Feeds

Evolution fightback continues at Royal Society

Creationism in the classroom under fire

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Over 400 people were turned away from the Royal Society's pro-evolution lecture last night, while anticipated protests from creationists failed to materialise.

The server carrying a live webcast of Professor Steve Jones lecture “Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution is Right” crashed after it was deluged by Reg readers, according to the RS.

The Royal society itself yesterday published a strongly-worded statement yesterday denouncing the insidious wedge of religion being driven into UK education.

University College London geneticist Jones produced an arsenal of striking examples of evolution from nature, demonstrating the power of Darwinism to explain natural phenomena. He particularly concentrated on the evolutionary story of the relatively harmless Simian Immunodeficiency Virus into its deadly human form, HIV.

He recounted the tale of how researchers traveled to the pathology department of a Kinshasa hospital and examined thousands of stored samples for HIV. They found one from a man who died way back in 1959 – decades before the epidemic entered worldwide consciousness.

Crucially from an evolutionary point of view, the viral fossil sample's genetic sequence fitted exactly where it should have on the predicted path of changes required to get from SIV to current HIV.

Jones also showed that apes are unaffected by their virus because of their large number of copies of a gene that confers resistance. The same multi-copy gene is the reason that groups of African prostitutes stay healthy despite repeated infection.

He explained the current epidemic means we are living “crucibles” of natural selection. Unless a cure is found, the average number of copies of this gene will inevitably increase over time – the essence of Darwinism.

Prof Jones also touched on the current controversy surrounding the creeping advance of creationism into schools into the UK, notably evangelist used car baron Peter Vardy's North East academies. An Association of Teachers and Lecturers meeting in Gateshead yesterday debated a motion to call for an end to faith schools by 2020.

Jones warned against complacency here about the relatively high level of fundamentalism in America. Every attempt there to push God into science lessons has failed thanks to the constitution.

Here there is no such line between religion and state, and though both countries have a Christian leader who has supported creationism, or its pseudoscience-masked stormtrooper intelligent design, in schools, the difference here is that it's actually being taught in schools

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.