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:

Darwinism ≠ Evolution

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?

Update

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.

15 Responses to “700 “Scientists” Doubt Evolution”

  1. Bart Says:

    Hi Ron,

    Isn’t it a shame :) I’ve been reading Darwin and Hawking since I could walk, and hereby I declare myself a scientist protecting Darwin’s heritage!

    I’ll tell you some news, Ron: The Netherlands just have elected a new government (to be put together from three political parties – out of some 15, nationwide).

    This new bunch of fundies is almost exactly the same as the old bunch, with one major difference: The have an atheist on the team!!! The man himself, Ronald Plasterk, is ready to take on the fundies in their own backyard. He won’t do the trick, however, and here’s why:

    Ever since we kicked out your Founding Fathers, we obviously missed some of ‘em. They’ve been hidin’ ‘n’ lurkin’ behind the dikes, waiting for their moment to choose the stage again. New name, same shit. “In the name of the lord, we take thy money and make it free of sins.” Yeah Right.

    So we got our own. Don’t know about you, but I for one still think you get the government you deserve. We, as the Dutch people, are not strong enough to hold our (already) feeble leaders to account. Somebody shoots our PM-to-be, we hold elections nine days after.

    The Socialist Party (SP) clearly won the biggest victory, but are nowhere to be seen while the Cabinet is being formed. All of a sudden, because of the participation in the Cabinet of The Christen-Democrats and the Cristion Union, we’re looking at a reversal of historical policies regarding euthanesia, abortion, marijuana and (US-imposed) travel-limitations. Thanx guys.

    Well, the last words have not been said about this subject, that much is clear. The last three Cabinets (ever since our PM-to-be Pim Fortuijn got five bullets in his brain, courtesy of an animal-rights-activist called Volkert van der Graaf) have seen their endings way before time, the first one after a mere 87 days. They’re the same guys that can’t figure out whether the USA committed a crime by luring us into the war, but all the same pump 10 billion euros of OUR money into the JSF-project, which, as everybody surely knows, will only fund the wallets of Rove, Cheney and the BFEE. Those guys tell us to respect each other, to turn the other cheek etc etc. We didn’t even elect the MF’er!!!!

    Sorry, had to get my load off for a while, and The Holy Sunday seemed the most appropriate day to do so. Did you get all of it?

    Tuning out, laters,

    Bart

  2. Joe Says:

    Wow, very excellently written.

  3. ParrotLover77 Says:

    This has always been my response to the wonderful “large” list of dissenting “scientists.”

    The Project Steve List. Gotta love it.

  4. Kenny C Says:

    You really don’t need to be a PhD to be a scientist. What you need is a rock solid grounding in the scientific method, access to reliable reference materials, and enough funding to perform whatever experiments you’re planning to do.

    Of course, that’s assuming you’re looking at the word ‘Scientist’ as a definition of a profession, vocation, or avocation, not a defintion of a certain level of education or a job title.

    Even if you are, just because you’re a scientist doesn’t mean that you’re credible.

  5. Press4truth Says:

    Ron. It is too bad that everyone you disagree with is suspect and deserves to be flamed, insulted and radicalized. Intelligent debate does not resort to inflammatory insults to “prove” a point. Closed minds are never open to new truths.

  6. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Closed minds are never open to new truths.

    Please. Rush Limbaugh? Glenn Beck? You’re an idiot.

    Go back to your insular world where they’ll keep telling you precisely what you want to hear.

  7. Ron Britton Says:

    Press4truth:

    Of all the people I disagree with, the only ones I flame are those whose tiny minds are sealed shut, unwilling to look at data or listen to reason.

    This very article disproves your point. I presented data that most of the people on the list are not scientists, and you rejected my argument. You might want to actually pay attention to evidence for once, instead of just “knowing” the “truth”.

    If you want to be taken seriously, you’re going to have to do better than blindly following those buffoons on your web site. Come back when you learn what a fact is.

