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Evolution — No longer inspiring the confidence it once did


I just received this press release. I want to encourage conversation here about its accuracy and significance.


Wednesday, October 11th was an historic day in the life of the European Parliament.

Polish member of the European Parliament, Maciej Giertych, retired head of the Genetics Department of the Polish Academy of Science, and father of Polish Deputy Prime Minister, Roman Giertych, introduced a public seminar on the General Theory of Evolution to fellow MEP’s.

Professor Giertych questioned the value of teaching a continually falsified hypothesis – macroevolution – to students throughout Europe, as well as pointing out its lack of usefulness in regard to scientific endeavour.

Professor Giertych introduced the subject by relating how his children had returned home from school having been taught about the theory of evolution. They were told that the proof of macroevolution – the common ancestry of biological life – was to be found in the science of genetics. This was news to Professor Giertych who had spent his life working at the highest level of genetic research. He revealed to the meeting that such proof does not exist in genetics, only disproof.

This was reinforced by the speech of Professor Emeritus Joseph Mastropaolo who had travelled from the USA to participate in the Brussels hearing. He explained that the biological sciences offer no empirical proof of macroevolution, just insurmountable problems. The theory of evolution consists merely of interpretational evidences which by their very nature could be interpreted in many different ways. He told the audience that the theory, after more than 150 years, still lacked any empirical proof.

Dr. Hans Zillmer, a German Palaeontologist and member of the New York Academy of Sciences, told the meeting that the fossil record holds no proof for evolution theory either. Instead of showing gradual change from one species to another, as is often claimed in the classroom, it actually reveals the stasis and stability of life forms.

Finally, Dr. Guy Berthault spoke to the audience about the results of his empirical research programmes concerning the deposition of sediments. Contrary to the established idea that the geologic column was formed slowly over millions of years, horizontal layer by layer, he revealed that his ongoing research proves empirically that the whole column could have been laid down in a matter of months. His research, which has been published in journals of the National Academy of Sciences in France, Russia and China, shows that continuous deposition of water borne sediments sort themselves mechanically and a simple change in current velocity cause strata to build upon each other whilst still progressing in the direction of flow.

In opposition to the existing notion of sediment deposition that is generally taught, Dr. Berthault revealed that his empirical experimental results clearly show that parts of undisturbed lower strata are actually younger than parts of higher strata laid down in a continuous flow.

This means that fossils can not be dated by the strata that they are found in, nor the rocks dated by the type of fossils found in them and makes nonsense of the geologic column as it is currently taught.

Amongst those helping to organise the historic seminar were Dr. Dominique Tassot, Director of Centre d’Etude et de Prospectives sur la Science (C.E.P). C.E.P. is an organisation consisting of 700 French speaking scientists, intellectuals and representatives of other professions, all of whom oppose evolutionary theory on scientific grounds.



C.E.P. – s.cep@wanadoo.fr

Information: research conducted by Dr. G. Berthault


Attachment for general information:

Recent interview with Dr. Tassot – August 22nd, 2006.

