Evolution Creation Debate
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Bill Gates and the Discovery Institute
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given or commited to give the Discovery Institute more than $10 million. The Foundation donated $1 million in October 2000 and in July 2003 pledged $9.35 million through to 2013, including $50,000 of the Institute's founder and president Bruce Chapman's annual salary.
The Discovery Institute is a conservative Christian foundation, founded in 1990 based in Seattle, Washington. Its main division is the Center for Science and Culture which lobbies aggressively for wider acceptance of intelligent design and against the theory of evolution. Since 2001 it has compiled at list of 500 scientists who agree with the statement:
"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."
The Gates Foundation has said their grants are not used in the creation / evolution debate but to support research, development, promotion, and implementation of a long-term transportation plan for the Puget Sound region.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Hans Kung (b.1928)
Swiss priest Hans Kung was in the news last August when he was invited to meet with Pope Benedict. He has long been a critic of Benedict, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the Vatican's orthodoxy chief since 1981. Kung was stripped of the right to teach Catholic theology at the University of Tuebingen in Germany in 1979 after challenging Roman Catholic doctrines such as papal infallibility.
Kung is back in the news having recently published a book in Germany on evolution called "Der Anfang aller Dinge" (The Beginning Of All Things) that tries to reconcile theology with the latest scientific insights.
In a telephone interview with Reuters he said.
"There's no use casting doubt on (scientific) results with some little problems, as the intelligent design people or the creationists do. What's there is there. A theologian should not cast doubt on a scientific consensus, but see how he can deal with it.
"For science, God is not a valid category because God is by definition a reality beyond time and space and therefore does not belong to the world of our scientific experience.
"But there are questions that science cannot answer .... The fundamental question of philosophy, according to Gottfried Leibnitz, is 'why is there anything at all and not simply nothing'? Science can't answer that."
"The fundamental cause is God."
LINK: Blog post Science and Faith presents a view of the evolution / creation debate from a christian scientist.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Charles Darwin's Birthday
Charles Darwin was born 12 February 1809 at The Mount, Shrewsbury. The house was built by his father Robert, a wealthy doctor and speculator. The house is currently used as offices for the District Valuers, a government agency that among other things value properties for the purposes of taxes.
Down House, Bromley, London was where Darwin lived from 1840 until his death in 1882. It was there Charles Darwin worked on his theories of evolution.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Episcopal Church on Evolution / Creation
In March 2005 The Committee on Science, Technology and Faith of the Episcopal Church published on-line "A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding." It is posted at www.episcopalchurch.org/science and is organized in question-and-answer format.
In 1982, the Episcopal General Convention passed a resolution (a) to “affirm its belief in the glorious ability of God to create in any manner,” (b) “and in this affirmation reject the rigid dogmatism of the ‘Creationist’ movement” and (c)
further affirmed “our support of the scientists, educators, and theologians in the search for truth in this creation that God has given and entrusted to us.”
The Episcopal Church has about 2.4 million members and 7,400 separate congregations in the United States. It derives its orders, doctrine, liturgy, and traditions from the Church of England. George Bush Sr is a member.
UPDATE: Katharine Jefferts Schori was on the Committee on Science, Technology and Faith. June 18, 2006 she was elected head of the Episcopal Church.