Below is the text of a 1996 op-ed from The Fairfield [CA] Daily Republic that compares Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. Among other things, the op-ed below shows how little the Darwinists' tired rhetoric has "evolved" over the past 10 years.
One amazing comment that the good professor made is that "there is no biology without him (Darwin)." Odd...because biology seemed to be practiced quite well before Darwin came up with his idea. In addition, there were other scientists of the time who had the idea. For example, Darwin just beat Wallace to the punch.
Another overreaching statement is that "natural selection now governs the interpretation of every one of the thousands of scientific papers published each month." According to the professor, natural selection is universally acknowledged as the mechanism. Says who?
This paragraph is also quite remarkable:
"Evolution refers to the obvious observation that there are no dinosaurs
walking down North Texas Street [the main drag in Fairfield, CA] - that is, that the plants and animals present on the planet today are very different from those present in the past. Natural selection, the mechanism of evolution, explains the process by which these differences arose."
Many atheist and agnostic scientists today question this "obvious" conclusion that it must be natural selection. Findings in the past 10 years suggest that natural selection is a poor candidate for explaining the historic phenomenon of different biological creatures.
The professor asserts that St. Augustine, the 6th century [sic] Christian scholar, concluded that evolution had to have occurred. By equivocating on the definition of "evolution", even I would say it has occurred. For instance, change over time is a definition of evolution, or (micro)-evolution, change within a "kind".
And the beat goes on...
The Fairfield [CA] Daily Republic
February 18, 1996
For biologists, Presidents Day can lead to thoughts of Darwin
By Jim DeKloe
Harvard biologist Stephen J. Gould often points out that Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same day: February 12, 1809. So on Feb. 12, while most Americans celebrate the great president of the American Civil War, biologists everywhere commemorate the key historic figure in biology.
Professor Gould uses the term "soulmates" to describe the relationship
between the two men. As Abraham Lincoln freed U.S. slaves with his 1863
Emancipation Proclamation, Charles Darwin liberated science from oppressive Victorian dogma with the publication of his 1859 book, "The Origin of Species."
Darwin's bold idea transformed the field of biology, and changed geology,
astronomy and medicine forever. Darwin provided the glue that holds biology together - there is no biology without him.
Charles Darwin, of course, introduced the concept of natural selection as a mechanism of evolution (which he called "descent with modification"). Many prominent scientists of the day kicked themselves for missing such an
obvious idea. Natural selection now governs the interpretation of every one of the thousands of scientific papers published each month.
Public discussions of Darwin and his ideas usually betray a fundamental
misunderstanding. These discussions often confuse the fact of evolution with the mechanism of natural selection.
Evolution refers to the obvious observation that there are no dinosaurs
walking down North Texas Street [the main drag in Fairfield, CA] - that is, that the plants and animals present on the planet today are very different from those present in the past. Natural selection, the mechanism of evolution, explains the process by which these differences arose.
Natural selection explains why evolution proceeded in one direction or
another. The idea of evolution is ancient. St. Augustine, the 6th century [sic] Christian scholar, concluded that evolution had to have occurred. Centuries later, Charles Darwin explained how it occurred.
Of course, Darwin's idea created a firestorm of controversy, in both the
scientific and public realms, in the mid-1800s. Today, this controversy has entirely subsided in scientific circles thanks to universal recognition of the truth of natural selection.
But the controversy still periodically breaks out in public (and political) circles. "Creationists" sometimes improperly couch the dispute as "science versus religion," even though many denominations find no conflict between their beliefs and the scientific view of organic evolution.
In 1981 court case, clergy from the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, United
Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and African Methodist Episcopal
churches, Southern Baptist Convention, American Jewish Congress, Union of
American Hebrew Congregations and the American Jewish Committee filed as
plaintiffs against the state of Arkansas to strike down an "equal time"
provision. This provision would have forced Arkansas science teachers to
present the view that the world was created in six 24-hour days along with
the 4.6 billion year scientific alternative.
Most denominations find the scientific explanation of evolution and natural selection entirely compatible with their religious beliefs. Of course, those denominations don't own the religious radio stations.
Political interference on the issue has been known to encourage high school teachers to de-emphasize or sometimes entirely omit the key idea in biology. In a time when scientific literacy is more important than ever, such omission is a crime.
Even without "The Origin of Species," Darwin would have been recognized as
one of the best naturalists of the 19th century on the basis of his other
writings. His place of burial confirms his status in the world of scientific history; his grave is next to Isaac Newton's in Westminster Abbey.
So biologists celebrate Charles Darwin's birthday. His importance to
science rivals Abraham Lincoln's contribution to American history. It's
unfortunate that Darwin doesn't get his own three-day weekend.
Professor DeKloe is a Howard Hughes Teaching Fellow at the University of
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