Evolution Intelligent Design Media

Independent journalism, please speak up

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We can’t hear you, and we need to.

In 2008, Suzan Mazur published The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry That is, “Will the real theory of evolution please stand up?”

The book revealed what we all sensed, that many evolutionary biologists and colleagues in allied disciplines doubted that Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation) is the chief source of variation in life forms. In so doubting, they demonstrated a commitment to reason and evidence. But they  didn’t thrill the many plods and timeservers who shove Darwinism at the public as “”evolution.”

Science journalism today usually means waving pom poms at “scienceyness.” So we naturally wondered who is actually providing a venue for a serious look at the evidence?

It turned out that much of  Altenberg 16, largely interviews, could be read online at a independent publication, New Zealand’s Scoop.

Naturally, I was curious about the publication and its editor, Alastair Thompson. Mazur offers a look here:

Scoop - Independent NewsI had the best start an American journalist could hope for over four decades ago, as a writer at Hearst Magazines. But by the late 1980s, I began looking to the British print media for more internationally savvy showcases, finding The Economist magazine particularly receptive to my stories. The editors at the old Economist understood the world, the magazine took lovely risks, its language was rich, its satirical art exhilarating, and I later developed a similar relationship with the Financial Times. But when those two publications entered the US market in a big way and had to accommodate a more conservative mainstream audience, I began to look further away for venues, for “fiercely independent” online venues. In 2004, I found what I was looking for in New Zealand’s Scoop Media, following an introduction to Alastair Thompson by Catherine Austin Fitts of Solari.

Alastair Thompson was fairly young at the time, with tremendous revolutionary zeal, sporting a blonde ponytail. While the ponytail is now gone, Alastair’s enthusiasm for raw truth in journalism persists.

It’s rare in publishing when a journalist finds an editor and publisher (we have never actually met) who is both hands-off content and will defend the writers he presents. Not only has Alastair showcased and syndicated my stories for a decade, he has personally run my stories in forums, like Democratic Underground – taking on the Darwin fundamentalists and other cultists, e.g. Suzan Mazur

It was Alastair who, in 2008, single-handedly generated an E-book from my assorted evolution stories featured on Scoop, a book that infuriated the science establishment because it went out in front of an emerging story about evolution paradigm shift. Commenting on the first article published: “Altenberg! The Woodstock of Evolution?” — Science magazine noted my reporting “reverberated throughout the evolutionary biology community.”

Then the science establishment began to imitate the reporting. The catchy title “Woodstock of evolution” was used — without attribution — by Nature magazine months later on its cover to promote its own story on Altenberg. Under public pressure, Nature was forced to run a “Correction” admitting first use by me in Scoop online. Nature would not acknowledge, however, that “the Altenberg 16” — which had become a famous term in science circles — was coined online in the same Scoop story.

I wish the science media had imitated her kind of coverage more. Many have just bought themselves bigger pom poms.

But that, in fairness, is probably what many “sciencey”-minded readers want. Genuine curiosity about how the world works is probably as rare as it has ever been, and seeking confirmation of what earns a safe living, with a chance to feel superior to one’s neighbours, is as common as ever.

Origin of Life Circus Readers will recall that I’ve also been offering snippets from Mazur’s current book, The Origin of Life Circus, including this one: “Origin of life: Highlights of Suzan Mazur’s interview with researcher Corrado Spadafora”

Anyway, one might bookmark Mazur at Scoop. Or as some of us like to say, find out what’s going on while it is still safe to know.

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9 Replies to “Independent journalism, please speak up

  1. 1
    Andre says:

    I wrote a letter to a policy maker here in South Africa today.

    I’ve had it with this nonsense….. Letter below;

    Dear xxxx

    I hope this letter finds you in good stead. Having just read your paper;
    The teaching of Evolution in South African schools: challenges and Opportunities.

    I’ve decided to respond to this and lay out bare that the South African Ministry of education is in fact not only teaching racism in South African schools but they are actively promoting it. We are not making children critical thinkers we are making them race based zombies. I would like to bring this to your attention as this matter is critical for several reasons.

    In your paper you ask the question and then proceed to answer;

    Why teaching evolution is so important –what is actually taught and what should be taught?
    For South Africa – knowledge of evolution especially if taught in a way that builds on Darwin’s argument as it developed, can lead to critically thinking students – this can stand them in good stead in their daily lives as we try to combat the scourge of HIV/AIDs, multi-drug resistant TB and other problems facing African children with regard to human life on earth (Gevers, 2002).

    What is Darwin’s argument?

    In the Origin of Species Darwin’s argument is as follows;

    Chapter 1 – 5: Outlines the theory of natural selection.
    Chapter 6 – 10: Deals with the objections to his theory (6th Edition)
    Chapter 11 – 15: Is his argument for common descent by adaptive modification (6th Edition)

    This covers evolution in a broad sense and does not have much to say about human evolution. The fact that Darwin’s Natural selection which is his core argument in the origin of Species has recently been shown to be incapable of accounting for the diversity of life means that evolution taught in its current format in South African schools are in dire need of a revision. This is however not my argument.

    Here is my argument and I’m going to home in on your words because this is vital. You said “knowledge of evolution especially if taught in a way that builds on Darwin’s argument as it developed, can lead to critically thinking students.”

    Let us expand on this, Darwin wrote Descent of Man and it was published in 1871 in this work he follows up on his concept of natural selection and applies it to human evolution. It is true that Darwin did not endorse slavery and at the time he was considered liberal on his views that humans are a single specie with multiple sub-variants. But that does not alter his view that other civilizations were savages and that the black Negro was a lesser human being considered below Caucasians and above, the Gorilla.

