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Creation/Evolution, science

Science Awards – no mention of evolution

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Late last month, Silicon Valley honored six recipients with over $21 million in prizes in the categories of scientific advancement at the Breakthrough Awards.  Many scientists, including Bill Nye (set to debate creationist Ken Ham at the Creation Museum next week), argue that the teaching of evolution is necessary for scientific advancement.  He goes as far as to say about our children: “we need them!”  The interesting connection to these awards for scientific advancement is that NONE of them are in the area of evolution and NONE of them required a belief in evolution to achieve what they did.

Read up on the various winners and their achievements at this link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/oscars-of-science-breakthrough-awards-hands-out-21m-to-transform-physicists-into-rockstars-9003541.html

Evolutionists like to reframe the argument to be all about evolution, yet very little in science actually deals with it.  Medical doctors sure don’t operate as if they believe in ‘survival of the fittest’.  I once had an email conversation with Glenn Branch from the National Center for Science Education asking him why his organization was named that.  I suggested it be renamed to the National Center for Evolution Education.  In reality, science is about much more than evolution.  Skeptics and many mainstream media outlets would have us believe that a belief in evolution is required to be a scientist, but these awards seem to contradict that mantra.  Sorry Bill.

EDIT:  I shared this post with Ken Ham and received this reply –

ken

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

Discussion

25 thoughts on “Science Awards – no mention of evolution

  1. Yet more young Earth creationist propaganda (including a topical dig at the Science Guy), Are you seriously suggesting or implying that the winners of such awards would perform even better than at present (when evolutionary theory is taught even to many students in America) if they were taught instead that evolution was a ‘lie’ and that planet Earth and humanity are just 6,000 years old?

    What has young Earth creationism ever done for science? Have any YECs ever won one of these awards? If so, their win was DESPITE their creationism I would suggest.

    What has young Earth creationism ever done for science? Oh, it’s helped Ken Ham and co write ‘modern’ apologetics materials, and earn a living.

    “In reality, science is about much more than evolution.” Yes. So what? And people like Ken Ham dogmatically reject much more than merely evolution.

    The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences awards are given to researchers who have made discoveries that extend human life. Not to people developing science theories or hypotheses or models – but to people who have developed practical beneficial treatments that take forward the fight against disease.

    On the face of it, none of the 2013 and 2014 winners appear to be people who reject evolution or say that it can have no possible relevance to their ongoing research towards new medical advances and treatments.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_Prize_in_Life_Sciences

    I suggest you address reality a bit more.

    Still your post has prompted me to do a little research and learn something new that was not contained within the post.

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | January 30, 2014, 10:23 pm
    • The point is beliefs about origins (either way) play a very little role in the development of actual science that advances the world. That is contrary to Nye’s entire position going into the debate.

      Posted by Tim | January 30, 2014, 10:37 pm
      • Neither evolution nor creation are limited to the past tense – life is constantly evolving and things like stars are constantly forming. If god created life, planets, stars etc it is an ongoing process. The idea of one static, unchanging creation was debunked long before darwin posited his theory.

        Posted by agnophilo | January 31, 2014, 11:34 pm
  2. Not every word spoken by Bill Nye is infallible I agree.

    Posted by Ashley Haworth-roberts | January 31, 2014, 5:21 pm
    • But you often promote the same idea. You often say that those who believe in creation are “anti-science”. Yet, by this information above, science continues on just fine with or without a belief in evolution OR creation. You label us “anti-science” because we offend your religion of naturalism. It has little to nothing to do with science. Science began without a belief in evolution, and it continues on fine without it. You need evolution to be true because you rejected God and to support your BELIEF you defend evolution to the death. This is not about creationists vs. scientists, this is a worldview belief issue that has little to do with science as supported by the information posted in this blog.

      Posted by Tim | January 31, 2014, 8:36 pm
      • Science is the branch of philosophy that deals exclusively with testable, physical phenomenon. When you start making claims about non-testable, non-physical things and calling it science the term science itself becomes meaningless. Creationists want to take the book of genesis, write “science” on the front and call it science. But that is no more honest or accurate than taking a chemistry textbook and pretending it’s a guide to a moral life. It’s just not what it is. Science has a specific use, like a hammer or a screwdriver. To try to use one tool for another tool’s use is counterproductive to say the least.

