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Prof Denied Funds Over Evolution Evidence 953

Posted by Zonk
from the that-would-have-been-a-fun-after-meeting-beer dept.
radarsat1 writes "The Montreal Gazette today reported that a professor at Montreal's McGill University was refused a $40,000 grant, allegedly because 'he'd failed to provide the panel with ample evidence that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is correct.' Ironically, the grant was for a study into the detrimental effects of intelligent design on Canadian academics and leaders." From the article: "Jennifer Robinson, McGill's associate vice-principal for communications, said the university has asked the SSHRC to review its decision to reject Alters's request for money to study how the rising popularity in the United States of 'intelligent design' - a controversial creationist theory of life - is eroding acceptance of evolutionary science in Canada."
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Prof Denied Funds Over Evolution Evidence

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:22PM (#15079382)
    FSMism is the one true belief! Of course he can't prove evolution is correct, any Pastafarian knows how the world (and midgets) truely came to be.

    http://www.venganza.org/ [venganza.org]
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA! I GET IT! HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA! I think.....- No Man the Barbarian.

    Still, this should be easy to rectify, right? All you have to do is send them several books full of the evidence for evolution as it is currently understood- thus proving the point that ID should be banned from Canada.

    But that's the problem with the whole debate, isn't it? ID can take the complexity of life and the structure of the universe itself and explain it in terms anybody who has ever been to church can understand. Biology can't. Which is sad.
    • ID can take the complexity of life and the structure of the universe itself and explain it in terms anybody who has ever been to church can understand. Biology can't. Which is sad.

      No, what's sad is the plethora of churchgoers who apparently can't be bothered with an explanation more complex than "Humans are humans and dogs are dogs because jebus said so."

      Religion has always been the solution to questions science couldn't answer (see Greek mythology). Such as it is today, the problem is we have the answers,

      • And the majority of people on the planet have IQs less than 110 (See the definition of the Intelligence Quotient if you don't believe me) so what else is new? That's the danger of democracy for you.
        • "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried."
          -- Winston Churchill
      • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:32PM (#15079472)
        > > ID can take the complexity of life and the structure of the universe itself and explain it in terms anybody who has ever been to church can understand. Biology can't. Which is sad.
        >
        > No, what's sad is the plethora of churchgoers who apparently can't be bothered with an explanation more complex than "Humans are humans and dogs are dogs because jebus said so."

        Yes, but what's saddest of all is that unlike my ape-descended friends who haven't caught onto the scientific method, the difference between dogs and humans is that dogs learn from their mistakes.

    • by Lev13than (581686) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:39PM (#15079555) Homepage
      The SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) is not a backwaters school board stacked with religious fundamentalists. It is a mainstream, government-monitored agency that hands out almost $300mm per year of social sciences funding. Only 40% of applications get approved. In this case, it looks like they were justified in rejecting his application. Indeed, it looks like Alters is being a bit of a publicity-hunting suck. From another source [canada.com]:

      Eva Schacherl, a spokeswoman for the council, said Wednesday the multidisciplinary committee was not convinced the proposal's scholarly approach was sound or that it would provide objective results on the question.
      "I just want to underline that it is not correct to suggest that the funding proposal was not accepted because the council or the committee had doubts about evolution," she said.
      "We understand the way the committee's comments were transcribed or written down or summarized could have misled him and we really regret that the note sent to him gave the impression that the committee had doubts about evolution. That was really not what the committee intended."
      Schacherl noted the council has funded other research projects on evolution and gave $175,000 to Alters last year for a three-year project on concepts of biological evolution in Islamic society.


      In short, just because you have the right idea doesn't mean you automatically get funding for a flawed study.
      • If their original letter had left out the following:

        "Nor did the committee consider that there was adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of Evolution, and not Intelligent Design theory, was correct."

        I would have taken this correction just a little more seriously.

        But that sentence is what the rejection letter said, and no amount of "we didn't mean that" is going to fix their mess. If they didn't want to come across as a anti-evolutionary idiots, they shouldn't have writte
        • by jheath314 (916607) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:02PM (#15080748)
          The line was misinterpretted, plain and simple.

          What the line was interpreted to mean:
          "We don't think evolution is adequately justified, and don't see what's wrong with intelligent design"

          What the line actually means:
          "The Professor didn't do a good enough job of backing up *why* evolution is scientific and intelligent design is pseudo-science; as it is his paper really just makes this a tacit assumption. Since this question goes to the heart of the issue investigated by the grant, it is not unreasonable to insist that the difference be explained clearly by the applicant."

