Sunday Afternoon Evolution Notes and Links

I’ve been reading a number of really good posts on the creation, evolution, and intelligent design, but I only have a very small amount to say about each one, so I’m going to combine them into a post.

The first is from An Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution, and is titled Does Evolution lead to Moral Relativism? Making the Bogeyman even Scarier. With that title, how can you go wrong?

Martin notes:

I have commented before that humanity’s connectedness to all other life on planet earth does not contradict the fact that we are created in the image of God. What needs to be addressed is the contention that the mechanism of natural selection somehow leads to moral relativism. Briefly, the acceptance of natural selection should not lead us to accept moral relativism since first, it acts on populations not individuals, and second, it is descriptive not prescriptive.

He then goes on to back this up in some more detail. I appreciate his writing, because he illustrates what I have frequently claimed. Creation-evolution is not a conservative/liberal debate in Christianity, even though a much higher percentage of Christian liberals would accept the ToE. But there are a substantial number of educated evangelicals who also accept the ToE. The comments to this one are also very interesting.

Second, via The Panda’s Thumb I found this article from Talk.Reason which deals with the impact of creationism in the Muslim world. I have been told by many Muslims that they have no problem with evolution, and I’ve wondered if there would not be a similar problem in portions of Islam to what there is in Christianity. It looks quite possible that there is. Fundamentalists of all stripes do have a higher percentage chance of rejecting mainstream science on various subjects. The question remains of how much of the Muslim world should be viewed as fundamentalist (or sympathizers). I keep hearing various answers on that one.

Finally, there’s this video clip, which apparently someone thinks should help convince people of ID:

The problem is, as I remind people about spam and various internet scams, people wouldn’t do it so much if there weren’t people who would actually believe it. Thus there are a number of people out there who find this argument convincing: “It looks designed, it’s complex, and we don’t understand every detail, so it must be designed. Why do those stubborn scientists keep trying to understand the process?” (Before someone points it out, that is not a quote from the video. It’s a summary of an argument I’ve heard over and over.)

I found this via this post on PT which does a good job of stomping on the arguments in question. Larry Moran at Sandwalk similarity hits the bullseye with some very brief comments.

The weird argument in this case is that Dembski tries to take a swipe at Evolution: Triumph of an Idea [my brief review], by using the eye pictures on the jacket as an example of how evolutions, he says, put a few pictures together leading from less to more complex and then say, “See, it evolved!”

If one is charitable one will assume that he did not read the book at all, or was really badly distracted. I will just suggest that if one wants to find the actual science, or in this case the popularization of science, one will have to actually open the book itself. Don’t assume that the science is exhausted by the pictures on the cover.

Having posted a note on Carl Zimmer’s wonderful book, I should note for anyone who doesn’t know (I trust most of you already know this), he has a blog The Loom, which I follow regularly.

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