Exotic Science and Theology in Rome

This week’s conference in Rome on Darwin and evolution, nominally sponsored by the Gregorian University and Notre Dame “under the High Patronage of the Pontifical Council on Culture,” has a public relations budget to promote some conclusions that would seem to vary from the positions of Pope Benedict. The Council on Culture has little or no funding of its own for such science conferences and has had to accept non-Vatican funding — and the guidance and other strings that go with it. Intelligent design scientists not only are not present, as a consequence, but their views were misrepresented and trashed ahead of time by the conference organizers. Instead, alongside some rather interesting speakers, you will hear a parade of atheists, Read More ›

Making Hash of Evolutionary Psychology

Stuart Derbyshire, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Birmingham, has an absolutely scathing review (at Spiked) of the latest nonsense emanating from evolutionary psychologists. As Derbyshire has it in the first line: Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World is an unbearably stupid book. The authors, Malcolm Potts and Thomas Hayden, ‘explain’ war and violence by treating human beings as machines programmed by evolution to grab resources, form in-groups and pass on their genes. Women, according to the authors, are naturally more passive because they must invest more effort into rearing offspring, and men are naturally more aggressive because they can produce lots of offspring by being dominant. Read More ›

Testing Your Knowledge of the Louisiana Science Education Act

Q: Who wrote this? The new bill doesn’t mention either creationism or its close cousin, intelligent design. It explicitly disavows any intent to promote a religious doctrine. It doesn’t try to ban Darwin from the classroom or order schools to do anything. It simply requires the state board of education, if asked by local school districts, to help create an environment that promotes “critical thinking” and “objective discussion” about not only evolution and the origins of life but also about global warming and human cloning, two other bêtes noires of the right. Teachers would be required to teach the standard textbook but could use supplementary materials to critique it. A) Discovery Institute B) The New York Times C) All of Read More ›

More Dirt from Derb

NRO‘s John Derbyshire has another bombastic blog post (“Governor Jindal, Veto This Bill!“), this time decrying the Louisiana Science Education Act. According to Derb, “The act opens the door to the teaching of creationism in Louisiana public schools.” Of course, this is patently absurd. The bill says that students should be able to critically analyze scientific evidence regarding evolution, global warming, and human cloning; and secondly the bill says it should not be construed to promote religion (bear in mind that SCOTUS deemed creationism “religious” in 1987). This bill is about scientific evidence, whatever there may be, pro and con. No more no less. Attempting to scare the promoters of this bill (which, BTW, just passed the LA House 94-3, Read More ›

Gerhart and Kirschner’s Speculations on The Plausibility of Life

The September/October issue of Books & Culture has a review by CSC senior fellow Jonathan Wells of The Plausibility of Life by Marc W. Kirschner and John C. Gerhart, two eminent biologists. The book has been acclaimed since its arrival earlier this year for providing answers for the last remaining “gap” in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Wells –an eminent biologist himself– is, not surprsingly, skeptical of the claim. (He knows a thing or two about the gaps in Darwin’s theory.)