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C. Martin Gaskell, a Ph.D astronomer has a keen interest in music. But reports of his keen interest in disproving evolution were grossly exaggerated.  (Source: In Color: Nebraska)
Apparently the published information on Dr. Gaskell's viewpoints is very misleading

Background:

Whenever we do a story -- particularly a controversial one -- we always try to get as many voices and perspectives as possible.  Yesterday we wrote on the story of C. Martin Gaskell, a Ph.D astronomer who sued after being passed over for promotion and accused of being a creationist.  He had just secured an out-of-court victory -- a small settlement from the University of Kentucky, the university that passed him over.

A blog from the organization responsible for the prestigious peer reviewed journal Nature attempts to sum up the story, writing:

Should the University of Kentucky have hired a qualified astronomer to lead their new observatory, despite his strong religious views and his public doubts about evolution? Or was their decision to pass him over discrimination?

Many other publications published similar accounts.  There was only one problem -- Dr. Gaskell is a firm believer in evolution and to say he has "public doubts" about it, is stretching reality.  For our readers who were hoping him to be the great scientific savior for creationists, sorry to disappoint -- Dr. Gaskell is a religious man, but he doesn't abandon logic.

We were fortunate enough to interview him about his beliefs and the experience he went through, being accused of believing in intelligent design or creationism by the University of Kentucky staff, who clearly misunderstood his viewpoint.

The Interview:

Jason Mick, Senior News Editor, DailyTech:
When I first wrote my article, I was primarily referencing the settlement document, the university press release, and some additional items referenced by the Nature article on your lawsuit's outcome. All of these made it sound like your viewpoint was creationism (or left ambiguity to what exactly it was).

C. Martin Gaskell, Ph.D, University of Texas Astronomy Department:
I'm afraid that the University of Kentucky has been putting out a number of false or misleading things! I complained to their spokesman about this but didn't get any response.
 
The ACLJ press release is at: http://www.aclj.org/News/Read.aspx?ID=4074" rel="nofollow

[Note: American Center for Law and Justice is a legal advocacy similar to the ACLU, which supported Dr. Gaskell in his case.]

JM@DT
You believe in an old earth (in line with current scientific consensus) right?

Dr. Gaskell:
Yes. Very much so.

JM@DT:
How do you believe life originated?

Dr. Gaskell:
I don't work in this area and those who do have wildly divergent opinions.

JM@DT:
From your perspective, could life have originated from abiogenesis, [perhaps by divine intervention]?

Dr. Gaskell:
That's a very reasonable description, but some people who work in the area thing that that is difficult so they postulate that life came from space.

[Note: Abiogenesis is the theory that life originated on earth from naturally occurring non-living building blocks, such as amino acids and ribonucleic acids.]

JM@DT:
When you say that there are problems with evolutionary theory, but that creationists' theories are poorly formed, did you mean that you think the current consensus on evolution is wrong?

Dr. Gaskell:
No.

[Note: I'm referring to a quote from the professor included in our prior piece, linked above, pointing out that evolutionary theory has "significant" unanswered issues.]

JM@DT
Or [did you mean] merely that certain aspects of it (e.g. natural selection v. cataclysmic events/random drift) aren't fully understood at this time, due to lack of direct observation?

Dr. Gaskell:
Right. The debate over neutral evolution, for example, something that is has been a topic of heated in the field. The wide range of views on the origin of life is another example.

JM@DT
What are your thoughts on the paradox between public universities needing to teach scientific fact and the fact that they receive government funding and thus are likely not allowed to discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs, which may contradict scientific fact (e.g. believers in the young earth premise)? (And I mean this in the sense that this debate could come up for a biology faculty position, in which your beliefs might actually affect what you are teaching.)

Dr. Gaskell:
This HAS come up multiple times with biology positions. There is a good book covering this in great detail. It is called "Slaughter of the Dissidents" by Jerry Bergman. I'd highly recommend getting a copy to understand what goes on. The recurrent problem you'll find if you look at the cases documented in the book is that Christian biologists get fired or demoted not because of what they actually teach or do in their research, but because of who they are.

This is a major problem in the life sciences. One recent major survey showed that 51% of scientists in the life sciences believe in some sort of "higher power" (which most of them identify as "God"). Half of all scientists also claim a religious affiliation. There is an enormous problem if one disqualifies one half of biologists because of religious
affiliation or beliefs!

My brother-in-law, Richard Norris, is a famous geologist at UCSD. He is not a Christian. He takes his evolution class to the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego. All hell would break loose if I did that! Interestingly the most famous astronomer at the University of Kentucky, Gary Ferland, has invited a young-earth creationist to give a lecture to his introductory astronomy class. I would never dare do that (I wouldn't want to anyhow).

