Baptists, Baylor University and Evolution

January 28, 2009

Maybe someone can explain this to me.  Most, if not all, Baptist churches and schools teach that creationism is true and evolution is false.  Then, why does the largest Baptist university in the world teach that creationism is false and evolution is true?

From the Baylor University website.

Statement on Evolution
“Evolution, a foundational principle of modern biology, is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. Because it is fundamental to the understanding of modern biology, the faculty in the Biology Department at Baylor University, Waco, TX, teach evolution throughout the biology curriculum. We are in accordance with the American Association for Advancement of Science’s statement on evolution. We are a science department, so we do not teach alternative hypotheses or philosophically deduced theories that cannot be tested rigorously.”
 
From Richard Duhrkopf, an associate professor of biology at Baylor, on teaching science in the public schools:
 
“We shouldn’t be teaching the supernatural in science classrooms,” Duhrkopf said. “It’s time to keep religion and faith in the Sunday schools and not in the public schools.”

Why Darwinism is So Dangerous

January 30, 2008

From Katherine T. Phan and Christian Post.

“For Ben Stein, host of an upcoming documentary on the dominance of Darwinism in academia, Darwinism is not just problematic but dangerous even.

In a media teleconference for the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” on Tuesday, Stein pointed out that Darwinian teaching on natural selection and random mutation “led in a straight line to the holocaust and Nazism.”

Darwin said that there were certain species that were superior to other species and all were competing for scarce supplies of food or resources, Stein pointed out. But if there was a limited supply of basic resources, Darwinism taught that “you owe it to the superior race to kill the inferior race,” he told reporters.

Darwinian evolutionary theory fueled Nazi idealism that felt gypsies, Eastern Europeans and others were competing with them for scarce basic resources, explained Stein.

“As a Jew, I am horrified that people thought Jews were so inferior they didn’t deserve to live,” he commented.

But the link between Darwinism and the holocaust is just one of many reasons why the former speech writer for President Nixon and President Ford decided to join Premise Media in the making of the documentary, which hits theaters April 2008.

Stein said he finds it problematic that Darwinism, which he feels leaves a lot of questions unanswered, is being touted in the academic and scientific circles as the only rational explanation on how life began.

Where did life come from? How did cells get so complex?

If the origins of life all did happen by random mutation, he questioned, where does the laws that make the universe possible to function – the law of gravity, the law of thermodaynamics, laws of motion – all come from?

“Who created these laws that keeps the planets in motion?” asked Stein. “These are fundamental questions” where Darwinism lacks explanations.

The film follows Stein as he interviews disciples of Darwinian Evolution, including The God Delusion author Richard Dawkins and proponents of Intelligent Design – the teaching that the creation of life and the universe are results of an intelligent “designer.”

At first glance, the documentary may appear to attack Darwinism and champion Intelligent Design.

But the film doesn’t try to validate one idea over another, explained Walt Ruloff, the film’s executive producer and CEO of Premise Media.

“Science is supported by empirical work that can be verified by empirical data. We are not against that,” he told reporters.

“What we are asking for is freedom of speech … for people who do research to have freedom to ask the questions they need to ask and go where they need to go.

The current system doesn’t allow open dialogue, according to the makers of “Expelled.” The film highlights a number of educators and scientists who are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired in some cases for the fact that they believe there is evidence of “design” in nature or challenging the Darwinian orthodoxy.

Ruloff hopes that the film will prompt congressional language to protect the free speech of people who dissent from Darwinism.

Furthermore, he sees the documentary as creating a culture where things like the metaphysical can be openly discussed.

“Eighty-five percent of people believe in a form of a deity – why can’t we talk about that?” asked Ruloff.

“We don’t think that we have all the the answers, or anyone has all the answers,” added Stein. “We just want free speech.”


Interview: ‘Big Science’ in America is Killing 1st Amendment, Says Actor Ben Stein

January 23, 2008

From Kevin Mooney and CNSNEWS.com.

Intelligent design theory, or ID, is opening new doors of scientific research, particularly in cancer and other disease research, according to its adherents, but a new movie, “Expelled” starring Ben Stein explores how an “elitist scientific establishment” is apparently muzzling and smearing scientists who publicly discuss ID.

