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Susan Mazur’s Exposé of the Evolution Industry

New Zealand journalist Susan Mazur has published a fascinating book about some of the current controversies among evolutionary biologists. The book is a loosley edited collection of interviews with, and comments about, various people, including the Altenberg 16. Her favorites are the “two Stus” — Stuart Newman and Stuart Kauffman.

Despite the fact that Mazur seems unreflectively to share the antipathy toward ID expressed by all her subjects, and despite the fact that her book sometimes reads like a gossip column, I consider it worth reading. Some excerpts:

“Evolutionary science is as much about the posturing, salesmanship, stonewalling and bullying that goes on as it is about actual scientific theory… Perhaps the most egregious display of commercial dishonesty is this year’s celebration of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species-the so-called theory of evolution by natural selection, i.e., survival of the fittest, a brand foisted on us 150 years ago.” (p. v)

“The consensus of the evolution pack still seems to be that if an idea doesn’t fit in with Darwinism and neo-Darwinism-keep it out.” (p. vii)

“[Evolutionary biologist Massimo] Pigliucci often prefers mudslinging to enlightenment.” (p. 12)

“When I called Kevin Padian, president of the NCSE’s board of directors and a witness at the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover trial on intelligent design, to ask him about the evolution debate among scientists-he said, ‘On some things there is no debate.’ Then he hung up.” (p. 29)

“[Quoting Antonio Lima-de-Faria] It is known that the pattern of an embryo is decided by a large collection of small and large RNA’s, i.e., pure atomic processes, which have the ‘road map’ that decides the cellular pathways. [Quoting Stuart Newman] This could not be more wrong.” (p. 59)

Susan Mazur, The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry (Wellington, New Zealand: Scoop Media, 2009).

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33 Responses to Susan Mazur’s Exposé of the Evolution Industry

  1. Is this a book that is actually in print?

  2. “When I called Kevin Padian, president of the NCSE’s board of directors and a witness at the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover trial on intelligent design, to ask him about the evolution debate among scientists-he said, ‘On some things there is no debate.’ Then he hung up.” (p. 29)

    The NCSE is a genuinely nefarious organization. It should be renamed the National Center for the Obfuscation of Science, Suppression of Evidence, and Vilification of Darwin Skeptics.

    This would be an accurate description. The actions of the NCSE are thoroughly and consistently in contradiction with the mission implied by the name.

    Real scientists should be outraged by such organizations as the NCSE, because the NCSE has effectively deligitimized the entire scientific enterprise concerning origins by trying to isolate the consensus orthodoxy from obviously legitimate challenge.

    This is the antithesis of the scientific method and philosophy.

    The NCSE and others of their ilk represent the real danger to the furtherance of science.

  3. Is this the same J Wells that denies the link between HIV & AIDS ?

  4. Graham 1 #3

    So what…

  5. What Wells believes or does not believe about the correlation between HIV and AIDS is a non sequitur, Graham.

    What counts is that neo-Darwinism is being forced down pretty much everyone’s throat and the fact that people can lose their jobs over not believing it mystifies me.

  6. I do not know what Jon Wells’s considered opinion about HIV and AIDS is. Perhaps he will write on the subject.

    This much I know is true: AIDS has become a health care industry, and as such, must be treated like all industries.

    As I have written here before, in the early stages of the epidemic, overdiagnosis played a predictable major role. Overdiagnosis was commonly due to lack of lab-based testing.

    Practical nurses in the field were, understandably, diagnosing AIDS on the basis of symptoms alone. However, many diseases have similar symptoms, but arise from different causes.

    Cause-specific treatment requires, at minimum, identifying the correct cause.

  7. Barb,

    and the fact that people can lose their jobs over not believing it mystifies me.

    Examples?

  8. Ms Mazur describes the Altenbern 16 as ‘exposing’ Evolution. Im not sure if this is reflected in their final official statement as follows (in part):

    By incorporating these new results and insights into our understanding of evolution, we believe that the explanatory power of evolutionary theory is greatly expanded within biology and beyond. …

    I get the impression that Ms Mazur doesnt have a clue.

    Regarding Wells denial of HIV, do a search for virusmyth, and there he is. Along with Phillip Johnson.

  9. Graham1 # 3 and 8:

    So what??? Get to the point of what is being discussed here — the Mazur’s exposé of evolution industry.

  10. Cabal @ 7-

    Guillermo Gonzalez.
    Caroline Crocker.
    Lloyd Dale.
    Richard Sternberg.
    Forrest Mims.
    Robert Gentry.
    Robert Paull.
    Michael Reiss.

  11. But Barb, Cabal wants examples for which he hasn’t already dismissed the facts by rationalizing them away. He wants the names of those for whom there can be no excuse or other irrational explanation for their dismissals.

    Problem is this:

    “There’s an excuse for anything . . . if you want it that way.” -Leonard Ravenhill

  12. barb’s source.

    Can someone tell me what job Sternberg lost?

  13. #12 Staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Basically it amounted to constructive dismissal.

    It is actually very interesting reading the Wikipedia entry and comparing it to his own explanation. http://www.richardsternberg.org/smithsonian.php.

  14. Mung,

    Barnes and Noble has a pre-order page for the book.

    Susan Mazur’s page

  15. #12 Staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Basically it amounted to constructive dismissal.

    Oh? That’s an accusation I haven’t heard about. Do you have a link describing what happened?

  16. 15 Heinrich,
    It is posted above ( # 13 )

    http://www.richardsternberg.org/smithsonian.php

  17. #15

    I say it was constructive dismissal because if you make someone’s work situation intolerable it amounts to constructive dismissal. If he was demoted, placed under someone who was hostile, moved to a different isolated office, had access to research equipment revoked, etc you have pretty much been dismissed.

