Home » Intelligent Design » PZ Myers sneaks into press teleconference … !

PZ Myers sneaks into press teleconference … !

I was in a press conference this afternoon for the Expelled documentary (about scientists who are persecuted for questioning Darwinism and other materialist evolution theories). Ben Stein, the film’s lead, producer Mark Mathis, and others were there.

Mathis confirmed that he kicked PZ Myers out of the film to make a point (Myers endorses the destruction of the careers of those who question Darwinism, yet he was really upset about getting booted from a film).

And … Myers apparently somehow got into the press conference itself! – “under false pretences” according to the moderator. He was told to be quiet, and he rung off (to the best of my knowledge). He told the media to phone HIM instead. Greg, at Hollywood Jesus live blogged the affair and is promising updates.

For more, go here.

Pretty clever operator, the man who said,

The only appropriate response should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing of some teachers, many school board members, and vast numbers of sleazy, far-right politicians … I say, screw the polite words and careful rhetoric. It’s time for scientists to break out the steel-toed boots and brass knuckles, and get out there and hammer on the lunatics and idiots.

Strangely, while he was in the telemeeting, Myers insisted that Darwinism had nothing to do with Nazi Germany. Of course, historically, Darwin was an enormous influence on the Nazis because his Descent of Man appeared to put racism on a scientific footing. That does not mean (and the Expelled guys made clear that they did not think it means) that today’s Darwinists have anything to do with Nazism. But it is a historical fact that Darwin was one of the Nazis’ heroes, as historian Richard Weikart painstakingly shows.

Note: I update the Expelled story at this page, to keep it all in one place. So if you are interested in my coverage, it is all there by date.

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77 Responses to PZ Myers sneaks into press teleconference … !

  1. I think the man has truly lost it. I guess it was to be expected that many in the scientific community would go off the deep end over this flick.

    Just pray he doesn’t actually use his steel-toed boots and brass knuckles on us…..

  2. Strangely, while he was in the telemeeting, Myers insisted that Darwinism had nothing to do with Nazi Germany

    HE READS THIS BLOG!!!

    Hiya PZ.

  3. So, are we going to see any PZ apologists talking about how the guy didn’t interrupt the proceedings, but there were no posted rules about being quiet when other people are speaking and following the moderator’s rules? ;)

  4. “Darwinism had nothing to do with Nazi Germany” No, that “superior” arian race thing had nothing to do with darwinism, nothing at all.

  5. This does not reflect well on the state of PZ Myer’s mental health.

  6. FtK, like I said. It’s gonna get nasty. Obviously Darwinists are going to do and say alot of things about Expelled to try and drive the film into the ground.

    I don’t know if you were paying attention to the conversation between Dave Scott and I, but apparently the fossil record does not support the Darwinism. Once the American public becomes aware of this (this is why they don’t want ID taught in schools), there power and prestige go bye bye.

    So just don’t be suprised by what they might say or do, the Darwinists. There going to go after the ID community like the dirtiest political campaign you can imagine.

  7. I just do not get why Dawkins was interviewed after a showing, and yet the kicked PZ out of the same thing. I would be mad also

  8. “So just don’t be suprised by what they might say or do, the Darwinists.”

    Not much of what they say or do suprises me anymore. But, I must say that this latest antic of PZ’s is a bit odd. Here he tried to tell everyone that he didn’t gatecrash the movie, and then he turns around and pulls a stunt like this?

    The guy has issues.

    It kind of makes you wonder what they think of him at the University of MN.

  9. I guess you could say he’s more to be pittied than scorned. Sadly though, he is trying to ruin everything for us.

    Also, when they act like this, it just reinforces to me just how lacking the evidence is for their theory.

  10. Myers endorses the destruction of the careers of those who question Darwinism, yet he was really upset about getting booted from a film

    Why do you keep repeating this lie? It’s quite evident that PZ was NOT upset about being thrown out of the screening. He clearly found the whole affair amusing, more than anything.

  11. # 10

    “Myers apparently somehow got into the press conference itself!”

    “under false pretences” according to the moderator. He was told to be quiet, and he rung off (to the best of my knowledge). He told the media to phone HIM instead.”
    - POST DARWINIST

    You call this being amused. It sounds to me like PZ was hysterical.

  12. PS:Aesahaettr

    After glancing at your hate filled website. You have confirmed everything I have suspected about how the Darwinists (like PZ!) view people of faith.

  13. No, DD, I call this being amused: Expelled!

    But as far as the conference call is concerned, if PZ were as unstable as you make him out to be, I hardly think he’d have refrained from interrupting for as long as he did.

  14. PS, perhaps you’d care to share some of your suspicions? Maybe I could shed more light on them than a cursory glance at a fraction of my writing.

