Saturday, May 3, 2008

Roving defender of evolution

And it's NOT Richard Dawkins! Although Professor Dawkins does seem to rove a lot.

Professor Francesco J. Ayala is an evolutionary biologist and geneticist at University of California, Irvine, and get this - he used to be a Dominican priest. According to this New York Times article, he gives about 50 talks a year in defense of evolution and against the arguments of creationism and its bastard child, intelligunt desine.

He answers creationist arguments with facts such as: at least 20% of pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion indicating that "God is the greatest abortionist of all," the existence of parasites, and female midges that fertilize their eggs by consuming their mates' genitals.

Professor Ayala says that if a god or some sort of being did design organisms “then he is a sadist, he certainly does odd things, and he is a lousy engineer.”

David Attenborough interlude:

"My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind. And [I ask them], 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy."
When I used this argument with a creationist (granted, much more clumsily than David Attenborough), she just said, “Well, I believe that there was an angel that fell from grace (or some such twaddle)....and he is responsible for things like this.” There’s no reasoning with illogical people who believe complete nonsense.

And this is what Professor Ayala says in response to arguments that it is only fair to teach both sides of the evolution/creationism controversy. “We don’t teach alchemy along with chemistry. We don’t teach witchcraft along with medicine. We don’t teach astrology with astronomy.”


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