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← Evolution skeptics will soon be silenced by science: Richard Leakey

Evolution skeptics will soon be silenced by science: Richard Leakey - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

Gave this a cursory read the other day. I thought then and I think it now, Richard Leakey is wrong as is anyone who thinks, " just a little more evidence, just one more experiment and these people will see that evolution and the theory that explains it are correct. "

Religious ideologues, the only people really opposing evolution and evolutionary theory, are not convinced by evidence and have not been convinced ever by evidence. They are not skeptics so much as cynics in this sense; knowing the price of everything, but not knowing the value of anything. When the religious blinders fall off their eyes then they can be convinced by the evidence, not the evidence knocking the blinders off.

Tue, 29 May 2012 00:11:45 UTC | #944109

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 2 by God fearing Atheist

Since when has evidence convinced an IDiot?

Tue, 29 May 2012 00:24:02 UTC | #944111

Quine's Avatar Comment 3 by Quine

My missionary neighbor set me a link to this (because of the implied concessions, I think). I told him that I thought Leakey was being too optimistic about the time for that level of acceptance. I suspect that there was quite a bit more in the interview about how wrong religion is, but that they cherry picked just enough to get across the idea that Leakey does not care what superstition you feel good about as long as it does not mess with science.

Tue, 29 May 2012 00:35:36 UTC | #944112

Xor's Avatar Comment 4 by Xor

Sometime in the next 15 to 30 years, scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that "even the skeptics can accept it," the Kenyan-born paleoanthropologist said.

"If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it's solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive, then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges."

150 years since The Origins of Species, tons of new discoveries : why 15-30 years more would change anything ?

Tue, 29 May 2012 00:46:16 UTC | #944115

Chomolungma's Avatar Comment 5 by Chomolungma

Tangentially related, science education takes a step backwards in South Korea:

Evolutionary theory to disappear from South Korean science textbooks

The decision to remove the evolution of the horse and archaeopteryx from Korean science textbooks is proving to make quite a stir on the internet, attracting thousands of comments within hours on web portal site Daum, leading netizens to condemn what they see as the Christianization and falsification of education.

A number of core references to the theory of evolution contained in the science textbook such as archaeopteryx and ‘the changes of horse over time’ have disappeared from the textbooks. This was the result of the Christian organization’s petition. The bio-science community hitherto remained dismissive of the Creationists’ challenge to the theory of evolution express dismay. As the calls to ‘defend evolution’ among a number of university students and biologists are getting more vocal, there are others who chime in to significantly update the ancient science textbooks that have not been revised for decades.

Tue, 29 May 2012 00:56:30 UTC | #944118

Akaei's Avatar Comment 6 by Akaei

Anyone who buys the lie that faith is a virtue is capable of believing anything and denying anything. Ignorance is heroin.

Tue, 29 May 2012 01:16:27 UTC | #944120

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 7 by El Bastardo

I've seen this on a few sites now and the comments are always the same. First a few state that this isn't likely due to the willing ignorance of the religious, allowed by multiple religious insisting evolution is a lie, it's "only" a theory, usual drivel, a few trying to talk sense onto them, then it's ad hominems and mud slinging.

Te science is in, the facts are the facts and the creationists will simply put on their "la la la I'm not listening" headbands and espouse bible verses.

Still we can hope.

Tue, 29 May 2012 02:28:59 UTC | #944132

alf1200's Avatar Comment 8 by alf1200

          [Comment 7](/articles/646060-evolution-skeptics-will-soon-be-silenced-by-science-richard-leakey/comments?page=1#comment_944132) by  [El Bastardo](/profiles/46263)          :


                 I've seen this on a few sites now and the comments are always the same.  First a few state that this isn't likely due to the willing ignorance of the religious, allowed by multiple religious insisting evolution is a lie, it's "only" a theory, usual drivel, a few trying to talk sense onto them, then it's ad hominems and mud slinging.Te science is in, the facts are the facts and the creationists will simply put on their "la la la I'm not listening" headbands and espouse bible verses.Still we can hope.

I agree. There was a study recently written about on this site where people (christians) were asked if science had proof that a certain myth were proven wrong would they believe it. There were still people that would believe the bible first and facts second.

Ya can't fix stupid!

Tue, 29 May 2012 02:44:56 UTC | #944136

alf1200's Avatar Comment 9 by alf1200

Did anybody notice the group that petitiioned for the changes is called "Creit"?

Isn't creit short for something?

