Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!

Today marks the 200th Birthday of the man who forwarded the concept of Evolution of species, which is a basic foundation of the science of Biology. Evolution is also a flash point in arguments between people with different views on religion. Even though Evolution has nothing to do with religion or religious beliefs, it has been used as a scapegoat for some people’s beliefs that might conflict with the results and facts of Evolution. How did we get there?

One problem has been a misunderstanding of the term Evolution. In science Evolution’s basic definition is: a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.

That’s it. Nothing about monkeys turning into humans or “survival of the fittest”, which have been claims used against teaching of Evolution. All it means is to describe changes in a population over time.

Darwin called his idea “Natural Selection” and by that he meant species changed over time by adaptation controlled by the environment they lived in. Species that adapted appropriately passed their genes on to the next generation while those that didn’t adapt eventually died out. It isn’t that one species was “better” than the other only that one adapted better than the other and was able to pass on its genes.

Natural selection also infers that species can come from a common ancestor since it had to start some where to get to that particular point in time. There is strong evidence that Humans and apes share aspects that suggest we came from a common ancestor. At one time there was some species that then split into apes and another branch split into Humans.

That’s where religious people get upset. They fully believe that God created all the creatures on the Earth and if Evolution is true then it puts that idea into jeopardy.

The religious people are the ones who make it an issue. Darwin never cared about all it ALL began. All he did was forward the idea of how species got to where they are. Nothing in the study of Evolution is meant to be anti-religious or to intentionally contradict the story of creation. Many scientists support Evolution and consider themselves believers in a God.

However since Evolution, like all science facts, are tentative, there could be information collected soon or in the near future that solves the ultimate mystery of how it ALL got here.

That’s the promise of science – learning the answers to all the questions we have about the universe in which we live.

A tip of the hat today to the man who got the ball rolling – Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882).

Some links for further info on Darwin and Evolution

The Origin Of Species: 6th Edition

Charles Darwin bio

Charles Darwin Day

FAQs about Evolution and the religious debates

Religious Right lies about Mt. Soledad Cross

I don’t normally cross-post on my blogs but the following post on my Secular Left blog is an important issue to me — dlb

The US Supreme Court, more specifically Justice Anthony Kennedy, issued a stay of a lower federal court ruling that said the Mt. Soledad Easter Cross is unconstitutional and it needed to be removed from the city of San Diego’s property by August 2nd or the city would be fined $5,000 a day. The religious right and the pandering city officials who keep this case alive follow the same pattern the so-called Christians seem to follow – lying, name calling, character assassination, fraud, delays, and contempt of court.

Read he full article here:

Religious Right lies about Mt. Soledad Cross

Prayer protest in Columbus on May 4th

A friend of mine passed along the following note concerning the so-called National Day of Prayer. The info concerns a protest to held in Columbus on 5/4/2006. If you would like to participate feel free, if you want more info his contact info is at the end of the post.

On Thursday, May 4, 2006 – many Americans will be observing a National Day of Prayer. This is an annual event that is observed on the first Thursday of every May and has been endorsed by many goverenment officials from President Bush on down.

A National Day of Prayer rally is scheduled to be held (for the 16th year in a row) on the west (High St.) side of the Ohio Statehouse from 11:30am until 1pm.

I plan to be there with a sign and literature, protesting this terrible breach in the wall of separation between church and state.

I am doing this not as a member of any organization but as an American citizen who is fed up with the drift towards theocracy in this country.

I am also fed up with the way prayer, faith, and religion seem to be increasingly eclipsing reason and science.

If you share my concerns and would like to join me, please let me know. I plan on having some extra, professionally made signs available as well as flyers and hand-outs.

I’ve already cleared my plans with both Statehouse and Columbus officials and can share the rules and regulations that govern protests like this to anyone who might be interested.

My protest has to some extent been inspired by the National Day of Reason that the American Humanist Association and other groups have been promoting as an alternative to the National Day of Prayer. You can learn more about the thinking behind the Day of Reason by going here:


Why a National Day of Prayer is wrong

Americans United for Separation of Church and State thinks the National Day of Prayer is wrong

On another page

Official Day of Prayer web site

Day of Prayer rally at the Ohio Statehouse

Questions? Contact Dan Birtcher (614) 865-9146 hcco_djb@yahoo.com

The God Game: Who’s side is God on?

During times of national stress the prayer birds come out of the wood work. Not only religious leaders, but political leaders, and media talking heads ask people to pray or offer prayers.

On Tuesday I read where Kathleen Blanco, governor of Louisiana, called on people to pray for the victims of Hurricane Katrina that slammed into the states of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi on Monday August 29th. President Bush said he and First Lady Laura Bush were praying for them as well.

By Thursday all hell had broke loose in New Orleans as victims snapped under the strain of going 4 days without much food and drinking water. But hey, we are praying for you.

I kept thinking “Get off your asses and get help into the city. Stop wasting time praying!”

Some religious right nut jobs even suggest that the hurricane was God’s way of punishing “us” for “our” sins.

Pat Robertson, one of the nut jobs, said once back in 1998:

“I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you.”

He said it in response to Orlando hosting a Gay Pride Festival and Disney World having a Gay Day.

But attributing a natural storm to the will of a “God” is not a rational way to explain coincidences. In Robertson’s case, no hurricanes went through or near Orlando. So does that mean God was ok with the Gay Pride Festival?

If you want to play the “God” game one could also draw a conclusion that God hates Republicans.

Katrina slammed into Alabama, home to Judge Roy Moore who ignored a federal court ruling forcing him to remove a 10 Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

The storm leveled coastal towns in Mississippi, whose Governor is Haley Barbour, formerly the national chairman of the Republican Party. The state is also home to Senator Trent Lott who use to be Senate Majority Leader before his mouth forced him to step down from that job.

Katrina previously had hit Florida, whose Governor is President Bush’s brother Jeb and is thought to have helped his brother “steal” the 2000 election for the President. In fact God must really hate Jeb because Katrina is the 5th hurricane to hit Florida in two years.

A religious conservative writer pointed out that Katrina hit New Orleans just before it was due to host the Southern Decadence festival which was described as “a six-day public homosexual orgy.” But Katrina didn’t hit New Orleans. The rule of the God game is that it has to hit the object God hates and Katrina turned to the right before making land fall, missing the city with a direct hit. It turned to the right and hit Mississippi directly.

Why doesn’t God send hurricanes to hit bigger places of sin like Las Vegas, New York, or Hollywood?

I guess he thinks those places and people are ok, but he must really hate the Bible belt and Republicans.

I think I like the God game.


In my last post I mentioned how FEMA was changed after the mess of the Hurricane Andrew relief effort in 1992. Like everyone else I expected to see massive efforts on the ground to help those who were vicitms of Hurricane Katrina.

I guess I spoke to soon and assumed too much. It is Friday, 4 days since the hurricane blew through and FEMA and the Federal Govt. is JUST NOW getting the machine going. I am shocked and disgusted with the foot dragging. The effort so far is a disgrace for the US.