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Creationist postdoc loses lawsuit

A Massachusetts federal court judge last week (April 22) dismissed the case against a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who allegedly fired a postdoc in his lab because of the postdoc's creationist beliefs. The postdoc, Nathaniel Abraham, was dismissed from his position in the lab of molecular toxicologist linkurl:Mark Hahn;http://www.whoi.edu/science/B/people/mhahn/hahnm.html#Interests in November, 2004, after revealing that he believed in the literal truth of the Bible a

By | April 29, 2008

A Massachusetts federal court judge last week (April 22) dismissed the case against a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who allegedly fired a postdoc in his lab because of the postdoc's creationist beliefs. The postdoc, Nathaniel Abraham, was dismissed from his position in the lab of molecular toxicologist linkurl:Mark Hahn;http://www.whoi.edu/science/B/people/mhahn/hahnm.html#Interests in November, 2004, after revealing that he believed in the literal truth of the Bible and considered evolution to be not a fact but a theory. Hahn's lab studies the evolution of molecular mechanisms of chemical signaling and adaptation to chemical exposure. Abraham filed a discrimination complaint against Hahn, which was rejected by the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination. He then linkurl:filed suit;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53976/ against Mark Hahn and the institute last November, arguing, according to court documents, that he had been hired to work in Hahn's lab because of his expertise in zebrafish developmental biology, toxicology, and programmed cell death, and that "acceptance of evolution as scientific fact rather than theory (in contravention of his sincerely held religious beliefs) was in no way a bona fide occupational qualification of employment." The defendants, however, argued that Abraham did not file the lawsuit within the timeframe specified by law. Furthermore, the court documents stated, research in Hahn's lab "would have involved application of evolutionary principles without qualifications concerning the acceptance of evolution." Hahn's attorney declined to comment on the case; Abraham's attorney did not return a phone message requesting comment.
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Avatar of: Matthew Costa

Matthew Costa

Posts: 3

April 30, 2008

Why was the post-doc fired? This seems like more of that Expelled movie; scientist being dismissed for normal incompetency and these scientist trying to say they were discriminated against.
Avatar of: Jeff Horsman

Jeff Horsman

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

Interesting case however I am glad to see that Science and reason has won through on this one!!\n
Avatar of: Mitchell Smith

Mitchell Smith

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

Why is everyone so "dead set" against the idea of a design in nature when there are so many biological "machines" all around us? Macro-evolution is a theory, not a fact. What is wrong with discussion in the scientific community?
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

I don't get it... Why bother working for someone or something you don't even believe in? I would not do it if I had been that postdoc.\nEvolution a theory not a fact???? I thought theories were theories because they had been proved! Theories are the truth about the world in scientific terms. On the other hand hypothesis are questionable. Am I wrong? THEORY of Evolution, not Hypothesis of Evolution.
Avatar of: D REID WISEMAN

D REID WISEMAN

Posts: 4

April 30, 2008

All judicial matters must be dealt with all due\ncelerity, thus the court's declaration that the\nplantiff did not have standing because of the\nlate posting of his appeal. Did the plantiff\nauthor or co-author any peer-reviewed papers\nin recognized science journals? If so, was\nthere any evidence in the text to indicate\nhis creationist-ID predilictions? If so, the\npapers would have been sent back by the editors\nfor revision or rejection.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

April 30, 2008

...the guy apparently didn't complain soon enough or he would have had a case for unfair dismissal. If he had acted sooner he would have done better. Evolution is always going to be a theory and clearly one the postdoc doesn't subscribe to wholesale. That is his business. His viewpoint obviously doesn't hamper his ability to conduct the postdoc research. But please, science is not a crusade against religion. Its about really important things, such as the recent report in The Scientist on the risks of double dipping chips in dips. Exactly! So why do scientists feel an overwhelming need to sermonise when most aren't even doing science. Where has the bigger picture gone? Scientists - just present a hypothesis and the data (minus the spin) then let us decide. My further advice to scientists is this - try to address one of the bigger questions in science (they do still exist) and avoid the banal pop science fodder we are bombarded with. What is more, when you want to communicate science to the public, do try to remember that many are over 8 years old and many more are actually brighter than you (thats why they aren't scientists). Science used to be respectable, now it is little more than media filler and sound bites. Do we wonder why?
Avatar of: Jacquelyn Reed