The First Amendment is under brutal attack in the scientific community, Ben Stein, a former presidential speechwriter-turned-actor and commentator, says in the film, which opens in theaters on Feb. 12.

“I always assumed scientists were free to ask any question, pursue any line of inquiry without fear or reprisal,” he says. “But recently, I’ve been alarmed to discover that this is not the case.”

In an exclusive interview with Cybercast News Service – with audio clips below – Stein contends that rigid Darwinists are silencing their critics in academia, which the film explores, and discusses how ID ideas are helping in cancer research and similar work.

Yet the ID research that could potentially produce medical breakthroughs, says Stein, is also being undermined by Darwinian scientists who don’t want ID research viewed as legitimate.

Cybercast News Service:
Is this controversy about science versus religion, or is this more science versus science? Simply, is this about scientists with different worldviews -with one group more willing to open themselves up to alternative explanations than others – as the film suggests?

Ben Stein: Well, first of all, I question your premise. It’s not just scientists versus scientists. It is a particular subset of science which does not admit any kind of questions – it is a kind of perversion of science, which doesn’t allow for any kind of questioning of itself. Science should always be in the business of attempting to disprove itself. Neo-Darwinian science is exactly in the opposite business of endlessly trying to rationalize itself – and reprove itself, you might say – reprove that it’s right without any kind of test. So it’s not scientists – it’s really, I would say, scientists are the ones willing to look into intelligent design. The people who are anti-science are the ones unwilling to look at anything new or different. So I’d say it’s a perverted kind of science versus what I would call a more classical science. But it is also science versus at least the possibility of belief.

Cybercast News Service:
There is a fair amount of discussion of creationism and how it might relate to intelligent design, and there are a lot of critics who say this is just folks with religious convictions trying to use intelligent design as a Trojan horse to advance a form of creationism. … What sort of separation do you see or perhaps don’t see between creationism, on the one hand, and intelligent design? Do you have your own definition of intelligent design, and is it distinct and different from creationism?

Ben Stein:
Well, I would say it’s creationism by someone. For me, I’ve always believed that there was a God. I’ve always believed that God created the heavens and earth – so, for me it’s not a huge leap from there to intelligent design. I think for some of the people who work on intelligent design, they’re not as long-time believers as I am. So, I would answer that question, in brief, by saying, I believe in God and God created the heavens and the earth and all the life on the earth. But what other people, who are intelligent design people, think, I could not characterize. (Listen to Audio)

Cybercast News Service: There is a segment in the film, where it’s made clear that intelligent design can open up new areas of inquiry that could improve the human condition. One involves a neurosurgeon, Michael Egnor, and another scientist, Jon Wells, who indicate that given how the cells are put together, with eye toward intelligent design, and with the idea that animal cells have tiny turbines – or if viewed as tiny turbines – he was able to formulate a theory that said in the event these things malfunction and don’t properly shut down and could break apart, this is the first step on the way to cancer. He seemed to be suggesting that intelligent design theory could open up a lot of possibilities into improving the human condition. He doesn’t explicitly say ‘a cure for cancer,’ but at least providing additional insight into new areas of treatment or a better understanding of how cancer is formed. What is your reaction to that part of the film? What sort of potential is attached to research going forward?

Ben Stein: Well, I think, I wouldn’t say, if you say intelligent design is the answer and we’re all created by an intelligent designer – that does not by itself provide the cure to cancer or any other disease or does not provide any ideas about how to deal with a stroke or with the heart hammering blood into the brain. But I would say, if you accept a broader, an even broader premise than intelligent design, namely, don’t foreclose anything in your study of the human body and of the cell, then you are a lot more likely to get somewhere. I’d put it like that. I don’t think saying intelligent design just automatically gets you anywhere. (Listen to Audio)