Ride a Century... [...]water is effective when mixed with paraffin when washing the bike. While cleaning be careful[...]... Ride a Century
The information is at the link provided in post #10. If you read the reviews of Dr. Zillmer's book you will find one that says that he has particpated in more than 30 digs. As far as scientific vigour is concerned the same question applies to anyone involved in the natural sciences. I believe that scientific integrity should be assumed unless something happens to indicate otherwise. Or should we go around questioning everyone's qualifications, experience, sincerity or integrity? That is where the internet ad hominum comes in. Such information is usually in the public domain and should be checked before publicly questioning their abilities. I realise of course, from reading the information about his book, that what he claims is likely to be lightly dismissed. Perhaps mainstream paleontologists should scientifically investigate such evidences themselves in conjunction with people such as Dr. Zillmer and publish their findings in the literature. That is the only way to resolve such claims one way or the other. JMJ
JMJ, Can you give me link to this public information about Hans Zillmer (even if it's in German)? Although I agree that being a paleontologist does not necessarily require specific degrees, it does put a dent in his credibility since we cannot be sure if he really does fit Berkeley's definition of scientific rigor or if he's and his supporters are just saying that. And how is questioning his academic background an ad hominum attack? Monimonika
"Polish MEP calls for scholarly debate on evolution". You can listen to, and read the transcript of, Maciej Giertych on Radio Poland's English language External Service. www.polskieradio.pl/polonia/article.asp?tId=43301&j=2 JMJ
According to the public information available about Hans Zillmer he has 30 years experience in the paleontological field, has taken part in numerous paleontological excavations, and spoken regularly about the subject on German T.V. Whether certain people like it or not, that makes him a paleontologist. Berkeley's definition of paleontologist: "Formal education is not a prerequisite for becoming a paleontologist. What's needed is a keen analytical mind, curiosity and imagination tempered by scientific rigor, and lots of patience — to keep visiting sites, to keep good notes, and to familiarize yourself with what is known about the fossils and time period that you are studying." It is not necessary to hold a doctorate in order to be a paleontologist. The press release that this discussion is based upon does not claim that he holds a doctorate in paleontology. Just more of the usual ad hominum attacks and character assassinations I'm afraid. It's interesting to note that scientists like Maciej Giertych and Guy Berthault can publish and speak freely amongst European Academies of Science, including the ex-Soviet bloc, whilst scientists who are critical of evolutionary theory are persecuted in the good ol' US of A. That used to be the case in Communist occupied Europe. Now it's old wine in new U.S. bottles. It smells of sour grapes to me. JMJ
Just (finally) read through the comments and spotted Jan Werth's post #10. Sorry for missing that one earlier, and thank you! Monimonika
Michaels7, Sorry for the confusion of what I typed. I meant to point out that there seemed to be very little of the oft-mentioned accusations made of most anti-evolutionists that could be tied into Prof. Giertych. Of what could be tied in, having conservative concerns that relate to religious belief (particularly Christian belief) and being "limited" in knowledge of genetics beyond plants, neither are strong (or even possibly valid) arguments against his credibility. Prof. Giertych's actual ideas can be argued against, though. From what I skimmed (sorry, I need to sleep soon) of his explanation of how (micro)evolution works, the basic idea(s) seem to be "mutations do not add new information" / "mutations do not produce new features" / "microevolution selects only existing variation" / "most mutations are harmful". In case you're wondering, the above "quoted" parts are from the title links to sections of the "An Index to Creationist Claims" (specifically, in section CB: Biology). *hears the groans and/or yawns of many, many, many of the contributers here at the mention of this online list* Apologies to the folks here for dragging this list out, but Prof. Giertych's arguments seemed to match too well with the above claims. By the way, has anyone been looking into the credentials of the other people who were mentioned? Is Hans Zillmer really a paleontologist (with the appropriate/related degrees)? I'm genuinely curious about what degrees Hans Zillmer studied for and graduated with, and am also wondering why it's so hard to find the info, much less a trustworthy source, on the matter. Monimonika
