Creationism, Noah’s Flood, and Race

by Paul Braterman                                                                                     20th-century creationism and racism Henry Morris, founding father of modern Young Earth creationism, wrote in 1977 that the Hamitic races (including red, yellow, and black) were destined by their nature to be servants to the descendants of Shem and Japheth. Noah was inspired when he prophesied this (Genesis 9:25-27) [1]. The descendants…

Noah’s Floods

by Paul Braterman By chance, I chose as holiday reading (awaiting my attention since student days) The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Penguin Classics bestseller, part of the great library of Ashur-bani-pal that was buried in the wreckage of Nineveh when that city was sacked by the Babylonians and their allies in 612 BCE. Gilgamesh is…

Evolution, the Iraqi Translation Project, and rebuilding science in the Arab World

by Paul Braterman Translations change the course of civilisations. The translation project begun by Caliph al-Mansour in the 8th century CE, and accelerated under his grandson Harun al-Rashid, made available in Arabic scholarly writings from Greek, Aramaic (Syriac), Persian, and Indian sources, and laid the foundation for the flowering of science and philosophy in the…

EVOLUTION: What the Fossils Say and why it Matters, Donald R. Prothero (2nd edition)

by Paul Braterman EVOLUTION: What the Fossils Say and why it Matters, Donald R. Prothero (2nd edition) If you are interested in evolution, get this book. And make sure that your library gets it. And your children's high school library. Incidentally, it's incredible value; list price $35.00/£27.95 from Columbia University Press, with over 400 lavishly…

The “scientific method”, a needless stumbling block; with a note on falsification

by Paul Braterman Below, R: How not to; "The Scientific Method", as inflicted on Science Fair participants. Click to enlarge Consider this, from a justly esteemed chemistry text: Scientists are always on the lookout for patterns.… Once they have detected patterns, scientists develop hypotheses… After formulating a hypotheses, scientists design further experiments [emphasis in original]…

Evolution is not progress

by Paul Braterman Evolution has nothing to do with progress. Most evolution doesn't even have anything to do with adaptation, and it is perfectly possible for a change that is worse than useless to spread through a population. Paradoxically, however, such non-adaptive change may be a necessary prelude for major adaptations. This post was inspired…

Democracy or theocracy? The bid to reform Scotland’s educational committee system

by Paul Braterman A 1929 law* imposes three unelected clergy on each of Scotland's local Education Committees. This was based on practice dating back to the 1870s, with the formation of the Scottish educational system from a merger of church and non-church elements, and to the 1918 incorporation of Catholic schools into the system. The…