Ben Stein:
But I think if you say we are going to study everything, and we are not going to let anyone close down our rights of inquiry, then I think we are getting somewhere. But also, there is this big issue about RNA and DNA, and whether RNA and DNA can respond to changes in the world around them. I think we say it can respond to changes in the world around them and that neo-Darwinians say it can only do that by random chance – it only happens by random chance. We say the cell may have the possibility of doing itself in an intelligent way that there may be some intelligence in the cell itself so that’s probably a big difference between the two of us. We, on this side, think at least there’s a possibility. We believe there’s some possibility the cell could have an intelligence of its own. (Listen to Audio)

Cybercast News Service: The film spends a fair amount of time on the complexity of the cell and makes the point that no one at the time, including Darwin himself – no one could have anticipated that level of complexity …

Ben Stein:
Not even close. (Listen to audio)

Cybercast News Service:
In what way did the film have any influence or change in your thinking and how it relates to intelligent design or scientific inquiry?

Ben Stein:
Oh, when I first started working on this, I had no remote clue of how complicated the cell was, and I was believer just because I’d always been a believer and the idea that an intelligent being created the universe. But after working with these scientists and interviewing them and learning about how complex the cell was and how unlikely the proposition was that it all happened by random chance, then I was just overwhelmed by this data. And I was just overwhelmed by the fact, at least as I am told, that Darwinists have never observed natural species being originated … There’s not even a clear definition of what a species is – and the Darwinists have no theory whatsoever about the origin of life, none whatsoever, except the most hazy, the kind of preposterous, New Age hypothesis. And I think our theory that there is a creator strikes even some people, even Dawkins very possibly, as more likely than it all happened by total chance.

Cybercast News Service:
Mr. Dawkins describes the proponents of ID as being ignorant. They don’t buy into the scientific consensus – a lot of arguments made that there is a rock solid consensus in favor of evolution to explain biology. What is your reaction to this notion of consensus, and how does this complicate the journey for scientist or academics open to the idea?

Ben Stein:
It doesn’t complicate it at all because Dawkins, at least in my opinion, is completely wrong, and we produced a number of people who are bona fide scientists who clearly believe there is a possibility of intelligent design. So, his idea that there is a complete rock solid consensus is completely wrong. I mean, God bless him, he’s obviously an intelligent guy, but it’s obviously wrong. The people we produced weren’t actors pretending to be scientists – they were scientists. (Listen to Audio)

Cybercast News Service:
Why do you think the very idea or suggestion of intelligent design is so antagonistic to scientists who claim they have evidence? Why not have the debate? If they are so confident, why not have debate?

Ben Stein:
That’s a deep question. That’s a sociological, psychological and ethical question. One, if they are Darwinists and they owe their jobs to being Darwinists, they are not going to challenge the orthodoxy because that would challenge the whole basis of their jobs and their lives. So they are not going to challenge the ideology that has given them lush positions in real life. That’s one thing. Second thing, once people are locked into a way of thinking, they are unlikely to change. Third is, if they acknowledge the possibility of intelligent design and that intelligent design is God, then they may think God has moral expectations of them and they may be falling short of those moral expectations, and they may be worried about some sort of judgment upon them. (Listen to Audio)

Cybercast News Service:
The film starts with you giving a presentation about American freedom, and when you get near the end of the film there’s a Polish official – I believe a member of the EU Parliament – who said there’s actually more freedom and latitude in Poland than here in the United States to explore these questions, and he blames it on political correctness. Mr. Stein how did we get to this point? … If there’s more latitude for scientific inquiry overseas in a recently released communist country than there is in the United States of America?

Ben Stein:
That is a very, very, very good question. How did we get here? I don’t know. How did we get to this point in Hollywood? There’s (sic) only certain attitudes allowed about military, religion, or small towns or about business? I don’t know how we got to this, this kind of orthodoxy. I think there is this kind of Marxist establishment in this country that has been overthrown in other countries, but not overthrown here. There is a very powerful Marxist establishment within the intelligentsia that does not allow questioning of its premises. (Listen to Audio)

Cybercast News Service: What do you think needs to happen in academia? What suggestions or prescriptions do you think will come out of the film?

