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Its Evolution Weekend -- the eighth annual discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science held in hundreds of churches and other houses of worship around the country and the world. Organizers say "that those claiming that people must choose between religion and science are creating a false dichotomy."  

The Religious Right has succeeded in dominating public discourse on the intersection of science and religion for a long time now. Among many other things, seesaw battles have been waged in many states over the teaching of creationism or intelligent design; and faith based "abstinence" programs as against thoughtful, comprehensive sexuality education.

But beyond the courtroom and legislative theatrics, and conflict-driven media coverage, mainstream science and religion have been getting organized. Those who posit that religion and science are inherently in conflict are two sides of the same counter productive framing of the argument. Most Americans understand, believe and accept that faith and science are not necessarily in conflict. Those who support religious pluralism and sound science and science education are natural allies against the religious supremacism, Christian nationalism and crackpot science of the Religious Right.

In addition to celebrating the remarkable efforts of Evolution Weekend, it is worth recalling two thoughtful approaches to the compatibility of religion and science were coincidentally published in 2008.  One was a book by the National Academy of Sciences, and the other was a groundbreaking theological statement by the mainline Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ, that sought to end the "feud" between science and religion. The UCC backed it up at the time with an ad campaign targeted to science blogs.

United Church of Christ (which has more than a million members) has devoted a section of its national web site titled: Not Mutually Exclusive, that includes many resources.  (It is also important to note that the UCC is not the only Christian church with serious, non fundamentalist approaches to religion and science.)

The UCC reported:  

With hopes of mending a millenniums-old feud between religion and science, the UCC has launched a new web-based advertising campaign geared toward the scientific and technological communities.

"Our hope is to begin to move the church to the place where its public image, public witness and public identity is one of a community of faith that is eager to engage science and to welcome and honor scientists," said the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president.

The advertising effort is being propelled by the release of a meaty Pastoral Letter on Science and Technology -- authored by Thomas and a nine-member working group of scientists and theologians -- that calls the church to "open ourselves and our theology to the momentous conceptual changes of our times."

"Many today are hungering for an authentic spirituality that is intellectually honest and at home in a scientific era," the pastoral letter states. "They are searching for a new kind of wisdom to live by, one that is scientifically sophisticated, technologically advanced, morally just, ecologically sustainable, and spiritually alive."

The 2,400-word pastoral letter, titled "A New Voice Arising," is being distributed in February to each of the UCC's 5,700 local churches. Accompanying materials suggest how churches can host opportunities for further study and science-related group sharing. The UCC's blog will devote the first week of February to posts and discussions about religion, science and technology.

The New York Times reported on Thomas' pastoral letter:

In an interview, he said he wanted to encourage engagement between science and religion "in ways that can enrich each other and challenge each other, particularly at a time when the prevailing public impression is that faith is an enemy of science or vice versa." He said he was referring to recent books attacking religion but also "the creationist approach, the continuing caricature of the opposition of evolution and religion."

The National Academy of Sciences book was discussed in a nationally syndicated Religion News Service story at the time:  

A top panel of U.S. scientists has published a new book asserting that belief in the theory of evolution and religious faith "can be fully compatible," and that creationism has no place in science classes.

The 88-page "Science, Evolution, and Creationism," produced by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, is an updated version of two previous books supporting evolution scholarship.

The 2008 version is different, according to the 15-person committee that designed it, because it is aimed at clergy and school board members and discusses the role of faith in human knowledge.

"Science and religion address separate aspects of human experience," the book says. "Many scientists have written eloquently about how their scientific studies of biological evolution have enhanced rather than lessened their religious faith. And many religious people and denominations accept scientific evidence for evolution."  

These are, of course, bright spots in what has been, and in many ways continues to be, a dark era.  Natural, common sense realignments in politics and religion are overdue and deeply necessary to address the significant advancements of the Religious Right in all areas of life for the past several decades.
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Comment Preferences

  •  The Religious Right Didn't Advance, It Was Promotd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, blueoasis, A Citizen

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 10:26:35 PM PST

  •  I note that a top physicist has described (6+ / 0-)

    teaching creationism as being a form of child abuse.

