Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"They Deserve To Be Prodded, As It Were"

Further to my post yesterday about this article in the Times, I have some additional observations.

Did you notice the headline? "Few Biologists but Many Evangelicals Sign Anti-Evolution Petition." Now look in the article for the support of this headline. How many is "few biologists"? 154, or 30%, of the scientists signing. Biologists, including biochemists, are the single largest group of scientists. You can find more discussion of this here.

How many constitute "many Evangelicals"? The article does not tell us. Here is the support in the article: "But random interviews with 20 people who signed the petition and a review of the public statements of more than a dozen others suggest that many are evangelical Christians, whose doubts about evolution grew out of their religious beliefs." So the writer did some limited research and made some conclusions about what it "suggested." And this makes the headline. If you want to see how faith impacts the positions of two leaders of the intelligent design movement, go here and here. Here is how Michael Behe (who is Catholic) puts it:
Sure, it's possible to believe in both God and evolution. . . . Catholics have always understood that God could make life any way he wanted to. If he wanted to make it by the playing out of natural law, then who were we to object? We were taught in parochial school that Darwin's theory was the best guess at how God could have made life.

I'm still not against Darwinian evolution on theological grounds. I'm against it on scientific grounds. I think God could have made life using apparently random mutation and natural selection. But my reading of the scientific evidence is that he did not do it that way, that there was a more active guiding. . . .

John West called it "stunning hypocrisy" to ask signers about their religion "while treating the religious beliefs of the proponents of Darwin as irrelevant." For some other possible adjectives, go here.

One issue the Times does not explore is how many more scientists would sign if they did not fear retribution from colleagues or fear that it would jeopardize their careers. More posts on this are here.

The discussion of "Project Steve" ignores the fact that the two statements are apples and oranges, since they address different issues. For more on Project Steve, read here.

The Evo News blog has some other good points about this article here.

The headline for this post comes from a quote from my previous post:
He said evolutionary biologists were unfairly suppressing any competing ideas. "They deserve to be prodded, as it were," Dr. Salthe said. "It was my way of thumbing my nose at them."


At February 22, 2006 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At February 22, 2006 6:16 PM, Blogger fairscape said...

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