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Machines Like Us

Mano Singham

An outspoken atheist and social commentator, Mano Singham is currently Director of Case’s University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics. He obtained his B.Sc. from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Pittsburgh. He has researched and conducted seminars and workshops for university faculty on teaching and learning, and has conducted workshops around the country on Active Learning methods for science teachers at pre-college and college levels. Singham is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and in 2001 he won Case Western Reserve University’s Carl F. Wittke award for distinguished undergraduate teaching. He has written articles and given invited talks on The Achievement Gap in Science and Mathematics Education, Active Learning, and Science and Religion at professional meetings of scientists and educators. His recent research interests are in the fields of education, theories of knowledge, and physics and philosophy. His books include God vs. Darwin: The War between Evolution and Creationism in the Classroom (2009), The Achievement Gap in US Education: Canaries in the Mine (2005), and Quest for Truth: Scientific Progress and Religious Beliefs (2000),

In his newest book, God vs. Darwin, Mr. Singham dissects the legal battle between evolution and creationism in the classroom, beginning with the Scopes Monkey Trail in 1925, ending with an intelligent design trial in Dover, Pennsylvania, in 2005. A publicity stunt, the Scopes Monkey Trial had less to do with legal precedence than with generating tourism dollars for a rural Tennessee town. Still, the trial successfully sparked a debate that has lasted more than eighty years and simply will not be quelled, despite a succession of seemingly definitive court decisions.

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Mano Singham Quotes

In a 2001 survey, the National Science Foundation found that only 53 percent of Americans agreed with the statement: "human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." It is hard to believe that there could be any good news behind this mind-boggling statistic that implies that up to 47 percent of Americans are unwilling to accept a fundamental tenet of evolution and believe that human beings appeared by a special act of creation about 10,000 years ago.

If you reject the age of the universe for whatever reason, then you are also rejecting all the other results associated with the theory of gravity and other physics theories that go into arriving at that age.

The idea that the mind is purely a product of the material in the brain has profound consequences for religious beliefs, which depend on the idea of the mind as an independent controlling force. The very concept of 'faith' implies an act of free will. So the person who believes in a god is pretty much forced to reject the idea that the mind is purely a creation of the brain.