    However I expect more aggressive pushback from the RW as the past decade or so has emboldened them.  I think it was last October that some ministers took to the pulpit to endorse specific candidates in the mistaken belief that they would be pulled from the pulpit and arrested on the spot by the IRS.  (Focus on the Family has promoted this idea very aggressively)

    •  yes (7+ / 0-)

      The idea is to willfully violate the c3 tax code in order to force a constitutional challenge to the rules of federal tax exemption and failing that, to flood the system to make the law essentially unenforceable. So far, it seems to be going in the direction of the latter. The program is largely organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian Right legal network.

      •  Thanks for the additional information (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, irishwitch

        I have mostly observed this activity on the local level among certain local ministers who view this sort of activity as the "new civil rights movement" (their term)

        •  its what I do (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          entlord, blueoasis, irishwitch

          And yeah, the matter is treated by many as an effort to muzzle the church.

          Actually, anyone can do and say anything political anytime they want, except using c3 tax exempt resources, such as when using the pulpit or the organizational newsletter, etc. or speak on behalf of a c3.  If the same membership of the church wants to stand in the middle of the street and shout out a campaign endorsement, they can. Just like the rest of us.

          The whole thing would be stupid, except that the rest of society deals with it so ineptly.

          (Big tired sigh here.)

    •  In addition to the tax implications: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yella dawg

      I fully agree that the tax issue is an important component driving this issue.

      Additionally, I think that it is also part of a broader political agenda which means to attack the entire integrity of academia.  Looking at it more broadly, challenging the legitimacy of science and scholarship makes the argument that "global warming is an environmentalist plot with no basis in fact" far easier when people are led to believe that scientists by definition are driving a political agenda.  There are MANY other examples where it is politically expediant to have a pre-determined disdain for research and scholarship.

      If I may flirt with CT myself, I think that this "broad interpretation" is part of concious effort to keep a large segment of society ignorant of the real complexity and evolving nature of humanity generally.  It is hard to hear the right generalize that all research universities are nothing but bastions of "liberals" and therefore conservatives should avoid ALL the real "truths" being sought and found in our  fine higher ed institutions. . . afterall, we all know that "truth" has a liberal bias.

      Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

      by 4CasandChlo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:18:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Most other countries don't have issues with... (5+ / 0-)

    ...evolution.  Only in Turkey do more people not believe in evolution.  They obviously don't have a religious right.

    Evolution by country photo evolutionbycountry.jpg

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 10:50:30 PM PST

  •  TX the touchstone of science and other textbooks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, yella dawg, irishwitch

    has finally gone around the bend (OK farther around the proverbial bend) in now attacking its own textbook standards.  TX has already been removed as the source of textbooks for the public schools for several states due to TX wingers' insistence on controlling the text of the texts but now the wingers are finding commies under the beds of their own textbooks:
    http://crooksandliars.com/...  
    Yep there is outrage that a unit on world religions discusses Islam and Judaism on the grounds that the unit is an attempt to proselytize good Texan Christians away from the faith of their fathers to these alien beliefs.
    Further outrage comes from a unit on economic units or forms of government which expects the students (12th graders) to be able to distinguish the characteristics of a socialistic government.  (Who needs that when we have Rush to identify socialism for us?)
    Also there is outrage over trying to teach students about understanding other people's perceptions because it dares to imply that George III might have viewed the actions of the colonists as terrorism against the Crown when we all know the colonists were heroes.
    OTOH here is the TX GOP's plank on critical thinking in education: " Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

  •  Let me take the opposite view. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fishtroller01, IowaBiologist

    I think the religious right is right that evolution is not compatible with most mainstream religions.  Evolution asks us to believe that God created the world, and then let nature take its course, while life developed and evolved, for two billion years or so.  Somehow people evolved souls, and then God dropped His "hands off" policy and decided to listen to billions or prayers every day.  People are different from animals because they have souls that endure when bodies don't.  

