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“A Spoonful of Jesus Helps Darwin Go Down” by Jerry Coyne

In “A Spoonful of Jesus Helps Darwin Go Down”, Coyne criticizes the NCSE:

The pro-religion stance of the NCSE is offensive and unnecessary


Coyne also criticizes Ken Miller’s writings as

perilously close to intelligent design; indeed, it may well be a form of intelligent design.

Coyne articulates the way to teach evolutionary biology:

If we’re to defend evolutionary biology, we must defend it as a science: a nonteleological theory in which the panoply of life results from the action of natural selection and genetic drift acting on random mutations.

But my main beef is this: the NCSE touts, shelters, or gives its imprimatur to intellectuals and scientists who are either “supernaturalists” (the word that A. C. Grayling uses for those who see supernatural incursions into the universe)..(Among the former are Kenneth Miller and John Haught, the latter Michael Ruse and Francisco Ayala).
….
by consorting with scientists and philosophers who incorporate supernaturalism into their view of evolution, they erode the naturalism that underpins modern evolutionary theory.

My principal aim in this thread was to alert UD readers to Coyne’s weblog.

Rather than immediately expressing my opinions about Coyne’s postings, I invite the readers to visit Coyne’s weblog and express their reactions to what he has to say.

Notes:
The title of Coyne’s article is a variation on a song “A spoonful of sugar” from the Walt Disney movie Mary Poppins starring Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke. See: Julie Andrews sings “Spoonful of Sugar”

HT: Mike Gene, author of The Design Matrix

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59 Responses to “A Spoonful of Jesus Helps Darwin Go Down” by Jerry Coyne

  1. 1

    Coyne: “If you’re a regular at this website, you’ve heard me complain about scientific organizations that sell evolution by insisting that it’s perfectly consistent with religion.”

    Hey, maybe we can get Coyne to start calling the NCSE the National Center for Selling Evolution!

  2. If we’re to defend evolutionary biology, we must defend it as a science: a nonteleological theory

    – Jerry Coyne

    Science does not require that a theory be nonteleological. Science requires that the theory be consistent with observations and can make testable predictions.

    I pointed out that Coyne’s views are at variance with others, including historical figures in science: Teleology and ID in Physics

    Even someone as modern as John Barrow pointed out the role of teleology in science:

    Fermat’s work led the German philosopher Leibniz to argue in a letter written in 1687 that in as much as the concept of purpose was basic to true science, the laws of physics should and could be expressed in terms of minimum principles

    and Euler writes (as quoted by Barrow):

    All the greatest mathematicians have long since recognized that the [least action] method…is not only extremely useful in analysis, but that it also contributes greatly to the solution of physical problems…the fabric of the universe is most perfect, and the work of a most wise Creator

    But let us even grant, for the sake of argument, that Euler and Fermat and Liebnitz were wrong. If Coyne had his way, he would have subverted and expelled Euler and Fermat and Liebnitz’s contributions to physics as “religious”. The world of science would have suffered a grave loss.

    Least-Action-Principles in physics were developed through profound theological conviction. They were inspired by the premise that the universe was Intellgently Designed.

    How badly would the world of science if Coyne succeeded in his crusade against theologically inspired scientific ideas? Consider a world that did not discover least-action-principles.

    Edwin Taylor writes:

    Not only does the least-action principle offer a means of formulating classical mechanics that is more flexible and powerful than Newtonian mechanics, [but also] variations on the least-action principle have proved useful in general relativity theory, quantum field theory, and particle physics. As a result, this principle lies at the core of much of contemporary theoretical physics.

  3. The pro-religion stance of the NCSE is offensive and unnecessary — a form of misguided pragmatism. First, it dilutes their mission of spreading Darwinism,

    The mission of the NCSE is spreading Darwinism! Visit the NCSE website. How much is focused on science education, as in:

    math
    physics
    chemistry
    geology
    biology (as in traditional disciplines of anatomy, physiology, cellular biology, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, etc.)

    The majority of their mission is the spread of Darwinism!

  4. Does a “Spoonful of Jesus help Darwin Go down”?

    Figuratively speaking, yes. The spread of Darwinism owes much to those who profess the Creeds of Christianity.

    Imho, Coyne is expressing more of a personal desire to see the eventual non-existence of religious scientists. I could of course be wrong in my assessment, but that’s how I see it.

    Coyne stated Must we always cater

    Because of this, I think that organizations promoting the teaching of evolution should do just that, and that alone. Leave religion and its compatibility with faith to the theologians. That’s not our job. Our job is to show that evolution is true and creationism and ID aren’t. End of story.

    In 25 years of effort, these organizations don’t seem to have had much effect on influencing public opinion about evolution. I think that this may mean that our nation will have to become a lot less religious before acceptance of evolution increases appreciably.

    I actually think the NCSE and NAS and AAAS have been successful at marketing Darwinism because they sugar coat it with Christian theology, contrary to the way Coyne would have them do business.

    The landscape of public opinion is more complex and subtle than Coyne suggests. Recall, some of the main architects and supporters of neo-Darwinism were men of faith like RA Fisher and Theodosius Dobzhanzky!

    Darwin was honored by being buried in Westminster Abbey, despite the fact Darwin referred to certain Christian ideas as “damnable doctrine”.

    Without the aiding and abetting of the churches, Darwinism would not have flourished as it did.

    It is an uphill battle in various churches and seminaries and other religious institutions to get them to see that Darwinism is at variance with the empirical evidence. They have to see that evidentially and theoreticaly speaking, Darwinism is not consistent with the facts. It is a premature speculation at best.