        Also as for evolution being a bastion for anti-christian beliefs, even if you shipped every non-christian in america to the moon there would still be a solid consensus among christian biologists, geneticists, paleontologists, etc that evolution is solid science. Maybe not the parody version of evolution you have been exposed to which is an evil plot to destroy god and make us all kill each other and blah blah blah, but the actual science of evolution would still be very well accepted. So to pretend like evolution is an atheist thing is, again, not accurate and counterproductive.

        Posted by agnophilo | January 31, 2014, 11:40 pm
        • “Creationists want to take the book of genesis, write “science” on the front and call it science” – I do not agree, and no major creationist organization I follow makes this statement.

          Every organization’s statements on this I’ve read go this way: The Bible is not a science textbook, but where it touches on matters related to science it is the authority by which we judge man’s word on the matter.

          Do you agree that 500 years from now scientists could be looking back on our beliefs in evolution and laughing like we look back on those scientists who believed the world was flat several hundred years ago?

          It’s the difference between a standard that stands the test of time, and one that constantly changes.

          Posted by Tim | January 31, 2014, 11:46 pm
          • A few things to note – one is that creationists actually DID teach genesis as science in schools across america until it was ruled unconstitutional a few decades ago and they come up with euphamisms like intelligent design not because they want to, but because they have to to get around the constitution. As for the bible being the authority on reality if I have a book that says the earth is flat and I can see that it’s round, the book is not the final authority. Reality is the final authority on truth, not any book. Let alone one that’s been translated and interpreted a thousand different ways for a thousand different reasons. If there is a god did he not author reality itself? Why then should words on a page trump the greater of the two works? If I have a car and the owner’s manual says it has x feature but I can see that it does not, should I go with the book or with my eyes? To do the former, many would argue, is a delusion.

            As for scientists looking back at us the way they looked back at scientists who concluded the earth was flat this is a poor example because scientists never concluded the earth was flat, they assumed it was and/or simply didn’t know yet that it was round. Nobody ever performed an experiment to prove the world was round, it is not a mistake of science. And in your analogy you are the one saying we should believe the earth is flat because the science that says it’s round could be wrong.

            As for an idea that changes being worse than one that never does, you underestimate the history of theology and religion, unless you consider owning slaves a god-given right and treat epilepsy with exorcism and think that giving a woman an epidural in labor is contrary to god’s will and a thousand other anachronistic christian beliefs then your religion has changed as much as secular culture – it has simply done so kicking and screaming and being dragged along, and afterwards forgotten or revised it’s own history.

            Posted by agnophilo | February 1, 2014, 12:29 am
            • Wow, usually you post so well – I get the feeling you are upset at something today. I never argued for creationists teaching Genesis in schools as science. So, I’m not sure where that came from.

              Let’s get back to the point of this whole post: a belief in large-scale evolution played no role in these scientific discoveries. Sure, these scientists probably had a personal belief in macroevolution as the origin of life, but that belief played no role in these discoveries. They could have believed in young-earth creationism and still gotten the same results. In other words, contrary to Nye’s statements – a belief in YEC does not hinder scientific progress.

              Posted by Tim | February 1, 2014, 12:35 am
              • Ignoring your ad hominem (my tone was completely civil and my arguments logical and well supported) I am not meaning to imply that all creationists everywhere operate from a hive mind and all hold the same views, but rather talking about a general trend in the overall movement, which until recently did just what I said it did. Second I meant to say no experiment ever proved the earth was flat (not round), that was a typo. As for your argument, that a half dozen scientific achievements made by scientists who, according to you probably reject young earth creationism proves that accepting young earth creationism is not harmful to science is illogical in several obvious ways.

                Posted by agnophilo | February 1, 2014, 12:44 am
        • I like your comment about a chemistry textbook not being a guide to a moral life and also your statement that science has a specific use. They allow me to point out that the highest responsibility we have as human beings is to find a way to live a moral life, and that such knowledge is not found in evolution or any other field of science. Please do not bother replying with the evolutionist arguments for morality. I know what they are.

