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Jonathan Wells defended against Massimo Pigliucci’s attack

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Recently, I wrote about philosopher of science Massimo Pigliucci sputtering about the new ideas-challenged campuses. He’s on the right side, for sure, but why does he have such difficulty calling the new ‘Shut up, they explained’ culture what it is: Mediocrities with tenure, thugs in office, and cowards on the Board?

Meanwhile, Casey Luskin responds to Pigliucci’s critique of Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution, at Centre for Science and Culture. In 2002, Wells had the temerity/misfortune to be among the first well-qualified persons to talk openly about the vast, rotting mass of received doctrine about origin of life and evolution. That mass is currently shovelled at biology students, in exchange for a diploma or degree, which they need to make a living in say, nursing or physiotherapy.

In its current state evolution studies is  a bully pulpit for ideological thugs and PC dimwits, and a disaster to serious inquiry. Wells, no stranger to conflict, to judge from his biography, took it on. Just about every Darwin troll on the planet stood against him. That he has endured is remarkable.

Anyway,  Pigliucci, despite his own doubts about Darwinism, did his share against Wells in a 2002 book, leading with somewhat confused bluster, as this excerpt will show:

Icon 1: The Miller-Urey Experiment

Here, Pigliucci correctly states Jonathan Wells’s argument, namely that the Miller-Urey experiment “was based on an incorrect hypothesis concerning the chemical composition of the early earth.” (Denying Evolution, p. 252) Pigliucci says that Wells is wrong because “The origin of life is not a field of research within evolutionary biology.” (p. 253) That may be true, but Wells never claims otherwise. His book is a critique of how evolution is taught in textbooks, and since most textbooks teach about the Miller-Urey experiment, often calling it evidence of “chemical evolution.” Therefore, it is legitimate for Wells to discuss the origin of life in a book about “evolution,” and Pigliucci’s comments don’t touch upon Wells’s arguments.

Pigliucci acknowledges that “Scientists still disagree on the composition of the early atmosphere” — basically conceding one of Wells’s central points. The problem, Wells explains, is that textbooks often discuss the Miller-Urey experiment as if it was valid, when in fact there are many scientists who feel it is irrelevant to conditions on the early Earth. Finally, Pigliucci states, “The origin-of-life field is not in disarray as Wells implies” and instead “new hypotheses and experiments are being produced at a rapid pace.” This seems like an odd statement to me, given that the very next year Pigliucci admitted:

We really don’t have a clue how life originated on Earth by natural means.

(Massimo Pigliucci, Where Are We Going?, page 196, in Stephen C. Meyer and John Angus Campbell, eds., Darwin Design and Public Education (East Lansing Michigan: Michigan State University Press, 2003).)

Given this admission from Pigliucci, it’s safe to say that Wells isn’t off-base to question the adequacy of theories of chemical evolution.  More.

If getting to the bottom of a problem mattered, Wells wouldn’t be off-base in anything he said in Icons. But Pigliucci belongs to a culture where one is strictly limited in how seriously one can take the fact that the system is rotten. Wells doesn’t. That is the true difference.

If getting tenure for shoving more of the mass at student debt-serfs is the goal, Wells is a dire enemy, no doubt about it.

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (origin of life) for why origin of life studies are not going anywhere.

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7 Replies to “Jonathan Wells defended against Massimo Pigliucci’s attack

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    A few notes on Jonathan Wells’ work; Jonathan Wells is most ‘infamously’ noted for exposing the many false evidences presented for Darwinian evolution, in school textbooks, through his book ‘Icons Of Evolution’,,,

    The “Icons of Evolution” – video playlist – video
    http://www.youtube.com/playlis.....94E1D66A08

    In addition to the present article in the OP that Casey Luskin has written defending Dr. Wells treatment of the Icons of Evolution, Dr. Wells also wrote an article defending his criticism against the Ten Icons of Evolution in detail here:

    Inherit the Spin: The NCSE Answers “Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher About Evolution” – 2008
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2....._answ.html

    also of note:

    (Not) Making the Grade: Recent Textbooks & Their Treatment of Evolution (Icons of Evolution update) podcast and paper – October 2011
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201.....nt_te.html

    And this:

    ‘Icons Of Evolution’ – Tenth Anniversary edition
    http://www.iconsofevolution.com/index.php3
    video clip playlist for tenth anniversary edition:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS2RPQAPifs6t__mIAqITpYy

    Besides all this, Dr. Wells has also written a subsequent book named ‘The Myth Of Junk DNA’

