Home » Culture, Darwinism, Human evolution, Intelligent Design » Oh, and in other news, science writer Carl Zimmer noviews Science and Human Origins

Oh, and in other news, science writer Carl Zimmer noviews Science and Human Origins

Science and Human Origins

Noview (def): To review without reading. A term developed by our own readers , due to other recent, widely suspected instances.

Zimmer is a popular science writer whose work we’ve flown past here. (For example, “Scientists puzzle over huge increase in fraud”)

Not one to break his own rice bowl, he posted at Discover blogs, trashing Biologic Institute’s new Facebook page. He deigned to comment on Gauger et al’s new book Science and Human Origins but drew the line at reading it.

As David Klinghoffer notes at Evolution News & Views,

Yesterday our friends at Biologic Institute were being pestered on their Facebook page by science writer and Discover magazine blogger Carl Zimmer on the subject of Science and Human Origins. Facebook is really no place for a substantive debate — the format is such that it doesn’t repay the time you put in.

So I wrote to Zimmer to invite him to participate in a genuine and informative online debate here at ENV, pairing him against one of the authors of SHO and allowing him 2000 words total in which he could tear our arguments and evidence to shreds if he liked.

Carl wrote back promptly to say “No thanks,” having also written a blog post reproducing my (private) email to him — which pained me to no end, since my note contained a typo as Carl was meticulous to make clear to his readers. (I wrote “interesting” instead of “interested.”)

So you see what we’re up against. Carl hasn’t read the book and now, having ducked out of a proper debate, he can go on denouncing it without ever having read it. He’s perfectly willing to waste our time on Facebook, where the phrase “pecked to death by ducks” comes to mind. But how about gathering his thoughts after reading the book and then telling us what’s wrong with Science and Human Origins? No, that he will not do.

Like we said earlier.

Darwinists can get away with that in the present state of culture. They need only pretend to know what they are talking about. They don’t really have to defend it.

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26 Responses to Oh, and in other news, science writer Carl Zimmer noviews Science and Human Origins

  1. Why is it so hard to answer one question? What is the evidence claimed by members of the Discovery Institute that human chromosome could have evolved through fusion six million years ago? Why do I have to engage in a drawn-out debate about an entire book to get an answer to this one question?

  2. Klinghoffer is being childish. Zimmer didn’t ask for a debate or critique the entire book, he asked for evidence for a claim the Biologic people were making.

    They refused to respond, probably because, as commenters in the thread make clear, there is no evidence for the claim.

  3. There a million reasons why no one responded to Mr. Zimmer. But perhaps all of this could have been avoided if Mr. Zimmer had read the book. I don’t know. But I bought a copy for him and had it sent to his Yale address. Maybe that’ll help move the discussion along.

  4. lpadron: A million reasons? Name one.

  5. 1. They’re answering Paul McBride who’s more qualified than Mr. Zimmer (on paper anyway)to ask questions on the matter.
    2. That’s not meant to insult Mr. Zimmer in any way.

    3. They’ve other work related duties.

    4. They have family to tend to.

    5. They’re doing research.

    6. They don’t feel the need to answer Mr. Zimmer based on his referring to them as “creationists” which implies something they are not. Had he taken Bradley Monton’s tack perhaps they’d have answered.

    7. Like most everyone else they’re off watching Batman.

  6. Really? They’re that busy? David Klinghoffer has enough time to write a post for Evolution News and Views in which he presents a claim about human chromosome two, and then doesn’t have time to present the evidence for that claim? The Biologic Institute has enough time to manage a Facebook page where they link to Klinghoffer’s piece, but don’t have enough time to answer a simple question? They apparently have enough time to hold “debates” on their book–and yet don’t have enough time to answer a simple question? In other words, they have more than enough time to promote their book, but not enough time to answer a question about a claim they make online.

  7. Why do I have to engage in a drawn-out debate about an entire book to get an answer to this one question?

    Because it’s the Discovery Institute, Carl.

    And now they are crowing about how you ‘folded’ when challenged to a debate. See how it works? You ask for some reference to a claim they make – they start organising a debate.