    But then again, this may not be the best place for that. I don’t want to get off topic.

  15. Ben Stein has been quoted repeatedly as saying that his basic premise forthis film is “No Darwin, no Hitler.” Besides being a particularly egregious example of Godwin’s Law, this assertion ignores simple empirical fact.

    Consider that Darwin’s theory was most readily and completely adopted by scientists in England, followed by the United States, Russia, and Germany. If Stein’s assertion is valid, then Naziism of the kind promulgated by Hitler should have arisen in all of those countries, most notably in England.

    But it didn’t.

    This canard is of the same quality as the Benjamin Wiker’s “big lie” that “Darwinism” is to blame for virtually all of modern society’s ills. Yes, and that explains why the prisons are stuffed with evolutionary biologists, whereas the prison population of Christians, Muslims, and other believers in a faith that is usually characterized on this blog as directly contradicting evolutionary biology are nowhere to be found in the overflowing prisons of America.

  16. Aesahaettr @ 15:

    But as far as the conference call is concerned, if PZ were as unstable as you make him out to be, I hardly think he’d have refrained from interrupting for as long as he did.

    But then he did, with premeditation, dial-in on the interactive conf call number, so no he didn’t restrain himself at all. He wanted, from the onset, the opportunity to interrupt, and it would seem he acted out rather quickly.

    Irrefutably he misrepresented himself to the conf call moderator as a “media partner”. It is reasonable to question the mental stability of an educated professional who repeatedly violates norms of professional and social conduct, misrepresents himself, and espouses physical, financial and character harm against those of opposing scientific viewpoints, without remorse, apology, or regard for the consequences. He appears to be stalking now, and his behavior seems willfully negligent.

  17. Here is an audio of the fiasco:

    http://www.skepchick.org/pzexpelled.mp3

    PZ’s laugh toward the beginning has a ring of dementia to it, IMHO…lol

    I found it at:

    http://skepchick.org/blog/?p=1190

  18. I’ve gotta add one more thing here. Can you *imagine* what would happen if the tables were turned here and an ID supporter pulled something like that?

  19. FtK @ 17
    PZ’s laugh toward the beginning has a ring of dementia to it

    How soon (~minutes) into the call, and how do you know it was PZ’s laugh?

  20. Allen MacNeill, I have written extensively about the issue you raise.

    In Descent of Man, Darwin made racism sound scientific.

    I am NOT saying that anyone sees it that way today.

    But they did then. Specifically in the era that birthed Hitler.

    The main reason some people don’t see it that way today is political incorrectness.

    Darwin’s theory, as such, should make racism and the war of all against all a reasonable proposition.

    But, of course, his theory is not true. Natural selection is not an important source of new information.

  21. Dr. MacNeill,

    I am not sure your argument is logical. Just because Darwin’s ideas did not contribute to the racism seen in National Socialism in the other countries does not mean it was not a contributing factor to how the Jews were perceived in inter war Germany. We can argue over whether it was a necessary condition or not but it seems to have contributed. Just how much I certainly do not know. There did not seem to be much that was needed to raise anti Jewish behavior in central Europe during previous times so it is certainly debatable what it contributed in the 1930′s.

    Ben Stein is a Jew so he may be sensitive to the issue and this may be one of the reasons he has participated in the movie.

    I have heard, though I do not have the reference at hand that Darwin was a contributing factor to German militarism prior to WWI. I will have to see if I can find where I heard that. This had nothing to do with Jews.

    I believe in some of the other countries you mentioned that other forms of undesirable behavior arose such as the eugenics movement. Again we can argue whether Darwin’s ideas were necessary or not or if Darwin himself would have endorsed the eugenics movement. But all of these things happened after Darwin’s ideas got purchase.

    You could also argue that there has always been religious extremists who have taken their dogma and justified killing and subjugation because of it. And that would be true and we could debate how much. The two most pointed to instances in Christianity are the Crusades, almost a thousand years ago and the Inquisition, about 500 years ago. This does not necessarily reflect on the religion in general and it core beliefs. But I doubt that anything would get settled here if we decided to discuss the issue.

  22. I generally try to stay out of the Hitler/Eugenics/Evolution discussions, but when one considers some of the things that Dawkins has said, it does make one wonder about where science might wander again if given the opportunity.

  23. Charles @19. The laugh is right toward the beginning…it’s hard to tell for sure whether it’s really PZ laughing or someone laughing at him. I’m just being ornery due to his loony antics.

  24. [...] Expelled: the movie, and being a jerk The saga continues: see here and here. UPDATE: more here (you will find a link to the audio in the [...]