moni, "Other than being a conservative politician (among his fears being homosexualism and moral relativism) and that his field dealt exclusively with plants, there doesn’t seem to be much “evidence” for claiming that he is biased or very misinformed." How would an aversion to anal sex or moral relativism make one biased in science? Is this your point? Or are you trying to make another one? I'm not sure I understand why you would post it. I'd also see that plants are good field of research for evolution, just ask Dr. Sanford, another geneticist that things macro-evolution and all the hand-wringing to be much-ado about nothing. I have seen quite the opposite bias in science; however, maybe you heard about it? Though CNN would never have told you. One of the first scientific studies of homosexuality announced widely to the public as "evidence" for homosexual genes was later found to be completely erroneous. Many major TV and News print media ran prominent headlines supporting the science study as fact, not questioning the findings at all. And since Media rushed to "annoint" it as "scientifically" true, like Piltdown man and Nebraska man. Then how could we lowly commoners ever question the findings? The study was later discovered to be completely unfounded, without duplication, without any merit whatsover by other studies - by "heterosexuals", but certainly, those scientist were biased? I wonder if they were conservative or liberals? Does it matter? The original study was done by a homosexual. But the media did not bother to follow-up like so many of their misleading headline stories and inform the public of the truth - that the study was false and may have been an "a priori" assumption on part of the research scientist. They didn't wait for second studies. They instead announced it to the world as truth. In fact, even today you will have many misinformed people stating that homosexuality is not a choice or preference - without a shred of evidence because our media once published it with glaring headlines that it was true. This is the problem with much of our media today across most subjects, including evolution, or corporate funded research, like embryonic stem cells which demands the government pay for its profit potential, while even recently they admitted any serious breakthrus were 10 years away. But adult stem cell research continues to thrive with real clinical research. Michaels7
[...] Evolution — No longer inspiring the confidence it once did Since Bill posted a little bit about Maciej Giertych in , I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight Maciej’s own saga. He details it in his review of Creation Rediscovered, by Gerard J. Keane Sometime in 1955, when I was taking Honor Moderations in Science (Botany, Chemistry and Geology) at Oxford University, the O. U. Biology Club announced a lecture against the theory of Evolution. The largest auditorium in the Biology Labs was filled to capacity. When the speaker was introduced (I regret I do not remember his name), it turned out he was an octogenarian with a Ph.D. in biology from Cambridge, obtained in the 19th century. [...] Maciej Giertych in his own words | Uncommon Descent
Maciej Giertych reviews Keane
Sometime in 1955, when I was taking Honor Moderations in Science (Botany, Chemistry and Geology) at Oxford University, the O. U. Biology Club announced a lecture against the theory of Evolution. The largest auditorium in the Biology Labs was filled to capacity. When the speaker was introduced (I regret I do not remember his name), it turned out he was an octogenarian with a Ph.D. in biology from Cambridge, obtained in the 19th century. He spoke fervently against the theory of Evolution, defending what was for us an obviously indefensible position. He did not convince anybody with his antique arguments; he did not understand the questions that were fired at him; he rejected science as we knew it. We all had a good laugh hearing this dinosaur. He fought for his convictions against a sophisticated scientific environment, deaf to any opinions inspired by religious beliefs. Today his views are being vindicated by new evidence from natural sciences. May his soul rest in peace. In 1955, like all in my generation, I was fully convinced that Evolution was an established biological fact. The evidence was primarily paleontological. We were taught how to identify geological strata with the help of fossils, specific for a given epoch. The rocks were dated by the fossils, the fossils by the strata. A lecturer in stratigraphy, when asked during a field trip how the strata were dated, explained that we know the rate of current sedimentation, the depths of strata and thus the age of rocks. In any case, there are new isotopic techniques that confirm all this. This sounded very scientific and convincing. In my studies I went on to a B.A. and M.A. in forestry, a Ph.D. in plant physiology and finally a D.Sc. in genetics. For a long time I was not bothered by geology, Evolution or any suspicious thoughts. I had my own field of research in population genetics of forest trees, with no immediate relevance to the controversy over Evolution. Gradually, as my children got to the stage of learning biology in school and discussing their problems with Dad, I realized that the evidence for Evolution had shifted from paleontology and embryology to population genetics. But population genetics is my subject! I knew it was used to explain how Evolution progressed, but I was not aware it is used to prove it. Without my noticing it, my special field had become the supplier of the most pertinent evidence supporting the