Web Site of the Month - January 2018
by Lothar Janetzko

Questioning Evolution: The Push to Change Science Class
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/19/us/retro-report-evolution-science.html

Raising Doubts about Evolution … in Science Class

This month’s website review looks at a recent article posted on November 19, 2017 in the New York Times.  This article reveals how the mainstream press views the current ongoing controversy regarding creation versus evolution, especially as to how various views should be expressed in classrooms.

The article begins by providing a 10-minute video which has a caption stating, “A growing skepticism of science has seeped into the classroom, and its revived attacks on one of the most established principles of biology – evolution.” Just watch the video and judge for yourself if there is a bias in how the views of creationists and evolutionists are presented.

The article itself starts out by injecting politics into a discussion of Darwinism.  It states, “Darwinism has long been under siege in parts of the United States, even if its critics have practiced their own form of evolution, adapting their arguments to accommodate altered legal circumstances.”  As usual, the claim is made that some creationists reject broad scientific consensus and even question issues like climate change and stem-cell research.  The Seattle-based Discovery Institute is called a science skeptic and is said to feel emboldened in the era of President Trump.

The article continues by talking about the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, and the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case of 2005 in Pennsylvania.

What follows is an interesting discussion of the Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008.  “The Louisiana law permits public schoolteachers to use materials critical of established scientific thought, with ‘evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning’ singled out as targets.  No blatant advocacy of creationism or intelligent design is authorized.”  In the views of the New York Post writer, “Those concepts make their way into classrooms all the same, as a means of fostering ‘critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories.’ ” In Louisiana it’s O.K. to teach the controversy.

The claim is made that “as more mainstream scientists see it, Louisiana has disingenuously slipped creationism into schools through the back door (with perhaps an added advantage of being able to cast the law’s opponents as nothing more than intellectually intolerant of countervailing thought).”

It is interesting to learn that Tennessee has passed a comparable law in 2012.  Other states including Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, South Dakota, Missouri, Florida and Oklahoma have made similar legislative moves.

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Web Site of the Month - February 2018
by Lothar Janetzko

Creation and Evolution: History of the Debate in the Netherlands
https://biologos.org/blogs/archive/creation-and-evolution-history-of-the-debate-in-the-netherlands

First stop of a blog series entitled “Evolution and Christian Faith Around the World.”

The website review for this month looks at a blog post that traces the complex history of science and religion in the Netherlands since Darwin.

From the introduction to the blog post you learn that, “Today, although the Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in the world, young-earth creationists are still very active.  Young-earth creationism has made surprisingly large inroads into orthodox Protestant circles in the Netherlands and it has proved difficult to promote evolutionary creationism as an alternative.”

To explain why this is happening in the Netherlands, the blog author presents the complex history of science and religion in this country.  The time periods he discusses and his views of what was happening at the time regarding the creation and evolution debate are presented in sections of the blog with the titles:

  1. Creation and evolution in the Dutch neo-Calvinist tradition
  2. The interwar years
  3. Growing openness in the 1950s and 1960s
  4. Polarisation in the 1970s
  5. Recent years

I found it interesting to learn that in the Netherlands, “orthodox Protestants have been well-organized since the late nineteenth century.  They have their own schools, political parties, broadcasting corporation within the public broadcasting system, etc.”  I believe this really is the reason why there is still so much support for young-earth creationism in the Netherlands.  When you have your own schools that do not constantly bombard students with so-called facts of evolution, and foster belief in God, you create a group of people that are able to resist the invasion of evolutionism.

How views regarding creation and evolution have changed over the years in the Netherlands is quite interesting.  From the blog you can learn about the influence that American writers such as George McCready Price and Morris & Whitcomb have had in the past.

How the publication of books introducing Intelligent Design influenced beliefs regarding evolution is also quite informative.

From the general tone of the reporting by the author of the blog, you can sense that he holds to the tenants of BIOLOGOS.  On the About Us tab on the blog post you learn the mission of this organization: “Biologos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.”

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Web Site of the Month - March 2018
by Lothar Janetzko

Creation and Evolution in Public Education
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_and_evolution_in_public_education

Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia

In the February newsletter, we looked at the history of the creation and evolution debate in the Netherlands.  For this month’s website review, we will look at an article found in Wikipedia that focuses on creation and evolution in public education around the world.

The introductory paragraph makes the statement that “The status of creation and evolution in public education has been the subject of substantial debate and conflict in legal, political, and religious circles.  Globally, there is a wide variety of views on the topic.  Most western countries have legislation that mandates only evolutionary biology is to be taught in the appropriate scientific syllabuses.”

Following this, you will find an overview of the current views from many countries from around the world including:

  1. Australia
  2. Brazil
  3. Council of Europe
  4. Denmark
  5. Iran
  6. Netherlands
  7. Norway
  8. Pakistan
  9. Poland
  10. Romania
  11. Russia
  12. Saudi Arabia
  13. Serbia
  14. Turkey
  15. United Kingdom
  16. United States

As you would expect, “Internationally, evolution is taught in science courses with limited controversy, with the exception of a few areas of the United States and several Islamic fundamentalist countries.”  It makes for interesting reading to learn about how the various countries have arrived at how evolution should be presented in scientific education classes.  In many countries, education in general is influenced by the political parties currently in power.  The debate in Europe in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) resulted in the passing of a resolution titled The dangers of creationism in education”.  How the resolution finally passed, and the recommendations contained in it are quite interesting.

