Friday, 26 September 2008

Argumentum Ad Tedium.....

As a rule I generally stay away from any kind of political or religious postings as truth be known I simply don't care enough about either to be inspired to offer any kind of commentary (yet!!) Although I have mentioned on several occasions the religious fervour that is sometimes evident when a fanatical advocate speaks of their belief/s, whether that belief is of a religious persuasion or one that espouses the ‘nuts & bolts' reality of UFOs is irrelevant as it's essentially the absolute conviction in the belief that I've previously attempted to highlight.

The creationism debate is one I have been interested in and observed from afar for quite a while now, apart from the obvious connotations regarding the (flawed) ancient astronaut theory I believe there are several other parallels that can be drawn between the current creationism argument -in which its proponents are demanding academia acknowledges and respects the theory- and the constant calls for UFOlogy to be recognised –and so ultimately validated- by the scientific community.

The first article which caught my attention of late was at a Creationists' Blog and yet more news that it seems the Vatican is further embracing (and ultimately endorsing) the evolutionary theory and is even snubbing proponents of creationism and intelligent design by simply refusing to invite them to a, “Vatican-sponsored congress on the evolution debate.

The same press release stressed that: “Evolutionary theory is not incompatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church or the Bible's message… .. Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the other extreme of the evolution debate — proponents of an overly scientific conception of evolution and natural selection — also were not invited.” (Catholic News Service).

Pope Pius XII even though said evolution was going to be a passing scientific fad back in the 1950s, however, he still implied in his encyclical, HumaniGeneris the idea of “theistic evolution” (a mixture of evolutionary science with religion) which he thought was acceptable in Catholicism:

“The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experiences in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.”

John Paul II, the most popular Pope of the modern era, took it a step further:

“Today, almost half a century after publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favour of the theory.”

Source: Thebibleistheotherside

Here's an
Editorial from the New York Times (1996) about the Kansas Board Of Education's decision to implement a new (state) standard that eliminates from testing students on biological evolution or using it as a way to explain the emergence of one species from another.

And recently posted on the website was an article by their Education editor:

Creationism should be taught in science lessons, say teachers.

More than a quarter of science teachers believe creationism should be discussed in lessons, according to new research. Many believe God had a role in the creation of the universe - and pupils should be encouraged to debate it alongside the theory of evolution, it is claimed. The conclusions come amid continuing debate over comments from Professor Michael Reiss over the role of creationism in school biology classes. In a controversial move, he said the topic should be tackled by teachers if raised by pupils.

Prof Reiss, a Church of England minister, quit as director of education at the Royal Society following criticism of the remarks, which he claimed had been taken out of context. But research by Southampton University suggests many teachers agree that religious beliefs should play a part in discussions about the origin of life. Some 36 per cent of teachers quizzed said they believed a divine hand played a role in the creation of humanity, while 28 per cent said it should be raised in lessons.

One science teacher told researchers: “Human beings were created by a divine being pretty much in their present form."

Another said: "I would like students to respect and understand religious beliefs, and I would like those with belief to understand the importance of their beliefs, without the necessity for them to be scientific."

The conclusions will fuel the debate over creationism in science lessons. Last week, Prof Reiss said about one in 10 children was from a family which supported a creationist rather than evolutionary view:

"What are we to do with those children?....My experience after having tried to teach biology for 20 years is if one simply gives the impression that such children are wrong, then they are not likely to learn much about the science that one really wants them to learn…..I think a better way forward is to say to them 'look, I simply want to present you with the scientific understanding of the history of the universe and how animals and plants and other organisms evolved".

The comments were widely interpreted as putting creationism on an equal footing with evolutionary theory, despite denials from Prof Reiss. In the latest study, Pam Hanley, a researcher at Southampton 's school of education, carried out interviews with 66 science and religious education teachers. Only 12 per cent of science teachers said the discussion of creationism was "very controversial". This fell to four per cent among RE teachers.

Derek Bell, chief executive of the Association for Science Education, told the Times Educational Supplement: "Yes, you can teach evolution if you believe in a divine being, but you must be very clear about what is science and what is not. As a scientist, you may have the luxury of simply saying ' we will have no truck with this'. But as a teacher, you cannot ignore students if they ask you questions. You have to respond in an appropriate manner."


And finally at the website we have the story of a consistent Muslim creationist campaigner intent on having any website which contradicts his personal beliefs banned in Turkey: “Missing link: creationist campaigner has Richard Dawkins' official website banned in Turkey”. It's not insignificant or unpopular websites that he's succeeded in banning in the past; we're talking, Google Groups & YouTube, more here.

Faith (belief without evidence) is a virtue. The more your beliefs defy the evidence, the more virtuous you are. Virtuoso believers who can manage to believe something weird, unsupported and insupportable, in the teeth of evidence and reason, are especially highly rewarded.”

Richard Dawkins, ‘The God Delusion'

If further reading is required then I found the (somewhat scathing) article, “Durango Bill's Views on Creationists” elaborates on all of what I believe ought to be the major concerns when considering introducing creationism into schools (as well as highlighting other aspects that I had never considered). This article also shows the inherent and inescapable rivalry between the more vocal advocates of opposing theories, their polarised positions, the fact that there's apparently no attainable middle ground and what with the constant clashing of personalities & opinions then all in all it's not that different to the UFO community, with the main difference being the opposing proponents are most definitely from different ‘camps' and so hold massively differing beliefs.

Now compare and contrast this to Ufology, as in my opinion (and within the UFO community) the bitterest of exchanges occur not between professional UFO skeptics/debunkers and UFO proponents/advocates, but rather alarmingly between persons with fundamentally the same core beliefs but with merely a differing hypothesis or explanation for a certain event. Surely if those within the UFO community (and frequently at the forefront) can't show each other mutual respect and don't outwardly appear to take each other seriously then how on earth (pun intended) can the scientific community ever be expected to?

1 comment:

Niagra said...

The final paragraph sums it up beautifully. We must always remember that we are all in different stages or from different cultural influences. When we bring them together like in the avenue of internet, an immediate and necessary amount of respect for others must take place. It is the wise and the wisest, that will not only take on that respect for other views, but will welcome them in order to expand their own understandings through healthy and intelligent debate on the issues.

When this occurs there is never a time that any person involved does not walk away, having been enriched with some new understanding, whether it be in the issues or in that of people. Something wonderful can be found in others when we wear a sense of honest respect for the views of others, and most importantly, when we are not so uneducated or close minded to actually believe we know all the answers ourselves!!

Common sense causes holes in creation, the missing link and the word theory places holes in evolution. Therefore, and in all due respect, bring on the healthy debates, I am ready to be enriched and expanded. That to me is one of lifes biggest turn ons!!