          Posted by waltsamp | February 1, 2014, 6:59 pm
          • First off I agree that our highest responsibility is to find out what it means to live a moral life – that is why I am a skeptic. To me believing something for poor reasons or selfish reasons or no reason is an abdication of that responsibility. As for evolution, science is descriptive, not prescriptive. It is no more a failing of science that it doesn’t tell you how to live a moral life than it is a failing of a hammer that it can’t unscrew a screw. It’s not for that, it’s for hammering in and pulling out nails. Areas that deal with moral questions are things like philosophy, theology, sociology etc. But I’ve found that whatever the best way to live our lives is, it is not found exclusively by following scripture. Someone may believe this who has never read the bible, or who has only been exposed to pre-screened parts of it, but I’ve read enough to know that we ignore as much of the bible as we follow, if not more. I don’t know any person, believer or non-believer, that this could not be said of. To me empathy is the best guide to morality.

            Also what are the evolutionist arguments for morality you thought I would give?

            Posted by agnophilo | February 3, 2014, 12:02 am
            • I think someone on the awards show mentioned empathy as a virtue. Its older expression is “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Jesus taught this and it appears in other religious contexts. So you are right about empathy being at least one guide to morality. The evolutionist virtue I was thinking about is altruism. I’m not an expert on this but I think the claim is that altruism evolved in us because it is either directly beneficial or that it improves the transmission of our genes by assisting our relatives. Since you have an analytic mind, I would like to ask you to critique my current post, Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale at http://waltsamp.wordpress.com. It is an effort to convey the core of Christian faith, which is not young-earth creationism. I think of myself as a however-God-did-it creationist. However, creation is not the center of Christianity. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

              Posted by waltsamp | February 3, 2014, 4:08 pm
              • “I think someone on the awards show mentioned empathy as a virtue. Its older expression is “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Jesus taught this and it appears in other religious contexts. So you are right about empathy being at least one guide to morality.”

                Thank you for conceding the point – as for the golden rule socrates, buddha, confucius, lao tsu and many others taught the same edict (virtually word for word) 600 or so years before jesus, and jesus himself was quoting it (somewhat modified) from of all places the book of leviticus. The oldest known written form of it, if you’re curious, is the code of hammurabi, ancient babylonian law, dating back around a thousand years before the oldest books of the old testament. Though studies in the psychology, behavior and morality of other species suggest the general idea has probably been around much longer than the spoken word and in all likelihood pre-dates human civilization by maybe a hundred million years or more, since things like sympathy (being hard-wired to feel the pain of others) are virtually universal among mammals.

                “The evolutionist virtue I was thinking about is altruism. I’m not an expert on this but I think the claim is that altruism evolved in us because it is either directly beneficial or that it improves the transmission of our genes by assisting our relatives.”

                There are many complex mathematical formulas that deal with this stuff which are above my head, but as far as I know the overall consensus is in favor of their evolvability.

                “Since you have an analytic mind, I would like to ask you to critique my current post, Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale at http://waltsamp.wordpress.com. It is an effort to convey the core of Christian faith, which is not young-earth creationism. I think of myself as a however-God-did-it creationist. However, creation is not the center of Christianity. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.”

                Creationism, as I generally use it, means belief in a strict, literal interpretation of the genesis or some other creation account. By that definition you would not be a creationist at all. I do appreciate however being reasonable – if I believed in the god of the bible and believed he created the universe and the universe was full of evidence that say the earth was round and the bible (or someone’s theology or translation) said it was flat (just as a hypothetical example) to me the universe itself would win out over words on a page. After all if I was right and there was a god, and the universe itself is a work he/she/it authored – why not give it equal (or greater) weight?

                I will read and respond to your blog – than you for asking, and for inviting other points of view (assuming I disagree with the blog’s contents).

                Posted by agnophilo | February 4, 2014, 8:51 pm
      • Hi Tim. You’ve probably noticed that I have been using your posts to dialogue with various evolutionists. I hope you have also seen that I am trying to find points of contact that will allow discussion rather than argument. To tell you why I do that let me quote Hebrews 11:3 (NIV), “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Most Christians seem to skip over “By faith” and think that people who do not have faith in God can understand creation. I think that if people are to know creation they must be brought to faith in Jesus Christ and the way to do that is to tell them, as best we can considering our own limitations, the good news. My current attempt to do this is Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale at http://waltsamp.wordpress.com.