Jacquelyn Reed

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

Let's reverse the question:\n\nShould an evolutionary scientist be allowed to work at the Answers in Genesis "museum"? \n\nThe way you answer one question better be the way you answer the other one.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

How sad - the court relied on a technicality to deprive a man of his due process. This scientist met all of the requirements for his degree, but was dismissed because he refused to believe in evolution which hasn't been proven. There has never been any demonstration of organic evolution. His qualification was good enough to get his foot in the door, but his personal beliefs were used against him. This proves to me the weakness of those who stand for this secular belief of evolution - rather than debate, terminate! Hahn is not even respectable.
Avatar of: SUSAN LUSE

SUSAN LUSE

Posts: 7

April 30, 2008

No, anonymous, you are not wrong. To wit:\n1. Theory, hypothesis are used in non-technical contexts to mean an untested idea or opinion. A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena: the theory of relativity. A hypothesis is a conjecture put forth as a possible explanation of phenomena or relations, which serves as a basis of argument or experimentation to reach the truth: This idea is only a hypothesis.\n - Roget's Thesaurus\n\nI find it incredibly painful to hear scientists using this word constantly in its vernacular meaning, instead of educating people about what we mean when we use it. As I tell my fundamentalist relatives, electromagnetism is "only" a theory, and yet they expect the light to go on whenever they flip a switch. Ditto gravity. And yet, they don't anchor themselves to the bed at night for fear of suddenly flying out of it. \n\nScience is about fact. ID is religion, pure and simple. It offers not a single testable hypothosis - the very essence of science. You can believe what you want, but if you don't understand that evolution is fact, you have no basis upon which to conduct meaningful life science. Maybe that post-doc should seek out a career as an industrial chemist.
Avatar of: Paul Gehrman

Paul Gehrman

Posts: 4

April 30, 2008

Science 1, Superstition 0
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

April 30, 2008

Why refer to Roget's? A thesaurus is a book giving lists of semantically linked words. So that is synonyms and near-synonyms (antonyms too). Wouldn't a dictionary be better? Theory and hypothesis are used interchangeably but do differ in meaning. In general a theory is a model that can be tested. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of a natural phenomenon that is supported by data. A hypothesis refers to a provisional idea whose merit requires evaluation. A hypothesis must be falsifiable. Evolution is a theory not a hypothesis, but not a fact because it has not been observed happening. A fact is a truth verified by an (honest) observation. But please, a great many scientists conduct science whilst believing in God, and even creation. I don't agree with them but they still do a good job, so it seems that life science research is still possible even for religious folk. I don't know how they reconcile evolution with religion but thats not a problem for me. Can we please have some tolerance here?
Avatar of: KIMBERLY HANSEN

KIMBERLY HANSEN

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

Check out this New York Times article:\n\nRoving Defender of Evolution, and of Room for God \nhttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/science/29prof.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=science
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

Since when? I use it as a tool in my lab - I'm a yeast geneticist. I observe it on a daily basis. If I'm not mistaken, an awful lot of bacterial and viral evolution has been observed as well. And surely the fossil and DNA records must count for something. The problem is the false dichotomy seems to have take root, even here among scientists. There is nothing in believing in God which requires you to abandon reason or pretend that what's real, isn't. Understanding the reality of evolution doesn't mean you have to deny the existence of God - the two are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, perhaps the best known Christian apologist and scientist, Francis Collins, makes this quite clear.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

I'm 100% on the side of science over creationist nonsense, but if the guy was fired solely because of his belief system and not because that belief system impaired his work, then he might well have had a case. As I would support the right of an atheist docent who properly discharges his/her duties to work at the Creation Museum, so do I have to support this person's right to work effectively in that lab despite his weird ideas.\n\nThat said: (1) if his weird ideas impaired his work, he should have lost in any case (though it appears that point was never determined by the court) and (2) he failed to pursue his legal remedies in time, so he does lose -- which is more than a mere technicality. If you sleep on your rights, you lose them, and judges don't usually have a lot of leeway to work around statutes of limitation.
Avatar of: Rodd Garoutte