    Witness what happens in places professing Christ like Baylor, SMU, or the the Vatican conference on Origins.

  5. First, it dilutes their [the NCSE's] mission of spreading Darwinism…

    I thought that only “anti-evolutionists” and religious fanatics used the terms Darwinism and Darwinists.

    If the mission is Spreading Darwinism (which it obviously is), why isn’t this organization called the NCSD? The reason is obvious, and it is that they have no interest in real science, only the indoctrination of other people’s children — with public funding, intimidation, and coercion enforced by the courts — in the 19th-century creation myth of a secular religion.

  6. I wonder how many NAS scientist believe in a deist God. It seems Coyne and other atheists et al have an issue with the so-called Judeo-Christian ‘personal’ God. It rather like a grudge match than a rejection of the idea of a supernatural being.

    Coyne: while 92% of NAS scientists reject the idea a personal god, the National Academy is clearly pushing its agenda in defiance of evidence.

  7. As a side note, what is striking is the flagrant misuse of the word evolution.

    I learned recently that the word evolve comes from the latin ‘to unfold’. Well, without a doubt life did just that; unfold.

    If only that were how it is presented to students. We all know that what is taught is not an unfolding, but a ‘building up’.

    Micro-evolution is also a misnomer. What happens at the molecular level is a rearrangement, not an unfolding.

    I’d like to see an effort made to take back the words “evolve” and “evolution” to mean what they were meant to mean, not what someone twists it to mean.

    I’m starting a search for terminology that correctly reflects the observations.

    Crank it up!

  8. Coyne forgets that it was religion that god science its start. Coyne and friends have been trying to bamboozle (thats a good word)the public into believing science is atheist territory. .

    The fact is people like Coyne, Dawkins, Myers, Harris, et al are just squatters that have hung around long enough that they think they have a right to own the house.

    Coyne, our house was built way back and doesn’t need your management services, thank you. If you want, we’ll go all out to help you find a nice plot of land to build your own house.

    How ’bout that! Then you can think and do whatever it is you want. You can call it ascience. Ascience. Yep, its got a ring to it.

    Coyne, it’s all yours. Have fun with it.

  9. Orasmus says:

    Coyne forgets that it was religion that god science its start.

    Orasmus, our species has always had the ability to discover things about our environment through observation, the formation of hypotheses, and the testing of those hypotheses. We would have been doing this long before the invention of written language, although not systematically, as we do now.

    We have also always had the ability to invent religions, and religious explanations for things.

    Think about it, and you can see that conflict is inevitable between our ability to discover things about reality, and our tendency to invent supernatural explanations.

    Either the evil spirits or gods cause disease, or it’s germs. You choose. Is there really room for both?

  10. 10

    The title of Coyne’s book is wrong. It should have been “Evolution Was True,” but of course such a book could never have been written by a Darwinian like Coyne.

    Phylogeny and ontogeny have much in common. Both have always proceeded on the basis of pre-existing stored information, information which is largly if not completely independent of environmental infuence. They were both “designed” to be that way probably millions of years ago.

    Both ontogeny and phylogeny have always terminated, the former with the death of the individual, the latter with the extinction of its many products. Without extinction there could never have been evolution.

    It is my conviction that the present biota is the climax assemblage of a planned sequence in which chance played no significant role. The dinosaurs, like the giant amphibians before them , would have become extinct with or wthout environmental catastrophes. Extinction WAS programmed, just as evolution WAS and the development of the individual still IS.

    There is not a shred of evidence that creative evolution is any longer in progress. Those that claim otherwise better start presenting their case. So far my many challenges to the Darwinian hoax have all gone unanswered.

    I can’t imagine a better venue than Uncommon Descent which is now crawling with the atheist Darwinista one can also find at Panda’s Thumb, Pharyngula and richarddawkins.net.

    Better yet, why don’t you lightweight, mostly anonymous chance worshippers ask your brave leaders, Wesley Elsberry, Paul Zachary Myers and Richard Dawkins to come out of their protectionist atheist ghettos and take this glorious opportunity to defend their idotic position here at Uncommon Descent.

    You won’t of course because you and your intolerant masters all are terrified at the propect that you have dedicated your lives to a phantom, an illusory delusion, the most ridiculous proposal ever concocted in the history of human thought.

    It doesn’t get any better than this.

    I love it so!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

  11. 11

    mauka, whoever that is and we will never know.

    I don’t regard your comment as an answer to my challenge. Why don’t you go whining to M.P. Zyers for some help?

    Who next is anxious to expose himself as a “prescribed,” “born that way” loser?

    Set ‘em up in the other alley. So far I’m bowling a perfect game.

    I love it so!

  12. 12

    By the way, lower case mauka and every other might-have-been who must hide his identity, the idea of a planned evolution is not original with me. Robert Broom, a great paleontologist, and one of the most original minds of the post Darwinian era, capitalized the word “Plan” in 1950. William Bateson had suggested as much in 1914, Reginald C. Punnett in 1915, Leo Berg in 1922 and I am happy to join them all by proclaiming it to be the only conceivable alternative to the Darwinian fairy tale, the most absurd proposal ever to find the printed page.

    Who is next?

    It doesn’t get any better than this.

  13. 13

    That is redundant drvel.

    I repeat – Who is next?

  14. 14

    Damn! drivel

  15. You won’t of course because you and your intolerant masters [Elsberry, Myers, Dawkins, et. al.] all are terrified at the propect that you have dedicated your lives to a phantom…

    I’ve commented on this a number of times. When one has invested his entire professional life in an idea, the notion that it might all be wrong will simply not be considered. Never mind the evidence or logic.