    This is not a plausible story.  Maybe there is no direct contradiction, but the idea of evolution really doesn't go well with religions like Christianity.  

    As people accept evolution, they drift away from religion.  Not all of them, and not right away, but religious people are not wrong to see evolution as a threat.

    •  you might try reading (0+ / 0-)

      the views of the National Academy of Sciences and the UCC, neither of which are anything like your broadbrush characterizations of Christianity.  

    •  The Dalia Lama once said (0+ / 0-)

      "If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change." Everyone thinks that he was being open minded with this statement, but it is deceptive.

      He should really take the opposite view. The ball is actually in his court to prove that beliefs of Buddhism are right. Particularly the one that says he is a reincarnated soul of some past Buddhist leader.  If he can't provide evidence for that belief, then there should be a trainload of change on his part.

    •  "As people accept evolution they drift away..." (0+ / 0-)

      I'm pretty sure this happens largely, if not entirely, because they are told by their religious leaders that the theory of evolution is incompatible with their religion.

      I've yet to hear of acceptance of evolution causing anyone to abandon a religion that did not teach that it was heretical or questionable.

  •  I am fine with people personally (0+ / 0-)

    deciding that they can accomodate their religious ideas to fit what science discovers about the world, but very uncomfortable with statements like this...

    "In an interview, he said he wanted to encourage engagement between science and religion "in ways that can enrich each other and challenge each other, particularly at a time when the prevailing public impression is that faith is an enemy of science or vice versa".

    In my view and the view of many major scientists, religion and religious ideas have absolutely no relationship to science and certainly have nothing to offer to "enrich" science. Religious ideas are built on very little if any evidence, and science is all about evidence. There are many more arguments along this line discussed in Victor Stenger's book God and the Folly of Faith- The Incompatability of Science and Religion.   There is a major push to meld science and religion as exemplified by the Templeton Foundation. This approach is rejected by an overwhelming number of scientists and many actively work against it (see Jerry Coyne Why Evolution is True- book and website).

    I am glad to see people of various faiths accept science and encourage others to do the same.  But the arguements sometimes utilitzed to do so give the impression of a relationship between science and religion (like evolution is what God used to create the universe) are false. And I would be willing to bet that most scientists cringed at the National Academy of Sciences attempt to reconcile such a "relationship". I think Jerry Coyne's very thorough analysis of this issue says it all.

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/...

  •  Science and religion are a perfect fit IMO (0+ / 0-)

    Science has nothing to say about valuation, ethics, existential suffering, love, joy, etc.

    Religion (and secular philosophy) has nothing to say about the mechanics and manipulation of space-time.

    Neither science nor religion has the slightest explanation of what consciousness is, how and when we obtain and sustain our sense of "I," or how and where self-replicating life arose. There is ever so much sound and fury and dryboard-marker-waving, but still zero substance (subject to change without notice).

    And both rely on their own miracle to explain the existence of the universe -- an irony I find quite delicious.

    Now we just have to convince the public to muscle the creationist and materialist/naturalist extremists aside, and get on with teaching our kids science.

    YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

    by raincrow on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 09:45:10 AM PST

    •  Please provide evidence of science relying (0+ / 0-)

      on a "miracle" to explain the existence of the universe, or a cosmologist saying that this is the case or even using that kind of language in science.

      Just because something remains unexplained (like consciousness) does not mean it will never be explained. If you truly understood science then you would know that.  

      Yes, let's get on with teaching our kids science in the classrooms, but let's not call taking a stand against the mingling of science with religious ideas "materialist/ naturalistic extremism".

      The best gift we can give our children is the ability to think critically and encourage their natural passion for life on this planet and compassion for humanity. A much lesser gift is to fill their heads with un-evidenced imaginings/mythologies and present them as realities or "truths".

      •  Please provide evidence that science (0+ / 0-)

        can explain the existence of the universe.

