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Prof Denied Funds Over Evolution Evidence

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the that-would-have-been-a-fun-after-meeting-beer dept.

953

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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953 comments

Que Nelson from the Simpsons: (0, Troll)

arexu (595755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079343)

Haa-haa.

Re:Que Nelson from the Simpsons: (5, Insightful)

TommyBlack (899306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079365)

In other news, a professor was denied a grant to research the potential effect of a meteor striking earth, because he had failed to provide sufficient evidence that the theory of gravity was correct.

Re:Que Nelson from the Simpsons: (5, Funny)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079449)

"What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad." -- Dave Barry

Re:Que Nelson from the Simpsons: (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079474)

Obviously, somebody been watching too many Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner [warnerbros.com] cartoons for their scientific education.

Re:Que Nelson from the Simpsons: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079615)

So now its the US's fault that some canadian professor can't get funds?

Or is it because there are fundies in Canada, maybe?

It seems like a national pasttime up there to blame all of their problems on us.

Great... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079351)

the lunatics have taken over the asylum...

Shut your piehole! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079353)

Fist Prost, bitches!

So, (-1, Troll)

Greatmoose (896405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079361)

So if a researcher doesn't worship at the altar of Darwin, he is denied useful funding? Doesn't that come across as hypocritical?

Re:So, (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079397)

Wrong way around- if he doesn't worship at the altar of ID, AND doesn't prove his basic assumptions, he's denied funding. (the basic assumptions of ID being unproveable of course, gives you the meaning of the word Irony).

Re:So, (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079402)

you misread

Ironically, the grant was for a study into the detrimental effects of intelligent design on Canadian academics and leaders

whoever modded you up should be smacked.

Re:So, (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079443)

So if a researcher doesn't worship at the altar of Darwin, he is denied useful funding?

Huh?

I think you skipped a few steps in your reasoning.

Re:So, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079580)

I think he skipped a few steps in his ontogeny.

Re:So, (1)

3am (314579) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079467)

So if a researcher doesn't worship at the altar of Darwin, he is denied useful funding? Doesn't that come across as hypocritical?

You're joking, right? Did you read it? From the article:

In its decision to deny the grant, the SSHRC panel said Alters had not supplied "adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of evolution, and not intelligent design theory, was correct."

try again; that isn't what happened here (1)

aurelian (551052) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079481)

But in answer to your question: if a researcher has problems with a fundamental tenet of his field then he can expect to find it extremely difficult to get support. That's exactly how it should be. No hypocrisy involved.

Re:So, (1)

Greatmoose (896405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079491)

Apparently, I left my brain stem at home today. It helps to read the entire article. Nevermind.

Religion is Religion... (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079608)

...no matter whose altar you worship at.

It's just as easy to turn scientific theory into dogma as it is to accept the words of clergy, no? Either way, it runs counter to science when any scientist refuses to question his own store of theories and facts from time to time.

/P

Have you heard the gospel? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#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]

Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079384)

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.

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (3, Insightful)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079426)

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, but a large number of people choose to remain ignorant because to them, what they think they known and what they believe is far more important than the truth.

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079462)

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.

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (3, Insightful)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079544)

"Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried."
-- Winston Churchill

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (0, Redundant)

canter (43098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079460)

Only if you consider "God did it" as some kind of answer. Fortunately for humanity, most of us realize that's a pretty crappy answer. Has been since the 15th century or thereabouts.

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079513)

Only if you consider "God did it" as some kind of answer. Fortunately for humanity, most of us realize that's a pretty crappy answer. Has been since the 15th century or thereabouts.

Actually, MOST of humanity has IQs less than 110 and couldn't understand the scientific method when it was taught to them. I agree that it's a crappy answer- but it isn't if you are an idiot, and most of humanity are idiots.