Teachers are not required to personally believe what they teach. Bergman makes a very good point that probably the majority of religious studies courses at state universities are taught by non-believers. Nobody in the administration at such universities thinks there is anything wrong with a non-Christian teaching New Testament studies yet they would object to a highly-qualified biologist teaching a biology class because he or she is a Christian!

JM@DT
(Unlike your case in which your evolutionary views are outside your field of work.)

Dr. Gaskell:
The University of Kentucky made various mistakes. One was in not troubling to find out what my actual views were, and then the second mistake was using their perceived views, that even if true, were unrelated to the job in hand, and taking them into account as a factor as a factor in the hiring decision.

....

Well, we're glad we DID take the time to find out what Dr. Gaskell's actual views are.  After all, they are more interesting than the garbled version that's floating around on many outlets.

We would like to thank Dr. Gaskell for taking the time to share his views with our readers and answer our questions.


Comments     Threshold


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By deputc26 on 1/21/2011 8:03:21 PM , Rating: 5
"Dr. Gaskell is a religious man, but he doesn't abandon logic."

Is this supposed to be an inference that it is standard for religious people to abandon logic?

If so I don't think it belongs on Daily Tech any more than the statement "Jason Mick is an atheist, but he doesn't shoot people in Tucson"

Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, if so I'll apologize.




By Jcfili on 1/21/2011 8:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm the kind of person that is open to ideas, being catholic I grew up with the idea that God created the world in 7 days.. as the bible stated. Later on I learned that this 7 days could be a metaphor of 7 stages and not 7 (24hours) days. I also believe that the scientific explanation of the creation of the world might have some kind of correlation with what the bible or any sacred book says.

There are many people that believe on what they read (literally) and even if you put proof in front of them or try to explain something to them they close their eyes and won't listen anything or give chance to explanation.

That's what he means with "doesn't abandon logic"


By retrospooty on 1/24/2011 7:11:19 AM , Rating: 1
"being catholic I grew up with the idea that God created the world in 7 days.. as the bible stated. Later on I learned that this 7 days could be a metaphor of 7 stages and not 7 (24hours) days."

Bible: The earth was created in 6 days (not 7)
Church: so it is so
Science: We have disproven everythng the bible says about creation with thousands of proof points
Church: (backtracking) well that not what it "meant". It "meant" stages

You do have to admire the church and the faithful for grasping at straws desperately trying to hold on to some sort of relevance in the face of all logic.


By bigboxes on 1/21/2011 8:28:36 PM , Rating: 5
He was being a little condescending there. No need for that passage to make his overall point. It's a visable bias in the article. Nonetheless, I appreciate the follow up Jason.


By JasonMick (blog) on 1/21/2011 8:34:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Dr. Gaskell is a religious man, but he doesn't abandon logic."

Is this supposed to be an inference that it is standard for religious people to abandon logic?


No, absolutely not...

Most religious people who work in the field of science are quiet logical -- Mr. Gaskell is an outstanding example.

That, said those who believe in a young Earth hypothesis have clearly abandoned scientific logic. Almost any scientist would agree with that statement. Dr. Gaskell even practically said as much if you read his critique on creationist "theory" in the previous article I link to.

It's not meant as an afront to say that someone has abandoned logic, just a statement of fact.


By aegisofrime on 1/21/2011 9:23:26 PM , Rating: 2
He seems very overly cautious,don't you think? He doesn't express his views when you asked him about them, either stating a flat yes or no without elaboration, or at best quoting "others", like "Others believe so and so".

I guess it's understandable, given what he has been through.


By zmatt on 1/22/2011 1:17:11 AM , Rating: 5
Actually the generalized response is what you would expect form a scientist. If you read interviews with scientists they will often say things like "some think" or "there is evidence to support" etc. This goes back to one of the pillars of science regarding an ever evolving base of knowledge and paradigms.


By Targon on 1/23/2011 7:40:37 AM , Rating: 3
Many people are very sensitive if their religious views are directly challenged, so it makes sense to avoid that. The basic idea that he was trying to convey is that belief in evolution, and science does not preclude a belief in God.


By mcnabney on 1/23/2011 2:04:20 PM , Rating: 1
What you are talking about is Cognitive Disonance.

It is characterized by holding two opposing viewpoints at the same time.


By Solandri on 1/22/2011 2:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
Note: I don't believe in the young Earth hypothesis.
quote:
That, said those who believe in a young Earth hypothesis have clearly abandoned scientific logic.

While that statement is technically correct, it's the basis of another flawed assumption - that scientific logic can explain everything.

For the sake of argument, say the universe was a computer program running a simulation. Instead of running the simulation from t=0 with the big bang, say the programmer started it with an initial state taken from a snapshot of a previous run at t=13 billion years (or if you prefer, a hand-crafted snapshot made to appear as if t=13 billion years). Within the confines of the program, scientific logic would say the universe was 13 billion years old, while in reality it may have only been running a few seconds.