  25. To transform the men into nonthinking, unfeeling machines, Himmler needed to indoctrinate them into a secret society of their own. He assured them that a master race was developing, and if the inferior races stood in their way the scientific belief in the “survival of the fittest” dictated that these races had to be exterminated.

    [...]

    The SS themselves were convinced that they were the first stage of the superman mutation. The master race was being bred. With the undesirables out of the way, the pace would quicken and a transformation of humanity would accelerate.

    Erwin W. Lutzer, Hitler’s Cross, pp.92-4

  26. What is really sad is how the Darwinists try to pin Nazi anti-Semitism on the German Martin Luther just because of some little pamphlet he wrote 400 years earlier.

  27. Allen_MacNeill @15

    The history is clear.

    In Germany what developed was Nazism. Meanwhile, what developed in Russia was dialectical materialism. And what developed the U.S. and Great Britain were social darwinism and eugenics.

    All of these, while distinct, were nevertheless straightforward logical extensions of Darwin’s theorizings.

    Natural Selection as affecting civilized nations

    …But some remarks on the action of Natural Selection on civilized nations may be worth adding… With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the mained, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

    Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (pp 133-134, 1st Ed.)

    How nice…

  28. Whoops, my link in #22 didn’t work.

    Eugenics may not be all that bad according to Dawkins.

  29. Allan_MacNeill:

    that explains why the prisons are stuffed with evolutionary biologists, whereas the prison population of Christians, Muslims, and other believers in a faith that is usually characterized on this blog as directly contradicting evolutionary biology are nowhere to be found in the overflowing prisons of America.

    Compare apples and spider webs much? To make a more realistic comparison, please compare the biologists with Ph.D. theologians. I don’t know how they compare, but much more reasonably than your suggestion. Alternatively, compare the ratio of prison inmates that accept darwinism, v. the inmates to hold to a religious view — cross-compare with the average of society. Again, I don’t know how they will compare, but such a comparison would be at least vaguely fair.

  30. Re: 17

    Ftk, is there a written transcript somewhere? I’m having trouble distinguishing the voices I’m hearing.

  31. Allen

    Crack out your history books and study the eugenics movement in western culture in the first half of the 20th century.

    Or just get the Reader’s Digest condensed version here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics

    Once you’ve become informed if you still deny the link between Darwin and Hitler then you’re in denial. I’m beginning to think you live in a constant state of denial but as always I’ll first presume you’re merely ignorant of the facts.

  32. FtK

    re; eugenics may not be all that bad

    Scientifically, of course it isn’t. Darwin was 100% correct in saying that only the most ignorant allow their worst animals to breed and the only exception made to that animal husbandry rule is in the case of man allowing the worst of men to breed. As far as that goes it’s a rule in agriculture in general and it’s long proven it works – you don’t propagate the sickly, diseased plants in your garden do you if you’ve got healthy plants to choose from? Of course not.

    That’s the scientific case and it’s indisputable. If it weren’t for moral objections the scientific case for selection of the fittest in humans for breeding purposes would easily carry the day. In the early years of the 20th century even in the United States it WAS carrying the day. Eugenics was all the rage amongst the intelligentsia.

  33. Folks:

    It may be worth the while to read Vox Day’s response [warning fat PDF -- book is well worth the buying in my estimation] to the now much touted atheist arguments coming from the recent spate of books. [His response actually takes in the relevant criminality statistics, Mr MacNeill. BFast's instincts are right.]

    GEM of TKI

  34. PS to DS: I see how the Wiki article — I suppose ever predictably — delicately speaks of Eugenics as “philosophy.” In fact, it was put up as SCIENCE, i.e. applied evolution.

  35. Allen

    Due to disrupting threads with continued denialism you’re now in moderation. If you want to quote Mein Kampf at length do it on your own blog.

  36. Interesting article here:

    Eugenics and the Nazis — the California connection

    I knew eugenic science was fashionable in early 20th century America but I didn’t know the Nazi eugenics program was modeled after one first proposed in California.

  37. Thank you for stopping Allen’s posts. I always found his presumption that he knew more about evolution than us just because he is a biology professor annoying.

    And quoting Mein Kampf in an attempt to try and show that Hitler thought he was doing God’s work was a low blow. Hitler was a sociopath and distorted anything and everything he could get his hands on to justify his evil beliefs. It is just irrelevant that SS belt buckles said Gott Mit Uns. Religion is just one of the things that the Nazis twisted beyond all recognition.

  38. [Off-Topic. For the edification of Professor MacNeill]

    All that’s left is to prove that in nature there is no frontier between the organic and the inorganic.
    — Adolph Hitler, to his aides

  39. I just do not get why Dawkins was interviewed after a showing, and yet the kicked PZ out of the same thing. I would be mad also

    Not if you understood it to be a random natural event. it is quite unscientific to infer design you know.