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (1)

guildsolutions (707603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079478)

Biology can not explain 'Blind Faith', which is what religion is based upon. Without Blind Faith religion would have no following because nobody has seen anything to make them believe in anything. Laws and countries, life and death is decided upon a piece of writing that can never be proved factual (the Bible). To me the overwhelming evidence and proof positive that evolution in fact did take place is much clearer, and much more in your face than any religion ever could be. religion has never been proved and Jesus just might have been an insane person with a mental problem. What facts disprove that?

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079542)

Facts don't exist. What is fact and what is fiction changes depending upon whom you are talking to. Thus, in a world where most human beings have IQs below 110- evidence is just somebody telling you something when you trust that somebody, and lies are just somebody telling you something when you don't trust that somebody.

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (2, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079518)

Untrue on several counts.

1) ID does not explain a damn thing. They only take the stance that evolution be explained, not their claims. Ask away; all you'll get from them are evasions, fabrications, and references to long-rebuked psuedo-science.
2) Not even people who do go to church and still have a semi-scientific literate brain can decipher and support the vague claims of ID'rs.
3) Biology can explain the complexity of life and does it every day. Turn on any science channel and actually watch the biology at work.

Those who believe ID are nothing more than a group of self-ignorant fools.

Sounds like he's being a suck. (5, Informative)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079555)

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.

I find it funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079559)

that you are all so seething with anger that someone doesn't believe the same thing you do. Ban religion? Wow that's a blast from humanities past. It's been tried many times - sometimes in conjunction with genocide as race is often intertwined with religious belief.

No matter. If I'm wrong, nobody loses anything. If I'm right, you lose for eternity. I can't wait to see the stupid look on your faces then. Maybe you can ask a professor to forgive you or something. Or maybe you can sit at the edge of Darwin's grave and ask him.

Re:Quote from a play nobody else has ever seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079576)

ID should be banned from Canada.

To suggust that makes it sound like you are just as bad as the scary, evil, fundamentalists. If you don't like an idea, does it get banned?

My research shows that the Earth is like a ball. **bang bang**

Apr. 6:Prostitute Schedule @ MBOT in San Francisco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079583)

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Check out the prostitute schedule for April 6, 2006 at the MBOT [fuckedcompany.com] .

The prostitute schedule is updated daily.

Unlike Las Vegas, San Francisco does not regulate prostitution. So, the MBOT heartily welcomes everyone -- including HIV-positive customers.

Correction (3, Interesting)

XorNand (517466) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 (1)

the-empty-string (106157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079488)

A link would be useful. This [wikisource.org] is what the parent is talking about.

Link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079503)

Lest we go without a link -- here's an anonymous post to solve the day.

Read on [talkorigins.org]

Re:Correction (0, Redundant)

mctk (840035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079526)

Yes, yes. I agree.

"...we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the court takes no position, ID is not science." -U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District

When you hear the "activist judges" defense, simply point out that Judge Jones is a republican appointed by GWB.

Re:Correction (5, Insightful)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

It seems to me... (0, Flamebait)

liliafan (454080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079399)

Without trying to cause a flamewar, it seems to me the grant is justified, so long as the board is also willing to provide a grant to a theologist that is trying to prove creationism or intelligent design. Refusing to allow someone a grant to research a subject that causes such differing opinion is fairly small minded.

Just so I clear this up I believe in evolution, however, I also firmly believe in God, I see no reason why both theories cannot co-exist, even the vatican support this view.

Re:It seems to me... (1)

canter (43098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079437)

Great idea. But how exactly would you "prove" intelligent design?

Re:It seems to me... (0, Redundant)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079479)

The logical fallacy "burden of proof"

"Science can't prove God doesn't exist, therefore he exists"

Re:It seems to me... (1)

canter (43098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079586)

Absolutely not. Believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster for all I care. But if you want to put fantasies on the same level as a scientific theory, some proof is required.

Re:It seems to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079454)

The Vatican supports the theory that God can exist and evolution can be correct at the same time. Most non-fundamenatlist Christians seem to also agree with this. Think of it as: God built the pool table, hit the cue ball, and everything that has happened up to the dawn of man is his design. (Those that beleive in pre-destination don't stop at the dawn of man.)

