Symphony of Science – Our Place in the Cosmos

One more from the brilliant John Boswell at Symphony of Science. This one features a chorus by Richard Dawkins. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vioZf4TjoUI&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x402061&color2=0x9461ca&border=1]

One more from the brilliant John Boswell at Symphony of Science.

This one features a chorus by Richard Dawkins.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vioZf4TjoUI&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x402061&color2=0x9461ca&border=1]

Don’t Know Much Biology

I found a blurb about this on BoingBoing, but it’s one of those things that just seems to be worth passing on. David Pescovitz (of BoingBoing) writes: “During the recent republican presidential debate, the moderator asked nine candidates to raise their hands if they “didn’t believe in evolution.” Senator Sam Brownback, Governor Mike Huckabee, and […]

I found a blurb about this on BoingBoing, but it’s one of those things that just seems to be worth passing on.

David Pescovitz (of BoingBoing) writes:
“During the recent republican presidential debate, the moderator asked nine candidates to raise their hands if they “didn’t believe in evolution.” Senator Sam Brownback, Governor Mike Huckabee, and Representative Tom Tancredo raised their hands. Last week, Brownback wrote a New York Times op-ed attempting to explain his reasoning.”

I chose not to post a link to Brownback’s idiocy; click the BoingBoing link about to find a link to said op-ed.

The interesting part, though, and what I want to feature, is Jerry Coyne‘s very well written reply to Brownback’s piece.

Coyne writes:
“Whether he knows it or not, Brownback’s forthright declarations, denying any possibility that empirical matters of fact might differ from those assumed by his creed, amount to nothing less than a rejection of the whole institution of science. Who is “we”, and where did “our” conviction and certainty come from? Would Brownback believe these “spiritual truths” if he hadn’t been taught them as a child, or brought up in the United States instead of China?

According to Brownback, we should reject scientific findings if they conflict with our faith, but accept them if they’re compatible. But the scientific evidence says that humans are big-brained, highly conscious apes that began evolving on the African savannah four million years ago. Are we supposed to reject this as “atheistic theology” (an oxymoron if there ever was one)?”

Coyne’s piece perfectly captures the errors in faith-based thinking, and neatly distills what’s what’s inherently wrong the popular mis-understanding of the nature of evolutionary biology. The description I’ve long used is that creationism’s rhetoric is entirely based on a failure to understand the meaning of the word ‘theory’ in ‘theory of evolution’. Coyne does a better job laying it out, in a well written (and vaguely frightening) article. I highly recommend that you go read it.