Creationism vs. science
Science is continually under assault by creationism, in its various forms.
Most such assaults amount to easily-refuted criticisms of evolution, rather than advancement of any truly plausible or satisfactory alternatives.
Areas of Dispute
- Evolution is a process which can be observed, over human-scale timeframes (decades or less) in nature. Creationists generally concede that small-scale evolution ("microevolution") does exist but that larger-scale evolution of recognizably new species ("macroevolution") does not occur, and that such clear speciation requires some sort of intervention.
- The origin of life is a guaranteed doctroversy, as any attempt to determine some non-supernatural explanation runs afoul of non-metaphorical interpretations of the Bible. Many branches of Christianity (such as the Mormons) find no contradiction on this point, however.
- Common descent, i.e. the common ancestry of all life, is a related doctroversy.
- The origin of humankind is perhaps the sharpest point of doctroversy, as the "specialness" of humans is a key point of much religious doctrine including the Biblical creation story.
- Intelligent design is a re-dress of creationism which attempts to make some headway in the popular mind by leveling a number of scientific-sounding attacks on evolution. These attacks, while easily refuted, gain traction because they are repeated far more widely than are the refutations, and many laypeople are left thinking that evolution has somehow been proven wrong.
- The TalkOrigins Archive: "exploring the creation/evolution controversy"
- Science, Evolution, and Creationism -- link for now: ; the book is available in print form, as a free PDF (registration required), and viewable on the web site in low resolution (text is barely legible)
Debate & Editorials
- 2006-12-27 Big mistake by Richard Dawkins: "It is important to understand the sheer magnitude of the error that creationists are attributing to their scientific colleagues."
- "Intelligent Design" vs. science: a brief but very illuminating metaphor by J Greely, with comments
- Intelligent Design: An Ambiguous Assault on Evolution at LiveScience
- Creation and Evolution in the Schools by Orson Scott Card (2006-01-12)
- The Creation/Evolution Controversy by Don Lindsay
- some debate (mostly calm) at Teachnology Teacher Forum
- 2009-05-20 [Talk|Index] Are Dog Breeds Actually Different Species? § “If somehow the recognized breeds [of dog] existed only as fossils, paleontologists would consider them not one species but many – certainly more than the thirty-six species of wild dogs that live in nature today.”
- 2008-06-29 [Talk|Index] Nice letter from a Creationist § “I encourage everyone to leave questions in the comments or send me emails if they want to know more about a topic, and I am just as happy to oblige a evilutionist as a Creationist. Especially when they're nice about it!”
to be filed
- 2006-11-28 How Old Is the Grand Canyon? Park Service Won't Say: "Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology"
- An archived version of "Welcome to Grand Canyon National Park" goes so far as to describe the canyon as having been "carved over millennia" (rather than hundreds of millions of years) and "a gift from past generations" (implying that the canyon was somehow created by living creatures from which we are descended, or at least that it wouldn't still be here if not for them... was GC ever in danger of being exploited by developers, perhaps? Can it be proved that humans are actually related to developers?) The Geologic Formations page, however, describes the canyon's history as beginning "about 1,200 million years ago".
- 2006-02-28 Anti-Darwin Bill Fails in Utah (slashdot)
- 2006-02-19 AAAS denounces anti-evolution laws as hundreds of K-12 teachers convene for 'Front Line' event
- 2006-02-12 Churches celebrate Darwin's birthday Nearly 450 Christian churches "say Darwin`s theory of biological evolution is compatible with faith and that Christians have no need to choose between religion and science"
- From StarTribune.com interview with Lee Strobel: "Evolution is defined as a random, undirected process. But even scientists say the universe had to begin somewhere. Then you look at genetics, cosmology, physics and other fields. From there we can extrapolate that there had to be an immaterial, powerful, intelligent cause to the universe coming into being. The evidence defies a coincidental explanation. And random, undirected evolution precludes a creator calling the shots, so there's an intellectual disconnect for me. Also, Darwinism offers no explanation for human consciousness. The gaps in science point to a creator."
- Some commentary by PZ Myers at Pharyngula