Author: Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C.
“…Shot-gun marriages between evolution and faith have never worked, despite the tradition of pointing the barrel at evolution’s head. The truth is that evolution likes it single. Free, with no stoppers of thought or restrains on logic. And when lured unknowingly into the altar by those who see facts and fiction compatible, evolution has consistently stood belief up and walked away, sometimes run, toward its secular turf… [The] dream of arranging evolution’s wedding with belief will remain dormant for as long as evolution is awake.” Provocative, intriguing, a contemporary and concise analysis of the clashes between science and faith: In this book, Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C examines the societal sequels in public education, the future of America’s science and academia of believing in a deity. For this evolutionary biologist, educator and public speaker, “science is [the only] refined device for resolving ordinary curiosity and a powerful liberator of superstition.” He thinks of science as “the subsistence kit to defeat re-emerging fundamentalism” in the world. With a journalistic style in short, yet documented essays, Paz-y-Miño-C encourages the reader to question “faith healing,” the “silly” forecast of Armageddon on two occasions in 2012 (after postponing the first engagement), or the “wrongly called” The God Particle, which scrambles fiction with facts. He considers “belief” to be a “disruptor,” which delays and stops the correct comprehension and acceptance of evidence. He alerts us about the threats of rejecting science, our African and ape evolutionary ancestry, and the epidemic growth of anti-intellectualism among decision makers, whose interest in replacing “curiosity-driven science” with profitable laboratory-bench work to secure sales of “science products” will drive the “culture of discovery in America” to vanish. But this author also contrasts his inner “frustration in attempting to reverse, at least around [his] immediate circle of influence, such trend…” with essays in which his contagious passion for science emerges. In his prose, Paz-y-Miño-C ignites our imagination to “take off from the roof of the Boston Museum of Science and its Charles Hayden Planetarium, while flying in a helicopter that, after metamorphosing into a spaceship, leaves Earth to immerse us into galactic infinitude.” Or to hike among sea lions, while they rest on the Galapagos shores, and feel as Darwin did the magnificence of nature. Or to contemplate the night sky from the top of the largest volcano in the World, Mauna Kea, in Hawaii, and accept the fact that, one day in the distant future, all its telescopes —or their remains— will drift away on their carrier, the late “Big Island,” and sink in the Pacific when the summit of Mauna Kea succumbs to erosion, hence following the drowning fate of the Hawaiian Islands. This open-ended book assures: “Once embraced by all, this truly universal language —scientific rationalism/empiricism and evolution— shall lead us to a more cohesive understanding of nature and of our amazingly diverse human condition. Humanity’s ultimate challenge will be to collectively embrace reality, with no stoppers of thought or restrains on logic.”
Table of Contents:
Essay 1. Evolution Stands Faith Up: On Francis Collins’ & Karl Giberson’s “The Language of Science and Faith”
Essay 2. Faith Healing vs. Medical Science
Essay 3. Wrong at Forecasting Armageddon
Essay 4. Unforgettable Galapagos, a Summit, and Why Evolution Matters
Essay 5. Conservation Behavior in the Galapagos
Essay 6. Mauna Kea Telescopes to Sink in the Pacific – Hawaii
Essay 7. Boston’s Charles Hayden Planetarium
Essay 8. On the Wrongly Called “the God Particle”
Essay 9. A Stationary Ark on the Isle of Jersey
Essay 10. On Whales and a Whaling Museum
Essay 11. Denying Rome, the Exquisite Colosseum and Evolution
Essay 12. Lisbon’s Lesson: Honor the Value of Discovery
Essay 13. Can We Forecast the Fall of Today’s Empires?
Essay 14. All History is Black History
Essay 15. American Exceptionalism Built on Backs of the 99%
Essay 16. Rejection of Science Threatens to Be Epidemic
Essay 17. New England Professors Accept Evolution, but They are Religious
Essay 18. Massachusetts Gets an A- in Science Standards
Essay 19. Americans Want Candidates to Debate Science
Essay 20. Darwin Day Awaits Designation by the US Congress
Essay 21. Can Atheists Be Our Leaders?
Science, Evolution and Creationism
Pub. Date: 2013 – 4th Quarter
Pages: 6×9 – (NBC-C)
For information go to Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars by NOVA Publishers, New York Soft Cover
Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon UK
Review of Evolution Stands Faith Up: Reflections on Evolution’s Wars
by Dr. Greg M. Stott, Canada
This is an inspiring, readable collection of 21 essays of reflective value to everyone. You can dip into any of these well-crafted and thoughtful essays at leisure without concern for order. The layout of each essay is appealing, beginning with a quote extracted from the essay, which summarizes the key insight, and finishing with a list of suggested readings and resources. The essays, mainly written within the past 4 years, are taken largely from the author’s contributions to local newspapers and his online blog, Evolution Literacy.
The author is an evolutionary biologist and an atheist who originally immigrated to the U.S. as a graduate student from Ecuador. His preface to the book provides a rationale for these essays arising from his training as a scientist and the need to address the breadth of irrational thinking around us. Notably, he points to the vain attempt by many to try and accommodate scientific rationalism with supernatural beliefs. They are simply incompatible. To emphasize this point, his first essay, from which the title of this set of essays is taken, is based on his critical book review in Amazon.com of “The Language of Science and Faith” by Francis Collins (former head of the Human Genome Project) and Karl Giberson. Francis Collins, a widely respected genetic researcher but devout Christian, demonstrates a cognitive dissonance between one’s scientific skills and the emotional need for an ineffable, “spiritual” connection to something greater outside of oneself. This latter sense of connection with the natural world devolves into an inborn tendency to take mental shortcuts and default to “unseen” supernatural causes, a common impediment to critical thinking.
The essays address a broad range of topics, including faith healing, astronomy, physics, nature, archaeology, the curiosity-driven urge to discover, and the serious threat from the arrogant ignorant who equate opinion with knowledge, especially those in positions of power to further corrode education. As the author counsels, “Escort out of office those who see fiction and facts compatible, or worship ignorance-based opinions as rightful views of equitable value to the empirical truth.”
The author has a marvellously eloquent style of writing, full of inspiring metaphors and lateral observations that reinforce connections to the foundations of scientific inquiry and to biological evolution in particular. These thoughtful essays are accessible to the general public and an inspiration to all of us who should write an occasional essay for our local newspaper or an online blog to help clear the fog in our own communities and arm our neighbors against theistic anti-science, medical quackery and other irrational nonsense.