  40. Allen

    Due to disrupting threads with continued denialism you’re now in moderation.

    Does this mean Allen is expelled? No intelligence allowed here.

  41. After reading the quotes in question I’m afraid to say I’ll have to have a good hard think about the whole subject. After all, who better knows Hitlers mind then Hitler himself?

    I’ve not seen expelled yet, but this will certainly be in the back of my mind when I do. I’ll be interested to see if it’s addressed in the film.

  42. poachy – out of interest what are your qualifications regarding biology? I’m no professor, just an interested skeptical amateur but I’d not claim to know more then a professor in *any* subject, never mind biology. If I did then likely I’d be a professor too at that point!
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you have to have a doctorate to come up with relevant criticisms of the prevailing theory’s, but poachy seems to be painting with a very broad brush.

  43. Who is Mark Mathis? Has he been expelled here too?

  44. Allen –If Stein’s assertion is valid, then Naziism of the kind promulgated by Hitler should have arisen in all of those countries, most notably in England.

    Because Darwin clearly influenced Nazi philosophy and providing moral backing to the “Final Solution” doesn’t mean it’s the reason why Nazism triumphed in Germany — the lack of Common Law (and Constitutional) protections of freedom, the Great Depression and the fact that Germany lost World War I were much more important reasons.

    But as it’s pointed out, Darwin ideas clearly had its influence in the democracies. It provided the moral underpinning for massive forced sterilizations, American racism and lives with us to this day in Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda.

    Planned Parenthood’s original name was the American Birth Control League during which it published “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need” by Ernst Rudin in its monthly journal. Rudin headed the German Society for Rassenhygiene (Race-hygiene) and was basically Hitler’s go-to guy on those matters. Note even Wiki recognizes his connection to (Social) Darwinism

  45. poachy @ 37:
    It is just irrelevant that SS belt buckles said Gott Mit Uns.

    Indeed true. That is a debunked atheist talking point. I had hoped for better from Professor MacNeill:

    Vox Day “The Irrational Atheist“, p212:
    “Onfray writes not a single word about any of the fifty-two atheist mass murderers of the twentieth century, he does not even mention Stalin or Mao, despite devoting more than six pages of the book to inaccurately claiming that Adolf Hitler was a Christian, based in part upon the Gott mit uns11 belt buckle that the German army inherited from the royal house of Prussia. He is obviously unaware that it was not Hitler who gave the Wehrmacht that motto, but Otto von Bismarck, whose imperial standard contained the slogan in 1870; similar Gott mit uns buckles from World War I further prove the falsity of Onfray’s argument. Moreover, the Wehrmacht were not Nazis—the 950,000-strong Nazi army personally sworn to Hitler was the Waffen-SS, and their motto was not Gott mit uns but Meine Ehre heißt Treue12.”
    11 “God with us.
    12 “My honor is named loyalty.”

    Day’s writing style is bombastic at times, but his research is detailed and impeccable.

  46. BTW, note some of the founders of the American Birth Control League (Planned Parenthood) C. C. Little and Lothrop Stoddard.

    The American Birth Control League changed its name to Planned Parenthood in 1942.

  47. tribune 7 -
    if Darwin clearly influenced Nazi philosophy and we can blame Darwin for that then logically can we not also blame the other things that clearly influenced Nazi philosophy in equal or greater measure? After all, from the quotes I’ve just read it’s clear to me who influenced Hitler more and it ain’t Darwin! I’ve not yet made my mind up just yet, selective quotes don’t often tell the whole story but I’d be interested in seeing where Hitler directly quotes or acknowledges Darwin. Links anybody?

  48. I think the link between Darwin and Hitler is stronger than the link between Christianity and Hitler.

    I seem to remember Hitler having nothing but contempt for the Jewish-Christian God and the people that worship Him.

    Didn’t Hitler want to revive some form of Paganism?

  49. f.blair

    Hitler hated Christianity. He sought to destroy Christianity i.e. The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches” (note the link provides access to downloadable files that are pdf images of the original OSS documents.)

    OTOH, he justified wholesale murder on the claim that a person’s existence is dependent on his heredity.

    Would Darwin have supported the Final Solution? I don’t think so.

    But the idea that we are not divinely created beings individually loved by our Creator who has blessed us with inalienable rights but are mere random events whose right to existence depends on our ability to survive was made acceptable by Mr. Darwin, and there is no disputing this.

  50. Aesahaettr – You are wise enough to see the only response to ALL the arguments of ALL the scientists and plain folks for even the possibility of ID is only “amusement” – Like PZ’s temper, your ego is in need of a government grant to explore how it can comport with what is known versus what can be believed.
    Pride comes before a fall and I’ve not found much more pride (and of a hideous self satisfying species) than that which appears to be your prisoner. Repentance is a door to….

