Darwinistic Redoubts

It is rare that I get viscerally upset. Usually I simply have a passing feeling of unease leading into a rather grumpy day.

But this post got me rather riled up despite its rather innocuous start,

What is the most significant year to remember in relatively modern history? Is it 1776? Is it 1941? Is it Sept 11 2001?

Some will argue that the answer is 1859, the year Darwin published his Origin of Species.

While I could quibble about the fact that Sept. 11 2001 isn’t a year but a date, I would prefer first to point out who is writing this. Vance Esler is an oncologist born, raised and working in Texas. Not only does he treat people with various types of cancer, he is actively and proudly involved in research, recruiting patients for clinical trials.

Thus the third paragraph in his post is a bit of a breath-taker…

This book has been credited with providing the foundation upon which secular progressives began to build concepts which have led to the steady removal of God from public thought and life. After all, if life is only the result of random events occurring in a random universe, and not the product of an intelligent design, then it becomes so much easier to marginalize religious thought and influence in society.

Uh Oh.

We all know where this will lead and yes indeed it does move on into a rant about the political incorrectness of challenging evolutionary science.

Dr Esler points to the infamous ‘challenge’ to the theory of evolution from the Discovery Institute (DI) and signed by 700 scientists! Those “who have reached the epitome of their fields” in “engineering, mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry or one of the other natural sciences.“

He does ‘forget’ to mention that PhDs in things like physics and mechanical engineering rarely involve deep discussions of evolution but no matter – 700 is an impressive number. And, being involved in research and scrupulously fair, Dr Esler directly linked to the similar list of unequivocal evolution supporters at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE)

Wait – he didn’t!? Hmm.

As of this writing (Feb. 21, 2006), the NCSE list has 790 signatories.

There is a catch. In order to sign the exclusive Discovery Institute list one must be a PhD in something sciency.

For entry onto the NSCE list one must not only be a PhD in something sciency but also be named ‘Steve.’ (Well, “[n]ot just Steve, but also Stephens, Stevens, Stephanies, Stefans, and so forth. Etiennes and Estebans are welcome.” You get the idea.)

You see, even though most scientists understand that research isn’t directly conducted by opinion poll, the Steve list shows clearly that not only is there resounding support in the scientific community for evolution, but the sub-set of scientists named Steve supporting evolution is larger than the DI list.

Oh! And while there aren’t many biologists on the Discovery Institute’s list, about 2/3 of the Steve list are. (Perhaps closer to their field of expertise. No?)

The rest of Dr Esler’s post is taken almost verbatim from the WorldNetDaily website, but what really got me going was his personal summation.

There is a another site called DoctorsDoubtingDarwin.com for physicians who have similar concerns. As a hematologist/medical oncologist who deals with the disastrous results of mutations every day, I can readily attest to the fact that most mutations are fatal, and it stretches credulity to think one could actually result in the appearance of an entirely new species. Needless to say, I have added my name to that list. [my emphasis]

I won’t touch the fallacy “Argument from Personal Incredulity.” I’ll let Wikipedia do that. Or perhaps you might just want to Google it.

But that other thing – the “most mutations are fatal” quip? Is that a ‘fact’ ‘Dr’ Esler?

So this rather detailed discussion for lay-people about mutations not only not being fatal but not even harmful is just so much hemp haze?

Q: Doesn’t evolution depend on mutations and aren’t most mutations harmful?
A: No. Most mutations are neither harmful nor helpful.

That’s the short answer. The long answer is that mutations can be neutral (neither helpful nor harmful), strictly harmful, strictly helpful, or (and this is important) whether they are harmful or helpful depends on the environment. Most mutations are either neutral or their effect depends on the environment. [My emphasis]

Dr Esler, have you ever heard of people having six fingers? Are the mutations to the H5N1 virus lethal to the virus or good for the virus and potentially harmful to us?

To sum up I would like to quote Dr Esler again. This time from another one of his posts.

