Home » Darwinism, Origin Of Life » Darwin skeptic Suzan Mazur is one fine journalist

Darwin skeptic Suzan Mazur is one fine journalist

Here is her interview with David H. Koch, a Darwin-thumping multi-millionaire who has done much to front the cult to the public (“Evolution Sea Change?: David H. Koch Weighs In ,” Archaeology Today, February 17, 2009). Mazur made headlines last year when she wrote about the Altenberg 16, scientists who met in Austria to plan a way of understanding evolution that was free of tax-funded Darwin worship. Anyway, among other things, we learn:
 

Next year, the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins opens at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where evidence of 6 million years of human evolution will be part of an interactive display that includes the Laetoli footprints and a reconstruction of Lucy. Visitors will be able to pass through a time tunnel to view early humans “floating in and out of focus,” touch models of ancient human fossils as well as watch their own faces morph into those of extinct species. The Smithsonian display follows the creation of the American Museum of Natural History’s David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing.

Rendering of proposed “Human Characteristics” display at the Smithsonian’s David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, now in development. (Courtesy David Koch)
Richard Potts, director of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program, explained about the new exhibition, “David’s commitment to science and the study of human evolution will enable the Smithsonian to bring the latest discoveries in this field to the broadest audiences. The exhibition, still in the planning stages, encourages the public to explore the lengthy process of change in human characteristics over time. It also presents one of the new research themes in this field–the dramatic changes in environment that set the stage for human evolution. Although the subject can be controversial, the unearthed discoveries that bear on the question of human origins are a source of deep interest and significance for everyone to contemplate.”

David Koch is Executive Vice President of $110 billion Koch Industries (he owns 42%) and CEO of its subsidiary, Koch Chemical Technology Group. He is often described as Manhattan’s wealthiest resident, and contributes to Lincoln Center, Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the fertility clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, to name a few. He is also is the principal private funder of PBS’s Nova series.

It gets better when she begins to challenge him:

Suzan Mazur: As a man committed to the principles and practices of freedom, including scientific freedom, and as a scientist yourself with degrees from MIT in chemical engineering – is it your perspective that we are now witnessing a sea change in evolutionary thinking? That even as the global celebration begins for Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday, the man who brought us the theory of evolution by natural selection 150 years ago–Darwinian selection, or survival of the fittest, is now being viewed by serious evolutionary scientists as not enough to explain our existence?

 To quote from my interview several months ago with NASA astrobiologist Chris Mckay, who was featured in the recent Nova Mars documentary you helped underwrite: “Something had to precede Darwinian natural selection. The Darwinian paradigm breaks down in two obvious ways. First, and most clear, Darwinian selection cannot be responsible for the origin of life. Second, there is some thought that Darwinian selection cannot fully explain the rise of complexity at the molecular level.” So the question is: Is it your perspective that we are now witnessing a sea change in evolutionary thinking?

David Koch: No. I don’t think it’s a sea change. The sea change occurred back when Darwin published his evolutionary theories, backed up by massive, overwhelming evidence. What’s happened since is that there’s been a rather steady progressive acceptance of the concepts of evolution in the general public. It’s amazing to me that in America a large faction of the population still doesn’t believe in it.

Suzan Mazur: But the point is that Darwin started with life. He addressed what happens once you have life. He didn’t address the origin of life. That’s what Chris McKay, the NASA astrobiologist is saying.

And so it goes, until she gets him to admit that he does not know what he is talking about.

Well, we must give the guy marks for honesty. The average third-rate biology prof is just content to emit Darwin noises and know as little as possible about real challenges.

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17 Responses to Darwin skeptic Suzan Mazur is one fine journalist

  1. Is there a missing link associated with this O’leary post? You read the first sentence and expect to see a link! I would love to read Suzan’s interview.

  2. groovamos, the link was on “much, but I have also put it on “Here”.

    Here too:

    http://www.archaeology.org/online/interviews/koch/

  3. Second, there is some thought that Darwinian selection cannot fully explain the rise of complexity at the molecular level.

    This comment stuns me.

    Darwinian selection cannot fully explain the rise of complexity at any level.

    Darwinian selection can’t explain the origin of anything new, because NATURAL SELECTION THROWS STUFF OUT. IT PRODUCES NOTHING NEW!

    Yes, it is non-random, but non-randomly throwing out the trash produces nothing new, more complex, or more useful. You just get a big pile of trash.

    How can this not be obvious to anyone with an IQ above room temperature?

    Pardon me for shouting, but this point is critical and so utterly obvious to anyone with any reasoning power concerning origins who has not had his frontal lobe lobotomized by Darwinian indoctrination.

