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C. Martin Gaskell, Ph.D  (Source: Lexington Herald Leader)

  (Source: South Park Studios/Comedy Central)
Settlement leaves unanswered the question of whether universities can screen on evolutionary views

As we've written about extensively here on DailyTech, a wealth of fossilgenetic, and field biology evidence offers conclusive assurance that the process of evolution is responsible for producing modern life in all its wondrous forms.  Scientists have even observed it the lab directly.

However, some academics in various scientific have offered public criticism of evolution, not on scientific grounds, but on religious ones.  Some researchers who disavow evolution are now finding themselves the subject of reverse scrutiny.

A University of Kentucky lawsuit raises the thought-provoking philosophical question -- can a university pass over a candidate who publicly (and vocally) turns their back on science in the name of religion, in a field unrelated to their work?

The U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

But it offers no insight into legal discrimination by private firms.  Are universities, who receive much of their funding from the government (thus mixing private and public business), subject to different constraints?

The astronomer passed over, C. Martin Gaskell, left that question unanswered when he accepted a small $125,000 settlement [PDF] to drop his discrimination case.

The University of Kentucky and its attorney, Barbara Jones, have published a statement commenting that despite the settlement the university is confident it did no wrong.  They write:

The University is pleased that a quick settlement has been reached in this case. This successful resolution precludes what would have been a lengthy trial that, ultimately, would not have served anyone's best interests.

Importantly, as the settlement makes clear, the University believes its hiring processes were and are fundamentally sound and were followed in this case. The advisory committee for the position, members of the physics department along with our academic administration and the university’s equal opportunity office all appropriately worked through this hiring process in a manner completely consistent with other positions.

We are confident that a trial court and the members of the jury would have agreed at the conclusion of all the evidence.

But this settlement reflects a balance of our interests in defending our hiring practices with everyone’s desire to avoid lengthy litigation. That is how the legal process, at its best, should work.

The publication Inside Higher Ed reports that Professor Gaskell is now employed at the University of Texas and will soon be travelling to Chile to work at the Universidad de Valparaiso.

Despite commonly held beliefs, researchers are not all atheists.  A study by the Pew Research Institute finds that 31 percent of researchers are religious (say they believe in a God), with the highest numbers being in the field of chemistry (which 41 percent respond that they are religious).  Still, most of these religious researchers accept clearly proven scientific principles like evolution and scientifically derived estimates for the age of the earth and universe -- even if those principles clash with strict literal interpretations of their religion's holy book(s).

Updated: Jan. 20, 2011 4:20 p.m.-

Some readers wondered, why would we report on this story?  Well, the University of Kentucky case, had it gone to court would have been a landmark case for the world of university academia.  While it did not go to court, the story still provides an excellent example of some of the legal-ethical dilemmas facing the world of scientific research today.  Thus we feel it is newsworthy.

Secondly, for the record Dr. Gaskell claims to be closest to a "theistic evolutionist", e.g. he believes God created the universe with a discrete set of rules, including the laws of physics, and -- upon the origin of life -- perhaps evolution.  The lawsuit, however, deals with the fact that the University of Kentucky is claimed to have mistakenly believed Dr. Gaskell to be a creationist/intelligent design proponent and hired a less experienced researcher as a result.  Dr. Gaskell thus sued on the basis of religious discrimination, despite not actually holding the views he said were admittedly used to discriminate against him.

The scenario is made more confusing by the fact that Dr. Gaskell criticizes evolutionary theory in its current state.  He also defends intelligent design, despite supposedly not being a firm believer in the concept:

While discussing controversies and interpretations of Genesis I should mention something that has been much debated in recent years but is not an interpretation of Genesis: what is called "Intelligent Design". This movement, which is often erroneously confused with young-earth creationism, is just exploring the question of what evidence there is in the universe for design by an intelligence. This is really a general, non-religious question (although with obvious religious implications), and there is no opinion on the interpretation of Genesis. ... [I]t should be realized that, despite some popular claims to the contrary, science has no satisfactory explanation of the origins of life yet. Note that the question of the origin of life is a separate problem from the question of the validity of some theories of evolution. The evidence is very good (and gets stronger every year) that all life on earth descended (i.e. , evolved from) from a common origin. There is still a problem of the ultimate origin of life. A discussion of the current controversies over evolutionary theory and how Christians view these controversies, is beyond the scope of this handout, but the now extensive literature discussing and reviewing books such as those of Phillip E. Johnson ("Darwin on Trial") and of biochemist Michael J. Behe ("Darwin's Black Box") will give you some of the flavor of the diversity of opinion of Christian biologists (and geologists).

Dr. Gaskell also writes:

The main controversy has been between people at the two extremes (young earth creationists and humanistic evolutionists). "Creationists" attack the science of "evolutionists". I believe that this sort of attack is very bad both scientifically and theologically. The "scientific" explanations offered by "creationists" are mostly very poor science and I believe this sort of thing actually hinders some (many?) scientists becoming Christians. It is true that there are significant scientific problems in evolutionary theory (a good thing or else many biologists and geologists would be out of a job) and that these problems are bigger than is usually made out in introductory geology/biology courses...

Thus it is unclear what exactly Dr. Gaskell is -- a intelligent design proponent or an theistic evolutionist.  

About the only thing clear from his writings is that he is vocally critical of some aspects of the combined theory of evolution and abiogenesis in the sense that is agreed upon by many biologists, chemists, and paleontologists (particularly that life could evolve out of nonliving components without divine intervention).

Regardless of whether Dr. Gaskell is an intelligent design or theistic evolution proponent, the issue of a researcher in a field not related to evolutionary science who did believe in intelligent design or creationism seems to be one that will inevitably come to the courts at some point.  In this regard, this case was somewhat of a preview of such a future debate.

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Please get your facts straigh!
By Goty on 1/20/2011 12:56:40 PM , Rating: 5
Dr. Gaskell does not deny that evolution occurs, he is merely a proponent of the stance that science and religion are not incompatible; in fact, he is commonly described as a theistic evolutionist. I'm a member of the physics department at UK, so I know quite a bit about this case. Please see for some more accurate information.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By Suntan on 1/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By Solandri on 1/20/2011 2:03:53 PM , Rating: 5
No, what he is is "polarizing on the topic." Something the school probably would rather do without, and I don't blame them.

Nothing discriminatory about not wanting to hire someone that could potentially become a pain in the a$$. Regardless of the topic.

Science is supposed to be blind to that type of consideration. The scientist can be as big a pain in the a$$ as he wants. The only things that should matter are whether his theories are well-reasoned, whether his research methods are sound, and whether his data are reliable and reproducible.

Once you start making up rules like "annoying people aren't allowed to be scientists", you've left the realm of science and entered the world of marketing, where popularity and celebrity take precedence over logic and rigor. Many scientific theories which are now widely-accepted were initially met with scorn and ridicule when first proposed (e.g. the big bang, continental drift, and ironically enough, evolution). If you're deciding which scientists should or shouldn't be hired based on how controversial their theories or beliefs are and how they might "tarnish" your reputation, you aren't doing science.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By Goty on 1/20/2011 2:54:01 PM , Rating: 3
The man was being hired as the director of the observatory and the observatory outreach director, of which neither position would ever have put his religious beliefs at the forefront. This is purely a case of discrimination and nothing else. Look up the emails subpoenaed from the department and it will become very clear.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By GTVic on 1/20/2011 3:14:14 PM , Rating: 3
No, what he is is "polarizing on the topic." Something the school probably would rather do without, and I don't blame them.

Yes, why would a university want someone who is willing to examine all sides of the issue rather than toeing the company line.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By morphologia on 1/20/2011 3:50:57 PM , Rating: 4
Maybe because not all of the "sides" of the "issue" are scientific in nature? Evolution is backed by science, and opposing viewpoints are backed only by freelance skepticism and a yearning for attention.

Someone who considers science and theological opinion (religion) to be (a) equivalently representative of the universe, and (b) interchangeable, is useless to a scientific institution.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By MojoMan on 1/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By sgw2n5 on 1/20/2011 8:36:37 PM , Rating: 4

It is a method. A set of tools used to describe how things work in the real world. Nothing more, nothing less.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By kingius on 1/25/2011 7:10:47 AM , Rating: 3
...except when self interest gets involved.

Everybody has their price.

Would you sacrifice your career if you were wrong?

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By Just Tom on 1/20/2011 9:24:54 PM , Rating: 3
He believes in evolution. Did you even read the article? No where is there any evidence that he denies evolution. He was denied a position because the school attributed beliefs he does not hold.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By zozzlhandler on 1/20/2011 9:29:54 PM , Rating: 3
Facts are facts, and theories are theories. As I noted before, Charles Darwin was a devout Christian. If he can believe in evolution, I don't see why other religious scientists cannot.

The facts of evolution are not (or should not be) in dispute. But those who claim science can explain everything are not asking the right questions.

It seems to me that this is not about anyone denying science, but that a bunch of narrow-minded bigots (of the science is all variety) refused to hire someone with an equally valid but differing viewpoint.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By blackened160 on 1/23/2011 6:42:08 PM , Rating: 1
I think the fact here is that you don't understand the definition of theory. So, here you go:

Darwin was a Christian in early life and even went to school to become a clergyman. However, after his voyage on the Beagle, his views on all things religion were drastically changed:

Religion is not, never was, and never will be an equally valid viewpoint to science. Science can not answer and will not be able to answer every question you conjure, but the open ended ones like "Why are we here?", lie in the realm of philosophers.

RE: Please get your facts straigh!
By hiscross on 1/26/2011 4:09:55 PM , Rating: 2
"Darwin was a Christian in early life and even went to school to become a clergyman." This is Not true. Darwin's parents brought him up as a Unitarian. They are not Christian in any form. For that matter either is the Roman Catholic Church, Mormons, Jehovah Witness and many more churches. Oh , evolution is what it is, mans creation to define God (Jesus). In the end all of us will bow to Jesus, like it or not.

Journalistic Ethics
By GTVic on 1/20/2011 3:11:49 PM , Rating: 4
Your opinion may be that Evolution has been proven but you word the article like it has been observed in a lab. "Signs of evolution" were observed, not slime turning into a fish, then walking on land and turning into a monkey.

Evolution remains a theory that has promise but has been dogged by dodgy science (cart before the horse - theory before the observations) and outright fraud in some cases.

The universe appears to operate on scientific principles but our knowledge of those principles is far below what your arrogance seems to assume.

RE: Journalistic Ethics
By morphologia on 1/20/2011 3:29:28 PM , Rating: 1
What kind of lab has 2 or 3 billion years to spare waiting for archaea to develop into primates? Do you make claims like this in hopes that scientists will give up because they can't meet your ridiculous demands?

What is the purpose of your state that unless we personally travel back in time and witness every moment that contributed to evolution, then that means evolution does not exist?

RE: Journalistic Ethics
By Lazarus Dark on 1/20/2011 9:40:51 PM , Rating: 3
Why would there be a different burden of proof on evolutions than creationists? If a creationist says the world is 6500 years old, the evolutionist says you can't prove it for certain, you weren't there. Sure, it's based on the evidence at hand, interpreted as well as possible. Then the evolutionist says the world is billions of years old, and shows the same evidence at hand, interpreted as well as he thinks possible, though interpreted differently than the creationist. And the creationist says you can't prove it for certain, you weren't there. Why is the evolutionist view accepted, when the creationist has the same facts and proof available, but interprets differently? Why does the evolutionist have less burden of proof?