  51. One cannot expect honest scientists to recognize the rank dishonesty of rhetorical strategies, and therefore it is not surprising that an earnest few are easily misled by Hitler’s early proclamations into believing that he was a Christian and Naziism was somehow the fruit of the Gospel.

    In reality, Hitler’s spiritual inspiration came from the superman and the will to power. In the religion of the superman, the end justifies the means. Any lie can be told, any brutal tactic used, any honest and sensitive feeling manipulated in order to get to the ideal end, the utopia envisioned by those who regard themselves as superior beings.

    Hitler embraced Christianity on his way to power purely as a tactical measure. He understood perfectly well that the German people were a religious people, deeply imbued with a love of Christ and Christian tradition, and therefore in his early pronouncements he made a point of pretending that his movement was the true friend of Christianity.

    The truth is that Hitler used Christianity in a purely cynical way to whip up anti-Semitism. Conveniently forgetting that Jesus and the disciples were Jewish, he made Christ out to be the enemy of the Jews. Hitler used the revulsion in Germany against materialism—represented in their minds by Marx, Freud and other prominent intellectuals—to incite the masses and convince them to make him dictator.

    As we all know, prior to 1938 Hitler made a great show of desiring peace and of having friendly intentions toward Poland and Austria. This conciliatory rhetoric was so convincing that even men like Neville Chamberlain were duped—experienced statesmen of no small intellect and talent. Of course the whole time he was soothing world leaders with this rhetoric he was also actively planning invasion.

    Similarly, the tone of Hitler’s pronouncements on religion changed radically after he obtained absolute power and began to implement his plan of race purification. Hitler knew that the Christian virtues of pity and kindness stood in the way of his satanic plan for the Jews, which is why he suddenly began to portray Christianity as an enemy of the Third Reich after 1939.

    The record is clear. Hitler made himself sound like a friend of Christianity purely to obtain power. After 1940, he dropped the pretension and revealed his true plan. Christianity would die a natural death and be replaced by the religion of the superman, which is domination pure and simple.

    Going by the precept that “by their fruits ye shall know them,” Hitler was clearly a follower of the superman, not of Christ or the cross. To deny that the superman was the inspiration for Naziism is to deny the obvious. Hitler was willing to use any means in order to dominate, and in the early days that meant using Christian rhetoric to dupe a nation into following him into self-immolation.

  52. Poachy

    Thank you for stopping Allen’s posts. I always found his presumption that he knew more about evolution than us just because he is a biology professor annoying.

    It’s a common misconception that Allen MacNeill is a professor. He has no PhD. He is listed as an academic staff member at Cornell. He has taught an introductory course in biology at Cornell for 30 years but his credentials stop at a BS in biology and MS in science education.

    http://vivo.cornell.edu/all/en.....rtal=65535

    For a long time I was also under the impression that Allen was a professor so I understand your mistake. Many people here at UD, out of respect (myself included) addressed Allen as Dr. MacNeill and Professor MacNeill. Allen never corrected any of us so it appears he’s complicit via a “lie of omission”. I never made an issue out of it before this comment but I felt it was now past time to set the record straight.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie

    Lying by omission
    Lying by omission is when an important fact is omitted, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. This includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. One may by careful speaking contrive to give correct but only partial answers to questions, thus never actually lying.

  53. For a long time I was also under the impression that Allen was a professor so I understand your mistake.

    Did MacNeill himself correct that misperception or did you have to investigate?

  54. Charles

    I was editing my comment about Allen to include the answer to your question while you were asking the question.

    To the best of my knowledge Allen never corrected anyone here. I’m not sure where I discovered he was neither doctor nor professor but I am sure that it was pure happenstance rather than me actively investigating his credentials.

    I judged his comments to be relatively well informed and although he’s disliked by many for gratuitous, ungentlemanly Dembski-bashing in other venues it was Salvador Cordova’s respect for him, and my respect for Sal, that made me willing I let him speak without moderation. I suppose what drove me over the edge was him quoting Mein Kampf extensively making an argument that Hitler was a Christian creationist and by that measure the holocaust was perpetrated by Christian creationists advocating genocide against Jewish creationists. Mein Kampf isn’t even legal to buy, sell, or own in many European countries because of its contents and here’s Allen MacNeill trying to blame the holocaust on the bible. No way I’m going to give that assinine opinion any bandwidth on Uncommon Descent.

  55. There seems an endemic lack of scruples amongst “Darwinists” (for lack of a better label).

  56. On the subject of lying, I’m still waiting for someone to address Ms. O’Leary’s characterization of PZ’s response to being expelled from “Expelled.” PZ was clearly NOT “really upset about getting booted from a film,” and misrepresenting him thusly is (if deliberate) a dishonest attempt to poison the well against him.

