Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Are we not men? We are Devo!

Updated below*
Biologist fired for beliefs, suit says
Woods Hole states creationist stance at odds with work

The battle between science and creationism has reached the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where a former researcher is claiming he was fired because he doesn't believe in evolution.

Nathaniel Abraham filed a lawsuit earlier this week in US District Court in Boston saying that the Cape Cod research center dismissed him in 2004 because of his Christian belief that the Bible presents a true account of human creation.

Abraham, who is seeking $500,000 in compensation for a violation of his civil rights, says in the suit that he lost his job as a postdoctoral researcher in a biology lab shortly after he told his superior that he did not accept evolution as scientific fact.

[Woods Hole senior scientist Mark E.] Hahn's lab, according to its website, studies how aquatic animals respond to chemical contaminants by examining ". . . mechanisms from a comparative/evolutionary perspective."
He was fired not for his beliefs, but because he couldn't do his job. You don't hire a Jehovah's Witness for a blood drive, you don't hire a Catholic priest for Planned Parenthood and you don't hire someone who doesn't believe in science to do scientific research.

But wait, there's more!
Hey Science, Don't Mess with Texas

It can't be a good thing when a state fires its head of science education for promoting science education. But that's what happened when the Texas Education Agency put its science curriculum director Chris Comer on administrative leave in late October, leading to what she calls a forced resignation.

We begin our story on October 26 when Comer forwarded an e-mail announcing a presentation titled, "Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse," by Barbara Forrest. Forrest co-authored a book arguing that creationist politics are advancing the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools, and are doing so through public relations rather than through scientific research. Shortly after forwarding the e-mail, Comer was put on administrative leave.

"Ms. Comer's e-mail implies endorsement of the speaker and implies that TEA endorses the speaker's position on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral," according to the author of a TEA memo calling for Comer's firing.
Ummm, no! Evolution is a scientific fact. Creationism and ID are religious beliefs, not supported by any scientific discipline.

Astronomy, geology, biology, physics all reinforce the scientific conclusion that humans, the planet, the solar system, the universe, could not exist according to a literal interpretation of the bible.

*UPDATE: A commenter makes the argument
This is nothing more than an academic witch hunt against Christians. The Washington Post has the balls to ask whether any biologist who doesn't believe in evolution can do their job. HELLO! The Theory of Evolution is just that, a theory. Any scientist worth his salt should question it.
Sweet Richard William
Well Sweet, rather than respond as the wrongwing blogs do, (tracking down your IP, publishing your address, complaining to your employer and sending malkinites to your house), I will respond in a sensible and logical manner.

1) Most academics I know are christians. They have no problem reconciling their beliefs with their knowledge because they know the King James bible was written by men about 2,000 years ago, and then certain chapters were selected and translated from the original Greek, Sumarian and Hebrew by King James' Church of England in 1604.

They believe in the universal truths in this bible and they believe in Jesus and god, but they cannot believe in a literal bible in the same way they do not sacrifice their children. So sorry to disappoint you. (BTW, King James considered himself chosen by God and should therefore be absolute and answerable only to God. Kinda like bush does.)

2) There is no 'witch hunt', there is only a constant striving for facts. If the facts are 'biased' against your beliefs, you can change your beliefs but you cannot change facts.

3) You show a common misunderstanding about the term 'theory' as it is used in science. "In science, a theory is a mathematical or logical explanation, or a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation."

Evolution has been tested, it has predicted future observations, and it has been proven thru empirical observation, (see DNA.)

4) Maybe your confusion comes from the use of 'law' by scientists. A law in science is the observable phenomenon, a theory is the underlying mechanism.

Thus we have the law of natural selection, and the theory of evolution.

I hope this helps your understanding of reality.



p.s. When updating the post I inadvertently scrubbed the comments. It wasn't intentional. Sweet William's complete comment was included at the update of the post in it's full glory, but all the other comments in the thread were lost. My apologies to all the other commenters. I will try to do better in the future.

Update: Here are the missing comments, courtesy of Haloscan:

1: Kinda like hiring a Roto Rooter guy to do brain surgery.

Waitaminute, thats not such a bad idea!
Get GW over here, STAT.
He needs a little cranio rectal removal.
Bustednuckles | Homepage | 12.12.07 - 9:33 am | #

2: This is nothing more than an academic witch hunt against Christians. The Washington Post has the balls to ask whether any biologist who doesn't believe in evolution can do their job. HELLO! The Theory of Evolution is just that, a theory. Any scientist worth his salt should question it.
Sweet Richard William | Homepage | 12.12.07 - 12:38 pm | #

3: Sorry, Richard, Look up the definition of Theory as used in science. It's not the same as Anne Elk's famous theory about dinosaurs, but rather the following:

1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another

2: abstract thought : speculation

3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art

4 a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory

5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena

6 a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b: an unproved assumption : conjecture c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject

#s 1 & 5 apply here, and not the common usage version which can be either #4, or 6a or 6b.

Your argument, used by fundamentalists, doesn't hold water, sorry.
SteveAudio | Homepage | 12.12.07 - 6:05 pm | #