martes, 2 de marzo de 2010

Twelve eran twelve y ninguna (sola) era buena

introduccion publicitarua: o ¿cuanto vale la matente de la rumba??


Emotional Attachment To Roombas Suggests Humans Can Love Their 'Bots

The Roomba These cute little guys are warming their owners' hearts, paving the way for wider acceptance of autonomous robots living alongside humans. Larry D. Moore
How much do you love your vacuum cleaner? If yours happens to be a cute little Roomba, a new study suggests that you might like it a little bit too much . A Georgia Tech researcher has found that many Roomba owners name, dress up and genuinely worry about their Roombas, as if they were living pets.
For instance, of 30 committed users studied as part of the research effort, two-thirds had named their devices and half had assigned them an arbitrary gender. Others in the study were found to rearrange their homes to be more accommodating to the robots, while others pre-clean their homes before putting the machine to work and buy new rugs that don't tie up the Roomba on its programmed march around the house. One subject even introduced his Roomba to his parents.
But the most interesting finding is that Roombas don’t always work perfectly – and that may only contribute to owners’ affections for them. The cute, fallible little devices are emotionally engaging enough for some users that their reliability as robots is less important than their presence and companionship. We’re not making this up. The study also suggests that people are warming up to having a robot perpetually in the house, even one that doesn’t necessarily do its job right all the time. Is it the beginning of the acceptance of robots into the family dynamic? We’re not sure about all that just yet, but it would seem that in the case of the tiny Roomba, man and machine are forging some kind of bond at an emotional level. Whether that’s exciting or unsettling is still up in the air.

[MSNBC via Gizmodo]
North American public schools and media are failing to educate the public about evolution - especially about the 12 major theories explaining how the world evolved into being.

With all the attention given this month to the 150th anniversary of the Charles Darwin’s earth-shattering book, On the Origin of Species, you would think evolution would be firmly embedded in the North American psyche. But there is chaos in the public’s mind.

Many conservative Americans, steeped in Christian culture wars over abortion, homosexuality and six-day Creationism, have become infamous for resisting the general tenets of evolution. And it turns out Canadians are almost as much in the dark as Americans.

An Angus Reid poll recently showed only 58 per cent of Canadians (compared to 42 per cent of Americans) accept the fundamental teaching of evolution; that “human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years.” 

It’s disturbing that 24 per cent of Canadians (39 per cent of Americans) told Angus Reid pollsters they embrace Biblical Creationism, or the belief that “God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years.” Another 20 per cent of Canadians said they weren’t sure.

In other words, one out of four Canadians believe humans once walked with dinosaurs. Maybe I need to say the obvious: Even though this is the belief of B.C.-based  Conservative Party cabinet minister Stockwell Day, no mainstream biologist believes women and men co-existed with Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Before I get to the 12 different schools of evolutionary theory, I'll spell out how evolution is inadequately taught in many Canadian schools (and over-simplified by most media outlets).

This is not only the case in many religious schools, where many of the country’s 65,000 independent-school students are taught by taxpayer-funded teachers that Creationism deserves more respect than Charles-Darwin-based evolutionary theory.

Most Canadian public school students are also not taught evolutionary theory in mandatory science classes. Retired B.C. high-school teacher Scott Goodman and others justifiably worry only a small sliver of Canadian students – typically those who choose elective biology classes in Grades 11 or 12 – ever focus on it.

The education systems’ inadequate handling of evolutionary theory is partly based on political correctness. Many governments and teachers are afraid of offending conservative Christians, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses (often not recognizing mainstream Protestants and Catholics, as well as Buddhists and Hindus, generally accept evolution).

In addition to the piecemeal teaching of evolution in Canadian public schools. which are a provincial jurisdiction, most university science classes offer students virtually no sense of the wide array of evolutionary theories in existence.

Whatever the cause of the lack of evolutionary education, it explains why polls show fewer than three out of five Canadians generally accept evolutionary thought, why conservative politicians across the country defend Creationism and why the Royal Ontario Museum could not find any corporate sponsors in 2008 for its supposedly “controversial” exhibit on Charles Darwin.

Most media outlets also fall short on enlightening the public on this wide-ranging theory about the origins of life. These media contribute to a false-choice debate about evolution; acting as if there only two polarized camps – neo-Darwinism and Biblical Creationism.

There is actually a much richer discussion about evolution occurring behind the scenes. It involves 12 current theories.

Only one of these evolutionary theories is neo-Darwinism, the school based on genetic mutation and random selection that is dominant in most universities.

Neo-Darwinism is advanced by high-profile, anti-religious biologists such as Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion.

But to my mind, some of the other 11 theories of evolution are more complete than neo-Darwinism.

I suspect there’s more complexity to the universe’s evolutionary process than Dawkins’ reductionistic conclusion that: “We are survival mechanisms – robot machines blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.”

Four of the alternative evolutionary theories to neo-Darwinism are exclusively scientific, making no reference to spirituality, writes Carter Phipps in a readable, comprehensive article on the 12 theories in a journal called EnlightenNext (formerly known as What is Enlightenment?)

For instance, one scientific theory highlights how cooperation is essential to the evolutionary process. This school is championed by American biologists such as Lynn Margulis, who shared her viewpoint with her late husband, noted astronomer Carl Sagan (left).

Another scientific-mathematical approach to evolution is “complexity theory,” in which physicists such as Ervin Laszlo postulate that organisms have a “self-organizing” ability.