Intelligent Design asserts that evolution is incorrect, and that life arose from the direct (think clay and breath here) creation by an intellegent entity, which is very much incompatible with evolution.

Re:It seems to me... (1)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079456)

There's this funny thing about the scientific method. Ideas start as a hypothesis, but to even be called a theory, the scientist must be able to at least prove to himself that the hypothesis is correct, scientifically. It only becomes theory once it is able to be independently verified and repeated, scientifically. ID cannot be proven scientifically, so no, I don't think gov't grant money should go toward "proving" this hypothesis, because it is asking to prove the unprovable.

If proving the existence of (a) god(s) was as simple as having a government throw some money at a bunch of researchers, it would have already happened long ago and there would be no cause for debate today.

Re:It seems to me... (1)

jrnchimera (558684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079565)

And it seems to me your argument holds true for evolution and the big-bang "theory". Neither of these "theories" can be tested and reproduced and therefore should not be considered "theory" or "fact". However, the science community somehow has no problem deviating from the "scientific method" when it continues to call evolution and the big-bang ideas "theories". A bit hypocritical?

Re:It seems to me... (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079457)

I will grant anyone who provides the well documented scientific methodology that they will use in order to produce proof of a ID as a scientific theory.

Re:It seems to me... (1)

Stregone (618612) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079492)

Theory doesn't apply to unobservable things. So God is not a theory, it is just something you believe. Of course there is no reason someone can't reconcile them, by simply saying that the universe works the way it does because God made it to work exactly that way. But, fundamentalists don't like to change their way of thinking at all, so you still have the wackos out there clinging to ancient dogma.

Re:It seems to me... (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079494)

Belief in God is not a theory, it's not even a hypothesis.
Where as Evolution was a hypothesis, moved onto theory, where it is tested and predictions are made.
Point in fact, the debate is around theory of evolution through natural selection. Evolution is accepted.

So if you want to believe in God, then fin but it is NOT a theory. If it was a theory, thenfaith would no longer be required and independent will comes into question.

Of course if you believe in God, then you must beklieve in ID.
Or does your god just hang around and not effect ther universe in any way?

Re:It seems to me... (1)

Aheinz1 (532062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079607)

Of course if you believe in God, then you must beklieve in ID.

Not the ID that the court case in the US delt with.

From the court findings:

Further support for the conclusion that ID is predicated on supernatural causation is found in the ID reference book to which ninth grade biology students are directed, Pandas. Pandas states, in pertinent part, as follows:

Darwinists object to the view of intelligent design because it does not give a natural cause explanation of how the various forms of life started in the first place. Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly, through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact - fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. P-11 at 99-100 (emphasis added).

Re:It seems to me... (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079637)

Of course if you believe in God, then you must beklieve in ID. Or does your god just hang around and not effect ther universe in any way?

An omnipotent, omniscient God is capable of utilizing laws of physics (which he, of course, would have put into place) in order to create a starting condition that will use evolution to create precisely what he wants.

Kind of like playing the game of Life. Gliders are for chumps, though, at this scale :D

Re:It seems to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079557)

Claiming funds for scientific research should be given to a "theologist" IS trying to start a flamewar.

This will only get worse. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079405)

Things like this happen because the unwashed masses keep electing idiots that barely went to college (went to college = 4 year vacation), and then those same idiots get to push around people that have a clue.
Stupid people hate smart people.

Churchill said it already (3, Interesting)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079475)

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. Winston Churchill

Re:This will only get worse. (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079550)

You do understand those who rejected the grant are in all probability unelected folks and probably went to college?

?Intelligent? design (1)

mofag (709856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079413)

SSHRC: Can't this Alter guy take a joke? Did anyone see the date on the rejection letter?

QED (1)

Rob Anybody (908365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079417)

It looks like the committee itself proves that ID has an influence without him actually having to perform the study!

