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Evolution fray attracts top scientist - Comments

VanYoungman's Avatar Comment 1 by VanYoungman

Will there ever be an end?

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 07:58:00 UTC | #154141

JackR's Avatar Comment 2 by JackR

Harry Kroto is one of the good guys. I'm glad he's getting more directly involved in taking on the FlorID-iots.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:06:00 UTC | #154145

bugaboo's Avatar Comment 3 by bugaboo

Three cheers for Harold Kroto! Dont let the IDiots grind you down.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:08:00 UTC | #154146

AmericanGodless's Avatar Comment 5 by AmericanGodless

"The proposals would also protect from punishment students who refuse to accept Darwin's evolution." -- Are there really biology teachers who show the instruments of torture to the students and demand that they recant? (And they whisper, "Yet we are intelligently designed".)

"..teachers and students feel too frightened to even discuss intelligent design." -- They should just feel too embarrassed.

"Today they don't need to know how anything works. ... There's a large number of kids probably prepared to accept something without being too careful." -- And this is the real lesson, and the real danger.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:11:00 UTC | #154148

TheSwede's Avatar Comment 4 by TheSwede

I love it when scientist use the prestige gained by winning Alfred Nobel's prize to further science understanding and engage anti-science movements.

This should be done more often. So, I take my hat of for Prof. Kroto!

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:11:00 UTC | #154147

black wolf's Avatar Comment 6 by black wolf

I still don't really get it. I do understand that this change is another attempt to wedge creationIDsim into science classrooms, but how can it do that? The legislation clearly speaks of scientific information, which ID and creationism are not. The only problem I see with it is that a creationist teacher may be brainwashed enought o think that his information is scientific, and that there may be no pupils in the class with alert parents to reckognize this. But shouldn't there be at least one science teacher or department head per school who can stand up and stop that?

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:14:00 UTC | #154152

akado's Avatar Comment 7 by akado

This kind of thing just gets my blood boiling!

I am tired of this stupid debate in america.
I was annoyed while reading a book recently that because I wasn't taught about evolution very well I couldn';t fully grasp what it was saying!
I looked up injfo and found out but the point was that they withheld my education for their own beliefs against what I would have wanted and it caused an ignorance in me they just made me angry with them all!

something that was just.................ugh!
I can't stand it when people hold back teachings such as evolution or try to rule it out as just "theory".
I am getting sick of it!

When I become a fully acredited physicist I am going to try as much as I can to follow dawkins and fight back against religion and it's mental abuse on the worlds minds!

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:19:00 UTC | #154154

PJG's Avatar Comment 8 by PJG

I wonder if teachers who would like to teach "alternative theories" would be prepared to simplify the creation argument into one sentence...

"Human beings came into existence by magic".

That way, they could give a true account of creationists claims without mentioning God or religion and therefore they would not be violating the First Amendment.

I wonder how many teachers (or parents or politicians) would feel comfortable with this?

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:21:00 UTC | #154155

PJG's Avatar Comment 9 by PJG

What this all needs is for someone who was denied an education in evolution to sue their school.

Any lawyers out there prepared to put together a case for someone like akado? There may be someone like akado who would have become a famous biologist had they been inspired by Darwin whilst at school.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:29:00 UTC | #154158

ThoughtsonCommonToad's Avatar Comment 10 by ThoughtsonCommonToad

Kroto, whose father was Jewish and fled the Nazis in Germany, said the belief in God has never made sense to him.


Because that's the only reason someone could believe belief in God does not make sense? Loaded and unnecessary.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:30:00 UTC | #154159

Jeff (HandyGeek) Handy's Avatar Comment 11 by Jeff (HandyGeek) Handy

As a Florida resident, this is more embarrassing than hanging chads. :(

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:38:00 UTC | #154162

Chris Jackson's Avatar Comment 12 by Chris Jackson

Nice to see yet another influential figure wading into the debate. I say debate, but a conversation with an IDiot tends to run more along the lines of:

"Well, what do you think of... (insert long-debunked ignorant myth here)?"
It's a load of bollocks. Where's the evidence for your theory, by the way?
"THE BIBLE IS THE ONLY TRUTH!" (descends into dogma)

After reading this report, I'm going to give a steady "thumbs-up" to the Kroto Innovation centre every time I walk past it. I can't help thinking it won't be too long before Brown tries pulling some shit like this in the UK. Truly the end times are upon us.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:39:00 UTC | #154163

Bigorra's Avatar Comment 13 by Bigorra

There will always be people trying to push this ID/creationism nonsense on students, as there are always people unwilling to say the emperor has no clothes. I would like to see a greater emphasis on skepticism in all education, so that more people would be able to see through this nonsense on their own. The Discovery Institute pushed their agenda in a packet for educators, including a handpicked quote from Darwin's Origin of Species: "A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question." This sounds to those versed in PC at American colleges like a perfectly reasonable statement, but what many will not realize is that it calls for "a fair result." At some point you have to come down on one side of the argument as being a better explanation of the phenomenon in question. Certainly the explanatory value of evolution is the fair result obtained when arguing ID v. Darwin.

