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Scientist: Evolution debate will soon be history

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Scientist: Evolution debate will soon be history

NEW YORK (AP) — Richard Leakey predicts skepticism over evolution will soon be history.

Not that the avowed atheist has any doubts himself.

Sometime in the next 15 to 30 years, the Kenyan-born paleoanthropologist expects scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that "even the skeptics can accept it."

"If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it's solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive," Leakey says, "then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges."

Leakey, a professor at Stony Brook University on Long Island, recently spent several weeks in New Yorkpromoting the Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya. The institute, where Leakey spends most of his time, welcomes researchers and scientists from around the world dedicated to unearthing the origins of mankind in an area rich with fossils.

His friend, Paul Simon, performed at a May 2 fundraiser for the institute in Manhattan that collected more than $2 million. A National Geographic documentary on his work atTurkana aired this month on public television.

Now 67, Leakey is the son of the late Louis and Mary Leakey and conducts research with his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise. The family claims to have unearthed "much of the existing fossil evidence for human evolution."

On the eve of his return to Africa earlier this week, Leakey spoke to The Associated Press in New York City about the past and the future.

"If you look back, the thing that strikes you, if you've got any sensitivity, is that extinction is the most common phenomena," Leakey says. "Extinction is always driven by environmental change. Environmental change is always driven by climate change. Man accelerated, if not created, planet change phenomena; I think we have to recognize that the future is by no means a very rosy one."

Any hope for mankind's future, he insists, rests on accepting existing scientific evidence of its past.

"If we're spreading out across the world from centers like Europe and America that evolution is nonsense and science is nonsense, how do you combat new pathogens, how do you combat new strains of disease that are evolving in the environment?" he asked.

"If you don't like the word evolution, I don't care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It's not covered by Genesis. There's no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I've read from the lips of any God."

Leakey insists he has no animosity toward religion.

"If you tell me, well, people really need a faith ... I understand that," he said.

"I see no reason why you shouldn't go through your life thinking if you're a good citizen, you'll get a better future in the afterlife ...."

Leakey began his work searching for fossils in the mid-1960s. His team unearthed a nearly complete 1.6-million-year-old skeleton in 1984 that became known as "Turkana Boy," the first known early human with long legs, short arms and a tall stature.

In the late 1980s, Leakey began a career in government service in Kenya, heading theKenya Wildlife Service. He led the quest to protect elephants from poachers who were killing the animals at an alarming rate in order to harvest their valuable ivory tusks. He gathered 12 tons of confiscated ivory in Nairobi National Park and set it afire in a 1989 demonstration that attracted worldwide headlines.

In 1993, Leakey crashed a small propeller-driven plane; his lower legs were later amputated and he now gets around on artificial limbs. There were suspicions the plane had been sabotaged by his political enemies, but it was never proven.

About a decade ago, he visited Stony Brook University on eastern Long Island, a part of the State University of New York, as a guest lecturer. Then-President Shirley Strum Kenny began lobbying Leakey to join the faculty. It was a process that took about two years; he relented after returning to the campus to accept an honorary degree.

Kenny convinced him that he could remain in Kenya most of the time, where Stony Brook anthropology students could visit and learn about his work. And the college founded in 1957 would benefit from the gravitas of such a noted professor on its faculty.

"It was much easier to work with a new university that didn't have a 200-year-old image where it was so set in its ways like some of the Ivy League schools that you couldn't really change what they did and what they thought," he said.

Earlier this month, Paul Simon performed at a benefit dinner for the Turkana Basin Institute. IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond and his wife, Peggy Bonapace Gelfond, and billionaire hedge fund investor Jim Simons and his wife, Marilyn, were among those attending the exclusive show in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.

Simon agreed to allow his music to be performed on the National Geographic documentary airing on PBS and donated an autographed guitar at the fundraiser that sold for nearly $20,000.

Leakey, who clearly cherishes investigating the past, is less optimistic about the future.

"We may be on the cusp of some very real disasters that have nothing to do with whether the elephant survives, or a cheetah survives, but if we survive."

by on May. 26, 2012 at 6:08 PM
Replies (101-110):
Lacey14
by Bronze Member on May. 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM


Quoting Raintree:


Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting Piskie:

You're being called ignorant because you've shown a complete lack of understanding of what evolution entails.
Lack of knowledge is ignorance.


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 OK, LADIES.  I'm done.  I'm not going to be called ignorant for my beliefs.


I'm outta here. 


It is written in Proverbs that those professing to be wise, become fools. You are not alone Poodles, some of these posters are ignorant of Christianity and believe they are the truly wise ones.  Too bad they only believe with their eyes and not their spirit.

