Culture Evolution News

TED talks draw ire at Chronicle of Higher Education

Spread the love

Is this simply an envy-green rent-a-rant from “theory heads”? Or do the critics have a point?:

It’s hard to argue against millions of people getting a dose of a Daniel Gilbert lecture—or hearing the MIT cognitive scientist Nancy Kanwisher talk about mapping the brain, or the behavioral ecologist Sara M. Lewis, of Tufts University, discuss firefly evolution (both also spoke in Vancouver this year). But plenty of observers have argued that some of the new channels for distributing information simplify and flatten the world of ideas, that they valorize in particular a quick-hit, name-branded, business-friendly kind of self-helpish insight—or they force truly important ideas into that kind of template. …

TED and its cousin events create the expectation that problems like inequality and environmental degradation can be solved without rethinking any of our underlying assumptions about society, Bratton argues. History has ended; only the apps and robots will keep getting better. Over 30 years, he says, TED “has distorted the conversation we have about technology and innovation. The uncomfortable, the ambivalent, the real difficulties we have get shunted aside.”

Harvard’s Gilbert dismisses the criticisms of TED: “Who cares about a backlash against the idea of having a series of brief talks by the most interesting thinkers, researchers, and artists?” He says a TED talk is just one form of expression among many and portends the end of serious discourse no more than Psychology 101 lectures do. “This is the argument against haiku: If we write it, all other poetry will vanish.”

Hard scientists, for their part, seem utterly unperturbed by the opportunity events like TED afford. “Especially for those of us who do research funded with federal grants, I think we have a responsibility to explain to people what our science has found out,” says Tufts’s Sara Lewis, the ecologist and self-styled “firefly junkie.” She thinks the wide distribution of such talks might even reduce scientific illiteracy: “My hope is that by the time the National Science Foundation does another survey about how many Americans believe in evolution, it won’t be 48 percent, it’ll be, oh, 60 percent.”

Rot. What we really need is a serious discussion of what it even means to “believe in” “evolution.”

Believe in Bill Nye’s skull slide (WHATEVER it means!)?

Believe in the buzz from the human evo industry, no matter that their story has been sent back to rewrite?

For that matter (because the following often turns out to be part of the package):

Believe in whatever counterintuitive claim is currently circulating around life on other planets?

Believe that odds make no difference where origin of life is concerned?

Believe that there must be an uncountable infinity of universes because otherwise ours might appear fine tuned for life?

And this above all: Believe that there is no need to wonder why indiscriminate belief in defiance of evidence has become part and parcel of science.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

5 Replies to “TED talks draw ire at Chronicle of Higher Education

  1. 1
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Believe in whatever counterintuitive claim is currently circulating around life on other planets?

    It is not being counter-intuitive that is the problem (although I appreciate the Lewontin allusion).

    It is the fact that it is counter to the only actual piece of evidence we have.

    Science is supposed to account for the evidence, not hide it, suppress it, deny it exists, or flatly contradict it.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    OT- someone takes a swipe at Dembski- see how many mistakes and misrepresentations you can spot:AN ALGORITHMIC INFORMATION THEORY CHALLENGE TO INTELLIGENT DESIGN

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    This is just a beautifully wrong of a quote on so many levels:

    “Especially for those of us who do research funded with federal grants, I think we have a responsibility to explain to people what our science has found out,” says Tufts’s Sara Lewis, the ecologist and self-styled “firefly junkie.” She thinks the wide distribution of such talks might even reduce scientific illiteracy: “My hope is that by the time the National Science Foundation does another survey about how many Americans believe in evolution, it won’t be 48 percent, it’ll be, oh, 60 percent.”

    Well it may completely surprise Sara Lewis but an increase from 48% to 60% of people who believed in Darwinian evolution would mark an increase in scientific illiteracy in America not a decrease.