Tue, 29 May 2012 03:19:25 UTC | #944139

brighterstill's Avatar Comment 10 by brighterstill

Give it time (and try not to extrapolate from a purely American sampling): Sometimes humans just surprise us.

Tue, 29 May 2012 03:34:25 UTC | #944140

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 11 by MilitantNonStampCollector

The idea that there will be some kind of mass acceptance of evolution in 15 to 30 years seems very doubtful. These people don't understand what evidence is. Further, they are not schooled in critical thought. It may improve slightly but as long as parents indoctrinate the next generation with anti-science garbage, it's going to take some time. So we don't need them. It would be nice of course if they came around sooner, but I think that is an irrational optimism.

Tue, 29 May 2012 03:58:09 UTC | #944143

NakedCelt's Avatar Comment 12 by NakedCelt

Sadly I have to agree with most earlier posters. The evidence for evolution has been overwhelming for many decades. Anyone still unconvinced is not going to be convinced by evidence; except of course for those who are unconvinced because they are children and their parents have sheltered them from the evidence.

Tue, 29 May 2012 04:07:26 UTC | #944145

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 13 by rjohn19

I fear his optimism is as delusional as is the certainty of those he hopes to convince. Every transitional he digs up takes away one of this god's gaps but creates two more in the process.

Tue, 29 May 2012 04:32:56 UTC | #944147

All About Meme's Avatar Comment 14 by All About Meme

Well, at least the story got some major exposure -- here it is on The Huffington Post.

(Okay... so I peek at that online rag every once in a while for the entertainment value.)

Tue, 29 May 2012 04:49:04 UTC | #944149

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 15 by RichardofYork

Sorry to say but Richard Leakey is wrong , theres no way any theory no matter how well evidenced can defeat magic and woolly thinking. And reading some of the comments about the article show that to be so.

Tue, 29 May 2012 07:39:32 UTC | #944167

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 16 by scottishgeologist

I think he is being over-optimistic. When you get people like Kurt Wise:

"Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate"

Remember, this is someone with a geology PhD from Harvard!

As Richard Dawkins himself said (of Wise)

"Kurt Wise doesn’t need the challenge; he volunteers that, even if all the evidence in the universe flatly contradicted Scripture, and even if he had reached the point of admitting this to himself, he would still take his stand on Scripture and deny the evidence. This leaves me, as a scientist, speechless... We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference"

Their minds are made up and thats all there is to it....

:-) SG

Tue, 29 May 2012 08:13:19 UTC | #944172

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 17 by scottishgeologist

I've mentioned this before but I'll ask again,.

Are the only opponents of evolution the faith heads?

Or are there any other people out there who oppose it but not on religious grounds? I could imagine some "Erich von Danekin" type supporters might claim that the diversity of life is due to a massive alien experiment

But seriously, is it just the faith heads? Are their any atheist sceintists who oppose it?

:-) SG

Tue, 29 May 2012 08:17:40 UTC | #944173

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 18 by strangebrew

Evidence is not the problem...the lack of it anyway!..it is the erosion of the fairy story they whine against.

They don't do evidence, that is not a problem, they just ignore it, no matter how much there is and no matter how convincing..

The mixed messaging and muddy pools the mainline churches stir up does nothing to shine a rational light. Because they are in a bind, they know that Evolution is the death knell for the delusion, why do you think they spend so much time and energy trying to get their sorry asses into schools and on to boards on a basis to direct the curriculum...why is that?...a clue it is not to promote evolution. But they have to get in a position to either water it down or mark it as an also run!

And why do they not contest seats on other school boards with their own brand of pink and fluffy? They seem happy enough to allow barking fools to do their work for them without catching the backlash that idiocy always inspires...like the Freshwater affair and the Texas school boards obvious infamy let alone the Dover debacle which basically sunk ID pretensions unreservedly.

No the main stream keep their footsies dry and toasty, but are willing to take advantage of any gains these cretins make.

They will not unequivocally commit to promoting reality, they do not do that anyway and certainly not Evolutionary theory, they prefer their victims confused and woo addled to start with. Best of all they like them ignorant and dumb, easier to manipulate you see!

It is true that some church run schooling does include Evolution in the curriculum in Blighty, but that is a pragmatic move to maintain government funding and not because the theory is unassailable. Some have said that their catholic experience in school,was fairly balanced, one does wonder if secular exam passes were not a driving force here? Future control would be easier if these folk manage to get influential jobs...catholic guilt kicks in ...it works on some level...that is the prize.

