THIS is a follow-up to what we posted yesterday: Creationism in Israel — Oy!
In Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, we read Israel Prize laureate joins chorus condemning official’s critical remarks on evolution. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
One of Israel’s most noted scholars yesterday denounced remarks by the Education Ministry’s chief scientist, who cast doubt over the weekend about both evolution and global warming.
Dr. Gavriel Avital, triggered an uproar in the academic community when he said he would encourage students to consider other theories besides evolution. “There are many people who don’t believe the evolutionary account is correct,” he said. “There are those for whom evolution is a religion, and they are unwilling to hear about anything else.”
Okay, what was the reaction?
Yehoshua Kolodny, a professor emeritus at Hebrew University who won the Israel Prize for his contributions to the study of earth science, responded furiously to these statements yesterday. “Denying evolution is like denying science itself,” Kolodny said.
That’s not all he said:
“Evolution is not a theory, but an observation point that anyone can see. Perhaps Dr. Avital did not notice that throughout history, various species existed and then became extinct. In 2009, the entire world celebrated 200 years since the birth of Darwin and 150 years since the publication of his book ‘The Origin of the Species,'” he added.
“When a top scientist ignores these things, it’s a cultural calamity,” Kolodny said. “There are no disagreements among scientists regarding evolution. Catholics and Protestants long ago ended their war against evolution, and Avital is for all intents and purposes joining the radical fringe of evangelicals in the United States.”
Ironically, some of those “radical fringe” people are among the most dedicated supporters of Israel. Life is often complicated. We continue:
“There won’t be a need for us to bomb Tehran, because Tehran has already come to us,” he added.
Now that’s a strong reaction! Here’s more:
Jonathan Erez, a professor at Hebrew University’s Earth Sciences Institute, echoed Kolodny’s sentiments. “We have returned to the dark Middle Ages,” Erez said. “It’s difficult to believe that a man who harbors such opinions has climbed the ladder to become the Education Ministry’s chief scientist.
Actually, some of these remarks are an over-reaction. It’s just one embarrassing goof-ball in the Education Ministry’s bureaucracy. Here’s our last excerpt:
“It’s remarkable, and it places Israel on a lower rung from a global standpoint. The education minister has to draw the appropriate conclusions immediately, because it is clear that Avital is not fit for the job,” he said.
Dare we make a prediction? We’ve been wrong before, so why not? We predict that within a week, Dr. Gavriel Avital will be relieved of his responsibilities as chief scientist of the Education Ministry.
Update: See Creationism in Israel: Expel the Ignoramus!
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