Sunday, February 08, 2009

Darwin Day 2009

As Darwin Day 2009 approaches and we prepare to celebrate Charles Darwin's 200th birthday and the 150th year since the publication of the Origin of Species, the attacks on this magnificent science continue unabated. These attacks don't just come from the fringes, but appear in mainstream publications like Forbes:
While most scientists have jettisoned Darwin's scientific racism, there are notable exceptions. In 2007, for example, Nobel laureate James Watson, who co-discovered the structure of DNA, sparked a furor by asserting that black Africans are biologically inferior to whites because of evolution.

Darwin also laid the groundwork in Descent of Man for the emergence of eugenics, the crusade to breed better humans by weeding out those deemed biologically "unfit."
and the US News and World Report:
The idea of origins by accident (evolution), which Charles Darwin popularized 150 years ago, is now characterized as a bona fide scientific theory. Embarrassingly, this "theory" cannot be scientifically observed in action today, nor can it be forensically observed in nature's record of the past. But it is, nonetheless, believed.
Of course, both of these attacks are mis-characterizations and falsehoods, but such deception is common by those who oppose the teaching of biological evolution.

It is not difficult to understand the willingness of those hard-core Creationists to be dishonest in their attacks. The Dover court case in Pennsylvania illustrates the depths those who want to teach religious-based Intelligent Design go:
In the realm of the lay witnesses, if you will, some of the school board witnesses were dreadful witnesses and hence the description “breathtaking inanity” and “mendacity.” In my view, they clearly lied under oath. They made a very poor account of themselves. They could not explain why they did what they did. They really didn’t even know what intelligent design was. It was quite clear to me that they viewed intelligent design as a method to get creationism into the public school classroom.
When you consider this level of consistent deception, one has to question the integrity of religious leaders who, in their fear of knowledge, are willing to be dishonest to forward their doctrine. Of course, fear is what it is all about.

But enough about them, I will close this post with a quote from Darwin's work, On the Origin of Species:
Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual. When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled. Judging from the past, we may safely infer that not one living species will transmit its unaltered likeness to a distinct futurity. And of the species now living very few will transmit progeny of any kind to a far distant futurity; for the manner in which all organic beings are grouped, shows that the greater number of species in each genus, and all the species in many genera, have left no descendants, but have become utterly extinct. We can so far take a prophetic glance into futurity as to foretell that it will be the common and widely spread species, belonging to the larger and dominant groups within each class, which will ultimately prevail and procreate new and dominant species. As all the living forms of life are the lineal descendants of those which lived long before the Cambrian epoch, we may feel certain that the ordinary succession by generation has never once been broken, and that no cataclysm has desolated the whole world. Hence, we may look with some confidence to a secure future of great length. And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.

Thank you Dr. Darwin and all those that came after.

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