As for the oft touted boast that Catholic dogma accepts Evolution now cos JP2 said so...balderdash the debate is still roiling around in the Vatican there are distinct moves to disavow JP2's legacy, they are in a bind there, hysteria after he went toes up swept them all along on a sainthood fandango...the process has advanced and they cannot simply undo what he has done without creating a rift with the sheeple...over his saintliness!

But a watering down of a JP2 mealy mouthed acceptance anyway is highly likely given that Benny baby wants Bronze age dogma re-established rather then modernization and radical reform, which arguably is the only way the RCC will survive in the long run.

As for the fundagelicals barking around the fringes of civilized society well they make their own churchy rules up anyway depending on pet bigotries and hatreds. But they need fresh blood as well and certainly no point giving recruits education and especially Evolutionary education otherwise it is a lost cause because jeebus ain't required!

Evidence is not the problem...it is the self imposed dumbness...and every religion does that!

Tue, 29 May 2012 08:46:47 UTC | #944177

JDE's Avatar Comment 19 by JDE

Unfortunately, I have to agree with those who think Leakey is being too optimistic. Fundies have been vaccinated against reality.

Tue, 29 May 2012 09:17:58 UTC | #944182

1Sokkie's Avatar Comment 20 by 1Sokkie

But seriously, is it just the faith heads? Are their any atheist sceintists who oppose it?

Not really

Tue, 29 May 2012 09:31:13 UTC | #944185

littletrotsky13's Avatar Comment 21 by littletrotsky13

Comment 8 by alf1200 :

I agree. There was a study recently written about on this site where people (christians) were asked if science had proof that a certain myth were proven wrong would they believe it. There were still people that would believe the bible first and facts second.

Ya can't fix stupid!

Whenever I've asked a believer if they would stop believing in something if science proved it to be false the more usual response is "they won't", and refuse to even give ground even to the hypothetical possibility that their held beliefs could be anything other than completely accurate.

Tue, 29 May 2012 09:43:33 UTC | #944189

mr_DNA's Avatar Comment 22 by mr_DNA

I don't think Leakey is "over-optimistic" about man kinds chance of accepting science over superstition. What he actually says is that accepting the evidence of evolution and mass extinction is our best chance of avoiding climate induced extinction but he is far certain this can be prevented. "We may be on the cusp of some very real disasters that have nothing to do with whether the elephant survives, or a cheetah survives, but if we survive," he warned.

Tue, 29 May 2012 09:47:55 UTC | #944190

Aztek's Avatar Comment 23 by Aztek

Allow me to be sceptical. I admire Leakey's naive optimism, but apparently he is one of these scientists who haven't been following the IDers' propaganda. He just assumes that everyone are as rational as he and his colleagues. I think this is one of the reasons why so many scientists are not vocally opposing ID or similar bullshit; they don't seem to understand what a powerful grip on people's minds ID has and what that results in. They blissfully think that evidence changes people's minds.

But that's the thing with faith: It's belief without evidence, and belief despite evidence to the contrary. So much evidence for evolution exists that it is already enough, even though more would never be unearthed. And evolution deniers still don't trust that evolution is a fact. What makes Leakey think that more evidence will change their minds in the near future?

Tue, 29 May 2012 10:07:45 UTC | #944193

Akaei's Avatar Comment 24 by Akaei

(bear with me Moderator)

Why are theists skeptical of evolution when they have been taught by the messiah that it is better to believe without evidence?

  • But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Darwin, Dawkins and Coyne published.
  • The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen evolution by natural selection. But he said unto them, Except I shall see a complete fossil record, and genetic sequencing clearly indicating common ancestry, and know why there are still monkeys, I will not believe.
  • And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came the biologist, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
  • Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold Australopithecus and Tiktaalik roseae; and behold comparative sequence analysis and talkorigins.org : and be not faithless, but believing.
  • And Thomas answered and said unto him, O. M. G.
  • The biologist saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast heard me and seen the evidence, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
  • And many other evidences truly the biologist presented in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in the comments section:
  • But these are written in peer reviewed publications, that ye might believe that the biologist is the professor, the tester of knowledge; and that believing ye might understand what you are and where you come from, through his research.
    _
  • This has been a satire of John 20:24~31

    What's faith for the goose is faith for the gander. Faith is not a virtue.