Yes, all the former Christians are ignorant. eye rolling

What do you mean by "former Christians?"  And, isn't that a bit generalizing, because it couldn't possibly be true.  That would mean that we are all ignorant today, because we don't know what will be discovered in the future.  What is your inflection of the word ignorant?  If you are calling others ignorant, than you are calling yourself wise. How arrogant.  LOL

Raintree
by Ruby Member on May. 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting Raintree:


Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting Piskie:

You're being called ignorant because you've shown a complete lack of understanding of what evolution entails.
Lack of knowledge is ignorance.


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 OK, LADIES.  I'm done.  I'm not going to be called ignorant for my beliefs.


I'm outta here. 


It is written in Proverbs that those professing to be wise, become fools. You are not alone Poodles, some of these posters are ignorant of Christianity and believe they are the truly wise ones.  Too bad they only believe with their eyes and not their spirit.

Yes, all the former Christians are ignorant. eye rolling

What do you mean by "former Christians?"  And, isn't that a bit generalizing, because it couldn't possibly be true.  That would mean that we are all ignorant today, because we don't know what will be discovered in the future.  What is your inflection of the word ignorant?  If you are calling others ignorant, than you are calling yourself wise. How arrogant.  LOL

What are you talking about, Lacey? Above, you claim that 'some of these posters are ignorant of Christianity' when you really have no way to guage that at this point in the debate.Then you further that with 'To bad they only believe with their eyes and not their spirit'. THAT is arrogant.

Actually, on the subject of ignorance of Christianity, I would wonder if perhaps it might be a little the other direction, since you're unfamiliar enough with church specifics to wonder what Lutherans, et al do with Revelation.

Also, familiarize yourself with the concept of sarcasm.

Lacey14
by Bronze Member on May. 27, 2012 at 8:16 PM


Quoting Raintree:


Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting Raintree:


Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting Piskie:

You're being called ignorant because you've shown a complete lack of understanding of what evolution entails.
Lack of knowledge is ignorance.


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 OK, LADIES.  I'm done.  I'm not going to be called ignorant for my beliefs.


I'm outta here. 


It is written in Proverbs that those professing to be wise, become fools. You are not alone Poodles, some of these posters are ignorant of Christianity and believe they are the truly wise ones.  Too bad they only believe with their eyes and not their spirit.

Yes, all the former Christians are ignorant. eye rolling

What do you mean by "former Christians?"  And, isn't that a bit generalizing, because it couldn't possibly be true.  That would mean that we are all ignorant today, because we don't know what will be discovered in the future.  What is your inflection of the word ignorant?  If you are calling others ignorant, than you are calling yourself wise. How arrogant.  LOL

What are you talking about, Lacey? Above, you claim that 'some of these posters are ignorant of Christianity' when you really have no way to guage that at this point in the debate.Then you further that with 'To bad they only believe with their eyes and not their spirit'. THAT is arrogant.

Actually, on the subject of ignorance of Christianity, I would wonder if perhaps it might be a little the other direction, since you're unfamiliar enough with church specifics to wonder what Lutherans, et al do with Revelation.

Also, familiarize yourself with the concept of sarcasm.

I was meeting sarcasm with sarcasm.  Doesn't feel very good does it?  Calling anyone ignorant is just mean spirited.

1Giovanni
by Becca on May. 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM
1 mom liked this

Thank you very much. I spent the time to watch it, and it dumb it down pretty good. I liked how he explain the yellow banana it made a lot of sense to me. Now I think I understand the concept of evolution a lot better now.

Quoting FrogSalad:


Quoting 1Giovanni:

I am a Christian who is just started to look more into Evolution. I see that we have adapted to our environment throughout the years. I just have a hard time believing that we came from Monkeys. My question is...Please dumb it down because I am pretty stupid when it comes to science... When they talk about Evolution are they saying it is a Fact that we came from monkeys? Or is Evolution just changing and adapting throughout the years? 

If you know of some links "Evolution for dumbies" that will help too. Just everything I find is so over my head I just don't understand it. I am always want to learn. I think one thing is it is easier to say it's not true, if you don't understand it. I did that for many years. When I talk about it with this  90 yr. old Christian women she told me when you stop learning is the time you stop living. 

I think this video does a great job of explaining the basics.  And the narrator has a pleasant voice.



 

 

Raintree
by Ruby Member on May. 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM


Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting Raintree:


Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting Raintree:


Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting Piskie:

You're being called ignorant because you've shown a complete lack of understanding of what evolution entails.
Lack of knowledge is ignorance.


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 OK, LADIES.  I'm done.  I'm not going to be called ignorant for my beliefs.


I'm outta here. 