Rodd Garoutte

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

Evolution is both fact and theory as gravity is both fact and theory. Objects fall when dropped. The theory describes the mechanism. Also, a theory is never proven. Data may come up showing a theory to be false.
Avatar of: Physicalist One

Physicalist One

Posts: 4

April 30, 2008

I don't see how he could be expected to produce quality work when by his own admission he fails to understand and accept the science of evolution.\n\nWould you trust an astronomer who believed that all the stars and planets are points of light on a sphere several thousand kilometers above us? \n\nI'd need a little more than a mere assurance that he understood the "Theory of Newtonian gravity" well enough to apply it, even though he doesn't believe it. ("After all, it's only a theory!")
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

April 30, 2008

I know Dr. Abraham and his case well. This whole situation has been very traumatic for him for reasons I will not go into here. He did not just lose a job, but a very promising career. He was let go purely due to the bigotry of Hahn, and for no other reason. Now that one can be fired on the basis of personal religion, and not what one did, who is next? No evidence existed that his doubts about Darwin hindered his work in any way, and he had no problem writing up his reports from an evolutionary view. He accepts evolution as far as the empirical evidence goes and if his work takes evolution beyond where it is now, so be it. It was his belief in a God as creator that ended his career. I hope an Expelled II comes out soon, as enough cases exist for another film. The word in the Intelligent Design community is clear: stay in the closet if you want to survive.\n\n
Avatar of: Physicalist One

Physicalist One

Posts: 4

April 30, 2008

Well, I don't know Dr. Abraham or his case as well as "Anonymous Poster," but I had heard that he objected to having his research and name being tied to research supporting "macro-evolution." Drawing a distinction between "macro-" and "micro-evolution" demonstrates a deep ignorance of evolutionary theory. (The guy thinks he's seeing lights on a dome when he looks through a telescope!)\n\nExpelled is a sad joke of a movie. Visit ExpelledExposed--dot--com to see what really happened to the creationists in the movie. Not one of them was even fired! The movie is just a string of half-truths and lies.
Avatar of: DOUGLAS GRAY

DOUGLAS GRAY

Posts: 2

April 30, 2008

A postdoc who rejects the corpus of accumulated scientific knowledge in favor of a literal interpretation of scripture is simply in the wrong line of work. Given that a scientist is expected to spend public funds in the most efficient and responsible manner possible it could be reasonably argued that it is unethical to use grant funding to provide salary for someone with such poor scientific judgement. Whether or not the postdoc in question was being paid from a grant it is clear that the employer could reasonably expect better value for his money than a trainee who rejects the very groundwork of his research field.
Avatar of: Mark Whitten

Mark Whitten

Posts: 5

April 30, 2008

While I do not know the intentions of this man, it would be fitting with the rest of the ID creationist movement that this was an intentional act to undermine scientific research and, once again, falsely play the victim. \n\nA creationist representing such a lab could only cause problems. Aside from the obvious fact that without using evolutionary principles this researcher would be unable to interpret the data, there is the reputation of the lab that one has to consider. If this creationist were to represent the lab at a conference or workshop or the like, he could damage its reputation. \n\nImagine a respected hospital employing a doctor and then finding out that s/he doesn't accept the \ngerm theory of disease. They must fire this doctor or surely s/he will not be able to diagnose diseases properly and the name of the hospital would be tainted. \n\nI see nothing wrong with terminating this postdocs contract as he should obviously not have been there in the first place. While it is unnecessary to swear some loyalty oath in science labs (unlike the loyalty oaths in many religious institutions) it is necessary to ensure that proper science is being done by people who understand the theories involved. \nPeople who say that having to accept evolution is tantamount to dogmatic control by the 'establishment' are either lying or ignorant. As has been said countless times before, evolution is both fact and theory. It is necessary to analyze data (such as that produced by this lab) within the framework of evolutionary theory. \n\nHahn, the head of the lab said this in response to the postdoc: ". . . You have indicated that you do not recognize the concept of biological evolution and you would not agree to include a full discussion of the evolutionary implications and interpretations of our research in any co-authored publications resulting from this work."\nThat's just nuts! It's much more than simply not accepting it...he refused to even consider it. He wasted time and money and took a position away from a deserving candidate. \n\nAnyway, he's now working at Liberty University...that bastion of stupidity, ignorance and hate. I'm sure he'll flourish there. Here's a link to a great blog post about Nathaniel and Liberty U's marriage. \nhttp://vyoma108.blogspot.com/2007/12/what-nathaniel-abraham-stands-for.html
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

