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Biologist responds to fretting over “denialism” at Nature

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Biologist Wayne Rossiter, author of Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God, writes to offer his thoughts on the recent screed at Nature against “denialism”:

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There is much that could be said about this article. Science “denialism” is absolutely permitted within science, so long as the denier adheres to the larger mainstream views (which are often not scientific at all). One can blast Darwin, so long as the replacement is equally dysteleological (or worse).

The other presumed “denial” here is climate change. From my reading of the facts, the only things “scientists” mostly agree on are that 1) the climate changes and 2) we are exacerbating it. Details beyond those assertions are particularly fuzzy.

I’m not a climate change denier at all. But we must admit just how errant “scientific authority” has been. Dire predictions of catastrophic destruction have come and gone (I won’t list them all here, but my old digs in NJ are supposed to be completely inundated by now). Then you have the “fallibility” part of expert science:

Here’s what we know, and it doesn’t take more than an entry-level stats course to figure it out. The 150 year pattern of average global temperature shows a slight linear increase (something like 0.8 C). That is troubling, because even slight changes have greatly altered global and local processes. You’ll get no fight with me there. But, if we attempt to extract a relationship between that pattern and global atmospheric CO2 (which has increased geometrically), you won’t find one. Yet, CO2 is the central point of discussion. Falsely. (again, the rise of CO2 is worrisome for other reasons. We measure these global fluxes in gigatons, and right now, we think about 90 gigatons of CO2 move from the oceans to the atmosphere, but 92 gigatons move from the atmosphere to the oceans, and this is leading to acidification).

So, why should we trust “authority,” when it has been publicly embarrassed over and over?

The bigger problem I would point to (which isn’t mentioned by Crease is that “science” has become sensationalized to the point of being tantamount to “fake news.”

Outrageous claims, and modest findings. Big Science looks more and more like WWE wrestling or daytime television. I say that painfully, because it’s a true shame of our time.

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See also: At Nature: Waging war on the science deniers! Sadly, there is a war on science, of sorts, afoot. Social justice warriors, for example, are taking dead aim at math. And at objectivity generally. It’s as if, unable or unwilling to even name, let alone withstand the threat, establishment science types hope to distract themselves with a different story until it goes away. Good luck with that. SJWs see that science has funding. And they always need more money.

and

Why can top scientists get away with extraordinary claims?

8 Replies to “Biologist responds to fretting over “denialism” at Nature

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    “From my reading of the facts, the only things “scientists” mostly agree on are that 1) the climate changes and 2) we are exacerbating it.”
    Well, NO. What actual scientists agree on is that weather on the Earth’s surface is DIRECTLY related to Sunspot activity, and we have CENTURIES of Sunspot records to prove that.
    Changing the “climate”, um, the northern-most limit for growing grapes out-of-doors, advancing the boundary of Oceanic Climate inland or Continental Climate towards the coasts, a BIG deal that takes centuries.
    And so when Hannibal marched his African army through the Alps headed for Rome, a particular pass through the Alps was open ground. That pass in now regularly under 100 feet of snow and ice even in Summer. So did vast fleets of Roman jet airliners spewing their horrid exhaust gasses into the stratosphere cause the Climate to shift? (The same guys now pushing Global Warming were pushing The New Ice Age back in the ’60s, man.) See “The Long Summer” by Brian Fagan. Or his “Little Ice Age”.

  2. 2
    OldArmy94 says:

    The war against science “denialism” is an effort to prevent predetermined paradigms from losing their privileged place of power over policy and opinion. Truth is powerful, and no amount of denial can change what is true; those who decry “denialism” reveal their own insecurities about the veracity of their claims.

  3. 3
    OLV says:

    This is very interesting:

    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/03/a-response-to-my-lehigh-colleagues-part-1/

    I’m looking forward to reading the next two parts.

    Perhaps Dr Behe’s open letter could be referenced in an OP here for further discussion?

  4. 4
    OLV says:

    This latest article by Dr Behe posted in the EN website could be a model for serious scientific discussions. The professor demonstrates high class in professionalism and respect while presenting coherent arguments that literally demolish his critics’ elaborated points.
    The more I analyze Dr Behe’s text my understanding of the fundamental principles of scientific discussion and human communication in general turn clearer.
    I strongly encourage all sincere science fans to read carefully Dr Behe’s response:

    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/03/a-response-to-my-lehigh-colleagues-part-1/

  5. 5
    PaoloV says:

    Dr Behe has the advantage of being on the winning* side of the worldview debate, therefore he can calmly and coherently present his scientifically detailed arguments. Science allows us to study God’s creation in order to understand how it functions.

    At the beginning of his response Dr Behe graciously praises his young critics as a loving father would talk about his beloved children. Then in the rest of his response Dr Behe sharply points to his critics’ errors and corrects their misunderstandings.

    (*) For it’s written that if God is for us, who can be against us? [Romans 8:31].

  6. 6
    PeterA says:

    Yes, agree that Dr Behe’s insightful response posted in the EN website is very enjoyable. I also look forward to reading the remaining parts and the critics’ response. This seems to be an important inter-website episode of the ongoing discussion.
    To Dr Behe’s favor, biology research is increasingly providing him with more experimental evidences that confirm his rational position in this scientific debate. It should be delightful to watch the progress of their polite discussion in the days to come. I don’t want to miss a detail of it.

  7. 7
    PeterA says:

    In the first part of Dr Behe’s response, most of the talk is about RV+NS in species that remain what they are.
    Basically, environmental adaptations of species populations. Bears remain bears, bacteria remain bacteria, birds remain birds. The debate is about adaptations, ie microevolutionary changes. And even in that topic Dr Behe has to correct the neodarwinian folks for missing the target? Can’t imagine when they get to the imaginary macroevolutionary stuff.

  8. 8
    PeterA says:

    How did these authors get away with having the word “designed” in the title of this old paper?

    The proteasome: a macromolecular assembly designed for controlled proteolysis.
    P Zwickl, D Voges, and W Baumeister
    Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1999 Sep 29; 354(1389): 1501–1511.
    doi: 10.1098/rstb.1999.0494
    PMCID: PMC1692663
    PMID: 10582236

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