          IMHO, the Professor is hyping the misinterpretation of the committee's rejection in the hopes of generating an instinctive backlash in secular-minded Canada.
      • Have to agree after readong another another article [canada.com] on the same story. The guy was turned down for his study. Not because there isn't ample evidence that evolution is "correct" (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean). But because it wasn't felt objective results could be obtained.

        Here's the SSHRC committee's response (from the mentioned article) for his study titled: "Detrimental effects of popularizing anti-evolution's intelligent design theory on Canadian students, teachers, parents, administrat

  • Correction (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XorNand (517466) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:24PM (#15079396)
    ...rising popularity in the United States of 'intelligent design'
    I'd say "formally rising" and now "waning". The ID people have been quietly nursing their wounds since U.S. District Judge Jones, really put them in their place last December. The opinion he wrote was extraordinary lucid and well-reasoned. If anyone here hasn't read it, I would highly recommend it. It is anything but a dry legal document.
    • Re:Correction (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:29PM (#15079445) Homepage
      Whatsamatta with you, you say we all have to read it and no link? I have rectified this. http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2005/images/12/20/kitzmille r.pdf [cnn.net]
      • Re:Correction (Score:4, Informative)

        by hehman (448117) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:56PM (#15079733) Homepage Journal
        Don't want to read a 139 page PDF document? Skip to the delicious summary on page 136, including these choice quotes:

        The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board's ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.
        [...]
        To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.
        [...]
        The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial.
    • Re:Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tim Doran (910) <timmydoran AT rogers DOT com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:37PM (#15079537)
      You're absolutely right, the opinion was a beautiful piece of work and a huge relief to those of us who think ignorance is NOT a desirable state for society.

      Unfortunately, the mainstream media feels compelled to provide a "balanced" story including both sides of an issue, even when a little basic research would prove one side utterly wrong. This means ID has been given far more respectful treatment in the press than it has deserved, and gained credibility as a result (not unlike the Swift Boat liars in the last presidential election).

      I do think the press has given its head a shake on the topic of ID though - the NYT ran a front-page article [nytimes.com] on the "missing link" fossil discovery announced today. I suspect 6 months ago they'd have buried the story on page A24 to avoid angering the creationists.

  • Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jim_v2000 (818799) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:27PM (#15079422)
    "...study how the rising popularity in the United States of 'intelligent design' - a controversial creationist theory of life - is eroding acceptance of evolutionary science in Canada."

    $40,000 was saved from being wasted on a useless study. Too bad that doesn't happen more often.
    • Why so? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jfengel (409917)
      I don't suppose it's any more useless than the rest of the studies done in the sociology department. (And that may be enough to stop right there.)

      I consider it kind of an interesting question: is the US Intelligent Design movement having any effect on Canadians? I imagine that Canadians, at least, would like to know if they have to worry about encroaching creationism. And if there is, to begin to have a direction in which to fight it.

      The professor considers the board's refusal evidence of what he was trying
    • Exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

      by roman_mir (125474)
      my first thought was, HA, this is a stupid study. What is the difference how intelligent design affects our thoughts on evolution? Then I realized that this is what social studies are all about, some Phd or whatever is sitting there and coming up with ideas for his/her funding for the next year. Obviously nobody really cares about this except for this individual (he has plenty to gain from it.) What is more interesting what other totally pointless 'studies' are conducted in this way and paid for by our
    • Re:Yay! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gobbo (567674)
      $40,000 was saved from being wasted on a useless study.

      Do you have any idea how much of your daily life is impacted by government and bureaucratic policy decisions? I didn't think so.

      Policy makers who are acting in good faith (OK, maybe that's rare, just to be cynical) rely on studies like this. It is anything but useless, it's crucial.

      Before anyone sputters about it not really being about science, well, it isn't supposed to be. It's about social power. ID isn't about science either: its express goals

  • by kietscia (149772) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:27PM (#15079423)
    This researcher was on CBC radio this morning and one of the fun things that came out was that by denying his application the funding board simultaneously saved $40,000 and actually proved the central hypothesis of his research; obviously ID is having a detrimental effect.
    • alternately... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by YesIAmAScript (886271)
      Perhaps he did a lousy study, it wasn't worth $40K, and it was rejected because it was incomplete and not because of any opinions about ID.

      Thus proving nothing about his central hypothesis.