April 30, 2008

In response to ?ExpelledExposed--dot--com to see what really happened to the creationists in the movie. Not one of them was even fired! The movie is just a string of half-truths and lies? First of all, none of the scientists in the film were creationists and object to that term. They concluded only that evolution does not explain the origin of the natural world and evidence for intelligence exists in the design of the living world. Secondly, this website is very inaccurate. If you knew anything about these cases you would not make these claims. Do an internet search and learn more about these cases and you will see how inaccurate the web site you noted is. As to Gray?s comment Abraham is an expert in toxicology and developmental biology of zebrafish with a proven track record. You can not claim he cannot do what he has done extremely well at for several years. His academic record is above outstanding. See ?Abraham?s Test? by Mark Bergin in World magazine.
Avatar of: Mark Whitten

Mark Whitten

Posts: 5

April 30, 2008

anonymous says "Abraham is an expert in toxicology and developmental biology of zebrafish with a proven track record."\nI now ask for the titles of some of his publications. I had a quick look and could find nothing. How, exactly, does one finish a PhD, be a postdoc and now a professor without any publications? Oh yeah, liberty university chooses sheep rather than scientists. \nPlease explain how someone can have a 'proven track record' without any publication record??\nJust wondering, maybe he has some publication hidden away out there.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

April 30, 2008

As it did not mention why the case was dismissed. Was it (as the defendants claimed) filed too late? Was it dismissed because the judge agreed that what the post doc claimed was not actionable?\n\nIt really makes a big difference, and it is a huge flaw in the original article.
Avatar of: Alicia Prater

Alicia Prater

Posts: 7

April 30, 2008

No competent scientist says evolution doesn't occur. It's the underlying principle of Natural Selection and Evolutionary Biology and Infectious Disease studies! Their individual faith about the origins of the universe and evolution's place in the grander scheme is outside the realm of science. \n\nFor someone to work in a lab and say they don't "believe" in the lab's work is grounds for being fired. He probably got his degrees by regurgitating information or going to sham schools like Liberty U.\n\nIf someone worked at Burger King and refused to sell burgers because they were vegetarian it would be the same thing.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 3

April 30, 2008

The accustation: Guy gets fired for believing in creationism. He sues his former employers. Court rules in the employers favor because Guy didn't file the lawsuit in the time designated by the law. Is this a Science vs Creation court case? You can't prove the case was lost purely on grounds that it being won would be against the law.\n\nPopular opinion: Creationists shouldn't work in evolutionary related science. Sigh. He was studying how various chemicals react in organic life to adapt to their circumstances, if I read the article correctly. THIS IS CALLED ADAPTION, or small-scale evolution. Evolution is a fact. THAT GOD CREATED THE FIRST ANIMALS is creationism. THAT GOD GUIDES EVOLUTION, JUST LIKE HE GUIDES THE GROWTH AND FALL OF NATIONS is called guided evolution. Therefor he believed he was studying HOW GOD MADE LIFE ADAPTIBLE. Even if he is studying large scale evolution, he is studying EXAMPLES OF GOD SLOWLY CHANGING ANIMALS.\n\nTherefore Evolution = God's way of changing animals. Evolution and Creationism are perfectly compatible. If I am wrong, how come so many (though not nescesarily most) scientists believe in God?\n\n@Losing this case is probably unrelated to religion.\n@Creationism + Evolutionary facts are compatible\n\nI am sixteen years old. Correct me if you can prove you disagree with me and understand this article better than I do. I will accept losing, but not claims unfounded on logic based on the facts presented in the article.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