It is one thing to place one’s property in the hands of a repairman or craftsman. It is another to place one’s life at risk. Such relationships are historically based upon trust. So whom do you trust? Do you follow the advice of the tall, good-looking, affable young man who borders on cocky because everyone thinks he is so great? [Barack Obama] Or do you rely upon the quiet, thoughtful physician who listens to your complaints and says, “I need to think about this.” There is no easy answer. Trust can take time to grow.

So right now I remain skeptical about non-physicians trying to rank physicians based upon dubious criteria and poorly collected data. I also maintain a healthy skepticism of doctors who are always right, always know what to do, and who register highly on my BS Detector.

Sir, I don’t know whether you are a “quiet, thoughtful physician” but a skeptic you are not.

I do not put my trust of evolution in the hands of electrical engineers or oncologists but in the hands of evolutionary biologists. Something about my feeling about non-specialists trying to rank things based on “dubious criteria and poorly collected data.”

You sir, are not an expert in mutation. You sir are not an expert in evolution. You sir, are an expert on cancer. You sir, register rather highly on a detector of mine.

If you were a skeptic, then you might know that true sceptics realise that scientists understand the limitations of their own knowledge. Dr Esler, while your knowledge of cancer might be broad, it does not lead you to be able to make judgements about the validity of evolution.

But I am sure you are a religious person, full of integrity. I am sure that you are convinced your position is correct and intellectually honest.

Thus, I wonder if you would be willing to put up a sign in your practice along the lines of “I DOUBT DARWIN – EVOUTION IS DESTROYING TEXAS” or something along those lines. That way your patients would know what they are getting into. While you are at it why not take a picture of the sign including your partners and post it to your blog?

But somehow – I doubt you will.

And because I feel this doubt, I felt forced to man the redoubts – for Darwin.

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23 comments so far

  1. Vance Esler on

    Wow. That IS a visceral reaction. You must take all this pretty seriously!

    My initial response is back on my blog under Comments.

    But allow me to add that I didn’t really take a position on evolution itself other than to doubt Darwin. Perhaps you are lumping me in with some of the folks quoted in the WND article?

    I was not aware of the NCSE list. I am surprised there are not more than 790 names there. Evolution is the dogma of the day, and I’d think there would be many more.

    You don’t have to be a biologist to understand the scientific method. That’s why non-biologists can weigh in. Scientists who have trained themselves to ignore their feelings can dispassionately debate the facts about evolution. Most laymen can’t because they aren’t really debating science.

    While you seem to side with the majority, it is much more fun being in the minority, jerking the chains of people who think they have it all figured out. Maybe I’m really a terrorist at heart…

    The ferocity of reactions to any questioning of today’s evolutionary creed belies the strength of the foundation upon which so many have built their worldviews.

    It was not my intent to argue for creationism. I don’t buy the seven 24-hour day thing, for example. I do not have strong opinions about how the world came to be.

    However, I have observed that many of those who would expel God from the public domain appeal to evolution. If there is no creation, then there is no creator. And if there is no creator, then there is probably no supreme being one must answer to. Pretty neat — if it is true.

  2. blc303 on

    This is going to get confusing. I’ll answer your comments here then answer your other comment at your blog.

    I was not aware of the NCSE list. I am surprised there are not more than 790 names there. Evolution is the dogma of the day, and I’d think there would be many more.

    As to there ‘only’ being 790 names on the list, remember you have to be named Steve. Since the name Steve and its derivatives only make up about 1 percent of the American population, the only country where this is really an issue, you can assume that the numbers are proportionally higher.

    The idea behind the ‘list’ wasn’t to be serious but more as a tongue in cheek answer to the list from the Discovery Institute. Please read about the background at the NCSE FAQ. The name Steve as chosen to honor Steven Jay Gould. Also, while the Discovery Institute actively pushes its list with a budget of $5,000,000 $1,200,000, not including “transportation, technology, foreign policy, bioethics and other topics,” the NCSE manages on about $600,000 for the whole kit and kaboodle.