Yay! (4, Insightful)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

He was on the radio this morning.... (4, Insightful)

kietscia (149772) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:He was on the radio this morning.... (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079574)

Was that on "The Current" with Anna-Maria Tremonti? heh... missed it this morning.....

alternately... (2, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079627)

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?

Full Text of Rejection Needed (4, Interesting)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079433)

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.

Re:Full Text of Rejection Needed (2, Interesting)

n9uxu8 (729360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079536)

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 the community). After he enjoys the free press, he will resubmit or move on to something else. Not every grant proposal can be funded.

Dave

The Canadian government?? (1)

Lurker187 (127055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079436)

I was very surprised to see that the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is part of the Canadian government, not McGill. That wasn't clear from the summary, and it seems important. Wow, the Canadian election wasn't that long ago...I guess the Canuck neo-cons can purge the scientific types from policy-making positions even quicker than American neo-cons!

That's not irony! (0)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079439)

Ironically, the grant was for a study into the detrimental effects of intelligent design on Canadian academics and leaders.

That's what you expect! That haughty religious folk who Don't Like Your Beliefs will make decisions based on their magic sky deity and try to punish you for it.

Irony is when events do not unfold as usual. For example, researching how creationism is bad and having the fundies actually consider the point and even help. That would be irony.

Re:That's not irony! (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079596)

Perhaps it would more accurately be called a humorous coincidence? Albeit fairly disappointing...

Rising popularity (5, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079440)

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.

Re:Rising popularity (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079533)

Re: Sig.

I like the name MacBook Pro.

No Problem (0, Flamebait)

123abc (879926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079446)

Due to the ample proof for evolution, he should have no problem coming up with the necessary information to get the grant, right?

He has nothing to worry about, right?

There is proof, right?

Re:No Problem (1)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079471)

There is proof, right?

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Re:No Problem (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079477)

overwhelming ammounts of evidence

jury is out (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079551)

The problem is not the proff, but the jury... They don't seem to understand the difference between a (layman's) guess and a (scientific) theory

Re:No Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079560)

No, He won't have any problem. There is ample scientific proof.

(it is fitting that the kapucha or whatever it's called for this post was "redneck")

Re:No Problem (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079623)

Actually, it's interesting that they require sufficient "proof" that the theory is "correct".

Why?

A theory is, by definition, unproven. "An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture."

Re:No Problem (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079628)

He has nothing to worry about, right?

There is proof, right?


In the eyes of a fanatic, nothing is proof. Any piece of evidence to support evolution could be shot down and dismissed as phoney or put their by the hand of God as a test of faith.

Think of the moon landing hoaxers. No shred of evidence would make them turn away from the stubborn belief in the incredibly unlikely. Show them photos, they must be fakes. Show them video, it must be shot in a movie studio. Show them rocks, they must be stolen from somewhere and made to look like moonrock.

You just can't win.

Shouldn't be sitting on a grant board. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079448)

I smell six people who shouldn't have the authority to teach kindergarten, much less sit on a grant board for real science.

What controvercy? (4, Insightful)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079451)

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?

Re:What controvercy? (1)

CottonEyedJoe (177704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079613)

In the world of Science research $40k US isnt really that much... This is $40k CDN which is quite a bit less than it sounds to us yankee's I'm sure. Besides, this is something you might actually want some data on. In the US some towns and states are potentially looking at protracted law suits over the issue. It might be interesting to note the effect this movement is having on Canadas leaders and whether or not similar suits are in their future.

The actual money this guy will get from the grant is way less than $40k CDN. The University has standard charges they skim off of grants, often partial salaries of the prof and students are included (university mandated). So the real ammount they will have to "spend" is only a fraction of the grant amount.

I don't get it (4, Insightful)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079595)

"If there is a God, why couldn't he/she/it have used evolution as the means to design life?"

There is no evidence of that, so it should not be taught in science.