A group of evolutionary psychologists also strongly oppose Dawkin’s view that selfish genes can explain everything. These social scientists, such as Robert Wright, are known as “directionalists” because they see elements of purpose in life.

At the other end of the theoretical pole are those who emphasize spiritual explanations for evolution.

One school is called Intelligent Design. It’s typically proposed by evangelical Christians who find “young earth” Creationism too crude.

Another spiritual explanation for evolution is associated with the New Age movement. It supports the esoteric form of evolution promoted in 1877 by Madame Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy.

The final cohort of evolutionary theories creatively melds elements of both science and spirituality.

The schools of thought in this category embrace both science and metaphysics in the name of developing a new synthesis on evolution. I’m drawn to how they discern both chance and purpose in the universe.

One of these evolutionary theories, “conscious evolution,” is based on the work of rebel Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. It proposes that humans are called to evolve in self-awareness. It has inspired everyone from Al Gore and Marshall McLuhan to Brian Swimme and Barbara Max Hubbard.

“Process philosophy” is another member of this group blending science and spirituality. Biologists such as Charles Birch and progressive Christian theologians such as John Cobb maintain the divine is “the creative advance into novelty,” the source of the universe’s process of change.

A final group profiled in the helpful series on the 12 theories of evolution is called “the integrationalists.” These thinkers follow the lead of philosopher Ken Wilber. They attempt to thoroughly integrate science, developmental psychology and mysticism into a comprehensive form of evolutionary understanding.

It’s my hope this fascinating array of evolutionary theories will soon receive more media attention. But when will they be widely taught in Canadian or American public schools and universities? Not likely soon.

The North American education system is not yet that evolved.