    Just imagine the thousands of hours Dawkins invested in writing The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, etc. It was all speculation and storytelling that turns out to be wrong. No amount of evidence or rigorous logical and mathematical analysis would ever convince him to consider that possibility.

  16. Gil,

    Young scientists just starting their careers don’t have a huge investment in Darwinian ideas. Furthermore, there’s nothing a young scientist would rather do than to prove his or her elders wrong. That’s how you quickly establish yourself as a scientist, and if the idea you’re overthrowing is big enough, that’s how you earn yourself a Nobel prize.

    If modern evolutionary theory had all of the obvious flaws that you claim it does, then young biologists from all over the world would be scrambling to be the first to demonstrate it.

    Funny how they’re all passing up a shot at an easy Nobel, isn’t it, Gil?

  17. mauka,

    There’s only one problem with your thesis: A young scientist just starting his career will have no career if he questions Darwinian orthodoxy.

  18. That’s right. Scientists don’t allow anyone to question the orthodoxy. That’s why relativity and quantum mechanics were unable to overtake classical physics, why plate tectonics never took off, why everyone rejects the Big Bang and why nobody accepts the reality of dark matter. And that’s why scientists still believe that the Sun circles the Earth.

  19. Young scientists just starting their careers don’t have a huge investment in Darwinian ideas.

    Agreed, because from a science standpoint Darwinism is mostly of no utility, and often wrong.

    I’m not a scientist, but I am a student of science. I’ve not had any need to learn Darwinism to study computer science or physics. I have biologist friends, and they feel exactly the same way about Darwinism and biology. It is mostly superfluos.

    Furthermore, there’s nothing a young scientist would rather do than to prove his or her elders wrong. That’s how you quickly establish yourself as a scientist, and if the idea you’re overthrowing is big enough, that’s how you earn yourself a Nobel prize.

    Well since you’ve implicitly (not explicitly) conceded Darwinism is of little utility to science, overturning a superflous theory would hardly deserve a Nobel prize.

  20. mauka

    Do you have a substiture for the Darwinian fairy tale or don’t you? If you don’t, I suggest you retire from this thread. So far you have offered absolutely nothing of substance. Neither have a number of other anonymous blowhards.

    I neglected to mention another predecessor who believed in a planned evolution.

    “…the main features of the evolutionary trend were laid out RIGHT FROM THE START with the abrupt discontinuous production of the type, and with evolutionary potential being restricted RIGHT FROM THE START to certain paths.”
    Otto SChindewolf, Basic Questions in Paleontolgy, page 360, my emphasis.

    This is the same Otto Schindewolf that one of your heros, Stephen Jay Gould, dismissed by calling his evolutionary views “spectacularly flawed,” but only after Schindewolf had been dead for forty years!

    Schindewolf was the greatest paleontologist since Cuvier. Gould abandoned paleontolgy when he was in his thirties to dedicate the rest of his life glued to an endowed chair at Harvard promoting Darwinian mysticsm. His colleague down the hall, Ernst Mayr, had a similar history, having abandoned working ornithology in his twenties also to become a sedentary Darwinian advocate. Neither of them ever contributed a scintilla to the great mystery of phylogeny and they both greatly retarded our understanding of it.

    I love it so!

  21. —-iconofid: “Orasmus, our species has always had the ability to discover things about our environment through observation, the formation of hypotheses, and the testing of those hypotheses.”

    You obviously missed his point. Oramus, (not Orasmus) was simply recounting an unassailble historical fact. Religion provided the philosophical foundation and the rational justification for the entire scientific enterprise. As the early scientists put it, they were “thinking God’s thoughts after him.”

  22. —-mauka: “That’s why relativity and quantum mechanics were unable to overtake classical physics, why plate tectonics never took off, why everyone rejects the Big Bang and why nobody accepts the reality of dark matter. And that’s why scientists still believe that the Sun circles the Earth.”

    You are comparing apples and oranges. Neither Newton, Faraday, or any other foundational scientist would ever have dreamed of suppressing an Einstein or a Heisenburg. They loved truth and they were willing to follow wherever the evidence would lead. Indeed, Einstein himself was suspcious about some elements of quantum mechanics, but that didn’t prompt him to call for an end to the discussion. The Darwinist academy has established a stronghold in academia and built a wall around itself. No one gets in unless they “play ball.” This is different.

  23. scordova:

    Agreed, because from a science standpoint Darwinism is mostly of no utility, and often wrong.

    I’m not a scientist, but I am a student of science.

    Well, then you’re obviously much more qualified than the entire scientific community to tell us what’s useful “from a science standpoint.”

    I’ve not had any need to learn Darwinism to study computer science or physics.

    You also don’t need cosmology to study genetics, or group theory to study heat transfer. Does that make them “superfluous”?

    And by the way, your computer science education is incomplete if you haven’t studied evolutionary computation and genetic algorithms, both of which are based on Darwinian ideas.

    I have biologist friends, and they feel exactly the same way about Darwinism and biology. It is mostly superfluos.

    Yes, “Darwinism” is superfluous, which is why not just the biological community but the whole scientific community is celebrating Darwin this year, and why prominent scientists from all fields consider Darwin’s idea to be one of the most important scientific ideas of all time.

    Well since you’ve implicitly (not explicitly) conceded Darwinism is of little utility to science, overturning a superflous theory would hardly deserve a Nobel prize.

    You’re spitting into the wind, Sal. But I imagine you’re used to having a wet face.

    By the way, I thought of you a few days ago when I was on the Big Island of Hawaii. Geologists have deduced that the entire Hawaiian island chain, plus a chain of seamounts extending the rest of the way to the Aleutian Trench, were formed over some 70 million years as the Pacific Plate moved slowly over a mantle “hotspot”. How do YECs like you explain their formation in less than .02% of that time?