April 30, 2008

I think most are making the mistake of airing their ID vs evolution perspectives here. If you take away the emotionally charged debate, the case is simple.\n\nIf I walked into my lab tomorrow and said to my PI, "Hey, I decided I don't really believe in the fundamental theories and facts that form the basis of the major hypotheses that we are investigating here!", I would not have a job, anymore, either. \n\nThe PI has to know that you are all a team and that there are cohesive assumptions and beliefs that form the basis of all of the work being done in the lab. Put yourself in that place, imagine you are a PI, and you find out you have someone on your payroll that is basically exploiting you for training or publications, but does not fundamentally believe in what you are doing. This is your life's passion, something you have probably put more than a decade into pursuing (especially if you are tenured). Would you want that person working for you? Of course, you would not.\n\nPeople are acting like being a post doctoral researcher is "just another job, why do his beliefs matter?". Naturally, it matters. When a PI hires you, they want to know that you are as interested and invested in the project as they are, not that you don't really believe in it, are not passionate about it. When you apply for a position, don't they ask you for a statement of interest and letters of intent? If this post doc had been honest about his real thoughts on the projects in the lab, he probably would never have been hired in the first place, which by all rights, he should not have been.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

May 1, 2008

It is reported that Nathaniel Abraham 'believed in the literal truth of the Bible and considered evolution to be not a fact but a theory'. That is fair enough. If he had seen evolution (like another commentator claims) then he might change his mind. But evolution is a theory, one which I think is well-supported. The problem here is that an awful lot of 'scientists' seem to think science is now a crusade against religion. Maybe that makes them feel superior, but religion has had an important part to play in people's lives for a lot longer than science. In fact science has no influence at all on the lives of most people. So by all means educate, but don't preach science because it has little value to the lives of most people. Most of science is actually a waste of the public's money too, so be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you. Also you don't have to 'believe' to conduct good scientific research. I work with many scientists who are religious (all flavours) and while I don't agree with their views I wouldn't deny them their freedom to believe in whatever they want. Science should not be presented as an alternative to religion. While not religious myself I often envy those who are when times are tough, because their faith gives them an extra support. Many 'scientists' might say that faith is deluded, but does it matter if it makes life easier and often better? All religions also teach that their followers behave well towards each other and be tolerant, which is obviously a good thing. Some of the scientists commentating here would do well to learn that lesson.\n
Avatar of: Mark Whitten

Mark Whitten

Posts: 5

May 1, 2008

anonymous says "In fact science has no influence at all on the lives of most people. So by all means educate, but don't preach science because it has little value to the lives of most people. Most of science is actually a waste of the public's money too, so be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you."\n\nI can only say: what the hell are you on? Science doesn't affect people? That is an unbelievably ignorant comment. Science is the main reason that our society has advanced to where it is today. Most of science is NOT a waste of money. Even the purely theoretical research programs can and typically will have applications in the future that can save lives or improve our standards of living. And what about the simple inherent value of learning about the world. Yours was a message of ignorance. \n\nAnd another thing...this article and the debate it discusses was not directly about religion. ID is simple political maneuvering.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

May 1, 2008

The 'advances' of modern society are hardly down to science, they are down to technology and engineering. The oft-cited successes of science are conceits. Science is about understanding life, the world, the universe and its contents - its not about technological advance. This is a common confusion. Technology and engineering don't require any scientific understanding. They just need a simple predictive model that can be applied.
Avatar of: Mark Whitten

Mark Whitten

Posts: 5

May 1, 2008

That is, by far, the most ignorant comment I think I've seen on any blog and there is really nothing one can say to someone like that. \n\nScience is the backbone of technology and engineering. Do you think you could be posting these inane comments without science...on your computer on the internet using electricity? Your car, the drugs you take, the foods you eat, the television you watch, the cleaning products you use on your toilet, the clothes you wear, the planes you fly in...all of these and many more are thanks to science. You are the one who should not bite the hand that feeds you. \n\nThe dictionary definition of technology is a) the application of science, especially to commercial or industrial objectives or b) the scientific method and material used to achieve a commercial or industrial objective.
Avatar of: Physicalist One

