Can You Have Evolution Without Darwin?

first_imgIt might seem crass to diminish the reputation of a historical figure right before his Bicentennial, but it’s happening.  There are some who are trying to chuck Darwin.  In the New York Times, Carl Safina shocked readers with his title, “Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live.”    Safina was appalled at the religious devotion some people have to Charles Darwin.  We don’t call physics Newtonism, and we don’t call astronomy Copernicanism, he said.  In the same way, we need to ditch the term Darwinism and move attention to the modern theory of evolution.  The focus on Darwin is actually hurting the cause of promoting evolutionary theory, he asserted: “our understanding of how life works since Darwin won’t swim in the public pool of ideas until we kill the cult of Darwinism.  Only when we fully acknowledge the subsequent century and a half of value added can we really appreciate both Darwin’s genius and the fact that evolution is life’s driving force, with or without Darwin.”    Even pro-Darwinist Robert Roy Britt on Live Science joined in the campaign.  “The terms ‘Darwinian evolution’ and ‘Darwinism’ – used frequently by scientists, teachers and the media – are misleading,” he said.  “Scientists have failed to let Darwin die, even as the theory he birthed grew up, some scientists now say.”  With a play on words, Britt continued: “Evolutionary biology has evolved greatly since Darwin first generated the controversy with the 1859 publication of On the Origin of Species, and some think it’s time to divorce his name from the theory’s name.”  He referred to Carl Safina’s article in the New York Times, but also got support from Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch of the NCSE, who also favor dropping the term Darwinism as a synonym for evolutionary biology.  They complain that the word Darwinism “fails to convey the full panoply of modern evolutionary biology accurately, and it fosters the inaccurate perception that the field stagnated for 150 years after Darwin’s day.”  Scott and Branch always find ways to criticize the tactics of their enemies, the creationists:  “Compounding the problem of ‘Darwinism’ is the hijacking of the term by creationists to portray evolution as a dangerous ideology – an ‘ism’ – that has no place in the science classroom,” they said, conveniently ignoring the title and thesis of atheist Daniel Dennett’s book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and Richard Dawkins’s “honest” admission on camera in the movie Expelled that Darwinism tends to produce atheism – which is the “worst possible thing to say” for Darwin defenders like Eugenie Scott.    John Hawks is upset at the upsetters.  On his John Hawks Weblog, adorned by artwork of a thoughtful-looking Neanderthal, he took offense at Safina’s calling Darwinism a cult.  “Does this kind of statement remotely help the cause of evolutionary biology, in any way?” he asked (emphasis his).  He agreed that evolutionary biology has moved on since Darwin, but called it “unseemly” to “kill” the dead man.  The critics have obviously not read Darwin, he claimed.  Darwin provided a wealth of detail that continues to guide research today.  Darwin went out on a limb and proposed tests that could falsify his ideas.  That’s good enough to preserve his name and reputation, Hawks ended: “If someone want’s [sic] to call herself a Darwinist, or a neo-Darwinist, or even a crypto-Darwinist, well, that’s just fine by me.”  Robin Lloyd on Live Science reminds us that the guy was only mortal and had his quirks.    Meanwhile, the religious implications of Darwinism have not escaped the notice of atheists behind a recent billboard campaign to promote their views.  World Net Daily reported on the ads by Freedom From Belief Foundation, such as the stained-glass-decor billboard in West Hollywood, adorned with Charles Darwin’s portrait, proclaiming, “Praise Darwin: Evolve Beyond Belief.”  Opposing Views printed an article by the FFBF about another copy of this billboard posted in Ohio.  Local activist David Russell explained why the “iconic image” of Darwin was central to their atheist campaign: “Darwin not only researched extensively how life evolved through succession, but his work helped shape the modern interpretation of evolutionary theory,” Russell said.  “He almost single-handedly took the world from blind faith of unproven dogma to an enduring theory that has withstood 150 years of scrutiny.”  Other atheists submitted their ideas for slogans appropriate for Darwin Day, like “Honk if you’re evolving,” “Don’t start evolution without me,” and “Nonbelief—the natural selection.”  The battle of the billboards had begun.  Ray Comfort’s Christian ministry raised funds to put a billboard near the Los Angeles airport defining an atheist as “Someone who believes that nothing made everything – a scientific impossibility.”  The billboard, which advertises a new website Pull the Plug on Atheism, also displays Darwin’s portrait.  It seems the Darwin beard has become an icon of a world view that goes far beyond scientific quibbles within biology.  As such, it’s not likely the growth of atheism will get shaved off anytime soon.This is hilarious.  Our shaming of the Darwin Party and their Blunderful Wizard of Flaws (09/05/2008) is working!  The Darwin Castle is in disarray about what to do with their idol during the uprising (02/01/2007).  The priests still adore Charlie and worship him, but they can’t agree on whether to display the idol or hide it because of bad P.R.    Eugenie and Glenn, stop blaming the creationists for this.  