theory. If Evolution were proved in some field I was not familiar with, I understood the need to accommodate my field to this fact, to suggest explanations how it occurred in terms of genetics. But to claim that these attempted explanations are the primary evidence for the theory was quite unacceptable to me. I started reading the current literature on the topic of Evolution. Until then I was not aware how shaky the evidence for Evolution was, how much of what was "evidence" had to be discarded, how little new evidence had been accumulated over the years, and how very much ideas dominate facts. These ideas have become dogma, yet they have no footing in natural sciences. They stem from materialistic philosophies. My primary objection as a geneticist was to the claim that the formation of races, or microevolution, as it is often referred to, is a small scale example of macroevolution - the origin of species. Race formation is, of course, very well documented. All it requires is isolation of a part of a population. After a few generations, due to natural selection and genetic drift, the isolated population will irreversibly lose some genes, and thus, as long as the isolation continues, in some features it will be different from the population it arose from. In fact, we do this ourselves all the time when breeding, substituting natural with artificial selection and creating artificial barriers to generative mixing outside the domesticated conditions. The important thing to remember here is that a race is genetically impoverished relative to the whole population. It has fewer alleles (forms of genes). Some of them are arranged into special, interesting, rare combinations. This is particularly achieved by guided recombination of selected forms in breeding work. But these selected forms are less variable (less polymorphic). Thus what is referred to as micro-evolution represents natural or artificial reduction of the gene pool. You will not get Evolution that way. Evolution means construction of new genes. It means increase in the amount of genetic information, and not reduction of it. The evolutionary value of new races or selected forms should be demonstrable by natural selection. However, if allowed to mix with the general breeding population, new races will disappear. The genes in select combinations will disperse again; the domesticated forms will go wild. Thus there is no evidence for Evolution here. Mutations figure prominently in the Evolution story. When in the early '60s I was starting breeding work on forest trees, everyone was very excited about the potential of artificial mutations. In many places around the world, special "cobalt bomb" centers were established to stimulate rates of mutations. What wonderful things were expected from increased variability by induced mutations. All of this work has long since been abandoned. It led nowhere. All that was obtained were deformed freaks, absolutely useless in forestry. Maybe occasionally some oddity could be of ornamental value, but never able to live on its own in natural conditions. A glance through literature on mutations outside forestry quickly convinced me that the pattern is similar everywhere. Mutations are either neutral or detrimental. Positive ones, if they do occur, are too rare to be noticeable. Stability in nature is the rule. We have no proofs for Evolution from mutation research. It is sometimes claimed that strains of diseases resistant to antibiotics, or weeds resistant to herbicides, are evidence for positive mutations. This is not so. Most of the time, the acquired resistance is due to genetic recombination and not due to mutations. Where mutations have been shown to be involved, their role depends on deforming part of the genetic code, which results in a deformed, usually less effective protein that is no longer suitable for attachment by the harmful chemical. Herbicides are "custom made" for attachability to a vital protein specific for the weed species, and they kill the plant by depriving the protein of its function when attached to it. A mutation that cancels attachability to the herbicide and does not totally deprive the protein of its function is in this case beneficial, since it protects the functionality of the protein. However this is at a price, since in fact the change is somewhat detrimental to normal life processes. At best it is neutral. There are many ways in which living systems protect functionality. This is one of them. Others include healing or eliminating deformed parts or organisms. Natural selection belongs here. So does the immunological adaptation to an invader. Of course such protective adaptations do not create new species, new kinds, new organs or biological systems. They protect what already exists, usually at a cost. Defects accumulate along the way. Within the genome of a species, that is, in the molecular structure of its DNA, we find many recurrent specific nucleotide sequences, known as "repeats." Different ones occur in different species. If this variation (neutral as far as we know) arose from random mutations, it should be random. How then did the "repeats" come to be? If mutations are the answer, they could not have been random. In this context "genetic drive" is postulated, as distinct from "genetic