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Archive 1 (26 March 2010)

Happy Birthday aWK

And what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun... ħuman Number 19 03:59, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Unlock please

I'd like to edit the mainpage to revise the "Aims" section to reflect reality.

It presently states that aSK is intended to be suitable for students doing research and that "we" "aim to provide a pleasant, fair, and democratic environment for contributors." These statements are objectively false. I wish to qualify them to conform with reality by adding the words "creationists and those studying creationism" in front of "students" in the first sentence and "creationist" in front of "contributors" in the second sentence. Please advise. Teh Terrible Asp 00:47, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

The main page, by virtue of being the main page, will not be unlocked. And you haven't even attempted to show that the sentences are "objectively false". Even if you did manage to show that the environment is not as intended, that would not make it false that the intent is there. Philip J. Rayment 02:03, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

"Giving up Darwin"

Do you have a source for the claim that conversion to Christianity in China is called "giving up Darwin"? It just seems odd, considering that most Chinese are more spiritual Daoists and nontheistic Confucianists than what we know as "atheists", and few common Chinese people are particularly concerned with the creation/evolution debate compared to us Westerners. "Giving up Confucius" or "Giving up Mao" would make more sense, although neither is truly mutually exclusive with Christianity.--Centimeter 15:19, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately I've not been able to locate either of the two sources I heard this from. And perhaps it applies more to the more-educated people living in the cities than to the population as a whole.
However, communism is atheistic/Darwinistic at its core, although in the case of China, Darwinism preceded communism.

<p>On the Origin of Species may have stormed the west in 1859 but Darwinian scientific and social thought did not reach China in any significant way until four decades later, when the nation was in turmoil, says Brock.

The corrupt and failing Manchu dynasty fuelled revolutionary aspirations, while a crisis of national confidence emerged with Japan's military triumph over China in 1895. This humiliation prompted intellectuals Kang You-wei and future president Sun Yat-Sen to look to Darwin and Herbert Spencer as guides to help model China on the "fitter" western powers. Darwinism helped catalyse revolution and the establishment of the 1911 Republic, Brock claims.

In the aftermath of the defeat of 1895, scholar and translator Yan Fu, who went on to publish Thomas Huxley's Evolution and Ethics and Herbert Spencer's Sociology, said: "With rapacious neighbours all around, I fear that we will be too late, that we will follow upon Poland and India, providing an example of Darwin's [elimination] before we have been able to implement Spencer's methods. The west is truly wealthy and powerful, therefore in today's policies we can have no other teacher than the west."

Survival of the fittest took on a very different meaning for the wounded nation. Yan Fu wrote: "Men and all other living things are born on the earth in great profusion ... species struggle with species and ... the weak are devoured by the strong, and the stupid enslaved by the wise, so that, in the end, those who survive … are most fit for their time, their places, and their human situation."

Mao also recognised the importance of Darwinian theory. It legitimised his nation. In 1957 the chairman discussed China in Darwinist terms: "Socialism, in the ideological struggle, now enjoys all the conditions to triumph as the fittest."

That same year Mao also invoked Darwin to justify his Hundred Flowers Campaign of openness to invite new ideas for advancement of the communist nation, writing: "Correct and good things have often at first been looked upon not as fragrant flowers but as poisonous weeds; Copernicus's theory of the solar system and Darwin's theory of evolution were once dismissed as erroneous and had to win out over bitter opposition."

Brock concluded that without Darwin "the ground would not have been tilled for Mao to sow the seeds and reap the crop."[1]</p>
Note that last line: By Mao's time, Darwinism had already become widely accepted.
Communism feels the need to indoctrinate its population in these beliefs, which would be why a teacher encountered this situation (my emphasis):

"We know that men came from monkeys; the 'Gang of Four' wanted men to turn back into monkeys" so spoke our host, an official of the Ministry of Education, in his opening remarks on the state of Chinese education. ... The time was October 1977, the Cultural Revolution had ended and the "Gang of Four," the main protagonists of that convulsive upheaval of Chinese society, were in disgrace; therefore, the reference was appropriate, if not politically expedient, and yet the analogy to human evolution was an intriguing one. Several dayes later, during a visit to the panda house at the Peking Zoo...I noticed a pictorial signboard display devoted to the subject of human evolution. Such displays, like "wall newspapers," touting scientific knowledge or political themes are commonplace in China and serve as an inexpensive vehicle of mass communication and education...[2]

And finally, here's some relevant comments from a Chinese source. My emphases again.

Evolution was first proposed by a Westerner. The peoples of the East never had such ideas during the thousands of years of the Buddha and Tao schools. But today, amongst those who believe in evolutionism, the majority of them are from China, followed by the former Soviet Union and the Soviet block countries of eastern Europe. ... Since 1949, the Chinese government has continuously been suppressing and persecuting all facets of religious belief, while at the same time, propagating atheism, 'Scientific Communism', and the 'Theory of Evolution'. 'Scientific Communism' was completely discarded by the whole of China because of the economic failures its application induced. Atheism was always theoretically fragile, unprovable, and was hard hit by the various shifts in thinking brought about by the reforms. Now atheism is on the wane. Only the 'Theory of Evolution' still holds a place in the minds of many Chinese, many of whom profess a belief in it. ... Prominent Chinese intellectuals were deprived of freedom of speech. They could do nothing but watch the prominent place that evolutionism was afforded in the science arena in China, along with atheism and scientific communism. A Chinese intellectual would have to choose between two tortures: be a prisoner of the mind or a prisoner in the jail. Gradually Darwin’s theory of evolution became an indisputable “fact” in the closed world of Chinese society. In China, Darwin’s evolutionism ended up as the dominant theory because alternative theories were denied entry into China. ... The percentage of Westerners who believe in evolutionism is smaller than in the former Communist countries and China because they have more freedom, especially freedom of belief.[3]

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:10, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
the comment may have been from Dawkins book, The greatest Show on Earth. I dont have the Book so I cant confirm it. Hamster 02:50, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
The comment about Christians in China giving up Darwin? Definitely not. First, I haven't yet read the The Greatest Show on Earth. Second, I heard this years ago, well before Dawkins' book came out. Third, it's been on the main page since before Dawkins' book came out. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:58, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
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