    It was not my intent to argue for creationism. I don’t buy the seven 24-hour day thing, for example. I do not have strong opinions about how the world came to be.

    However, I have observed that many of those who would expel God from the public domain appeal to evolution. If there is no creation, then there is no creator. And if there is no creator, then there is probably no supreme being one must answer to. Pretty neat — if it is true.

    I can’t follow this. Sorry.

    First, why is evolution, or perhaps more specifically the scientific theory of evolution, to be held responsible for (as you see it) attempts to expel God from the public domain? Using something to support a position, does not invalidate the original point.

    The involvement of the Pope in the Crusades, does not allow one to discount all forms of Christianity. The use of Zyklon-B in the gas chambers of Auschwitz does not lead one to diss chemistry or even German chemists. Physics is not assumed to be such a threat that it must not be taught in public schools simply because two nuclear weapons were dropped on Japan. What is the deal with evolution? Isn’t it Christian apologetics that use evolution as an example of “secular progressives” expelling God from the public domain? Isn’t your argument throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

    Is the problem evolution? Is the problem Darwin? Or is the problem extremism? You attack Darwin, not because he is wrong, but because extremists use it? The logic is unclear.

    As to the second argument, that seems to be equally non sequitur. Where exactly does Darwin claim there is no creator. Where exactly does the scientific theory of evolution deny a creator? Please clarify your position here.

    Darwin was very careful not to deny God in his public writings. I’m sure you can find more than enough quotes from modern scientists using evolution to attack religion. (God knows Richard Dawkins provides enough of them.) But that isn’t the issue. Science is by definition secular. It is by definition rooted in the natural world. Where does a creator come into the picture of natural sciences? Shouldn’t they be seperate?

    I would love to have you find me a widely used evolution textbook where you find existo evolutio ergo non Deus est.

  3. Vance Esler on

    You are right. This is confusing.

    By the way, how do you do italics in your comments? Is it the same as on Blogger?

    Exist evolutio ergo non Deus est is not an argument I make. It seems to be a line of thought that secular progressives make. If it is fallacious, blame them, not me.

    Regarding the lists: I misunderstood that you really have to be named Steve. That’s funny! But I’m willing to be done with lists. We could match lists, but since you probably have more time on your hands than I, you’d win. It doesn’t matter anyway. I get the feeling that neither of us really cares what a bunch of people say. We prefer to think for ourselves.

  4. Teresa on

    Vance,

    God is in no way in danger of “being expelled from the public domain.”

    My kid just had to write a children’s book detailing the story of Jesus Christ and early Christianity, for a public school writing assignment.

    I really think you people just make up the idea that “God” is under attack.

  5. blc303 on

    Vance

    As to italics, the markup is standard html. (<i>italics</i>, <b>bold</b>, etc.)
    And yes blogger does the same thing.

    You didn’t answer my question though

    First, why is evolution, or perhaps more specifically the scientific theory of evolution, to be held responsible for (as you see it) attempts to expel God from the public domain? Using something to support a position, does not invalidate the original point.

    But you keep claiming that people are fighting dispelled God from the public domain. I agree a few secular extremists do that. Don’t a few extremists (like the Discovery Institute) fight to get Christian religion in everywhere?

    I don’t see that the war on God to be a major problem. God shouldn’t be in science classes. Science is secular. And yes, the in some cases the “secular/sectarian” argument is overdone.

  6. Vance Esler on

    Teresa: Whew! I can relax now. “you people”?

    blc303: Yeah, extremists are a problem.

    Let me try to answer your question this way:

    Evolution as a theory is an issue, but not my issue. I think it should be taught. But it should be taught accurately, warts and all. That does not happen except rarely. Why not? You tell me.

    I’m not attacking Darwin; I’m doubting him. He did the best anyone could do 150 years ago. I am amazed how many people still cling to some of his archaic ideas, though I realize that modern evolutionary proponents have moved on.

