Saturday, August 26, 2006

Must See TV

This is a reminder regarding the two shows on TV today, with rebroadcasts later.

Also, Coral Ridge has now posted their explanation regarding the interview with Francis Collins here. Can anyone explain to me what "without limitation in all perpetuity" means? I think it means "must get PZ Myers' permission first."

Coral Ridge has also posted comments in its defense by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.

Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute weighs in here. He wimps out and refuses to pre-judge the show before it airs. I guess Abe Foxman is more confident of his prophetic powers than Chapman is.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pope to Conduct Seminar on Darwin and Creation

The Washington Post recently reported this:
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will conduct a weekend seminar in early September examining Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and its impact on Roman Catholicism's teaching of creation.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of the seminar and how the mainstream media will spin it. Perhaps we will find out once and for all if the Pope is Catholic. Will there be more attempts to use religion in the cause of promoting Darwinism? Will they be followed by more attempts to use federal funds to promote one theological perspective over another in the public schools?

Recent events would suggest that one person will not be the keynote speaker.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Racial Competition As "Social Experiment" on CBS' Survivor

Having just read about Social Darwinism and the quote by Charles Darwin suggesting competition between human racial groups, I was pretty surprised by this item:
LOS ANGELES -- Get ready for a segregated "Survivor." Race will matter on the upcoming season of the CBS show as contestants will be divided into four tribes by ethnicity. That means blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians in separate groups.

The announcement was made on CBS' Early Show. Host Jeff Probst says the idea "actually came from the criticism that 'Survivor' was not ethnically diverse enough." He says the twist fits in perfectly with what "Survivor" does, saying the show is "a social experiment. And this is adding another layer to that experiment."

A follow up article in the Post is here:
When the stunning news broke early yesterday that CBS would divide contestants on the next "Survivor" into four tribes based on race, we anxiously watched the traditional unveiling of the contestants on the network's "Early Show" because we had money riding on how fast "Survivor" host Jeff Probst would work the phrase "social experiment" into the interview.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dembski and Foxman on Darwin and Hitler

As a follow up to my previous post about the TV show about the Darwin-Hitler connection, you may want to read William Dembski's post here. He says this in part:
To be sure, there were many other streams of thought that played into Nazi racism and the holocaust, but to say that Darwinism played no role, or even an insignificant role, is absurd. Read Richard Weikart’s FROM DARWIN TO HITLER: EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS, EUGENICS, AND RACISM IN GERMANY.

This is what Abraham Foxman of the ADL had to say:

ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement: "This is an outrageous and shoddy attempt by D. James Kennedy to trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust. Hitler did not need Darwin to devise his heinous plan to exterminate the Jewish people. Trivializing the Holocaust comes from either ignorance at best or, at worst, a mendacious attempt to score political points in the culture war on the backs of six million Jewish victims and others who died at the hands of the Nazis.

It must be remembered that D. James Kennedy is a leader among the distinct group of 'Christian Supremacists' who seek to "reclaim America for Christ" and turn the U.S. into a Christian nation guided by their strange notions of biblical law."

Wow. I guess it is true that Hitler did not "need" Darwin, but it seems like that misses the point. I also do not follow the logic that discussing the philosophical influences that led to the Holocaust somehow trivializes it. It seems to me that, if anything, it does the opposite. I will stay tuned to see if there is a more logical critique.

Darwinian Skeptic TV

Whether through design or coincidence, two television programs sympathetic to a Darwinian Skepticism perspective will air on the same day- August 26. One will discuss the book Traipsing Into Evolution and the details are here.

The other will examine the connection between Darwin's ideas and Hitler's ideology. The details are here. Joy at Telic Thoughts discusses the show and the hysterical response by the PZ Myers fan club here. A World Net Daily article about the show and Myers' reaction is here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

John McCain Mocks Darwinian Fundamentalists

I was delighted to see John McCain effectively mocking Darwinian Fundamentalists:
Mr. McCain, who delivered his prepared remarks in an even, almost perfunctory manner, was at his best in the question and answer session that followed. Responding to a question about a report that he thinks "intelligent design" should be taught in schools, the senator mocked the idea that American young people were so delicate and impressionable that they needed to be sheltered from the concept, which says God had a hand in creation and which has been challenged by Darwinists as unscientific.

"Shhh, you shouldn't tell them," he said, mimicking those who would shield children from the fact that some people believe in intelligent design. The former prisoner of war said he also disagreed with Cold War-era efforts to prevent Marxist-Leninism from being taught in schools, saying it was better for Americans to understand their enemy. He noted that he didn't say that intelligent design needed to be taught in "science class," leaving unclear exactly what class he thought it should be taught in. He said he believed local school boards, not the federal government, should determine curricula.

"From a personal standpoint, I believe in evolution," Mr. McCain said. At the same time, he said, "When I stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and I see the sun going down, I believe the hand of God was there."

He is wise enough to know that banning scientific information that tends to undermine Darwinian theory is bad pedagogy, bad public policy and bad politics.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Francis Collins, Intelligent Design and the Origin of Life

There seems to be great interest in Francis Collins, his new book The Language of God, and his views on Intelligent Design. I had previously posted on the topic of Francis Collins and ID here. Given the level of interest, I thought I would cite to some other quotes by him related to ID.

Here is one comment on the origin of life question. His position seems very sympathetic to the ID perspective:
[Collins speaking:] Another issue, however—one where I am very puzzled about what the answer will be—is the origin of life. Four billion years ago, the conditions on this planet were completely inhospitable to life as we know it; 3.85 billion years ago, life was teeming. That is a very short period—150 million years—for the assembly of macromolecules into a self-replicating form. I think even the most bold and optimistic proposals for the origin of life fall well short of achieving any real probability for that kind of event having occurred. Is this where God entered? Is this how life got started? I am happy to accept that model, but it will not shake my faith if somebody comes up with a model that explains how that the first cells formed without divine intervention. Again, watch out for the God-of-the-gaps. However, I think it is noteworthy that this particular area of evolution, the earliest step, is still very much in disarray.

In this interview he stated that intelligent design is "a thoughtful, well-argued perspective."
ABERNETHY: But what about the theory of intelligent design, the argument dividing school boards around the country over whether life is so complex the theory of evolution can not explain it, thus there had to have been a designer?

Dr. COLLINS: Intelligent design, while a thoughtful, well-argued perspective, I do not think is taking us to the Promised Land. I think this will be an argument which ultimately will not do damage to science; it will do damage to faith. The problem is the examples that intelligent design puts forward we are learning a lot about. And the notion that those are examples of irreducible complexity is showing serious cracks.

I encourage you to compare Collins' perspective to that of Michael Behe, and then decide for yourself. In this regard, read Behe's book Darwin's Black Box. I previously posted on the short statements by Collins and Behe included in the Time Magazine coverage of the issue here. That post also contains a link to the statements by each scientist.