    See how they operate? Any sensible scientific outfit would’ve simply posted a link to the relevant study….not the Discovery Institute!

    And unsurprisingly the comedy site Uncommon Descent decide to repeat the DI’s hilarious nonsense – Damned Darwinists! See what they gone done this time!!!!!

    Carl, wash your hands and leave well alone next time.

  8. Carl Zimmer. You really exist? Say on.

    We thought you were just one of those … well. current evolution theory is not really working.

    But we had assumed that the real theorists had all left and put Talking Points ‘botsTM in place.

    If you are a real guy, welcome, slainte, and say on.

    PS: UD News is written by a little old granny in Toronto, b 1950, Saskatchewan province. All true. No guff.

  9. Bartax, would you like to be part of a debate? Or are you just trying to scare Zimmer off?

  10. CarlZimmer,

    Klinghoffer and Mr. Zimmer have at least one thing in common: neither is a scientist.

    I wouldn’t expect Klinghoffer to answer the question any more than I’d expect Mr. Zimmer to answer a similarly difficult scientific question. Neither is qualified to do so.

    But if it’s that important a question to Mr. Zimmer then perhaps he should ask the authors about it in the forum Klinghoffer offered.

    Declining that offer makes Mr. Zimmer look as though he’s as unable to defend his point against Gauger and Axe as Klinghoffer is unable to defend his from Mr. Zimmer.

  11. Batman? Who gets to watch Batman? We get free bat shows every hot summer night, but … Batman?

  12. Declining that offer makes Mr. Zimmer look as though he’s as unable to defend his point against Gauger and Axe as Klinghoffer is unable to defend his from Mr. Zimmer.

    And that’s exactly why it was offered.

    All Zimmer did was ask a question. Klinghoffer could’ve just said “I’ll try and find out, Carl – I’ll get back to you.”

    Nope.

    Instead he danced around like a fool, obviously over the moon that a respected science writer like Carl Zimmer would even tickle their radar.

    And, lo and behold, look at Klinghoffer’s latest at ENV: –

    “We Called Out Darwinist Critic Carl Zimmer, and He Folded”

    There’s integrity for you!

    Truly, these are the people I want organizing my children’s science class, oh yes!!

    And they wonder why they jus’ don’t get no respect from ‘Big Science’? They wonder why everyone laughs at them.

    This is why.

  13. Bartax,

    Agreed. Klinghoffer didn’t know the answer to the question so he offered Mr. Zimmer a forum in which he could ask the question.

    Mr. Zimmer declined which makes it appear as though he knew he would be able to defend his point against those who are more qualified than he or Klinghoffer.

    Though he may not have intended it he comes across like something of an intellectual bully knowing that *Klinghoffer* couldn’t answer the question. But at the first sign of someone who could, he backed out and accused Biologic of not wanting to answer the question.

    Of course, they did want to answer it as the offered forum shows. And I see *no* difference between an organized forum/debate and 1000 running posts in a blog with the exception that a good number of unhelpful remarks from angry loonies won’t have to be sifted through. This is especially true if one has the whole weight of scientific evidence on one’s side displayed for all to see, see?

  14. CORRECTION:

    My previous post should read:

    “Mr. Zimmer declined which makes it appear as though he knew he would be *NOT* able to defend his point against those who are more qualified than he or Klinghoffer.”

  15. One more time:

    “Mr. Zimmer declined which makes it appear as though he knew he would *NOT* be able to defend his point against those who are more qualified than he or Klinghoffer.”

  16. Agreed. Klinghoffer didn’t know the answer to the question so he offered Mr. Zimmer a forum in which he could ask the question.

    Not strictly correct.

    Carl asked a question…..

    First, Klinghoffer replied: “Really, Carl, Facebook isn’t the place for asking these kinds of questions.”

    Carl repeats the question….

    Klinghoffer replies: “Buy the book, Carl”.

    Carl asks again….

    Klinghoffer :”Gee, let’s have a debate, Carl”.

