Evolution Intelligent Design

“Stephen Jay Gould” Website — A Pox on Both Your Houses

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From http://www.stephenjgould.org:

The purpose of this website is to urgently organize opposition to the forces of creationism and intelligent design by providing sound scientific refutation to the argument that God is the only alternative to random evolution.

The organized opposition to creationism, the NCSE, uses the argument that natural selection, or Darwinism can explain evolution. But the Discovery Institute lists 400 scientists who don’t believe that complex life occurred by random events. They may well be able to convince any god-fearing jury in the many upcoming Scopes trials.

Stephen Jay Gould believed that natural selection was not the primary cause of evolution. His masterpiece Ontogeny and Phylogeny(1977) is the bible of non-darwinian evolutionary theory. It is required reading for those who would be interlocutor of evolution. Punctuated Equilibrium is also anti-selectionist in its implication that novel forms arose quickly. His final book is a polite renunciation of natural selection as the cause of evolutionary change.

The Darwin fundamentalist believes that the natural selection of random mutants is the mechanism by which a single cell developed into the complex Cambrian animal phyla in just a few million years, half a billion year ago. The principle of Survival of the Fittest has left Richard Dawkins possibly the sole surviving spokesman for this belief.

A curious feature of this site is that it takes Discovery Institute’s list of 400 dissenters from Darwinism and affixes their names to a statement that they didn’t sign (compare here for the original statement to here for the doctored statement on the SJG site).

14 Replies to ““Stephen Jay Gould” Website — A Pox on Both Your Houses

  1. 1
    jboze3131 says:

    im sorry, but ive yet to find ONE person or group on the other side of this issue that can be honest. i was going to E-Mail the webmaster of the site and inform him that I would be contacting every scientist on the list, to let them know that he is putting their names to a statement they didnt agree to- thats not only stupid, its plain wrong. i dont see a contact address tho.

    in the intro to the page, the person tells a number of falsehoods and makes a fool of him or herself as well. he says that the folks at the discovery institute are good scientists, but not good scientists in regards to this issue. he says something about the scientists being “otherwise” well qualified or something, as opposed to their dim, moronic, “theocratic” views on evolution. (lie number 1- that anyone wants to establish a theocracy!) lie 2- that ID is based on religious ideas. lie 3- the list of 400 names pasted onto a bogus statement (as i mentioned). lie 5 ID is the same as creationism, no “if’s, and’s, or but’s” about it. i could go on, but you get the point.

    (i take it back- i emailed the webmaster and told him i was contacting all the scientists on the list -as well as any legal reps they may have- and informing them of the libel on the website.)

    on this subject tho- i think that the statement in general is false. most scientists STILL see natural selection as the driving force behind supposed macroevolutionary change. am i wrong on this? i thought gould was in the camp with only a few others? if not natural selection (which field studies have shown has little to no effect on life), what imaginary, invisible, untestable force did gould propose directs the flow of all this magical change of tens of millions of life forms?

  2. 2
    jboze3131 says:

    btw. adobe, the makers of pdf format files need to be banned from the earth. any site who uses the format should also be banned for life. i think we can give the discovery institute a pass- but just this once.

    heres a good trick- go to any computer on earth with people near, have someone click a link and let them find out its a pdf file- wait for them to scream in shock as they realize their computer is about to lock up for 1-2 mins, depending on how fast the chip is and the amt of ram. 🙂

  3. 3
    crandaddy says:

    Of substantial import is a statement preceding their version of the document on one of the pages on the site:

    “Dear Darwin Dissenter,

    Your name on the Dissenter list of 400 scientists indicates only your belief that life forms did not occur by a random process. You are in accord with most evolutionary biologists who have long since relegated natural selection to micro-evolution at best. Leading among these was Stephen Jay Gould, although he was careful not to pronounce publicly for fear of its misuse by the Intelligent Design movement which is based on the claim that the only alternative to natural selection, or Darwinism, is God.