Please note, this discussion should have nothing to do with proving/disproving God's existence. We are talking only about the age of the earth, and whether or not it can be proven or only guessed based on the given evidence.

RE: Journalistic Ethics
By Helbore on 1/21/2011 5:45:32 AM , Rating: 1
Because the creationist DOESN'T have the same facts and proof available. They have an old book, in which if you add up the ages listed along the linages listed, you come to a figure that would have to be the age of the universe.

Compare that to the wealth of knowledge collected from geology through to astronomy. All different fields of science coming up with similar suggestions of the age of the universe, the age of the planet, the age of the species, etc. all based on collecting lots and lots of data.

Even if you doubt things like carbon dating, its hard to criticise the source material in the same way. A religious book which has plenty of reason and opportunity to be weighted in bias, vs. dinosaur bones dug out the ground, for example.

The creationists source material hasn'r even been verified to be accurate yet, so how it can be used as a backbone of proof is beyond me.

Its not that "evolutionists" (I use in brackets, because evolutionary scientists aren't the ones making claims about the age of the Earth or universe anyway!) are held to a lower burden of proof, its that they've actually provided more evidence than tnhe creationists, who have provided a wealth of nothing.

RE: Journalistic Ethics
By Lazarus Dark on 1/21/2011 7:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, see, you misread, showing your bias. I never mentioned the bible. When I refer to evidence provided by creationists, I was referring to geology, biology, etc. The SAME evidences.
Example: the evolutionist looks at geologic strata and says: I KNOW the bible is wrong, so I will guess that these layers (the so-called geologic column), were caused over millions of years. The creationist looks at the same and says: I believe the bible, so I will guess that these layers were caused by settling during the Flood.

You see? Same evidence, different interpretation. And please note I don't hold creationists to any lower standard either. Their case must be presented with as much facts and logical interpretation that the evolutionists bring if the creationist is to be taken seriously. The problem is, while the creationist is usually willing to listen and discuss any evidences/interpretations brought by the evolutionist, typically the evolutionist plugs his ears and simply will not even listen to evidences brought by the creationist. EVERYONE is biased, we are wired that way, from the most fanatical religious person, to the most Vulcan-like logic-is-my-god scientist.

Please remember, if the church had not been questioned at one point, we would not have much of the good science we have now. What you must realize is that the church now has a responsibility to question science as well, to ensure that bias in the scientific community has not started a decline in good research. If your definition of science by default precludes the existence of God, then when you see evidence of God, you will refuse to believe it because you already refused to allow for the possibility. God could stick his giant hand down from the clouds and point it in your face... and you would dismiss it as a hallucination because you don't believe in God. And no evidence for creation, no matter HOW scientifically factual, documentable, reproducible, etc will ever be enough, because you've already precluded creation from the realm of possible truth.

RE: Journalistic Ethics
By Skywalker123 on 1/23/2011 5:19:07 PM , Rating: 1
Evolutionists don't look at geologic strata and "guess" anything. I doubt they even think about Bible mythology.

RE: Journalistic Ethics
By kingius on 1/25/2011 7:12:02 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong; they do.

They weren't there when the events they describe happened. All of our prehistorical knowledge is a best guess. Sorry if you don't like the truth.

RE: Journalistic Ethics
By Helbore on 1/26/2011 6:10:32 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but that's all crap.

1. "Evolutionists" do not look at rock layers. Scientists studying evolution don't go doing the work of geologists. There's no such thing as an "evolutionist." It's a made-up term by creationists in an attempt to - falsely - claim they are on an equal footing with science.

2. Geologists studying rock layers don't say "I know the bible is wrong so..." Seriously, do you actually think scientists sit around and go on about how they know the bible is wrong and then attempt to prove it to be the case? If there were evidence suggesting the world was only 6000 years old, scientists wouldn't care. There isn't an agenda to disprove the bible!

3. A worldwide flood is scientifically impossible, so suggesting it as a possible reason for geological features of the Earth is not a sound scientific process. Its about as accurate as saying "god made the Earth that wa to test our faith." It's not looking at the featurs and coming to conclusions, it's apologising for the bible's inaccuracies by randomly explaining away anything that is inconsistent with it.

It's ridiculous that you say I am "showing my bias" as you didn't mention the bible, yet now go on to elaborate by saying that creationists look at geological data and then interpret it based on bible stories!

Don't you get it? Using some old book - that could quite easily be a bunch of old, made-up folk tales - to come to conclusions is not using the same evidence. Its colouring the evidence with an insistence on the absolute truth of folk stories. Its throwing in unsupported, unproven variables and demanding that they are unquestionable.

So no bias was shown on my part there - I simply knew what was implied by your post without you having to spell it out. Now you've elaborated your position, you've proven my assumption right.

It's always amusing when these converations end with "you're just as biased as creationists, you wouldn't believe in god even if he showed evidence of his existence." The fact is that point is meaningless as there is no evidence that a god exists. Not one jot. Ask any honest theologian and they will happily admit that there isn't any evidence either way, that's why faith is required. The statement is as pointless as me saying "you don't believe in pixies and so no evidence will ever convince you they exist even if they were proved to exist." It's a fallacious argument for reasons so obvious it shouldn't even need explaining - and THAT shows your bias.

RE: Journalistic Ethics
By Lazarus Dark on 1/20/2011 9:42:24 PM , Rating: 3
I agree, the article was definitely dripping with condescension for anyone who disagrees with the author and a smug sense of superiority.

By frozentundra123456 on 1/20/2011 7:40:44 PM , Rating: 3

Normally I really enjoy your articles, and think they are very well written. However, I was somewhat incensed by this article and its unquestioned acceptance of the theory of evolution.

I particularly disagree with the statement that it has been proven in the laboratory. I have worked in medical research for over 30 years, and I guess I missed that article. It may be possible to prove natural selection to a limited degree in a lab, but obviously it is impossible to prove the entire theory of evolution.

In order to "prove" something, you must be able to perform the task under impartial observation and do so repeatedly. For instance,you can prove that if you apply a certain amount of force to a certain mass, it will move a certain distance. But obviously it is impossible to "prove" evolution.

And as someone else stated, the experiment with the bacteria only proves selection in the short term. To show even a limited degree of "evolution" you would have to start with a culture of bacteria that had no penicillin resistant strains and test them repeatedly until a mutation occured that conferred resistance. The reason the experiment works so well now is that there are already resistant strains in the environment. You are just selecting them out based the presence of the antibiotic.

I am not trying to say that I do not believe in evolution. I would say that it is a theory that fits quite well with the observed archeological data.

Do you really know what happened when life began, or when or how it happened? I sure dont. Like I said,the theory of evolution fits most of the observed data, but it is still a theory.

But especially your first paragraph was so didactic and seemed to imply that anyone who did not totally agree with you was some kind of uneducated religious nut.

RE: evolution??
By Nacho on 1/21/2011 7:23:51 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not a scientist, english isn't my first language and don't remember the experiment exactly, but i'll try to write a summary of the evolution experiment:

The laboratory started with a bacteria strain that didn't have a certain trait (checked via DNA analysis), and after ~10 years of controlled testing in a bacteria hostile environment they could find 2 generations of bacteria: the first without a specific trait, the next with such a trait. That trait helped the bacteria to survive in the hostile environment.

The lab has frozen samples of the various generations of bacteria, so you can check those samples and verify that the new trait is really evolutionary. You can even ask them and they will give you the last sample which didn't have the trait, and repeat the experiment.

RE: evolution??
By JHBoricua on 1/21/2011 10:52:04 AM , Rating: 3
So let me understand this. Evolutionist deny the existence that there was any intelligence behind the appearance of life on Earth, aka God. They claim EVERY process that needed to happen in order for life to appear out of nowhere, EACH with odds of happening randomly so astronomical as to make winning the Lotto look like child's play and some of them needing to happen at the same time in order succeed making the already impossible odds multiply, were the result of random coincidence, not intelligence.

But then they claim proof after performing CONTROLLED experiments with VERY SPECIFIC parameters?

Seems to me that the only thing this proves is that there WAS a higher intelligence working behind the scenes.

I respect science as a whole but evolution is so rife with fraud and dodgy science that to me its just another religion filled with nutcases.

RE: evolution??
By Skywalker123 on 1/23/2011 5:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution theory says NOTHING about a higher power or intelligence. Go back to school and take a course on evolution before you post.You may respect science but you have no knowledge of it.

RE: evolution??
By JHBoricua on 1/24/2011 8:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps its you that should go back to school. You obviously lack reading comprehension since I stated the total opposite of what your comment said.

RE: evolution??
By kingius on 1/25/2011 7:13:30 AM , Rating: 2
Evolution says nothing about the origin of life itself, natural selection attempts to explain the diversity of it, not where it comes from originally. What school did you go to, to not learn this? Never mind questioning another poster's education, you seem to misunderstand the scope of natural selection.

Devil's advocate...
By nafhan on 1/20/2011 12:58:56 PM , Rating: 5
Making the assumption that his views on astronomy were kosher... why do an astronomers views on evolution matter? If it doesn't have an impact on his astronomy research or instruction, I don't think it should. Obviously if he was saying the universe is 5000 years old, it would be one thing not to hire him, but it sounds like his beliefs might not be touching on the subject he would have been instructing. It's actually illegal for an employer to bring up religious beliefs.

On a related note, you should avoid talking about stuff that's unrelated to work during a job interview; you never know what might offend or annoy a potential employer.

RE: Devil's advocate...
By frobizzle on 1/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: Devil's advocate...
By nafhan on 1/20/2011 2:52:24 PM , Rating: 3
If that's what I meant, I would have said that...

This might blow your narrow worldview, but "religious" people have a pretty wide range of beliefs. For all I (and you) know, this guys beliefs might consist of standard cosmology + 5000 years ago God sprinkled some non-evolving life on Earth. Either way, that's speculation, and I have no more idea about this guys beliefs than you do.

On a related note, if they made it clear that's why they didn't hire him, they were kind of asking for it. Any halfway decent HR person should be able to find some legal reason to not hire (or fire) just about anyone.

RE: Devil's advocate...
By Bioniccrackmonk on 1/21/2011 9:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
Any halfway decent HR person should be able to find some legal reason to not hire (or fire) just about anyone.

Only if you give them a reason to find.

By I800C0LLECT on 1/20/2011 2:25:35 PM , Rating: 2
Since when was it decided that science was 100% right about anything and everything?

Nobody denies adaptive evolution but we have no proof of evolution based on mutation. I kind of wish this debate would have taken place, courts or not. Now we're left with nothing more than these posts at the bottom of a DT article.

RE: ?....
By morphologia on 1/20/2011 3:25:00 PM , Rating: 2
Where do you think the genetic variations come from, that the successful species pass on to their offspring? God? Thin air? eBay?

A successful organism would not deviate from the ancestral model of its species unless it had no choice. And mutations tend to be hereditary, which fits into the model of natural selection. It's like the balance of nature and nurture...change comes from environment (external) as well as genome (internal).

The kind of "proof" you speak of would take centuries, if not millennia, to compile. Given an objective and empirical scientific environment, it may be possible to finally provide your "proof" long as concepts totally lacking in proof (ID) do not interfere.

RE: ?....
By I800C0LLECT on 1/21/2011 1:32:07 AM , Rating: 2

Are you instigating the idea that statistics is a synonym for empirical data?

RE: ?....
By I800C0LLECT on 1/21/2011 1:38:10 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe I should have replaced "science" with the word "theories"

That'd probably help remove obstacles for some.