  24. StephenB

    “You obviously missed his point. Oramus, (not Orasmus) was simply recounting an unassailble historical fact. Religion provided the philosophical foundation and the rational justification for the entire scientific enterprise. As the early scientists put it, they were “thinking God’s thoughts after him.”

    I didn’t miss his point. I disagreed with his claim. Neither astronomy nor science started with Kepler, Stephen.

    You quote me saying:

    …”our species has always had the ability to discover things about our environment through observation, the formation of hypotheses, and the testing of those hypotheses.”

    Do you disagree?

    This ability (and the earliest records of it) predate the invention of your god. Oramus claims that religion got science its start, and I disagree.

  25. StephenB wrote:

    You are comparing apples and oranges. Neither Newton, Faraday, or any other foundational scientist would ever have dreamed of suppressing an Einstein or a Heisenburg. They loved truth and they were willing to follow wherever the evidence would lead. Indeed, Einstein himself was suspcious about some elements of quantum mechanics, but that didn’t prompt him to call for an end to the discussion. The Darwinist academy has established a stronghold in academia and built a wall around itself. No one gets in unless they “play ball.” This is different.

    Stephen,

    You would make a good conspiracy theorist. Or perhaps I should say that you do make a good one.

    Science is in a ferment. New discoveries are being made daily. Scientists are challenging the status quo. New ideas are being introduced and old ideas are being abandoned or modified — including in biology. Ideas that would have seemed crazy a decade ago are accepted as commonplace. Yet according to you, the one area that’s off limits in biology is any challenge to “Darwinism”. But the biological community doesn’t protest this. And despite the fact that cosmologists, astronomers, geologists, chemists, and physicists all enjoy, and demand, the freedom to pursue new ideas, none of them are raising a peep of protest at the suppression of science being carried out by the Darwinist establishment. Evidently the astronomers and solid-state physicists are part of the conspiracy too.

    In fact, out of the entire scientific community, the only people honest enough to protest this perversion of science just happen to be the ones who find “Darwinism” objectionable on religious grounds. Everyone else is part of the conspiracy.

    And you actually believe this?

  26. 26

    Natural selection, allelic mutation, Mendelian genetics and obligatory sexual reproduction are all conservative anti- evolutionary devices which had and now have absolutely nothing to do with either speciation or the formation of any of the higher taxanomic categories. They are no good for anything except the formation of intra-specific varieties in some but not all plants and animals. Many organisms don’t even have the capacity to produce varieties. There probsbly has never been an organism which reproduced strictly by bisexual (Mendelian) means that ever left progeny distinctly different from itself. All such creatures were doomed to extinction in the past and that will be their fate in the future. Evolution is finished folks. Get used to it.

    It is Darwinism that is the religion, complete with its Deity, Charles Darwin, and a host of patron saints: among them, Ernst Mayr, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins. Paul Zachary Myers, Wesley Elsberry and Uncommon Descent’s own house Darwinian, Allen MacNeill, just a bunch of armchair theoretical pontificators, not one of whom ever did a real experiment in his entire useless life. They are a collective blight upon the face of experimental and descriptive biology.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    Not at all. It is the “Gospel” truth!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

  27. —-mauka: “You would make a good conspiracy theorist. Or perhaps I should say that you do make a good one.”

    You must be ensconced in one of those cozy little cubby holes that insulates your from the real world.

    —–“Science is in a ferment. New discoveries are being made daily. Scientists are challenging the status quo. New ideas are being introduced and old ideas are being abandoned or modified — including in biology. Ideas that would have seemed crazy a decade ago are accepted as commonplace. Yet according to you, the one area that’s off limits in biology is any challenge to “Darwinism”.

    Good grief, are you this much behind the curve? Are you familiar at all with the film, “Expelled, no intelligence allowed,” which recounted many of these injustices and reported that they represented just the tip of the iceberg? Or, do you shrug that off as a conspiracy as well? I have actually interacted with some of them on other websites. I gather, by the way, that you are also unaware of the fact that 95.8 % of evolutionary biologists are atheist/agnostic. Obviously, they are heavily invested in world view that is incompatible with intelligent design. Do you challenge those numbers [they have been verified on this site several times], or propose that they were generated by “conspiracy theorists.”

    —–“Despite the fact that cosmologists, astronomers, geologists, chemists, and physicists all enjoy, and demand, the freedom to pursue new ideas, none of them are raising a peep of protest at the suppression of science being carried out by the Darwinist establishment. Evidently the astronomers and solid-state physicists are part of the conspiracy too.”

    Is there supposed to be a point here? Why would anyone protest an injustice that is not being done to them?

    —–“In fact, out of the entire scientific community, the only people honest enough to protest this perversion of science just happen to be the ones who find “Darwinism” objectionable on religious grounds.”

    Do you always do such violence to the truth? ID scientists protest the pseudo-science of neo-Darwinism for the simple reason that it is not science; it is ideology. If it was science, there would be some evidence for it. Other than your appeal to authority, do you have any evidence to support the neo-Darwinist fantasy? As of now, no one visiting this site has yet been able to pull it off. Will you be the first?

  28. Macua worte:

    Well, then you’re obviously much more qualified than the entire scientific community to tell us what’s useful “from a science standpoint.”

    Since Coyne’s writings was the subject, let me quote Coyne:

    “In Science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics”

    Get the picture? :-)

    And by the way, your computer science education is incomplete if you haven’t studied evolutionary computation and genetic algorithms, both of which are based on Darwinian ideas.