    I am not really attacking evolution. It is a useful way to organize the teaching of comparative anatomy and such. But it has its limits, and I doubt it explains as much as most people think.

    My beef is with people who use evolution — like some also use religion — to try to control what other people think. These are not usually scientists, though scientists can be just as guilty of selectively presenting facts to support their own personal biases. Such thought police are the ones who get my goat, be they in churches, schools, court rooms, wherever.

    People who are unskilled in logic can have a difficult time distinguishing when they are asking questions whose answers lie inside the box (science) or outside the box (philosophy). Unfortunately here in the U.S., teachers and school districts are making it impossible for anyone to cry “foul” when a line is crossed. They have closed their positions and their minds; there can be no further discussion. How stupid. How arrogant!

    So it is fun to walk by and kick their chairs every now and then, to wake them up, and say, “Guess what? Not every smart person agrees with you. Maybe you should open your mind again.”

    ———–
    Let me add that this exchange (on both blogs) has been fun. I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up, especially on two blogs, because I have to work. Fortunately, I had some holes in my schedule the last couple of days, and this has been a pleasant diversion from the usual hassles and pressures of taking care of patients with fatal mutations ;-) But I’ll try to keep checking in.

  7. Teresa on

    Vance,

    Oh, I see I was too vague, and should spell it out for you more so that it wasn’t so hard for you to understand. I meant “You people” as in, “you people who claim that God is being chased from the public sector”.

  8. Vance Esler on

    Teresa:

    I’m not sure where you are, but where I live, “you people” is often used as a racial or ethnic slur.

    I’m not making up the ACLU or Michael Newdow. I’m pretty sure they are trying to remove god from the public arena. At least, that’s what they say…

    Read my last post above. Could you be misjudging me? I am not one of “those people” who want to foist Christianity — or any religion, for that matter — upon people. Really!

    I’m sorry if your daughter was forced to learn about Jesus. I would also be sorry if she were denied the opportunity to learn about something she might be interested in (within parental boundaries, of course).

    Perhaps instead of saying that God is being chased out of the public arena, I should have said that people are trying to stifle free speech. But it was Saturday, I needed to post something on my blog, I was in a hurry, and it was what it was.

    Blogs are interesting. You go along thinking you are just writing for yourself or your family, then wham! Makes for an interesting couple of days.

  9. Teresa on

    Vance,

    Since I have no possible way of knowing your race or ethnicity, I have a hard time seeing how it could be taken as a slur, but things being how they are, I’ll just say sorry for any misunderstanding about my intent. I assure you, I didn’t mean anything amiss.

    The ACLU has actually represented plenty of people DEFENDING their right to religious speech and religious expression where appropriate…but that doesn’t play real well in the right-wing religionist arena because it conflicts with their need to feel persecuted.

    My son was not FORCED to learn about Jesus at school, it was simply an assignment, and a darned appropriate one at that. Looking at the history of religion. They will be addressing other religions as they go, talking about how they affected history. You can’t discuss history in any meaningful way without understanding the major religions.

    I’m just saying, he did an assignment that taught him a lot about Christianity, so it is simply not true that “God” has been banished from our schools, and can’t be mentioned, and I’m tired of people repeating that lie, and using it as an excuse to flasely vilify people who just want to defend our Constitutional basis for a secular government.

    Now, I wish that other kids would quit telling my son’s Jewish friend that they “like to kill Jews in video games” and calling him a “christ-killer” and stuff like that, but I guess there’s nothing you can do about that stuff. It’s just the penalty for sharing the planet with religionist wackos. They have free speech too, even if it is hateful. Of course, if my son decides to compare them to the Nazi’s for their sentiments, I suppose THAT’s religious descrimination.

    Sorry you got pounced on. I know the feeling. It’s happened to me before. I do sympathize. It can be very disorienting. Hope things get back to normal soon.

