Book review: How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World by Francis Wheen

December 11, 2008

(Harper Collins, London, 2004)

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Evolution and our human origins

December 6, 2008

-Daphna Whitmore

Eighty years ago Tennessee school teacher John Scopes was put on trial for teaching evolution. He was duly found guilty, but the verdict was later overturned on a technicality. Anti-evolutionists in the United States are still at war with science. In November 2005 a court ruled in Kansas that science teachers must cast doubt on evolution and present “Intelligent Design” as an alternative theory. More significantly on 20 December 2005 a Pennsylvania court ruled that intelligent design could not be taught in public schools in that state. The ruling was a significant setback for ID and a victory for science and rational thought.

Even though Darwin’s Origin of the Species was published 150 years ago many people lack even a rudimentary understand of evolution. A Gallup poll a few yars ago in the United States found that over 40 per cent of people agreed with the statement “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” Only 12 per cent “agreed humans have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, and God had no part in this process”. [1]

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