    “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes…will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla” (Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed., John Murray, London, p. 156, 1887)

    Here are my questions to you;

    1. How does telling Negro children they are inferior to Caucasians develop critical thinking?
    2. How does telling Caucasian children that they are superior to Negros develop critical thinking skills?
    3. Can it be scientifically demonstrated that Negros are inferior to Caucasians?
    4. Can it be scientifically demonstrated that Caucasians are superior to Negros?
    5. Can it be scientifically demonstrated that Caucasians are more evolved even in the slightest degree over Negros?
    6. Can it be scientifically demonstrated that Negros are less evolved than Caucasians?

    The department of education is currently promoting racism in the class room by adopting a curriculum that cannot be scientifically verified, or do you disagree?

    I am going to request that the South African Department of Education reconsider teaching Darwinian evolution in South African schools I do not protest on any basis other than it is scientifically not verifiable that Negros are less than Caucasians and vice versa. All that we are dealing with here is the opinion of a person that has somehow had his hypothesis become a fact and a theory without ever being vigorously put to test via the scientific method of observation, testability and repeatability. How did Academia allow a hypothesis to become a fact taught to children that they are inferior or superior to each other?

    Thank you

    Andre

  2. 2
    Andre says:

    I have a new mission in my life, I’m declaring today that I will work until my last breath to eradicate Darwinism from public schools. Does any American think that teaching Darwinism in school has improved racial relations? I beg to differ people walk into a church and butcher 9 innocent people because they believe they are better than others, why do they believe it? Because Darwin said so!

    From Dylan Roof’s manifesto

    “Modern history classes instill a subconscious White superiority complex in Whites and an inferiority complex in blacks. This White superiority complex that comes from learning of how we dominated other peoples is also part of the problem I have just mentioned. But of course I dont deny that we are in fact superior.”

    And more

    “Anyone who thinks that White and black people look as different as we do on the outside, but are somehow magically the same on the inside, is delusional. How could our faces, skin, hair, and body structure all be different, but our brains be exactly the same? This is the nonsense we are led to believe.

    Negroes have lower Iqs, lower impulse control, and higher testosterone levels in generals. These three things alone are a recipe for violent behavior. If a scientist publishes a paper on the differences between the races in Western Europe or Americans, he can expect to lose his job. There are personality traits within human families, and within different breeds of cats or dogs, so why not within the races?

    A horse and a donkey can breed and make a mule, but they are still two completely different animals. Just because we can breed with the other races doesnt make us the same.”

  3. 3
    Andre says:

    Where does this Caucasians are superior come from?

    Yes from good old racist Charles…….

    “I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is!

    The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world.” (“The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin”, by Francis Darwin, Vol.I, 1888. New York D. Appleton and Company, pp.285-286)

  4. 4
    News says:

    Good luck with your project, Andre! My own preference would be to teach it, warts and all. But I can understand preferring not to, in sensitive situations.

    What I DON’T understand is the wholesale misrepresentation of Darwinism: Charlie the Liberator, alongside Lincoln. It’s as close to obscene as anything can get.

    And the amazing thing is that the people who are doing it claim to be anti-racists. See Who wants a Darwin Day?

    But that’s what happens when people think facts don’t matter any more. Facts do matter, and Darwinism is not harmless.

  5. 5
    Andre says:

    It’s not a matter of it being warts and all its only warts….

    His theory has brought us 2 world wars and lets ask how many lives lost to Eugenics?

    And if you ever try and say Eugenics isn’t Darwinian I’ll quote him!

    “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, 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 civilised 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.

    The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”

    The Descent of Man

  6. 6
    News says:

    Well, Andre, my sense is that this is a discussion much needed outside our own circles.

    Consider, for example, Pants in knot: “Creationism” in Louisiana schools. (You know, Zack K’s war on good sense among teachers?)

    Louisiana’s school rankings have improved in recent years, and it is possible the teachers face a painful dilemma: To teach Darwinism as it is in a multicultural, multiracial environment would mean teaching an inherently racist theory.

    Of course, it could be taught instead as Darwin the Liberator rubbish, which is presumably what these politicians want.

    Don’t overlook the possibility that Darwin’s defenders will get the U.S. Supreme Court to enforce the myth in publicly funded science classes.

    But that will only provide an additional incentive to move away from the one single public model of education in favour of charter and voucher schools, and other forms of teacher- and parent-directed education: Education as if setting records, not having a record, is a goal.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Are you saying that the teaching of evolutionary theory in South African schools includes teaching that black people are inferior to white? Are you saying that biology teachers there are promoting racism?

  8. 8
    Andre says:

    Seversky

    Have a look at what the policy maker is saying
    about following Darwin’s argument. If you follow his argument where he applies natural selection to human evolution the conclusion is straight forward Negros are below Caucasians. My question is can this be scientifically verified?

  9. 9
    anthropic says:

    What I find interesting about the racism business is that racial “purity” may involve similar drawbacks as are evident in pure bred dogs. Mutts tend to be healthier and live longer than pure breeds. Could the same be true of humans?

    Fascinating study from the UK:

    “The secret to taller, smarter children is genetically diverse parents.

    The more distantly related a person’s parents are, the more likely they are to be taller, smarter, and better educated, researchers in the UK have found.

    The results of one of the largest studies to date into genetic diversity, encompassing data from 110 genetic studies of 350,000 individuals living across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, suggest that the increasing average in height and cognitive ability around the world could be the result of more frequent pairings of people from diverse genetic backgrounds.”

    For more info, see http://www.sciencealert.com/th.....mitstart=1

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