    After years of debating Darwinists, I have found that Darwinian evolution is a full fledged pseudo-science and is certainly not to be considered a science in any proper sense. My first inklings that Darwinian evolution is a pseudo-science instead of a proper science came with my realization that no matter what evidence was presented to a Darwinists, they could always ‘explain away’ the evidence with a ‘just so story’:

    Excerpt: ,,,The term “just-so story” was popularized by Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 book by that title which contained fictional stories for children. Kipling says the camel got his hump as a punishment for refusing to work, the leopard’s spots were painted on him by an Ethiopian, and the kangaroo got its powerful hind legs after being chased all day by a dingo.
    Kipling’s just-so stories are as scientific as the Darwinian accounts of how the amoeba became a man.
    Lacking real scientific evidence for their theory, evolutionists have used the just-so story to great effect. Backed by impressive scientific credentials, the Darwinian just-so story has the aura of respectability.
    Biologist Michael Behe observes:
    “Some evolutionary biologists–like Richard Dawkins–have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get to any biological structure you wish” (Darwin’s Black Box).,,,

    “Grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination”
    Dr. Michael Behe

    No matter what the evidence is against evolution the answer is always ‘evolution did it’:

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    “Evolution by natural selection, for instance, which Charles Darwin originally conceived as a great theory, has lately come to function more as an antitheory, called upon to cover up embarrassing experimental shortcomings and legitimize findings that are at best questionable and at worst not even wrong. Your protein defies the laws of mass action? Evolution did it! Your complicated mess of chemical reactions turns into a chicken? Evolution! The human brain works on logical principles no computer can emulate? Evolution is the cause!” –
    Robert B. Laughlin, A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 168-69)

    A rough outline of the top problems of neo-Darwinism are found here:

    What Are the Top Ten Problems with Darwinian Evolution? – Casey Luskin – July 12, 2012
    1. Lack of a viable mechanism for producing high (or any) levels of complex and specified information.
    2. The failure of the fossil record to provide support for Darwinian evolution.
    3. The failure of molecular biology to provide evidence for a grand “tree of life.”
    4. Natural selection is an extremely inefficient method of spreading traits in populations unless a trait has an extremely high selection coefficient
    5. The problem that convergent evolution appears rampant — at both the genetic and morphological levels, even though under Darwinian theory this is highly unlikely.
    6. The failure of chemistry to explain the origin of the genetic code.
    7. The failure of developmental biology to explain why vertebrate embryos diverge from the beginning of development.
    8. The failure of neo-Darwinian evolution to explain the biogeographical distribution of many species.
    9. A long history of inaccurate predictions inspired by neo-Darwinism (such as) vestigial organs or so-called “junk” DNA.
    10. Humans show many behavioral and cognitive traits and abilities that offer no apparent survival advantage (e.g. music, art, religion, ability to ponder the nature of the universe).

    Here are some of the methods Darwinists use to avoid falsification from empirical evidence. Here is how neo-Darwinian evolution avoids falsification from ‘anomalous’ genetic evidence:

    Shark Proteins Contradict the Standard Phylogeny of Vertebrates – Casey Luskin – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: there’s almost no dataset that can contradict (falsify) common descent. Every time you find that one trait predicts one phylogeny, and another trait predicts a conflicting phylogeny, you can effect a reconciliation by invoking at will more evolutionary steps of convergent loss or gain of traits, or invoking a host of other ad hoc explanations. In a worst case scenario, if genes were distributed in the most un-treelike manner imaginable, I suppose you could take all the known genes present in the most recent presumed common ancestor of that group, and then simply invoke losses (and gains) of genes to reconcile the observed distribution with a tree. –

    How to Play the Gene Evolution Game – Casey Luskin – Feb. 2010

    Here is a article that clearly illustrate that the protein evidence, no matter how crushing against Darwinism, is always crammed into the Darwinian framework by Evolutionists:

    The Hierarchy of Evolutionary Apologetics: Protein Evolution Case Study – Cornelius Hunter – January 2011

    Here is how neo-Darwinian evolution avoids falsification from the fossil record;

    Seeing Ghosts in the Bushes (Part 2): How Is Common Descent Tested? – Paul Nelson – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: Fig. 6. Multiple possible ad hoc or auxiliary hypotheses are available to explain lack of congruence between the fossil record and cladistic predictions. These may be employed singly or in combination. Common descent (CD) is thus protected from observational challenge.

    “What Would Disprove Evolution?” – July 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late). Paleontological theory, however, allows for such devices as “ghost lineages” to repair the damage; see ENV’s coverage here and here. (links on the site)
    Again, discordance between molecular and anatomical phylogenies is commonplace in systematics; see here.(link on the site)
    But we expect Coyne is able to handle these anomalies via his shock-absorbing adjective “complete,” which allows an indefinitely large range of possibilities, short of “complete” discordance (whatever that means).