In other words, "scientific logic" is a merely a subset of all logic - the subset which can be proven true/false through measurements confined to the observable universe. One can leave the realm of scientific logic without abandoning logic (which is not saying that everyone who abandons scientific logic is being logical).

It's like the analogy physicists love of the man who lost his house keys while walking home drunk at night. He looks for the keys only under the streetlamps because that's where the light is best. Science is that light, and is great for showing us what it illuminates. But just because it does such a good job at showing us what it illuminates, does not mean one can assume that nothing exists in the regions it can't illuminate. To do so would be a logical error.


By foolsgambit11 on 1/23/2011 3:08:56 AM , Rating: 2
To argue that there are things (real, actual, factual things) which scientific logic cannot explain is equally a flawed assumption. It hasn't been proven one way or the other whether the scientific method can explain everything. It is certainly true that, at the moment, the light of science doesn't fully illuminate all the musty corners of this amazing universe (to wax poetic for one brief moment), but that is not proof that it hasn't the power to do so. It is, at best, an undecided proposition. It may even have the power to reach into some sort of meta-universe, if such a thing exists.

Additionally, your arguments, while they are valid philosophical arguments, are not constructive philosophical arguments. You essentially argue that we cannot trust what we observe to be true, but you do not give us a substitute for the premise of observation. You, tantalizingly, claim that you have some knowledge of a more powerful, more complete set of logic, but you give no clue as to what that knowledge might be or where it comes from.

The facts (in a pragmatic, unscientific and unphilosophical sense) are that science has a demonstrated track record of success - unlike any other system, it is able to make predictions based on a logical chain, and then see that prediction come to fruition, and the subset of the universe over which it claims the power of prediction is constantly expanding, and with every expansion, the streetlights grow brighter and more numerous, pushing out the darkness that lives in the unenlightened mind.


By PaterPelligrino on 1/24/2011 10:15:49 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
For the sake of argument, say the universe was a computer program running a simulation. Instead of running the simulation from t=0 with the big bang, say the programmer started it with an initial state taken from a snapshot of a previous run at t=13 billion years (or if you prefer, a hand-crafted snapshot made to appear as if t=13 billion years). Within the confines of the program, scientific logic would say the universe was 13 billion years old, while in reality it may have only been running a few seconds. etc....

Tho perhaps speculatively interesting, and like many similar scenarios, not disprovable, the inevitable result of such a fruitless way of thinking is that nothing can ever be known about anything. It is no different than saying that all of reality is just a dream. It may be a dream, but you still don't step in front of speeding cars. .

In the 18th century, Western philosophy was preoccupied with the origin of human knowledge. On one hand, you had the Empiricists who claimed that all knowledge derived from the senses; on the other side, there were the Rationalists who thought knowledge was innate to the human mind. Basically this was just the modern working out of the conflict between Plato's and Aristotle's theories of knowledge. (Kant resolved the dispute by demonstrating that "Stop, you're both right")

At the time, there was an Irish Bishop - Bishop Berkeley - who claimed that we are all just elements in God's dream. Dr Johnson, who attended one of Berkeley's lectures, remarked that his theory had the great advantage of being unfalsifiable. The same is true of your computer program thing, and religion for that matter.
quote:
While that statement is technically correct, it's the basis of another flawed assumption - that scientific logic can explain everything.

Tho it is true that science can't explain everything, the more relevant observation here is that religion can't explain anything. In fact, religion does not produce knowledge, it produces nothing stronger than opinion. Religious dogma has no predictive force whatsoever, and while some of it's tenants are not presently disprovable, neither are they provable; i.e., they are both unfalsifiable and unverifiable, which means they are without practical utility other than that of satisfying the emotional need to give life some kind of human sense.

It is for this reason that there can exist so many mutually-contradictory religions - there is no way to say which, if any, are correct. I could invent any number of new religions that would be just as valid as Christianity or Islam or whatever the flavor of the month is. It is precisely because religious dogma has no logical force that science ignores it.

Science may be a dim light in a large dark room, but it's the only light we possess, and it has proven itself in the power it has given us to regulate nature in predictable ways. Religion, on the other hand, is pure narrative; there is no logical difference between the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and Alice in Wonderland - other than the fact that Lewis Carrol never claimed that his story was factual.

Joseph Smith claimed that he was visited by an angel who brought him the Book of Mormon written on golden tablets that were subsequently lost. If you're a Mormon, that makes sense, if you're a Hindu, it's the Bhagavad Gita that supplies a narrative structure to your existence, for the Biblical Literalist its the OT.

