Richard Leakey: Evolution is Real, despite Denial. BTW, same with Climate Change.

May 29, 2012

As climate deniers more and more form alliances with science denial across the board, fossil expert Richard Leakey reminds us that  the battle against science denial crosses many disciplines.  Truth, however, knows no boundaries.

AP via HuffPost:

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.”

Not sure I share his optimism. Reason and logic have not been all that successful over the years. As Einstein reputedly said, “Both the universe and stupidity are infinite, and I am not quite sure about the former.”

“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.”

“We are all African.” Well, that kind of gets to the root of science’s problem, doesn’t it?  Any questions about why both evolution and climate denial are concentrated in the old confederacy?

Watch here as Cal Beisner, leader of the “Cornwall Alliance”, a right wing fundy wackjob group, and one of the Heartland Institute’s “experts” on climate change, tiptoes delicately around presenting paleo-temp records to young-earth creationists. (at about 2:15 )

“..and of course, if you’re a young earth creationist, you’re going to have to do some changing of how you interpret some of the chronologies here, to fit it into your paradigm, I think that’s an entirely legitimate thing to do..”

See? Shape reality to fit your paradigm. It’s the Heartland way. Anyhow, back to Leakey….

 “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 ….”

And, hey, just a quick note. Although I’m hard on fundy nutjobs from time to time, I have no problem with anyone’s religion. Sermon on the Mount? Do unto others? Reap what you sow? I’m all about it.
Bring the compassion, keep the crazy, and we’ll get along fine.

44 Responses to “Richard Leakey: Evolution is Real, despite Denial. BTW, same with Climate Change.”

  1. A pox on all religions be they abrahamic or gaian .

    But the prime fact that alarmists who think the molecule which with H2O is the building block of life will kill us all rather than just provably green the planet with very little change in temperature must overcome is that if all the oxygen which allows us animals to exist were not locked up in CO2 until the evolution of photosynthesis , we would not be here to argue the issue .

  2. […] background-position: 50% 0px ; background-color:#222222; background-repeat : no-repeat; } – Today, 9:39 […]

  3. Lazarus Says:

    Fitting the data into your paradigm is an entirely legitimate valid thing to do?!!

  4. adelady Says:

    otter17 “I’m an atheist, but I still give some praise to those of faith who will modify their beliefs to accept a scientific principle (even though that represents “god of the gaps” thinking).”

    But the christians I know don’t even use the god of the gaps argument. They’re mostly Roman Catholics, I don’t know if that makes any difference.

    Their argument largely boils down to the world / universe is made by god. So are the talents and energies of people. Scientists are the ones who show us just how marvelous the world made by god really is. Scientists, doctors and other people are demonstrations that the gifts of intelligence and knowledge can be used to make god’s world a better place for everyone. Both physical evidence and human ingenuity are continually increasing evidence of god’s goodness and generosity.

    I think it’s far too easy to allow ourselves to be misled about religious attitudes, specifically to learning and scientific investigations and findings, by the vociferous rantings of a sub-group who insist on reading the Bible as if it were a recipe book.

  5. Shane Burgel Says:

    That’s basically what I was trying to say.

  6. Shane Burgel Says:

    You are hearing “creation” and assuming I mean a literal creationism. I mean the big bang and evolution and all of that. I just believe that God was ultimately the beginning.

    I’m tired of being told what I think by someone I haven’t met. I accept science and God and so do a lot of other people. It CAN be done, with no loss of integrity. If you want to adjust your paradigm to believe that it isn’t possible then go ahead and be my guest. That seems like a totally legitimate thing to do…

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