  57. Many people here at UD, out of respect (myself included) addressed Allen as Dr. MacNeill and Professor MacNeill. Allen never corrected any of us so it appears he’s complicit via a “lie of omission”.

    I just used professor in the slang sense of any college teacher. I didn’t realize that there was some “history” there. I did look at his personal blog and it only says he teaches, no reference to actual title there.

    It’s always interesting to read here. I don’t suppose anyone has investigated PZ’s supposed PhD?

  58. Charles

    The claim that evolutionary scientists don’t call themselves Darwinists is another lie. The keynote speaker at the 2005 “Woodstock of Evolution” held on the Galapagos Islands, evolutionary biologist Professor Lynn Margulis (a friend of Allen’s by the way) referred to herself as a Darwinist in the address. Margulis’ claim to fame is being the author of the widely acclaimed evolutionary theory of endosymbiosis. That’s why she was selected as the keynote speaker.

    Woodstock of Evolution Article from Scientific American

    Michod’s talk was the perfect lead-in for the penultimate lecture of the conference by the acknowledged star of the weekend, Lynn Margulis, famous for her pioneering research on symbiogenesis. Margulis began graciously by acknowledging the conference hosts and saying, “This is the most wonderful conference I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of conferences.” She then got to work, pronouncing the death of neo-Darwinism. Echoing Darwin, she said “It was like confessing a murder when I discovered I was not a neo-Darwinist.” But, she quickly added, “I am definitely a Darwinist though. I think we are missing important information about the origins of variation. I differ from the neo-Darwinian bullies on this point.”

    Margulis is an incredibly well distinguished scientist so the claim can’t be made that she’s an insignificant nobody calling herself a Darwinist. She’s a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1983, she won the Proctor Prize for scientific achievement in 1999, and was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Clinton in 1999.

    That said one might make a good case for petulantly rejecting the label “Darwinist” when the label is applied to a neo-Darwinist but as an outside observer I find the distinction one that only pedants consider important.

  59. asshatter

    For someone who isn’t upset Myers is certainly awfully vocal on the subject. When Nisbet and Mooney suggested he tone down the rhetoric about being expelled from Expelled because it’s playing into the hands of the producers with free publicity he wrote to Nisbet:

    Fuck you very much, Matt. You know where you can stick your advice.

    In many parts of the world using the F-word like that is reasonably considered to be a sign of upset. You disagree?

  60. I suggest letting Allen back in when the discussion comes down to biology or evolution. Whether he has a Ph.D. or not may be irrelevant, he is aware of the edge of evolutionary biology research. It would be interesting to see if he will participate if off moderation on an evolution topic.

    I am almost finished the Jablonka and Lamb book and it was an excellent recommendation by Allen though very convoluted in places. When someone says that neo Darwinism or Darwinism is dead in the scientific community, don’t believe it for a second. In this book which is asking for a revision of the modern synthesis, the main theme is always naturalistic methods and natural selection still reigns supreme. What all these people are doing is just asking for some additions or some other minor revisions. So don’t be misled when Allen MacNeill says neo Darwinism or the modern synthesis is dead.

    Nothing in the Jablonka book threatens ID. In one place they admit there has never been any evidence for species formation while talking away on some very esoteric ways things change. In a few places they discuss the pressure to adhere to a completely naturalistic doctrine or else. They proclaim that they are true blue materialists even in origin of life.

    So consider taking Allen off moderation for threads that are science oriented. We learn a lot when he participates. Actually we learn that naturalistic evolution is very limited.

  61. Aesahaettr,

    Don’t you think your comment is just a little disingenuous?

    “and misrepresenting him thusly is (if deliberate) a dishonest attempt to poison the well against him.”

    Do you actually believe that? I cannot believe you do. Are you seriously worried about PZ’s reputation? PZ is enjoying himself and in what group that PZ cares about is the well being poisoned? I have to believe in his world, he is more of a hero than before.

  62. DaveScot (60),

    The vocal response to a film’s content, the response to a fellow blogger for being told to shut up, and the response to being kicked out of a movie theater are three completely different situations. Ms. O’Leary writes plainly that PZ was upset at being thrown out of the movie, not that he was upset by a fellow blogger’s response. As it is written, she is wrong.

    And thank you for taking the time to misspell my alias. I had to smile.

    Jerry (62),

    By misrepresenting PZ’s response to a prior event, O’Leary sets him up as a belligerent hypocrite so as to discredit his stance on the issues. How is that not poisoning the well? What matters here is not how PZ is perceived by his readers, but how he is perceived by O’Leary and HER readers.

