Monday, January 11, 2010

The Quodlibeta Evolution Quiz

So. You’ve read 'The Selfish Gene'. You’ve skim read Jerry Coyne’s ‘Why Evolution is True’ and you’ve looked at the pretty pictures in Douglas J. Futuyma’s Evolution textbook. Now you have done all the preparation needed to be able to take on those dumbass Christians on the internet and leave devastating comments on their blogs. But first, why not take our ‘Quodlibeta Evolution Quiz’ and test out your knowledge.

Q1 - Who said ‘It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist'?

A) The Pope (whilst sniggering)

B) The Archbishop of Canterbury (whilst rattling the collection pot)

C) Charles Darwin in a letter to John Fordyce

Q2 - Gregor Mendel is renowned as ‘the father of modern genetics’, but what was his profession. Was he ?:

A) A freethinking enlightenment ‘Philosophe’

B) President of the British Rationalist Association

C) An Augustinian Monk

Q3 - Francisco Ayala, Ken Miller, Joan Roughgarden and Simon Conway Morris:

A) Are dirty lying Xian apologists

B) Who?

C) Don’t understand evolution and need to have passages from the selfish gene quoted to them

D) Are leading figures in the study of evolution who are also deeply religious

Q4 - Theodosius Dobzhansky played a key role in shaping the modern evolutionary synthesis. Which line appears in his essay ‘ Nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution’ ?

A) “I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God's, or Nature's method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.”

B) “Now stop worshipping the sky fairy”

C) ‘Both the pro-science Christians (as if Christian bullshit is scientific) and the Muslim terrorists share pretty much the same childish beliefs - heaven, a god fairy, various miracles, supernatural magic’

Q5 - The word ‘creation’ and it's cognates is used in 'On the Origin of Species'

A) Over 100 times

B) With a heavy dose of irony

C) With ‘LOL fu Xians!’ written next to it

Q6 - When the Oxford Anglo-Catholic, Aubrey Moore read ‘On the Origin of Species’ his reaction was to say:

a) ‘Oh Sh*t we’re rumbled!

b) Whose kneecaps do we have to split to stop this from getting out!

c) That there was special affinity between Darwinism and Christian faith, remarking that Darwinism appeared, and, under the guise of a foe, did the work of a friend'

Q7 - R.A Fisher made some of the most important contributions to evolutionary biology of the 20th century and put the study of the subject on a quantitative footing. He was also:

A) Editor of ‘The New Humanist’

B) An advocate of Logical Positivism.

C) A deeply devout Anglican who, between founding modern statistics and population genetics, penned articles for church magazines’.

Q8 - When Richard Dawkins says ‘The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference’, he is expressing:

A) His own personal metaphysic

B) The bleeding obvious

C) Cutting edge science

Q9 - Richard Dawkins was made a professor at Oxford.

a) For his outstanding contributions to science

b) For bullying creationists

c) Because some rich guy he had never met paid the university a large sum of money

You get extra points for linking the Church of England to the September 11th attacks and accusing us of systematic brainwashing.

Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum


Chris said...

This is great

Kristofer said...

what is the answer to nine?

Humphrey said...

A...nah just kidding, it's C. Bit of a cheap shot but hey.

James said...

Actually, they'd met once.

Humphrey said...

My bad.

This says that he accepted the job as 'reader' despite the position being endowed as a full professorship. Then a year later, after the money had been paid, there was a 'customarily rigorous process of peer review vetting' and he was made professor. So we can safety dismiss any notion that there was anything untoward.

Karl said...

Now I really do like this little quiz.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post humphrey, but unfortunately it ignores the biggest problem for theists regarding evolution: which fish decoration am I supposed to put on my car?

Can we expect another golden grayling award this year?

Anonymous said...

OK, that was funny and all, but I feel it's ignoring the crucial problem here.

I assume everyone here has read Human Ape's blog. Assuming it's not trolling (and it doesn't smell like it to me), it's obvious the man is consumed by hate. As far as can be told, his hatred of Christians is the core of his personality.

How do we love Human Ape?

Because we are called to. Because he needs it more than most. God loves Human Ape as much as he loves any Christian, as much as he loves any saint. How do we reflect this? How do we try to give him some light in his darkness?

This isn't a rhetorical question; I don't know. But I feel compelled as a Christian to ask.


Noons said...

Well, Anonymous, to answer your question, I'm not sure.

However, I assume he probably isn't trolling, simply because he's put too much effort into his blog. Also, in a nation of 300 million opinions, and an English-speaking world of who knows how many, whatever straw-man or charicature or ridiculous idea of an opinion you can think of, there's probably someone, somewhere who holds it as his/her genuine view.

Now thanks to the internet, all of those people can reach millions.

Karl said...

Now thanks to the internet, all of those people can reach millions.

Ain't progress grand?

Anonymous said...

