Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Virtual Unreality

It is getting widespread media play that national science academies of 67 countries have issued a joint statement urging "decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and foster an understanding of the science of nature."

The statement was drafted by members of the Inter Academy Panel on International Issues - a global network consisting of 92 science academies. It points out that "within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence, data, and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied, or confused with theories not testable by science". ...

The president of the [United Kingdom's] Royal Society, Martin Rees, said: "There is controversy in some parts of the world about the teaching of evolution to pupils and students, so this is a timely statement that makes clear the views of the scientific community. I hope this statement will help those who are attempting to uphold the rights of young people to have access to accurate scientific knowledge about the origins and evolution of life on Earth."
Meanwhile, as the world's scientific organizations overwhelmingly endorse evolutionary theory, over at the Discovery Institute it is touting its "Dissent From Darwinism" list as having "gone global" because it now:

. . . includes member scientists from National Academies of Science in Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India (Hindustan), Nigeria, Poland, Russia and the United States. Many of the signers are professors or researchers at major universities and international research institutions such as Cambridge University, British Museum of Natural History, Moscow State University, Masaryk University in Czech Republic, Hong Kong University, University of Turku in Finland, Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico, University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine in France, Chitose Institute of Science & Technology in Japan, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, MIT, The Smithsonian and Princeton.
I have previously written here and here on why the Discovery Institute's list is so pathetic. Among other things, the statement does not contradict present evolutionary theory, since mainstream "Darwinists" are also "skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life," given that genetic drift and other mechanisms are major parts of the present theory. The National Center for Science Education initiated "Project Steve" as a tongue-in-cheek parody of the Discovery Institute list and in much less time was able to get over 700 signatures of scientists limited to those with the name "Steve" or some variation thereof, such as Stephen, Steven, Stephanie, Stefan, and so forth. What is more, the "Steve" list was 61% from the life sciences as opposed to 34% on the DI list. More impressive still was the list compiled by R. Joe Brandon, an archaeologist, where he got 7,733 signatures in 4 days (compared to the over 4 years the DI list has taken), of which 68% work in biology-related fields.

So, back to the new "global" nature of the DI's list . . . taking the DI's representation at face value, they have individuals from or teaching in a total of 16 countries, as far as I can see, compared to the scientific societies in 67 countries, and 610 signers after 4 years compared to thousands of signers in just 4 days.

The truly funny thing is that the Discovery Institute's founder and president, Bruce Chapman, actually has the temerity to say:

Darwinists used to claim that virtually every scientist in the world held that Darwinian evolution was true, but we quickly started finding US scientists that disproved that statement. Now we’re finding that there are hundreds, and probably thousands, of scientists all over the world that don’t subscribe to Darwin’s theory.
Apparently Bruce never bothered to look "virtually" up in the dictionary.

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