    This may be the most important issue ever to face science. On its outcome depends nothing less than academic freedom in America. Some overzealous Darwinians have been using extreme means to suppress dissent. Some individuals who have published opposing views have been hounded and their careers threatened or smashed. This issue is soon to be tested in a number of legal cases which may rival the Scopes trial in impact. Most notably I call your attention to the case of Richard Sternberg vs. the Smithsonian Institute. Please go to his website for details.

    While the list of 400 is impressive, its possible usefulness to scientific debate is compromised because it is published by the neo-creationist Discovery Institute, and includes individuals who believe that the vacuum caused by the failure of Darwinism should be filled by God, with no third possibility. It is impossible to determine who’s who. Your name on this list may compromise your scientific credibility. If, in fact you believe in creationism, this letter does not pertain to you. Otherwise, you suffer guilt by association.

    The attachment describes the mission of the SJG Initiative including a comparable list of scientists with the bone fide intention of studying scientific alternatives to natural selection as the prime mover of evolution and development.

    As you have already agreed to the principle of the rejection of Darwinism as the primary cause of evolution your name will be included. No obligations are implied beyond the attached statement of the Stephen Jay Gould Initiative for Non Darwinian Evolution. If you are a creationist, please respond, and your name will be removed with alacrity.”

    As you can see, the alteration is intentional. They realize that a list of 400 impressively credentialed scientists carries with it considerable influence. The trick they try to pull, then, is to lure the signatories into signing their document by slapping a creationist label on the Intelligent Design movement and claiming that their version of the statement is not significantly different from the original (an asinine gesture). If lame jabs such as this are the best that the opposition can offer, then they are in BIG trouble.

    David

  4. 4
    jboze3131 says:

    i personally see no problem with the creationist label. i consider myself an old-earth creationist…then again, theres so little we actually know about the universe and life itself, so who knows how old the earth is. for me, thats not the main issue- the main issue, in my opinion, is the fact that even scientists cannot change life into any new form, weve never seen a new form appear in history, and in nature- studies show that natural selection does little to nothing. furthermore, the fossil record doesnt support macroevolutionary change in any gradual sense, nor really in any PE sort of way either (gould admitted there are no true transitionals- and mosaics, as he mentioned, dont count). the evidence for such change just isnt there.

    so, like i said, ive no problem with the label myself. i dont see why most scientists are afraid of it if they look at the evidence without a presupposition for pure naturalism and acceptance of the dogma that is common ancestry (an idea that is more history than science to begin with.)

    this site is a joke tho, and i wonder if this is truly a friend of gould/goulds family (i understand gould has passed on, of course.) if so, that makes it even worse- we can change what you said to ‘if this is best goulds associates can offer, theyre in big trouble’!!

    im still wondering, tho, about the popularity of goulds PE ideas. i didnt think they were the majority view…a rather small minority, i thought. i assume this is yet another falsehood from the webmaster of the site in question, but who knows. still wondering what mechanism he proposed (from reading the site, it seems that they dont have a theory completely- since he mentioned that there is no darrow, as of now, because the idea hasnt been fully formed…or whatever im trying to say, but am not saying very well!)

    biggest problem- i continue (nearly every day) to see one side look at the evidence honestly and the same with those they disagree with…and another side that paints the others as religious nuts wanting to make the nation a theocracy, demanding ID be taught, not “real” scientists, not doing “real science”, etc. in any argument on issues- if youre on the side that is calling names, spreading falsehoods, etc. youre usually on the losing side. (not losing in popular science, as of now, but wrong nonetheless, which is exactly why you have to restort to name calling, stereotyping, falsehoods, outright lies, exaggerations, etc.)

  5. 5
    DaveScot says:

    Bill – it’s purportedly a NEW statement. The “signators” were included without their permission, lifted straight from the official Discovery document. SJGI is presuming that all the scientists on the list who they’ve not identified as Discovery fellows (I noticed right away you and Behe were missing) agree with the new wording.