      Has anyone actually read the study to try to make this decisions for themself?
  • by SeanDuggan (732224) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:28PM (#15079433) Homepage Journal
    I'm holding opinion until we see what the actual criteria for rejection were. I could see this as a situation where the letter said something along the lines of, "We found that you did not do sufficient work to establish your definition of evolution when surveying the people." The researcher, of course, would like to have a groundswell of earnest defense from reactionaries, so he rephrases it to sound like the government is advocating ID. In all the noise and hubbub, the government cuts its losses and pays him off rather than spend tons (metric tonnes, I'm sure) of money defending themselves.
    • Amen! I've seen plenty of grant applications with great titles that inevitably show that either the author has no idea how to write a grant to properly convey his ideas/requests or that he is a complete idiot and, while able to identify hot-button issues, couldn't design a decent research plan to save his life.

      In this case, I would think that it is at least possible that the grant app didn't seem worth $40k to the review board (more due to the former rather than the latter judging by the PIs standing in t
  • Rising popularity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Have Blue (616) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:29PM (#15079440) Homepage
    The popularity of intelligent design is not rising in the US. The volume and rate at which its supporters, a group which remains fairly static, are speaking are rising.
  • What controvercy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amightywind (691887) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:30PM (#15079451) Journal

    So it looks like a someone fullfilled their fudiciary duty and decided not to write a $40,000 check to a McGill professor to lavishly sponsor a pointless study. And the controvercy is?

  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luscious868 (679143) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:30PM (#15079455)
    I'll never understand the intelligent design versus evolution debate. The two seem to me to have nothing to do with one another. Evolution is a valid scientific theory based on physical evidence and intelligent design is more of a philosophy that really can't be proven one way or another. Further, they aren't mutually exclusive. If there is a God, why couldn't he/she/it have used evolution as the means to design life? Clearly, if there is a God that's exactly how he/she/it went about it.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Informative)

      by whoever57 (658626)

      I'll never understand the intelligent design versus evolution debate. The two seem to me to have nothing to do with one another. Evolution is a valid scientific theory based on physical evidence and intelligent design is more of a philosophy that really can't be proven one way or another. Further, they aren't mutually exclusive.

      Well, it seems that you don't know what the ID promoters are putting forward. Supporters of ID see it as in conflict with some of the central tenets of evolution. They don't see it

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

      by necro2607 (771790)
      Yeah, what "God" is going to want to sit around and come up with all these weird ass creatures all day long? Why not "write" a procedural "program" to design all that for you? Actually, this is starting to sound like that upcoming game Spore [wikipedia.org]...
    • Religious fundamentalism (on the rise in the US) doesn't accept that is possible. It asserts that god formed Adam out of clay and actually used his breath to fill Adam with life. Because the Bible is the Only Truth, no other is possible.

      These are the same people (different bodies I suppose) that murdered progressive people who suggested that the earth might be round, or go around the sun.

      Just because the times have changed, don't believe for a second that all the people have.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by roman_mir (125474)
      What you are missing is that ID is USING this artificial fight against Evolution to gain followers.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:52PM (#15080260) Homepage
      Your viewpoint is common among those Christians who appreciate science and aren't aware of the fundamentalist political motivations for ID. My father, for example, put it in more or less the same terms: "Intelligent Design" just means that evolution occured, and that it occured was God's will. From this view, where science is the "how" and God is the "why", "Intelligent Design" is just putting a name to the concept and shouldn't affect one iota the scientists doing evolution research (whether those scientists are religious or not), because it makes zero new scientific claims.

      Of course creating a word for the harmony that can exist between science and religion is not the reason ID was created.

      The whole point of Intelligent Design is to be an alternative to evolution, to replace it with a theory that (very) superficially* does not seem to be religious in nature. ID is supposed to discredit evolution, and leave open the possibility of Creationism, and to even allow Creationism (its nature covered by the thin veneer ID offers) to be taught in public schools without violating the 1st Ammendment.

      ID was created to destroy the "heretical" teaching of evolution, and as such people with views like yours (and mine, and my father's) are diametrically opposed to the true supporters of ID. It is the thin end of the wedge intended to drive fundamentalism into our schools and "secular" scientific teaching out.

      ID is a political movement with political goals, and a rational attempt to reconcile ID's statements with the scientific facts of evolution is contrary to those goals. So while I agree 100% with your view, you must take great care in using "Intelligent Design" to describe it, because you will be misrepresenting yourself.