Ayala is not a Christian.
You haven't read his work if you believe that.

Dave said...

Lovely quiz but it does little to address the question. Evolution is the product of bad theology more than good science.

Humphrey said...

Nice attempt to 'points grab' however the question says 'deeply religious'. Ayala qualifies since he is a former Dominican priest, writes numerous articles of theology, serves on a number of religious committees and clearly believes in God (you'll have to look hard for references to this since he doesn't want to be 'tagged' by either side in the ID debate). E.G

Q: As a former priest and man of deep faith, are you trying to reach religious people who question evolution?

A: I am trying to talk to people of faith and to try and persuade them that the theory of evolution is not anti-religious. In fact, it is more consistent with faith than these theories that have evolved under the name of creationism or intelligent design. These have implications with respect to the creator that are completely unacceptable.

Q: So where is the place for God in your conception of the universe?

A: Everywhere. It is about our relationship to God, the meaning of life, the purpose of life. Moral values. Science has nothing to say about these things. Science is not about excluding God. Those who try to use science to prove God does not exist are misusing science. …
You can go to the very beginning of Christianity and find the message I have been telling you in St. Augustine, in his commentary on the genesis. Remember, this is 1,800 years ago, and he very explicitly says, ‘As a Christian, why do we care if the Earth is a disc or a sphere? It doesn’t help me to reach salvation. The Bible is there to teach me how to go to heaven, not how the heavens were made.’ He’s saying it’s a categorical mistake to take the Bible for an elementary textbook on biology or chemistry or geology.

Anonymous said...

You admitted it yourself - if you're an ex-Domincan priest than how can you still be Catholic?
You left that calling for a reason.
I could be wrong - but I'd speculate that he started looking at the truth of evolution and he could no longer be consistent with the truth he found and his vocation as a priest.

Anonymous said...

[i]You admitted it yourself - if you're an ex-Domincan priest than how can you still be Catholic?[/i]

Wha!? Who "admitted" this and where? John Polkinghorne left his job as a physicist to become an angilican priest, what do we make of this?

Noons said...

Anonymous, there is a difference between leaving the faith and leaving the priesthood. And there are a number of reasons why one would leave the priesthood.

Ayala is currently married with 2 children, and he couldn't do that if he stayed a priest...

Humphrey said...

Hi Anon.

I think you are wrong. Ayala explicitly says that his religious beliefs have never come into conflict with the theory of evolution. He says that when he was 12 years old he was taught the theory in his first science class by a priest, and he calls faith and science ‘perfectly compatible.’ He then studied under Dobzhansky and assisted him in writing the quasi-theological work ' Biology of Ultimate Concern'. People still remember him doing lab work in his Roman collar.

I suppose he could be putting it on.

Humphrey said...

"And there are a number of reasons why one would leave the priesthood."

This is worth emphasising. Being a priest is no cakewalk, it involves vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, plus it would have meant staying in Spain where (under Franco) science was under-developed. Most of the distinguished scientists left in 1939.

David Hopson said...

But where are the answers? I want to know if I am truly ignorant, passably well informed, or fully armed to take on those Christian dumb asses.

Michael Fugate said...

I agree Ronald Fisher was a brilliant man, but holding him up as a Christian role-model is a hoot. You might want to spend some time reading about his thoughts and actions....

Humphrey said...

Hi Mike

I'm familiar with Fisher's thoughts on Eugenics, but I think(as in the case of my essay on Francis Galton) we have to be careful to distinguish between people who believed in so called 'positive eugenics' and negative eugenics. Obviously there is some cross-over but there is a distinction that needs to be made.

Darwin's recent biographer James Moore says that one of the key inspirations behind Fisher’s work was his “Darwinian Christianity,” in which struggle, toil, and hardship played a redemptive role.
His faith was intensely family-bound and shaped by a middle class Anglican family background as well as the nonconformist family context into which he married. “What unified Fisher’s interests, what made a mathematically-based eugenic Darwinian Christianity not just possible but necessary for him, was the experience of family life, with its myriad practical, emotional and intellectual challenges”

I think we can acknowledge the role his faith played and the shape it took whilst not necessarily treating him as a role model.

Matt said...

Isn't it time we stopped ripping on Richard Dawkins? I think Christians are always blasting this guy and it's getting a little excessive.

Anonymous said...

Eh? The dawk's still out there making nasty comments, it's not like he left the scene after publishing TGD and we're all still reacting to a diatribe from 2006(although it's not like his argument has changed since then). Plus I don't really think this qualifies as "blasting him", more like "having a good laugh at the expense of a silly old man"

Matt said...

I'm confused how that's not blasting him. Basically this quiz says that he doesn't deserve his position at Oxford. It seems like that is a statement that falls outside of the discussions (or even arguments if you want to call them that) over religious and scientific belief. It's true that things he writes upset me but I wouldn't drop irrelevant disses on him.