The vast majority of the people who reject evolution or the Big Bang do so not because they think the science flawed, they think the science flawed because it contradicts the emotionally paramount Biblical narrative. It is no coincidence that the only science these people refuse to accept is that which threatens their faith .


By ltgrunt on 1/24/2011 10:16:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
For the sake of argument, say the universe was a computer program running a simulation. Instead of running the simulation from t=0 with the big bang, say the programmer started it with an initial state taken from a snapshot of a previous run at t=13 billion years (or if you prefer, a hand-crafted snapshot made to appear as if t=13 billion years). Within the confines of the program, scientific logic would say the universe was 13 billion years old, while in reality it may have only been running a few seconds.


I've seen this argument before, but without the computer program analogy. Essentially, the argument goes that we can't trust what scientific observation and measurement tell us about the age and development of the world around us. Supposedly, even when things like Carbon dating tell us that the world is much older than Young Earth zealots claim, those findings are inaccurate because in their view, God created the world to look old, but it isn't really.

The inherent problem with this argument is that God then becomes a liar who deceives his creations in a twisted game specifically designed to make them antagonize each other in an endless debate over science versus faith. Religion tends to lose its moral authority when you start to portray the perfect being who created all that is and whose existence and behavior defines "good" as a cruel sociopath who likes to toy with his creations.

Also, in your computer program analogy, where is the coding and cached data for all program behavior for t = 0Y to t = 13BY?


By tbcpp on 1/24/2011 4:51:18 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The inherent problem with this argument is that God then becomes a liar who deceives his creations in a twisted game specifically designed to make them antagonize each other in an endless debate over science versus faith.


It does not make God a liar. To be a liar He would have specifically have to have said "the earth is 13 bil years old". He didn't say that. In fact he specifically stated that the earth is 10k-ish years old. And He also stated that although man was created to look 20-30 ish, he was really only a few moments old.

I don't think you will find anyone who believes that the world was created without some sort of implied age.

So you can believe what you wish about creation/evolution. But to call God a liar because he didn't make a "full disclosure" isn't doing justice to the argument.

Your 2nd fallacy is that God actually would actually care what people would think about him. If God really is powerful enough to create an entire world, do you think he would care if half his creation didn't believe in Him? Why would he lower Himself to even justify His existence to mortals? Where would the logic be in that?

If I created a sentient group of robots, and half of them suddenly decided that I didn't exist. I would probably be just as likely to destroy them with a snap of my fingers as I would to walk up to them and say "hey! I'm your creator, just FYI, I exist".


By Skywalker123 on 1/25/2011 3:13:29 AM , Rating: 2
God doesn't care if you don't believe in Him? According to Christians he will kill you and set you on fire if you don't.


By ltgrunt on 1/25/2011 10:10:08 AM , Rating: 1
Claiming that the Earth is very young, then artificially making it look much, much older is inherently deceptive. Also, you are making two untenable assumptions - the first being that everything in the Bible accurately represents statements made by God, and the second being that the claims presented in the Bible are true.

quote:
I don't think you will find anyone who believes that the world was created without some sort of implied age.


Plenty of people don't believe that the world was created with any sort of implied age. Specifically, everyone who understands how the Earth was formed billions of years ago. But then we're getting back into understanding of scientific explanations of natural occurrences as opposed to belief in magical rationalizations. The inherent difference that many others have already pointed out being that magic demands unquestioning belief, scientific understanding requires skepticism and constant reevaluation.

As far as my second supposed fallacy, if God didn't care, why would we have any religion at all? Why supposedly send his son to be sacrificed on our behalf? The Biblical narrative makes it quite clear that he cares a great deal. Your "why would he lower himself to even justify his existence to mortals" is an actual logical fallacy designed to draw attention away from the unfalsifiable nature of religion.


By GTVic on 1/22/2011 7:31:38 PM , Rating: 2
You don't appear to have learned from your mistakes.

You correct one blunder but still go on to lump people into your preconceived groups (religious people, creationists, religious people who work in the field of science). Not to mention that apparently you are now the "decider" of who is logical and who is not.

There are in fact many people (scientists included) who believe that the universe is created and don't see a conflict with that belief and man's endeavour to achieve a scientific understanding of how the universe works. To these people, creation and science are separate issues.

I don't know what to think of this article, it is a mess of opinion and fact, logic and illogic, and numerous spelling mistakes (their/there, neutral/natural, quite/quiet etc.).


By MastermindX on 1/22/2011 12:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
Faith
Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

By definition...


By Solandri on 1/22/2011 3:17:05 PM , Rating: 4
You're making the logical error of assuming that there are only two logical conclusions - true or false. In reality, there are three - true, false, and undefined/cannot be determined. The Liar ("This statement is false") is the classic logical example of the third type.

