Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

News item - Biologist Jerry Coyne gets word out on evolution

Expand Messages
  • Todd S. Greene
    Excerpt from: http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/ourtown/070727/evolution / [link may be line-wrapped] [go to link for full article] ... The
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1 3:04 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      Excerpt from:
      http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/ourtown/070727/evolution
      /
      [link may be line-wrapped]
      [go to link for full article]

      ----------------------------------------------------------------

      The Shocking Truth
      by Harold Henderson
      (Chicago Reader, 7/27/2007)

      Evolution via natural selection is the great unifying idea of
      biology, so explaining it to students is part of a day's work for
      Jerry Coyne, who teaches in the University of Chicago's department of
      ecology and evolution. Coyne also spends a good amount of time
      speaking to nonstudents—the Alaska Bar Association, North Shore
      businesspeople, and the Graham School of General Studies, to name a
      few—on the overwhelming evidence that life developed pretty much as
      Darwin says, not as the Bible says. Coyne's colleagues in other
      disciplines don't have to go around explaining that matter really is
      made up of atoms, or that the earth really is round and travels
      around the sun. But many Americans haven't even heard the evidence
      for evolution. Coyne reports that his students at the U. of C. "have
      barely been exposed to Darwin."

      This kind of public education doesn't pay well, doesn't advance
      Coyne's professional research into the mechanisms of speciation,
      doesn't get him tenure (because he's already got it), and exposes him
      to abuse from creationists, but he feels it needs to be done:
      according to research published in Science last August, only about 40
      percent of Americans agree that "human beings, as we know them,
      developed from earlier species of animals," a percentage similar to
      the ones found in Turkey and Latvia. By contrast, 70 to 80 percent of
      Icelanders and Swedes and French people get it. A June Gallup poll
      conducted in the U.S. (pollingreport.com/science.htm) reported a 53-
      44 proevolution split among its respondents, but those who believed
      it was "definitely true" trailed those who believed it
      was "definitely false" by 18 to 28 percent.

      [...]

      Meanwhile, in what seems like an odd move, creationists have chosen
      to play on Coyne's home court by claiming to be scientists
      themselves, and presenting "intelligent design" as an alternative
      scientific hypothesis to Darwinian evolution (though its advocates
      put forth no testable predictions). Last year in the case Kitzmiller
      v. Dover, Pennsylvania federal judge John E. Jones III ruled against
      that claim after a lengthy trial, but the efforts continue. Coyne's
      latest New Republic article (June 18) takes on the new book by
      intelligent-design advocate Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution: The
      Search for the Limits of Darwinism. "IDers never produce their
      own 'scientific' explanation of life," Coyne concludes. "They just
      carp about evolution. And as evolutionists explain one thing after
      another, IDers simply ignore these successes and move on to the ever-
      dwindling set of unsolved problems in which they continue to see the
      hand of God." IDer William Dembski's response at his blog
      uncommondescent.com followed this pattern precisely, but also offered
      his readers specific evidence: that Coyne bears a passing resemblance
      to Herman Munster!

      When Coyne tried to treat ID as a serious hypothesis in a 2005 New
      Republic article, he found himself posing hard questions to its
      advocates: What "intelligent designer" would have devised the
      nonfunctional and inflammation-prone human appendix? What intelligent
      designer would have given human embryos a temporary coat of fur in
      the seventh month of pregnancy, just like the ones our primate
      relatives get and keep? What intelligent designer would have created
      transitional organisms—between fish and amphibians, dinosaurs and
      birds, reptiles and mammals, land mammals and whales—that occur in
      the fossil record exactly when they would have appeared in the course
      of evolution driven by natural selection among random mutations? ID
      advocate Behe has a response to uestions like these: "Features that
      strike us as odd in a design might have been placed there by the
      designer for a reason—for artistic reasons, to show off, for some as-
      yet-undetectable practical purpose, or for some unguessable reason—or
      they might not." But as Coyne points out, this amounts to declaring
      intellectual bankruptcy: if no imaginable evidence would contradict
      ID theory, it's not a scientific theory at all. (By contrast, it's
      easy to imagine evidence that would contradict Darwinism, such as
      fossil evidence that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.)

      Complaining about "missing links" that are no longer missing won't
      fool the knowledgeable, but Coyne sees another agenda
      here. "Creationism (and its gussied-up descendant 'Intelligent
      Design') is not just a campaign against evolution—it's a campaign
      against science itself and the scientific method," he writes at
      edge.org. "By pretending that evolution is on shaky ground, and
      asserting that religion can contribute to our understanding of
      nature, creationists confuse people about the very form and character
      of scientific evidence. This confusion can only hurt our ability to
      make rational judgments about important social issues, like global
      warming, that involve science."

      [...]
    • Robert Baty
      ... And that goes a long way in explaining why they refused to come out and let us reason together regarding the Goliath o GRAS family of arguments as to
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1 4:51 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        The article stated, in part:

        > "Features that strike us
        > as odd in a design might
        > have been placed there
        > by the designer for...or
        > they might not."

        >> says Michael Behe

        > But as Coyne points out,
        > this amounts to declaring
        > intellectual bankruptcy:
        > if no imaginable evidence
        > would contradict..., it's not
        > a scientific theory at all.

        As I've been saying, that pretty much matches up to David P. Brown's, his boys, and Dr. Fox's position briefly summarized as follows:

        > We, Dr. Fox, David P. Brown
        > and the boys, have our
        > interpretation of the text
        > regarding the real world
        > and that trumps any real
        > world evidence to the
        > contrary.

        >> Affirmed: Dr. Fox
        >> Affirmed: David P. Brown
        >> Affirmed: "The boys"

        And that goes a long way in explaining why they refused to "come out" and "let us reason together" regarding the "Goliath o GRAS" family of arguments as to young-earth, creation-science and the existence of the young-earth, creation-science God.

        Young-earth, creation-science has simply lost the battles and the war regarding its scientific legitimacy and cannot rightfully claim to be anything other than a theological position based on the interpretation of a religious text by "some".

        Sincerely,
        Robert Baty






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.