      * ID proponents may tell you that ID does not necessarily mean the Christian God or any other god did it, and maybe it was space aliens. They're lying to conceal ID's religious basis. The whole argument of ID is that something like the human brain could not have developed from natural processes, so some other intelligence must have made the brain. By ID's central hypothesis, that other intelligence could not have arisen from natural processes. Simple induction tells us that however long the sequence of Designers, the original Designer must therefore be supernatural. Everyone intuitively understands this, especially the fundamentalist backers of ID, but they have to pretend not to in order to avoid that annoying Separation of Church and State.
    • So-called intelligent design is a belief in creationism opposed to knowledge about evolution. Thus, ID is fighting against knowledge which is why their arguments are of the form "but the eye is too complex, prove it evolved. oh you can't and btw where's the missing link?". So how do you fight belief? By mocking it of course, hence the "flying sphagetti monster". Both approaches are similar in that they basically just insult the other side's core principles.

      If you really want to fight their belief then c
  • The earth is flat! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (molbdeh.leinad)> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:36PM (#15079519) Homepage Journal
    Its things like Intelligent Design that makes me understand why some cultures have vaned and dissapeared troughout history. By denying straight thinking and bending things backwards you can really stop progress and then another culture comes in and takes over. I find myself seeing this alot today with idiotic things like Intelligent Design, patent laws and IP ownage. The list is long but current denial of scientific theories like evolution and global warming takes first price.

    China has it really laid out for them in the future thats for sure.
  • by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:36PM (#15079525)
    Viva the Midget!

    Viva Pirates!

    http://www.venganza.org/ [venganza.org]
  • What theory? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code (49548) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:39PM (#15079558)
    Since when is Intelligent Design/Creationism a "theory"? It doesn't even deserve the reputation as theory. Theories are rational, testable and predictive. ID/Creationism is fantasy. Evolution can offer predictions about the natural world. What can ID/Creationism "predict"?
    • Re:What theory? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by barawn (25691) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:39PM (#15080166) Homepage
      What can ID/Creationism "predict"?

      Actually, what's often overlooked is that the intelligent design arguments are providing testable and predictable theories.

      They're saying it's impossible for certain systems to have arisen by chance. They usually give examples of various complicated biological systems, etc.

      That's a falsifiable statement.

      Unsurprisingly, the examples given are usually falsified.
    • Re:What theory? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phroggy (441) *
      Since when is Intelligent Design/Creationism a "theory"? It doesn't even deserve the reputation as theory. Theories are rational, testable and predictive. ID/Creationism is fantasy. Evolution can offer predictions about the natural world. What can ID/Creationism "predict"?

      First off, I was surprised to discover that Creationism and Intelligent Design are so different.

      Creationism starts with the idea that God created the universe and everything in it about 6,000 years ago, and there was a worldwide Flood arou
  • by DesertWolf0132 (718296) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:41PM (#15079577) Homepage

    Hold on for a moment while I calm the spasms of laughter...

    Ok, first, the study for which he applied for the grant was flawed. ID does not in any way claim that evolution did not happen, only that it may be the method through which an intelligent entity created us. To study the effects of a belief in a socialogical sense one must first understand the real belief, not the view of the uneducated on the topic. ID offers evolution as one of the possible methods of Intelligent Design. I will grant here that much of ID is conjecture and more hypothesis than theory. Creationists of late have been twisting ID to fit their view that nothing evolved but was created. The grant therefore should have studied Creationism and its negative effects on the study of evolution. True ID still allows for the study of evolution and Darwin's theories. It merely attempts to give an explanation of the catalyst for it. Anything that calls itself ID but eliminates evolution is Creationism.

    Now before the Creationists and followers of Darwin on this site try to have me drawn and quartered, I personally withhold my opinion. I merely wish to state that parties on all sides of this debate are fond of not taking the time to understand each other's arguments.

    Let the flaming by those who don't take the time to read my entire post begin...

    • ID does not in any way claim that evolution did not happen, only that it may be the method through which an intelligent entity created us.

      Repeat that as many times as you'd like, but fact is a significant part of intelligent design proponents use intelligent design specifically as a tool to try to spread doubt about the validity of the theory of evolution.

      Trying to pretend otherwise is either ignorant or dishonest. Which are you?

    • To study the effects of a belief in a socialogical sense one must first understand the real belief, not the view of the uneducated on the topic.