    Anyway his wesbite is one source which links to many others. http://www.richardsternberg.org/smithsonian.php.

    For the completely different side of the story the Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Sternberg may be helpful.

    I trust that these will provide you with enough information to form your own opinion. I have listened to a debate in which he participated and he seems highly competent and certainly no creationist. He refers to himself as a structuralist.

    There is a PDF on his website about his view on evolution – specifically on how he came to reject Darwinian evolution as an adequate explanation of the development of life – to be very interesting and worth a read whichever side of the debate you are on.
    http://www.richardsternberg.or.....lbio08.pdf

  18. I say it was constructive dismissal because if you make someone’s work situation intolerable it amounts to constructive dismissal. If he was demoted, placed under someone who was hostile, moved to a different isolated office, had access to research equipment revoked, etc you have pretty much been dismissed.

    And where’s the evidence that any of that happened at the NCBI? I’ve never seen any allegations of these happening at the NCBI.

    Um, you are aware that the NCBI is not the Smithsonian, are you?

  19. Heinrich,

    Um, what is *your* point? And what would you do in Sternberg’s situation? Have you ever experienced ostracism as an unpleasant surprise after several of your respected colleagues approved of your editorial discretion? I doubt it.

    Why don’t say what you mean, rather than hide behind your oblique interrogatives?

  20. My point, toc, is that Sternberg was never sacked.

    I’ve not heard anything about why he left the NCBI, and this leads me to conclude that it wasn’t constructive dismissal – if it was, this would have been mentioned multiple times on this blog.

    Aren’t we all meant to be interested in truth?

  21. #20

    As per my link his website states why he left and provides external information which backs up his story. In his own words here is what happened. http://www.richardsternberg.or.....ge=summary

    Seems like a pretty clear cut case of constructive dismissal. His allegations appear to be backed up by the letter he received from the US Office of Special Appeal. http://www.richardsternberg.or.....age=letter

  22. You are right, Heinrich, he wasn’t sacked, he was merely dismissed, which in the minds of his colleagues, is possibly worse than being sacked. Had that not happened, he would not be the subject of such a controversy.

    And yes, we are all meant to be interested in the truth. One’s misunderstanding does not necessitate falsification; it is simply a point of clarification–not negation.

  23. Heinrich,

    Nobody said that NCBI fired Sternberg; Barb mentioned how she was mystified that people lose their jobs because of their disbelief in evolution.

    If you want to argue that he was not fired or dismissed, then I’m sure toc and others would concede that he was harrassed, demoted, persecuted and mistreated for his belief. If that is your contention, then I’m fine with that.

  24. Well, as for Gonzales – he was not fired. One may get tenure – or not, and that’s that.

    For the rest – http://www.expelledexposed.com/

    We find them all there, and it takes some stretching of fact to claim they were Expelled.

    Is it too much to ask that the facts are laid bare; don’t they speak for themselves?

  25. Cabal @ 24-
    I may have erred in including Gonzales, but then again, the person who was leading the debate not to give him tenure was an outspoken atheist.

    It takes no stretching of any facts to see that these people were harassed and, in some cases, fired or dismissed because of what they believe.

    Since you’re familiar with a website debunking Stein’s film, can I ask if you’ve seen the film itself?

  26. Cabal,

    “Expelled Exposed” Exposed: Your One-Stop Rebuttal to Attacks on the Documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

    When your agenda driven link is exposed is it really too much to let the facts speak for themselves?

  27. Nobody said that NCBI fired Sternberg; Barb mentioned how she was mystified that people lose their jobs because of their disbelief in evolution.

    Right, so where was he fired/constructively dismissed from? Can’t be the Smithsonian – they didn’t employ him. What job did he lose?

  28. #27

    Follow the link because you don’t seem to understand what constructive dismissal is.

    http://www.businessdictionary......issal.html

    It is a very obvious clear cut case of constructive dismissal.

    If someone attempts to answer your question you ignore it and pretend it hasn’t been answered.

    He resigned from his position as Staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information after it became impossible to continue working there because of changes to working conditions both formal and informal. This amounts to constructive dismissal by even the strictest definition.

  29. He resigned from his position as Staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information after it became impossible to continue working there because of changes to working conditions both formal and informal.

    What evidence do you have for this? I haven’t heard anything about why he left the NCBI: the only mention of them in his claims is this:

    Pressure was put on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (part of the National Institutes of Health) to fire me.

    Nothing about changes to the working conditions.

    All of the allegations investigated by the OSC were about what happened at the NMNH, which is a totally different institute to the NCBI, who were Sternberg’s employers.

  30. Heinrich,

    I’m wondering, do you deny that he was harassed, demoted and/or persecuted for his belief in intelligent design?

  31. Collin – certainly I deny demoted and persecuted. Harassed, possibly, depending on what exactly happened. It’s clear that one person at the NMNH didn’t like him, so there would have been a frosty atmosphere when that person was around. But more than that I can’t say – I wasn’t there and I haven’t seen allegations about specific events.

    And, so as not to get away from my main point – does anyone have any evidence to back up allegations of what happened at NCBI?

  32. With the kind of disdain and emotional response that the ID position evokes in many Darwinians, I am surprised that anyone would doubt that such dismissals are not a possibility, their probability increasing in direct relation to the level of revulsion.

    Anyone with an iota of common sense and limited observation powers will easily concede that such vile and venemous hatred always leads to an environment of harassment. It doesn’t take a smart person to realize this.

  33. I really do wonder how far hatred/animosity towards a particular ideology would go into affecting a person’s attitude/treatment of those who espouse such ideology.

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