Ben Stein:
We want more freedom. I just spoke to some young people in Orlando. And I said, this to us – at least to me, I don’t know what it is to other people in the film – is a bit like the Civil Rights movement. You want to have freedom, where our goal is freedom. We want freedom. We want all our rights, not some of them, all our rights to free speech. We want them here in America, and we want them now. That’s what we want; we’re not going to get it. But we hope to open the door wider to some serious debate on these issues. (Listen to Audio)

Cybercast News Service: The point is made that journalists have a tendency to embrace the establishment position …

Ben Stein:
If the establishment position is the sort of left-wing establishment position. They are certainly not going to embrace the Republican establishment position. (Listen to Audio)

Cybercast News Service: This reminds me of the global warming debate. The Union of Concerned Scientists, exactly one year ago, put out a report on Exxon Mobil for their position on global warming, and in their report they say too often journalists’ inclination to provide political balance leads to inaccurate reporting – and that members of the media should not quote ExxonMobil officials or anybody who questions the scientific consensus.

Ben Stein:
Yes, that is precisely the analogy. Very well done. I totally agree. There are still plenty of scientists who question fossil fuels’ role in global warming, but you’re not allowed to question that anymore. (Listen to Audio)


Complex Jellies Jump 200 Million Years

January 15, 2008

From Kyle Butt, M.A. and apologeticspress.org.

New finds surface every day in the scientific community that remind us of the inadequacy of evolutionary explanations about the natural world. A recent discovery of fossilized jellyfish is just such a find. Until a few months ago, the oldest fossilized jellyfish were supposed to be about 300 million years old [NOTE: The millions-of-years scenario is false, cannot be verified, and is based on faulty assumptions. I am referring to it, not to suggest that it is valid, but to show how dramatically evolutionists themselves must adjust it.]

In October, 2007, Paulyn Cartwright and her team of researchers reported finding and studying several fossilized jellyfish, which they dated to be about 505 million years old (2007). In a news release discussing the research, Jen Humphrey stated: “Cartwright said the jellyfish described in the article are also unique because they push the known occurrence of definitive jellyfish back from 300 million to 505 million years, a huge jump, and show more detail than anything previously described that is younger” (2007).

Notice that with a single fossil discovery, the alleged age of jellyfish jumps a gargantuan 200 million years. Does it not throw serious doubt on geological time that the time can be adjusted so quickly, with such little evidence? And where are all the jellyfish fossils from the alleged period of 300-500 millions years ago? Obviously, they were alive and thriving, but a record of their existence in the rocks is absent.

What is more, Cartwright and her team mentioned the detail that was preserved in the “old” jellies. What does the detail show? The detail shows that the jellyfish that are supposedly 500 million years old look like jellyfish that are five years old. They have hardly changed at all in “500 million years.” Cartwright and colleagues stated: “Further, some of these fossils share commonalities with modern cnidarian orders and families…” (2007, emp. added). Jen Humphrey, breaking Cartwright’s research down to a popular level of understanding, wrote:

[T]he researchers said that there is enough detail to assert that the types can be related to the modern orders and families of jellyfish. The specimens show the same complexity. That means that either the complexity of modern jellyfish developed rapidly roughly 500 million years ago, or that the group is even older and existed long before then (2007, emp. added).

Isn’t evolutionary theory grand? On the one hand, it purports to explain how things evolve so quickly that they leave no fossils. On the other hand, it alleges that jelly fish were so well adapted that they did not change for 500 million years. In truth, that which explains too much, explains nothing.

Do evolutionists really expect us to believe that humans evolved from an ape-like creature to our present state of complexity in about 10 million years, but that jelly fish remained virtually unchanged for 500 million years? Why do evolutionists suggest that the fossilized jellies are millions of years old if they look just like modern jellies? The only reason is that the jellies were found in falsely dated rock. It is time that we demand that reason be applied to evolutionary dating methods and allegations about animal antiquity. If evolution really does what evolutionists claim, jellies would have evolved to such a level of complexity in 500 million years that they could build submarines and launch torpedoes at their prey. But, alas, they are still just jelly fish.

“Old” jellyfish look like “modern” jellyfish for a very simply reason that has nothing to do with evolution. When God spoke the world into existence, He instructed plants and animals to multiply “after their kind” (Genesis 1:21,24). Jellyfish have been faithfully doing just that since the beginning of Creation.