      To study the effects of a belief in a socialogical sense, one must first understand the view of the uneducated (also known as "the masses") on the topic. The "real belief" -- also known as "from the point of view of the scholars who study the belief" only peripherally comes into play here. The sociological effects of a movement rests FIRMLY in the viewpoint of t

    • Now you're just moving the goal posts and twisting the argument to make both sides appear unresonable, while you can stand in the middle taking the slings and arrows of both sides as you attempt to instill reason and compromise.

      All heroic posturing aside, the Intelligent Design adherents want to break the back of evolution's credibility by calling it a 'theory' knowing that this will make evolution appear less valid than other scientific theories. This helps to instill a confusion between theory and law, b

  • by Arandir (19206) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:42PM (#15079594) Homepage Journal
    This is all Bush's fault! Oh wait... this is in Canada. Well it's STILL Bush's fault, dammit!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:47PM (#15079643)
    To all of the flamers out there who are bashing the committee without knowing anything about the Canadian grant system...

    This has absolutely nothing to do with a person's religious or scientific views. It has everything to do with the fact that someone applied for a grant that has no justification. He submitted an unprepared request for a grant. period.

    In the same way, if I submitted a request for a grant to study "the effect that the knowledge of the theory of gravity in Canada had on the leadership of the United States" it would also be denied. Without having both proof and possible linkage, it's not a valid request.

    Bottom line, is that this is nothing more than an otherwise insignificant person trying to get some press. Same as the guy who tried to patent the wheel in australia... Just trying to get some attention, and by the previous comments, it looks like it may have worked.
  • by B. Pascal (952378) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:52PM (#15079693)
    Hello all:

    I like to point out that the MAIN issue in the article has been lost due to the North American cultural war between Evolution and Intelligent Design. Sparked by this event, there will be many posts made to debate whether evolution is correct or not. Yet, at the end, these posts will all be irrelevant to the main issue. Here is the summary of the article I read:

    "A funding request for an academic study has been denied by a review board, due to, and I quote, 'he(the professor of the study)'d failed to provide the panel with ample evidence that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is correct.'"

    Reading the article, it seems that the author has tried to put the issue into the context of an ongoing debate between evolution and intelligent design. That debate is absolutely irrelevant here. What is this article about? It is about the professor of a study not providing enough support in his proposal for funding. The board may very well acknowledge that evolution IS correct, but for the purpose of due academic diligence, the review board decided that NOT ENOUGH evidence has been provided to support "a theory acknowledged to be correct".

    Reading this article more in details, the research study in question has little to do with the science of evolution itself. The title of the study is "how the rising popularity in the United States of intelligent design" - a controversial creationist theory of life - is eroding acceptance of evolutionary science in Canada". This is a cultural study: it's about how a controversial theory and the effect it has on the Canadian scientific community. In short, this is a study about people, not about evolution...

    Finally, I like to point out that the rejection message was read in front of a public lecture... As a graduate student, I applied for funding and got rejected all the time. Yet, I have never heard of a rejection letter being read in public before... It sounds as if the focus has been shifted, the public roused, and attention redirected to a direction that is, ultimately, irrelevant to the main issue. (picture of many people, flaming torches, and pitch forks in mind...)

    Cheers.

    B. Pascal.
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:04PM (#15079841) Homepage Journal
    No Child Left Behind and various other laws make education a nationally standardized mess of differing opinions. With more Federal money being thrown at what should be a local issue, we're going to have more problems like this than ever.

    I'm not fond of any public funding, grants, guaranteed loans or any form of research, but I am also not the kind of person to push my opinions on people I don't know. I am frustrated that my future kids would have to learn subject matters that are outside of my belief system. I believe that if a family wants to teach their children creationism, they'd choose a school that teaches it. If they want to teach evolution, the same would be true. That is more important than shoving every kid of every family into a common thinking (indoctrination).

    Why the debate, anyway? What do you care what people you don't know, will never meet, and have no direct contact with teach their children? How does the standard I set affect you, even if you're 2 communities over?

    Learning is about basic math, basic reading and writing, and basic discipline. It isn't about higher science or sex ed or history or foreign languages -- that is for the individual to decide if they want it as an elective that will affect their futures.

    The more we shove people into the same mold, the less we'll be able to compete in the world. Variety is the spice of life, including in education, faith and science.
  • Cargo Cult Science (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ranger (1783) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:25PM (#15080043) Homepage
    The blurb was poorly worded, so I went and read the story. And it didn't make much sense either. Intelligent Design is just Creationism dressed up in scientific clothing. Lots of pseudoscience proponets try to dress up their ideas under the guise of science. As the late great Richard Feynman so aptly called it Cargo Cult Science [brocku.ca]. They talk the talk, but when they attempt to walk the walk, they can't.