"Since when was it decided that theories were 100% right about anything and everything?" Doesn't that fly in the face of definitions? Maybe that's how degenerate semantics really work ;)

Words of Wisdom
By morphologia on 1/20/2011 2:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
"I believe in God...I just don't let him get in the way of my serious scientific work."

--A sensible researcher

RE: Words of Wisdom
By Breathless on 1/20/2011 3:35:02 PM , Rating: 2
said the bipolar, blasphemous researcher.

RE: Words of Wisdom
By Skywalker123 on 1/23/2011 5:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
Blasphemout? lol, should we burn him at the stake?

RE: Words of Wisdom
By Skywalker123 on 1/23/2011 5:29:30 PM , Rating: 2

Cowards !
By Peter898 on 1/20/2011 12:04:27 PM , Rating: 1
The University should have fought for their right
to not hire anyone who believes p equals 4 .

RE: Cowards !
By michael2k on 1/20/2011 12:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
They did. He wasn't hired.

RE: Cowards !
By lennylim on 1/20/2011 5:48:18 PM , Rating: 4
If only I could be paid $125,000 by each company that didn't hire me...

Update 2 The real reason
By thurston on 1/20/2011 7:42:52 PM , Rating: 4
The real reason this was posted on Dailytech is because it is a controversial subject and sure to generate plenty of ad revenue.

Southpark photo
By TheDoc9 on 1/20/2011 2:20:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's ironic that you choose that southpark photo ghostwritter Mick. It's from an episode in which the people of the 'better' evolutionist/atheist future destroy themselves.

Loaded article title
By ZachDontScare on 1/20/2011 2:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
Mick, at least make it look like you're attempting to be unbiased. "Evolution-Denying"? The term "Denying" is a very loaded word, purposesly used to equate someone with Holocaust deniers.

I'd like to say I'd expect better out of this site, but, really, I dont.

University of idiots
By mackintire on 1/21/2011 2:17:12 AM , Rating: 2
Look I 'm hearing two arguments here.

The first is that you shouldn't care less that your podiatrist can't perform brain surgery or has odd, strange or wrong opinions about how to perform brain surgery. His specialty is feet. If he did the work he's a Dr.......... period.

The second was, his issue was that he did not get hired based on misinformation the University believed. If the university passed that information along then the University may be guilty of slander and discrimination. Not being able to cook has nothing to do with being a good hair stylist. Being a good astronomer has nothing to do with being a deist....unless he's reading tarot cards to students.

You should never be punished for having an opinion, but if your workplace requires you to show restraint while working, then you may have to do that as part of your job.

Astronomer, astrologer
By Visual on 1/21/2011 7:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
In other news, one Mr. "Theist Creationist Astrologer" is happy for this precedent and although "the stars tell him" he will be denied a job at his upcoming interview at the same university next week, he remains optimistic.
Also, there has been a sudden and unexplained increase of people loudly proclaiming their beliefs for gay marriage, UFO conspiracies, necrophilia and a myriad other random subjects in the middle of job interviews.

Why so insecure?
By vortmax2 on 1/21/2011 2:17:03 PM , Rating: 2
"As we've written about extensively here on DailyTech, a wealth of fossil, genetic, and field biology evidence offers conclusive assurance that the process of evolution is responsible for producing modern life in all its wondrous forms. Scientists have even observed it the lab directly."

If the evidence of the process of evolution is so conclusive, then why so many articles and disclaimers to reiterate this so-called 'fact'? I don't see many articles about the laws of gravity or heat conduction...just saying.

By rdhood on 1/26/2011 5:09:30 PM , Rating: 2
"As we've written about extensively here on DailyTech, a wealth of fossil, genetic, and field biology evidence offers conclusive assurance that the process of evolution is responsible for producing modern life in all its wondrous forms."

It always amazes me when people who are "of science" make claims like this that they cannot possibly back up with anything akin to the scientific method. The nature of the universe is to be entropic, and yet scientists put blind faith into self-assembly of organisms. At it's face, it is a laughable hypothesis. Evolution IS proven. Self assembly of organisms from chemicals to humans is not. There is a huge difference. It is far more likely that aliens dropped off a few essential building blocks.

Similarly, it is taken on faith by men "of science" that the universe exploded into being from nothing. Again, it is laughable on its face.

Science is very good at figuring out how things that exist work. Science, though, creates its own form of unsubstantiated religion when it comes to explaining the origin of things.

Jackpot justice
By Beenthere on 1/20/2011 12:17:53 PM , Rating: 1
This is the "American way"... File a frivolus lawsuit and get paid to go away so that no legal precident is established. This is about as just as pouring hot coffee on your crotch and then suing under the guise the coffee was too hot.

Only in America can people get away with this exploitation of the system. Thank the siren chasers for this crap.

Stupid to settle...
By niva on 1/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: Stupid to settle...
By kraeper on 1/20/2011 12:56:10 PM , Rating: 5
It doesn't matter which side of the fence you're on.

Discrimination is discrimination, and it's illegal. IF it can be shown that he wasn't hired because of his beliefs, rather than as a result of qualifications/background/whatever, then he not only has a right to sue, but possibly a responsibility.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Raraniel on 1/20/2011 1:05:24 PM , Rating: 3
Sometimes your qualifications/background/whatever can be compromised by those same beliefs. As a professor you are a reflection on your institution, and if those beliefs cause that institution embarrassment or damage its reputation in the scientific community then they should be given as much scrutiny as any publications the scientist has written.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/20/2011 1:40:31 PM , Rating: 1
But not if it's an institution that is subjected to "Equal opportunity employment". Both science and religion are a belief system. Saying one is somehow "better" than the other, or that one is right and one is wrong would imply that someone on this earth is all knowning/powerful. Who wants to stand up first to make that claim? Not ALL aspects of religion and science are mutually exclusive. But not all aspects are compatible either.

When science becomes your replacement for God, then you are essentially arguing that your world view is somehow superior to others; and anyone with that kind of a smug mentality needs to re-evaluate their life. Science can neither prove nor disprove the claims of religion.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By sgw2n5 on 1/20/2011 3:48:02 PM , Rating: 1
Science is simply a set of methods to describe and understand reality. That's it. If you discover proof of a deity of some capacity, and it is reproducible and verifiable, then the majority of scientists would probably become religious at that point.

Religion, on the other hand, is just superstitious jibberyjoo with no basis in reality.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/20/2011 8:06:09 PM , Rating: 1
Science is simply a set of methods to describe and understand perceived reality.

There, I fixed that for you. Anyway that you look at it, be it science or religion, our view of the universe will ALWAYS be a perceived view and nothing else. If you claim to know everything, then you better get to proving it; otherwise, stop making assumptions that science is the end all-be all answer to the universe. I think most intelligent people would agree that the universe is much more complex than test tubes and fancy mathematics formulas.

The real underlying problem here is the notion that our goal as humans is to understand/conquer everything. I think the chances of this achievement are less than infinitesimal due to our very nature. I think religion explains a lot more about the most important questions of life than science could ever dream to answer. Things like: Why are we here, what are we worth, where are we going when we die, why do we have emotions. Evolution can NEVER explain love, passion, hate, belonging, or any other feeling that makes us “human”.

And before you charge me with this, religion isn't a scapegoat for those who are afraid of death. Maybe some people use it that way, but it isn't at all true. I, myself, am not scared one single bit of dying. If there is no God, I'd rather be dead anyway, since there is zero hope of us beings saved from... well, ourselves!

If you discover proof of a deity of some capacity, and it is reproducible and verifiable, then the majority of scientists would probably become religious at that point.

I don’t think you understand the foundation of faith. Faith isn’t just a bet of “33 red on a roulette wheel”, it’s much more complex than that. The way you describe it, someone wouldn’t believe that something else exists until it pops up in front of their face. You didn’t have to see the Dell factory to know that your computer was created do you? I think God has shown himself enough to this world to make his presence known. He’s God, and he doesn’t answer to your commands. I think you grossly misunderstand and oversimplify faith. If you have Netflix, I highly recommend that you watch the movie “The Case for Faith”. It’s on instant right now, and is an excellent piece regardless of your stance.

Religion, on the other hand, is just superstitious jibberyjoo with no basis in reality.

I guess we have our answer as to whether or not you claim to be all knowing. Even if you know half of everything in the universe, God could exist in the other half that you don’t know about. This type of slander is unwarranted and shameful. You are essentially presenting yourself as the kid that goes around kicking over sand castles on the beach. My faith in God is my opinion, and I’d rather not be told by you that I am a moron for having a world view. Even though our world views are radically different, that doesn’t give you the right to slander and belittle me. Besides, don’t even get me into the logic of the belief in nothing. If I’m wrong, then I lived a good life by my standards where I tried to treat everyone with respect and love. On the other hand, if you are wrong, then you will have to stand before your creator and be judged (and I don't think he will like what you had to say about him). At least I have faith in something.

Life on this earth is a privilege and NOT and entitlement. God gives us the free will to make good and bad decisions; and that's why there is evil and suffering in the world. Without that free choice, we would be mindless drones.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By sgw2n5 on 1/20/2011 8:31:00 PM , Rating: 1
If I wanted to prove that Dell exists, I could easily do so. There is undeniable proof that Dell, the computer company, absolutely exists in the real world. Gods... not so much.

I feel sorry for people who think that they can only validate their existence through the superstitions and mythology of ancient goat herders who must strive to please an invisible, patriarchal boogeyman hidden in the sky.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/20/2011 9:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
If I wanted to prove that Dell exists, I could easily do so.

In the very first sentence you prove that you are unwilling to consider other points of view. I understand that both of our views are very concrete, but geez man. I am here trying to share opinion. To you, I guess this is a name calling event in which the loudest wins. This isn't a win lose kind of thing.

I feel sorry for people who think that they can only validate their existence through the superstitions and mythology of ancient goat herders who must strive to please an invisible, patriarchal boogeyman hidden in the sky.

Really? After my long and thoughtful response this is all you have, more mockery? You should feel sorry for yourself, and not me. Your total disdain and hatred for those that believe in a higher being is pitiful in my opinion. It's rather childish actually.

You keep on thinking that you are right, and live out the rest of your life doing whatever you want, and whenever you feel like it. Afterall, there is no point to live other than self indulging and looking after numero uno right? Life is just a dash between two dates, with no significance or purpose. I think that's what evolution has taught you.

If all you have to life for is the defamation of others, then you certainly have a great life ahead.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Fiendish on 1/20/2011 10:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
Believing in something without evidence is a very dangerous thing. I could claim that my god told me to shoot you in the head, how do you know I'm not telling the truth?

With religion anything is permissible no matter how sick or perverse. Genocide, murder, rape...... just read the bible.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Stupid to settle...
By sweatshopking on 1/21/2011 9:14:35 AM , Rating: 3
ummm. you had me agreeing up until you started attacking Mohammad. Now, you're a nutball. Oh, and it's "prophet".

I'm not a Muslim, but you seriously need to review your history, and listen to your own advice. "a description of what God commanded in those specific situations.""Those were different times; and warranted different behavior."

"With religion anything is permissible no matter how sick or perverse. Genocide, murder, rape"

3 words.
Stalin. Ukranian. Secular.

That "religion is the source of all the worlds evils" line is old, and silly. it's been shown to be false 10,000 times. do yourself a favor, and stop using it. It makes you look stupid.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/21/2011 9:19:14 AM , Rating: 4
ummm. you had me agreeing up until you started attacking Mohammad. Now, you're a nutball. Oh, and it's "prophet".

I know how to spell it, ever heard of a typo? I don't need to do a bit of history reviewing. The Koran commands it's followers to murder. Islam is not merely a religion, it is a system of law.

