Happy Mother’s Day

This is for you Mom.

Two Wazir Taliban Commanders Killed in Afghanistan

It appears that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan is either making raids cross border, or seeking alliances or arms judging by who was killed in a recent clash with Afghan and NATO forces in Afghanistan. From the Hindu News:

The dead Taliban belonged to the Wazir tribe and were members of a group led by Pakistani Taliban Mullah Nazir, who operates in the South Waziristan tribal region. Among the dead were Maulana Muhammad Iqbal, deputy chief of Mullah Nazir’s group, and Khan Mohammed Wazir, another key Taliban commander.

Three of the dead Taliban were aged between 15 and 20 years, local tribesmen said. The bodies were repatriated to Wana from Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province early today, the Taliban sources said.

The skirmish in Paktika left 13 Taliban militants and eight NATO and Afghan troops, including a colonel, dead. Witnesses said the bodies of the Pakistani Taliban were badly burnt, making it difficult to identify them.

More on Taliban captured and killed this weekend here.

The Problem With ID and Discovery Institute

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Even though I am atheist, I don’t have a problem with intelligent design, or the existence of G-D: both are distinct possibilities if you are talking about the origin of  the universe, or of life itself. The issue isn’t with Intelligent design and belief in a creator as the movie “Expelled” poorly attempts to portray. Ir’s about their markedly political agenda to discredit evolution and to stop its teaching in science class. 

When I said poorly above it’s because there is a certain amount of deceit in the movie. You have to wonder why they leave an interview with a Christian evolutionary biologist on the cutting room floor if the movie’s really about academic freedom? 

You don’t have to disbelieve G-D to oppose the Discovery Institute and their aims. You don’t get special credit in heaven for supporting them either, because they are attacking truth as scientists know it today through deceit. As the good book says  “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

While there certainly are rabid atheist secularists out there like Richard Dawkins, they are the exception, not the rule. Interviewing Dawkins on a subject such as this would be like interviewing Fred Phelps in a documentary about Christianity – you would be guaranteed some juicy bits, but would you really be portraying Christianity truthfully? I think not.

Forty percent of scientists believe in G-D in one form of religion or another. So why would the film attack atheism? Why would it attack science with the blood libel that they created the holocaust?

Those are not rhetorical questions: those are questions you need to ask yourself; and then you need to read the Wedge Document here which was leaked from the Discovery Institute. Before you accuse me of trusting wiki etc. be aware that the Institute, and the documents creators have admitted that it is real, however they do make serious attempts to downplay it, as noted here. (There are plenty of links at the bottom, citations, as well as a photocopy of the cover of the doc.)

The theory of evolution makes no claim to “knowing” how life started, or how the universe originated. How life and the universe began are hot topics of controversy within science, they are unsettled fields, and they are exciting fields. Religious scientists want to find truth every bit as much as the atheist and agnostics do, I would imagine they look upon it as discovery of G-D’s work.

So Ben sets up one strawman argument, and then rebutted himself. The other strawman shaken in our faces in the movie is the assumption that evolutionary theory is never challenged. This is somewhat over the top as it does get challenged regularly, not only by creationists, but also by scientists themselves. The debate over the details and mechanisms of evolution has raged across science for a long time, and it will continue to do so for it helps fuel new discoveries.

One of the strategies of the Discovery Institute is to attack and invalidate evolution by “teaching the controversy” – however when I studied evolution they were ahead of the DI. In other words my teachers did teach that there were gaps in fossil records and that there were controversies in Evolution. Teaching what we don’t know is an important part of science education.  The unanswered questions are the exciting parts for scientists and for students after all.

In the end you have to wonder who is closer to G-D – a scientist who studies wonders such as this in daily awe at the universe, or a disingenuous PR flack for a neo-luddite political think-tank?

Other resources:

Expelled exposed – a site that exposes the deceit and flaws in the movie

The Discovery Institute – the think tank

The Panda’s Thumb – an evolution blog

Talk Origins FAQ – records and debunking of the various claims against evolution