REFERENCES

Cartwright, Paulyn, et al. (2007), “Exceptionally Preserved Jelly Fish from the Middle Cambrian,” PLoS One Beta, [On-line], URL: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone. 0001121;jsessionid=7734CFFE68E81C3AC5BF038E7413D017.

Humphrey, Jen (2007), “Fossil Record Reveals Elusive Jellyfish More Than 500 Million Years Old,” [On-line], URL: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2007-10/plos-frr103007.php.


Design Found, Intelligence Lacking in Latest Attack by Darwinians

January 7, 2008

From the Family Research Council.

“The National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine have mounted yet another attack on the scientific theory of intelligent design, publishing an 89-page book titled Science, Evolution, and Creationism. The new publication falsely equates “intelligent design” (a scientific theory which infers the necessity for intelligent design from scientific evidence) with “creationism” (a term usually used for a theory of origins that begins with the Bible or some other religious text). It also lumps together concepts of microevolution within species (such as the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria), which are not controversial, with the more contested theory of macroevolution, which seeks to trace all existing forms of life to a common ancestor. It appears to dodge altogether the crucial question of how living things could have arisen from non-living things in the first place. It also slanders intelligent design as “unscientific” despite peer-reviewed articles on the concept and the credentials of 700 doctoral-level scientists who have publicly questioned Darwinism. Perhaps the biggest problem with the defenders of Darwinian evolution is that, ironically, they have reversed the roles in the supposed historical “war between science and religion,” by declaring Darwinism to be inerrant dogma, and punishing its doubters by burning them at the academic stake.”


Questions in evolution: How do jellyfish, crustaceans and beetles just suddenly appear?

January 5, 2008

From Denyse O’Leary and Uncommondescent.com.

“Animals suddenly appear … and after that nothing much happens. Why? How?

Read the latest post, linked above, at The Design of Life blog and help me think about this. (Currently, I am learning to cope with the fact that Alley Oop has been lying to me for, like, tens of thousands of years, so I can use the help wth thinking.)

The comments facility has been enabled, but for best results, read the blog FAQs first.”


National Academy of Sciences Report on Evolution is Long on Assertion, Short on Evidence

January 5, 2008

From Anika Smith and evolutionnews.org.

“The National Academy of Sciences has published yet another report on evolution, titled “Science, Evolution, and Creationism.” In the ample space of 89 pages, the NAS manages to celebrate evolution as an unassailable truth, completely misrepresent intelligent design, and rehash the same standard Darwinist arguments which have been refuted by critical scientists time and again.

The NAS exaggerates the success of evolution, hyping it as “the foundation for modern biology.” This outrageous claim continues to meet a growing skepticism from scientists around the world. Over 700 doctoral scientists have publicly declared their disagreement by signing a list dissenting from Darwinism, including National Academy of Sciences member Phillip Skell.

In 2005, Dr. Skell wrote in an article published in The Scientist that “the claim that [Darwinian evolution] is the cornerstone of modern experimental biology will be met with quiet skepticism from a growing number of scientists in fields where theories actually do serve as cornerstones for tangible breakthroughs.”

Instead of treating evolutionary theory as an area open to further scientific inquiry, the NAS report canonizes evolution as perfect and immutable, “so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter it.”

“Under their definition, a theory is not a testable area of science but rather an unquestionable dogma,” said CSC program officer Casey Luskin.

Of course, this should come as no surprise, given the NAS’s bias against intelligent design, which challenges Darwinian evolution on scientific grounds. Rather than addressing the science of ID, the report misrepresents the theory as an untestable religious belief. While the report ignores what design theorists actually claim, it chooses to cite the Kitzmiller ruling instead, apparently trusting a judge who copied the ACLU and disregarding the academic freedom of the scientists who stake their reputations and careers on the scientific merit of intelligent design.At bottom, this report does little more than reveal a tired and weary voice of an establishment unwilling to actually address the scientific claims or the thoughtful skepticism of a growing number of scientists who disagree.”

Discovery Institute recently published its own guide for educators, “The Theory of Intelligent Design: A briefing packet for educators to help them understand the debate between Darwinian evolution and intelligent design.” It is available at www.discovery.org.