    ‘The Myth Of Junk DNA’
    http://www.mythofjunkdna.com/

    And as with his book ‘Icons’, Dr. Wells has been also vindicated in his claim that Junk DNA is a myth. The massive ENCODE study of Sept. 2012 found upwards to 80% functionality for DNA came out a short time after Dr. Wells published his book in 2011. darwinists are still trying to gain their footing after that blow. Just today, Dr. Wells wrote an article exposing how biased Darwinists are in their interpretation of evidence (i.e. forcing the evidence to fit the theory instead of allowing the evidence dictate which theory is correct)

    Junk DNA: Darwinists Say They Are “Largely Free from Assumptions or Hypotheses” – Jonathan Wells July 30, 2014
    Excerpt: So while the definition of “function” is close to the heart of the controversy, adherence to Darwinian evolution is even closer. And it seems that adherence to Darwinism has a way of blinding people to the assumptions they make.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88361.html

    Thus both books written by Dr. Wells, although Darwinists have tried their best to refute them, have stood the test of time.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    For me that is what being a really good scientist is all about. Going against the flow and making predictions that will not necessarily be popular with established orthodoxy, and yet being vindicated in the end when the evidence swings full force in your direction! 🙂

    Supplemental Notes:

    Centriole – Jonathan Wells – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNvXTassmHM

    Do centrioles generate a polar ejection force? – Wells J. – 2005
    Excerpt: Centrioles consist of nine microtubule triplets arranged like the blades of a tiny turbine. Instead of viewing centrioles through the spectacles of molecular reductionism and neo-Darwinism, this hypothesis assumes that they are holistically designed to be turbines. Orthogonally oriented centriolar turbines could generate oscillations in spindle microtubules that resemble the motion produced by a laboratory vortexer. The result would be a microtubule-mediated ejection force tending to move chromosomes away from the spindle axis and the poles.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15889341

    Peer-Reviewed Paper: Development Needs Ontogenetic Information that Cannot Arise from Neo-Darwinian Mechanisms – Casey Luskin – June 2, 2014
    Excerpt: Jonathan Wells has published a new peer-reviewed scientific paper in the journal BIO-Complexity, “Membrane Patterns Carry Ontogenetic Information That Is Specified Independently of DNA.” With over 400 citations to the technical literature, this well-researched and well-documented article shows that embryogenesis depends on crucial sources of information that exist outside of the DNA.
    This ontogenetic information guides the development of an organism, but because it is derived from sources outside of the DNA, it cannot be produced by mutations in DNA. Wells concludes that because the neo-Darwinian model of evolution claims that variation is produced by DNA mutations, neo-Darwinism cannot account for the origin of epigenetic and ontogenetic information that exists outside of DNA. (Read more here:)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....86201.html

  3. 3
    Querius says:

    Great links, bornagain77. Thank you!

    I especially enjoyed the one video where Eugenie Scott said that Haekel’s embryo illustrations *may* have been a teensy-weensy little bit off, but that this doesn’t detract from the Main Point that we all agree on, and besides the controversy is overblown, the pictures were free, and it’s really just a passing footnote . . .

    Which is how the NCSE now describes blantant fakery.

    -Q

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Querius, thanks, yes those video clips are very useful. ,,, and the irony in it is that she rationalizes herself as being honest in the whole deal. She honestly has no clue that she is, willingly, deceiving herself to use the fraudulent pictures just because she wants Darwinism to be true not because it is true.

  5. 5
    JGuy says:

    Finally, Pigliucci states, “The origin-of-life field is not in disarray as Wells implies” and instead “new hypotheses and experiments are being produced at a rapid pace.” This seems like an odd statement to me, given that the very next year Pigliucci admitted:

    I don’t see how following up with a defense that new hypothesis being tested thus implies or means a field is not in disarray. It could be then that if you look at the hypothesis being tested, that they are all contradictory or competing for lack of the other hypothesis to succeed. This would seem to me to be more in the direction and form of dissaray that I’d bet Wells is describing (I can’t recall the exact wording he has used).

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    JGuy,

    I don’t see how following up with a defense that new hypothesis being tested thus implies or means a field is not in disarray. It could be then that if you look at the hypothesis being tested, that they are all contradictory or competing for lack of the other hypothesis to succeed. This would seem to me to be more in the direction and form of dissaray that I’d bet Wells is describing (I can’t recall the exact wording he has used).

    Repeating their PC slogans and jingles like parrots do, without seriously considering the validity of their statements, is going to continue the ongoing erosion of their shaky foundations until their whole house of cards collapses.

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    bornagain77,

    . . . deceiving herself to use the fraudulent pictures just because she wants Darwinism to be true not because it is true.

    That may be true, but I’m sure she also fancies herself as a Champion for the Greater Good, that various evidences might not be completely, totally, perfectly factual (in other words, they’re complete fabrications), but thy’re still valuable tools for the Advancement of “Science”!

    -Q

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