I highly encourage you to watch the film, Islam: what the west needs to know . I doubt you have ever read the Koran. I have. And I know it commands for murder. It is NOT a "peaceful" religion. Watch that documentary, it's on Netflix.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By zixin on 1/21/2011 1:00:22 PM , Rating: 1
I am wondering what exactly do you consider as evidence? If you went to school then you should know that having only one source does not qualify as evidence. Through all of your posting you have not once give any evidence as to why you believe God exist. You have not once provided any concret discription as to why scientific evidence is not valid. And you definitely dodged the question about god telling somebody to shoot you in the head by spewing out hate speech against Islam. The Chrisitian religion is not one founded on peace. The Israelis conquered other people and slaughtered whole cities. Christians performed tortue and murder all in the name of God. Ever heard of the Spanish Inquisition? Salem Witch trials? Joan of Arc? The Crusades?

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/21/2011 1:35:22 PM , Rating: 1
If you truly believe in a religion that calls for murder then you are a lost soul. Obviously you have never read, nor studied Islam if you consider what I said about it to be "hate speech" (please, spare me). If you think telling the truth about Islam, then you are certainly spewing hate speech towards me and my faith. Oh, sorry. I forgot that bigotry towards Christians is acceptable.

The Christian religion is not one founded on peace. The Israelis conquered other people and slaughtered whole cities. Christians performed tortue and murder all in the name of God. Ever heard of the Spanish Inquisition? Salem Witch trials? Joan of Arc? The Crusades?

Hey, lets not forget that those "conquered" cities were ones that had been destroyed by ISLAMIC ADVANCES. Now mind you, not all of the crusades can be attributed or accounted for, but any "killings" in the name of God, we not in fact in the name of God. Under the new covenant, murder is strictly forbidden. Again I will assert that you should study as to which parts of the Bible are descriptions of old jewish laws, and parts that are actually commanding you to obey GOD's laws.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By sgw2n5 on 1/21/2011 12:03:22 AM , Rating: 4
Why is it that you don't think that I can live a very happy and fulfilling life without believing in god? Why is it that if someone doesn't believe in superstition, you think that they are living a "self indulging and looking out for numero uno" lifestyle?

You can be a good person, believe it or not, without being superstitious.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By kingius on 1/21/2011 7:13:06 AM , Rating: 3
The article states:

'As we've written about extensively here on DailyTech, a wealth of fossil, genetic, and field biology evidence offers conclusive assurance that the process of evolution is responsible for producing modern life in all its wondrous forms. Scientists have even observed it the lab directly.'

However, this is only part of the story. Evolution through natural selection has never been proven because there is no evidence that one species has become another; it has never been observed happening. If you were to go on the evidence alone, you'd have to conclude from the fossil record that species emerge, fully formed, due to a lack of missing links.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By sgw2n5 on 1/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Stupid to settle...
By kingius on 1/24/2011 7:32:06 AM , Rating: 2
Go back and look at the evidence again.

What you will see is that individual traits can be changed to potentially create new /breeds/ of a animal, but no new species has ever been created by changing genes.

This is similar to breeding pigeons for speed or homing instinct, and likely how domesticated breeds of dog came into being.

No one has ever turned a pigeon into a different kind of bird altogether, such as a hawk, nor a butterfly into a bumblebee, nor a dog into a hitherto new species.

The fields of science you listed have nothing to do with evolution through natural selection: genetics, for instance, concerns DNA, while paleontology concerns finding (and understanding) very old bones. None of those disciplines would collapse if natural selection were discredited.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Stupid to settle...
By sgw2n5 on 1/21/2011 11:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry I hurt your feelings by referring to your superstitions as superstitions.

And where did I ever say that humanity is in charge of the entire universe? If it makes you feel better to envision athiests as an angry, miserable, callous and arrogant blasphemer... by all means, do so. Doesn't bother me, I'm a happy, easy-goin' and productive individual. I only really care about religion when you guys try to subvert real science in favor of mythology and conjecture, or try to teach pseudoscience (ID, creationism, phrenology, holistic medicine etc) to people in public schools.

But when it comes down to it, WE BOTH know that religion is superstition. The difference is, I'm being honest with myself.

Bless you my child.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/21/2011 12:07:09 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, more childish banter. Anything else you would like to insult today?

RE: Stupid to settle...
By tim851 on 1/21/2011 2:50:02 PM , Rating: 2
Without the humility to admit that we are not in charge of this universe, you become very callous and arrogant.

Name ONE scientist who believes man is in charge of the universe.

Oh, and by your definition, is your God callous and arrogant? 'Cause you probably believe he's in charge...

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Skywalker123 on 1/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: Stupid to settle...
By zixin on 1/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Stupid to settle...
By tim851 on 1/21/2011 2:55:15 PM , Rating: 1
You do know the difference between "prove" and "see".

The existence of bot-flies can be proven to you. If need be, we could send you one. Numerous people have seen them, studied them, described them, pictured them.

None of that can be said about your God.
Those that claim to have seen him cannot give matching descriptions. As if each of them saw a different thing. Hm...

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Skywalker123 on 1/23/2011 5:52:13 PM , Rating: 1
We can prove the existence of bot-flies, prove Skydaddy's existence.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Ammohunt on 1/21/2011 2:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think religion explains a lot more about the most important questions of life than science could ever dream to answer.

I can't agree more! People rarely take in the perspective of what is trully meaningful in their very short lives. most sciientific "fact" in the context of an average of 70 years of existence is absolutely meaningless science has never helped me be a better person or a better father.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Skywalker123 on 1/23/2011 5:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
science has helped you far more than any superstition.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By kingius on 1/25/2011 7:16:45 AM , Rating: 2
Todays science is tomorrow's superstition.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By zozzlhandler on 1/20/2011 9:22:46 PM , Rating: 3
Your religion, maybe. Don't lump all believers into the category of those who deny the obvious. So-called Intelligent Design seems to lack rigor, but that doesn't man a person cannot believe in God (or a first cause or a universal consciousness or whatever) and be an excellent scientist. It seems to be largely forgotten these days that Darwin was a devout Christian.

Evolution may merely be the manner in which God (whatever we call him or however we describe him) brought intelligent life into being on this planet. Though sometimes I wonder if thats true when I look at the discussions here.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By zmatt on 1/20/2011 9:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
Science attempts to tell you the what and how, but not the why. Science does not attempt to and should not attempt to dictate world views based on it's findings. Doing so is unscientific, and if a scientist does this they are not doing so as a scientist, but as an individual with an opinion. It is fully within his rights to be a religious man and be a scientist. His religious beliefs should not interfere with his work as a scientist, and if they did then he would not have a job in the first place. I think a lot of people forget this, including many in the scientific community.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By PReiger99 on 1/20/2011 3:53:38 PM , Rating: 4
Both science and religion are a belief system.

No not really. It just a poorly reasoned argument religious believers put forward to justify their own faith. If science is also just a "belief" then it makes believing in your particular religion more acceptable. However, belief systems don't provide way to cure diseases, create computers or explain and prove their claims about how the universe works.

When science becomes your replacement for God

I guess what you are trying to say is when people worship sciences as a god (i.e. someone who has no clue about a particular scientific theory but believe it to be true regardless). Otherwise, it is obvious that sciences has replaced the countless deities mankind has invented. Zeus is no longer the explanation for thunder, Ra doesn't make the sun raise each day... Sciences has explained all these phenomena making the need of gods more and more useless each passing day.

Science can neither prove nor disprove the claims of religion.

While sciences cannot prove or disprove morale codes, it can certainly disprove all the ridiculous claims religions have made; world wide flood, Adam and Eve, Earth being at the center of the universe, the world was created in it current form (all species were always as they are now), Earth being 6000 years old, etc.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By mooty on 1/20/2011 4:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
While sciences cannot prove or disprove morale codes

Actually moral codes can be readily explained with game theory.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: Stupid to settle...
By tim851 on 1/21/2011 3:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
A molten piece of metal... you ever seen a bullet? If they were molten, they wouldn't be any good.

Neurobiology, -psychology, -chemistry and the likes have a great understanding of the human brain already. It's still in its infancy, but they are getting somewhere.

Science is getting somewhere. One day, Science will explain the workings of the brain. One day, Science will explain the origin of the universe.

Religion on the other hand hasn't gained an iota of knowledge since the good book was written.

The congresswoman was lucky.
How would religion explain the fact that she was shot, but barely survived? Does that classify as a miracle? Letting someone get shot but guiding the bullet away from anything too critical, that's God's work? He couldn't jam the gun?

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Quadrillity on 1/21/2011 4:17:03 PM , Rating: 1
A molten piece of metal... you ever seen a bullet? If they were molten, they wouldn't be any good.

I was using molten as a term to describe how hot the projectile is when it exits the muzzle.
Neurobiology, -psychology, -chemistry and the likes have a great understanding of the human brain already. It's still in its infancy, but they are getting somewhere.

In terms of understanding, we know VERY little. I stand firm in the notion that the more we learn about it, the more mysteries we seem to come across.
One day, Science will explain the origin of the universe.

LoL. Just... lol. You waiting for a time machine too?
Religion on the other hand hasn't gained an iota of knowledge since the good book was written.

Good point. It doesn't need to "gain knowledge" (whatever that means). The Bible was written in perfection, why change perfection?
How would religion explain the fact that she was shot, but barely survived? Does that classify as a miracle? ... that's God's work? He couldn't jam the gun?

See, what you are doing here is telling God what he can and cannot do. God gave us the freedom to make choices. And with that choice comes responsibility to love one another. There are countless times where he has intervened, but keep in mind; God didn't "create a world with suffering". He created a perfect world that has since been corrupted by our heartless actions towards God and our fellow man. Without the choice to either love or reject God, we would be puppets on a string. You can exercise you right to reject God if you wish, but I would like it if other didn't badmouth me for my choice. But whatever, it was foretold anyway.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By tim851 on 1/21/2011 11:48:52 PM , Rating: 2
I was using molten as a term to describe how hot the projectile is when it exits the muzzle.

It's still the wrong term.

In terms of understanding, we know VERY little. I stand firm in the notion that the more we learn about it, the more mysteries we seem to come across.

You'd have to define "VERY little". The second part is nonsense.

It doesn't need to "gain knowledge" (whatever that means). The Bible was written in perfection, why change perfection?

Well, the Bible doesn't mention planes, cars, computers, cellphones, x-rays, penicillin, etc...
If the Bible is perfect, what are you doing on the Internet? Shouldn't you be with the Amish?

See, what you are doing here is telling God what he can and cannot do

No, I really don't. He doesn't exist. Me attributing things to him would put me on the same level of insanity than you.

You implied that the congresswoman surviving was a miracle.
I find that quite perverse thinking. It's like when I saw a documentary on the concentration camps: one GI remembered finding a living child among the piles of dead bodies and he called that a miracle too. Which is really something. The dead bodies were the Nazis work, but the one child they missed, that's God.
I wonder if logic physically hurts you.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By PaterPelligrino on 1/20/2011 10:33:20 PM , Rating: 5
Both science and religion are a belief system. Saying one is somehow "better" than the other, or that one is right and one is wrong would imply that someone on this earth is all knowing/powerful. Who wants to stand up first to make that claim? Not ALL aspects of religion and science are mutually exclusive. But not all aspects are compatible either.

The religious do cling to this odd idea that science and religion are equivalent belief systems. So in your view Jainism and Shamanism are the equivalent of chemistry and biology? Or by "religion" don't you actually mean Fundamentalist Christianity? Rather unfair to the competition don't you think?