Your Comments

The author of this article has cherry picked a particular quote from Richard Dawkin's early book, "The Selfish Gene."  Dr. Dawkin's ideas, like life itself, has evolved over the decades.  I strongly suggest he read "The Greatest Show On Earth,":Dr. Dawkins latest.
This author, as others have pointed out, confuses "theory" with "idea."  Creationism and Intellegent Design are Ideas, NOT theories.  True theories can be tested and proved or disproved, and Darwinian Evolution has withstood the test of time and thousands of tests, and has come through pretty much every time, showing itself as pretty much the way life has changed over millenia.
The only people who have "problems" with evolution are the religiously-oriented, who just cannot fathom how a seemly random process (only genetic mutation, the raw material of natural selection is random), could lead to the immense variety of life on earth.
March 02, 2010
4:35 PM
Do you actually pay Douglas Todd to make this nonsense up? This is disgusting. Fire the writer and the editor.
March 02, 2010
4:33 PM
The only thing this ridiculous article casts light on is Mr. Douglas Todd's appalling ignorance of the subject he writes about.
March 02, 2010
4:13 PM
Er, Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory.  Neither is Theosophy.
Please edit your content to eliminate unscientific positions being offered as scientific alternatives.
Also, you do a great disservice by citing all of these as competing theories.  That is akin to comparing Usain Bolt, George W Bush, and Henry Hyde when talking about running.
March 02, 2010
4:07 PM
This is a joke, right? It has to be. Nobody can be as inept as this man. Except maybe the fool from the comments below who said that scientists claim all of the span of evolution happened since the last ice age.
March 02, 2010
4:01 PM
As a science educator who has worked for several decades to promote effective science education in North American schools, I am utterly apalled by this ridiculous and offensive article. The author hasn't the slightest idea about what constitutes scientific theories, nor does he understand the fundamentals of good science education practice.
Of course modern evolutionary biologists debate about the degree of contribution of testable hypotheses such as 'co-evolution',  'punctuated equilibrium' 'genetic drift' and so forth, but the fundamentals of Darwin's theory of natural selection, as it has been refined by over 150 years of confirming and theoretically-expanding research, are still the sound foundation of modern biology that virtually all thinking biologists understand, support, and use as the basis for their exploration of life and its functions.
To teach philosophy, religion, and the outright hocus-pocus b.s. recommended by this author in science classrooms, and to call it real science, is a stupid and dangerous proposal guaranteed to promote an increase in the rather pathetic polling statistics that 42% of Canadians have no clue about how we or  the marvelous biodiversity around us got here.
Then again, I am sure that is what Douglas Todd is trying to accomplish.
March 02, 2010
3:10 PM
Intelligent Design? Madame Blavatsky?
The Madame Blavatsky who also thought that the superior Aryan race descended from Atlantis before it sank?!
I'd expect nothing less than the ignorant drivel in this article from a "Templeton Religion Reporter."
Two expert takes on this nonsense:,
March 02, 2010
3:06 PM
Where is the balance in this article?  Evolution is no more a theory than my chair is.  While Theosophy is pure drivel.  To effectively treat them as equals - and suggest they should be taught in schools (on an equal basis???) is just mad.  I'd pull my kid from any school that did that!
How about taking the sensible balanced, rational approach and teaching that evolution is the best way we have right now of describing how species change - and accepted by all people who have no axe to grind other than a desire to find the truth.  The rest are examples of how deluded faith heads can be.
This is all a bit embarrassing...
March 02, 2010
2:35 PM
Scott C.
You have masterfully proven your thesis, that basic education of evolution is failing the general public, by displaying your own stunning lack of understanding of evolutionary theory. By including these nonsensical and demonstrably incorrect hypotheses as being on equal footing with Darwinism, you've simply muddied the water even further. Well done.
March 02, 2010
2:17 PM
Is the one who wrote this a PhD, or someone educated in science?  Intelligent Design is not a valid theory.  It is based on bible teachings and hence invalid.  Any true scientific method must be able to be scrutinized and subject to investigations.  ID proponents have never been able to prove anything.
Evolution, as a whole, encompases geologic studies, anthropologic studies, astronomy, biology, chemistry and physics.  We gather pieces and put them together.  ID/Creationism is a joke. . . visit the Creation Museum and you'll see.
Science is a complex study.  Just like medical advancements, which are in a continuous process of evolving and discovery.  Just because some hack says homeopathy works (for example) it does not mean it does work, and does not make him a doctor.  Religion is on a downhill. . . and they are making desperate attempts at "pseudoscience" to gain grounds.
Leave science to scientists.
March 02, 2010
2:09 PM
Christophe Thill
What a hodgepodge of confusion. Helena Blavatsky next to the modern evolutionary synthesis ? Oh, sorry, the modern synthetic theory is never mentioned. For your information, its THE general theoretical framework, under which several "dissidents" theory such as punctuated equilibria and neutralist evolution fit very cosily. Which is normal, as there is no conflict between these different theories, but only small disagreements about the respective importance of each one. As for "Intelligent Design" creationism and Teilhard de Chardin's spiritual evolution, you can cast them on the garbage heap of the history of ideas. they're not even scientific theories. Please, Mr Todd, could you do your homework ?
March 02, 2010
2:07 PM
Wow! It's a good thing Mr Todd is a religion journalist. Think of the chaos he could cause if he had any influence on Canadian school curricula.
March 02, 2010
2:06 PM
I hate to nitpick but Lynn Margulis was indeed married to Carl Sagan and is Dorian Sagan's mother.
March 02, 2010
1:38 PM
What a poor quality article - I suggest doing some research before writing and trying to leave you agenda at the door. Journalistic integrety doesn't mean much anymore, I guess.
This is an embarassment to Vancouver and Canada - I hope the Sun will carefully consider accepting articles from Mr. Todd in the future, lest their reputation slide even further.
March 02, 2010
1:36 PM
Sweet zobie jesus, what is this crap? The city of Vancouver puts on a good show with the Olympics and you sully the entire city's reputation with one craptasticular article.
For Shame.
March 02, 2010
1:24 PM
Sean O'Doherty
Utter garbage, you are FAIL!
March 02, 2010
1:16 PM
Wow this is a terrible article. Terrible.
March 02, 2010
1:08 PM
What utter, utter garbage. There are not 12 theories of evolution. There is one scientific theory (ie, scientific fact), with some biologists holding different views about specific aspects of the process. Anything else is just religious garbage. Which is what you'd expect from a religion reporter pretending to write about science.