The ID people wan't eveyone to say 'maybe God did it', but that is not what the class is abaout, and who created the universe has nothing to do with it.

Re:I don't get it (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079629)

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 as a philosophy -- because that would undercut the central point of ID that it is [claimed] not to be religious.

The believers of ID claim that certain features of life as we know it could not have been created through evolution and therefore, there must be a "designer". ID promotors point to specific (but different according to different ID theories) features, or organs and say, "this is too complex to develop through natural means -- there must be a supernatural force at work". Of course, what they really mean is "we don't understand the precise mechanism under which this happened, therefore, it did not happen at all", but that presupposes that humans are all-knowing and therefore that we are in fact gods, since ID theory requires that for something to have happened, we must be able to understand it, which would mean that we understand all there is to know about the universe.... oops, was that ID theory disappearing in a circle of its own logic?

Yes and no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079634)

What you say is correct I think (it reflects my own opinion, at least). But that's only when looking at ID surface deep. As soon as you start digging, it's no longer evolution + a hint of guiding from an unknown force. It's the world was created in 4000BC along with dinausors, adam and eve all living nicely together.

A waste of money (1)

shawng (814093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079466)

I don't care what the effects of ID are, it sure as hell isn't worth 40,000 bucks to study it. Canadian taxpayers have better things to spend money on.

no, we have to know how far the rot has spread (1)

aurelian (551052) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079590)

if it's a study into how far ID has got in educational and academic institutions then I reckon it's worth it.

Time to nitpick (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079468)

As my Evolution instruction often reminded us, Darwin did not invent evolution, nor is evolution his theory. Darwin was the guy who first proposed Natural Selection, a theorized mechanism by which evolution can occur (although even this had precursor theories by earlier fellas who never seem to get any credit).

I know I'm gonna get flamed but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079487)

Intelligent design, when taken in a pure form that never attempts to imply who or what the designer is, is as legitimate a theory about life and the universe as evolution is. Whether Darwinists want to admit it or not, there are gaping holes in the theory of evolution you could drive a truck through. Even Darwin himself admitted this. He freely admitted that evolution could not explain complex organs like the eye.

My point here is NOT to advocate ID, or the dismissal of Darwinist theory. But I think the Darwinists need to take a good hard look at themselves. When you continue to insist you are right about something you can't prove, what you have is not a theory anymore - it's a religion.

I personally believe that the answer to this is somewhere in the middle. But it's just a theory - I could be wrong.

Re:I know I'm gonna get flamed but... (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079570)

Whether Darwinists want to admit it or not, there are gaping holes in the theory of evolution you could drive a truck through. Even Darwin himself admitted this. He freely admitted that evolution could not explain complex organs like the eye.

Fortunately evolutionary science didn't stop with Darwin.

Intellegent Design and Creationism? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079493)

There always seems to be a blurring between Intellegent Design and Creationism in everything I read about this controversial topic. Doesn't seem correct to me.

Intellegent Design is simply looking at the complexity of all the things around us and saying that to some degree or another, some higher intellegence has a hand in it. Even if it was simply putting it in motion at some stage of history. There were and are plenty of scientists who don't buy full-out evolution but also don't buy "world created in 6 24-hour days" Creationism either.

Seems unfair to start lumping them together. People should be able to talk about ID without being labeled "Christian Crazies". Even Einstien believed in some sort of God.

It's Flame-tastic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079505)

Ooo boy. I guess the page views were down, huh? Time to get some more hits by bringing out everyone's favorite whipping boy, the Intelligent Design proponents. Now it's time to make fun of people who go to church, and smear all religion as evil! Maybe this story can break the 1000 posts the linked story got!

Basically, somebody got his grant money denied. The stated reason sounds really stupid. However, from the way his proposal was summarized in the story, he shouldn't have received a grant anyway. Essentially he's already assuming that promoting ID causes harm.