        You can be sure I truly understand (and even fully embrace) science. You can also be sure I have no problem looking at what we do and don't know and saying, "Gosh, no matter how we slice it, we still don't have the faintest f*ing notion how we can even begin thinking about how that really came about" -- hence the staying power of arguably the classic scientific cartoon of the last century.

        If you truly understood science then you would know that.

        Materialist/naturalist extremists are people who circularly insist there must be a natural/material cause for everything in the universe for no other reason than because there must be. They extend that argument to the origin of the universe, and insist their version of the Magic Moment is far more science-y than religionistas' version of the Magic Moment. Then everyone locks horns over nonsense that is completely irrelevant to the actual understanding and manipulation of matter and energy, corporate interests that stand to make billion$$$$ by encouraging scientific illiteracy throw their weight behind the extremists most resistant to science education, and the planet loses big-time.

        We shouldn't have to choose between two different cabals insisting on the adoption of THEIR unprovable origin story as the One True Ground from which science education should proceed.

        YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

        by raincrow on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 01:45:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My objection to your view is that you seem (0+ / 0-)

          to put the scientific explanations (as far as they have gone) on an equal plane with religious ones. In fact they are not on any plane at all. They are two jets flying in opposite directions... the religious one flying backward, of course.

          "Materialist/naturalist extremists are people who circularly insist there must be a natural/material cause for everything in the universe for no other reason than because there must be."

          There you go again with the application of the term "extremists".  Scientists and others who "insist" on this view do not do so "for no other reason than because there must be".  They do so because all the evidence that has been gathered so far demonstrates nothing more than natural/material causes for everything in the universe.   The score is more Science-10... Religion- 0.

          •  Waiting for that evidence... (0+ / 0-)

            Waiting for even a slightly credible attempt at explanation.

            Materialism/naturalism - 0 ... Religion - 0

            The battle is over origin stories, the proponents on both sides are working from zero physical evidence, both intransigently demand that THEIR origin story be officially accepted as The Story, and to hell with science education itself, the battle for primacy of origin story being far, far more important to the advance of each cabal's beliefs and sociopolitical goals.

            We need to bulldoze this ridiculous Battle of Unprovable Magic Moments off the tracks and get back to the task of teaching science.

            YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

            by raincrow on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 02:28:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The evidence (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fishtroller01

              Evidence for biological evolution includes patterns of genetic homology across multiple families of organisms, patterns of morphological homology across multiple families, vestigial genetic sequences, vestigial organs, and observations of gene frequencies in response to selective pressure in nature.

              Evidence for current cosmological theories includes cosmic microwave background radiation, doppler shifts of hundreds of galaxy clusters, the ratios of elements in intergalactic gas, and the applicability of general relativity across phenomena of multiple scales and distances from Earth.

              Which puts both Evolution and "Big Bang" cosmology on substantially firmer scientific ground than the existence of Pluto as an example.

              •  Are you doing this on purpose? (0+ / 0-)

                or are you incapable of decoding the actual content of my comment and addressing it.

                My guess is that you must avoid the content of my comment because you got nothing that you want to have.

                You have your own faith-based origin story that is completely unsupported by physical evidence and has absolutely no antecedent or analog in physics.

                And theists have their own faith-based origin story that is completely unsupported by physical evidence and has absolutely no antecedent or analog in physics.

                It is a perfect stalemate, and neither side can demonstrate with any authority the superiority of their origin story. Yet the extremists on both sides will go down to the mattresses screaming, "I'M RIGHT AND YOU'RE CRAZY!" "NO, I'M RIGHT, AND YOU'RE EVIL!" while science teaching languishes.

                Neither you nor I, neither the Pope nor Penrose, can say anything scientifically provable about how the universe came into existence. From the moment of its existence, T0, i.e., the Big Bang -- which might more properly be called the Big Cause From Nothing from the materialist/naturalist viewpoint, and the Big Effect From God for theists -- we've got it handled. But how T0 came to be? I continue to wait for your evidence.