Physicalist One

Posts: 4

May 1, 2008

@ anonymous poster of "Estimated 80% . . .": You graciously asked for corrections, so I'll try to oblige.\n\nAbraham doesn't believe in theistic evolution (according to the stories I've seen), he rejects evolution (or "macro-evolution") altogether. He wasn't sacked for being a theist, or even for thinking that the gods direct evolution. He lost his post-doc because he fails to accept the science of evolution that is the foundation of Hahn's research (which Abraham was hired to help with).\n\nHahn, in a letter quoted by the Boston Globe, says, "You have indicated that you do not recognize the concept of biological evolution and you would not agree to include a full discussion of the evolutionary implications and interpretations of our research in any co-authored publications resulting from this work." Hahn was unwilling or unable to do the job he was hired for. He wasn't be persecuted for his beliefs.\n\nThis is no different from having a hospital fire a doctor who rejects the germ theory of disease, or who thinks diabetes is caused by demons.\n\n@ anonymous poster of "Do your research": I really can't take anything you say at all seriously after you make the following statement:
\n"[T]he scientists in the film . . . concluded only that evolution does not explain the origin of the natural world."
This displays either willful ignorance or woeful stupidity. Evolution is a theory of biology, which has absolutely nothing to do with "the origin of the natural world." Ben Stein seems to think that random mutation and natural selection should explain everything in the universe, but this is beyond stupid. Anyone in a teaching or research position making such claims should be fired for incompetence.\n\nBut let's quickly correct the rest of your claims:
"[N]one of the scientists in the film were creationists and object to that term. They concluded only that evolution does not explain the origin of the natural world and evidence for intelligence exists in the design of the living world."
(1) Expelled has given up the ruse that ID is anything but creationism, so in this context your complaint is thoroughly disingenuous. Stein is constantly equating the "designer" with god, and a central theme of the movie is that atheistic biology is silencing a theistic alternative (where that theistic view is clearly ID).\n\n(2) It has been established by the courts (in the Dover case) that ID is just creationism in a cheap tuxedo; so I'm perfectly comfortable calling a creationist a creationist.\n\n(3) There is no good scientific evidence for an intelligent designer of "the living world." The entire argumentative strategy is based on the fallacy of an argument from ignorance: we don't know how x happened, therefore we should conclude that god did x. That's poor reasoning, which has been routinely rejected by the peer-review process. When people like Sternberg try to undermine that process and slip bad articles into journals through the back door, it is entirely proper to criticize them loudly. (Note that Sternberg faced only criticism, no punishment whatsoever.)\n\n(4) These "scientists" are not only mistakenly claiming that there is evidence for a designer, they often also misrepresent the evidence for evolution. Crocker was supposed to be teaching evolution, and she argued that there is no good evidence for evolution, a stunning display of ignorance. Further, she presented several grotesque misrepresentations of such topics as Archaeopteryx, Eohippus, etc. She displayed gross incompetence. Nonetheless, she still wasn't even fired; she simply wasn't re-hired after her contract expired.\n
Avatar of: Sudhir Bhatia

Sudhir Bhatia

Posts: 3

May 1, 2008

Dinos lived about 140 million years \nplants evolved about a billon years ago they can breathe without lungs move without muscles have an advanced capilary system for nutrients without the need for a heart then various defence mechanisms advanced propagation system etc etc.. and so advanced that they make their own food \nWe humans are not even 2 million years old.\nJust because we evolved into a being with reasoning and so developed language and so called vocabulary maybe of a hundred words 10 thousand years ago growing faster than we can fathom since printing was invented, does not make our gods the reason we are here in this world. Religion is at the most "self deception through auto suggestion"\nIts time science explains to the so called creationists that had the language not evolved there would not have been a Bible nor we scribbling these words here. \n\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 3

May 1, 2008

Theories have some supporting evidence but are not "proven."\n\nAlso, evolution on a small scale within an organism or within organisms of a population has been observed many, many times. This is called "adapatation." I doubt this postdoc disputed that as he was working in a lab that demonstrated these observations on a cellular level. \n\nHowever, Evolution that attempts to explain the generation of vast differences in the kingdoms is VERY much a faith as it is currently unprovable until someone observes a bacterium morphing into an amoeba or something of that nature. You can call it a hypothesis if you want but it is unprovable up to this point.\n\nThis faith is often coupled with other faiths that try to explain the origin of all organic life from "natural" means such as the big bang theory. These collection of faiths are no less "hideous" in the scientific community than those faiths coming from Liberty U. \n\nIts high time the scientific community stop being hypocrites and be objective! There's no reason to pick a side just keep it out of science and allow individuals the freedom to choose their faith.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 24