  63. asshatter

    Independent of O’Leary’s calling Myers “upset” it appears to me he was upset about it too. Of course it appears to me Myers is upset by everything about ID so this is no exception. It’s a personal opinion. I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree because I’m not going to approve any more of your arguments about it.

    I misspelled your name because it’s not exactly easy to remember how to spell it but it’s easy to remember phonetically. Since it isn’t a word or name that appears anywhere on the internet and has no derivation I could see from the name on your email address I assumed the phonetic similarity to asshat (which is a fashionable term among young Darwinists) was intentional. If I’m mistaken you have my not very sincere apology and no promise to stop using it unless you change your handle to something that doesn’t sound like it.

  64. Aesahaettr,

    Which would think would poison the well more?

    Publishing his quote:

    ‘I say, screw the polite words and careful rhetoric. It’s time for scientists to break out the steel-toed boots and brass knuckles, and get out there and hammer on the lunatics and idiots. If you don’t care enough for the truth to fight for it, then get out of the way.?’

    Or the supposed reactions to his being kept out of the film Expelled which you describe as a misrepresentation.

    Come on, you have a degree from a highly respected university. Let’s cut out the charade. It has the feel of “I’m shocked, I’m shocked” in Casablanca.

  65. Very well, I’ve said my piece, I don’t intend to push it any further.

    And if you want to call me “asshatter,” just go ahead and do so. I don’t mind. You don’t need to make up lame excuses.

  66. “When Nisbet and Mooney suggested he tone down the rhetoric about being expelled from Expelled because it’s playing into the hands of the producers with free publicity…”

    Yeah…Dave, check out Moran’s advise in regard to Nisbet and Mooney:

    “It’s about time we started to ignore Nisbet and Mooney.”

    I read a few other comments like that at Nisbet’s blog.

    Looks like they’re starting to expel their own. Sheesh. Not only must they comply to Darwinism and naturalism, but they also must not under any circumstances question PZ Myers and his tactics.

  67. Looks like they’re starting to expel their own.

    That is exactly why ID will win in the end, because we have a big top strategy that brings together different belief systems under one canon.

  68. On the influence of Darwin on Hitler see:

    Richard Weikart
    From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany 2004 (paperback edition in 2005) with Palgrave Macmillan in New York.

    See sample video of Weikart’s lecture :
    Sample clip “From Darwin to Hitler” V056 Weikart on YouTube

  69. poacy, don’t you think that there’s a danger that once Darwinism is defeated the divisions between the members inside the big top will cause infighting to break out and some sort of bloody survival of the fittest type brawl to break out? Or do you think the ID side more civilized then then a typical random bunch of humans and can they settle their differences via rational debate in the end when required?

    DLH – I saw the clip and It’s just that Hitler is not saying “Darwin with us” that’s not doing it for me at the moment. Perhaps later.

  70. Would it be possible to calculate compare the CSI in the Bible and Mein Kampf? I know Dr Dembski wrote the foreword for a Bible code book in the past, and so this would not be the first time such issues have been raised, I imagine.

  71. 71

    DLH [69], I haven’t read Weikart’s book, but on his web page he never confuses “Darwin” with “Darwinism” as you do above. (On the other hand, his book’s title invites precisely the kind of confusion and simplification he decries in his critics.)

    Aesahaettr [66], others have mocked your name in silly ways. But perhaps they’ve not read Pullman and so don’t know what it means. I say your name is only wishful thinking on your part.

  72. 72

    The Nazis were influenced by American eugenics programs.

    In the USA, the Station for Experimental Evolution merged with the Eugenics Record Office in 1920 to form the Carnegie Institution’s Dept. of Genetics.

  73. Larry,
    In that case if Christianity influenced the founders of America and if America influenced the Nazi eugenic s program then it seems we could trace the owners of the problem back as far as we like! Is there a common ancestor for eugenics programs? Don’t forget selective breeding is even mentioned in the bible!

  74. Gosh, it sounds like some of us want the blame game played in one direction only. Just in case you were sleeping, two highly virulent books came out last year blaming Christianity for just about everything, including all anti-semitism throughout all of time and every war since the other JC was a corporal; one of them by arguably the world’s leading Darwinist. These tomes follow in the giant footprints of forty years of Christianity-bashing in the academy by the children of ’68, who love nothing more than to twist history to fit their totalitarian enthusiasms and high opinion of themselves.

    But aren’t we sensitive when the obvious is pointed out on an obscure little site on the Web—that the mass murder wrought by totalitarian regimes in the last century can be credibly linked to Darwinism on many levels? Let me see—where should we begin? We are all aware, I assume, that Lenin and Mao both claimed Marx as their spiritual guru? And we are also aware that Marx loved Darwin’s theory? We know enough about history, don’t we, to realize that Marx made the elimination of religion a necessary condition of his utopia? And that Darwin’s theory was used to legitimatize this noble goal?