It is written in Proverbs that those professing to be wise, become fools. You are not alone Poodles, some of these posters are ignorant of Christianity and believe they are the truly wise ones.  Too bad they only believe with their eyes and not their spirit.

Yes, all the former Christians are ignorant. eye rolling

What do you mean by "former Christians?"  And, isn't that a bit generalizing, because it couldn't possibly be true.  That would mean that we are all ignorant today, because we don't know what will be discovered in the future.  What is your inflection of the word ignorant?  If you are calling others ignorant, than you are calling yourself wise. How arrogant.  LOL

What are you talking about, Lacey? Above, you claim that 'some of these posters are ignorant of Christianity' when you really have no way to guage that at this point in the debate.Then you further that with 'To bad they only believe with their eyes and not their spirit'. THAT is arrogant.

Actually, on the subject of ignorance of Christianity, I would wonder if perhaps it might be a little the other direction, since you're unfamiliar enough with church specifics to wonder what Lutherans, et al do with Revelation.

Also, familiarize yourself with the concept of sarcasm.

I was meeting sarcasm with sarcasm.  Doesn't feel very good does it?  Calling anyone ignorant is just mean spirited.

So why did you do it? Lookin' to spread the love of Jesus with the unchurched?

lga1965
by on May. 27, 2012 at 9:03 PM

 

Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting toomanypoodles:

 I'll never accept evolution.  It would negate my belief in a creator.  But I have a hunch the Church is going to be raptured in our life time, so the believers in THE Creator will be gone.  ;)

 Our churches , the ones I have attended all my life(Congregational and Lutheran) don't believe there will be a Rapture. What would your life be like if we all found out that there is Evolution and no creator except for a God who placed a primitive cellular form of life on Earth millions of years ago that gradually evolved through time to become human beings?? Would you be able to handle that?

How do you interpret the book of Revelations?

 I interpret it as fascinating, but overly dramatic fiction.

IGA, I'm curious.  Is your opinion of Revelations strictly your own views, or is this Lutheran based?  Do they not follow the teachings of the bible, or is it your opinion the bible is all parables?  Just wanting to understand how different people see things.

 My views are mine. I am surprised that you don't know that Lutheran churches are just like any other Protestant churches . They quote the Bible ( all of it)  and their lessons and sermons are discussions of specific Bible verses,etc. They have their interpretations which are traditional. My views are mine alone and I take the entire Bible as fiction even while I do believe in God. I go to church and I enjoy the sermons but I don't feel that  any of it has come from actual realistic historical messages. For example, I don't believe that there will be a "rapture". I also don't believe in the Virgin Birth,etc. I am sort of an agnostic,I suppose. I believe that all of our questions will be answered after we die and that everyone is just guessing about religion here on earth.And I think that nobody knows THE word , no one has any absolute answers.

I_told_you_so
by Bronze Member on May. 27, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Evolution doesn't teach that we came from apes.  What it teaches is that both humans and apes came from a proto species that is now extinct.   There wasn't a time when an ape mother gave birth to a human and an ape.    What happened is that gradually, the part of the organism that became ape changed one way, and the part that became human changed another.  It took several million years for this change to happen, and if you could see the creature that was the common ancestor, you probably wouldn't recognize it.  

The way things change is by Natural Selection - in which some characteristic makes that organism compete better.  One example I've heard used is the Giraffe - if you have an animal that eats leaves, and one of the species has a long neck and the others have short necks, when the food the short necked ones eat is gone (because so many are eating it) some will starve, but the ones with longer necks can reach higher leaves, so they will survive.  What happens when the shorter necked ones can't feed properly?  Fewer of them are alive when it's time to breed.  But the longer necked ones are much healthier, so they get their choice of mates because they can compete better.  Eventually, over several generations, the necks gradually get longer, and within a couple thousand years, most of the ones surviving have longer necks.   There was a study done too with moths in England the original moth was white.  But as the people started using more coal, the skys were polluted and it turned the tree bark darker, so the white moth showed up better.  The lighter the moth, the more it stood out and was eaten.  Soon only darker moths were breeding, and the darker the moth, the better it hid.  Within several generations of moths, there were virtually no white ones left because only the darker ones bred, giving their progeny dark color genes.  

The term evolution only means change from one state to another.

Quoting 1Giovanni:

I am a Christian who is just started to look more into Evolution. I see that we have adapted to our environment throughout the years. I just have a hard time believing that we came from Monkeys. My question is...Please dumb it down because I am pretty stupid when it comes to science... When they talk about Evolution are they saying it is a Fact that we came from monkeys? Or is Evolution just changing and adapting throughout the years? 

