Facebook has rejected an ad for a video created by a Christian group for the Fourth of July holiday that included an animated recreation of the “Creation of Adam” mural due to it violating the social media site’s policy on nudity.
(WNS)–In the 158 years since Charles Darwin developed the idea that all living organisms evolved from one common ancestor, scientists have attempted to prop up the so-called “tree of life” theory against the prevailing winds of reason. Since 1859, little empirical evidence has supported the concept, but a team of researchers from Rutgers University thinks reshaping the tree could help prove its existence.
The researchers say the tree doesn’t give the full picture of evolution because it depicts various families of organisms as independent branches. A better picture would show how forms of life such as microbes and their hosts are linked physically and evolve together. “The goal is to transform a two-dimensional tree into one that is multidimensional and includes biological interactions among species,” researcher Debashish Bhattacharya said in a statement.
Even though the researchers want to reshape Darwin’s tree, they were quick to defend their champion. “What we wish to clearly stress is that we are not engaged in Darwin-bashing. We consider Darwin a hero of science,” Bhattacharya said.
But failure to give microbes their due credit is not the only problem that has eaten away the roots of Darwin’s tree, said Jonathan Wells, a biologist and author. Even in 2000 when he wrote Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution, there were many scientific problems with the tree of life concept. “And now, 17 years later, the problems have grown worse,” Wells said in a video posted on the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News and Science blog.
It seems no reshaping of the tree can overcome its difficulties. Recently, the discovery of orphan genes, genes that do not show descent from a common ancestor because they have no similarity to genes in other species, has begun chopping away at the tree. The only way scientists can keep believing the illusion is to simply ignore the existence of orphan genes, Wells said: “The reason we get a tree, in the first place is only because we assume at the outset that it’s there.”
Two years after the Supreme Court decision that required states to recognize same-sex marriages nationwide, support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally is at its highest point in over 20 years of Pew Research Center polling on the issue.
By a margin of nearly two-to-one (62% to 32%), more Americans now say they favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry than say they are opposed.
Views on same-sex marriage have shifted dramatically in recent years. As recently as 2010, more Americans opposed (48%) than favored (42%) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. In the past year alone, support has increased seven percentage points: In March 2016, 55% favored same-sex marriage, while 37% were opposed.
The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults finds striking increases in support for same-sex marriage among some demographic and partisan groups that, until recently, had broadly opposed it, including:
Baby Boomers. For the first time, a majority of Baby Boomers favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Currently, 56% of Boomers favor same-sex marriage, while 39% are opposed. Last year, opinion among Boomers was divided (46% favored/48% opposed).
African Americans. Blacks have long been less supportive of same-sex marriage when compared with whites, but the share of African Americans who favor same-sex marriage has risen 12 percentage points since 2015, from 39% to 51%.
Republicans. For the first time, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally. Today, 48% of Republicans and Republican leaners oppose same-sex marriage, while 47% favor this. As recently as 2013, Republicans opposed gay marriage by nearly two-to-one (61% to 33%).
Younger white evangelicals. Overall, white evangelical Protestants continue to stand out for their opposition to same-sex-marriage: 35% of white evangelical Protestants favor same-sex marriage, compared with a 59% majority who are opposed. But younger white evangelicals have grown more supportive: 47% of white evangelical Millennials and Gen Xers – age cohorts born after 1964 – favor same-sex marriage, up from 29% in March 2016. Views among older white evangelicals (Boomers and Silents) have shown virtually no change over the past year (26% now, 25% then).
WHY ARE THEY SO ANGRY AT SOMETHING THEY DON”T BELIEVE IN?
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ new Ten Commandments monument was smashed to pieces early Wednesday by someone driving a vehicle into it less than 24 hours after the 6-foot (1.8 meter) granite statue was placed on state Capitol grounds.
Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Chris Powell said capitol police arrested the male suspect early Wednesday.
Pulaski County jail records show that Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Arkansas, was booked into the jail shortly after 7:30 a.m. Wednesday on preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief, with Capitol Police listed as the arrest agency.
A Facebook Live video shot early Wednesday and posted on an account belonging to a Michael Reed appears to show the destruction of the monument.
Arkansas’ monument fell from its plinth and broke into multiple pieces as it hit the ground.
“As far as what happens to the monument, it’s unclear at this time,” Powell said. “The first thing will be to clean up the debris.”
Nearly three years ago, a Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma’s Capitol met a similar fate, when a driver crashed his car into the statue, shattering it. That driver was identified as Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Arkansas. He was admitted the next day to a hospital for mental treatment and formal charges were never filed. It is not yet clear if he is the same person who attacked the Arkansas monument.
At the Capitol on Tuesday, Gov. Matt Bevin gave his public “Amen” to a bill allowing Bible courses in public schools.
Normally, a bill signing does not open with prayer, but in this case, it may have been appropriate. At a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, Bevin signed House Bill 128, which allows public schools to teach courses on the Bible.
The bill’s sponsor says students need to understand the role the Bible played in American history.
“It really did set the foundation that our founding fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,” said Rep. D.J. Johnson (R-Owensboro). “All of those came from principles from the Bible.”
The bill, which easily passed the House and Senate, gives local school boards the option of developing a Bible literacy class as part of their social studies curriculum. The course would be elective, not required.
“The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy. I don’t know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this,” Bevin told the crowd.
The ACLU of Kentucky said it’s concerned about how the law might be used in schools.
“A Bible literacy bill that, on its face, may not appear to be unconstitutional, could in fact become unconstitutional in its implementation,” said Advocacy Director Kate Miller.
Miller told WDRB News the ACLU will monitor the law closely.
“We want to make sure that teachers can teach and make sure that they don’t go in to preach,” Miller said.
Supporters point out that the state Department of Education will help schools develop the course.
“As long as we’re careful with the curriculum itself, there won’t be any constitutional issues,” Johnson said. “And we’ll do that.”