    An evoutionary algorithm has nothing to do with Darwinism as laid out by Darwin. Some algorithms are Darwinian in name only. The idea of natural selection was pioneered by creationists like Blyth before Darwin. And most “Darwinian” algorithms can hardly be argued to model what is seen in nature since Darwinism isn’t what is seen in nature.

    You also don’t need cosmology to study genetics, or group theory to study heat transfer. Does that make them “superfluous”?

    What makes a theory superfluous is when it is little more than saying “what it is, is what it is”.

    Nobel prizes were awarded for breakthroughs in physcis, chemistry, and medicine, not for Darwinism.

    But let me point out, the laments of evolutionary biologists, the Society of American Naturalists

    Despite its centrality in the life sciences, evolutionary biology does not yet command a priority in educational curricula or in research funding.
    ….

    In many or most colleges and universities, a course on evolution is an elective, taken by a minority of biology majors, most of whom do not think it relevant to their medical or other careers. The majority of biology majors may have little exposure to evolution beyond a few weeks (or less) in an introductory biology course

    It is not studied because Darwinism isn’t central to science, it isn’t relevant, and its mostly wrong.

  29. StephenB wrote:

    Good grief, are you this much behind the curve? Are you familiar at all with the film, “Expelled, no intelligence allowed,” which recounted many of these injustices and reported that they represented just the tip of the iceberg?

    Ah yes, Expelled, which showed up on several critics’ “Worst Films of 2008″ lists and received only a 10% rating (rotten) from RottenTomatoes, which summarized the critical consensus as: “Full of patronizing, poorly structured arguments, Expelled is a cynical political stunt in the guise of a documentary.” I guess the film critics are also part of the Darwinist conspiracy.

    I gather, by the way, that you are also unaware of the fact that 95.8 % of evolutionary biologists are atheist/agnostic. Obviously, they are heavily invested in world view that is incompatible with intelligent design.

    I thought intelligent design wasn’t about religion. Didn’t you read the ID playbook?

    Why would anyone protest an injustice that is not being done to them?

    Are you serious? If so, that would certainly explain why you had such trouble understanding everyone else’s morality on the ‘Bleak Conclusions’ thread.

    ID scientists protest the pseudo-science of neo-Darwinism for the simple reason that it is not science; it is ideology. If it was science, there would be some evidence for it.

    Okay. For your benefit, I will prepare a post comparing the scientific value of ID to that of modern evolutionary theory. Stay tuned. I may not be able to get to it right away, but I will definitely post it by tomorrow night at the latest.

  30. Sal,

    This thread isn’t the place to argue over it, but I am genuinely interested in understanding how YECs attempt to explain the formation of the Hawaiian/Emperor seamount chain.

    Could you point me to a YEC explanation, if there is one?

  31. scordova wrote:

    Since Coyne’s writings was the subjection, let me quote Coyne:

    “In Science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics”

    And to counter your usual quote-mining, I’ll supply the rest of the quote:

    In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics. For evolutionary biology is a historical science, laden with history’s inevitable imponderables. We evolutionary biologists cannot generate a Cretaceous Park to observe what exactly killed the dinosaurs; and, unlike “harder” scientists, we usually cannot resolve issues with a simple experiment, such as adding tube A to tube B and noting the color of the mixture.

    Gee, I wonder why you truncated the quote where you did?

    And since you consider Coyne to be authoritative on the value of evolutionary theory, here’s what else he has to say on the subject:

    Darwin’s theory that all of life was the product of evolution, and that the evolutionary process was driven largely by natural selection, has been called the greatest idea that anyone ever had. But it is more than just a good theory, or even a beautiful one. It also happens to be true.

  32. Sal,

    This thread isn’t the place to argue over it, but I am genuinely interested in understanding how YECs attempt to explain the formation of the Hawaiian/Emperor seamount chain.

    Could you point me to a YEC explanation, if there is one?

    I’m not aware of any solid YEC theories. My sympathies could be wrong. Do you have a problem with me entertaining a speculative hypothesis?

    Contrary to yourself, who represents Darwinism as established science, I’m willing to voice strong criticism of ideas I’m sympathetic with.

  33. —–mauka: “Ah yes, Expelled, which showed up on several critics’ “Worst Films of 2008? lists and received only a 10% rating (rotten) from RottenTomatoes, which summarized the critical consensus as: “Full of patronizing, poorly structured arguments, Expelled is a cynical political stunt in the guise of a documentary.” I guess the film critics are also part of the Darwinist conspiracy.”

    Let’s examine the strength of your response. I refer to examples of documented abuse in the academy and you respond by telling me that the aesthetic level of the production didn’t satisfy partisan critics who had no more to say about the substance of the matter than you do. Summing up your argument, the abuse didn’t happen because critics didn’t think the movie was sufficiently entertaining. Does anyone find that logic compelling?

    —–“I thought intelligent design wasn’t about religion. Didn’t you read the ID playbook?

    Let’s examine this argument as well. I explain that the Darwinist academy is invested in atheism, follow it with evidence that 95.8% of evolutionary biologists are atheist/agnostic, and you change the subject to the “ID playbook.” The only person who has mentioned religion is you. The issue on the table is this: Darwinists in the academy persecute dissidents, and that their atheistic bent drives that persecution. For a counter argument, you hearken back to the subject of ID and religion. Sorry, but that doesn’t help you much.

    —–“Are you serious? If so, that would certainly explain why you had such trouble understanding everyone else’s morality on the ‘Bleak Conclusions’ thread.”

