Rare Common Sense: June 2002 Archives

June 29, 2002

Rushdie comdemns fanatics

Salman Rushdie has spoken out against terrorism, with particular reference to Islamic extremists, but has also noted that the US hasn't done much to convince them that they are less evil than fanatics. Rushdie said that he has been listening out for something else: the emergence of a genuine Muslim polemic against the harm terrorists are doing to their 'own people' and that the war against terror will only be won

when Muslims around the world begin to believe that fanaticism is a greater evil than that which they believe the US to embody--an evil, moreover, more dangerous to Muslims, more socially, economically and politically destructive, and possessed by the nightmare vision of the Talibanization of the planet

Fanaticism is evil: Rushdie - The Times of India, June 28th 2002.

June 18, 2002


Scientific American magazine, sick of opponents of evolution (who) want to make a place for creationism by tearing down real science has published 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense to demonstrate how creationist arguments don't hold up.

Embarrassingly, in the 21st century, in the most scientifically advanced nation the world has ever known, creationists can still persuade politicians, judges and ordinary citizens that evolution is a flawed, poorly supported fantasy. They lobby for creationist ideas such as "intelligent design" to be taught as alternatives to evolution in science classrooms. As this article goes to press, the Ohio Board of Education is debating whether to mandate such a change. Some antievolutionists, such as Philip E. Johnson, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and author of Darwin on Trial, admit that they intend for intelligent-design theory to serve as a "wedge" for reopening science classrooms to discussions of God.

Besieged teachers and others may increasingly find themselves on the spot to defend evolution and refute creationism. The arguments that creationists use are typically specious and based on misunderstandings of (or outright lies about) evolution, but the number and diversity of the objections can put even well-informed people at a disadvantage.

To help with answering them, the following list rebuts some of the most common "scientific" arguments raised against evolution. It also directs readers to further sources for information and explains why creation science has no place in the classroom.

The article clears up many misconceptions about science in general and starts with a explanation of the term "theory". Apparently National Geographic Channel has made a TV programme based on the article too.

June 17, 2002

What flood?

United States: A recently published scientific paper demonstrates that the so-called Noah's Flood Hypothesis does not hold water. In 1996, marine geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman presented evidence of a bursting flood about 7,500 years ago in what is now the Black Sea.

According to the Noah's Flood Hypothesis, the Black Sea was a freshwater lake separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a narrow strip of land now broken by the Bosporus Strait. Ryan and Pittman argue that the Mediterranean broke through the land and inundated the Black Sea with more than 200 times the force of Niagara Falls. The salty powerful flood swiftly killed the freshwater mollusks in the Black Sea. This, they say, accounts for fossil remains that can be dated back 7,500 years.

This research has been used by some to support the Biblical tale of Noah and his flood.

Jun Abrajano, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, is part of an international group which has studied sediments from the Marmara Sea, which sits next to the Black Sea and opens into the Mediterranean. A rich mud called sapropel provided evidence of a sustained interaction between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea for at least 10,000 years. Abrajano said:

For the Noah's Ark Hypothesis to be correct, one has to speculate that there was no flowing of water between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea before the speculated great deluge. We have found this to be incorrect.

Noah's Flood Hypothesis May Not Hold WaterRensselaer Polytechnic Institute press release, June 14th 2002.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Rare Common Sense category from June 2002.

Rare Common Sense: April 2002 is the previous archive.

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