  10. blc303 on

    You said you “doubt Darwin.” You do of course realise that it is usually the Christian apologetics that claim Darwin is outdated. Of course he is. And modern textbooks don’t teach the Origin of the Species, they teach modern evolutionary theory. But they give a well deserved hat tip to Charles.

    But as far as evolution needing ‘warts.’

    Do high school students learn enough biology to understand the controversies in modern evolutionary biology? Do high school students learn enough of any science? (Washington Post: “In addition, a previous report found that 18 percent of seniors in 2005 scored at least proficient in science, down from 21 percent in 1996.”)

    Show me exactly what is being taught wrong. I’ll bow to it. You doubt Darwin and so you will also doubt Newton. Where as Darwin’s basic ideas have yet to have been shown wrong, Newton really missed. Newton got the math wrong. (Note: if you think someone has disproves Darwin, show me the article in a peer reviewed journal. You, as an Oncologist, probably have access to PubMed – show me the article proving Darwin off base.)

    But Newton was wrong. The math doesn’t work out. That problem came up around 1900. Know what. It got solved by the guy with the permanent bad hair day, Einstein. But we still have Newton in the textbooks. Why. Because most of his stuff works.

    But if you want ‘warts’, why not a new post; this time “Needling Newton?” If, in the limited time available to high school students, ‘warts’ in theories should be highlighted – trash Newton. High school students barely have enough time to learn the titbits of evolution to support what “creation-scientists/ intelligent-designers/ teach-the-controvers-ials(?)” call microevolution.
    You know that oddly relevant topic pertaining to viruses and such.

    But say evolution is taught wrong because some people use it to support secular views. Bolderdash!

    Know what. Some people play guitars and sing songs about Holocaust Denial. Should we ban guitars? Should we ban teaching about WWII? Should we ban history? Or are we just not teaching it correctly?

  11. Vance Esler on

    Teresa: I’m a European-derived white guy. I didn’t take offense at your remark. But down here in Texas, we white guys have to be careful when we use “you people” because others DO take offense.

    You are right about the ACLU. They surprise me sometimes by actually behaving true to their stated purpose.

    blc303: I spent more than a decade sitting in science classes that either taught or assumed evolution was valid. My livelihood and my life are built upon a solid understanding of human biochemistry, physiology, genetics, microbiology, pathology, etc. Every day I deal with DNA, mutations, transcription errors, and all that. I employ drugs that purposefully manipulate the systems we are talking about. This week I investigated the genetic profiles of half a dozen people.

    I don’t know who you are or what you do. Maybe you are a PhD in biochemistry. Maybe you are a science teacher. Maybe you are a good one. But there are some real idiots here in Texas who are not teaching what you or I wish they would teach. They are not teaching science. They are not teaching kids how to think. I can’t give you specifics because I am (thankfully) not sitting in those classes, and I don’t have time to go into all that anyway. My kids keep me up to date on what is being taught. Moreover, several of these teachers have taken to the editorial page of our newspaper lately to display their simplistic (mis)understanding for everyone to see. It is disheartening.

    My great grandparents were from Germany. Maybe I need to move there and get back to my roots. Maybe I need to be some place where all the teachers are bright, intellectually honest citizens. Yet I wonder if such a place truly exists.

    As Teresa alluded, one price of a free society is that you have to put up with the bozos.

    Oh, by the way. It is out of my field and almost certainly beyond my expertise, but seems like I heard that Einstein was wrong, too.

  12. Teresa on

    Well, I also intended to point out that the “bozos” scream about “freedom of speech and freedom of religion” when it is motivating them to say hateful and damaging things about Jews, Homosexuals, Muslims, secularists and athiests, etc. – but then turn around and deny those people the right to defend themselves against attacks by claiming that defending themselves (or their friends) against the religiously motivated attacks of “Christians” is “religious descrimination”.

    Basically, the rest of us have to live with the radical religionists and their beliefs, and their hateful ways, and put up and shut up or get called “oppressors”.

