Ashton.The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office says Crowl lost control of the ATV he was driving on a gravel road, which slid sideways, rolled and struck a tree.The accident occurred a little before 7 p.m. Sunday about two miles north of Sheldon.The Sheriff’s Office says Donavon was pronounced dead at the Sheldon hospital.Crowl was airlifted to a hospital in Sioux Falls.last_img read more