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New atheist Darwinist wants MD’s Darwin-dissing paper retracted

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Readers will recall Joseph Kuhn, the Baylor Med School M.D. who dissected Darwinism and found it rotting ( .pdf here). At Evolution News & Views, Jonathan Wells advises us that Jerry Coyne, of “Why Evolution Is True” blog, is far from pleased:

The doctor is Joseph Kuhn, a surgeon at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and he’s just published an article in the Proceedings of that center, which I presume is a respectable, peer-reviewed journal. Well, it isn’t respectable any more, for Kuhn’s article, ”Dissecting Darwinism” (free at the link), is merely a cobbled-together list of canards from the Discovery Institute (DI). It’s poorly written, dreadful, full of scientific errors, and the journal should not only be ashamed of it, but retract it.

On Jerry’s say-so.

Wells notes that Coyne repeats a curious claim that Swedish scientists Nilsson and Pelger

… showed in a cool computer model that a complex camera eye could easily evolve, and in relatively few generations, from a simple light-sensitive pigmented eyespot,

which Wells says, “borders on fraud.”

It strikes a layperson that if they had done anything of the kind, the world would know, and there would be key medical applications.

But … crickets, crickets …

17 Replies to “New atheist Darwinist wants MD’s Darwin-dissing paper retracted

  1. 1
    champignon says:

    It strikes a layperson that if they had done anything of the kind, the world would know, and there would be key medical applications.

    Medical applications??

  2. 2
    tjguy says:

    Hmm. I tried to post a number of times on Coyne’s website. Anyone else ever try? Every post I sent in got rejected by the moderator and did not show on the screen.

    Reading down through the comments on Coyne’s website, I thought it was kind of strange that they were all positive, in Coyne’s favor. Everyone is making fun of creationists.

    In all of my posts, it was clear that I was taking the other position and supporting ID, but I was not impolite at all.

    In one of the posts, I simply asked for clarification of a point Coyne made in his article that I didn’t understand. Maybe someone here can help me.

    Kuhn writes this in his article:
    “Furthermore, Darwinian evolution and natural selection could not have been causes of the origin of life, because they require replication to operate, and there was no replication prior to the origin of life.”

    Coyne responds: “He doesn’t seem to realize that one could consider replication as an essential property of life, and that the ability of replicate would have been strongly selected for among early proto-life forms. The last sentence above is simply gibberish.”

    I do not understand Coyne’s response here. To me what Kuhn says makes sense. How can you have Darwinian processes and natural selection at work before life has begun? before replication has begun?

    Coyne says: “the ability of replicate would have been strongly selected for among early proto-life forms”

    Certainly if a cell somehow came together and wrote it’s own software for replication and began to replicate, sure, it would have a huge advantage! Then, once replication has occurred, Darwinian processes could theoretically begin to work. But if a cell has gained the ability to replicate, wouldn’t that mean that life has evolved? Could a cell replicate if it was not alive? I doubt it. So what Kuhn is saying seems accurate to me.

    Can someone explain Coyne’s reasoning to me? Thanks.

  3. 3

    Well, it just seems to be an opinion piece. No reason to recall it.

    But I agree with Coyne that it’s pretty terrible.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    Great one bald assertion to support another bald assertion.

  5. 5
    Upright BiPed says:

    Tj,

    There must be something wrong with your connection, because protective moderation only happens at “creationist” sites, lying of course.

    Also, there will be no need to have Coynes position explained to you. All you need to know is that scientist agree with it. If you wait long enough this will be demonstrated for you.

  6. 6
    Chas D says:

    How can you have Darwinian processes and natural selection at work before life has begun? before replication has begun

    Though I would reject pretty much all of Kuhn’s rehashed Hoyle-isms, I have to agree that this is a fair statement. “Darwin-style” evolution of replicators cannot happen without replicators.

    Failure to demarcate these two concepts in the minds of critics is a constant plaint of the evo-defender, so we could hardly take exception to it!

    But, as soon as one gets replication – replication of the property of replication – one does in principle have the opportunity for a ‘contest’ between better replicators: the spark of life igniting a chain reaction.

  7. 7

    Well, first obvious criticism: he invokes Tiktaalik and doesn’t even bother to cite the actual primary literature on it. The only references I can see are to the NYT and Casey Luskin.

    And it’s full of unreferenced claims (what you would call “bald assertions”) e.g.

    Even though this species has been disparaged by scientific circles…

    No reference supplied. In other words the scholarship would get a failing mark in an undergraduate submission.