Amusing that the only science the religious reject is that which threatens their faith; the guy who rejects evolution has no problem with computer tech or antibiotics. Doesn't the fact that it's invariably Fundamentalist Christians who reject evolution give the game away? For the religious, critical judgment is proceeded and conditioned by the demands of faith.

Religion doesn't produce knowledge, it produces opinion. Fundamentalist Christians don't know Noah crammed all those animals into his boat, they merely choose to believe it. Can a child be said to know that Santa brought his Christmas presents? It is precisely because religious belief isn't knowledge that there can exist all these mutually-contradictory creeds.

If the religious would just come out and admit that of course they don't really know that the Bhagavad Gita is factually accurate or that Joseph Smith was visited by an angel, then those of us who reject non-verifiable supernatural belief systems that claim to make factual statements about how the world actually works would have no problem with religion; we'd merely smile, shake our heads at "naught so queer as folks" human oddity and get on with our business.

I understand why the religious believe this stuff - it makes life easier - and I also know why they can't admit the arbitrariness of their beliefs - faith must be absolute to resist contrary evidence and be emotionally satisfying - but what do they think the rest of us feel when we hear the Muslim and the Hindu and the Christian and the Voodoo guys claim unshakable knowledge of things that not only seem to have no basis in fact, but can't possibly all be true. The atheist applies to all religion the same skepticism that the Fundamentalist Christian harbors towards every other competing faith.

There isn't an atheist alive who wouldn't immediately convert to whatever religion if the facts seem to support it. The scientific method arose out of Western philosophy's quest for dependable truth against a background of unverifiable and conflicting religious assertions. Essentially all of modern philosophy is just epistemology.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Zoridon on 1/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Stupid to settle...
By PReiger99 on 1/21/2011 9:59:30 AM , Rating: 3
You believe that everything that exists came from.....? what? Nothing! Where did it all come from, the air you breath, life, everthing where? When science can explain that I'll stop believing in god.

Well, I must say that I'm a bit surprised so see someone so honestly admit that your faith is only based on a god-of-the-gaps fallacy. Basically, you acknowledge that your ignorance is at the center of your beliefs and presumably as your ignorance decreases, your belief in deities will fade. Good, at least knowledge is cure for your condition.

You're belief system is based on faith of magic fairy dust as far as I'm concerned.

Sciences is based on facts and observation, not delusions and ignorance. Moreover, as you eloquently shared with us, your god merely fill whatever grey areas sciences haven't fully explained yet. Two thousand years ago, you would have ranted the same way about why Zeus must exist because no one can fully explain how electricity works. However, it's clear that every passing day, and every discovery give us a better understanding of the universe. A century ago, religious believers were claiming that god exist because of reproduction ("a baby is a miracle" as they said, a "miracle" that occurred billions of times through human history), yet with the advances in genetic, we now know there is nothing magical about life.

To me the mere fact that we exist at all proves their is a god.

This only shows how vast is your ignorance of many fields of study. I would suggest you take a trip to a descent library and educate yourself on subject such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, to name a few. There is no need for supernatural being to explain our existence. Really.

how superior the religion of science is without having a shred of proof about how it all began from..... Nothing!

Yet, you cannot even explain how this god of yours came to be. If I was completely ignorant of the current theories and researches about the universe (which I won't repeat them here as books on the subject are readily available), it is all I would need to say to discard your god hypothesis. Merely, because you introduce an absurd variable that is *infinitely* more complex than what you are trying to explain while not only failing to provide the slightest evidence to support it but also doesn't even explain the nature of this god (aside that no one has ever seen, touched, smelled or even tasted this all mighty being). Accepting ignorance and considering magic to be a valid answer to every unknown is what religions do. If you want factual answers and know how the universe works (according to the best of our knowledge) then there is sciences.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By PaterPelligrino on 1/21/2011 10:16:10 AM , Rating: 5
Face it you have a faith based religion. You believe that everything that exists came from.....? what? Nothing!

So, in your opinion, it is irrational to believe that matter can result from a Big Bang-like event, but not irrational to believe that some god has always existed who himself arose from nothing. Talk about self-awareness. You cannot demand causality for matter yet wave it away for god.
Where did it all come from, the air you breath, life, everthing where? When science can explain that I'll stop believing in god.

There is a term for that kind of argument: it is called "god of the gaps', 'gaps' meaning the gaps in our present knowledge. It is the same kind of reasoning that led the Norse to attribute thunder to Thor. In other words, if you don't understand it, it must have been god. Man is not all-knowing, why drag god into it every time you come up against something you can't understand? True humility would be to say we don't presently know, and stop at that. Thinking we were created by a god is the ultimate example of adolescent hubris.
Trying to take literal the writings of primitive man and their limited understanding is being intellectually dishonest.

But isn't that exactly what Christian Fundamentalists do, take literally a book written by bronze-age goat herders? In any case, Hinduism and Jainism and Mormonism and a score of other religions are not primitive, they are existing faiths. Why should we attribute any more validity to Christianity than to it's competitors? The dilemma facing any atheist who feels compelled to believe in a god is which god to choose? That's the problem with intelligent designers, they are never content just to state they can't understand how life could have arisen without the intervention of some supernatural agent, what they really want is all the burning-bush nonsense that comes with the Bible.
To me the mere fact that we exist at all proves their is a god.

That is precisely the kind of circular logic one always gets from the religious. That argument only makes sense if you are already a believer. To an objective observer it does not convince.
Why do I say this? because it had to come from somewhere... give me an alternative argument that makes more sense.... I have a feeling I'll be waiting long after your dead for an answer.

No doubt. Like all believers, your beliefs are immune from counter argument. Nothing anyone can ever say or do will ever change your mind. I, on the other hand, would immediately convert if presented with convincing proof of god's existence. To do otherwise would be irrational. I am no more a physicist than you are, but at least the Big Bang is a physical event accepted by most physicists. God is just the ultimate deus ex machina wheeled out from behind the stage curtains whenever man needs him to make sense of life.
Nows your chance to ignore my question and do some ranting about how superior the religion of science is without having a shred of proof about how it all began from..... Nothing!

The religion of science, as you deem it, has improved your life immensely. It has proven itself in every aspect of your daily life. The religion of god has no explanatory power whatsoever. It is unfalsifiable - that is why no one religion can ever win the argument with the others. True or false, it contributes nothing to life other than to help you make it through the lonely night.

Once you begin to accept divine causes for existing situations where do you stop? How can you say one supernatural belief is any better than another? I can invent, on the spot, any number of religions that are both impossible to disprove and explanatory in the sense that you attribute cause to your god. I don't believe in Jehovah for the same reason I don't believe in Shiva or Zeus. The true believer in any of a dozen religions argues his case with the same certainty that you do, why believe you and not them?

In any case, please tell us how your vaunted rationality also led you to believe all the mumbo jumbo in the Bible? You intelligent designers crack me up, on one hand you pretend to be logical when you claim that god created the universe, on the other hand, you accept all the nonsense written in your favorite religious text while ridiculing all the other holy books that man has written to make sense of life.

Every primitive people that ever existed had it's creation myths and gods, some preceding the Bible by tens of thousands of years. Rather than god creating man, it was man who created god. Even you will have to admit that man created those other gods. Is it unreasonable to think that just as man invented Zeus and Ganesha, he also created Jehovah? Convince me otherwise.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By DC20 on 1/21/2011 11:33:38 AM , Rating: 2
One of the most rational posts in this heap of logical fallacies. Well played sir.

I also appreciate how you took the time to use paragraphs.

I think it would be interesting to see a statistical breakdown of believer & non-believers taking into account age, nationality, occupation, etc. I presume there would be some obvious trends.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Strunf on 1/21/2011 7:41:18 AM , Rating: 4
Not all Professors are atheists... and even if they were I would find equally bad if an atheist came along bashing all religions or a religious bashing out the non religious.
It all comes down to common sense and this to both religious and not religious people.

A quote from Einstein
"You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being."

RE: Stupid to settle...
By DominionSeraph on 1/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: Stupid to settle...
By GTVic on 1/20/2011 3:25:37 PM , Rating: 3
And where did you get your doctorate on his beliefs. Oh yeah, you read Daily Tech and assumed because it is a science based site that all statements were fact. Moron.

He is a scientist who believes that science and a belief in God are not incompatible. This has no bearing on his beliefs about evolution which he apparently has no problem with.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Just Tom on 1/20/2011 9:22:54 PM , Rating: 3
The evidence is very good (and gets stronger every year) that all life on earth descended (i.e. , evolved from) from a common origin.

Did you read the article at all?

The man believes in evolution. The case was about his being passed over for a position because of views he does not hold.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Bioniccrackmonk on 1/21/2011 9:38:24 AM , Rating: 4
Did you read the article at all?

This is DailyTech, I already have a strong urge to respond to several comments even though I have yet to read the full article.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By zinfamous on 1/20/2011 2:02:05 PM , Rating: 1
Rejecting evolution, as a scientist, is a clear indicator that you lack qualifications to be a scientist.

If he becomes vocal with such beliefs after being hired, then that is what is addressed before the yearly review board, and ample reason to can the wacko.

As a physicist, nothing about evolutionary science should impinge his work, of course. But as a physicist, he has very limited qualifications to comment on evolution. The fact that he is vocal on this topic outside of his field, using his qualifications as a PhD to show some sort of legitimacy in a field well outside of his training, calls in to question any qualification as a scientist of any field.

that is the issue.

And the University has every right to can his unqualified ass.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Wiggy Mcshades on 1/20/2011 10:37:14 PM , Rating: 1
In this case qualifications are in question when such beliefs are held. A person's beliefs are something they should be accountable for, they represent a large part of who a person is. No one can stop you from believing what ever it is you believe, so why do you need protection ? How are any sort of beliefs different than others. It is my belief that if I employ someone who believes A and I think for any reason that I no longer want to employ them because of it, tell me how the beliefs I have are not just as valid as the beliefs the person fired has? If the person who was fired is actually worth it and the person who fired them was doing it not for the right reasons, then the place that fired him has robbed themselves, i've never seen any organization succeed by getting rid of all their talent. If it really was a mistake to fire this guy then let the university suffer the consequences of their actions. If the person fired thinks they are truly qualified, why don't they find a job where their beliefs are accepted?

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Belard on 1/21/2011 1:52:56 PM , Rating: 1
If not discrimination if you have a belief in which it would effect the proper teaching to the students. The issue is not that he's religious (nothing wrong with that), but that he uses is religious beliefs to dictate his work.

Religion doesn't belong in politics or in Science. Real pros can keep them separate.

And this Dr. is all over the place, he's on both sides depending on how he's feeling that day, so his instability is most likely what caused him his job.

I wouldn't trust him to teach 5th grade science.

RE: Stupid to settle...
By acase on 1/20/2011 1:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
Religion and science are two distinctly different things, one is faith based and one is fact/observation based. The way I see this is that by hiring this guy would be similar to a soccer team hiring a one legged amputee to be on their professional team.

So what your saying is science has a leg up on religion?

RE: Stupid to settle...
By adiposity on 1/20/2011 1:19:03 PM , Rating: 4

RE: Stupid to settle...
By Spinne on 1/21/2011 10:11:04 AM , Rating: 3
Gaskell is fairly well known and respected in his branch of astronomy so it really is the case that he's perfectly functional in his field. So what do his views on evolution matter?