    For years Johannes Kepler [wikipedia.org] tried to make his observations fit his theory that the planetory orbits corresponded to the five perfect solids. He took the courageous step to reject his pet theory because it was wrong and came up with his three laws of planetary motion. They fit his observations better and made actual predictions. It was, it is testable.

    The fundamentalists are trying to make their observations fit their 'theory'. Except they have no observations and a theory that is mere window dressing. The problem is most Christians forgot God was a metaphor and are trying to interpret their flavors of the Bible as absolute fact and history. You can still be a devout Christian and understand evolution and accept it happened (I'm not a Christian). By rejecting Creationism they don't have to reject their entire faith. That is to say they don't have to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
  • Why SSHRC funding? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Yaztromo (655250) <`yaztromo' `at' `mac.com'> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:39PM (#15080161) Homepage Journal

    A bit of background for those who are not familiar with some of the common academic research funding bodies here in Canada.

    SSHRC [sshrc-crsh.gc.ca] is for the funding of Social Science and Humanities research, which includes things like literature research. A good friend of mine who is working on her Ph.D. in English has an application in for an SSHRC grant.

    NSERC [nserc-crsng.gc.ca] is for the funding of scientific and engineering research.

    There are a few critical points to understand about these two funding organizations:. NSERC has way more money than the SSHRC. Scientific and engineering researchers typically have no problems getting the funding they need, whereas social science and humanities researchers can have a really hard time getting anything from the SSHRC. The SSHRC just doesn't get much money, and has to be stingy in doleing it out to ensure they get the best bang for their buck.

    As such, it is entirely possible that the reason for the SSHRC denying this grant would be because the grant application was simply incomplete.

    From my perspective as someone who has lived in three Provinces (and who has been to all the rest, with the notable exception of Newfoundland), Intelligent Design is a complete and total non-starter here in Canada. If it weren't for /. and exposure to US-based news services, I doubt I'd even have heard about it. There is no political movement here to stop the teaching of evolution in schools, no court cases, nothing. To most Canadians, it's just another of those idiotic ultra-conservative American things that occurs from time to time, and not something the vast majority of Canadians want any part of.

    While I personally think this research would be interesting, it is quite possible that the SSHRC has more pressing areas of research to handle, such as the serious social problems in native communities. With only so much money to go around, there are inevitably going to be very worthy projects which get rejected for funding. The trick for a researcher is to look elsewhere for the funding they need to get their research completed and published.

    Yaz.

  • by SimHacker (180785) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @05:22PM (#15080477) Homepage Journal

    The Easter Bunny is the best proof yet of intelligent design! What other explanation is there for rabbits laying painted eggs on Jesus's birthday? Obviously that proves the existence of God, and supports the story of Adam and Eve.

    -Don

  • by jbr439 (214107) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @05:29PM (#15080521)
    ID claims that humans, the Earth, the universe, etc are much too complex to be the result of one or more accidents. Such complexity could only be the result of the intervention of a master architect or intelligent designer, if you will.

    The problem with this is that it only pretends to solve the question by introducing an extra level of indirection. The logical followup question is never asked: how did a being as complex as the one that designed the universe come into existence?

    If life, the universe, and everything are too complex to have come into existence by accident, then almost by definition, the designer, which is at least as complex and most likely even more complex than his/her/its creation, could not have come into existence by accident. And so by applying the principle of ID (complexity above a certain level requires an intelligent designer), we unavoidably come up with the notion that our designer has a designer of his/her/its own. Applying ID again, we see that our designer's designer has a designer of her/his/its own. And on and on we go ad nauseam, resulting in an infinite number of intelligent designers.

    Ain't ID fun?

  • by kindbud (90044) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @05:33PM (#15080542) Homepage
    Obviously, he got his answer to the question "Are American ID fanboys affecting the conduct of science in Canada." It's a resounding YES. And he didn't spend any government grant money to find out.

  • by xant (99438) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:04PM (#15080762) Homepage
    'intelligent design' - a controversial creationist theory of life

    Look, dumbshits. It's not a theory. And it's not controversial, it's just wrong. How about this, more accurate description:

    'intelligent design' - a wrongheaded piece of creationist propaganda

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