        Posted by waltsamp | February 3, 2014, 4:29 pm
        • I don’t mind. I’ve read the exchanges from time to time. Pretty good stuff. Creation AND evolution are faith-based worldviews. I understand this, and I also understand that MOST evolutionists do not understand this. As for your second point, I actually started this ministry because I was tired of hearing people talking about “let’s just focus on Jesus, that stuff doesn’t matter”. I get what they are saying, and 60 years ago they had a good point. The world is very different place today than it was 60 years ago. Back then there was daily prayer in school, and most everyone went to church, and the church set the standards for the culture. Even if they didn’t believe it – they knew what creation was, they knew what sin was, they knew God had the power to judge. People in this generation have lost that foundation.

          Ken Ham puts it like this. For evangelism we used to be a “Jewish-like culture” – where everyone had the basic foundational knowledge where you could just present the gospel message. Now we live in a more “Greek-like culture” where you have to paint the picture from the beginning or people don’t understand WHY they need a savior. Adam & Eve, sin, and a creator able to judge his creation do not exist in their worldview. We have to show them how those things DO exist, before we can expect them to accept Jesus.

          Now that doesn’t apply across the board, but it’s the direction the culture is heading. We can’t take for granted that people understand their need for a savior anymore. Now, I’m gonna go read your blog.

          Posted by Tim | February 3, 2014, 4:56 pm
  3. These are biologists and geneticists, and not only accepting but also understanding evolution is a pretty major pre-requisite of these fields. The first award went to someone designing a cancer fighting drug – you know that cancer cells actually evolve resistances to both chemotherapy and radiation treatment, right? They actually acquire little mechanisms that bail cancer drugs out of the cell. You do have to know about and keep in mind evolution science in order to treat cancers and infections (which also rapidly mutate and acquire resistance). This is the blind leading the blind.

    Posted by agnophilo | January 31, 2014, 11:32 pm
    • I never said that these scientists didn’t accept evolution, I’m sure they do. But their belief in macroevolution had nothing to do with their discoveries. Yes cancer cells adapt to new treatments. That is not evolution in the concept of molecules to man, it is adaptation within a kind. Creationists and evolutionist pretty much believe the exact same things regarding natural selection. We only differ on the lengths to which the process goes.

      Posted by Tim | January 31, 2014, 11:35 pm
      • The fact that the earth revolves around the sun was probably not a factor in these handful of awards – does that invalidate the concept? Even if I grant your premise – who cares? How is this a “gotcha”?

        As for micro-macro, it’s all the same thing. And deep evolutionary history does actually have an impact on things like health and medicine. For instance something like 17% of men get hernias – know why? Well first a hernia is when your abdominal wall breaks open and blood and organs spill out of it, often causing dangerous complications. Pretty much the only place we get hernias from routine activity is the scrotum – the reason for this is that we are mammals, and mammals are (to put it simply) reptiles modified for colder climates. One of the changes that took place in the transition from reptile anatomy to mammalian anatomy was that we became warm-blooded, we generate a great deal of heat. This is bad for sperm production so another change that happened alongside that one is that the testes of our reptile ancestors (which are normally in the middle of the abdomen sandwiched between other organs in fish, amphibians and reptiles) moved closer to the surface, and eventually came to rest where they do in us, hanging outside to stay cool. But the only way for this to happen developmentally was for the testes to move south as we were growing and break through the abdominal wall while it was still forming. This punching through leaves a weak spot, which means that a very large number of men will at some point in their lives lift something heavy, exert themselves on the commode or sneeze and some of their intestines will find their way into their scrotum, requiring not so minor surgery. And yes, modern descendants of those quasi-reptillian mammals like the platypus which have hair rather than scales, produce milk but don’t have nipples, don’t give live birth but lay eggs but with soft, leathery shells, and are among the very few venemous mammals – this species stands in the middle between mammals and reptiles in virtually every way, and they have no scrotum – their testes are in their abdomen, but very close to the surface.

        This is just one example of many.

