The October 7, 2005 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) reported:

The chancellor of the University of Kansas sent an e-mail message to all faculty and staff members last week stating that evolution is the “unifying principle of modern biology” and that there is no contradiction between that view and a belief in God. In an interview he added that opponents of evolution make Kansas seem like an “anti-science state.”

The Chronicle article continued:

The chancellor, Robert E. Hemenway, said the message had
been prompted by a number of professors who asked him to speak out on
the increasingly controversial issue. It also followed recent remarks
by Steve Abrams, chairman of the Kansas Board of Education, that belief
in the Bible and in evolution were not compatible. The Board of
Education, which oversees public schools, has no control over the
university. Even so, Mr. Hemenway was concerned that Mr. Abrams’s
comment contributed to the perception that Kansans don’t value science.

Here’s how the faux debate over the “New Evolution” issue is examined
in a couple of political cartoons. The artists succinctly demonstrate
how dangerous the road ahead is for us all as the supremacy of
established universal intellectualism and peer-reviewed science are
questioned over individual religious tenets:

The New Evolution

The New Evolution

22 Comments

  1. We wouldn’t be having this problem if most people spoke up and got involved. Lately narrow views out-yell wide ones. Then it gets nasty when the narrows shout their way to power and then they win the right to appoint and set policy and the wide suffer in silence.

  2. You make a convincing and prescient point, soos. There are a lot of people who sit out the process for fear of being branded for standing up but as time and tide creep and new precedents are set, the will of the true mainstream majority must rise and say “enough.”

  3. I don’t know why it’s so hard for some to accept how we evolved. It’s as if they feel that if they believe then the Bible isn’t true, and others who try to suggest another way are thought of as trying to repress Christianity. The literal interpretation of every single thing in the Bible is unreasonable, especially from the Old Testament.
    I might have other Christians jumping all over me for that statement, but it’s how I feel.

  4. The problem, inherently, is that evolution/ID is so polarizing that neither want to concede the idea that evolution and Christianity can co-exist without appearing as though they’ve relented. Note the tone of defeat in the words concede and relent. Neither would ever view co-existence as a compromise.
    It doesn’t take a louder voice for the wide to enact change. All it takes is for the wide to tell their kids and their fellow peers, “What they’re talking about is ridiculous” or “What they’re talking about makes sense”. And then let the arguments fall where they may. Too many are afraid to get involved in even a conversation of the matter, opting to not touch that with a ten foot pole.
    Debate begins at home. At the water cooler. Walking between classes. Senators and board members should not be the first ones engaged in discussion.

  5. Ron!
    I thank you for your moderate message and your perspective is appealing to many.
    I become appalled, as a scientist, when I hear some people trying to sell the idea of “Intelligent Design” as scientific when it is not in any way. That kind of purposeful confusion mongers mistrust in those who know better.
    There was an interesting discussing just now on MSNBC television when Ron Reagan was interviewing a minister about a book she wrote on Intelligent Design. Ron asked her for any kind of evidence Intelligent Design was a viable concept that could be proven beyond just stating something was true because someone believed it to be true. He was asking her for empirical proof of her theory. The proof of her reply was: Herself. The her before she found God and the her after she found God. She not only didn’t answer his direct question, she did not appear to comprehend the premise of Regan’s inquiry.

  6. I don’t think the two are necessarily at odds with one another : evolution is part of science, but it can be explained by many a religious person. Taking the Bible too literally is fraught with danger, just as taking any book (or any religious volume such as the Koran) that old might be.
    The context of the time, the translations and many contradictions in the texts themselves cause a lot of interesting and lively debate. What I cannot agree with in this case is the dictation of which approach is correct. Education should be about teaching all religions and all scientific approaches, and helping each individual decide which approach fits best with their feelings. It should not be about pushing a given doctrine.