    (Meanwhile everyone watching this are peeing themselves laughing)

    Of course, they did want to answer it as the offered forum shows.

    Rubbish.

    Klinghoffer could’ve pointed Carl (or any interested party) to the relevant materials within 24hrs of his request. Instead we were blessed to witness a highly amusing dance from one of the Discovery Institutes lead froth-merchants. And to cap it all the next day Klinghoffer shows the true face of this promised scientific revolution….

    “We Called Out Darwinist Critic Carl Zimmer, and He Folded”

    God Bless the Discovery Institute.

  17. carlzimmer:

    What is the evidence claimed by members of the Discovery Institute that human chromosome could have evolved through fusion six million years ago?

    Which members have made that claim- reference please- and why is it that you just don’t email them?

    The book offers evidence that it didn’t evolve via fusion. It also says that a fusion in the human lineage is OK but it doesn’t give a time-line.

  18. H’mm:

    Let’s refresh memory:

    DK: I wrote to Zimmer to invite him to participate in a genuine and informative online debate here at ENV, pairing him against one of the authors of SHO and allowing him 2000 words total in which he could tear our arguments and evidence to shreds if he liked.

    Carl wrote back promptly to say “No thanks,” having also written a blog post reproducing my (private) email to him — which pained me to no end, since my note contained a typo as Carl was meticulous to make clear to his readers. (I wrote “interesting” instead of “interested.”)

    So you see what we’re up against. Carl hasn’t read the book and now, having ducked out of a proper debate, he can go on denouncing it without ever having read it. He’s perfectly willing to waste our time on Facebook, where the phrase “pecked to death by ducks” comes to mind. But how about gathering his thoughts after reading the book and then telling us what’s wrong with Science and Human Origins? No, that he will not do.

    So, CZ, do let us know: where’s the beef? (Not, where’s the bun.)

    DK is not a technical scientist and the original ENV post is a news and views piece about how “Yesterday our friends at Biologic Institute were being pestered on their Facebook page by science writer and Discover magazine blogger Carl Zimmer on the subject of Science and Human Origins.”

    That is the context in which DK offered 2000 words at ENV for a substantial exchange on the merits. With someone at the originally targetted site.

    Instead of taking it up we see the sort of dismissive personalities as are above in this thread. Indeed, from the in-thread objections above, I did not get a true or fair view of what happened: CZ was unwilling to go toe to toe in a substantive forum with a technical specialist.

    So CZ, why is that so?

    Why not just put in your 2,000 words, maybe with links to more?

    Or is it that you are presenting yet another “noview” i.e. an objecting review based on never having actually read the book being objected to.

    KF

  19. OK carl, or any evo:

    What is the testable hypothesis that the alleged fusion was a random genetic change?

    What is the testable hypothesis for how the alleged fusion became fixed?

    And finally, what happened to the organisms with a mixture of chromosomes 23/24? They must have existed. The case for a chimp-lineage fusion would be bolstered by such a population.

  20. F/N: BT — and BTW don’t give them excise men any more bright ideas — It seems the TITLE of the CZ post is “The Mystery of the Missing Chromosome (With A Special Guest Appearance from Facebook Creationists).” Sorry, but someone who starts from that “creationist in cheap tuxedo” smear is NOT just asking a question. Them’s fighting words, and frankly someone like CZ knows or should know better. KF

  21. Also why the fixation on human chromosome 2? There isn’t any link between the alleged fusion and sharing a common ancestor with chimps.

    Even evos admit the alleged fusion is human-lineage specific. But then where are the humans without the fusion? And what about those with that mix with and without?

    So to recap- The alleged fusion doesn’t have anything to do with:

    1- humans sharing a common ancestor with chimps

    2- random mutations

    3- natural selection

    So what is the point, exactly?

  22. wd400 July 20, 2012 at 7:28 am:

    Klinghoffer is being childish. Zimmer didn’t ask for a debate or critique the entire book, he asked for evidence for a claim the Biologic people were making.

