Is the daffodil’s trumpet a newly evolved flower part?
More clues and evidence for evolution, but far more pretty!
Many people will have noticed that a question on the Biology GCSE paper from 2009 recently surfaced which apparently gave equal weight to Natural Selection, Lamarkianism, Intelligent Design and Creationism.
This is something that the exam board, AQA, were heavily criticized for at the time; however they have confirmed that the 2010 paper did not contain such such a question. They have also stated that “the subject team has confirmed that future exam papers will not contain any questions on creationism or intelligent design.”
It’s great that the exam board realized their mistake and corrected it (something that we encourage!), but it shows just how careful and vigilant we have to be to protect children from misleading and disproven “theories” from the science curricula!
…and more evidence for the development of the human liniage is discovered and confirmed…although there is still much more to learn and discover, but that is why we do science!
Atheism and Sex: take part in the survey Read more
Separate type of human co-existed and interbred with our own species Read more
“Science is no more compatible with religion than with other superstitions.” Read more
Assertions by Professor Stephen Hawking is his forthcoming book, The Grand Design, that science leaves no role for God in the creation of the Universe triggered the usual predictable and inane responses from religious leaders this week, as reported in The Times on September the 3rd.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was quoted as saying,
“Belief in God is not about plugging a gap in explaining how one thing relates to another within the Universe. It is the belief that there is an intelligent, living agent on whose activity everything ultimately depends for its existence. Physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing.”
Does he really think this is a serious rebuttal that says anything useful or coherent? Reading between the lines here is my translation of what he was really saying,
“Belief in God is not about knowledge. It is the belief, without evidence, and wild speculation and baseless hope that there is an intelligent, living agent on whose activity everything ultimately depends for its existence. Physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing, even though I have no reason to think that this is even a meaningful or valid question.”
In other words Faith is living in a perpetual state of un-knowing, of ignorance, whereby beliefs are states of mind decoupled from reality and has no meaning.
The statement from the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks was even more telling, who said,
“Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation … The Bible simply isn’t interested in how the Universe came into being.”
Well, yes, that is nothing new, but it is great that he admits that religion is about subjective interpretation and not objective truth. Here’s my translation,
“Science is about explanation. Religion is about making things up … The Bible is wrong about how the Universe came into being even when it describes (in Genesis) how the Universe came into being.”
The Muslim version came from Imam Ibrahim Mogra,
“God calls on us to ponder God’s creation, to realise his presence. The fact that we have an extraordinarily complex universe which continues to grow before our eyes is the strongest possible evidence that of the existence of a creator.”
No, he has missed the point, the laws of physics explain how the universe grows without recourse to a God. My translation,
“God calls on us to ponder God’s creation, to realise his presence, though this is based on an assumption for which I have no evidence that there is a God. The fact that we have an extraordinarily complex universe which continues to grow before our eyes is the strongest possible evidence for an extraordinarily complex universe which continues to grow before our eyes.”
Such statements from these religious leaders remind me of two of the three wise monkeys as their beliefs are derived from their perspective on the universe of seeing nothing and hearing nothing. One would only hope they would follow the lead of the third monkey and keep their mouths shut too!
Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design (hardcover and audio-book) is available to pre-order at a reduced price in our bookshop.
Researchers have discovered the skull of a 29 million-year-old animal that could be a common ancestor of Old World monkeys and apes, including humans.
It indicates that apes and Old World monkeys diverged millions of years later than previously thought, say the scientists.
The discovery was made in Saudi Arabia by researchers from the University of Michigan.
They described the primate, Saadanius hijazensis, in the journal Nature.
Dr William Sanders from the University of Michigan, who led the research, said this was “an extraordinary find”.
The skull of this previously unknown species had some features that are shared by Old World monkeys and apes, including humans, today
“Saadanius is close to a group that eventually led to us,” said Dr Sanders.
This is very interesting and potentially exciting news, and one of the things that I love about this story is it’s cautious tone, e.g. “could be a common ancestor” and “we need to get out into the field and get more data before making bigger claims”.
The scientific method at its finest.
Oh and I wonder what the creationist response we be? Let me guess….
“Nuh ha”, or [with fingers in ears] “la la la la la la la”
…but don’t quote me on that!
A science writer has won the right to rely on the defence of fair comment in a libel action, in a landmark ruling at the Court of Appeal.
Simon Singh was accused of libel by the British Chiropractic Association over an article in the Guardian in 2008.
Dr Singh questioned the claims of some chiropractors over the treatment of certain childhood conditions.
The High Court had said the words were fact not opinion – meaning Dr Singh could not use the fair comment defence.
lt_zippy2 says: Whilst not strictly an Atheism related story, it shows that those that use science to challenge irrational claims (which we at Atheism do all the time, in fact it is partially our reason for existence), should be able to do so. So congratulations to Simon Singh for his victory and hope that his success spurs others to examine and ciriticize irrationality.
Scientists may have solved the mystery Read more