                Neither you nor I, neither the Pope nor Penrose, can say anything scientifically provable about the nature of consciousness or thought. We don't even have an objective definition of it -- we have to rely on "knowing it when we see it," rather like that SCOTUS judge's characterization of pornography -- no idea how one would go about judging when consciousness is present or when it ceases to be present. And yet we use thoughts and consciousness to think about the nature of thoughts and consciousness and the workings of the mind and the universe.

                And in the face of these FACTS, and in complete defiance of all logic, evidence, and reason, people of a materialist/naturalist POV deeply believe their POV is the One True Way, based on actual physical evidence.

                YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

                by raincrow on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:06:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I assumed... (0+ / 0-)

                  That since this was a post about theories that are actually taught in schools, or advocated for the school curriculum, that your post was actually relevant to those theories.

                  Since I've not written anything about how the universe came into existence, you don't have any evidence on which to say that I have a "faith-based origin story."  

            •  How much of history of the cosmos (0+ / 0-)

              has been explained by religion? Science goes back to just a nanosecond after the Big Bang.

              How much of the history of the rise of our species has been explained by religion?

              You say you are for teaching our children science in school, and yet you say that the score on solid explanations and evidence for knowledge of science vs. religion is zero/zero.  That doesn't sound like an endorsement of science to me.  Are you going to tell children that science has "Magic moments" like religion, or are you going to tell them that the gaps in knowledge have a good chance of being filled in by science, but never by religion?  I am getting an "intelligent design" vibe from your comments.  Tell me I'm wrong.

              •  Are you obfuscating like this on purpose? (0+ / 0-)

                or are you incapable of decoding the actual content of my comment and addressing it?

                My guess is that you must avoid the content of my comment because you got nothing that you want to have.

                I will repeat myself:

                The battle is over origin stories, the proponents on both sides are working from zero physical evidence, both intransigently demand that THEIR origin story be officially accepted as The Story, and to hell with science education itself, the battle for primacy of origin story being far, far more important to the advance of each cabal's beliefs and sociopolitical goals.

                And I will amplify:

                Neither you nor I, neither the Pope nor Penrose, can say anything scientifically provable about how the universe came into existence. From the moment of its existence, T0, i.e., the Big Bang -- which might more properly be called the Big Cause From Nothing from the materialist/naturalist viewpoint, and the Big Effect From God for theists -- we've got it handled. But how T0 came to be? I continue to wait for your evidence.

                And I will reiterate:

                We need to bulldoze this ridiculous Battle of Unprovable Magic Moments off the tracks and get back to the task of teaching science.

                And I will amplify:

                Science is the study of matter and energy from T0 forward. It cannot say anything about how or why T0 came about. Moreover, it has nothing to say about anything outside the nature, mechanics, and manipulation of matter and energy, e.g., valuation, quality, existential perception, etc. Therefore, attempts to tie the teaching of science to a particular origin story, system of ethics, etc., have no place in science class, and must be taken as an indicator of hostility toward and/or fundamental ignorance of the domain of science.

                On the first day of science class, students should be told this, and they should take a little piece of paper saying this home to their parents.

                And then the teacher should proceed with class, scrupulously keeping references to his/her own origin story OUT OF IT.

                I cannot see how I can say this any more clearly. But I'll say it again anyway: The only way we're going to break through the bullshit that is tying science education in knots in this country is to name the beast -- the conflict between unprovable origin stories -- shove it aside, and get back to teaching actual science, T0 onward.

                YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

                by raincrow on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:38:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Science goes back to just a nanosecond after (0+ / 0-)

                  the Big Bang."

                  We're arguably at 10-43 s.

                  YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

                  by raincrow on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:44:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Your continued insistence on calling (0+ / 0-)

                  the Big Bang theory or the studies on Consciousness "stories" that are on an equal plane/level with religious "stories" makes it impossible to have any further exchange. You again put religious origin stories in the same basket as the Big Bang Theory and label the basket "unprovable magic moments". You ignore all the evidence of the Big Bang theory. Perhaps you need to explore the results of WMAP, but I doubt that would put a dent in your Science=Religion on universe origins/explanations for consciousness. Here is the clue you gave me as to your misunderstanding of science....

