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Darwin's Best Friend
by Dr. Arnie Gotfryd

Science cannot operate except by accepting certain working theories or hypotheses, even if they cannot be verified, though some theories die hard even when they are scientifically refuted or discredited (the evolutionary theory is a case in point).  -The Rebbe - Mind Over Matter, Ch.2

Darwin's Best Friend
 
Dr. Gavriel Avital has recently been fired as chief scientist for the Israeli Ministry of Education, and why? Primarily because of his anti-Darwinist views. How ironic. According to the criteria Darwin himself set out in his book "Origin of Species," he would be turning over in his grave right now if he knew people still believed in his theory. You can read more about that in the article linked below.
 
Employers can hire and fire whomever they please, that is their right. But to turf a man because of his personal views on highly debatable scientific theories, whether about how life arose or about where the planet is headed climatalogically, is not only disingenuine - it's downright dumb, besides smacking of a witch hunt.
 
The tendency to marginalize and ostracize scientists on creed rather than credential is not limited to this case. I invite the reader to hear some of those scientists speak for themselves in this linked preview of Ben Stein's movie, Expelled!
 
Too much politics makes me sneeze. As a scientist myself, I prefer to cast light on issues, not heat. Science progresses on the basis of rational and empirical investigation, and only gets mired by political and ideological agendas, even if they are the agendas of erstwhile scientists.
 
Many do not realize this but there are thousands of highly credentialed biologists calling for alternative concepts of species origin, just as there are thousands of climatologists calling for a rethink of anthropogenic global warming. For that matter, there are hundreds of secular physicists and cosmologists who have gone on record as doubting the validity of the Big Bang theory, and all this on demonstrably scientific grounds. Why should their voices be stifled? Allow their arguments to be heard and let experimentation and analysis adjudicate. But alas, that's not how people work, even if they are scientists.
 
If I were Avital's boss, I might have fired him too, but only if he didn't do his job well and not because of his faith, whether that faith is in the G-d of Israel, or l'havdil, in little green men.
 
Out of respect for readers who would like to exercise the right to judge for themselves how reasonable or unreasonable it is to be a Darwinist today, I invite you to read an article I wrote called "Evolution Myths and Facts" which appears as a chapter in a university textbook called "Divine Action and Natural Selection" published by World Scientific, Singapore (2009).
 
Darwin was not only an astute and detailed observer of flaura and fauna. He was also a creative and critical thinker, ready to challenge existing norms of thought. In the 150 plus years since the Origins was published, species have not evolved much but science has and the result is that the theory is not standing up to modern scrutiny.
 
To sincerely pay homage to Darwin the man is to live up to his values of open enquiry and critical thought, and not to fossilize his theory and canonize it as doctrine without regard to serious challenges from mainstream science.
 
If we could rouse Darwin from the dead, catch him up on modern science, and ask him to choose as best friend either the likes of Richard Dawkins or Gavriel Avital, I for one would not be at all surprised if he were to pick the latter, feeling more in common with those who espouse his lasting ideals than those who can parrot his transient ideas.
 
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Dr. Aryeh (Arnie) Gotfryd, PhD is a chassid, environmental scientist, author and educator living near Toronto, Canada. To contact, read more or to book him for a talk, visit www.arniegotfryd.com or call 416-858-9868

 

 


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