May 1, 2008

Well Mark I don't know where you got your dictionary from but its wrong. Technology and engineering can exploit science, but all your examples require no scientific understanding of the world. From the earliest uses of tools and building we see that technology is "simply the use of technical means" for whatever purpose. From simple rules of thumb to more advanced mathematical tools which predict outcomes and interactions - these are the foundations of technology and engineering. This is not science - science is not a description, or a model, or a mere collection of rules. It demands a deeper understanding of the universe which makes these processes possible. If you can't get your head round that then read Wolpert's 'Unnatural nature of science'. Like many you have been suckered in by the pop science lobby of 'technology as science', which tries to make science look good value to the public. The big questions in science don't sell so well.\nAs for your question, "Do you think you could be posting these [inane] comments without science" Well yes actually! I suggest you think a little harder about what science is and maybe a veil will be lifted giving you a fresh understanding of what science is and what it does.
Avatar of: Physicalist One

Physicalist One

Posts: 4

May 1, 2008

"[E]volution on a small scale . . .has been observed many, many times. . . . However, Evolution that attempts to explain the generation of vast differences in the kingdoms is VERY much a faith as it is currently unprovable."\n\nShorter version: I believe in inches, but I don't believe in miles.\n\n(And don't ask for "proof"; science doesn't deal with proof, it deals with empirical support.)
Avatar of: Mark Whitten

Mark Whitten

Posts: 5

May 1, 2008

Well anonymous, as for my being "suckered in" by pop science, that simply is not the case. I am a scientist. But you're the one posting anonymously so you can obviously just make up whatever crap you like. \n\nAs for your blanket statement that my dictionary must be wrong: no it isn't. And it's more than just a dictionary definition, it's a deeper understanding...which you lack. People who study various disciplines (including anthropology) agree. Only anti-science fanatics like yourself can't understand what science is and what it has done for humanity. \n\n\nIt is truly sad to see people revel in their ignorance. \n\n\nAnyway, this has gone way off topic and is obviously pointless. \n\nGetting back then...check out this what this little weasel put in his complaint for the lawsuit: http://volokh.com/files/Woods_Hole.pdf\n\n
Avatar of: bjoern brembs

bjoern brembs

Posts: 9

May 2, 2008

Do you have to accept that 2+2=4 to work in a physics lab?
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 4

May 2, 2008

As far as I can see, many Evolution defenders treat it like a Dogma and react to divergent points of view according to that. Evolution is The Only Truth, Darwin and Haeckel are Saints and nuff said. \nDifferent past situations make me believe that it seems to happen at various levels (school, employment, and so on...). I consider this case similar to a (bland) dictatorship where, if you want to get a job or consideration, you must belong to a political/phylosophical/religious/freemasonic association. It is against Freedom.\n\nCreationism has more place in Science than Dogmatism. At least, it is discussed more thoroughly than Evolution.\n\nP.S. 1 - to the reader: excuse my bad English, I am Portuguese.\nP.S. 2 - I am pro-Evolution, not Creationist, but, above all, I believe in Right and Wrong.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 2, 2008

When Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity that made him famous around the world, many people objected to it because it was sometimes incongruent with the Newtonian view of the universe. Later with supporting evidence (provided by experiments in cosmology and astrophysics), the theory when put to the test, was correct in predicting many things that the Newtonian mechanics failed to do with accuracy. But you did not see all the debate you see here between religion and science, because his theory did not interfered with long held beliefs of the human culture. But when biology, which studies the nature of life, touches sensitive subjects, as where do we come from and how did we got where we are as the human species, then the debate surges. Not because the scientist side is asking for it (as some people suggest here), but because people, who take science for granted, can not make peace with some science findings. Its true that some scientist believe in God. But to be true to themselves and to science they have to put aside his/hers beliefs, because they don't mix with all the data that supports Evolutionary Biology!
Avatar of: Gary Huber