        Posted by agnophilo | February 1, 2014, 12:18 am
        • Re-read… a lot of assumptions in there I believe. I feel the theory was formed first and then the evidence was forced to fit it. You have no evidence for that transition. You see where its at in fish and reptiles, you see where its at in humans, and then assume a track it took to get where its at because you pre-believe in our decent from those types of animals. You create your theory of the dropping from some observational evidence, but then apply it to unseen transitions. Too much assumption and lack of observation there for me to consider your post science.

          Posted by Tim | February 1, 2014, 12:25 am
          • In principle I agree with your logic, if I were doing that it would be unfounded and be more storytelling than science. But the fact is that the evolutionary model is based upon predictions and tests. On generation after generation of scientists testing various models by predicting what must and must not be in the fossil record, where, in what geological conditions, how old, from what period etc if their model is correct. Not to mention tests and predictions in genetics, geographic distribution of life on earth, and other fields. Darwin used his theory to even predict the existence of bizarre unknown creatures that were discovered over a century later. In one case he, when certain shapes of tulip were presented to him as unevolvable according to his model, responded that they could only evolve if there existed somewhere in nature a moth with an 11 and a half inch long tongue. That moth was discovered a century later and it was observed feeding on those very tulips a few decades after that.

            I know this won’t seem compelling to you, but once you accept the idea of universal common ancestry as well supported by the fossil and genetic evidence, little evidence is needed to justify a claim about some small part of the particulars. Not that the evidence I have given is insignificant, a living fossil showing the intermediate form is not insignificant.

            Also how could scientists fit so many facts to one theory – why should the platypus be intermediate between reptiles and mammals in not one but virtually every possible way?

            Posted by agnophilo | February 1, 2014, 12:36 am
            • So you agree with my logic, but prefer to turn the conversation back to evolution vs. creation at large? No thanks at the moment.

              You mention the platypus, but ignore the elephant in the room. Your transitional fossil are SEVERELY and devastatingly missing. You have a few here and there, but with millions of species – that’s really really bad. The fossils for human evolution can fit in one coffin – that’s embarrassing. These things should be EVERYWHERE! Even Darwin admitted that the lack of transitional fossils would mean his theory was bankrupt.

              Posted by Tim | February 1, 2014, 12:41 am
              • “So you agree with my logic, but prefer to turn the conversation back to evolution vs. creation at large? No thanks at the moment.”

                First of all who took a dump in your cheerios? Calm down. Second of all I agreed with your logic but not your premise, an argument can be perfectly logically sound but have invalid premises. If all brown haired men are gay (premise one) and my mailman has brown hair (premise 2) it is 100% logical that my mailman is gay. But the premises are faulty. I was saying your logic is sound but your premises are not.

                “You mention the platypus, but ignore the elephant in the room. Your transitional fossil are SEVERELY and devastatingly missing. You have a few here and there, but with millions of species – that’s really really bad.”

                Everything in the fossil record is “transitional” between what came before and what comes after, the same way that when you die you will be a transitional fossil between your parents and your children. The way the term “transitional fossil” is often used is more specific, it is used to mean any species that pre-dates two or more major taxonomical groups and has the characteristics diagnostic of more than one group, so it is transitional not between two species but two major groups of species, like mammals and reptiles for instance. So yes there are not millions of transitional forms in this narrow sense of the term because there are not millions of huge taxonomical groups like mammals and reptiles. But in the more broad sense of the term everything is transitional. Even you and me.

                “The fossils for human evolution can fit in one coffin – that’s embarrassing.”

                No, as I said that is because it’s a narrow definition – we have way more fossils of human ancestors than would fit in a coffin – here is just one collection for instance:

                What are rare are individuals with the characteristics of more than one group of primates.

                “These things should be EVERYWHERE!”

                They are. The number of fossils is incalculable. They are so common that for the most part they are virtually worthless. You can buy cambrian fossils on ebay for less than ten dollars.

                “Even Darwin admitted that the lack of transitional fossils would mean his theory was bankrupt.”

                Yes and no. He said a lot of things in the context of strongly re-stating other peoples’ objections, then explained why their objections were not valid. Creationist websites tend to misrepresent these statements as though they were darwin’s own sentiments and remove the “but here’s why it’s not a problem for my theory” context. Such as with the infamous eye evolution quote. Google “quote-mining”.

                Posted by agnophilo | February 1, 2014, 12:56 am

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