Dawkins disproves design 2

The last argument for the existence of a creator god is that the material universe is intelligently designed.

Richard Dawkins demonstrates that it isn’t, in this fascinating video from November 2013.

Posted under Religion general, Science by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 26, 2014

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One third of Americans do not believe in evolution 14

We hate to concede anything to the Left, but it seems that on one subject there are more sensible Democrats than Republicans.

This comes from Pew Research:

Six-in-ten Americans (60%) say that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while a third (33%) reject the idea of evolution, saying that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” The share of the general public that says that humans have evolved over time is about the same as it was in 2009, when Pew Research last asked the question.

About half of those who express a belief in human evolution take the view that evolution is “due to natural processes such as natural selection” (32% of the American public overall). But many Americans believe that God or a supreme being played a role in the process of evolution. Indeed, roughly a quarter of adults (24%) say that “a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.”

These beliefs differ strongly by religious group. White evangelical Protestants are particularly likely to believe that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. Roughly two-thirds (64%) express this view, as do half of black Protestants (50%). By comparison, only 15% of white mainline Protestants share this opinion.

There also are sizable differences by party affiliation in beliefs about evolution, and the gap between Republicans and Democrats has grown. In 2009, 54% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats said humans have evolved over time, a difference of 10 percentage points. Today, 43% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats say humans have evolved, a 24-point gap.

Views About Evolution by Party Affiliation

    evolution2013-4

There are sizable differences among partisan groups in beliefs about evolution. Republicans are less inclined than either Democrats or political independents to say that humans have evolved over time. Roughly two-thirds of Democrats (67%) and independents (65%) say that humans have evolved over time, compared with less than half of Republicans (43%).

The size of the gap between partisan groups has grown since 2009. Republicans are less inclined today than they were in 2009 to say that humans have evolved over time (43% today vs. 54% in 2009), while opinion among both Democrats and independents has remained about the same.

Differences in the racial and ethnic composition of Democrats and Republicans or differences in their levels of religious commitment do not wholly explain partisan differences in beliefs about evolution. Indeed, the partisan differences remain even when taking these other characteristics into account.

Differences by Religious Group

A majority of white evangelical Protestants (64%) and half of black Protestants (50%) say that humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. But in other large religious groups, a minority holds this view. In fact, nearly eight-in-ten white mainline Protestants (78%) say that humans and other living things have evolved over time. Three-quarters of the religiously unaffiliated (76%) and 68% of white non-Hispanic Catholics say the same. About half of Hispanic Catholics (53%) believe that humans have evolved over time, while 31% reject that idea.

Just as religious groups differ in their views about evolution in general, they also tend to differ in their views on the processes responsible for human evolution. For instance, while fully 78% of white mainline Protestants say that humans and other living things have evolved over time, the group is divided over whether evolution is due to natural processes or whether it was guided by a supreme being (36% each). White non-Hispanic Catholics also are divided equally on the question (33% each). The religiously unaffiliated predominantly hold the view that evolution stems from natural processes (57%), while 13% of this group says evolution was guided by a supreme being. Of the white evangelical Protestants and black Protestants who believe that humans have evolved over time, most believe that a supreme being guided evolution.

Do people tell the truth to pollsters? Pew explains how the poll was conducted. The methods are well-tested. The margin of error is small (+/-3.0 percentage points.) Still, we can doubt the accuracy of the figures. Especially on subjects touching on religion, some might say what they believe listeners around them expect them to say rather than honestly give their opinion.

Nevertheless, we have to accept that millions of Americans don’t believe in evolution. And even among those who do, there are millions who believe that it’s “guided” by a supernatural agency.

And the percentage of Republicans who believe in evolution has actually dropped since 2009, from 54% to 43% – while the number of Democrats who believe in it has risen from 64% to 67%, if the poll is to be trusted.

Depressing news.

 

(Hat-tip Frank)

Posted under Christianity, Commentary, Mysticism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 3, 2014

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Watching evolution 2

We find this article so interesting we quote it almost in its entirety.

Titled Evolutionary Innovation Caught In The Act, it is by Hristio Boytchev at the Washington Post.

Scientists following the evolution of a single strain of bacteria reported that it underwent several steps of mutation, surprising in its complexity, to acquire the ability to use a new food source.

The findings … are the result of an experiment started 25 years ago by Richard Lenski of Michigan State University.

“When I started that project, I thought I would find one or two mutations and be done with it,” said Zachary Blount, a member of Lenski’s lab. “But instead, there may be dozens of mutations working together.”

“Creationists sometimes argue that even two mutations for one trait is too much complexity, yet here we see that evolution manages that with ease, he said.

To study evolution in real time, Lenski followed the descendents of a single E. coli bacterium, a bug that normally populates our intestines. Bacteria have short life spans and in this experiment went through more than six generations a day.

Every day for 25 years — over 50,000 bacterial lifetimes — members of Lenski’s lab transferred the E. coli into a new flask with sugar solution. Every 500 generations, a part of the population was stowed in a freezer, creating a fossil record that can be brought back to life.

One day in 2003, the scientists observed something peculiar: A flask was much more densely populated than usual. At first the scientists suspected contamination. But then they found that after 30,000 generations, the bacteria had discovered how to use a different chemical as a food source. Citrate, the chemical in question, is given to the bacteria to help them absorb minerals and cannot normally be digested in the presence of oxygen.

What the researchers found was that a gene, normally responsible for letting citrate into the cell only in the absence of oxygen, had moved to a new location in the bacterium’s DNA. There it was controlled by a different switch, enabling citrate to enter even when oxygen was present. But this was only the second of three steps …  An additional set of mutations were necessary in the beginning; the final step was multiplying the gene inside the DNA to make the bacteria much more efficient in their absorption of citrate.

The scientists conclude that these three stages may be universal evolutionary principles.

“Even evolutionary changes that seem to be very sudden and dramatic may typically require a series of multiple steps drawn out over much longer periods of time than meets the eye,” Lenski said.

Creationists could see evolution happening if they had any desire at all to know the truth. But they prefer to believe a lie.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, News, Religion general, Science, Theology, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 20, 2012

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Evolution 4

 We are proud and happy to tell our readers that yesterday we were cited by, and linked to, that great website LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS as a blog that consistently speaks for evolution and against the nonsense of creationism:  

Some Anti-Creationism Bloggers

BLOGOSPHERE | Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 9:35:50 pm PST

Earlier I mentioned in passing that I’d link to any bloggers who aren’t down with the “intelligent design” creationist movement — conservative/liberal/other. Here are some of the bloggers who’ve responded so far, and it’s not the usual geeks from ScienceBlogs:

Defining “Creationism” Down

Noblesse Oblige » Which Controversy? Discovery Institute vs Science

Daimnation!: Darwin’s next fight

The Atheist Conservative : If I saw an angel or if man was made of brass

Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Darwin

Well That’s Just Dandy….: I Don’t Know Why This Is So Hard To Understand….

Kerplunk – Common sense from Down Under: The Discovery Institute’s willful destruction of Christian values

sisu: ‘Why can’t we get over our post-Marxist nostalgia?’

An old friend and philosophy geek: Blog Here Now 

Thank you, Charles Johnson!

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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Palin said NO to creationist teaching in schools 1

 The lie that Sarah Palin wants creationism taught in schools is going round the world. 

Little Green Footballs continues to try and put the record straight:

Once again, we see the mainstream media clinging to this “creationism” distortion; the fact is that Sarah Palin explicitly said she would not push to have creationism taught alongside evolution: Sarah Palin and Creationism.

“I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 25, 2008

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