Science only concerns itself with the subset of logic which deals with things that are provably true or false. It cannot deal with the third type and does not purport to. And in fact, those who believe that everything can be proven by science are merely demonstrating faith (not proof) that nothing consequential of the third type exists.


By AssBall on 1/23/2011 2:40:33 AM , Rating: 2
You're a bit off, there. Scientific "proof" is under constant and rigorous scrutiny by scientists themselves.

If you want to split hairs like that, the statement-

Scientists have "faith" in the scientific method.

-would be more accurate.


By zixin on 1/24/2011 1:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
What else do you call believing in something that has absolutely no evidence to support it but illogical.


Going a little off-topic.....
By DKantUno on 1/22/2011 1:56:16 AM , Rating: 1
..."they postulate that life came from space"

That idea is such a cop-out; you can't imagine random chemicals joining together over millions of years to eventually generate self-contained, self-sustaining units, so you transfer the blame to another planet or solar system. Fine, but ultimately life _had_ to come from some place, and some place consistent with the laws of physics. That is, once again, from random chemicals joining together over millions of years (or maybe in a lightning zap or at the edge of a black hole).

And I also don't get why creationists are SO insecure about their beliefs? The 7-day genesis thing, or any genesis theory from any religion is just a story told by people for thousands of years. When the simplest of facts get twisted in transference from one person to another, just think what could have happened over the process of a thousand years?! Why do they take their texts SO seriously? What is important is whether or not they believe in the notion of an infinite power/God, and if they really DO believe, I feel it ought to be disconnected from all other facts. Because, theoretically, God can do anything. So why don't they just believe that an infinite power could have even _designed_ the big bang to lead to life on earth! (Hey you wanted a god-centric theory, I'm giving you one) And since we don't know anything about what happened "before" the Big Bang, (or "outside" of it? I don't know) you can populate that area with whatever ideas comfort you. If they believe so strongly in God, why do they look for God, and try to find physical evidence of a divine existence. There's one awesome Hindu saying (coming from sort-of-an-ex-Hindu, or I prefer the term non-Hindu) that the one that hides himself best is God. Is that such a difficult notion to wrap your head around?

My problem is not with anybody's faith, but most people's complete inconsistency with it. I've known very VERY religious people and have a huge amount of respect for those who really DO believe. What I don't like and only have a little disdain and lots of pity for is those that want it to be PROVEN that their belief is right! And they just don't see the contradiction between belief (which, by religious standards, must be pure and unwavering) and fact (which can instantly displace any notions or ideas you live with).

Guh.




RE: Going a little off-topic.....
By Zoridon on 1/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Going a little off-topic.....
By jamesjwb on 1/22/2011 10:38:40 AM , Rating: 3
I'm sure the question was read more as how life may have started on Earth , and if so it's not really a cop out to suggest life on Earth may have originated from space.

To assume his given answer was that life in general just came "from outer space" doesn't even make sense or have any logic attached to it, so I don't see the point in entertaining it as anything but a life on Earth question/answer.

No cop out to me.


RE: Going a little off-topic.....
By mircea on 1/22/2011 10:32:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because, theoretically, God can do anything. So why don't they [creationists] just believe that an infinite power could have even _designed_ the big bang to lead to life on earth! (Hey you wanted a god-centric theory, I'm giving you one)


Well I think most believers in God just as most believers in evolution (and it is mostly belief in a theory and logically based assumptions on the fossil record and other observations made in nature in all different fields of science) just state what they have learned from reading, listening to teachers, mentors, TV shows, etc without truly understanding it.

But I as a believer in God cannot accept that evolution can be the origin of man. And am against any "evolutionary creationist" based on simple logic.
While I can't claim against/for the way God created earth. And could even go as far that God could have used evolution to the creation of everything but man.

See I believe that man at death will leave this physical body and go in one of the two places that are prepared for all. And all religious believers do.
My question then is:
How can anyone claim that trough evolution we got form a physical chemical reaction to a consciousness being that can move out of physical dimension and go into eternity.

So then if my logic doesn't let me accept that man came from apes or lower the evolution chain, then accepting that God created everything in a different way than evolution is more easily as accepting that evolution was His way up until but excepting man, especially taking in the account all other problems evolution theory has to find a way past.

See, now that I know man can't be here by evolution, knowing all the detail of how God created everything else isn't that important to me and my faith as is where I am going.


RE: Going a little off-topic.....
By ThePooBurner on 1/22/2011 12:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because, theoretically, God can do anything. So why don't they just believe that an infinite power could have even _designed_ the big bang to lead to life on earth! (Hey you wanted a god-centric theory, I'm giving you one)


Wow. You do know that the big bang theory was invented by a catholic priest, right? As a suggestion of how God could have created everything, right? You science types might want to RTFM about your own science before you go spouting crap like this. Feel free to keep working on proving the big bang. All it does is further the work of showing how God created the universe, as per the origin of the theory.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre


RE: Going a little off-topic.....
By AssBall on 1/23/2011 3:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Feel free to keep working on proving the big bang.


