Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Half Full or Half Empty?

There is a new Gallup poll surveying American's belief in evolution. The bad news is that 40% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. The good news is that the percentage of people who believe this has fallen to its lowest level since the first such survey in 1982. Also the pace of decline seems more rapid since the year 2000.

Check out the survey at

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Religious Discrimination or Mere Whining?

An astronomer is suing the University of Kentucky alleging that he was refused a position because of his religious beliefs. Martin Gaskell was supposedly the top candidate for a new observatory position but didn't get it. Dr. Gaskell is an evangelical who has written and lectured on science and his faith. Apparently this got people nervous that his religious beliefs might influence his science.

This statement in particular from an essay Dr. Gaskell wrote seems to have caught people's attention:

"The main controversy has been between people at the two extremes (young earth creationists and humanistic evolutionists). “Creationists” attack the science of “evolutionists”. I believe that this sort of attack is very bad both scientifically and theologically. The “scientific” explanations offered by “creationists” are mostly very poor science and I believe this sort of thing actually hinders some (many?) scientists becoming Christians. It is true that there are significant scientific problems in evolutionary theory (a good thing or else many biologists and geologists would be out of a job) and that these problems are bigger than is usually made out in introductory geology/biology courses, but the real problem with humanistic evolution is in the unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations. It is the latter that “creationists” should really be attacking (many books do, in fact, attack these unwarranted assumptions and extrapolations)."

However on the surface I am not sure his views are that much different from theistic evolutionists such as Ken Miller. But looking more closely I am bothered by his inclusion in a positive light of groups like "Leadership U" which try to push ... "Intelligent Design".

Also as noted here his attorney refers to Gaskell as an "openly Christian man". Seems like a clever appeal for sympathy in spirit of diversity promoting acceptance of GLBT people. If so this strategy is not going to garner much support from me. I have seen attempts to use this strategy by whiny conservatives whose only motivation is to use the rhetoric of diversity to silence discussion of diversity.

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