    It’s misleading and quite possibly actionable by both the Discovery Institute (presumably the copyright owner) and/or any individuals identified on the list who did not actually sign the fradulent version published on the SJGI. It would be my sincere suggestion that the friends and family of Stephen J. Gould get their heads out of their asses and remove the forgery from the website before they become “the defendants” in addition to friends and family.

  6. 6
    PhilVaz says:

    jboze: “adobe, the makers of pdf format files need to be banned from the earth. any site who uses the format should also be banned for life”

    I agree my preferred format for web site articles is plain HTML. But PDF can be convenient when someone wants a copy of the actual document on their hard drive. For PDF its better to right click, save target as, then open in Acrobat Reader. When you use the browser to open sometimes it does lock up.

    Dr. Dembski uses PDF format on his own http://www.DesignInference.com site, that way you can keep a copy, read, and print out the articles, without having to be online.

    Phil P

  7. 7
    jimbo says:

    Regarding Gould, this is one thing I agree with Dawkins about: the man (while a great writer and a genuinely good man) was a bit of a weasel where evolution was concerned. Either evolution is random, or there is some form of design (either “built in” or continuing). There is no other option, and putting forth content-free theories like PE (natural selection doesn’t work, except during certain times when it works so fast we can’t see it!) in order to preserve room for atheism smacks of desperation.

    Jboze –

    Youy should get a Mac – OS X handles pdfs rather nicely (it should, since it’s deisplay model is based on it) Besides, anyone who believes in intelligent design should at least use a computer that shows signs of it…

  8. 8
    Plump-DJ says:

    To Jimbo, why does non-random, mean design?

  9. 9
    Plump-DJ says:

    BTW my PC and crappy dialup connection handles PDF documents fine. How much grunt and memory does it take to open one? Yes you have to wait for it to download, but it’s not that bad.

  10. 10
    johnnyb says:

    What I have always found most amusing about Stephen Jay Gould is that the one of the main scientists leading the young-earth creationist movement was a student of his:

    http://www.bryan.edu/344.html

  11. 11
    johnnyb says:

    Who is behind this site and how did you hear about it?

  12. 12
    crandaddy says:

    jboze3131: “i personally see no problem with the creationist label. i consider myself an old-earth creationist

    I’m an old-earth creationist, too, but it’s important to realize that ID is not the same thing as supernatural creationism.

    jimbo: “Either evolution is random, or there is some form of design (either ‘built in’ or continuing). There is no other option, and putting forth content-free theories like PE (natural selection doesn’t work, except during certain times when it works so fast we can’t see it!) in order to preserve room for atheism smacks of desperation.”

    I agree. I’m no biologist, but the only testable unguided evolutionary model I can think of RM+NS. As far as I know, Gould agreed with this. PE was just his attempt to reconcile sudden leaps in evolutionary development in the fossil record.

    Plump-DJ: “To Jimbo, why does non-random, mean design?”

    Let me offer my answer. If a phenomenon can be effectively demonstrated not to be purely the result of physical laws of nature (as best we understand them)and random, unguided processes, it logically follows that intelligent causation is the most plausible explanation for the phenomenon in question. This is basically what Dr. Dembski’s Explanatory Filter says.

    David

  13. 13
    Thistleking says:

    Good Job Crandaddy, the only logic on this blog so far! However there is not to prove that this life on earth didn’t evolve based on physical the interactions of particles in systems of increasingly complexity. So then if there is an “intelligent designer” the it remains un-clarified by this line of reasoning.

  14. 14
    russ says:

    “However there is not to prove that this life on earth didn’t evolve based on physical the interactions of particles in systems of increasingly complexity.”

    ThistleKing: it seems to this complete layman that “interaction of particles in systems of increasing complexity” is either really high-level stuff, or its a synonym for “magic”. If it’s the former, could you elaborate?

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