    These clowns actually believe that once a self-replicating molecule came into existence, all the rest of biological and human existence came about by throwing out the trash — with a few hand-grenades thrown into the stuff that was not thrown out, just on the chance that it would get better.

    These guys need some serious counseling about delusional beliefs.

    Apparently, a Ph.D. in evolutionary “science” is required to believe such idiocy.

  4. David Koch: After all Galileo was imprisoned for years for saying the world was round.
    This guy has a degree from MIT?

  5. Yes, tribune7, one can get away with any stupidity, even Darwinism, once one can claim to have a degree from MIT.

    We ought to be grateful that at least some attempt to deal in fact, not fantasy.

  6. The Darwinian paradigm breaks down in two obvious ways. First, and most clear, Darwinian selection cannot be responsible for the origin of life.

    This comment stuns me.

    Can we all read at least a bit of the Wikipedia article on category mistakes.

    The Darwinian paradigm, when there was such a thing, addressed the evolution of species of life. When there ain’t no life yet, there ain’t no evolution of species of life.

  7. Darwinian selection can’t explain the origin of anything new, because NATURAL SELECTION THROWS STUFF OUT. IT PRODUCES NOTHING NEW!

    To the best of my understanding, Darwinian selection doesn’t claim to produce ‘something new’.

    Can I assume that you’re on-board with the largely accepted role of DNA in determining the features of an individual organism? If so, then a process for PRODUCING SOMETHING NEW could be genetic mutation. From wikipedia:

    Mutations are changes in the DNA sequence of a cell’s genome and are caused by radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic chemicals, as well as errors that occur during meiosis or DNA replication. They can also be induced by the organism itself, by cellular processes such as hypermutation.

    Darminian theory is a simple explanation for why some mutations persist, and some disappear – fitness for the environment.

    So it’s not so much about creating something new: natural selection seems more like the sculptor’s chisel than the potter’s hands hey.

  8. The Darwinian paradigm clearly attempts to explain “the origin of species” not simply their respective evolutionary pathways.

    Oh, and LOL at using Wikipedia for a source of information for anything.

  9. To Barb: Yes, Darwin tackled the origin of species, not the origin of life. They are 2 different things. Completely different.

  10. 11

    tribune7,

    I read your link. Perhaps I missed it but nowhere did I read that “Darwinian selection is responsible for the origin of life.” If she thinks that is a ‘sea-change’ in thinking, perhaps it’s time for her to move to a different field.

  11. Graham, yet Darwin hypothesized about “a warm little pond” that would somehow provide the building blocks for life. The word “origin” is still in the title, even if you change the focus to the word “species”.

  12. Barb: yet Darwin hypothesized about “a warm little pond” that would somehow provide the building blocks for life.

    Darwin did not propose a scientific hypothesis of the origin of life, and considered the question well beyond what evidence was available.

  13. 1- The origin of life directly impacts any subsequent evolution.

    2- If living organisms did not arise from non-living matter via blind, undirected processes then there would be no reason to infer the subsequent evolution proceeded solely by those types of processes.

    3- IOW if living organisms were designed then the most likely explanation is that they were also designed to evolve- evolved by design

    4- To this day there isn’t any scientific data which demonstrates that accumulating mutations can do what is claimed by evolutionists

  14. to be logically consistent, evolution has to account for the origin of life. Someone forgot to give this guy the script that evolution has nothing to do with origins…

    Next to life itself, the origin of complex cells is one of the most fundamental, and intractable, problems in evolutionary biology. Progress in this area relies heavily on an understanding of the relationships between present-day organisms, yet despite tremendous advances over the last half-century scientists remain firmly divided on how to best classify cellular life.
    2. John M. Archibald, “The Eocyte Hypothesis and the Origin of Eukaryotic Cells,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Published online before print December 17, 2008, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0811118106.

  15. Presumably, the first life was a species of some sort. At least the second one was right? How did that one originate?

  16. tgpeeler: to be logically consistent, evolution has to account for the origin of life.

    Let’s try to make the various statements above more rigorous. The Theory of Evolution is a self-consistent scientific theory that assumes the existence of life. Evolutionary biologists, however, are interested not just in evolutionary mechanisms, but evolutionary history, including the time when life first arose.

    Joseph: If living organisms did not arise from non-living matter via blind, undirected processes then there would be no reason to infer the subsequent evolution proceeded solely by those types of processes.

    That is not necessarily the case. Even if primodial life was created, it may have still evolved via natural evolutionary mechanisms. Only actual evidence of such creation would be able to answer the question definitively.

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