Darwin worship is rampant throughout the Darwin camp.  Don’t you remember how your former employee Kevin Padian defended Darwin Day last year? (see 02/11/2008).  Darwin represents the standard, the leader, the sacred cause of secular unintelligent design.  It started with Darwin himself.  Oh, he was clever at deflecting it with false humility, but Janet Browne described it in detail in her excellent biography Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002; see 10/24/2002 and the footnotes from 02/11/2006).  She exposed how Darwin manipulated the worshipers who made pilgrimages to Down House to get them to feel the numinous awe of his greatness.  Darwin would pretend to be ill, or to need to get back to his studies, accentuating to the visitors how precious was their brief opportunity to kiss his feet.  Emma and the whole family played along with the game.  It was disgusting (see 02/13/2004).  After his death, the Four Musketeers (01/06/2004) and other Darwin Party operatives manipulated politicians to inter Darwin’s remains in Westminster Abbey, a religious building.  His august statue stands like a monumental shrine in the British Natural History Museum, and the Pope Darwin call to worship is making the rounds of museums in America.  It is undeniable, also, that Darwin and his followers have continued to use theological arguments for their viewpoint – i.e., the “God wouldn’t have done it this way” defense, the either-or ploy, “God could not have designed the shape of my nose, so everything must be the result of chance,” or, “since it seems implausible that God would have created all these species separately, therefore humans have bacteria ancestors.”  They even wear little WWDD (What Would Darwin Do?) pins (e.g., WWDD article on Live Science, and What would Darwin think of global warming?, found on Science Daily).09/02/2004).  Charlie was the only one decent enough to present at least a facade of likability.    Evolution without Darwin would be like Buddhism without Buddha.  The Buddha didn’t want his name attached to a religion, either, but how could Buddhism function without the shrines?  Where would the disciples light their incense and make their sacrifices?  What face could replace Darwin to grace the stained-glass billboards of the atheists?  Marx?  Stalin?  Dawkins?  William Provine?  P.Z. Myers?  Eugenie, your own politicos have done this.  They’ve marketed Charlie’s special brand of hallucinogenic incense, and the faithful would experience severe withdrawal without it.  Only Charlie’s blend provides the psychedelic trip of feeling like an intellectually fool-filled atheist.  They depend on the incense to get sufficiently incensed at the creationists.  An evolutionary biology without Charlie’s Story-Inducing Smoke would require facing reality.  It wouldn’t be possible to dream of observed design as only apparent design any other way.    When the Darwin idol eventually gets dismantled, tree and all (01/22/2009), storytelling will be disqualified (see recent foul on PhysOrg), and openness and honesty will again be required in science (02/09/2009).  It’s OK to grant Charlie a moment of silence (see YouTube; explanation on UD).  Then, please, give the poor old man a final rest by preserving his legacy honorably with his own advice, (spoken in an apparent moment of sobriety), “a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”  Celebrate Darwin Day the proper way: as Academic Freedom Day.  Abe Lincoln, also enjoying a Bicentennial, would be glad to know that intellectual slavery has been vanquished, that academia is enjoying a new birth of freedom, and that science of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Cadbury Fairtrade choc now in South Africa

first_imgChocolate lovers who choose the newFairtrade-certified Dairy Milk bar can restassured that they are doing their bit tohelp small-scale farmers in Africa.(Image: CHEF! magazine)MEDIA CONTACTS • Susan BrunnerPR manager, Cadbury South Africa+27 11 253 4232 or +27 83 779 6803Christel JordaanFor the first time ever, South Africans will be able to indulge their love of chocolate, and at the same time know that they are helping small-scale farmers and communities to improve their living conditions.Global food manufacturer Cadbury has introduced its Fairtrade-certified Dairy Milk chocolate slabs onto South African shelves.The launch of the product coincided with the country’s first National Fairtrade Week, which took place from 14-20 November. The success of the inaugural event has convinced the organisers, Fairtrade Label South Africa, to make it an annual campaign.The availability of Fairtrade chocolate followed an announcement in June 2011 from Kraft Foods South Africa – owner of the Cadbury brand – that Cadbury Dairy Milk had earned Fairtrade certification, becoming the first chocolate slab in South Africa to to do.Making the announcement, marketing director Mike Middleton expressed the company’s pride in its achievement, and said that the accreditation meant that all cocoa used in the making of the popular confectionery will be sourced from certified Fairtrade producers.