Thursday, 25 September 2008

News Round

Vatican evolution congress to exclude creationism, intelligent design

Speakers invited to attend a Vatican-sponsored congress on the evolution debate will not include proponents of creationism and intelligent design, organizers said.

The Pontifical Council for Culture, Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana are organizing an international conference in Rome March 3-7 as one of a series of events marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species."

Jesuit Father Marc Leclerc, a philosophy professor at the Gregorian, told Catholic News Service Sept. 16 that organizers "wanted to create a conference that was strictly scientific" and that discussed rational philosophy and theology along with the latest scientific discoveries.

He said arguments "that cannot be critically defined as being science, or philosophy or theology did not seem feasible to include in a dialogue at this level and, therefore, for this reason we did not think to invite" supporters of creationism and intelligent design.

From the Catholic News Service.
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Soup of chemicals on primordial Earth was naturally evolving toward life


An analysis suggests that the soup of chemicals on the early Earth was naturally evolving towards creating the first life, a discovery that suggests alien life should be common.

A mathematical analysis of how simple chemicals crossed the threshold between dead and living suggests that natural selection that gave us the vast diversity of life on the planet, from bacteria to tigers, was at work in the primordial Earth too.

One remarkable implication of this work is that the chemical soup that existed on the infant lifeless Earth was, in effect, testing possible replicating molecules, making it much more probable that one might eventually reach the threshold of life.

And this, in turn, makes it likely that something similar took place on other worlds too.

By the view of Prof Martin Nowak of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Harvard University, Earth some four billion years ago generated a complex "ecosystem" of molecules that made the eventual arrival of life much more probable.

There are no fossils to tell us what led to the emergence of the first life and this has led to a great deal of speculation about what chemicals were present in the primordial soup and how they began to reproduce.

From the Telegraph.
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Creationism should be taught in science lessons, say teachers


More than a quarter of science teachers believe creationism should be discussed in lessons, according to new research.

Many believe God had a role in the creation of the universe - and pupils should be encouraged to debate it alongside the theory of evolution, it is claimed.

The conclusions come amid continuing debate over comments from Professor Michael Reiss over the role of creationism in school biology classes.

In a controversial move, he said the topic should be tackled by teachers if raised by pupils.

This is a very badly written story in the Telegraph.  Besides the headline being contradicted by the partially revealed evidence within the story, we see that that Michael Reiss's comments were controversial, the comment given was not the controversial one.  In fact the idea that Creationism should be tackled if brought up by students is current government policy.

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