While I am grateful for the work Harold Kroto is doing, some are only going to be swayed by hearing that he's a Nobel laureate, not because he can intelligently explain why there should be no debate in Florida or anywhere else. They may be as easily swayed back if Francis Collins comes to them the next week to say that he believes God put us here. Only by teaching children the way scientists come to their conclusions in explaining nature can we put this debate to rest. Unfortunately much of education in the United States is teaching facts, not thinking. Until more people learn to think for themselves, Kroto's maxim will have to suffice: "You may not like that but it's not my fault. It's the way it actually is."

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:48:00 UTC | #154166

Brothergerr's Avatar Comment 14 by Brothergerr

It's truly incredulous, it is as if we are living in the dark ages! I just hope one day people will read in their textbooks and laugh at how silly it all is, just as we look back and think: flat Earth...oh what were they thinking! How could they think the sun goes around the Earth?! etc. , one day...one day

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:51:00 UTC | #154168

Double Bass Atheist's Avatar Comment 15 by Double Bass Atheist

While obviously this is not a debate situation, we need more men like Harold Kroto who are willing to confront these people.
Most top scientists, like our own RD, usually refuse to debate fundies and for good reason... it only lends credibility to the creationist position by presenting the appearance that these two positions are equal.

The bottom line is that we need a virtual onslaught of top scientists confronting ID bullshit at every opportunity. These asinine lawmakers and school board members need to hear from SO many scientists, confronting them every day, that they get sick of listening to them.
The answer is EDUCATION. Almost all fundies believe what they do about evolution due to a lack of this.

Educate!
Educate!
Educate!

How about some of the worlds top scientists from various fields get together and make their own movie?
We'll call it "Dispelled! No Bullshit Allowed"

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:54:00 UTC | #154171

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 17 by HourglassMemory

This whole "Just a theory" is so annoying.

When will people realise that basically everything humans know about the world is a "theory"?
That's what you get when the majority of the population doesn't think about these issues and doesn't get itself educated.

If I'm not mistaken, Dawkins' next book is going to be about this very issue and is going to be called "Only a theory".
Boy, does he know what to publish!

I hope the book in the end says something like "Got it?!"

It's such a simple idea, Evolution. It's amazing how limited the view of many people is about geological timespans and what can happen during those periods.

And the controversy....you don't have to be an expert on Evolution to see that there is no controversy.

This "Let's stay in the middle ground and teach both."
It really IS like putting flat Earth stuff in Science classes.
ID is something that takes Science where it doesn't need to go. It says there's design where there's no need to postulate that. It's unscientific. It's ignorant. It's not how science works. to postulate design is to put the cart in front of the horses. And it really is ignorant to postulate when you have a tremendous mountain, or I would say, an entire mountain range, of data that fits perfectly together.
When people say there's design, it's because they honestly, and often innocently, haven't looked at the evidence. They don't get the theory.
Ken Miller, for example, GETS the theory.
An of course, they want there to be a designer, yadda yadda yadda. I won't go there.

And the whole point of view in "Expelled" is just so ironic and you can't help but to put their talk of others, on them.

Kroto has all my support!

It's a shame so many people are innocently ignorant to the point of saying "Let's have both".
This is not a self-righteous view of the problem, it's just how it is, and people don't see it.
they want the middle ground.
I think it's alright to ask for the middle ground when there is actually something on the other side.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:58:00 UTC | #154173

jmrunning3's Avatar Comment 16 by jmrunning3

I keep seeing ID proponents state evolution "has flaws" or that there "are flaws" in evolution. Someone asked this same question on one of the Expelled threads too: Just what are these alleged flaws?

I've searched online and found a (very) few supposed flaws, but they are easily refuted and obviously flawed themselves. Is there even one serious "flaw" that can be exposed or simply not yet explained? I'm not aware of one.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 08:58:00 UTC | #154172

RSP's Avatar Comment 18 by RSP

"He races to the Capitol between lectures to give the fruit fly talk."

It's strange, but it really is almost like the public has to be totally reeducated completely on evolution, as if they were students. I'm glad my science teacher loved science.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:04:00 UTC | #154175

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 19 by prettygoodformonkeys

I don't recall who it was that said:

"If you promise not to pray in my school,
I promise not to think in your church."

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:14:00 UTC | #154177

PaulJ's Avatar Comment 20 by PaulJ

I'd be in favour of teaching a scientific alternative to evolution theory in schools.

If there was one.

But there isn't.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:26:00 UTC | #154178

Raiko's Avatar Comment 21 by Raiko

Like Richard, he is very blunt.

Sometimes I think such bluntness is needed, on other days I think "for now, this is not going to work on religious people".

