Creation vs. Evolution...and Independent Thought
Interesting article on Reuters about creationism in Turkey. Several 768 page books maintaining that God (Allah) created the universe, apparently very well done and beautifully illustrated, are mysteriously appearing unsolicited at schools and libraries around the country. Most of the article really does nothing but confirm what little I know about Turkey and their education system, and particularly Islam's stance on evolution, but the first page makes two contradictory statements. I suppose it is impossible for the media to write such an article without making some jab at the creationists in this country, so the off topic comment is to be expected:
At first sight, it looks like it could be the work of United States creationists, the Christian fundamentalists who believe the world was created in six days as told in the Bible.
Now, in that sentence, it appears that only us whacked out Christian fundamentalists believe this foolishness about God having a hand in the creation of the world. But then I read a little further and we are highlighted again.
Creationism is so widely accepted here that Turkey placed last in a recent survey of public acceptance of evolution in 34 countries -- just behind the United States.
So the only nation that fares "worse" than the US on this important measure of science education is Turkey. Because of the fundamentalist creationists? I don't think we are so far out on the fringe. In fact, while many are not so much into a literal 6-day creation, it seems we are pretty much in the mainstream with the general notion that God is the creator of the universe.

This, apparently, is devastating to science.
Myers expressed a similar sentiment. About the recent trial in Dover, Pennsylvania which ruled against intelligent design, Myers said "it was a great victory for our side and it's done a lot to help ensure that we keep religion out of the classroom for a while longer, but it doesn't address the root causes. The creationists are still creationists--they're not going to change because of a court decision."
Somewhere along the line, I have completely missed why it is that it is so vital that we all reach a consensus on this. Besides, as has been pointed out to me in several discussions, they are talking about two different things as if they were the same thing. Yes, evolution exists. Species change with time. Anyone who does not know that by this point must be living in a cave...verifiable scientific experiments have been conducted which demonstrate this and you can see it in your family pet if you have one. That is not the same as abiogenesis or whatever the current scientific model for the origins of life on earth is. Nor does it mean that man came from apes. That is not scientifically verifiable because we cannot observe what has happened in the history of the earth.

For an opposing viewpoint, Livescience gives a brief commentary from Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery Institute.
"A better explanation for the high percentage of doubters of Darwinism in America may be that this country's citizens are famously independent and are not given to being rolled by an ideological elite in any field," Chapman said. "In particular, the growing doubts about Darwinism undoubtedly reflect growing doubts among scientists about Darwinian theory. Over 640 have now signed a public dissent and the number keeps growing."
The article duly notes that none of these 640 scientists are working in the field of evolution, but what difference does that make, really? Is their belief in an explanation for origins really affecting their research in any other way? Perhaps it is our "famously independent" intellect that is fostering science in this country in the first intangible factor that keeps us at the top of the world in real life math and science accomplishments while our students lag behind other nations in international assessments. Perhaps when we give it up and all fall in behind the beat of whatever drum is in the lead, we will finally become like the rest of the world, pass our tests, beat more countries than Turkey on measurements of accepted scientific doctrine and give up our lead in the fields of science and technology.

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