Saturday, February 12, 2005

Flat-earthers still at it in Kansas

Eight of the 26 committee members assigned to rewrite Kansas's state science standards favor creationism.

On a related note, check out this nice obituary of Ernst Mayr, the man responsible for explaining how the process of natural selection leads to speciation. The short answer: physical separation of members of a single species into separated environments, each with distinct environmental pressures, in conjunction with the biological processes of random mutation and natural selection, plus enough time....

To appreciate that even something as amazingly functional as the eye (not to mention consciousness itself) can result from such a random process, the only thing left to understand is just how long geological time really lasts. Stephen J. Gould once observed that geological time can probably only be comprehended metaphorically. For example, if the entire history of life on earth were a mile long, then recorded human history would be 1/3 of an inch. The other 63359.65 inches leave plenty of room for a lot of other amazing stuff to develop randomly....

Then again, if you believe that the earth is only about 6000 years old, then evolution would indeed seem impossible. (Along the same lines, this useful little Web site shows that a literal interpretation of the Bible strongly suggests that the earth must be flat.)

2 comments:

rmockler said...

Maybe I've been led to believe the worst about the red states by the liberal media, but 8 out of 26 doesn't sound so bad to me.

Zak Braverman said...

I've been trying to convince my mother that there is a resurgence of creationism--either of more people believing in it or more creationists gaining power. She couldn't believe it, but it's sad but true. This, just as or more than the lack of a common history, is what endangers unity in America, inasmuch as there ever was such a thing to begin with.