    I understood their argument, and it really wasn’t very much trouble taking it apart. Indeed, they didn’t really argue, they just flooded cyberspace with a lot of words and no substance. Atheism = amorality. There is no way around that, and predictably, they found no way around it. The comical part is that they didn’t understand the subject well enough to know that they had no argument. On the other hand, I am hoping that you will provide more substance than they did.

    —-“Okay. For your benefit, I will prepare a post comparing the scientific value of ID to that of modern evolutionary theory. Stay tuned. I may not be able to get to it right away, but I will definitely post it by tomorrow night at the latest.”

    Here is a tip: Don’t focus too much on “scientific value.” The challenge is to show how unguided naturalistic forces, through a slow gradual process, can produce new body plans, or, if you like, new information.

  34. Sal wrote:

    I’m not aware of any solid YEC theories. My sympathies could be wrong. Do you have a problem with me entertaining a speculative hypothesis?

    Speculate all you want, but my recommendation is to provisionally adopt the model that best fits the evidence, and to reevaluate the fit when new evidence comes in or when new models are proffered.

    Contrary to yourself, who represents Darwinism as established science, I’m willing to voice strong criticism of ideas I’m sympathetic with.

    Representing “Darwinism” as established science is hardly a stretch, given that the theory has been around for 150 years and has earned virtually universal acceptance among biologists. If that’s not “established science”, then nothing is.

    And unlike you, I tend to be more sympathetic to ideas that appear to be correct and not so sympathetic to ideas for which there is strong and valid criticism.

  35. StephenB writes:

    Let’s examine the strength of your response. I refer to examples of documented abuse in the academy and you respond by telling me that the aesthetic level of the production didn’t satisfy partisan critics who had no more to say about the substance of the matter than you do. Summing up your argument, the abuse didn’t happen because critics didn’t think the movie was sufficiently entertaining. Does anyone find that logic compelling?

    Stephen, why do you habitually lie about your opponents’ positions? Are you truly unable to restrain yourself? Does it not occur to you that readers can scroll up to check whether what you are saying is actually true?

    Here’s what my comment says:

    …RottenTomatoes…summarized the critical consensus as: “Full of patronizing, poorly structured arguments, Expelled is a cynical political stunt in the guise of a documentary.”

    Nothing about “the aesthetic level of the production”. Nothing about the movie being “insufficiently entertaining.” You just made those up out of the blue because you thought they would be easier to rebut than the actual argument.

    I explain that the Darwinist academy is invested in atheism, follow it with evidence that 95.8% of evolutionary biologists are atheist/agnostic, and you change the subject to the “ID playbook.” The only person who has mentioned religion is you.

    Right, because we all know that whether a scientist is atheist or agnostic has no bearing on his or her religious beliefs. *rolls eyes*

    Regarding the issue of protest, do you truly not see what is wrong with your question (below)?

    Why would anyone protest an injustice that is not being done to them?

    If you still insist that you don’t see a problem with that question, I will explain. But at that point I will begin to suspect that you are a sock puppet trying to make ID proponents look bad. C’mon… fess up, Stephen.

    I wrote:

    Okay. For your benefit, I will prepare a post comparing the scientific value of ID to that of modern evolutionary theory. Stay tuned. I may not be able to get to it right away, but I will definitely post it by tomorrow night at the latest.

    StephenB replied:

    Here is a tip: Don’t focus too much on “scientific value.” The challenge is to show how unguided naturalistic forces, through a slow gradual process, can produce new body plans, or, if you like, new information.

    What I plan to do is to show that this statement of yours is wrong:

    ID scientists protest the pseudo-science of neo-Darwinism for the simple reason that it is not science; it is ideology. If it was science, there would be some evidence for it.

    I will provide plenty of evidence for modern evolutionary theory, in the process comparing its ability to explain and predict with that of ID “theory”.

  36. mauka’s empty post:

    John,

    You have an extremely rich fantasy life.

    First of all I am surprised why posts like this one are tolerated here. Off topic, void babbling-like.

    Secondly it is also revealing. Darwinists hate intelligent thinkers who are not YEC’ists. They intuitively feel that there are great adversaries of “natural selection” myth whose arguments sound pretty convincing and right. Many of them are mentioned in professor John Davison’s Manifesto.
    Some others are Franz Heikertinger, Adolf Portman, Wilhelm Troll.

    I am also surprised that Leo Berg’s Nomogenesis was translated into English in 1969 (Berg published it in 1926). Such delays are of great significance – the same for one of the most profound philosophical work of 20 century – Martin Heidegger’s “Sein und Zeit”. It was translated only in 1964.

    Some crucial works of the greatest writer of modern era Christian Fyodor Dostoevsky haven’t been traslated at all.

  37. 37

    Thank you Martin for introducing a note of sanity into this “Tower of Babel.”

    Actually Nomogenesis was published in Russian in 1922, then in Englsh in 1926 and finally republished in 1969 with a derogatory Foreword by Leo Berg’s former student, Theodosius Dobzhansky and a highly critical Introduction by Darcy Wentworth Thompson, both staunch Darwinians. The 1969 MIT reprint of Nomogenesis was an obvious attempt to cast aspersions on the science of the greatest Russian biologist of his day and, in my opinion, the greatest evolutionist of all time.

    Stephen Jay Gould pulled a similar dirty trick when he wrote the Foreword to the 1993 English translation of Schindewolf’s great 1950 book “Grundfragen der Palaontologie,” in English “Basic Questions in Paleontolgy.” On page xi of Gould’s Foreword you will find him describing Schindewolf’s evolutionary views as “spectacularly flawed.”

    Both of these examples demonstrate the length to which the Darwinians are willing to go to preserve the pathetic Darwinian fantasy.