    They refused to respond, probably because, as commenters in the thread make clear, there is no evidence for the claim.

    Carl Zimmer may not have explicitly asked for a debate, but the implication was there. His very first words in his very first comment:

    Carl Zimmer: Where is a place for substantive discussion?

    A “substantive discussion” sure sounds like a debate to me. Note, too, that this was in response to the Biological Institute’s previous comment, addressed to dishonest Nick Matzke, that the Facebook comments section wasn’t appropriate for a substantial discussion, but that they’d be more than happy to engage elsewhere.

    Let me also point out here what I pointed out to the Paul McBride on Facebook.

    Even if Gauger, Axe, or whomever, had answered Zimmer’s question, that answer would’ve then been questioned. The inevitable end result would be a back-and-forth of questions-and-answers. Basically, a debate.

    Rather than allow such a discussion to take place in the Facebook comments section, the Biological Institute wisely nipped it in the bud. They’ll answer any and every question Carl Zimmer has, as well as any follow-up questions to those answers, but they’ll do it in the appropriate setting. That’s not the comments section at Facebook, as strangely disheartening as that seems be to some people.

    The same goes for Nick Matzke.

    Unfortunately, to my knowledge, neither has accepted the Biological Institute’s challenge. It looks as though they’d rather bombard the comments section of a Facebook post than have a substantial debate on the issue in an appropriate setting. How very odd…

    Just to be clear, let me just ask this outright. Nick Matzke, Carl Zimmer: Do either of you have the courage and integrity to accept the Biological Institute’s challenge to a debate?

    I’ve seen Matzke repeatedly spanked in the comments section at EN&V, so my guess is he’ll be busy washing his hair every time the challenge arises.

    As for Carl Zimmer, I still hold out hope that he has the courage that Matzke almost certainly lacks, and will accept the challenge. He’s already written so much on the issue, here, on Facebook, and on his blog, that I fail to see how engaging in such a debate would be too off-putting. He clearly has both a vested interest in the subject and the time to spare.

    At this point, the only credible excuse for why he’d refuse to engage in such a debate is that he’s terrified of having his arguments crushed. There are no other valid reasons. None.

  23. The UD News desk agrees that Facebook is not the appropriate place for a debate. It’s classic social media: (“Whatcha doin’?” “Not much.” “Me neither.” “How ’bout all dis dam snow …?”)

    Yuh. The salons of the Enlightenment have nothing on THESE guys … WHERE has civilization been all this time?

    Seriously, as it happens, we sponsor guest posts from people who disagree with us but are civil and well-informed on the issues. It is a service that is easy for us to provide. Nick Matzke and Carl Zimmer will both be invited to do this, and others can address their arguments as they have time, knowledge, and inclination.

  24. A creationist has an article Of Apes and Men: Chromosome 2 in Humans and the Chimpanzee in which he lays out the explanation for HC2 in a Creation/ ID context.

  25. Just a note to say that the invite to Nick Matze was returned to sender, not the address we have for him. Still stands. Must find address.

  26. Zimmer was kind enough to respond to a post I left at The Loom in which I notified him that I’d purchased and had sent to him a copy of “Science & Origins”.
    I replied to his reply which was then followed much of the kind of commentary Klinghoffer alluded to before suggesting a closed forum debate.

    As yet, Mr. Zimmer has not replied to my last post which is understandable. He has a life to tend to as do Axe, Gauger and Luskin. No one should be expected to answer every question asked by one’s critics. I think this is especially true of Axe, Gauger and Luskin because Mr. Zimmer hasn’t done something simple courtesy (to say nothing of professionalism) demands: the reading of the book.

    And the fact remains that Klinghoffer did offer to have Mr. Zimmer’s question answered. Mr. Zimmer declined with reasons that make little sense (to me anyway) and suggests only that he is reluctant to be rebutted by someone other than an essayist (Klinghoffer) or a “lawyer” (a mild ad hominem of Luskin Mr. Zimmer included in his reply to my post. In my follow up post I remind Mr. Zimmer that he himself holds only a BA in English).

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