                  "And then the teacher should proceed with class, scrupulously keeping references to his/her own origin story OUT OF IT."  

                  Before you made this statement, you made it clear that you consider the Big Bang Theory an unevidenced origin "story" on a par with any religious origin story. So are you saying that Big Bang Theory should not be discussed in a science classroom? I'm not sure you realize that this is what you inferred.  The Big Bang theory is NOT an origins "story".  It is science. Your continued and repeated fist banging on the table demanding that I or any other commenter provide you with definitive evidence just demonstrates that you are unable recognize that you have made a basic analogy error, or you are using that bluster as a distraction from that error. I can't tell which.   Best of luck to you.

                •  Error of fact... (0+ / 0-)
                  The battle is over origin stories, the proponents on both sides are working from zero physical evidence, both intransigently demand that THEIR origin story be officially accepted as The Story, and to hell with science education itself, the battle for primacy of origin story being far, far more important to the advance of each cabal's beliefs and sociopolitical goals.
                  This ignores the fact that the last major court case about evolution in schools was brought to the court by Christian and Jewish parents against an Evangelical attempt to push sectarian prayer in schools.
                •  and frankly (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Fishtroller01
                  The battle is over origin stories, the proponents on both sides are working from zero physical evidence, both intransigently demand that THEIR origin story be officially accepted as The Story, and to hell with science education itself, the battle for primacy of origin story being far, far more important to the advance of each cabal's beliefs and sociopolitical goals.
                  Having worked with physics and biology teachers in the classrooms who advocate both big-bang cosmology and evolution, this is an absurd strawman of what they actually do and teach.
                  •  Having worked among particle physists and (0+ / 0-)

                    astrophysicists, I would add that they would have a real hard time with their work and results being called "zero physical evidence" or with having the Big Bang Theory put on a shelf next to or compared in any way to religious mythologies.

    •  I don't agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01
      Science has nothing to say about valuation, ethics, existential suffering, love, joy, etc.
      To the contrary, scientists from many disciplines are delving into these very questions and are developing testable hypotheses.  Here are three examples of articles that outline how scientists are approaching and examining such questions:

      The Biological Basis of Morality, by Edward O. Wilson

      The Scientific Study of Consciousness, Mind Science Foundation

      Biological basis of love, Wikipedia

      I'm not sure why many people keep repeating the old chestnut that subjects such as these are forever beyond the reach of scientific inquiry, even as scientists are now proceeding to examine them in very rigorous ways.

      FOX News: For entertainment purposes only. Not to be confused with actual news broadcasting.

      by IowaBiologist on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 11:12:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did I say they were "beyond scientific (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Frederick Clarkson

        inquiry"? No I certainly did not. Anyone who invokes the notion of anything being "beyond scientific inquiry" has not been paying attention.

        (Fwiw, I'm a biochemist and microbiologist by training, and spent several years in a university molecular biology lab working on a problem that will eventually come before the Nobel folks before having to get a "real job" that would pay the bills. Paid my dues, got my chops.)

        E.O. Wilson and Wikipedia are engaging in the good ol' genetic fallacy, and the MSF can talk about and around their ideas about how consciousness might arise (more genetic fallacy), but there is not one teensy speck of actual experimental evidence to support their hypotheses. Zip, nada, nil.

        Why can't we admit that we don't yet have a clue? That doesn't mean we'll never have a clue, and it doesn't mean that religious speculations must be presumed to have any validity between now and when we finally have a clue. It just means we haven't the foggiest testable notion yet about the nature and origin of consciousness.

        Let me whisper in your ear that which is manifestly not a chestnut:

        >> Speculation, however plausible-sounding and very necessary to experimental design, is not of itself evidence.

        IMO, people who strongly believe their speculations ARE evidence, or are at least "evidence-ier" than the beliefs and/or speculations of others, are not doing science education any favors.

        Cheers. Must get back to work. We'll fence again on this no doubt.

        YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

        by raincrow on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 01:16:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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