By wgbutler on 1/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Amusing
By Quadrillity on 1/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Amusing
By Skywalker123 on 1/23/2011 5:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
Jebus predicted a lot of things, one, was that he would return within the lifetimes of those who last saw him. 2000 years later we still have fools waiting for him to fall down from Heaven.

RE: Amusing
By wgbutler on 1/26/2011 11:43:01 AM , Rating: 2

Jebus predicted a lot of things, one, was that he would return within the lifetimes of those who last saw him. 2000 years later we still have fools waiting for him to fall down from Heaven.


Have you read about the recent study that demonstrated that much atheism is rooted in anger at God? You seem to be a classic example of the profile of the subjects in the study!

You may not know this, but people like you are an endless source of amusement to me. It's so entertaining watching your heads spin around and seeing you shake your fists at the heavens as you rail against the Almighty. I probably should try to be more compassionate towards people like you, as there is a good chance that you've had some type of negative life experience that causes you to keep lashing out at God. Maybe I'll take this up in prayer.

Regarding your statement, I am not aware of any prediction that Jesus made that said that He would return while His disciples were still alive. The closest thing I can think of is the topic of this article here:

which is nothing close to what you are trying to say.

The fact of the matter is that the things Jesus predicted did come true and are coming true. People like you continue to prove Him right even to this very day. It's very validating and confirmatory to me. Thank you for providing this service.

By RugMuch on 1/20/2011 12:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
By quiksilvr on 1/20/2011 12:22:32 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, you're trying to convince someone that doesn't believe in evolution that evolution exists. That's like trying to convince a wall that it can talk.

By inighthawki on 1/20/2011 12:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
No, he's trying to feed a troll exactly what it wants.

By Sazabi19 on 1/20/2011 1:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
It's like telling Pirks or Tony that Jobs isn't the messiah... They can't wrap their heads around it.

By Pirks on 1/21/2011 10:42:02 AM , Rating: 2
hi new PC troll (if you're not the old renamed one ;)))
nice to meet ya :P

By joedon3 on 1/20/2011 12:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
there is a difference between evolution and adaptation....

By Flunk on 1/20/2011 12:41:25 PM , Rating: 2
Actually if you understand the evolutionary theory properly there isn't.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 12:29:58 PM , Rating: 2
Its still E. Coli.

By Raraniel on 1/20/2011 1:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
Is it? After a certain number of cumulative mutations occur, the offspring can no longer be considered the same species as the ancestral strain. In this case, the ability to metabolize citrate is a key change that could be significant enough to classify this as a new strain of modified bacteria. Had this been acquired by a plasmid vector I would not agree, but this is a change to the fundamental genome of the organism.

In microbiology, organisms are identified (barring molecular means like PCR) by traits they can exhibit. Does it grow on EMB Agar? Can it metabolize Citrate? Will it hydrolyze H2O2 with catalase? If the answer to any of these questions for a given strain changes, it should give one pause.

By mattclary on 1/20/2011 1:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
And we're still primates.

By banthracis on 1/20/2011 12:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
Very easy to do. Take a large number of say e. coli samples and culture them in a media with low level concentrations of penicillin.

Take the colonies that grow and and culture them again on media with a slightly higher level of penicillin.

Repeat say 6 times.

Congrats, you've now seen natural selection in action and evolved your own antibiotic resistant strain of E. Coli, all in about 2 weeks time.

Welcome to a typical Microbiology 101 lab.

By banthracis on 1/20/2011 12:42:35 PM , Rating: 1
It's not adaptation, it's evolution if the genetic code and metabolic pathways change. Scientist's for the sake of convenience name these organisms as strains of the parent species as opposed to coming up with names for thousands of new species every day.

Do the same experiment, and then grow them on a media with low concentrations of a carbon 4 source for example. Then repeat this another 6 cycles or so, lowering Carbon 4 concentrations each time and you've evolved yourself a a new species that:

1. Is antibiotic resistant
2. Lives on a different food source than e coli.
3. Has a different metabolic pathway than e coli.

There are genetic similarities, probably 98% identical to the original e coli strain, but considering you're 98.5% identical to a chimp genetically, I'd say the difference is significant enough to call this new thing you have a different species (unless you wanna argue humans and chimps are the same species...)

Again, scientists don't do this to avoid having to name thousands of new species every day.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 12:46:33 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, and you can stick me in the Antarctic and I will (or my offspring will) eventually become resistant to cold, I will eat seal meat (yum), and in various other ways will adapt to my surrounding environment. Will I eventually not be human?

By banthracis on 1/20/2011 1:06:08 PM , Rating: 1
Adaptation by definition is an evolutionary process. So yes, you are evolving due to adaptation.

The aforementioned experiments change the original strain of e coli significantly.

If terms you might understand.

What makes a deer different form a wolf. Well one big difference is that one eats plants and the other eats meat. If you found an animal that looks identical to a deer but eats meat instead, would you call it a deer, or something new?

Guess what? By changing the carbon source a single cell organism grows on, is that same as turning it from a meat eater, to a vegetable eater.

In both cases, you're just changing the molecular structure of the type of Carbon source it intakes.

Also, evolution doesn't act on individuals, it acts on a populations, minimum size depending upon many factors including genetic complexity. So if I threw you in Antarctica, no evolution would happen. If I through 1 million people there and isolated them from the rest of the world, yes, given enough time you'd likely become a different species.
The criteria for when you've reached that point would simply be once the Antarctic population is no longer capable of mating with the rest of humanity to produce viable offspring.

You might still look very similar to normal humans, but no ability to breed = new species. This factor is based upon ability to mate rather than outward appearance for good reason.

Take dogs for example. A Chihuahua looks nothing like a St. Bernard, yet the two can mate and produce viable offspring, hence same species.

By Pirks on 1/20/2011 1:12:01 PM , Rating: 1
When you grow fins to swim and catch fish and fur to protect you from extreme cold you clearly will NOT be human. But then you'll create a new Swimming Furry God for yourself. Why not? ;) Religion is just one of states of an intelligent mind, be it furry underwater one or a furless one walking the earth. You might want to read up on Stanislaw Lem, he's brilliantly described religious state of mind in one of his essays on cognitive processes etc. VERY good read, mind you.

By JediJeb on 1/20/2011 1:24:09 PM , Rating: 3
One question on your experiment here.

Did you actually convert those microbes into a different organism of did you just over time filter out what was already a different strain of microbe from a large population of other microbes? The first would be changing the organism, the other would be simply segregating something that is already different from a mass of others.

If you have a pair of beagles mixed into a thousand wolves and you set them apart and breed them, did you change the population of wolves into beagles? No. And without knowing the exact makeup of the original microbe DNA for each individual microbe you can not say you have created a new microbe, only that you have isolated one strain and multiplied its population through selective filtering.

By Flunk on 1/20/2011 12:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you understand what evolution is.

I know wikipedia isn't that great but read this article

By Xcpus on 1/20/2011 1:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
Take continuous small or large Adaptations over a long period of time and you get?


You're working with Millions of Years here (Well Billions actually). That's a heck of a long time.

Have you ever seen people born with slight mutations? Say webbed toes or other perceived "defects" or "mistakes"?

Say you're living in a hostile Dog eat Dog environment such as that of nature. Your days (as a common ancestor to humans and apes) consist of hunting, gathering, fornicating and protecting/evading predators.

Say you live in a rather harsh marsh like environment where hunting requires one to enter the water. Would it not be logical to assume that a mutation such as webbed feet or webbed hands might give you an edge over others who do not possess such a mutation?

So while the other males are killed by predators... you evade them. You therefore fornicate more often (because you're alive) and pass on your genes to your offspring (the webbed feet and hands).

Say one of your kids is born with a small muscular mutation that allows him more power in his/her muscles. This allows your child to run faster. Or say your child is born with less body hair then you or your ancestors. The climate has heated (used to be cold). Less body hair means you can run faster and for longer without overheating.

Your child survives and passes on those genes to his/her offspring.

You now have an Ape-Like creature with webbed feet and toes as well as far less body hair.

Evolution is a succession of adaptations (mutations) over a prolonged period of time. In time... with several of these mutations accumulating... a separate species is born (cannot reproduce with other members of the society not possessing the mutated genes).

By mattclary on 1/20/2011 1:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
Ever seen a poodle? While I think poodles could breed with wolves, give them a few thousand years and I doubt they will be able to any longer.

You may say, that's not evolution, that's breeding. My response would be, "So, you are saying man can do something God can not?"

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 12:33:00 PM , Rating: 1
Wait, so you mean YOU had to actually TAKE a large number of e. coli samples and YOU had to INTRODUCE them to slightly higher levels of penicillin? Amazing that it is able to ADAPT after YOU stuck your hand in it AND repeat it 6 times.

You have convinced me. I now believe in evolution.

By Xcpus on 1/20/2011 1:40:25 PM , Rating: 1
Do you know what Penicillin is? It is made out of certain types of fungi. This fungi is found throughout nature in the natural world.

You don't NEED to place the bacteria with the Fungi... it happens naturally.

What the Scientists/Researchers did was create a likely scenario and observe the results.

Evolution is a fact. Get over it already.

By mattclary on 1/20/2011 2:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
So, you're saying God can't instigate changes in organisms? When HE made the ice age, HE didn't cause mammoths to grow fur? When HE smote the earth with an asteroid, did HE not cause mammals to evolve and take place of the dinosaurs?

By morphologia on 1/20/2011 3:53:51 PM , Rating: 2
Unless God can provide written, notarized proof that he did all these things, then He deserves no credit.

I could just as well avow that the Flying Spaghetti Monster compelled you to type your comment, and then caused you to gloat over your wondrously insufficient logic.

By mattclary on 1/21/2011 11:33:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'm arguing with him on his terms. I'm not advocating a divine cause for the K-T event, but I would assume he would attribute global events to be the "will of God". If he accepts that God causes anything, he could hopefully see that those events could shape organisms. I have no idea if God exists, but if he does, I am still confident that evolution happens.

By mooty on 1/20/2011 5:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
cause mammals to evolve and take place of the dinosaurs

Mammals evolved waay before the 'infamous' asteroid hit the earth. Also, mutations don't need divine intervention to happen.

By mattclary on 1/21/2011 11:28:47 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I meant. They were in the minority until the asteroid hit, but they were able to survive and take over.

By Irene Ringworm on 1/20/2011 2:11:47 PM , Rating: 3
@banthracis. I get what you're trying to say but this is a terrible example. You're botching the science big time and misrepresenting the fundamental mechanisms of evolution.

Exposing the E. Coli to penicillin doesn't "evolve" penicillin resistance any more than burning down an apartment building evolves fire-resistant people. In order for E. Coli to survive media with low levels of penicillin there must exist some subset of the population that is already resistant to penicillin - perhaps by mutation. The resistant-strain is favored in subsequent generations.

On the other hand, if you start with a genetically pure sample of non-resistant E. Coli they're all going to die.

By JasonMick on 1/20/2011 12:34:38 PM , Rating: 1
It's called E. Coli. Their average lifespan is a few hours to a day. Like any creature when they reproduce random mutations can occur, some of which can confer unique survival benefits.

The mutation in question, observed at Michigan State University, was a protein that was altered to be able to chemically process ("digest") citrate... and thanks to E. Coli's short lifespan this all took a few years not hundreds of thousands.

Ain't science great?

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 12:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
Its fantastic Mick, but did the e. coli evolve or ADAPT. Their determination of the borders of what makes E. Coli - E. Coli, doesn't make it cease to be E. Coli.

SO I ASK, is it still E. Coli? If it suddenly became something radically different, you may have something there. As it is, it seems like nothing more than E. Coli reacting and adapting to penicillin .