drift." But Who or what does the driving? The empirical science of genetics knows only random mutations. Currently there are new suggestions that molecular genetics provides evidence for Evolution. Analyses of DNA sequences in various species should show similarities between related ones and big differences between systematically far-removed species. They do exactly that. Molecular genetics generally confirms the accuracy of taxonomy. But at the same time, it does not confirm postulated evolutionary sequences. There are no progressive changes, say from fishes to amphibians, to reptiles to mammals. Molecular genetics confirms systematics, not phylogeny; Linnaeus, not Darwin. No. Genetics has no proofs for Evolution. It has trouble explaining it. The closer one looks at the evidence for Evolution, the less one finds of substance. In fact, the theory keeps on postulating evidence and failing to find it, and moves on to other postulates (fossil missing links, natural selection of improved forms, positive mutations, molecular phylogenetic sequences, etc.). This is not science. A whole age of scientific endeavor was wasted searching for a phantom. It is time we stopped and looked at the facts! Natural sciences failed to supply any evidence for Evolution. Christian philosophy tried to accommodate this unproved postulate of materialist philosophies. Much time and intellectual effort went in vain, leading only to negative moral consequences. It is time those working in the humanities were told the truth.
I want to encourage conversation here about its accuracy and significance.
To appreciate the significance, imagine that John A. Davison got himself elected a U.S. representative (not governor) of Vermont and called in some of his Rivista di Biologia cronies for a House committee hearing. The significance would be considerably less than that of Rick Santorum taking a stab at getting "teach the controversy" written into the No Child Left Behind Act and ending up with some verbiage in the Congressional Record. The significance would also be considerably less than that of President George W. Bush backing "teach the controversy" one day and sending out his science advisor the next day to explain that the president recognizes that evolution is well established as the framework of contemporary biology. DharmaBum
I (believe I) found the source of the press release (Kolbe Center), and I'm not very exiting about it... I will spent maybe some more time to read and understand the articles on Kolbe Center's website... Anyway, the idea of having a debate in the European Parliament about teaching evolution is a positive thing. Sladjo
Check out PvM's post on the topic. It's so well written!
I wonder if Dembski will abandon groupthink and speak out against poor science, even though it involves occupants of the Big Tent? As is so often the case with groupthink websites, it appears that UncommonDescent has finally disabled trackbacks. Since critical postings at UcD seem to be discouraged by the groupthink syndrome, I hope that UcD posters will use this opportunity to contribute at a much friendlier site.
Seriously now- did Pim, the most prolific poster on the world's biggest groupthink site actually use the term "groupthink" that many times?! I'm waiting for Pim's next post...it should go something like this:
Dembski's faithfuls are all slow morons who prop up a vaccuous theory via groupthink. The groupthink that exists among his followers is astouding, in that they actually support such a vaccuous idea as ID. ID is so completely vaccuous, part of a groupthink mentality, that it should be shunned by anyone with any sense. Hopefully Dembski's worshippers will get rid of their groupthink mentality and call ID 'vaccuous' as that's precisely what it is. Love Pim. Poster at the non-groupthink site full of civility and an utter lack of name calling, PT
These are all Young Earth Creationist and I assume they will be politely listened to and nothing more by members of any legislative body. Here is a comment from Wikipedia "Despite Maciej Giertych's background in biological sciences, he would like the European Parliament to act against the teaching of evolution in European schools. Maciej Giertych's son, Roman Giertych, Polish minister of education (2006) was asked if he will take any action against evolution in Polish schools. Roman Giertych's response was: "I am no expert. I am not a biologist"." jerry
I'm still looking up on the people mentioned in the article. Searches on Prof. Giertych indicate that he really is the retired head of the Genetics Department of the Polish Academy of Science (which I also looked up and found nothing negative about so far). Other than being a conservative politician (among his fears being homosexualism and moral relativism) and that his field dealt exclusively with plants, there doesn't seem to be much "evidence" for claiming that he is biased or very misinformed. As for Hans Zillmer, I found an English wikipedia page titled "Hans-Joachim Zillmer" that claims that he studied civil engineering and got a doctorate in political science in German universities. No mention of getting any degree having to do with paleontology, though. Then again, there's no discussion associated with the page, and it doesn't show up on the Wikipedia search, so I don't trust this source very much. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Joachim_Zillmer Can someone point to somewhere that lists Zillmer's degrees he got from universities? Monimonika