“Now, thousands of West African farmers will receive internationally agreed Fairtrade prices for their product.”Commitment to fair pricesSouth African consumers, who snack on 14-million plain chocolate bars every year – that’s over 4 000 every day – should look out for the distinctive blue, black and green Fairtrade logo on packaging.The Fairtrade label will be carried on Cadbury’s plain Dairy Milk slabs and bars, in the 20g, 35g, 100g, 145g and 200g sizes.Greg Banach, Kraft Foods South Africa’s category leader for chocolate, stated, “We are proud to be the first major business to achieve Fairtrade certification in this country. It demonstrates our commitment to fair prices and improved living standards for farmers and their communities.”The Faitrade partnership, he said, will help ensure a sustainable supply of top quality cocoa, and please the country’s millions of chocoholics at the same time.Importantly, Fairtrade certification will guarantee that Africa’s cocoa producers will receive at least US$2 000 (R16 000), or world market price if this is higher, per ton of cocoa beans.Producers will also receive $200 R1 600) per ton for a compulsory investment into economic, social or environmental projects that will benefit their communities.Raising consumer awarenessSouth Africa’s inaugural National Fairtrade Week aimed to increase consumer awareness around Fairtrade locally. The theme of the accompanying campaign, Taste the Change, encourages all consumers to learn the benefits of Fairtrade and how it is changing the way of doing business in South Africa and in Africa.The campaign also intends to create a positive change and foster a better understanding between farming communities and the consumers who ultimately eat their products.Established in 2004, the Fairtrade movement is a non-profit association of 25 member and associate member organisations. Members include South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Switzerland, Ireland and Belgium.Fairtrade International’s mission is to secure better living and working conditions for the 75-million small-scale farmers and workers in 60 developing countries around the world, while aiming for the sustainable supply of raw materials.last_img read more

Eastern Cape roadworks uncover unique fossil treasure trove

first_imgThe South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) announced that the fossils werediscovered in rock debris during construction work on the Eastern Cape N2 highway,close to Grahamstown.Treasure trove of fossils unearthed by roadworks near Grahamstown #palaeontologyvia @News24— NRFSouth Africa (@NRF_News) June 1,2016Uncovered during controlled rock cutting explosions, the find, including preserved plant fossils and a number of new invertebrates, has now been quickly excavated for further analysis, according to Sanral environmental manager Mpati Makoa.“To advance scientific discourse and original research contributions of South African palaeontology and heritage scholars, we made provision in the environmentalmanagement programme for specialist examination and excavation of rock debris,”Makoa told News24.The specimens were examined by palaeontologist Dr Robert Gess of Grahamstown’s Albany Museum, an environmental consultant for Sanral. Gess called the discovery “substantial” because many of the species “have not yet been documented by palaeontologists”.The fossils also include examples of marine life dating back 360-million years, a period known as the Devonian era, when South Africa – and Africa – was joined with South America, Australia and Antarctica to form the Gondwana supercontinent.Gess said the plant and invertebrate fossil discoveries were from an ancient river mouth ecosystem. This environment made them distinct from fossil specimens discovered in 2013 at the nearby closed lagoon ecosystem of Waterloo Farm.“The discovery is significant as paleontological research and scholarship on marineecosystems of the Devonian period was primarily anchored in the fossil discoveries of Waterloo Farm,” he said. “Now, we are able to trace a much broader picture of life along an ancient coastline through the discovery of new plant and invertebrate species.”The N2 discoveries include a shrub sized Iridopterid plant, a number of lycopods and Zosterophylopsid plants. More significant is the complete specimen of an Archaeopteris notosaria tree was also collected, which Gess calls “the best preserved fertile material of this ancient tree” on record.Among the newly discovered marine invertebrate fossils is a new species of bivalve or mud clams. It is vastly different from those previously discovered at Waterloo Farm, a mere 20 kilometres away, and may provide some answers about the prehistory of the area.Gess said cooperation between the roads agency and the palaeontology community has a long history in uncovering fossil-rich areas.Infrastructure development since the late 1980s had significantly shaped South African palaeontology research and studies, he said. This has “enabled discovery of the clues to virtually everything we know about high latitude latest Devonian life, not just in South Africa, but in the world”.The new find, and previous discoveries at Waterloo Farm, make the area an important global palaeontological hub.Steven Robertson, Sanral’s project manager on the N2 Grahamstown to Fish River, said preservation and public education were now a priority. “When we first met Dr Gess and he explained significant fossil finds, we thought how can we best preserve and allow public access to this to ensure it becomes general knowledge of what was in this area millions and millions of years ago?” he saidTo promote the discoveries and the region in general, Sanral is planning to incorporate an observation area in the completion of the N2 project.The roads agency, Robertson said, is converting the road design to accommodate a rest area that can be used as a picnic area. “We will be including information boards and displays on the significance of the fossils, their age how they fit into the evolutionary history of earth.”Source: News24last_img read more