    If some “Christian” kid has the right to say “the Jews killed Jesus”, then my kid should have the right to say “Hitler said that too.” but that’s not the way it works.

    It’s a double standard that will only get worse as the fundamentalists gain more power and influence…which will continue for as long as we fail to turn the tide they are pressing against science and reason.

  13. blc303 on

    Einstein hasn’t been proven wrong yet. I’m sure he will be someday

    Moreover, several of these teachers have taken to the editorial page of our newspaper lately to display their simplistic (mis)understanding for everyone to see. It is disheartening.

    Please, add a link, I’d love to read it. Are they teaching that or pontificating. Can’t you point to equally stupid comments in op-ed’s from the creationist side? Was Of People and Pandas scientifically correct?

    As to having people just teach that something happened. Well yeah. But you also spent lot’s of time in many different classes just assuming that all kind of things just happened, didn’t you? I did. Do you have to caveat every single thing said in schools?

    Sure, I could try to get hold of the CERN data and re-verify the existence of quarks, but will I? No. The logical and theoretical framework is presented and it is assumed to just be true. I sat through years of lectures where the dual nature of matter was just assumed to be right and yes I did experiments that proved it. Shouldn’t we be having a real fight about teaching physics in public schools? And people do experiments proving hypothesis based on evolution every day. It still works.

    The amazing thing is, here in Germany, there is no debate. Evolution is taught in a manner that would probably irritate you. But on the other hand, there isn’t (or hasn’t been much of a Christian fundamentalist movement to muddy the waters.) On the other hand there are more atheists in Germany. Germany isn’t a “Christian Nation” even without a complete separation of church and state.

    My formal education was in physics, not biology. No, as far as I know, despite years of trying, no one has managed to actually disprove Einstein’s scientific theories. As a matter of fact a couple of guys I used to share a lab with in Boulder won a Nobel prize for producing the first Bose-Einstein condensate back in the 1990’s.

    He never accepted quantum mechanics though. He felt that “God wouldn’t play dice with the universe.” I prefer to think of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle as God’s set-screw.

  14. [...] Now, usually, all this Islamic creationist propaganda would just be grist for my evolutionist mill. That would be if I had not found a minor bit of information linking our Dr Babuna to another doctor I have discussed recently. [...]

  15. Graculus on

    Dr Esler

    The ferocity of reactions to any questioning of today’s evolutionary creed belies the strength of the foundation upon which so many have built their worldviews.

    The ferocity of reactions to any questioning of today’s heliocentric creed belies the strength of the foundation upon which so many have built their worldviews.

    The ferocity of reactions to any questioning of today’s germ threory creed belies the strength of the foundation upon which so many have built their worldviews.

    The ferocity of reactions to any questioning of today’s mendeleevian creed belies the strength of the foundation upon which so many have built their worldviews.

    See, it works for just about anything….

    Given the number of quack cancer treatments out there, I would have thought that you’d have a little more respect for evidence based science. But then you’d be having no fun, being one of those who have it all figured out.

    No science denies God, all science *ignores* God (and other supernatural entities). That’s methodological materialism, not philisophical materialism. How many cancer researchers control for evil pixies in their experiments? How many successful treaments for cancer involve eliminating extra-dimensional vibrations from planet Zordelfrixa?

    You are a methodological materialist, just like atheists are (all humans, with the exception of the insane, are). When you start your car in the morning you turn the ignition key, you don’t throw your keys into the trunk and pray for an angel to start it, and neither does your pastor.

    There’s nothing wrong with materialism in this sense. It’s how we function, it’s how science functions, it’s how medicine functions. Does the fact that the treatments that you give your patients work without God’s direct intervention mean that you are promoting atheism?