The heavy use of titles and memberships reeks of ham-fisted credentialism todd
This press release smells propagandistic. todd
Zillmer is a civil engineer and holds a doctorate in political science, but he is not a paleontologist. http://www.zillmer.com/e_index2.htm Jan Werth
Uha, I know some books of Zillmer. Interesting ideas sometimes, sometimes even a good point but I think they have very, very low scientific value. There are - in my opinion - devastating replies to Zillmer on german and they list many good facts against his theorys. Zillmer is also not very selective in choosing his information resources and builds up on outdated "evidence". His evidence for a coexistence of dinosaurs and humans for example has been discarded by the german organisation "Wort und Wissen" who holds to a young earth. Zillmers motivation is not religious but that means not that the quality of his work and theorys is good enough to put trust in it. And actually when I read the press release above I have no good feelings about the whole event. I hope they have presented valid arguments balanced and based on solid data. But there are some sentences in the press release that make me not optimistic concerning this hope. Markus Rammerstorfer
In his own defense: http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/guy_response_henke.htm Ben Z
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/10/keep_darwins_li.html#more Ben Z
Dr D. Fantastic news report! Could someone possibly post the link to the original site with the report on it? lucID
That sounds way way way too good to be true! Are some Darwinians playing a joke on us? Seriously... such clarity... unheard of. jpark320
So we've got 600 on the DI's list, 3000+ on Bergman's list, and now an additional 700 in the C.E.P.? We all know what radical Christian zealots those Europeans are, don't we? Darwinian evolution is undisputedly correct like I'm ten feet tall! :P crandaddy
Found this website while looking up "Joseph Mastropaolo" on Google: http://www.csulb.edu/~jmastrop/prize.html It's got info on the "Life Science Prize" which is apparently a call for a debate between an evolutionist and a creationist (yes, that's the term used on there) in front of a judge in court on which side is science/religion. Here's the first part (including the rules of debate): For years, the claim has been made that evolution is an inverted-fantasy religion taught in the public schools in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. The Debate Dodgers (see below) unanimously have failed to defend in court against that claim. Therefore, the default-judgment applies to all evolutionists in general and particularly those on the Debate Dodgers List. This is proof positive that evolution is an inverted-fantasy religion taught in the public schools in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Evidently, evolution is devoid of scientific evidence. As an acid test of that finding, the most outspoken evolutionists worldwide bar none were challenged to contend for the Life Science Prize. The rules and results follow. These data confirm the scientific peer reviewed articles of objective, valid, reliable, and calibrated evidence that evolution exists nowhere in the universe, never has, never will, except as an inverted fantasy based on vitalism superstitions 2,500 years old. Rules for the Life Science Prize 1. The evolutionist puts $10,000 in escrow with the judge. 2. The creationist puts $10,000 in escrow with the judge. 3. If the evolutionist proves evolution is science and creation is religion, then the evolutionist is awarded the $20,000. 4. If the creationist proves creation is science and evolution is religion, then the creationist is awarded the $20,000. 5. Evidence must be scientific, that is, objective, valid, reliable and calibrated. 6. The preponderance of evidence prevails. 7. At the end of the trial, the judge hands the prevailing party both checks. 8. The judge is a superior court judge. 9. The venue is a courthouse. Is this for real? Or is someone else just pasting Prof. Mastropaolo's name to this "debate"? Is there anywhere that the real Prof. Mastropaolo has debunked his association with this farce? Monimonika
That's strange, I'm trying to find online references (other than the above article) that confirms Hans Zillmer as a paleontologist/palaeontologist but can't find any English ones (can someone help me here? Maybe cite a non-English page that confirms this?). What I did find was a book by him called "Darwin's Mistake: Antediluvian Discoveries Prove: Dinosaurs and Humans Co-Existed". http://www.legendarytimesbooks.com/product.php?productid=74 I'm still looking up on the others mentioned in the article. Monimonika
Well clearly the highest levels of european biology have been taken over by anti-science luddites who are masquerading as real scientists. It must be the case because they question TOE, and we should have these heretics excommunicated and burned as the fundies they really are. jwrennie

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