    And we are all aware, of course, that Hitler based his notions of the superiority of the German nation on the superman and the will to power? That Hitler literally venerated Nietzsche? That the Final Solution was about race purification and had nothing to do with religion? And we do realize, of course, that Nietzsche was very much star-struck by Darwin? That Nietzsche regarded Darwin’s theory as a source of liberation from God and all notions of “the good”? That he wrote a nasty little book called “Beyond Good and Evil”? That this book can be read by wretched men like Hitler as an invitation to genocide?

    The popular notion that Nietzsche opposed Darwin is based on a misunderstanding. Nietzsche did not oppose Darwin’s naturalism; he heartily embraced it. In fact he foresaw that it was the precipitating event in nihilism and a crisis in Western philosophy. What he opposed was Darwin’s notion of the randomness of evolution. In Nietzsche’s retelling of the story, man and his superiority are the product of a will to dominate found in nature itself. And happiness is therefore a matter of killing the Christian God with his self-sacrificing love and reclaiming this diabolical will.

    No credible link between the horrors of the 20th century and Darwin’s theory of unguided evolution? Come on boys; join the fun. After all, it just isn’t possible to hide the truth forever. And take heart! Maybe you’ll learn to love being bashed as much as Christians do.

  75. 75

    f.blair said,

    Larry,
    In that case if Christianity influenced the founders of America and if America influenced the Nazi eugenics program then it seems we could trace the owners of the problem back as far as we like!

    Judge Jones said that it is “very clear” that Christianity did not influence the Founders, and who are we to question Judge Jones? He said in his Dickinson College commencement speech,

    . . . .this much is very clear. The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.

    – from
    http://www.dickinson.edu/comme.....dress.html

  76. poachy @ 37

    …quoting Mein Kampf in an attempt to try and show that Hitler thought he was doing God’s work was a low blow.

    Hitler first rose to power by winning an election, so it’s hardly a surprise that he used Christian rhetoric. He was a politician, for goodness sake, trying to appeal to the German electorate, which included a lot of clueless Christians. Perverting the right ways of the Lord

    Perverting the right ways of the Lord is hardly a new tactic.
    Since Der Füror’s actions, after coming to power, followed Darwin’s words (check 27 et. al.), pointing out the link between the two may indeed be an instance of “Godwin’s law”, since that “law” says nothing of whether or not such a link is apt. However methinks the polemic “law” that Mr. McNeil was reaching for was Reductio ad Hitlerum.

    f.blair @ 74

    Don’t forget selective breeding is even mentioned in the bible!

    Oh yeah? Where?

  77. 77

    To me, the best thing about the Darwin-to-Hitler stuff — regardless of how true it is — is that it is a nice slap in the big fat face (in the words of Kansas U. Prof. Paul Mirecki) of the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL regards criticisms of Darwinism as extremely anti-semitic. The ADL has –

    (1) — called the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision a “victory for students.”
    http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Re.....841_90.htm

    (2) — had that crackpot Judge Jones as a guest speaker at a national executive committee meeting.
    http://www.adl.org/Civil_Right....._jones.asp

    (3) — submitted an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs/appellees in the Selman v. Cobb County evolution-disclaimer textbook sticker case and gave an “Unsung Hero Award” to lead plaintiff Jeffrey Selman –
    http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Re.....737_90.htm

    (4) — called students “the real winners” in the Great Cobb County Cop-out, where the Cobb County school board took a dive by settling out of court with the plaintiffs even though the school board was ahead (the district court decision was vacated and remanded because of missing evidence and the appeals court judges indicated at an oral hearing that they were leaning towards reversal) –
    http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Re.....949_90.htm

    (5) — condemned the Darwin-to-Hitler “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy” TV show produced by Coral Ridge Ministries.
    http://www.adl.org/PresRele/HolNa_52/4877_52.htm

    (6) — While condemning linkage of Social Darwinism to the holocaust, the hypocritical ADL has no qualms about linking “Christian antisemitic ideology” to the holocaust.
    http://www.adl.org/education/d.....issue2.asp

    (7) — filed an amicus brief in Edwards v. Aguillard 482 U.S. 578, 580 (1987), showing that ADL opposition to criticisms of Darwinism is not new (the American Jewish Congress filed a separate amicus brief) –
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/.....vol=578#t*

    What in the hell does the evolution controversy got to do with anti-semitism? Ironically, orthodox Jews tend to be some of the biggest supporters of creationism and Intelligent Design. See –

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....er-is.html

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....ss-of.html

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....idism.html

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....-they.html

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