Welcome to the Emory Valley Center for Evolutionary Studies

Emory Valley lies on the eastern edge of the city, and the Clinch River runs through it. It's a beautiful spot to sit and study the world - so let's do that. Here's the Emory Valley Center for Evolutionary Studies...

Look here for some snippets from Bob Park's "What's New"

But Is It Intelligent?

Thursday, August 4, 2005; A22

FOR MORE THAN 30 years, the conservative movement in America has been doing battle with the forces of relativism, the "do your own thing" philosophy that eschews objective truth and instead sees all beliefs and all personal choices as equally valid. Instead, philosophically minded American conservatives have argued that there is such a thing as objectivity and that some beliefs really are better, truer or more accurate than others. Given this history, it seems appropriate to ask: Is President Bush really a conservative?

The question arises because earlier this week, while talking to a group of Texas newspaper reporters at the White House, the president was asked his views on the subject of "intelligent design," the quasi-scientific, quasi-religious movement that promotes the idea that an unseen force led to the development of the human race, as opposed to the big bang, biology, physics and evolution. Mr. Bush said, "Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about." He added, "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

Of course the president is right that, in the context of a philosophical debate, it would be appropriate to discuss both sides of an issue before arriving at a conclusion. In the context of a religious discussion, it would also be very interesting to ponder whether the human race exists on Earth for a purpose or merely by accident. But the proponents of intelligent design are not content with participating in a philosophical or religious debate. They want their theory to be accepted as science and to be taught in ninth-grade biology classes, alongside the theory of evolution. For that, there is no basis whatsoever: The nature of the "evidence" for the theory of evolution is so overwhelming, and so powerful, that it informs all of modern biology. To pretend that the existence of evolution is somehow still an open question, or that it is one of several equally valid theories, is to misunderstand the intellectual and scientific history of the past century.

To give Mr. Bush the benefit of the doubt, he may have been catering to his Texas constituents, a group of whom, in the city of Odessa, were recently found to have turned an allegedly secular public high school Bible studies course into a hodgepodge of myth and religious teaching. But politics are no excuse for indulging quackery, not from a president -- especially not from a president -- who claims, at least some of the time, that he cares about education.

2005 The Washington Post Company

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 2 Sep 05 Washington, DC

Senator John McCain made it clear last week that he too can read polls. In an interview with the Arizona Daily Star, McCain said "all points of view" should be available to students studying the origins of mankind. WN was unable to reach Senator McCain for clarification, but by "all" we think he means just evolution and intelligent design. Or maybe he hopes to corner the votes of those who worship "the giant frog from whose mouth the river of life flowed." McCain's appeal to evolution deniers came just four days after Senator Frist made a pitch to the scientifically challenged http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN05/wn082605.html.

The respected Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 64% of Americans favor teaching creationism along with evolution in public schools. A scary 38% want to REPLACE evolution with creationism. The tiny glimmer of hope for civilization was the number of inconsistencies in the responses, suggesting confusion over the meaning of the terms. There is room for education.

Scientists at MIT and Washington University, St. Louis, announced Wednesday that they have determined the precise order of the 3 billion bits of genetic code needed to make a chimpanzee. There is only a 1 percent difference from the human genetic code. But for that 1 percent, chimpanzees would have a seat in the UN. Robert Waterston, who led the Washington University team, was quoted in yesterday's Washington Post saying, "I can't imagine Darwin hoping for a stronger confirmation of his ideas."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Back before he began humming Hail to the Chief to himself as he walked the Capitol halls, Bill Frist headed the bipartisan Senate S&T Caucus (WN 14 Feb 97), and pushed for increased science funding. Recently, he reversed his opposition to stem cell research, supporting it despite strong opposition by the President. Bush said he believes "human life is a gift from our Creator." Some scientists saw Frist's action as a calculated move to demonstrate independence. Although Frist had never voted in an election prior to running for the Senate, he does know how to count votes, and he knows there are a lot more born-again Christians in this country than scientists. Friday, Bill Frist, sided with the President on intelligent design, calling for teaching it in science class with evolution.

Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the University of Maryland, but they should be.


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