    Tue, 29 May 2012 10:09:52 UTC | #944194

    Sinister Weasel's Avatar Comment 25 by Sinister Weasel

    I think there is a positive trend in Europe and the US and I agree that evolution will finally be accepted. I don't think it can be predicted whether this will happen over many generations, with each new generation being fractionally less religious or perhaps faith will be shaken in other ways to speed this up. It is unprecedented that a religion is removed without being replaced with another religion though as far as I am aware, so maybe evolution will be accepted but that is the first step towards global rationality. I agree the timescale seems optimistic but there is no reason to be defeatist about it, what are you all basing your assumptions on?

    Tue, 29 May 2012 10:16:04 UTC | #944196

    Vorlund's Avatar Comment 26 by Vorlund

    Religios are poor thinkers. Evidence will not sway them because the things they believe are true are processes of bad thinking. Having made up their minds they will not change for evidence because their thinking won't permit it.

    If the evidence for evolution is not already persuasive then I don't know what is. There are few scientific facts which can be stated with such total certainty and have the evidence to back it up from other branches of science.

    The next time you see a religious nut saying something like he's got his mother's eyes and his father's dimple or he get's it from grandad. Say 'Oh you agree with the fact of evolution then'.

    Tue, 29 May 2012 11:07:42 UTC | #944200

    SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 27 by SaganTheCat

    is there such a thing as an "evolution skeptic"? i'm sure there are plenty who might call themselves as much but to be a skeptic suggests you've examined the evidence and decided it wasn't complete enough to make a decision.

    the problem is deniers. these are people who have actively avoided the evidence and try to ensure the debate is based on emotion.

    it's like suggesting a few more crates of lettuce in the supermarket will tackle obesity

    Tue, 29 May 2012 11:52:21 UTC | #944205

    David-in-Toronto's Avatar Comment 28 by David-in-Toronto

    Comment 17 by scottishgeologist :

    I've mentioned this before but I'll ask again,.

    Are the only opponents of evolution the faith heads?

    Or are there any other people out there who oppose it but not on religious grounds? I could imagine some "Erich von Danekin" type supporters might claim that the diversity of life is due to a massive alien experiment

    But seriously, is it just the faith heads? Are their any atheist sceintists who oppose it?

    :-) SG

    The only one I’ve ever heard of is David Berlinski: philosopher/mathematician/molecular biologist (?). He’s a Fellow at the DI but, nevertheless, describes himself as an agnostic.

    Hard to say if he’s sincere in his creationism or if he just likes being a smug contrarian. His debate with Hitchens is still on Youtube, I believe.

    Tue, 29 May 2012 12:33:06 UTC | #944209

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 29 by Alan4discussion

    Human populations will go on! Scientific understanding will continue in academic institutions, scientific bodies, and schools in places which value education. These people will continue to provide the technology and knowledge to run the world.

    Meanwhile, the chattering ignoramuses will continue to recirculate their mutual self congratulation, celebrating their their ignorance and mythology with Dinning-Kruger airs of superiority.

    Self serving elites will happily add this celebration of ignorance to the bread & circuses of media amusement-only drivel and disinformation, which is generated to keep the proles busy and away from thinking about real issues!

    Maybe as H. G. Wells suggests in "The Time Machine" Humans will diverge as they continue to evolve.

    There is also a little known, often deleted, section of this book.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Time_Machine - The deleted text recounts an incident immediately after the Traveller's escape from the Morlocks. He finds himself in the distant future of an unrecognisable Earth, populated with furry, hopping herbivores. He stuns or kills one with a rock, and upon closer examination realises they are probably the descendants of humans/Eloi/Morlocks.

    They could well be descendants of sheeple creationists!

    Tue, 29 May 2012 12:34:21 UTC | #944210

    PERSON's Avatar Comment 30 by PERSON

    Comment 5 by Chomolungma

    Comment 17 by scottishgeologist I've mentioned this before but I'll ask again,. Are the only opponents of evolution the faith heads?

    Well, depends what you mean by faith-heads, and by challenging evolution. There are people who challenge the idea all humans originated in Africa, for instance. There are other people who think that humans are not the only species on earth; that there are reptilians (shape-shifters?)... and others I guess. Another belief: that there are sub-species of human. Not races exactly, but more subtly distinguished, and yet to be described fully by science. Some of these people are atheists, if rather quiet and very accommodationist about it, though they have other unusual beliefs. I think they're few in number, but like people who believe in UFOs and fundies, like economists and literary theorists, they have an influence beyond the circle of true believers.

    Tue, 29 May 2012 12:48:21 UTC | #944211