Gary Huber

Posts: 23

May 2, 2008

Here's a question. If we found out tomorrow that the world was created in six days about 6,000 years ago, would that change the way we do science or negate any important discoveries? Most of science is concerned with figuring out the way things work _now_, not how they came to be. The only explanation I can find for the furor over creation vs. evolution is that it is essentially a religious issue, with many scientists holding very firmly to their religion of Philosophical Materialism. Once you take away that motivation, then the debate loses merit, since you can't go back and do experiments to see what really did happen. As for myself, I don't know the answer, and I really don't care.
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DOUGLAS GRAY

Posts: 2

May 2, 2008

As has been noted by Dawkins and others, if you really want to criticize science use the language of religion. So it is in a previous post where evolution is supposedly dogma and Darwin is supposedly a saint. Anyone with more than a passing knowledge of Darwin's work would know that some aspects have stood up well, whereas others have been totally discarded (the concept of gemmules, for example). As a scientist I have enormous admiration for Darwin's intellect and achievements, but I recognize that he got some things wrong. He was an extraordinary human being, but he performed no known miracles, and anyone in science is free to demonstrate where he was wrong. He is therefore no saint, and does not deserve the slur.

May 2, 2008

Ok. Lets states my position:\n1. I?m evangelical Christian since my childhood (confessant until now).\n2. I?m biologist (and finishing my M.Sc. in agribiotech, with intentions for more).\n\nWhen I started my biology studies, as many others with a religious background, I saw the conflict between the dogmas I was taught and the new knowledge about the evolution?s enormous quantity of evidence, from ecology throw genetics and molecular biology. The first thing was read some books about the conflict, but creacionist books was all a get, some interesting, some good, some so bad that didn?t deserve a second look. The problems didn?t disappear. My personal solution was to reach for others with a dipper understanding.\n\nMy two mentors:\n\nDr. Willian Everhard: my under degree professor of evolution, who explained it as a process moved by the Nature?s laws, the result of the limitations and possibilities of the world, driven by the adaptation principle, the need of survivorship and reproduction (it wasn?t all, just what I remember now). From this point of view, evolution is the logic of live, and the scientific evidence is in favor of it. \n\nDr. John Stam: from my point of view, his one of the best theologist I ever meet. He taught me three important concepts: a) All about God is about Faith, b) the Bible the revelation to KNOW about God thru (spiritual), not a scientific book, it was written for people without scientific knowledge. \n\nMy personal solution was embrace both, the evolution and the faith, the former to understand the nature that God created, the second has changed my live every day. How God created the Universe, that?s not a question for the Bible, it?s for astrophysics. If you want to belief, you do, if you don?t? For me, this kind of discussions are a waste of time that (almost 160 years!), the dispute between those that belief and thus that not, more ideological and political, and until now fruitless. \n\nThus that belief in ID my say I?m not a thru believer, but I ask them for their fruits of love. For the atheist, I not proposing a solution, just I?m a believer with poor understanding science, but I ask them for their tolerance. \n\nLove and tolerance, not more ideological wars is what humanity need. \n\nPlease forgive my poor English.
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anonymous poster

Posts: 1

May 4, 2008

An understanding of how things came to be the way they are is an integral part of figuring out how things work now. So yes, science concerns itself with how things evolved, just as politics concerns itself with history.\n\nThe thing is, a belief in evolution is downright unscientific, in the sense that a belief in ANYTHING is unscientific. The scientific method is all about questioning everything: weighing evidence, figuring out which hypotheses can be outright rejected, and deciding which have a greater weight to support them. But then, while at least certain aspects of any creationist theories can't be rejected, the weight of evidence just isn't in their favour.\n\nLikewise, atheism is unscientific: blind faith that there is nothing out there? Sounds... well, like faith. Real science is all about agnosticism.
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null null

Posts: 4

May 7, 2008

Dawkins...\nCan we leave behind subliminar (religious and anti-religious) parcialities and tear apart once for all of the (different) Concepts of Science and Religion?\nIt would be a good start, as I think they're always mixed up (by Science people and Religion people). Really, I think AGNOSTICISM is a good "way of life" for a Researching Scientist (what did Pasteur say?).\nFinally...slur? what slur?\n\nSigned - José Ferreira da Silva

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