March 02, 2010
1:04 PM
Selection is not random, and neither is variation. DNA mutations are.  Since you have no idea what you're talking about at this basic level of understanding evolution, I think we're pretty safe ignoring the rest of your article.
March 02, 2010
12:52 PM
It is sad to see this superstitious nonsense in a Canadian publication.
March 02, 2010
12:43 PM
This article is extremely silly. I have no idea why a person would lump these 12 ideas into one category and treat them more-or-less as equals in a competition for minds. If you are uncertain about science, specifically the science of biology, then take some courses or read some books. The Teaching Company has an awesome lecture series on the subject. The last thing you should do is listen to a person who seems to know very little about the subject.
March 02, 2010
12:40 PM
Hey Doug, why do you endorse only 12 theories of evolution?  Who declared those 12 to be the only ones going?  You admit only four of them omit 'spiritual' components (though whether you include the teleogical ones in that group is unclear), so why are only eight theories of evolution based on nonsense allowed in your paradigm?  Why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Invisible Pink Unicorn?  Both of these theories have rich cultural histories, which can be gleaned from everyone's favorite source of unreliable information; Wikipedia.  Just because you only have room for twelve theories of evolution in your worldview doesn't mean the rest of us need be so closed minded!  As far as Tom Cruise is concerned, with no mention of Galactic Overlord Xenu, your twelve theories of evolution are grossly incomplete!
The moral of the story?  If and when you come to the realization that your crusade to be all-inclusive is untenable, perhaps you will adopt a more suitable crusade, that being to avoid the foolish.  Of course, if you did that you'd wind up with only one theory of evolution, and you don't like that one, so you'll probably just keep trying to come up with new obfuscations in your near-Ben Stein-level of obsession over 'Darwin', regardless of how foolish those obfuscations always are.  Back to the drawing board, Mr. Todd, back to cooking up more sophisticated smoke & mirrors routines, possibly hoping that with each new article you'll snare a few more under-educated readers into your crude brand of epistemological confusion.
March 04, 2009
7:17 AM
“Scientism” has shown up in many of the hundreds of responses to my postings and articles
March 03, 2009
7:28 PM
“Scientism” has shown up in many of the hundreds of responses to my postings and articles
March 03, 2009
7:14 PM
One of your "12 Theories of Evolution", namely Intelligent Design, is not science at all.  It is an untestable form of creation that involves a supernatural component.  What is it about this that you don't understand?  Thanks for your articles.
March 03, 2009
5:11 PM
I thought this a great article, Doug. Keep prodding us with your contemplative perspectives on things that we may not think about very deeply and should! I don;t think this topic is too intellectual or be left to the intellectuals. IDifferent theories of evolution should be topics for the school curriculums but also food for discussion in families as well. There is nothing like the enquiring mind to further civilization and to inspire critical thinking,  and that needs to be encouraged at all levels of society. We may not always agree with someone else's perspective on this topic, but we can perhaps "sit on their front porch" and listen and understand their perspective - and hey - we may learn something from them also.
March 03, 2009
1:04 PM
Billy Pilgrim
We forget basic principles. Language, including maths, are derivative. They are human constructs. Babies 'know' reality without all the symbolism. Thus the expression 'atom' is a convenient word. The pictures drawn of atoms like mini-universes are a further step-removed. Truth is a word. If I said "Bltzfk!" is a closer approximation of G-d than "Yaweh", no one could disprove, only disclaim. I am happy with Unknowables. And I shan't face my last breath fretting that the Darwinists were, or weren't, right. But were I a betting man, I'd have to go against the '6KGoE' squad ("The Garden of Eden existed 6,000 years ago"").
Is not the challenge for each of us to make sense of our own lives and do no harm to others' ?  In that context, Darwin Shmarwin, I say, or, equally, Jesus Smejush. Take from these Guides what we can. Learn from them what we must. The angry tumult pro- or con- is just more of the same flatulence that has plagued humankind forever. And proves once again that on a spiritual plane we humans have a long, long, long way to go to achieve even Step 1. Self-included. Else I wouldn't have scripted these irritated comments.
March 03, 2009
2:56 AM
George Hermanson
Wow - some of the comments indicate we have not had an evolution in the ability to read  - to be able to discern -  Within science there is a debate - not about evolution for that is assumed - but about the philosophic turns - neo darwinism being one ( note ism) The way I read your piece is was an invitation to explore why this is such an political issue -  why is it we cannot begin with an acceptance of evolution and then move on from there?   Part of the issue is who controls knowledge and some reactions against evolution is based on a fear that we are controlled - which is not the case.  It is when science moves from penultimate causes to ultimate claims that the dust flies.  Many non religious thinkers have raised questions about this problem - raised questions about neo darwnism - when it moves to explain in the ultimate sense of meaning.
March 02, 2009
5:47 PM
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March 02, 2009
2:44 PM
I read your article with great interest and noted some fallacies associated with those who attempt to reconcile science and religion, not the least of which is that biological evolution deals with the origin of life. Another fallacy is that there is more than one theory of biological evolution. There is not. Of the 12 "theories" of evolution in the EnlightenNext article from its January-March 2007 issue, only the first four, including neo-Darwinism, have any kind of science behind them. The remaining eight theories incorporate the tainted fruit of religious and spiritual overtones, which means they are dealing with matters that are non-scientific and therefore are attempting to answer questions that are not testable or falsifiable nor can these theories make predictions. The symbiogenesis theory of Lynn Margulis, who, by the way, was not married to Carl Sagan -- she co-authored the book Dazzle Gradually with his son Dorian Sagan -- is not a separate theory of evolution, simply one of many explanations at how biological evolution works. To show how skewed the EnlightenNext article is, consider its discussion of "The Complexity Theorists", one of the first four theories. While the editor quotes a physicist and a theoretical biologist, the ending Did You Know? blurb then goes into the spiritual and philosophical realm of "mystical complexity" and cites the work of Dr. Ervin Laszlo into the so-called Akashic energy field, which of course has no scientific validity as it can't be demonstrated to exist. To consider Intelligent Design (ID) a theory of biological