Friday, April 07, 2006

Evolution and fossils in the Citizen again

McGill challenges denial of funding for evolution research
Spectacular Arctic fossil shows how creatures first came ashore
Two, count 'em two, stories in the Citizen today. Normally, I'd worry about what they might say, but both of them assume the veracity of evolution.
If you recall yesterday, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council turned down an application for $40,000 in grant money to look at the effects of popularizing pseudo-science (ID in particular) on the acceptance of evolution in Canadian society. Among the reasons cited was the fact that the proposal didn't convincingly prove that evolution was correct and Intelligent Design was not.
McGill University in Montreal has decided to chalenge the decision, and I say more power to them for it.
The council reacted as such:

Eva Schacherl, a spokeswoman for the council, said Wednesday the multidisciplinary committee was not convinced the proposal's scholarly approach was sound or that it would provide objective results on the question.

And Alters responded to that:

Alters acknowledged those reasons were contained in his rejection but he was amazed he was expected to prove established scientific fact.

"Evolution is not an assumption - it's a fact of science," he said in an interview. "If someone was writing a proposal to investigate how people think about gravity, the researcher would not have to justify gravitation theory in the proposal."


"It's rather strange and it's also rather strange that one would think I need to make a justification that advancing a pseudo-science is detrimental to people. It's automatically assumed that popularizing a pseudo-science would be detrimental."

I'll post something about the results when in.
Interestingly enough this is a slightly different article than the one that appeared in the paper itself today.
The reactions are a little more muted in the online version. I'll post something about that article later today.
Still, the front page did have a good article about the Tiktaalik (did I spell that right? I really should just cut and paste) and it's importance as a transition fossil between water-dwelling and land-dwelling creatures.

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