700 “Scientists” Doubt Evolution
Apparently all of those years I spent studying evolution were wasted. According to LifeSiteNews, Ranks of Renowned Scientists Doubting Darwin’s Theory on the Rise.
Another 100 scientists have joined the ranks of scientists from around the world publicly stating their doubts about the adequacy of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Wow! Another 100 scientists! And not just any scientists. “Renowned” scientists! Of course, I wonder how they define a scientist. Is it anyone with a Ph.D.? That would include such pillars of the scientific community as “Dr.” James Dobson, or any other crackpot excreted from a Christian institution of “higher learning” (some of which I suspect might be nothing more than institutions of “hire” learning, if you get my drift (diploma mills, if you are driftless)).
Do they consider a scientist to be anybody teaching any subject remotely related to science (such as electrical engineering)? What about working in industry?
For one job I had, I was officially a “technician” (even though I was doing real chemistry. Those cheap bastards never promoted me or paid me what I was worth! Bitter? Me? Ha! The company self-destructed in a downward spiral of bone-headed mismanagement that would make Dilbert blush. Of course, it didn’t help any that a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired without cause ratted them out to the FDA! (I have no knowledge of who that was, honest! Really!) Ha! I dance on their grave!)
Where was I? Oh, yes, industry. In that job I had, I was officially a “technician”, but when they printed up business cards, I was inexplicably listed as “scientist”. (Apparently the company was insecure about all of the low-level people they had doing FDA-regulated work, so they told outsiders that we were all scientists. In industry, that job title is usually reserved for Ph.D.s.) Until then, I had no idea that I could earn a Ph.D. with a simple visit to the local print shop.
In another job, at a much bigger company, my job title was “chemist”, which was fairly accurate. When they were printing up business cards, they sent us forms to fill out for the printer. I guess it didn’t occur to them that some of us would take a few liberties. We were just trying to see what we could slip through the bureaucracy. One of my co-workers magically became “Tribal Chief”. I was the “Chief Science Officer”. I passed those out to all of my friends. They thought it was hilarious. Except for my mother. She’s not so culturally literate, and she still has no concept of what I do for a living, so she thought that I really was the Chief Science Officer! Oh well. Never disillusion your mother.
The point of all of this is that you can hold a job (or even a job title) and not necessarily have all of the credentials that such a job implies. What I want to know, is who are these scientists who signed the petition, and what are their qualifications? (See the update at the end of this article. I’m writing this on the train, so I don’t have internet access at the moment.)
“Darwinism is a trivial idea that has been elevated to the status of the scientific theory that governs modern biology,” says dissent list signer Dr. Michael Egnor. Egnor is a professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook and an award-winning brain surgeon named one of New York’s best doctors by New York Magazine.
Well, certainly a medical doctor should have some familiarity with the broader concepts of biology. I sure would want my doctor to understand evolution, because it’s fundamental to how the body responds to pathogens, and it also explains how new diseases and epidemics behave. (Notice how AIDS is no longer a death sentence? In the early years, you could go from diagnosis to death in 12-24 months. Today’s much longer lifespans aren’t just because of the better drugs we have now. The more virulent strains that quickly killed their host had less opportunity to infect other people, and therefore didn’t pass along their genes. The less virulent strains had ample opportunity. The virulent strains burned themselves out. The disease evolved into what we know today.)
So, they found themselves a doctor who doesn’t believe in evolution. BFD. College isn’t supposed to brainwash anyone. The guy probably went into pre-med as a fundie, having already made up his mind about evolution. The facts weren’t about to convince him otherwise. He just learned how to parrot back what he was told, in order to pass the tests, without thinking about the content. Fundies are good at reciting things that they’ve never actually thought critically about.
Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture announced last week that over 700 scientists from around the world have now signed a statement expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution.
Wait. Only 700? They’re acting like that’s a huge number. It’s not, especially if their definition of “scientist” is as expansive as I suspect.
Furthermore, I wouldn’t trust anything coming out of the Discovery Institute. It’s an extremist creationism misinformation group (among its other charming attributes). If a group of scientists said that they had a few unresolved questions about evolution, I might listen to them. However, the Discovery Institute not only rejects evolution and most of modern biology, they also reject most of the tenets of modern geology, paleontology, cosmology, and a bunch of other -ologies. These people reject almost all of reality. And I’m supposed to listen to what they have to say?
If they have any problems with evolution, there are numerous peer-reviewed journals they can publish their findings in. Oh wait. There’s that sticky little detail of peer review! They literally have no credible data to support their claims. That’s usually a deal breaker for a journal.
That’s why they have to take their case to the media. Bypass the scientific method and try to snow a gullible public. It’s the sort of intellectual fraud committed by “psychics”, “dowsers”, “astrologers”, “homeopaths”, “faith healers”, and other charlatans who are afraid to back up their claims.
The statement, located online at http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org, reads: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
It is encouraged. It always has been. As soon as you have some contradicting data or a plausible alternative interpretation that explains all of the data that evolution explains, you go right ahead and submit that to Science or Nature.
In fact, that’s a big misconception that the fundies keep perpetuating. Here’s the reality:
Evolution is fact. End of discussion. Get over it.
Darwinism is just one theory to explain the observable facts of evolution.
There have been numerous other theories of evolution. They’re all based on Darwinism, but they have significant differences. Punctuated Equilibrium is one I’ve always been partial to.
And guess what? All of these alternative theories have been published in major peer-reviewed journals! There you have it. Proof that careful examination of Darwinism is encouraged.
OK, fundies, put your money where your mouth is. Where’s the encouragement for the “careful examination of the evidence” for “Biblical theory” (a.k.a., fairy stories)? How about the evidence that contradicts the seven-day Genesis fantasy? How about the evidence that contradicts almost all of the Noah’s Flood delusions? Or stopping the sun? Or feeding a million people with a fish stick and a slice of Wonder bread? Oh, that’s right. We’re not allowed to ask those questions. They’re off limits.
“We know intuitively that Darwinism can accomplish some things, but not others,” added Egnor.
And I know intuitively that airplanes can’t fly. Yet all I have to do is look up and see that intuition is a terrible way to do science.
“The question is what is that boundary? Does the information content in living things exceed that boundary? Darwinists have never faced those questions. They’ve never asked scientifically if random mutation and natural selection can generate the information content in living things.”
Blow me. Of course they have. Stop inventing stories with no facts to support them. Don’t you people have enough of those already?
As promised, I went by the “Dissent from Darwin” page. Right there on the front page, they list the qualifications needed to sign the statement:
If you have a Ph.D. in engineering, mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry, or one of the other natural sciences….
So pretty much anybody with a Ph.D. in something other than the social sciences can sign their petition. Most engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists have taken very little biology. They are not qualified to make the scientific statement that “Darwinism” is inadequate. They’re welcome to hold that as a personal opinion. They can store that in their brains along with their “intuitive” knowledge that the Earth must be flat, because they can’t see a curvature when they stand in the middle of a field.