We will. Feel free to keep working on proving God.


RE: Going a little off-topic.....
By ThePooBurner on 1/24/2011 5:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think you totally missed the point.


RE: Going a little off-topic.....
By AssBall on 1/24/2011 8:51:18 PM , Rating: 1
Oh, did you have a point in your anti-science rant? Sorry I missed it, Poo Burner.


RE: Going a little off-topic.....
By nafhan on 1/24/2011 9:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
I think the "life started in space" argument is a little less ridiculous than you seem to think. The thoughts on it I've seen are generally something along the lines of: comets/space dust/other celestial bodies can and do contain complex organic chemicals. A comet or something may have crashed into the earth providing the building blocks and possibly energy for yet more complex organic molecules to form. The more reasonable theories generally don't contain actual "life" being carried to earth on a meteor, etc.

As to why creationists are so insecure/easily upset by someone questioning their belief system: they're people and those topics are important to them. That's all it takes. I'm sure you've seen someone get spitting mad over an insult to their favorite football team....


Are you TRYING to piss off people?
By ShaolinSoccer on 1/22/2011 10:46:45 AM , Rating: 2
"For our readers who were hoping him to be the great scientific savior for creationists, sorry to disappoint"

Why do you even put comments like this in your articles? It's like you got some sort of personal vendetta against religious people? Did someone religious treat you like crap and now you have to go out of your way to do the same to people you don't even know?




RE: Are you TRYING to piss off people?
By AssBall on 1/22/2011 11:45:03 AM , Rating: 2
There is no science in creationist thought. That is pretty much what He was saying. Why are you so knee-jerk defensive that you take the bait and then go on to project further?


RE: Are you TRYING to piss off people?
By SandmanWN on 1/22/2011 11:49:30 AM , Rating: 2
WTF does any of this have to do with TECH? This site has marginalized itself to the ridiculous.


By Chaser on 1/23/2011 2:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
It's one thing to post information about technology, -in particular consumer related devices- announcements, emerging developments that could impact many, etc. But this site now, far too often with this poster, has become a vehicle for his controversial personal political views: religion, selective global warming excerpts, more. I'm very disappointed. I can no longer recommend this column to my coleagues and co-workers.


RE: Are you TRYING to piss off people?
By eskimospy on 1/23/2011 3:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
As usual, from the FAQ:

Q: What is Dailytech?

A: DailyTech is the leading source of news, research and discussion for current and upcoming issues concerning science and technology.


By SandmanWN on 1/24/2011 12:10:15 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like that FAQ has been edited a number of times over the years. Might as well name it the DailyBS.


By frozentundra123456 on 1/22/2011 11:54:12 AM , Rating: 2
A little strongly stated perhaps, but basically I would agree with you.
Mick does seem to have a strong bias against or misconception about religious people. Perhaps he equates all Christians with the extremely conservative ones who believe in the young earth or whatever. I grew up in a very conservative church, and disagree with a lot of their rules and regulations, but I never once heard it preached that the earth was only 5000 years old.
And again, early in the article he makes a statement which basically says religious people cannot be logical. He backs away from this after some of the comments, but basically I believe this is his basic core belief. Personally, I think you can separate the two and be "logical" in your daily life and still have faith in a higher power.
I do appreciate the fact that Mick intervied the PhD personally, but I think he (Mick) is strongly biased against religious people and that this bias still shows up in the article.


Evolution is not a religion
By Zingam on 1/23/2011 4:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution is not a belief. It is not a religion. It is knowledge, you know it or you do not know it, you do not believe in it. It is science, dumbass!




RE: Evolution is not a religion
By mircea on 1/24/2011 1:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
Really? So how much of your knowledge is based on facts, and how much on theory and assumptions?

Facts:
1. Some bones were dug up in a place.
2. Some more bones were dug up in other places
Conclusion based on facts:
Creatures (animal/human) that had that bone structure lived sometime ago and died there.

Assumptions:
1. The theory of evolution is how the first bones got to be there.
2. Those bones we found had living descendants.
3. The descendants had some tiny modification to their structure that made it somehow different than it's parent.
4. Over long periods of time (too long for us to be able to demonstrate in a lab) those bones created a new species.
5. These other bones we found are that new species and so they are the grand X1000 nephew's of the first bones.
Conclusion based on assumptions:
Evolution is proven to be true and claimed as facts in schools

- this being of course lucky and against the second law of thermodynamics, where even if you do input Solar energy it's more destructive than beneficial unless someone (scientist/creator) controls and directs it; but hey just give it time and scientists are absolved of proving the theory since they can't live long enough to do it. But make it truer than God

So now God has to be proven that exists and evolution has to be proven that did not happen. Brilliant

All this based on assumptions. Yes, logical assumptions, but impossible to observe in a scientific experiments. So Evolution is a belief system in a theory and claiming that all the assumptions made, are how life actually happened. Just like any other religion where people believe in someone/something and take the teaching based around that which they believe in as a guide for living. Seems very much the same to me.


