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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 (81-90):
toomanypoodles
by Ruby Member on May. 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM

 

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

What about God making evolution possible?



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.  ;)

 There is no Biblical evidence to support that theory. 

toomanypoodles
by Ruby Member on May. 27, 2012 at 6:33 PM

 

Quoting futureshock:


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.  ;)

So much ignorance......

Why can't you just believe that God created evolution?

 So I am ignorant?  Because I don't believe as you do I am ignorant? 

toomanypoodles
by Ruby Member on May. 27, 2012 at 6:35 PM

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

I'm outta here. 

Piskie
by Bronze Member on May. 27, 2012 at 6:37 PM
1 mom liked this
You believe in a literal, 100%, can never be wrong bible?
You do realise it had enormous, basic biological, mathematical and translation flaws.
As a moral guide book, its average. As a science book, its very bad.

Why would your god write a holy book that was so at odds with everything in his creation, and then want you to ignore his creation?


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 


Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

What about God making evolution possible?




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.  ;)


 There is no Biblical evidence to support that theory. 


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Piskie
by Bronze Member on May. 27, 2012 at 6:38 PM
2 moms liked this
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. 


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Citygirlk
by Gold Member on May. 27, 2012 at 6:54 PM
Ofcourse its not that was just one example but we as human have evolved in height, looks, intelligence, etc. its all right there plain as day. No one is saying that god is a fish or bird, and those creatures evolved as well. I just dont get why some christians cant except both the bible and the evolution theory, maybe god created evolution so that as his creations we can grow and change.

Quoting toomanypoodles:

 


Quoting Citygirlk:


Why cant you believe in both. the human of today is definitely not the same human back when Jesus was alive i mean back then blue eyed people didn't exist like they do today, so i just don't understand why we cant have both. 


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.  ;)




 Changing eye color is not changing the entire creature.  Man was created in God's own image.  I don't think God looks like a fish or a bird. 


Jesus Christ was the image of God, Jesus was God in the flesh.  Jesus was a normal looking man, just like a man today.  He probably had brown eyes because that was the part of the world in which He decided to start His mission. 

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LilyofPhilly
by Gold Member on May. 27, 2012 at 6:57 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 I can't speak for other Christian.  I only know what I believe. 

I am a Fundamentalist---I believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. 

Did it ever occur to you that your interpretation could be flawed? It's happened before-to other Christians. Christians once believed that the sun revolved around the Earth and that slavery was a God-given institution, because they believed in literal interpretation of the Bible.

FrogSalad
by Sooze on May. 27, 2012 at 6:57 PM


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. 

The most basic definition of evolution is a change in allele frequency in a population over time.  

It is a fact that we share a common ancestor with the primates.  That ancient ancestor was neither human nor "monkey".    I'll see if I can find some links for you.


How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children.  Charles Darwin

Citygirlk
by Gold Member on May. 27, 2012 at 6:58 PM
Of course not because the bible was written when man was still trying to discover the world and everything else. In a time when they thought the sun revolved around the earth and that the earth was flat. The bible was written by man not god himself and we need to remember that.


Quoting toomanypoodles:

 


Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

What about God making evolution possible?




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.  ;)


 There is no Biblical evidence to support that theory. 

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Citygirlk
by Gold Member on May. 27, 2012 at 7:01 PM
1 mom liked this
The bible was written by man in days when they didnt know a lot about scientific things.

Quoting Piskie:

You believe in a literal, 100%, can never be wrong bible?

You do realise it had enormous, basic biological, mathematical and translation flaws.

As a moral guide book, its average. As a science book, its very bad.



Why would your god write a holy book that was so at odds with everything in his creation, and then want you to ignore his creation?




Quoting toomanypoodles:

 



Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

What about God making evolution possible?





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.  ;)



 There is no Biblical evidence to support that theory. 


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