Wait! Stop! Put down the flame throwers, you're making the same mistake! Yes, I know, ID is pseudo-science, blah-blah-blah. However, the point behind his study should be to prove that promoting ID is causing harm, and not presume before the study that it already causes harm. The title of the study is "Detrimental effects of popularizing anti-evolution's intelligent design theory on Canadian students, teachers, parents, administrators and policymakers".

Science is supposed to be about gathering evidence and coming to conclusions, not about taking conclusions and gathering evidence to support them. His study should be on the Effects of popularizing ID, not just the deterimental effects. Once he's completed his study, then he can come to conclusions. But not when proposing it.

It sounds to me like his study was turned down for not being scientific. But it happens to involve Intelligent Design - meaning it's just perfect for sparking a flamewar, regardless of the actual merits of the study.

Brilliant (1)

Shanoyu (975) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079506)

Public Policy... as art!

I'm confused... (1)

Random Utinni (208410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079509)

First, the professor was requesting a grant for a sociological study, not a scientific one. He wanted to study the impact of US creationists on Canadian science. Why the grant board denied him a grant on the ground that he assumed evolution to be correct. What confuses me is why that matters in the slightest. The validity of evolution or creationism is irrelevant in a sociological study. If someone did a study on "the impact of people who believe in the Loch Ness monster on tourism in Scotland", it shouldn't be rejected because Nessie doesn't actually exist (or does).

Second, at the risk of beating a very old, dead horse, it bugs me that here's a professor who teaches at Harvard, who testified as an 'expert' in the recent creationism/evolution in school case, and still insists that "evolution is scientific fact"... dammit, it's a theory! I guess that's what happens when a professor of sociology is your evolution expert. Grrrr.

The earth is flat! (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079519)

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.

The Rebuttal: (1)

JLavezzo (161308) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079523)

Prof: (to committee) Actually, I believe it's YOUR responsibility to prove that Darwin's theory of evolution is NOT correct.

see, that's funny because, um, it's a theory and uh, science, and uh, scientifically you can't, like, prove a negative

Viva His Noodly Appendage! (3, Funny)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079525)

Viva the Midget!

Viva Pirates!

http://www.venganza.org/ [venganza.org]

I going out of Canada (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079534)

That's it! I'm moving to the USA ... oh wait ..

What theory? (4, Insightful)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 8 years ago | (#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"?

Intelligent Design is not a theory, nor science (3, Informative)

shmotlock (827592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079562)

Science is "The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena" - Answers.com. At no point has intelligent Design been observed or tested, only speculated. The Bible is not a scientific journal and cannot considered a legitimate source of observational data.

A theory is "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena" -Answers.com. At no point has Intelligent Design been tested so despite being widely accepted it has not been accepted by science.

The only purpose of teaching Intelligent Design in school would be to make teaching it in church optional. This fact means one would be supporting church in schools, but this cannot be allowed in the US because of the separation of church and state. Good luck Canada.

What else is there to argue about?

The proof for ID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079572)

ID has a way for life to begin. Evolution doesn't. It is a Biological law that life doesn't come from nonlife.

ID vs. Darwin vs. Creation (4, Interesting)

DesertWolf0132 (718296) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079577)

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...

Bush did it! (2, Funny)

Arandir (19206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079594)

This is all Bush's fault! Oh wait... this is in Canada. Well it's STILL Bush's fault, dammit!

This is becoming a sad, sad, world... (1)

albieomoss (770819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15079616)

I almost cry when I hear about things like this. For me, evolution is not a theory, it is my religion. It is how I live my life and understand every element of humanity. We are about to reach a point in history where intelligent people will be persecuted because of how outnumbered they are by idiots. Theres no way around it and I don't know what to do. Maybe I should move to Europe. Any advice or just telling me I am over-reacting would be very helpful.

Shut the Hell Up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15079635)

Science shouldn't be talking about Religious beliefs and Religion shouldn't be talking about Science.

The entire premise of the study is scientific flame bait anyway. Can't this guy do something useful with his PhD?

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