If you know of some links "Evolution for dumbies" that will help too. Just everything I find is so over my head I just don't understand it. I am always want to learn. I think one thing is it is easier to say it's not true, if you don't understand it. I did that for many years. When I talk about it with this  90 yr. old Christian women she told me when you stop learning is the time you stop living. 


Lacey14
by Bronze Member on May. 27, 2012 at 11:05 PM


Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting Lacey14:


Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting toomanypoodles:

 I'll never accept evolution.  It would negate my belief in a creator.  But I have a hunch the Church is going to be raptured in our life time, so the believers in THE Creator will be gone.  ;)

 Our churches , the ones I have attended all my life(Congregational and Lutheran) don't believe there will be a Rapture. What would your life be like if we all found out that there is Evolution and no creator except for a God who placed a primitive cellular form of life on Earth millions of years ago that gradually evolved through time to become human beings?? Would you be able to handle that?

How do you interpret the book of Revelations?

 I interpret it as fascinating, but overly dramatic fiction.

IGA, I'm curious.  Is your opinion of Revelations strictly your own views, or is this Lutheran based?  Do they not follow the teachings of the bible, or is it your opinion the bible is all parables?  Just wanting to understand how different people see things.

 My views are mine. I am surprised that you don't know that Lutheran churches are just like any other Protestant churches . They quote the Bible ( all of it)  and their lessons and sermons are discussions of specific Bible verses,etc. They have their interpretations which are traditional. My views are mine alone and I take the entire Bible as fiction even while I do believe in God. I go to church and I enjoy the sermons but I don't feel that  any of it has come from actual realistic historical messages. For example, I don't believe that there will be a "rapture". I also don't believe in the Virgin Birth,etc. I am sort of an agnostic,I suppose. I believe that all of our questions will be answered after we die and that everyone is just guessing about religion here on earth.And I think that nobody knows THE word , no one has any absolute answers.

I can agree with some of your views.  I also don't believe any of us have the absolute answers, and that the truth is something we can not even imagine.  I don't think we are meant to know yet, and like you, I believe they will be revealed to us after we pass from this life.  I do however, believe that Jesus will return.  I don't know exactly how it will play out, but all signs lead to the second coming.  Maybe tomorrow, or maybe not even in my lifetime.

I have never attended a Lutheran church, or read any of their matierial, and I don't have a friend that does either.  That is why I asked you, and I wasn't being sarcastic about it.

1Giovanni
by Becca on May. 27, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Thank you for taking the time for that explanation. That actually made sense me, I think I might be getting it.

Quoting I_told_you_so:

Evolution doesn't teach that we came from apes.  What it teaches is that both humans and apes came from a proto species that is now extinct.   There wasn't a time when an ape mother gave birth to a human and an ape.    What happened is that gradually, the part of the organism that became ape changed one way, and the part that became human changed another.  It took several million years for this change to happen, and if you could see the creature that was the common ancestor, you probably wouldn't recognize it.  

The way things change is by Natural Selection - in which some characteristic makes that organism compete better.  One example I've heard used is the Giraffe - if you have an animal that eats leaves, and one of the species has a long neck and the others have short necks, when the food the short necked ones eat is gone (because so many are eating it) some will starve, but the ones with longer necks can reach higher leaves, so they will survive.  What happens when the shorter necked ones can't feed properly?  Fewer of them are alive when it's time to breed.  But the longer necked ones are much healthier, so they get their choice of mates because they can compete better.  Eventually, over several generations, the necks gradually get longer, and within a couple thousand years, most of the ones surviving have longer necks.   There was a study done too with moths in England the original moth was white.  But as the people started using more coal, the skys were polluted and it turned the tree bark darker, so the white moth showed up better.  The lighter the moth, the more it stood out and was eaten.  Soon only darker moths were breeding, and the darker the moth, the better it hid.  Within several generations of moths, there were virtually no white ones left because only the darker ones bred, giving their progeny dark color genes.  

The term evolution only means change from one state to another.

Quoting 1Giovanni:

I am a Christian who is just started to look more into Evolution. I see that we have adapted to our environment throughout the years. I just have a hard time believing that we came from Monkeys. My question is...Please dumb it down because I am pretty stupid when it comes to science... When they talk about Evolution are they saying it is a Fact that we came from monkeys? Or is Evolution just changing and adapting throughout the years? 

If you know of some links "Evolution for dumbies" that will help too. Just everything I find is so over my head I just don't understand it. I am always want to learn. I think one thing is it is easier to say it's not true, if you don't understand it. I did that for many years. When I talk about it with this  90 yr. old Christian women she told me when you stop learning is the time you stop living. 



stormcris
by Christy on May. 27, 2012 at 11:20 PM

I do not necessarily disagree with the idea that we evolved perhaps but there is the singular point of origination that I find may be in question. 

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