  8. 8
    Joe says:

    What about Tiktaalik? It sure as heck wasn’t what Shubin was looking for.

  9. 9
    stjones says:

    I’m a recently-retired software developer with some spare time. Maybe I’ll write a cool computer model that will show Coyne and PZ can mate and produce a creationist.

  10. 10
    Blue_Savannah says:

    Some of us believe in academic freedom, Mr Coyne.

  11. 11

    And some of us also believe in peer-review!

    But this was a “Proceedings” paper, so probably doesn’t claim to be, so I agree that Coyne was wrong.

    If it was billed as a peer-reviewed paper, then I would have agreed with Coyne that it should have been pulled (well, rejected in the first place, actually).

    There is a difference between censoring opinion, and peer-reviewing papers. Nobody in academia thinks that people should be prevented from publishing stuff. What they do think is that peer-reviewed publications should receive adequate peer-review. It’s an important distinction.

  12. 12
    tjguy says:

    Clarification:

    In my previous post I accused Coyne’s site of not posting my posts. It took a while to get moderator approval, but two of them did finally appear. I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

    My other posts did not post, but now I’m guessing it was because I posted with my iphone rather than my computer, but not sure.

    Anyway, I wanted to retract that accusation and say that I was wrong. Sorry.

  13. 13
    tjguy says:

    Sorry. I corrected my post. I apologize for the misleading accusation. It took a long time, but finally two of my posts did appear.

    Thank you too for your condescending explanation of what Coyne wrote!

  14. 14
    tjguy says:

    Dr. Liddle,

    Peer review is not all it is cracked up to be.

    “In Nature earlier this month (published online 5 October 2011 | Nature 478, 7 (2011) | doi:10.1038/478007a), a headline read, “The voice of science: let’s agree to disagree.” Subtitle: “Consensus reports are the bedrock of science-based policy-making. But disagreement and arguments are more useful, says Daniel Sarewitz.” That represents severe erosion of the bedrock. His first line: “When scientists wish to speak with one voice, they typically do so in a most unscientific way: the consensus report.” Sharing recent examples of the politics that stifle minority opinions, Sarewitz advised more debate and less consensus. For example, “much of what is most interesting about a subject gets left out of the final report.” Take-home paragraph:

    The very idea that science best expresses its authority through consensus statements is at odds with a vibrant scientific enterprise. Consensus is for textbooks; real science depends for its progress on continual challenges to the current state of always-imperfect knowledge. Science would provide better value to politics if it articulated the broadest set of plausible interpretations, options and perspectives, imagined by the best experts, rather than forcing convergence to an allegedly unified voice.

    Conflict of interest: The field of bioengineering is a good place to look for demons undercutting objectivity. The lure of fame or money clouds the objectivity of some researchers, while products of bioengineering – including human cloning – overlap with ethics, philosophy, and theology in big ways. In a Nature book review about Jonathan Moreno’s new book The Body Politic: The Battle Over Science in America (Bellevue Literary Press, 2011), reviewer Kevin Finneran used the eye-catching headline, “Bioethics: Brave new politics” (Nature 478, 13 October 2011, pp. 184–185, doi:10.1038/478184a). Emphasizing the fact that today’s science cannot remove itself from society, Finneran said, “The age of bioscience has become the age of biopolitics.” Apparently Moreno wrote his book with a political bias of his own: “Moreno devotes much of the book to a critique of what he sees as a neoconservative hostility to science, and explains how science can be a key ingredient of a progressive political agenda.” That doesn’t sound objective; in fact, Finneran felt that “Moreno’s analysis focuses too heavily on the neoconservatives,” while he himself showed he had some heart for conservative concerns: “The challenge is to maintain this human side of science when the research, to many people, seems to be a threat to what is essentially human.”

    To continue reading, check out “Objectivity of science undermined” on this site:

    http://crev.info/2011/10/11102.....ndermined/

  15. 15
    Upright BiPed says:

    TJ,

    My suspicions of Coyne’s site are modestly founded – my first, last, and only post there did not show up at all. I was questioning Dr Coyne’s understanding of the dynamics involved in the transfer of information during protein synthesis. I am quite certain that we would disagree as to the nature of the process, just as I am quite certain he would not like his position to be probed in public.

    I apologized for creating any misunderstanding.

  16. 16
    Uyi Iredia says:

    You aren’t the only one who has experienced censorship and biased treatments at the hands of evolutionists. I empathize with you

  17. 17
    Uyi Iredia says:

    I guess the same goes for me, eh. Should have been smart enough to read the post before making my comment.

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