evolution shows how poorly researched your own article is. Anyone who's paid any attention at all to developments in public school education and has any concern, as you claim you do, with how little or poorly biological evolution may be taught would know that ID is not only anti-evolution but anti-science. For a good popular work on ID, read Michael Shermer's book Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design (2006). The Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. trial in the United States, heard before a conservative Federal court judge in 2005, should have spelled an end to ID as a viable alternative to biological evolution in the minds of its adherents, but since they are religious fundamentalists pushing a conservative Christian agenda, the ID-Evolution wars continue to this day. By pushing the teaching of spiritual, non-scientific values within the public school system, you have fallen into the same camp as the ID crowd with their "teach the controversy" campaign, part of their "wedge" strategy, well documented in the book Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design by Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross (2004 and rev., 2007; Web site, Please, do us the favor of sticking to the spiritual and philosophical and leave science to the scientists.
March 02, 2009
2:11 PM
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March 02, 2009
1:56 PM
Hi Ralph: You have a FAITH and a BELIEF system, which seems unquestioning and fundamentalist. The BELIEF in what the media reports. The BELIEF in the people ( who you've never met or even know exists) who reports. The the BELIEF in the reports themselves that could be false, innaccurate or biased. Granted some are true. All sources you put your faith in as if it were the gospel, ( sorry I couldn't resist.) Your BELIEF system and FAITH might be correct. One day I think we're going to find out.
Freddish: Right on!!
Daniel: Welcome. I've waited a long time for a scientist to sign on.
March 02, 2009
12:34 PM
Posting this on behalf of Mariel Schooff:
       When I was young and first became aware of the debate over Darwin's
theory of evolution, I came to the conclusion that the biblical story
was a parable which explained the creation of the world to ancient
people in a way that made sense to them and was never meant to be
taken as gospel truth today. Each day could have represented eons.
        Today I still think that this is the way our culture attempted to
make sense of creation and it's enjoyable to read how our story
squares with creation stories from other cultures.
       I found it interesting to note that of all the theories you
mentioned in your article saturday, on evolutionary theories, no one
proposed my personal favourite which is really the simplest. I
believe that evolution occurred as a consequence of opportunism. As
niches opened up for certain species, they prospered.
        I firmly believe it's why our species did so well. We have no major
enemies, beyond ourselves and disease, which we are good at
conquering, but we are reaching a saturation point.
       The problem we have with the concept of evolution is that it's just
too difficult a theory for a lot of us to grasp. Life is stressful
for many of us and it's human nature to simplify things with any
explanation that is easily grasped.
        Often religion is a way to make sense out of  life's complexities
and many of us delude ourselves in believing that if we hold to
certain religious maxims, we will be rewarded.
       Controlling the type of ideas a child  is taught in school is a form
of parental abuse. It's a convenient way of preventing the
presentation of any ideas they might find difficult to refute
themselves. Narrowing a child's viewpoint of the world to whatever a
parent agrees with is a form of stunting that child's mental growth
on par with physically stunting growth.
        Education provides a choice for children to form their own opinions
about the world after they have been presented with all the ideas out
there. It's a way to stretch and use their minds, to promote creative
thinking. It should never be a form of indoctrination that only
presents limited ideas.
        Control over others has never worked. Unfortunately it's what is
happening now with the proliferation of alternative schools now that
reject and refuse to teach ideas they might not agree with,
effectively stunting a child's world. It's the way the Taliban
teaches and if it becomes the norm here we are headed back to the
stone age.
March 02, 2009
12:11 PM
Jonn Mick
Neal Adams, to answer religious people who ask how could God create a purposeless biology, tell them theologians don't have to struggle with it simply because there is no God.  So look elsewhere for answers.
Cheers.  Jonn Mick
March 02, 2009
12:10 PM
Neale Adams
Your article illustrates why Darwin never used the term "evolution" in his writings. Evolution in many of the senses of the word suggests a progression from a lower to a higher order, or from the simple to the complex. The word comes from the Latin for the unrolling of a scroll. The concept was popularized by the philosopher Herbert Spencer who saw all change as evolution or dissolution. All the 12 evolutions you mention, Doug, seem to use this sense of the word evolution, suggesting there is some purpose or teleological end to biological process.
Neo-Dawinism, the only properly labeled "scientific" form of evolution, is most definitively not teleological. It doesn't assume that over time life forms will get more complicated, or of a higher order, or anything like that. It is a theory about a process based on random mutations and the survival of those mutated forms which have some advantage in adapting to their environment. There is no element of progress here, and no inevitability to the end result. Species can evolve to a simpler form (as with parasites) as well as evolving in complexity. (We shall leave for now the question of what is complex, and what is simple!)
It is the lack of purpose in Neo-Darwinian Evolution that upsets many religious people, I think, who ask how could God create a purposeless biology. That is a most interesting question with which I would love to see some bold theologians struggle.
March 02, 2009
1:47 AM
David Holloway
I generally admire Douglas Todd’s perspectives on religion and society, but I found his Feb. 28 article “Join the Real Darwin Debate” to be counter-productive, if the aim was to increase knowledge of evolution. The title and intro seemed to argue for increased awareness of biological evolution; halfway through, we find out Todd’s article is based on another article by Phipps that argues there are 12 theories of evolution. It turns out these are philosophies that include evolutionary ideas – with a tenuous link at best to biological evolution. No wonder students are not taught these theories in high school and university science. By treating evolution as a philosophical idea, Todd’s article puts us in the place that has biological evolution and creationism on an equal footing.  As a research scientist, I use Newtonian mechanics and biological evolution on an equal footing as part of my work. I think philosophies should reflect our ever-changing world, but confusing philosophy and science will not help increase the appreciation of evolution.
March 01, 2009
11:31 PM