How the teaching of evolution is treated in Islamic countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey provides interesting insights on how these countries have struggled with the teaching of evolution in their schools.  In 2017, the education ministry of Turkey “announced the removal of evolution from the secondary school curriculum, as of that date the only other Muslim majority country where evolution is challenged in the education system was Saudi Arabia, where the concept is briefly named and heavily criticized in the curricula.”

Typical of Wikipedia articles, you will find numerous footnote links throughout the article that provide more detailed information about the topics under discussion.  Also, on the main web page you will find that this article is a part of a series on Creationism and many links are available to explore.

Web Site of the Month - April 2018
by Lothar Janetzko

April Fools’ Day Science Hoaxes
http://hoaxes.org/af_database/display/category/science/

Information from the hoaxes.org website

Since April begins with April Fools’ Day, this month’s website review looks at a site which presents a great deal of information about this day of the year.  The links on the main page of the site will guide the reader to the following topics:

  1. The Museum of Hoaxes
  2. The Hoax Archive
  3. April Fool Archive
  4. Top April Fools
  5. Photo Fakery
  6. Hoax Photo Tests

You will also find links to About and Forum which provide more details about the Museum of Hoaxes.

The Museum of Hoaxes was established in 1997 in San Diego, CA.  “It explores deception, mischief, and misinformation throughout history, playing host to a variety of humbugs and hoodwinks – from ancient fakery all the way up to modern schemes, dupes, and dodges that circulate online.”

You may wonder how April Fools’ Day relates to the ongoing controversy between creation and evolution.  Just by reviewing some of the many April Fools’ Day Science Hoaxes you will find that many directly seek to make fun of the views of creationists while trying to maintain that only evolution can truly present credible arguments that explain what we see in the natural world.  One example of this is an article from Scientific American from 2005.

On the website you will find brief descriptions of Science Hoaxes dating from 1901 to 2014.  Below the descriptions you will find that all the information of the site has been organized into More April Fool Categories.  Here you will find links to:

  1. April Fool General Categories
  2. Regions
  3. Recurring Themes and Types of Pranks
  4. Media Organizations and Corporations with April Fool Traditions
  5. Settings
  6. Types of Perpetrators

Also, you will find links to The April Fool Archive dating from 1500s to 2015, Top 100, Origin and FAQ.

This site really has a wealth of information about April Fools’ Day.  The FAQ will answer many of the questions you may have about the origin of the day.  Just explore the many links to find topics of interest.  Most of all, don’t be fooled into believing everything you read either in books or online regarding creation vs. evolution.

Web Site of the Month - May 2018
by Lothar Janetzko

Evolutionary Truth by Piltdown Superman
http://www.piltdownsuperman.com/2015/06/

Religious Attitudes in Evolutionism

This month’s website review looks at a site recommended by a reader of our newsletter.  The link for the site will direct the reader to the home of “The Question Evolution Project.  Presenting information demonstrating that there is no truth in minerals-to-man evolution and presenting evidence for special creation.”  The article begins with an introduction to the topic of Religious Attitudes in Evolutionism.  An interesting church sign is presented that displays the message “ST. DARWIN’S EVOLUTION CHURCH ‘NOW EVOLUTION IS THE SUBSTANCE OF FOSSILS HOPED FOR, THE EVIDENCE OF LINKS NOT SEEN.’ – DUANE GISH”.  The observation is made that, “Using presuppositions that evolution happened, proponents use that as their starting point when attempting to interpret evidence – especially anthropologists.”  You will then find a discussion about the dogma used by anthropologists when trying to explain fossils.

After this introduction you will find a link to “Evolutionary Anthropology as Religion”.  Here you will find an interesting discussion about how the upright body plan of great apes evolved.  “For more than a century, the belief was that the posture, known as the orthograde body plan, evolved only once, as part of a suite of features, including broad torsos and mobile forelimbs, in an early ancestor of modern apes.”  A new fossil of the hipbone of an ape is challenging that belief.

Next you will find a discussion of what evolution gamers are doing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Gamers play with animats on their computers.  “That’s animats, not animals.  These are creatures of their own design that they reward when they solve problems, like Tetris.  As the mythical creatures evolve, the gamers decide that “Complex environments push ‘brain’ evolution.”

The last topic discussed is Non-Religious Religion.  Evolutionists have struggled to explain how morality fits into Darwinian evolution of the fittest. What a philosopher and evolutionary biologist is suggesting is that “the universe naturally produces complexity … Life seems to exhibit its own pattern of increasing complexity, with simple organisms getting more complex over evolutionary time until they eventually develop rationality and complex culture.”  Of course, this is a religious belief. “It need not imply that the universe was created by a God … it’s just some force built into the nature of matter that drives it to produce minds over ‘evolutionary time.’”

There is much more to explore on this website.  The main page provides many tabs to topics and links that ask the reader to question evolution.

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