  8. Ron Britton Says:

    Press4truth:

    Another fact you might want to research before posting your quote mines is to read my comment policy. Discussion is fine. Bombing the site with out-of-context quotes isn’t.

  9. Jackson Jacoby Says:

    Give me one example of an observable piece of evidence that proves evolution. You can’t. Explain the genetic codes that evolved in the embryonic stages. You can’t. No scientsit can. Why? Dawkins isn’t capable of explaining the basic fundamentals of evolution without creating ridiculous assumptions. Anyone who dares suggest that evolution is a fact, denies rudimentary evidence against such claims. It has a farce for a century and you still attack Creationist when you can’t win by SCIENTIFIC explantions.. I loved the statement about why a doctor most believe in evolution to understand pathogens. The absurdity of that claim made me laugh…Being dogmatic will not make the fairytale come true. Evolution is falling apart…bone by bone and code simply destroys it’s viability. Piltdown, Nebraska,Java…you name them..made a fool out of evolutionist….rightfully so. .

  10. Lindsay Says:

    Have you ever seen fossils? I mean, just go to any decent natural history museum to see evidence of evolution. I personally recommend Morrill Hall on the University of Nebraka campus. There is a great fossil exhibit the evolution of horses.

    Just because something is unexplained doesn’t mean there is a supernatural answer. It’s lazy intellect to not seek answers and assume it must be Gods will. Should a doctor who hasn’t come to a diagnosis on an ailing patient just throw up his hands and say “I don’t know what is making you sick…I give-up Goddidit.”

  11. Artor Says:

    @Jackson Jacoby
    Are you really that stupid? Ron gave a perfect example in the article, noting that AIDS has evolved to be less immediately deadly, so that it can continue to exist. The various strains of antibiotic-resistant pathogens that are emerging are another good example. The overuse of antibiotics has forced staph, tuberculosis, clap and others to develop resistance to the drugs we’ve been using. There are a million examples you can easily see for yourself if you can take a moment to get your head out of your ass.

    If you choose to remain willfully ignorant, then you are right, no scientist can change your mind. No scientist should waste his time trying; they have better things to do, like studying evolutionary theory to see how it can describe more & more accurately the evidence all around us.

  12. Jeff Says:

    @Jackson Jacoby: Being dogmatic will not make the fairytale come true.

    As per usual, the irony is staggering.

    And Lindsay, you know perfectly well that God allowed the Devil to plant those fossils to test our faith.

  13. Sue Blue Says:

    OOOOoooo! JacksonJacoby – where even to start. The feast of stupidity you have laid before us boggles the mind with its cornucopia of deliciously retarded morsels, and I’m hungry. Lets see….

    Doctors need to understand evolution to understand pathogens. Why, yes, they do! As Artor explained above, microbes change genetically (OMG…natural selection….eeeevilution! OMG!) magnitudes of order faster than larger organisms. This both presents a challenge for treatment (antibiotic resistance – ever hear of it?) as well as overwhelming evidence of natural selection right before our microscopes. Any doctor who didn’t acknowledge that would be laughed out of the lab. Physicians who continue to over-prescribe antibiotics increase their patients’ risk of developing dangerous, well-nigh untreatable infections (MRSA, VRE, MDR-TB for starters; feel free to Google these). Streptococci don’t give a shit about your prayers as they feast on your flesh; they don’t even care how many of their brethren die in the ensuing flood of antibiotics. If even one of them is genetically distinct enough to survive, that’s all it takes. Stuff that in your Jesus pipe and smoke it.
    OH, and please enlighten me on just what about creationism can be empirically demonstrated. I’m waiting….

  14. Sue Blue Says:

    @JacksonJacoby – AND please get with the times, okay? Did you just emerge from cryogenic storage or something? Seriously – “Piltdown Man”? “Java Man”? Come on, even the most rabid of hillbilly creationist snake-handlers can do better than that these days.

  15. griffon8 Says:

    As usual Sue Blue, you are awesome.