Members of the public interested in learning more about the science of evolution might want to participate in some of the events in the ongoing Vancouver Evolution Festival. These are listed on our web site at; flyers are available in all the public libraries.
March 01, 2009
3:50 PM
D) Read and accept if evidence supports. The problems arrise when you start getting into isotope/carbon dating arguements.
options A, B, or C would not benifit anyone.
March 01, 2009
1:05 PM
Jonn Mick
Daniel.  Its comforting to know that we have bright young people coming up behind us.  Now, if you will learn how to solve all of our world's problems that we who made you created, we'll give you the keys to THE KINGDOM.  Keep up your good works.  But remember,  Douglas Todd's job is to create controversy to instigate debate between interested people.  I assure you, Doug is very bright.  So don't get bogged down in thinking you're HOLIER THAN THOU!
Cheers.   Jonn Mick
March 01, 2009
1:00 PM
One more thought: Could someone please tell me what does through the mind of a creationist when he or she sees an article in the newspaper reporting on a new archaeological find, such as yesterday's on the finding of a human footprint 1.5MM years old? Or a new fossil skeleton several million years old  that shows both human and primate traits? Do they (A) not read, so therefore not see? (B) read but assume it is a lie and part of a media conspiracy against creationists? or (C) read and accept but find some way of fitting into their creationist belief? Someone?
March 01, 2009
12:48 PM
Jonn Mick
Rudolf, you asked,  "Could someone enlighten me as to how the ocean came into being?"  That's a very scientific question.  Since I'm not a scientist I'll answer it in lay terms.   Obviously the earth's waters came from 40 days and 40 nights of rain and filled up all the earths valleys.  And because there are no flowing inlets and outlets to them the waters became saline.  And because the unicellular organisms that became us didn't like salt they crawled out of the waters onto what land was left.
The rain came from clouds floating in the sky.  How did the clouds get there?  There was a lot of water vapors in the air that cooled and condensed forming clouds heavily laden with water, taking 40 days and nights to flush out  The water vapor was the result of contrails created by earths rush from the planet factory that's located just below the third star in the constellation of Orion's Belt  When earth stopped rushing the contrails of moister laden vapor overtook it and engulfed it.
Where did the planet factory come from.  Well, like Israeli Gardie said in his book "The Garden of Pomegranates",  "The Origin of the Universe is Unknown and Unknowable to Humanity."  If we did know it would probably scare us to death.  So let us let sleeping dogs lie.  Just kick the cats.
This is Evolution!
Cheers.   Jonn Mick
March 01, 2009
12:46 PM
Who is Douglas Todd? First of all I would love to see his scientific qualifications to even comment on such issues. Better yet I would love to see some people with true scientific backgrounds commenting on this article. I am currently doing my Masters at UBC and have an undergrad in Biochemistry. Yes I do believe in Creationism; however every day I walk into a class or a lab and learn something new about the world I take all the evidence seriously.
A true scientist should be open to learning the truth and not masking what is evident behind some sort of social bias. The day I find evidence that tells me that creationism is proven wrong, then I will switch beliefs. I would challenge anyone out there to explain the complexities of the human genome and the changes any slight mutation in any protein sequence can have on its structure or function.
Most anthropologist evidence comes from homologous protein structures. When you actually look at their function, they serve entirely different purposes  These purposes, however, are never expanded upon in the press releases, just the fact that they look and are structured identically.
Without continuing on a tangent, I would like to stress that we all need to be open to learning not just absorbing unmerited schools of thought. I will continue to go through life learning from others and I will always be open to listening to any opinions. As for teaching evolution in schools, I believe that all aspects should be taught, in a sense that they are theories from different people and cultures. The stance that one theory be it Christianity or evolution is the correct answer should not be taught to our children. Let them know the theories that exist, and let them form an unbiased opinion on their own.  We cannot expect unbiased reactions from children who have been forced to learn a biased way of thinking.
As a last note I would like to say I am shocked at the uneducated statement by Douglas Todd stating ‘It`s disturbing that 24 per cent of Canadians told Angus Reid pollsters they embrace Biblical creationism’. I find it more disturbing that Douglas Todd sits in a position to publicly criticize those that have a belief system.
I live in the field of hard biological science and having a belief in Christianity has not hindered my work one bit.
Perhaps if I have learned anything from the writing in Douglas Todd`s article it would seem that some of us truly are more primitive than others. Perhaps for better success your next article should be on the wheel.
March 01, 2009
12:24 PM
See Tim P above. Thanks, Tim.
This blog and Sun article do nothing but contribute to the confusion around evolution and scientific theory. There is only one theory of evolution (call it what you will, "Darwinism," "neo-Darwinism," etc.--most scientists would just call it evolutionary theory). The other "theories" you list are either schools or "streams" of evolutionary thought or religious beliefs, not theories.  Readers should realize that "theory" means something very specific in science--and that a scientific theory such as evolution, germ theory, gravity, or plate tectonics is not the same as a "hunch" or "hypothesis." It is a universally accepted, rigorously tested principle that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation, experimentation, and reasoning. It is not dogma; it is not a belief; it is always, in effect,  under attack (through new experiments and observations) by the scientific community looking to find a *** in its armor. The "debate" around evolution is not around competing theories; it is between scientific theory and religious belief. And I no more think the latter deserves equal time in classrooms than I believe my minister should be teaching trigonometry from the pulpit.
March 01, 2009
12:09 PM
Thank you for your article.  I teach senior Social Science in an Ontario Catholic School.  Next week I start a three week unit on human evolution.  And, it's straight evolution, not intelligent design or creationism in disquise.  While the course is an elective, about 1/3 of our students take it.  So, some students who don't take biology do get exposure to these ideas.
March 01, 2009
10:33 AM
Most folks don’t understand what science is and don’t know or care to study or understand it. They have no idea how it advances knowledge and are quite happy to believe any bunk and hokum as long as it supports whatever their prejudices will allow.