By JasonMick on 1/20/2011 12:48:41 PM , Rating: 1
Most higher organisms share large amounts of similar or highly analogous genes encoding similar proteins. A mouse and chicken share much of the same genes or slightly modified analogues.

You seem interested in the topic so hopefully you know that small mutations can have dramatic effects on the growth or outward appearance of an organism. Say the difference between a chicken wing and mouse paw.

You can call genetic changes adaptation if you're more comfortable with that than the accepted term, but that is an evolutionary step, plain and simple.

By Xcpus on 1/20/2011 1:49:51 PM , Rating: 2

We're talking about a process which was undertaken over Billions of years. You're not likely to see a Mouse turn Into a Chicken like Magic *poof*... that's what religion tells you... not Science.

I am willing to bet that as our environment changes (weather patterns shifting, climate changes, tectonic plate movements (continental drift) and other changes over the course of millions of years) our future generations will interact with species that did not exist while we were around.

And this is exactly what the fossil record shows.

By banthracis on 1/20/2011 12:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
1.5% genetic difference separates chimp and human.

That new e coli strain differs from parent by ~2%.

It is radically different. You just can't seem to get over the fact that it's still a round single cell organism. Species differ by more than outside appearance.

It's a new species, but called e coli (strain name) to avoid having to name thousands of new species a day.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 12:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
Lemme know when its not E. Coli anymore.

Also lemme know when chimps start talking, or people start flinging their feces at other people. Wait...

By banthracis on 1/20/2011 1:10:54 PM , Rating: 2
So are you arguing that chimps and humans are the same species? or that 1.5% difference is enough to say a chimp isn't a human, but 2% difference is not enough to a new strain of bacteria is no longer e coli?

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 1:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, i'll let you answer that for me, since the scientists still call it E. Coli.

By Xcpus on 1/20/2011 1:55:49 PM , Rating: 2
Yes... because it can still reproduce/repicate with non-resistant E.Coli bacteria and the results (err.. I'll say offspring even though it is not the proper term) can in turn continue to reproduce/replicate. They are the same species. It is still E.Coli.

Take a Zebra and a Horse. Two separate species with similar characteristics right? Not exactly. Although they qualify as two separate species... they can still interbreed (just barely). The offspring they produce, however, are sterile and cannot in turn reproduce themselves.

I really suggest you read up on Evolutionary theory. There are some great books out there to get you started and here are a few.

- The Selfish Gene
- The Greatest Show on Earth
- Origin of Species


By PhatoseAlpha on 1/20/2011 3:06:59 PM , Rating: 2
How do you determine if two asexually reproducing organisms are the same species? The whole 'interbreed with fertile offspring' test fails wholesale if the things in question don't reproduce sexually to begin with.

That is, to me, a very strong hint that the bifurcation of change into adaption or evolution based on species is fundamentally flawed. If the only difference between the two is decided by a test that doesn't even work for most orgasnisms on the planet, chances are the difference is non-existent.

By Gurthang on 1/20/2011 3:50:43 PM , Rating: 3
Genetic testing of the population and statistics. Determine the population norm, adjust for expected drift and anything outside that "group" is considered something new. But in the end the very defninition of species is a human artifice to organize the spectrum of organisms we observe. It is like looking at the visible spectrum of light and arguing when red becomes orange. And denying that decendants of organsim cannot drift out of these arbritary groups we have set when we observe drift already is akin to arguing that doppler shift cannot turn orange light into red because in your experience you have never observed it even though the current theory that describes doppler shift does not contain any such limits.

By SFMChris on 1/20/2011 1:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
Most people who have problems with scientific models will never be convinced by "scientific evidence". They are starting from a different metaphysical (origin of all things) and epistemological (how do we know things) starting point.

With respect to evolution, religious adherents see objects in the world in terms of Platonic forms (i.e. that a lion is a lion, always has been and always will be a lion). Contrast that to a modern population geneticist who is working with the modern evolutionary concept of a group of interbreeding organisms representing a reproductively isolated gene pool (and note, this gene pool fluctuates over time because we can directly measure this). If one subscribes to this empirical view, it is possible to say that what constitutes the worldwide population of African lions today is not the same "species" it was a thousand years ago because the pool of genetic information that constituted reproducing lions then isn't the same as it is today.

As intelligent life forms with great behavioral plasticity, humans have categorized the world around us into a coherent view of the environment in which we must live. For what most people did for tens of thousands of years, this was sufficient to live in an environment with lions. For genetic researches, this common sense notion of what lions are cannot be derived from evolutionary theory.

Similarly, a static view of all life forms is not supported by empirical observation. Just as Isaac Newton's three Laws of Motion nicely fit our common sense notion of the universe, it had to give way to the empirical evidence of the motion of light proposed by Albert Einstein. For most of us, Einstein's universe doesn't make a lot of sense in the common sense notion of reality; however, scientific evidence has supported this view of reality. Likewise, it may violate our common sense notion that a lion has not always been a lion and will not always be a lion. This is a very difficult barrier to hurdle.

There is no rule that says the universe must conform to our common sense notions about it. Science is revealing that the universe is even stranger than we imagined.

By geddarkstorm on 1/21/2011 3:53:24 PM , Rating: 2
No, humans and chimps are NOT only 1.5% different. We differ genetically considerably more. The 98.5% similarity is based on a few structural genes when homogenized (removal of polymorphisms). Humans have 23 chromosomes, chimps have 24 (thus interbreeding is absolutely impossible on that basis alone). Our telomeric structures are different, gene orderings are largely swapped (and thus gene regulations are quite different), there are many inversions and deletions, and then when you move out to the intergenic regions, which have been discovered to be functional, the divergence wildly increases.

Us being 98.5% identical with chimps in absolute terms is an utter myth.

By Denigrate on 1/20/2011 1:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
Good grief man/woman. It's called Natural Selection, aka Evolution. I don't think anyone with half a brain can say that natural selection/evolution is false. It happens around us every single day. Do you think single celled organisms can become multi-celled organisms? That's not real far fetched due to cell division being how single cell organisms propigate. How about slow drift on "founding" organisms to specialize to their environment?

Now the only thing I have trouble with is the "origin of life" on our planet. The conditions for amino acids and all the rest actually coming to life is not very likely. Labs have done the bits with creating the building blocks, but to my knowledge, they have not actually created life from scratch. This is where, IMHO, God or another intelligent creator comes into play.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 1:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
no, "not very likely".... completely, utterly, and absolutely impossible without MASSIVE intervention.

By mephit13 on 1/20/2011 1:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
Must be nice to have been everywhere and seen everything that has ever happened in the universe. Seems like a lot of traveling in to have completed in, I assume you believe, a mere six thousand years or so.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 3:57:58 PM , Rating: 2

By Jjoshua2 on 1/20/2011 2:28:47 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution is NOT the same as natural selection. Natural selection is just the good genes make it and the bad ones don't. Evolution requires more than just a filtering and changing of the existing genes. It requires life from nonlife and new proteins and completely new designs. For example, until you have enough of a wing to glide, it is a hindrance, so you can't slowly get a big wing. Or breathing in water vs on land. Its not something that natural selection can do, if the right genes and proteins don't exist anywhere and nothing close to those designs exist.

By mephit13 on 1/20/2011 2:48:09 PM , Rating: 3
You could be more wrong, but it would take a lot of effort. Organisms evolve through the process of natural selection. Evolution does not require life from non-life. The theory of evolution does not try to explain the origin of life, it merely tries to explain how life can change over time. That time takes thousands if not millions of years, not a single organisms lifetime. Sorry, Breathless, your dreams of turning in to some form of arctic/aquatic-seal-eating wolf will remain only a dream.

By jahwarrior on 1/20/2011 3:27:39 PM , Rating: 3
Natural selection does not create new genes, genetic code or DNA, it is simply an environmental force that may bring out a certain trait that already exists within a species genetic code. Aka the classic peppered moth example, white moths died due to pollution turning the bark on trees brown, while dark moths survived as they blended in with the new environment. The environmental factors were the pollution, introduced by man and birds which ate the white moths as they were easier to spot. Another example being a disease which certain individuals have a resistance to and survive. Thus some favorable genes are preserved (not created) and passed on to the next generation. In no way does natural selection turn a single celled organism into a human, or create any new genetic information, these environment forces do not cause changes in the DNA. Throw in a million or billion years and this fact doesn’t change.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 4:12:33 PM , Rating: 2
well said

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 3:42:53 PM , Rating: 1
But i'm supposedly pretty close to becoming a chimp, so you are only 2% away from catching a face full of my flying feces.

By morphologia on 1/20/2011 4:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
In order to "become a chimp," you'd need to walk backwards around the earth 666 times, reciting Bible passages the entire time.

Or maybe not.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 4:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
har de har har

By mephit13 on 1/20/2011 4:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure if you're intentionally not understanding things or not. Willful ignorance is the "In" thing these days. I’m not saying that there’s no God or that He had nothing to do with anything existing. I’m just saying that considering all of the evidence in the world and the universe, maybe a book written thousands of years ago doesn’t tell an accurate story of how we came to be.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 4:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
And making a determination as to whether something is truthful or not based on its age - and not on its merit, is like saying your grandparents and great grandparents are far more deceptive than you are, simply because they existed way before you.

By mephit13 on 1/20/2011 4:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I’m not really basing anything on its age. I’m basing it on newly discovered or learned information. Something that can’t happen in your faith based model. Since you brought it up though, there’s a long list of old-wives-tales demonstrate that older beliefs weren’t always quite true. A lot of them were widely held beliefs that people knew to be true. Then we got some new information and learned maybe amber beads, worn as a necklace, can’t actually protect against illness or cure colds. Or that ivy growing on a house may not actually protects the inhabitants from witchcraft and evil.

By Breathless on 1/20/2011 5:01:59 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, but there is nothing in the bible that you can apply that to. I challenge you to do so.

By morphologia on 1/20/2011 5:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
The burden of proof rests upon the collected hearsay of two millennia. No one needs to "disprove" anything in the Bible because nothing meaningful in the Bible has ever been "proven."

By jahwarrior on 1/20/2011 7:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
Science can only answer the question how, but not why. When you try to answer the why question, you leave empirical science and head into the realm of indoctrination; such is the case with the current evolutionary dogma. The theory of evolution has not been proven in the lab, and the fact that many of you falsely claim so, just makes me question your motives. Are you after the true answer or something else? I don’t see what’s wrong with genuine open and honest scientific research and communication? All I see is anger and scorn towards anybody that questions the unproven theory of evolution. Why are people so afraid that someone may have a Christian belief or a belief in God, etc. Don’t get what the big deal is.

By kraeper on 1/20/2011 7:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
I like that this debate was all sparked by a "Theistic Evolutionsist" .. which is about as open-minded as one can get. So basically he accepts mutation and natural selection, which are very well-founded science, but rejects the "Oh well, some primordial soup magically spawned life" part of the "science" of Evolution. (Incidentally, 90% of the problem is that the term Evolution is applied to micro evolution, macro evolution, and origin of life theories.) So he calls the Origin of life portion Design, which is entirely more logical than any theory that rejects design.

I kinda like this professor for that.

By zozzlhandler on 1/20/2011 9:37:11 PM , Rating: 1
What nonsense! Literal interpretations of the bible are the domain of those so-called religious people unequipped to carry on n intelligent discussion. So using it in an argument against religion is like saying you are as narrow and closed as they are (perhaps you are). Any reasonable theologian will tell you that the death spoken of as due to sin is spiritual death, the end of living a life with full spiritual and physical awareness. The physical body does not last forever, so eternal physical life is a ridiculous concept.