    Evolutionists avoid falsification from the biogeographical data of finding numerous and highly similar species in widely separated locations simply by ignoring contrary evidence:

    The Case of the Mysterious Hoatzin: Biogeography Fails Neo-Darwinism Again – Casey Luskin – November 5, 2011
    Excerpt: If two similar species separated by thousands of kilometers across oceans cannot challenge common descent, what biogeographical data can? The way evolutionists treat it, there is virtually no biogeographical data that can challenge common descent even in principle. If that’s the case, then how can biogeography be said to support common descent in the first place?

    The fallacy inherent to Cladistic analysis (of assuming your conclusion) is gone over here:

    A One-Man Clade – David Berlinski – July 18, 2013

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Some unscrupulous Darwinists avoid falsification from the fact that nobody has every seen material processes generate functional information by the fraudulent practice of ‘literature bluffing’:

    “A Masterful Feat of Courtroom Deception”: Immunologist Donald Ewert on Dover Trial – audio

    Nick Matzke seems to take literature bluffing as a form of art rather than the blatant fraud it actually is:

    Calling Nick Matzke’s literature bluff on molecular machines – DonaldM UD blogger – April 2013
    Excerpt: So now, 10 years later in 2006 Matzke and Pallen come along with this review article. The interesting thing about this article is that, despite all the hand waving claims about all these dozens if not hundreds of peer reviewed research studies showing how evolution built a flagellum, Matzke and Pallen didn’t have a single such reference in their bibliography. Nor did they reference any such study in the article. Rather, the article went into great lengths to explain how a researcher might go about conducting a study to show how evolution could have produced the system. Well, if all those articles and studies were already there, why not just point them all out? In shorty, the entire article was a tacit admission that Behe had been right all along.
    Fast forward to now and Andre’s question directed to Matzke. We’re now some 17 years after Behe’s book came out where he made that famous claim. And, no surprise, there still is not a single peer reviewed research study that provides the Darwinian explanation for a bacterial flagellum (or any of the other irreducibly complex biological systems Behe mentioned in the book). We’re almost 7 years after the Matzke & Pallen article. So where are all these research studies? There’s been ample time for someone to do something in this regard.
    Matzke will not answer the question because there is no answer he can give…no peer reviewed research study he can reference, other than the usual literature bluffing he’s done in the past.

    Hopeless Matzke -David Berlinski & Tyler Hampton August 18, 2013

    Many more instances of Darwinists avoiding falsification from the empirical data, by ad hoc models (just so stories), are found on this following site:

    Darwin’s Predictions – Cornelius Hunter PhD.

    Thus after a few years of getting this run around by Darwinists no matter what evidence is presented to them, no matter how crushing to Darwinian presuppositions, I finally learned why Darwinian evolution cannot be falsified. The main reason why Darwinian evolution cannot be falsified is that it has no mathematical demarcation criteria in which to potentially falsify it:

    “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin(ism) can be described as scientific”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, quote was as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    (Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)

    Oxford University Seeks Mathemagician — May 5th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: “Grand theories in physics are usually expressed in mathematics. Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity are essentially equations. Words are needed only to interpret the terms. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has obstinately remained in words since 1859.”…

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.

    The reason why a mathematical basis cannot be rigidly formulated for Darwinian evolution is because of the materialistic/atheistic insistence for ‘randomness/chaos’ at the base of its formulation:

    “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli –

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    Thus Darwinian evolution, as long as it insists on ‘randomness/chaos at the base of its formulation, cannot ever have a mathematical demarcation criteria so as to demarcate it as a proper science they may be falsified instead of a pseudo-science that can never be falsified!

    Verse and Music:

    Job 38:2-7
    “Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
    Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
    “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
    Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
    On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
    while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy?

    Mighty To Save – Hillsong

    Lincoln Brewster – Love The Lord – video

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    I loved the TED things for what i watched and they are a excellent idea to propagate ideas and interest in the universe.
    Inequality?? Sounds llike left wing ethnic/sex agitators want to control science talking for their evil agendas.
    How cvan people be against the tED talks?? In fact creationists should apply and allowed to dio these talks. Equal time for freedom of inquiry eh?!

Leave a Reply