Lots of them accept that the earth travels around the sun when it’s pretty obvious to the evidence of their own eyes – that it’s the other way around. They accept the science of it, but don't know how that was arrived at. They talk on the cell phone and accept that device and  the supporting infrastructure as a product of science and take it on faith that there isn’t a magical being, the cell phone god who makes that possible.  They get science and engineering mixed up with each other and the evidence of their own eyes would confuse them even more would they pause to pay attention to the world around them.  Why the public school system has such difficulty reconciling faith and science, well that must be a matter of courage.
March 01, 2009
6:25 AM
Stanley Parker
There are many so called scientist who make a big fat pay cheque from the big bang theory . If the ice age was only 10,000 years ago how did mankind evolve from tiny salamanders to our present form so fast ?
March 01, 2009
1:39 AM
Re Freddish:  In other words, when and wherever science has yet to provide a logical explanation, everyone should feel free to worship that big yellow ball in the sky.
March 01, 2009
12:58 AM
Lets be clear: science is a tool and, as such, it can only answer the questions it is capable of answering. Origins is not one of those questions.
It's no surprise then that not everyone "believes" what "science" is telling us. Most of us can see it oversteps its bounds. Let science tell us the things it can tell us and leave the rest to the faith and freedom of the individual. After all, as this article shows very clearly, it's possible that we are the result of pure chance; it's possible we are the result of alien intervention; it's possible we were created in the image of a personal God; it's possible our universe is a speck of sand in some multiversal sandbox -- we don't really know.
So: since nobody really knows for sure -- not even "scientists" -- we should all have the humility to agree to the possibles and to the limits of our knowledge and understanding, and conduct the education of our students in the same graceful manner.
February 28, 2009
7:33 PM
Atlantis Alien Visitation & Genetic Manipulation by Michael Tsarion gives a fresh look on this subject.
February 28, 2009
6:03 PM
There is more evidence to support the theory of evolution than any concrete evidence at all to support any belief in a deity. Creationists should provide solid evidence that there is a god that exists before promoting creation to be taught according to largely unverifiable scriptural beliefs.
February 28, 2009
5:32 PM
The Theory of Evolution is deceptive in its simplicity.  I do not think there is another idea that has made more fools of educated men through their expounding doubts about what they clearly have not yet fully conceived.
Famous scientists who have erred include the British physicist Sir Fred Hoyle and the palaeontologist Stephen J. Gould.  It is no wonder then that much of the public remain confused and it is beholden upon schools to do a much better job of explaining it.
One of the fascinating facets of the theory is that it can be used as a mirror to hold to our own faces.  By understanding the forces that acted on our own evolution we can consider our faculties, their function and their limits.  By considering our limits we become more humble than those who fantasise that they were made in the image of a perfect god.
At a time when we are provoking the fastest mass extinction in the history of this planet rather less superstition and a whole lot more humility is in order, I think.
February 28, 2009
5:26 PM
Well put, Stephen!
February 28, 2009
5:26 PM
Anyone believing that human life evolved from a unicellular organism in ocean waters is entitled to his/her faith. Nevertheless, could someone enlighten me as to how the ocean came into being?
February 28, 2009
5:16 PM
The large section of the Canadian population who do not understand the theory of evolution includes the author of this article.  The muddled cultural relativist thinking that characterises the above is exactly that which characterises the eleven superstitions mentioned.
To just pick up on one of the grievous errors: Intelligent Design is not science.  It is a superstition with a little scientific jargon thrown in and was invented to clothe naked creationism with a fig leaf of pseudo-science.  Even in America, the home of the Christian taliban, that is Federally recognised and has been confirmed by several damning Supreme Court decisions.  It is fortunate that anyone truly interested in evolution can rely on Richard Dawkins' work being thoroughly rigourous in a way that this article most certainly is not.
It is a great shame that so many humans are careless enough to try to build social cohesion on the rickety fascism of superstition.  Those commenting here, equating the rigourous investigation, and cross-checking, of science to fundamentalism, and its abhorrence of being questioned, are so thoroughly wrong they clearly understand nothing about the empirical analysis through which educated, brilliant people have meticulously built the body of knowledge we call science.  There is a vast difference between the confidence, built on millions of hours of multi-national, cross-referenced research, with which Mr Dawkins criticises superstition and the confidence with which a creationist, built on a millennia old tradition of violent anti-intellectualism and repression, denounces a question as sin.
If you cannot see that then you are blind to the difference between style and substance.
It clearly irks some to discover from Richard Dawkins' precise arguments that their personal musings lie as distant fairy tales in relation to current established knowledge.  Instead of provoking insults that ought to demand of the intellectually motivated some further education.
To those who would like to further their understanding of what a beautiful explanation Darwins Theory of Evolution is I highly recommend The Extended Phenotype, by Richard Dawkins (Oxford University Press: ISBN 0-19-288051-9) and Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life  by Daniel Dennett (Simon & Schuster; reprint edition 1996) (ISBN 0-684-82471-X)
February 28, 2009
5:08 PM
There is one scientific theory of evolution and any given number of notions about how we have come to be, and none of these additional eleven so called theories need be discussed in a science class other to demonstrate how wrong we can be should we stray from scientific method.
February 28, 2009
3:29 PM
Dear Mr. Todd, I have some serious doubts about whether you are qualified to decide what "theories" of evolution should be "debated" and/or taught to Canadian children.
The first problem I see is that if there are not enough children in Canada being exposed to the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, then the curriculum should focus on teaching them this theory, the most widely tested scientific theory of evolution, instead of muddying the waters with philosophical discussions about whether "humans are called to evolve in self-awareness".
Because this is THE major theory of evolution, not one of twelve. The other "theories" you mentioned are either variations on neo-Darwinism (e.g. Carl Sagan's cooperation theory), or attempts to integrate religious ideas into a scientific theory - essentially making it an "idea" instead of a theory, because it can't be tested scientifically.