  7. You have an interesting approach, fruey.
    I am concerned when you say:
    “Education should be about teaching all religions and all scientific approaches, and helping each individual decide which approach fits best with their feelings. It should not be about pushing a given doctrine.”
    How many scientific approaches are there?
    Science is universal across all languages and religions — what DNA is and how it binds us does not change in the context of any religious dogma or under any other umbrella of culture or if one is Christian or Muslim or Irish or Polish or Puerto Rican or Black — DNA is a scientific fact that has been studied and tested and agreed upon over time using rigorous testing and peer-reviewed standards. The idea of following God or Allah, however, serves two completely different ideas that are not based in the same community of behavioral belief.
    When you then add “feelings” to your argument it gives me pause because science does not foster or care about feelings because it goes against pure reason and science is a neutral method of discovery and not something that should in any way be sorted emotionally. Feelings, however, do play a large role in a religious conceit and people can find solace and joy and despair in that doctrine.
    Some people over the Ages may believe gravity and multiple universes go against the idea of a God or a religious belief but that doesn’t make the science behind gravity any less valid because the beauty of science is it serves no dogma or argument it is merely there because it is — it is there for the discovery and exploitation by those who choose to practice the art of scientific inquiry.

  8. When I say “scientific approaches” I’m thinking more along the lines of ways of proving things through experimentation. Some scientists are theoretical, some practical. Some research via texts, mathematics and astronomical observation. Some manipulate matter. Some prove things in different ways. The hard facts in science are there, but look at it this way : Newton’s laws were fine until Einstein came up with relativity. Then you have string theorists and such who use a different model again. The world doesn’t change, but the models on how to interpret it do. Before DNA, there were still biological theories on inheritence of genetic traits. Now people are looking at RNA and we still don’t know what some genes do.
    So take “scientific approaches” in terms of how you relate to science. Personally, I can’t get my head around string theory and multiple dimensions. I have trouble with special relativity. But Newton I can handle :-). Doesn’t mean these models aren’t all right, but it depends whether you’re talking about matter that you can easily observe, or particles accelerated to 98% of the speed of light…

  9. fruey —
    I understand what you’re saying and you make some interesting points.
    I am mainly concerned with verifiable reproducibility of results because that is the core of the scientific method: I did this to get that — and you can, from France, follow exactly what I did here in Jersey City to get the same result.
    Intelligent Design does not worry about any kind of reproducible method to get results and instead relies on what Education Week described in their October 5th edition about the legal case in Dover, Pennsylvania where students are now required by the School Board to be told:
    “…[Intelligent Design] posits that the development of living things, including humans, shows signs of having been directed by an unnamed master architect, rather than generated by an undirected process of evolution through natural selection and random mutation.”
    I find myself agreeing with Eric Rothschild, attorney for the Plaintiffs in that Dover case who claimed in opening arguments “Intelligent Design is not science in its infancy. It is not science at all.”

  10. “Oh, God. I like the way this conversation is evolving.”
    But it’s not “evolving”, it’s “designed” each step of the way. Did you create those sentences by “chance”? Did natural selection choose certain words to be used over others?
    It’s the belief in a flawed theory as “fact” and the ignorance of a scientificly valid challenger such as ID that makes the progress towards ignorism clearer and nearer!
    Get the facts and stop buying this “fact” nonsense from evolutionists. See the evidence for yourself (objectively and unbiased) and then make up your decisions accordingly. Don’t be Kool-aid drinkers!
    For more info: http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org

  11. i went on google search and typed in evolution in the picture section i saw a cartoon with a cover that said intelligent design and behind it, it clearly shows the bible but in the other panel the cover said evolution and under that there is a book that clearly show a book of fairytales. fairytales? honestly? you know that evolution is clearly favored by almost all of the scientific community, every piece of scientific information that we have found since the start of science supports evolution. people who are ignorant enough to call evolution fairytales obviously have never actually took time to read the evidence, this is coming from a person that between the ages of 6 to 16 told people that i wanted to be a priest, until i was able to decide for myself that i no longer needed an “imaginary friend” to rely upon, now i’am in college very close to getting my scientific doctorate, and I KNOW that we evolved, the reason i know is because of factual proof, not faith because faith is a reason to live an ignorant life without supportive proof.