    Ernst Mayr in his “Growth of Biological Thought” took it a step further by listing Nomogenesis in his Bibliography but making no mention of it in the text. That is insult carried to the extreme. He also dismissed Schindewolf with a few words.

    Gould didn’t either mention or list Nomogenesis or its author in his 1400 hundred plus word “The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.”

    His only mention of Schindewolf was to a minor paper on catastrophism.

    Both Gould and Mayr were monumental egomaniacs as proved by the hundreds of citations each made to their own works and to one another, none of which, in my opinion, had anything whatsoever to do with the central problem of phylogeny, the mechanism by which it took place (past tense).

    “No greater proof can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great men.”
    Thomas Carlyle

  38. —-mauka: “Stephen, why do you habitually lie about your opponents’ positions?

    I have never lied about anything, because I have truth on my side. It is those who contend against truth and common sense that feel the need to resort to dishonesty. Your attempt to assasinate my character smacks of desperation.

    —-mauka;”…Nothing about “the aesthetic level of the production”. Nothing about the movie being “insufficiently entertaining.” You just made those up out of the blue because you thought they would be easier to rebut than the actual argument.

    My argument was, and is, that Darwinists persecute non-Darwinists and the movie “Expelled,” brought that point to light. Your only response was that critics [likely Darwinist critics] didn’t like the movie. Do you not understand that this is not a rational response? What matters is whether or not the stories are true or whether they were made up. I provided an argument; you provided a distraction. It’s very simple.

    —-”Right, because we all know that whether a scientist is atheist or agnostic has no bearing on his or her religious beliefs. *rolls eyes*”

    I think you need to articulate your arguments and make them explcit so that they can be evaluated, since no one will know what you are talking about until you do. Sometimes, when you discipine yourself to do that, you come to realize that you don’t really have an argument.

    —-”If you still insist that you don’t see a problem with that question, I will explain.”

    Explaining what you mean is always a good idea, since there is no way for people to know what you are thinking until you do.

    —-”I will provide plenty of evidence for modern evolutionary theory, in the process comparing its ability to explain and predict with that of ID “theory”.

    For the moment, I am not interested in another distraction. I want to know how naturalistic forces can generate new body plans and new information. Darwinists make that claim, but they can’t back it up. That means that they are doing ideology and not science. Stop trying to do an end around run. If you are not up to the challenge, just leave it alone.

  39. vmartin wrote:

    First of all I am surprised why posts like this one are tolerated here. Off topic, void babbling-like.

    This thread isn’t about a focused scientific topic as some of the other threads I have written about.

    I wrote:

    I invite the readers to visit Coyne’s weblog and express their reactions to what he has to say.

    Thus I’m inviting reader reactions. Reader reactions are more the focus of this present discussion.

    I do this because, well, there isn’t much science in Coyne’s posting, mostly politics, and shaky philosophy.

    I was actually hoping some Darwinists here would praise Coyne and slam the NCSE. :-)

  40. Thus I’m inviting reader reactions. Reader reactions are more the focus of this present discussion.

    I do this because, well, there isn’t much science in Coyne’s posting, mostly politics, and shaky philosophy.

    Frankly, I found Coyne’s remarks somewhat intolerant. I think you can regard other’s beliefs as daft but you don’t need to rub their noses in it

    I was actually hoping some Darwinists here would praise Coyne and slam the NCSE.

  41. Oh,

    I forgot to mention, I think we need to do a parody of Barbara Forrest (also of the NCSE) as Mary Poppins singing,

    “A Spoonful of Jesus Helps Darwin Go Down”

    Here is the outfit I had in mind for Barb:

    Barb Forrest as Mary Poppins

    Sounds like it would be good youtube material to highlight the fact that churches professing the name of Jesus have been instrumental in promoting Darwinism.

    The public schools and secular universities have surely advanced Darwinism, but the churches, seminaries, and religious schools have done their part as well, witness the role of Baylor and SMU! There are a lot of Christian elemetary and high schools that teach Darwinism uncritically as if it were God’s truth!

  42. 42

    I see I am wasting my time here just as I was on scordova’s earlier thread, This is typical of the way things are done here with elite “authors” dicatating what will be discussed and who will be recognozed. I will leave this one before scordova decides to start deleting my comments or scrambling them as he did before.

    I don’t care for the elitist way in which threads are managed here with all power residing in the “author.”

    Besides I have stated my case and have little more to offer to an audience that would rather “debate” with one another than to confront scientific realty.

    I’ll wait and see if another thread materializes which I might recognize as worthy of my attention. I tried and failed with this one, that’s for sure!

    Just remember -

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    I find the silence which this maxim evokes to be most gratifying.

    “Silence is golden.”
    Thomas Carlyle

  43. mauka @ 29 wrote:

    I guess the film critics [against Expelled] are also part of the Darwinist conspiracy.

    Nah. Probably just victims of the dumbed-down American educational system.

    Besides, you don’t need a world full of conspirators to pull off a conspiracy. Just a bunch of useful idiots.

    mauka @ 34 wrote:

    Representing “Darwinism” as established science is hardly a stretch, given that the theory has been around for 150 years and has earned virtually universal acceptance among biologists. If that’s not “established science”, then nothing is.

    Yes, it’s established science because it has virtually universal acceptance among biologists. And it has virtually universal acceptance among biologists because it is established science. And it is established science because it has virtually universal acceptance among biologists. And it has virtually universal acceptance among biologists because it is established science…

    Man, if I could keep a straight face while that little choo-choo train of circular logic whirled around in my head, I pull down some serious grant money.

  44. aofm,

    In case you didn’t notice, “Darwinism” went from having no acceptance among biologists to virtually universal acceptance.