I urge you to read Richard Dawkins and other neo-Darwinist authors, because them you will truly understand that there is no other theory as complete, as compelling, as exciting and beautiful as the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. Many people are under the false assumption that this theory can only explain the physical evolution of organisms, but its principles apply to the development of animal behaviour, human culture, and religion itself.
February 28, 2009
2:47 PM
Walter Johanson
The message is in the medium.  Todd is the religion writier.  The topic is "evolution".  Therefore, the 'theory of evolution' is not science, but religion!
February 28, 2009
2:23 PM
I generally enjoy your columns, Mr. Todd, but this morning's has left a bad taste in my mouth.   There is one Theory of Evolution, not 12.   "Theory" is a word with a specific meaning in science; most of the other "ideas" you mention do not fit that meaning.   In fact, several of those notions are thinly disguised Creationism.
You say:  "The schools of thought in this category embrace both science and metaphysics in the name of developing a new synthesis on evolution. I’m drawn to how they discern both chance and purpose in the universe."
"Purpose" is Creationism.   It is an idea, not a theory, it cannot be tested nor falsified.    Unless, of course, someone has, in fact, found a way to "test" for the hand of the Creator.  
I am also amazed that you bring Teilhard de Chardin into the discussion.  He is strongly suspected of having been the leading actor in the Piltdown Man hoax, and for that reason if no other he does not belong in any serious discussion of science.  He is another who "sees the hand of god" and yet neither he nor any other creationist can offer the least evidence for it.
Darwin's theory has been tested more thoroughly than almost any other in science.   While some mechanisms are in dispute, the fact is that Evolution occured and is occuring.   The theory is testable and falsifiable, which any idea must be to be properly called a "theory".
February 28, 2009
2:17 PM
Brenda Dyck
I read this article and was pleasantly surprised.  It seemed to me that our society was lemming-like in its devotion to the theories of Darwin so I was glad to know that 24% believed in Creationism.  For those of you who think that this belief has no scientific basis or that it just a faith-based tenet that people cling to, I would invite you to open up your brain to the possbility and check out these sights: and  It makes more sense to me than to what evolutionists are saying!
February 28, 2009
1:31 PM
Boy, I wish that I had more time to comment on this. I am a Canadian now living in Maui. I recently watched a program on this about the town in the States. That became a courtcase that needn't of happened. To those out there, I am a believer in Darwin and I also believe that Jesus didn't die on the cross. Lets see who has thought of that one.
February 28, 2009
1:00 PM
Jonn Mick
I'm repeating my earlier comments about this subject:
"Where did humans come from?  I'm confident that the human species rose from earth's primal waters, as all forms of life did.  Probably evolving from an amoeba, a microscopic one cell animal consisting of a naked mass of protoplasm constantly changing in shape as it moves and engulfs food.  This one cell split to become two cells, separating as one positive charged male cell and one negative charged female cell.  Thereafter, they could reproduce only by sexual coupling.
"Humans have obviously evolved through stages in many forms.  Perhaps one as dinosaurs.  I'm confident, too, the human race will ultimately go the way of the dinosaur.
"I'm also confident that humans are simply the biological effect of a biological cause.  Like all other animals we originate in the twinkle of our daddy's eyes.  And with our first independent breath our brain is fired by oxygen into action and we awaken to consciousness.  And without consciousness we can't live to become a person.  And when we can no longer sustain consciousness it is reabsorbed into the universal consciousness and we will never again like all other animals live as an entity of any nature.  So we have but one kick at the cat.  I encourage us to make it a good one."  And evolve!
This debate is sooo intellectual.  Specifically, what possible benefit does this debate about evolution, creationism, and intelligent design, have for improving the life condition of John and Jane Doe?  Our only concern is how to get through life in comfort with plenty, and what happens to us after we die.  This latter concern is answered only with platitudes.  Most humans don't want to know what really happens to us.  And the subject we're commenting on here won't even give them a clue.
So, Doug, please leave this subject to academia and clergy.  It'll keep them employed.  And each one of them will leave the debate with the same conclusions they entered it with.  Round and round it goes.  Where is stops nobody knows.
Cheers.   Jonn Mick
February 28, 2009
12:54 PM
"Neo-Darwinism is advanced by high-profile, anti-religious biologists such as Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion."
I initially misread anti-religious biologists as anti-religious bigots, which is true enough when it comes to professor Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers and their "fundamentalist atheist" ilk. . . Judging from the content of this article I expect that Douglas Todd and like-minded readers might like my intelligently designed "evolution" of Gilbert & Sullivan's 'The Major General's Song' into 'The Atheist Supremacist's Song', particularly since it preserves some of the original lyrics of 'The Major General's Song' Just follow the link from my name to The Emerson Avenger blog post that introduced it to the world. Running an appropriate Google search on 'The Atheist Supremacist's Song' will find another version on the 'Am I Right?' parody song website that allows you to rate the song.
Here is a sample verse that preserves one original line completely intact -
I'm very good at bigotry and anti-religious insults
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous
In short, in matters biological, theological, and religious
I am the very model of an Atheist Supremacist
February 28, 2009
11:48 AM
Nicely summarized, Doug.
I noted that you finished with integration science, whose "..thinkers follow the lead of philosopher Ken Wilber."  There is absolutely no question that Ken Wilber is one of the GREAT minds of this century and, consequently, he has attracted many great minds to work with him.  Simply go to the integral science website and note the list of contributors - very impressive!
My doctoral studies 35 years ago were in Anatomy/Physical Anthropology.  The lack of uniformity in evolution is the basis for Physical Anthropology.  There are severe physical and mental differences between groups and subgroups within the human family.  Physical Anthropologists are fond of classifying these groups and making judgments as to why it occurred and which are superior in particular situations.  Emphasis - Evolution has not been uniform!
Integration Science also looks at spiritual evolution and development as do many scientific disciplines today because science is now pushing the limits which we previously considered spiritual.  We are now routinely breaking through the physical-spiritual barrier; which we have discovered is really no barrier at all.  These are interesting times.

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