Intelligent Design versus Evolution
(Top Posts - Science - 013009)

Someone wrote:

> There is no design. [...]

I agree.

"intelligent design"
  http://tinyurl.com/intelligentdesignPHF

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Taking aim at intelligent design
Professor says classrooms must remain secular

by Graeme Morton, Calgary Herald

Published: Saturday, January 24, 2009
  http://tinyurl.com/takingairmatintelligentdesign
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Excerpts:

... Paul Myers, a biology professor ... [says]
"Intelligent design is just a way for creationists
to put a new face on their beliefs and agenda
and to try and get around legislation on the
separation of church and state."

...

A number of lawsuits involving the promotion
of intelligent design have been launched in recent
years. The most prominent has been the 2005
Dover trial, where a group of Pennsylvania par-
ents successfully challenged a school district's
requirement that their Grade 9 biology teachers
offer information on intelligent design as an alter-
native to evolution.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has
stated that, "creationism, intelligent design, and
other claims of supernatural intervention in the
origin of life or of species are not science be-
cause they are not testable by the methods of
science."

Myers says the intelligent design movement has
a strong ideological agenda "to saturate our chil-
dren's education with religious belief.

...

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Jerry Coyne's new book 'Why Evolution is
True' presents the science that coheres into
fact

by John Mangels/Plain Dealer Science Writer

Wednesday January 28, 2009, 1:46 PM
  http://tinyurl.com/coyne-why-evolution-is-true
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Excerpts:

December 2005 should have marked the end
of longstanding attempts to sneak biblical cre-
ation tales into public school science classes.

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Adversaries Clarence Darrow, left, and William
Jennings Bryant confer in 1925 at the "Scopes
Monkey Trial" in Dayton, Tenn. -- one chapter
in America's long struggle with evolution.
  http://blog.cleveland.com/books_impact/2009/01/medium_monkey.jpg
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That's when federal judge John E. Jones III ruled
that creationism's latest incarnation, intelligent
design -- the belief that a supernatural overseer,
rather than evolutionary processes, brought about
complex life -- is "a religious alternative masquer-
ading as a scientific theory."

Jones, a conservative, church-going judicial ap-
pointee of former President George W. Bush,
drove a stake into the heart of the creationist
movement. The judge dismissed as "breathtak-
ing inanity" the Dover, Pa., school board's policy
of misrepresenting evolution and promoting intel-
ligent design as a viable alternative.

But creationism evolves. As Scientific American
magazine reports this month, the movement's
backers have shifted to a more subtle strategy
by insisting schools subject evolution to "critical
analysis."

...

Coyne, an evolutionary geneticist who studies
fruit flies, goes straight for the scientific proof.
He draws on fresh findings from his own field,
and from paleontology, molecular biology, geol-
ogy and other disciplines to make the case that
evolution is "far more than a theory, let alone a
theory in crisis," but "a fact."

Where's the evidence? You can find it practically
anyplace, from fossil digs and genetics labs to
doctor's offices, back yards, even your kitchen,
where foods like bananas, broccoli, tomatoes
and wheat were domesticated by growers mimick-
ing evolutionary techniques.

"We can directly witness natural selection leading
to better adaptation," Coyne writes. "Insects have
become resistant to DDT and other pesticides,
plants have adapted to herbicides, and fungi,
worms and algae have evolved resistance to heavy
metals that have polluted their environment."

Everyone knows about drug resistance, but few
realize that it is a superb example of natural selec-
tion in action. "We see fruit flies adapting to ex-
treme temperature, honeybees adapting to com-
petitors, and guppies becoming less colorful to
escape the notice of predators. How many more
examples do we need?" Coyne asks.

There are plenty more, and Coyne uses them to
torpedo the major claims of intelligent design:
That "transitional" fossils don't exist, that there's
no evidence of new species evolving, that evolu-
tion is insufficient to explain "complex" organs
such as the eye. Calmly, he addresses difficult
topics like the origin of race, the rise of humans
from our primate ancestors and whether our
genes predestine behavior.

"Why Evolution Is True" is not likely to sway
avowed creationists, but it's invaluable, engross-
ing reading for anyone who's uncertain of the
facts or who has struggled with how to respond
to anti-evolution arguments.

Feb. 12 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Dar-
win's birth.

Jerry Coyne's book is a perfect birthday gift.

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