RE: Evolution is not a religion
By Zingam on 1/24/2011 10:36:10 AM , Rating: 2
Living in a neibour country to Romania, I expect that Romanian people a better educated than the religious bigots - the Americans. Shame on you, Romanian!

You've made science as simple and stupid as religion. Well, it is not. At least you have 1 million books of scientific knowledge gathered in less than a few hundereds of years and compare that to just the one book that claims to have all the Universal knowledge - the Bible (or Quran if you are a Muslim).


RE: Evolution is not a religion
By nafhan on 1/24/2011 11:48:59 AM , Rating: 2
You realize by calling Americans as a people religious bigots, you're being a bigot (by definition)? Probably not the best way to convince people of the rationality of your viewpoint...
quote:
A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. The predominant usage in modern English refers to persons hostile to those of differing race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, various mental disorders, or religion.


GOD and Scientist
By hiscross on 1/24/2011 10:10:27 PM , Rating: 2
Scientist: We can create life from dust

GOD: Show me

Scientist: Let me dig up some dust and I'll show you

GOD: Oh no, you need to get your own dust, the one you want to use is mine

Scientist: What? How am I going to make up dust?

GOD: That's your problem, not mine




RE: GOD and Scientist
By PaterPelligrino on 1/24/2011 11:03:26 PM , Rating: 4
Scientist: Human intelligence is imperfect and limited, we will attempt to know what is knowable but must ignore that which is untestable and unverifiable.

God (Shiva, Thor, Huitzilopochtli, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Kaspar the Friendly Ghost, Rocky and Bullwinkle):

Scientist: The scientific method is the only means of producing useful, verifiable information about the world we live in.

God (et al):

Scientist: Natural selection is the engine that drives the evolution of life.

God (et al):

Scientist: a Big Bang-like event is consistent with the present state of the Universe.

God (et al):

Scientist: Is anybody there?

God (et al):


Scientists = Just dumb people like us
By p05esto on 1/22/11, Rating: 0
By Solandri on 1/22/2011 3:08:28 PM , Rating: 3
Note: I believe in God.
quote:
I was watching a very pro-evolution documentary on the universe the other day. They mentioned that mankind has never found anything that doesn't rust/die/decay/fall apart/get worse over time. They applied that to the solor system and wondered if it would all end in time. I thought that was a funny point for evolutionists who thing something came from nothing and that a piece of dust would magically turn into a human eyeball or something.

It's not a contradiction. The second law of thermodynamics (that things go from an ordered system to a disordered system) applies to a closed system. In the case of our solar system, the closed system includes the sun. The energy we get from the sun can lead to greater order here on earth. The entropy (disorder) of the overall system increases though because the increase in disorder in the sun is greater than the increase in order on earth.

A good analogy is debris on the highway. Nobody is actively trying to sweep the debris to the side of the road, but that is where most of it ends up. Why? Because when cars run over debris in the middle of the road, it kicks it up. Some of it ends up back in the middle of the road, some of it ends up on the side of the road. The debris on the side of the road is never kicked up though, so it remains there. Over time, nearly all the debris ends up at the side of the road even though nobody driving down the road was trying to push the debris there. (In this case, the increased entropy happens in the gasoline burned in the cars' engines.)

There are some weaknesses with evolutionary theory which crop up if you study it and genetic algorithms. I won't get into them - if you read up on Dr. Gaskell's work, you'll see some of them. But the second law of thermodynamics is not one of them.


By frozentundra123456 on 1/22/2011 3:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
You have a valid point that the disorder in a system tends to increase over time.

However, the complete equation for free energy in a system also includes a term for energy as well as order, so if you have enough energy you can force more order into the system.

Also, you are oversimplifing the theory of evolution greatly. I dont think anyone says complex life appeared instantly out of a primordal ooze. You have to consider the natural selection over time as mutations occur that favor one form of life over another.

If you read my other posts, you can see that I am not a strong advocate of the theory of evolution as the only thing that can explain the origin of life, but you are mis-stating the theory very badly.


RE: Scientists = Just dumb people like us
By Divide Overflow on 1/23/2011 4:22:05 AM , Rating: 2
It's amusing to see some jump to such extremes to "prove" evolution incorrect. Matter changes from one state to another over time. Sometimes that change is beneficial, often times it is not.

I've never found an evolutionist to claim that something came from nothing. This is quite the opposite of their claim: that small, tiny changes occur over time.

