Monday, September 26, 2005

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design - Updated

JOHN WOLF of the NWI Times takes the 'third way'

Aha, so I'm not alone on the evolution/intelligent design hybrid theory (not that I thought I was):

"National Geographic in November 2004 raised the question, "Was Darwin Wrong?" and answers it with a resounding no, citing overwhelming evidence. Fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews and Islamic writers have responded to the theory of evolution as a deceit. A Gallup poll in 2001 found 45 percent agreed "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." Only 37 percent allowed room for both God and Darwin.

Darwin's book "The Origin of Species" published in 1859 created a sensation. He had collected evidence from fossils and careful study in various parts of the world of a variety of species. He had raised the question of "How?" with natural selection the main vehicle.

nterestingly, the three major religions of the world, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, all trace their origins to the Book of Genesis and its stories of beginnings. Literalists seek to give the stories scientific validity. Six days is six days. Yet Scripture says, "a thousand years in his sight is like a yesterday."

Genesis reveals God as creator whose hand is in all creation. It is the why of what evolution seeks to explain with a how? Call it intelligent design or one of God's many Scriptural names. There should be no conflict. Unfortunately, our culture does not allow for teaching religious concepts in public institutions. Many scientists acknowledge the mystery of their enlarging studies. The mystery has a name to faith-based believers.

The opening of the subject begun 146 years ago is not necessarily a contradiction. Let's pick our battles and look on evolution as an incredibly intelligent design."


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

$1 Billion Stolen from Iraq Defence Ministry

Goddamit! Now we'll never get out of this stinkin' shithole!

$1 billion in funds, earmarked for the training and equipping of Iraqs defence forces in the fight against terrorists and insurgents, has been stolen from the countrys defence ministry in what is being described as one of the biggest thefts ever.

The contract to equip Iraqis is under the spotlight, since it was a no-bid deal won by a Baghdad company acting as middle-man and all money was paid up front and paid very quickly. Equipment was purchased which was only good for scrap.

The theft has so weakened the defence forces that they cannot hold Baghdad without US help, meaning that any withdrawal is now unlikely. Rogue elements within the US military are suspected to be behind the theft, with negligence also blamed.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Christian Church May Apologise to Muslims for Iraq War

The Church Of England, the nucleus of the global Anglican communion, is considering apologising to Muslim leaders for the Iraq war, an event described by its heads as failing to meet the criteria of a "just war".

The suggestion of a "truth and reconciliation" meeting is laid out in the newly drafted "Countering Terrorism: Power, Violence and Democracy Post-9/11" report which was drawn up by the Church of England's House of Bishops.

In the report a "long litany of errors" is described which includes years of support by the West for Saddam Hussein, arms sales to the former regime and sanctions which caused great suffering to the Iraqi people.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design - the third way

While its all well and good to have this debate about creationism (intelligent design) and evolution, it seems to me to be just another polarised debate between two entrenched ideologies which is just confusing or pissing off the rest of us. Children are probably the most affected out of all the third parties with what they should be taught in schools and in what context being the battleground. OK, its only going on in America and nowhere else it seems, but it could spread, as do many fads from over the pond.

The supporters of the creationism theory sight bacterial flagellum as a great example of intelligence design. They say

  1. The bacterial flagellum displays specified complexity.

  2. Specified complexity in biotic systems cannot be generated by the Darwinian mechanism, which relies on chance.

  3. Therefore the bacterial flagellum must have been intelligently designed - that is, it could have been actualized only with the assistance of form-conferring interventions by an unembodied intelligent agent.
They say that the system of movement, for example, is a machine, designed in a similar way to a machine designed and used by humans – ie. It displays the hallmarks of intelligence behind its design and so therefore must have been designed by an intelligent entity. How they make the leap from ‘wow, that assembly of organic machinery is really complex and clever’ to ‘only God could have designed such an assembly’ is critical. I could surely apply that to pretty much anything I don’t understand and/or am impressed by but it would surely be an irrational assumption.

They discount Darwinist evolutionary theory by saying that such efficient and useful characteristics could never evolve by chance. That’s possible if you underestimate nature of course and I do have a problem with aspects of evolution such as how a species survives when it is in the intermediate stage of evolutionary development. By that I mean how can, for example, a creature which is evolving wings where it once had legs survive when at that point it would be quite useless. It’s a good point but just because we cannot explain it it doesn’t mean that we jump on the intelligent design bus again.

