Lord May, PRS on YEC and ID

From: Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>
Date: Wed Nov 30 2005 - 12:53:40 EST

Today Lord May the retiring President of the Royal Society is giving a lecture in which he bemoans YEC and ID.

Here's part form the RS website

The core values of modern science are under serious threat from fundamentalism, Lord May of Oxford will today (Wednesday 30 November 2005) tell a meeting of leading scientists at the Royal Society, the UK national academy of science.

In his fifth and final anniversary address as President of the Royal Society, Lord May will point out that the core values of the Enlightenment lie at the heart of the Society, which was founded 345 years ago today. These are "free, open, unprejudiced, uninhibited questioning and enquiry, individual liberty and separation of church and state". However, he will warn that these values are "under serious threat from resurgent fundamentalism, West and East."

Lord May will say: "All ideas should be open to questioning, and the merit of ideas should be assessed on the strength of the evidence that supports them and not on the credentials or affiliations of the individuals proposing them. It is not a recipe for a comfortable life, but it is demonstrably a powerful engine for understanding how the world actually works and for applying this understanding."

He will add: "Many people and institutions have always found such questioning, attended often by unavoidable certainties, less comfortable than the authoritarian certitudes of dogma or revelation. But the values of the Enlightenment have on balance made the world a better place. They have, in the words of that splendidly archetypal document of the Enlightenment, the American Constitution, enhanced life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

"The campaigns waged by those whose belief systems or commercial interests impel them to deny, or even misrepresent, the scientific facts are helped by the widespread public misapprehension that science essentially always gives unambiguous and definite answers. The misapprehension is both understandable and unfortunate."

Lord May will stress: "Ahead of us lie dangerous times. There are serious problems that derive from the realities of the external world: climate change, loss of biological diversity, new and re-emerging diseases, and more. Many of these threats are not yet immediate, yet their nonlinear character is such that we need to be acting today. And we have no evolutionary experience of acting on behalf of a distant future; we even lack basic understanding of important aspects of our own institutions and societies. Sadly, for many, the response is to retreat from complexity and difficulty by embracing the darkness of fundamentalist unreason."

The Americans have suffered this nonsense for decades, but it is beginning to rear its ugly head in the UK. One problem is that the churches do very little - Anglicans mostly ignore it but now some 10% Church of England clergy are YEC compared to virtually zero in 1970. (In 1971 after being introduced to YEC by Schaeffer and friends all Anglicans thought the issue irrelevant).

All that happens this twisting of science merely grows and grows

Received on Wed Nov 30 13:03:05 2005

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