    The Theory of Evolution no more promotes atheism than oncology does, or automotive mechanics, or breadmaking, or…

  16. onein6billion on

    “I should have said that people are trying to stifle free speech.” Yeah, riiight. Your examples are so persuasive. Your muddled thinking about “doubting Darwin” (who knows what you really think that means) is so persuasive. A snarky comment about “being more fun being in the minority and jerking the chains” is really helpful in understanding that your opinion on evolution is not to be taken seriously. But this really is “Science vs. Religion” and you are denigrating a science that you think you remember from 20 years ago in favor of a religion. “Is it more important to experience God or to obey God?” Now there is a really important question. Riiight. (Bill Cosby as Noah) Only the correct answer to this question will ensure your entry into heaven?? Riiight.

  17. Teresa on

    Graculous, and onein6billion,

    I think you have the wrong blog. Ben is not a creationist. If you are coming here from the Skeptic’s Circle, double check your links.

  18. blc303 on

    Trees,
    I think our statistically challenged (that should be onein6525170264asofJuly2006est) commenter was aiming not at me but at Vance. Which is fine.

    But how can you be sure I’m not a creationist? Maybe I’m just a sheep in wolf’s clothing, simply pulling innocent skeptics into the discussion and then *POW* – the ontological argument.

  19. Graculus on

    think you have the wrong blog.

    I think not.

    Perhaps you would like to peruse the comments again, paying particular attention to the very first one.

  20. onein6billion on

    After my nasty comments on Vance Esler’s blog, he set moderation and refuses to publish criticism.
    Here is what I just sent him:

    If you type “hpv evolution cancer” into Google, there are a lot of good hits in the first 10. In the first paper (and many others), the two main types of virus seem to be related to “race” – as determined by when humans spread from Africa 50,000? years ago.

    If you Google “makes sense except in the light of evolution” with quotes around this phrase, you get 40000+ hits. Some of them are skeptical.

    Here is a quote from a skeptic:

    http://www.rae.org/nothing.html

    “While evolutionary biologists test Darwin’s hypothesis in every experiment they conduct, the basic premise of evolution remains a scientific Holy of Holies” (meaning religiously unquestionable).

    Note that the skeptic fails to conclude that after they “test his hypothesis in EVERY experiment” and never find any contrary evidence, they have good reason to have a lot of confidence in this hypothesis.

    Instead, the skeptic states that “Biology makes perfect sense without ever mentioning Darwinism” (in the texbooks of college courses) and somehow concludes that this means that “Darwinism” should be allowed to be questioned by a skeptic. But it is a non sequitur.

    Note that mainly skeptics use the
    word “Darwinism”, because somehow they feel that by equating evolution with a particular human and everyone knows that humans are falible, that somehow means that evolution depends on this human.

    For example, a skeptic might say “doubting Darwin” instead of “doubting evolution”. :-)

    I bet this comment does not show up under “doubting Darwin” on Vance Esler’s blog either.

  21. onein6billion on

    Vance Esler is at it again:

    http://vesler.blogspot.com/2007/03/interview-on-evolution-and-design.html

    “VE:I realize that a lot of smart people are satisfied with the explanations evolution scientists have offered so far as to how life came to be. For them it is a settled issue. The puzzle is complete. For me, it is not.”

    “Ed: Do you mind telling us what your questions
    are?”
    “VE: I’d rather not go into that right now. It is technical. Besides, if I tell you, then I’ll only get more comments from evolution evangelists who already think they know what I think. I appreciate their offer to educate me, but I can work this out on my own, thank you.”

    “Ed: Do you object to Intelligent Design being taught in science classes?”

    “VE: In private schools, no. In government schools, I might.”

    So far, at least, it appears that he is rather a failure at “working it out on his own”. He is really worried that some high school teacher somewhere is teaching that there is no god, but he has never given any specific example. He is worried that Dover might not allow “Intelligent Design” to be taught in public schools, but teaching ID non-science in a private school science class is fine.

  22. onein6billion on

    This underhanded skunk is not playing very fair:

    VE: “I deliberately left off links and other “proofs” because I just wanted to have a conversation.”

  23. blc303 on

    One… Thank’s for the heads up.


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