But then, what will ever work on irrational minds?

"You may not like that but it's not my fault," Kroto, 68, said in front of the state Capitol on Monday.

"It's the way it actually is."


Maybe that is something we should make clearer because it's such a simple, important thing to understand. Once people have gotten down the utter logic of "reality is not about what I want and like, but about how things are", maybe we can continue from there.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:31:00 UTC | #154179

a tree with roots's Avatar Comment 22 by a tree with roots

Bravo Sir Harry!

I saw him give a talk in person a couple years ago about science education, and it was truly one of the best I've heard.

I don't blame him for being just a little bit peeved at the situation in his current home state. When it comes down to it, yeah many people do have to re-learn this stuff. Better late than never.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:32:00 UTC | #154180

Bigorra's Avatar Comment 23 by Bigorra

A few more ideas for ways to "teach the controversy", a pro bono list created for the legislative branch of the Florida government:

1. Humans and all animals were created by an Intelligent Designer, not through the process of evolution.
2. The earth is the center of the universe, not a small outpost for life in a vast universe.
3. The earth is flat, not a roughly spherical object.
4. The sun, and every other heavenly body, revolves around the earth. The earth does not revolve around any other object but remains stationary.
5. All diseases are caused by infestations of demonic spirits, or "djinns," not because of genes, bacteria or viruses.
6. Witchcraft is a method by which the unscrupulous may alter reality to suit their own purposes, and people are not powerless to change reality by indirect means.
7. The future may be perceived through revelations received from sources outside the fabric of reality by means of extrasensory perception, not an something entirely dependent on chance factors.
8. Homosexuality is purely a personal choice having no basis in biology, not a result of genetic predisposition or other naturally occurring, unchosen factors.
9. Certain gifted individuals can speak to the dead through automatic writing and direct communication, and death is not an impediment to continuing communications with people who have passed.
10. Astrology is a means by which absolute facts about personality and the future may accurately be ascertained, not a vague, unsupportable, arbitrary endeavor.

Unless these ideas are taught to our children, they will think that scientific endeavor is the only way to approach the truth in any argument about the nature of reality. I am sure that your friends at the Discovery Institute can polish the wording to support these scientifically valid ideas.

Teach the controversy, Florida!

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:35:00 UTC | #154181

Vaal's Avatar Comment 24 by Vaal

And this is from Florida, the state where Nasa has Cape Kennedy based? I thought that this would have been one of the more enlightened of the US states!

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:35:00 UTC | #154182

JimmyL's Avatar Comment 25 by JimmyL

So, the 1996 winner of the Nobel prize in chemistry. The discoverer of bucky balls, hardly an insignificant discovery, says about evolution:
"The bedrock of all biology," Kroto calls it. "It's beautiful."

While senate Majority Leader Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, said the theory of evolution "had flaws."

I find that a humourous juxtaposition of opinions.

Dan Webster's logic escapes me and I find this statement bizarre at best. HAD flaws? Is it okay now or does it still have flaws. I think that every time I hear someone claim that evolution has flaws I will ask them to tell me which scientific theory is flawless perfection.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:49:00 UTC | #154185

jimbob's Avatar Comment 26 by jimbob

Ah Florida--the future Venice of the USA if the science on global warming is correct. ;-)

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 09:59:00 UTC | #154188

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 27 by kaiserkriss

I think Prof. Kroto is going about this the wrong way.

A movement should be started demanding equal time in schools teaching that the earth is flat, that the sun revolves around the earth and similar nonsense, even to the ID crowd. Maybe then the public at large will start some critical thinking about issues they currently know very little about. jcw

EDIT : I just noticed BIGORRA has beaten me to the punch...

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 10:11:00 UTC | #154191

black wolf's Avatar Comment 28 by black wolf

While senate Majority Leader Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, said the theory of evolution "had flaws."


I we showed a picture of a car to some person of the 18th century, that person would assuredly also say the car had flaws. 'The wheels are too small and too soft, it's got no horses and you need to stoop to get in.' I'm sure Mr. Webster would not respect that person's opinion of cars much, so why should we respect any opinion on science of people like him who are scores of decades behind the current scientific knowledge?

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 10:24:00 UTC | #154192

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 29 by Enlightenme..

I would say we share the same four-letter alphabet as fruit flies and potatoes.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 10:26:00 UTC | #154194

shad0w's Avatar Comment 30 by shad0w

It's astonishing the extend to which some U.S lawmakers will go to completely destroy their country's own future.

Don't they realize that if their kids don't have a good education the U.S will become a 3rd world country eventually ?

How can they hope to compete in 2-3 generations from now if the younger generations are completely uneducated in science and math? SCIENCE and the application of SCIENCE is what made America the powerhouse it is today. If they loose that they loose everything!!! It really is amazing that people cannot see that. Sad state of affairs we're in.

Wed, 16 Apr 2008 10:36:00 UTC | #154196