    Was that part of the conspiracy too? Who were the conspirators, if not the biologists themselves?

    Was it the CIA?

  45. 45

    mauka

    “An hypothesis does not cease being an hypothesis when a lot of people believe it.”
    Boris Ephrussi

    Darwinism is the most absurd proposition in the history of human communication.

  46. 46

    I ask mauka, or any other homozyous chance-worshipping, congenital atheist, to name a single scientist of note who was so deranged as to claim that the universe was not designed.

    Have fun failing to come up with an answer, an answer you can’t possibly provide.

    I love it so!

  47. I ask mauka, or any other homozyous chance-worshipping, congenital atheist, to name a single scientist of note who was so deranged as to claim that the universe was not designed.

    Ludwig Boltzmann.

    Talk about going into a debate leading with one’s chin. (rolls eyes).

  48. mauka @44 wrote:

    aofm,

    In case you didn’t notice, “Darwinism” went from having no acceptance among biologists to virtually universal acceptance.

    First you use circular logic and now you’re changing the subject.

    The issue you were initially addressing (or ridiculing, as the case may be) was today’s acceptance of dissent from Darwinism (that’s the term that Coyne used, BTW), not the historical acceptance.

    Haven’t you heard that Darwin allowed scientists to be intellectually fulfilled atheists?

    Was that part of the conspiracy too? Who were the conspirators, if not the biologists themselves?

    Was it the CIA?

    Try being less illiterate and read my previous comment and links. While you’re at it, since you love 19th and early 20th Century history so much, try looking up the Fabians.

    Also, try coming up with the reason why Darwin, Marx, and Freud are almost always listed together as the greatest minds of all time and why their failed theories are still being taught as irrefutable.

  49. Now you can all resume wasting your time with that mindless vehicle called “debate.”

    It is spring again in Vermont, earlier each year, and I have better things to do than to cast my pearls before sensorally disadvantaged swine known far and wide as Sus darwinia, a variety fertile with Sus religiosa, another degenerate variety of Homo sapiens (wise man). As always, there is no place for “debate” in science. There never will be.

    It is getting a lot easier to believe isn’t it?

    It doesn’t get any better than this.

    I love it so!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

    jadavison.wordpress.com.

  50. 50

    According to Wikipedia, “Bolzman was a tremendous admirer of Charles Darwin.” So much for Ludwig Bolzman’s judgement in biological science. Surely scordova can do better than that!

  51. 51

    “Marx, Darwin and Freud are the three most crashing bores of the Western World.”
    William Golding

  52. John, you know who William Golding was, I assume. I can’t find where he said that. Do you have a reference?

  53. Never mind, I’ve found it. the full quote/

    It was at a particular moment in the history of my own rages that I saw the Western world conditioned by the images of Marx, Darwin and Freud; and Marx, Darwin and Freud are the three most crashing bores of the Western world. The simplistic popularization of their ideas has thrust our world into a mental straitjacket from which we can only escape by the most anarchic violence.

    From a lecture given in Hamburg in 1980.

  54. 54

    JohnADavison,

    “I wonder when scordova will…….”

    Well, John, just so you know, Cordova didn’t delete your comment, I did. You either calm down and stop being antagonistic, or I will ban you. Then you can cry martyr, that you’re just advocating the truth at all costs, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, etc. I think you like that role.

    But, there is a way, if you can believe it, to discuss ideas without the sort of nonsense in calling people “little” and so on, as you’re so fond of doing. It would really help your cause if you stopped. And don’t argue with me about this John. I agree with most everything that you say that pertains to the bankruptcy of evolution as an explanation of anything, I really do. I’m glad you’re advocating the truth, because people need to hear it. But there’s no need to call names and be rude in the process.

  55. Just hot off the presses:

    PZ Myers on the NCSE

    the NCSE is lying.

    –PZ Myers

    What, the NCSE is lying? Tell me it ain’t so!

  56. And Dr. Richard Hoppe on Coyne

    Baloney. Pure unadulterated knee-deep baloney.

    So there we have it from PandasThumb:

    1. the NCSE is lying
    2. Coyne is spouting pure unadulterated baloney

  57. And this hot off the presses, Larry Moran (the PZ Myers of Canada):

    How dare Richard compare me to the American Generals and politicians who sat on their asses while Hitler overran most of Europe and brought Great Britain to its knees.

    See, I sensed Coyne’s internet posting would light up the internet! Now we need Nick Matzke to weigh in!

    HT: Mike Gene author of Design Matrix via private communication.

  58. The conflict seems to be rather more of a metaphysical one. Your statement below presumes reality is a physical entity. A methodological naturalism ‘starter kit’, perhaps?

    BTW, do you trust what you observe with your eyes to be what is ? I mean, what with the eye being such a poorly designed body part an’ all, you’d think we should not put too much stock in ‘observations’?

    After all, we know God was asleep at the wheel when he made us. Lordy, the creative principle lost the ophthalmic information on the way to Sunday an’ jus’ messed it all up; what with all this inverting of images. :)

    Er, I think it’s safe to say “Out of sight is not out of Mind”.

    Think about it, and you can see that conflict is inevitable between our ability to discover things about reality, and our tendency to invent supernatural explanations.

  59. Richard Dawkins responds to Coyne:
    here

    I have from time to time expressed sympathy for the accommodationist tendency so ably criticized here by Jerry Coyne.
    …..
    Is it gloves off time? Or should we continue to go along with the appeasers and be all nice and cuddly, like Eugenie and the National Academy?

    Richard

    I vote for Dawkins to become nice and cuddly like Eugenie. :-)

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