Creationist demand that logic, reason and doubt are expressly forbidden from their view. Creationism must be taken on faith.

Scientists demand that doubt and logic be applied to test their hypothesis and form a better understanding of our world.


RE: Scientists = Just dumb people like us
By Zoridon on 1/24/11, Rating: -1
Creationism != 6000 year Old Earth
By Shadowmaster625 on 1/24/2011 8:34:34 AM , Rating: 2
It is the task of organized religion to promulgate mind-shattering dogma such as the earth being 6 days or 6000 years old. Modern, nondogmatic creationism centers around the flagellar motor and other such complex designs that negate darwin's theory.




By Odysseus145 on 1/24/2011 11:19:46 AM , Rating: 2
Ah the predictable "irreducibly complex" argument. Did you know that even most creationists have abandoned this idea? It's been debunked over and over.


Nice
By AssBall on 1/21/2011 7:46:02 PM , Rating: 3
Props for the follow up and clarifications, Mick.




I Call Shenanigans
By ezekiel68 on 1/23/2011 4:40:12 AM , Rating: 3
As a recovering former Evangelical, I call shenanigans.

The ACLJ is a Christian law organization founded by Jay Sekulow. Their ads appear in Evangelical magazines and TV shows. A major goal of the organization is to overturn pro-choice laws through the US court system. Either this guy meant to call the ACLU and dialed the wrong number or he chose them knowing their bias and agenda. They are not peer organizations, in fact, it is pretty obvious that Sekulow named his organization as he did to establish it as an opponent to the ACLU.

Have a look: http://www.aclj.org




By Irene Ringworm on 1/22/2011 12:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Teachers are not required to personally believe what they teach.


Amen. I worked once with a biology teacher who had religious, private doubts about organic evolution. You'd never know it from taking his class.




What?
By Odysseus145 on 1/22/2011 3:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
So now anyone can claim religious discrimination when not hired for a job and collect loads of cash. Thanks Kentucky!




By mugiebahar on 1/23/2011 12:49:30 AM , Rating: 2
I grew up with the idea that 7 days is not a actual number.
Just like the expression "it took me all day to clean the house" Now is it logical to think it took me 24 hours to clean the house? No, but rather the entire job that was at hand took all my concentration for a good portion of the day. If you believe in God, why would one think he runs on our clock. Why not a day to Saturn, or Uranus? The Bible was written for people as a guild to life, Gods purpose for him/her, to understand God in a manor that would be reasonable for all ages. For someone back then (ancient days) to understand the science we have now or in 20 years, it's wouldn't be logical. It's kinda like a kid growing up (man through the ages) you tell the child the stove is hot when they are young. To tell him the coil is hot because the circuit is on allowing the electrons through the element. Thus creating heat and when your hand touches the surface the heat is transferred to your skin (and you could go even deeper to the science) but my point is simple although its not logical to believe God created the Earth in 1 day. One should not take jabs (Jason) discounting the idea of God and trying to insult others beliefs. Everyone has there beliefs and as such will be held accountable for what they/don't believe in. And if one believes in the wrong thing its not up to you judge them that will be for everyone to find out themselves.




Wait, was that...
By DNAgent on 1/23/2011 1:03:53 AM , Rating: 2
...actual journalism I just witnessed?! Kudos to DT and JM for breaking the monotonous rehashing of information poached from other websites.

Seriously, it is appreciated.




Thoughts
By wgbutler on 1/24/2011 12:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
There is something extremely creepy about a University (or anyone else) digging around to find out what someone's personal views are on religion, or the origin of the Universe or of life, or politics. It's Orwellian.

This guy should have been hired (or not hired) based on whether or not he was a qualified ASTRONOMER who would do a good job teaching ASTRONOMY. Whether or not he is a young Earth creationist, or a rabid atheist, or a liberal democrat, or a Buddhist, or if he thought 9/11 was an inside job is completely besides the point.

The fact of the matter is that some of the people at UK found out that the scientist is an evangelical and discriminated against him because of religion. (They are likely rabid atheists who don't like Christians, particularly scientists who are Christians, as all Christians are apparently supposed to be stupid, uneducated superstitious rabble and a distinguished scientist goes against the template, you see.)




By Landiepete on 1/25/2011 2:48:13 AM , Rating: 2
Science is about postulating a theory, and proving it right through scientific research.

Religion is about postulating a theory, and accepting it as 'truth' and 'fact' requiring qnyone who disagrees to prove it is not true.

The difference is quite fundamental. ANY scientist who accepts ANY fact or theory on the basis that it cannot be proved wrong has no business in science.
If they cannot be proven right, they remain theories, and can thus not be tought as fact.

This doe NOT mean that certain theories cannot be postulated before research proves them true. But 2000 years is a bit silly.




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