Can’t the reality be a mix of both theories? I realise that we’ve reached a point where many people feel as though they have to choose between creationism and evolution, black or white, since you must be either a believer and worshipper of a deity or a believer and worshipper of science (the ‘new’ religion). But how about there being an ‘unembodied intelligent agent’ who is responsible for the big bang but, in his infinite wisdom, allowed nature to take its own course from there? Maybe nature itself is ‘god’ and pagan beliefs are more correct than either side give it credit. Or maybe we really are the product of intelligent design, but not by god. Maybe we are the product of a project conducted by another intelligent species from elsewhere in the universe. To some that would sound outlandish but I’ve always held the belief that if we exist, so could they.

In my opinion both of the camps which have dominated the debate up until now strike me as being incredibly arrogant in their self-belief. I’m a great believer in the logic and sound reasoning behind science but not so egocentric to think that we are are the pinnacle of existence. Hopefully someone will get the ‘third way’ option out there which may just bring everyone together a bit more, even if its just for the sake of the children. And to stop them dissecting those poor little flagella.

Two UK 'Undercover' Soldiers Arrested After Shooting Iraqi Police

Hmmmm. I heard this story on the way home from work on the radio and found it particularly interesting:

Two British soldiers dressed in Arab clothing and apparently working undercover have been arrested by Iraqi authorities after the pair allegedly opened fire on a police patrol, killing one policeman and wounding another.

The incident occurred in Basra and sparked violence in the area which led to two tanks being set on fire. The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the soldiers were under Iraqi arrest but would not confirm that they were working covertly.


The BBC reported that the two had explosives and arms in their possession which makes me wonder what they were up to, especially if they were carrying out drive-by shootings on Iraqi police. Stoking up civil unrest maybe? This is something that has been reported before but never confirmed as such an act would be morally unthinkable as a policy and anyone suggesting it without concrete proof would be labelled a conspiracy nut. I’m keeping an eye on news sources and weblogs for further developments with this story but something tells me that it’ll soon be hushed up and forgotten.

(On The Subject Of Cosmetic Surgery) Stand By for the Worlds First Face Transplant

A shortlist of potential recipients of the first face transplant is being drawn up by US surgeons. Patients who undergo the revolutionary operation will be taking considerable risks and will spend the rest of their lives taking anti-rejection drugs.

The psychological effects of having a new face are unknown and the physical results are unknown. The dead donors face, when attached to the recipients face, is unlikely to resemble either the donor or the recipient according to computer modeling.

The Cleveland Clinic has said that the 8-10 hour operation will only be carried out on people with extreme facial disfigurement and not for those with simple scars.


Web Log Facelift

I've changed the look and feel of the blog while keeping all the old content, rather like redecorating the living room or, as is more hip, having plastic surgery. Well? Does it look younger and more attractive? Hopefully it won't have the falseness of a botox smile or the unreality of gravity-defying silicone breasts and nobody will notice the hairline scars or prick-marks (yep, when they visit, they leave their mark). And it cost nothing more than a bit of my time, which is nice. If time were money I'd be flush, but it isn't so I'm not.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

US Gives Iran New Warning on Nuclear Weapons

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, said that Iran should give up "forever" ambitions to possess nuclear weapons.

Asked whether Iran may combat the nuclear opposition by using oil as leverage, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "Any intelligent, healthy smart human being should use every resource in order to maintain his or her freedom and independence."

The Iranians say that their nuclear program is for peaceful means and is non-negotiable, with the intention being to get many other nations involved in its development.


Media Mogul Claims Blair Slammed BBC Katrina Reporting

The owner of the Sun, the Times and News of the World newspapers and Sky Television has claimed in a speech that UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has attacked the BBC World Service as being anti-US in its coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

News Corporation media tycoon Rupert Murdoch told an audience at a Clinton Global Initiative forum in New York that Blair "said it was just full of hate of America and gloating about our troubles" and was anti-American.

The BBC responded saying reporting was "absolutely down-the-line straightforward reportage" and of President Bush "If things are not going well, he is there to be criticised, and if they were going much better he would expect to take the credit."