So you see a *really* religious (and reasonable) person can answer all of your nitpicking.

Stop equating "religious person" with the well-meaning but stupid people we see all the time trying to convinve us that science is not true.

By Visual on 1/21/2011 8:46:04 AM , Rating: 2
Hey zozzy,
Of course you are right.
"A *really* religious (and reasonable) person can answer all of your nitpicking"
Yes, by saying that anything obviously false should not be taken literally, and anything illogical but not proved or disproved yet doesn't need a proof but just faith, and we should not be questioning or trying to understand things as "unknowable are God's ways" or similar. That's theology for you.
But that doesn't make religion correct, just makes it acceptable for those desperate to believe it. You can apply the same to spaghetti-monsterism as well.

By zozzlhandler on 1/21/2011 10:41:15 AM , Rating: 2
You completely misunderstand. A religious worldview can be as internally consistent as a scientific theory, without any "unknowable" or "mysterious" stuff. But trying to get literal meaning in a modern scientific context from an ancient book is bound to fail. However, if you regard the book as explaining creation symbolically to a people with little or no science, you may get a surprise. For instance, the creation story lists the beasts in their evolutionary order (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals). Perhaps this mere chance. Perhaps not. The "seven days" might be how you explain seven epochs to a primitive.

But none of this really shows the great need for religion in the current time. Is science really going to solve all the moral problems, all the greed (both corporate and individual) that is doing such damage to our world?

I think that science is powerless to solve this kind of problem.

But think on this for a moment. If there had been no Jesus, would there be anyone today that thinks about the good of all humanity? Would anyone try to look beyond the good of their own nation? Few enough do this even with the huge foundation of moral righteousness that major religions have pushed into our collective consciousness. Look at the culture of today, and what it might have been without the amazing force of the followers of Jesus. Then tell me religion is wrong.

By Visual on 1/24/2011 6:15:26 AM , Rating: 2
Your implication that atheists (or even non-Christians in general) have worse morals is downright insulting.

By Quadrillity on 1/23/2011 10:22:06 PM , Rating: 2
If God did it right the first time why did he exterminate all life on Earth except for the inhabitants of the Ark?

Fair question. Think about what "perfect" creation is. It's one without death, suffering, and evil. When God created the world, it was flawless.

What you see today, is a world filled with hate, death, and suffering. So what went wrong? The answer is free will. When God gave us the choice to either accept or reject his love, we (as a human race in general) started making very bad choices and we all fall short of the glory of God. It's obvious that some have chosen to reject God's love, and that's why we live in a world that will never see perfection again.

We are promised that acceptance of God will save us from our sin and bring us to a world without faults. You can spend your whole life scoffing if you wish, but it definitely will not make you a better person or save you from judgment. We will ALL be judged one day for our deeds here on Earth.

By Quadrillity on 1/24/2011 9:13:24 AM , Rating: 3
Your outright hatred towards people who believe in a higher power is pathetic. You need to find something else to devote your life to.

Your freedom of speech ends when it infringes on my right to peacefully practice my faith. Slander is wrong, I hope you know that.

By PReiger99 on 1/20/2011 9:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
The theory of evolution has not been proven in the lab

You can't be more desperate than that. The fact is science is based on observations. For example, you don't need to recreate a sun in a lab to explain how it works and how it came to be. You can prove something even if you haven't personally see species evolving over a few billions years because this phenomenon has left tons of evidences behind.

And the evidences that support evolution are simply overwhelming. For example, the archeological data showing the evolution of Eohippus into a horse is extremely well detailed. Moreover, the embryonic development of placental mammals that mimic the embryonic development of reptiles is, again, another evidence evolution-deniers cannot (or more accurately prefer not) explain. But you will never accept these facts because it would prove your religious occultism mistaken. And at the end of the day, sciences deal with reality and facts no matter how many time you absurdly claim that evolution is a "unproven dogma".

By Zoridon on 1/21/2011 6:40:26 AM , Rating: 2
Where did it all come from? Explain to me this? hmmmm I'll be waiting forever for an awnswer from science because you can't explain with physics, chemistry, biology, "insert scientific field of study" how something can come from nothing. look in the mirror right now and what do you see... a nut job who has faith in something coming from nothing... If I didn't know better I'd say you were religious. How does it feel to deny what your eyes see? The mere fact that you even exist proves god exists because science will never prove how something came from nothing.

By Visual on 1/21/2011 8:28:14 AM , Rating: 1
From your reasoning I would agree that "God" exists, but only if we limit the definition of that word to just "primal cause" or similar. And even then that "God" is subject to research, and according to some models it may still not exist, i.e. the universe never "came out of nothing" but existed forever... but whatever, let's not get distracted. Assume I agree that this type of "God" exists.

I would still not accept the nutjobs that suggest "God" is also a sentient, active entity that took any action beyond the initial creation - you know, setting bushes on fire, talking to mushroom munching wackos, impregnating virgins and the like. Neither would I accept the absurdly selfish idea that God created all this specifically for humans. Nor that he is watching, testing, punishing and rewarding us. Nor the even more ridiculous one that he will be punishing or rewarding us in an untestable, unobservable afterlife. Talk about redundant entities in a model...

So to recap, you are still full of bullshit.

By Visual on 1/21/2011 9:02:56 AM , Rating: 1
Once again, you just made a case for the existence of "primal cause", not for "God" as any religions actually define it. In fact, you dismissed all religions and as such support my point that they are all bullshit.
So we both agree, "primal cause" exists and religions are bullshit for assigning it further properties, and we only differ in that you will never presume to know "primal cause" purpose since you're human and imperfect (and defeatist, or just lazy, I would add) while I still think we can try to understand that "primal cause" scientifically, even if we obviously don't yet.

why is this on a Dailytech?
By Chaser on 1/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By Flunk on 1/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By jarman on 1/20/2011 1:09:13 PM , Rating: 4
C. Martin Gaskell, Ph.D

Yes... I'm quite sure that he lacks "understanding the fundamental theories of science".

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By morphologia on 1/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By ClownPuncher on 1/20/2011 2:45:52 PM , Rating: 3
I think your conclusions are highly flawed.

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By morphologia on 1/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By ClownPuncher on 1/20/2011 4:44:07 PM , Rating: 5
It may be a pretty good theory, but just because he does not think the theory holds as much weight as you or I, doesn't mean he is a bad scientist. I would hate to see someone, who could be a very good and productive person in his/her field, be shut out of research due to personal beliefs.

Plus, theory isn't always fact. Why would he have to disprove evolution, when we havent disproven God?

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By MartyLK on 1/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By morphologia on 1/20/2011 5:25:08 PM , Rating: 1
In science, theory consists of a tendency of proven facts. Absolutes are somewhat unscientific, since more advanced technology can prove earlier observations to be inaccurate.

And I'm asking for someone to prove an alternative to evolution, not disprove evolution. That's the only real way to "disprove" the theory that thus far is representative of the vast majority of scientific data.

But there's little point in "disproving God," since He has yet to be proven at all. We're apparently supposed to assume that He is there, not despite the absence of proof but because of it.

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By Irene Ringworm on 1/20/2011 1:54:20 PM , Rating: 4
@Flunk - your plumber analogy doesn't work. If you're hiring an astronomer his beliefs about evolutionary biology are almost completely irrelevant to his day-to-day work.

In the decade or so I've spent as a research chemist I've worked with dozens of folks skeptical of Darwinism for religious or other reasons. Outside of the occasional uncomfortable discussion, their beliefs have no impact on the quality of their work in chemistry.

So you're right - I wouldn't hire a plumber who believed that sewage would leap over gaps in pipes for no logical reason. But if he's the best electrician in town I shouldn't care what he thinks about sewage.

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By wgbutler on 1/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By ClownPuncher on 1/20/2011 2:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think you may be guilty of the same. Darwinists are not an organized group, nor do they all have the same beliefs. Sorta like Christians, right?

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By wgbutler on 1/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By morphologia on 1/20/11, Rating: -1
By snakeInTheGrass on 1/20/2011 5:59:14 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. Lack of evidence while espousing a 2000 year old doctrine (well, less than that since it wasn't written down until later by parties with various vested interestes... of maybe more than 2000 considering how much is taken from older religious myths...) is fine. Imagining and propagating that it's some sort of fact-based thing is what's annoying.

If it's Christ you're into, please logically explain why Muhammed was wrong. Or the Hindus. Now please take another look into your own faith again - sure, it makes way more sense, huh? ALL of these religions are invented by people as a control and expansion mechanism, demonstrating why having people who will fight for irrational ideas is a successful evolutionary strategy.

Some items in the various books are certainly factual, but so are some of the Greek myths. Why hello there, Troy! Do you think that Greek gods were actually running around the battlefield? Oh, but god was there making earthquakes or other very evil stuff happen in biblical times, right? I forgot, killing first born and condemning them to eternity in hell is a good thing (you know, like everyone else from BCE since Jesus couldn't save them yet...). Or did god realize he was wrong when Jesus said to turn the other cheek? Which is it? Or maybe there was an earthquake or disease that went around? Nah, impossible, people would never attribute that to deities!

And then people wonder why it's irritating to get this stuff thrown out as some sort of rationale for making policy decisions or guiding research?

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By wgbutler on 1/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By Azethoth on 1/20/2011 7:30:22 PM , Rating: 2
Lol. The day to day business of science is messy and full of dead ends. However the overall evolution of scientific ideas is towards increasingly better explanations for the world around us.

You really do require an understanding of the scientific method to see how the mess is irrelevant to the advancement part.

Lacking this basic understanding, which wikipedia may easily fix, you are left with rantings devoid of scientific basis or relevance.

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By wgbutler on 1/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By sgw2n5 on 1/20/2011 3:12:39 PM , Rating: 2

There aren't any "Darwinists". You either accept the theory of evolution (based upon an absolute shitload of corroborating scientific evidence), or you don't (likely because of religious indoctrination).

Seriously... evolution is better understood than gravity.

I have yet to meet any scientist that is, as you say, "insecure" about their acceptance of evolution.

If you don't accept the theory of evolution, you are probably just ignorant of how it actually works, or are neck-deep in whacko religious indoctrination and DON'T WANT to know how the world really works.

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By wgbutler on 1/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By sgw2n5 on 1/21/2011 3:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
So exactly which tenant of evolution do you disagree with? And, again, there is no such thing as a "Darwinist". Merely using that term shows both your ignorance and bias.

Tell me, what part of evolutionary theory do you think is incorrect?

(If you tell me, I can point you towards a mountain of scientific literature... that I'm sure you won't read... that will tell you exactly why you are wrong)

RE: why is this on a Dailytech?
By Quadrillity on 1/21/2011 4:28:32 PM , Rating: 1
"Darwinist" describes a person that conforms to classic Darwinian thought. The poster child of this methodology is non other than Richard Dawkins. If you didn't know that, then maybe it's YOU who is ignorant and bias.

Furthermore, if you can't accept that there are huge missing gaps in the theory, and that most of it must be taken on faith, then you are wasting time talking about it because you cannot be open minded for 2 seconds.

that I'm sure you won't read... that will tell you exactly why you are wrong

Yep, as I expected. A complete waste of time talking to you.

Why don't you explain things like the pitfalls of radio-metric dating?
1. The initial conditions of the rock sample are accurately known.
2. The amount of parent or daughter elements in a sample has not been altered by processes other than radioactive decay.
3. The decay rate (or half-life) of the parent isotope has remained constant since the rock was formed.