Intelligent Design

“Left” Versus “Right” Science

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MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews goes after Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) on Science.

PENCE: Do I believe in evolution? I embrace the view that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that’s in them, and —
MATTHEWS: (interrupting) Right, but you believe in evolution from the beginning.
PENCE: The means, Chris, that He used to do that, I can’t say, but I do believe —
MATTHEWS: (interrupting) You can’t what?
PENCE: — in that fundamental truth.
MATTHEWS: Well — well did you take biology? (screaming) Did you take biology in school? Did you take science, which is all based on evolutionary belief and assumption?
PENCE: Well, I’ve always wanted to —
MATTHEWS: (screaming) If your party is to be credible on science, you’ve gotta accept science. Do you?
PENCE: Yeah, I want to —
MATTHEWS: Accept science?

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This may come as a surprise to many of you, but Science, at least according to Chris Matthews, is a Democrat thing. Personally, I was unaware that there was a “deomcrat” way to do science and a “republican” way to do science. Someone might explain to me how that works. Is there a “left” scientific method and a “right” scientific method? Matthews certainly seems to think so! How ignorant and disingenous of him! (But, we’re talking about Chris Matthews here, the most misinformed commentator on the networks as far as I’m concerned)

Its worth noting how Matthews tries to build a straw man about YEC and then claim that there a “many” in the Republican party who hold that view and who are “anti-science”. Matthews demonstrates admirably the left’s derision of anyone who would dare question evolution, stem cell research, global warming and who knows what else. Matthews appears clueless about the real debates in science about all these things, and ignores completely any of the moral questions involved, pretending, I guess, that they don’t even exist!

I’ll grant that Mike Pence is not exactly the best spokesperson for Science and scientific issues, but trying to tie him to YEC and Fundamentalism only shows how shallow guys like Matthew and those on the left really are. Matthews did a great job of making a fool of himself…but then, he does that almost every night. That’s why MSNBC has the lowest rating of all the news networks.

Edited to add this:
Some additional thoughts on this from Cornelius G. Hunter from his Darwin’s God blogspot.

43 Replies to ““Left” Versus “Right” Science

  1. 1
    selectedpete says:

    Mike Pence and other members of government are really going to have to start engaging the Chris Matthews’ and Colbert’s of the media much better than they are currently. Pence might have really taken advantage of this by yelling back “heck yeah! I believe in evolution!” and then forcing Matthews to then begin defining what he means. The “right” needs some good coaching on this.

    A similar exchange happened back when Huckaby was in a debate. He could have really nailed the questioner with the right one-two combo.

    The false choice of “do you believe in evolution?” is an obnoxious and childish ploy that needs to be squished coming out of the gate, and it is rather easy to do with some practice.

    I had the same type of encounter at a Christian based site: where I was told that I needed to read books and attend a museum to answer my rhetorical question. Sometimes those on the “right” can be just as bad or worse.

  2. 2
    dgw says:

    As posed, “do you believe…” is a question of faith not science.

  3. 3
    Kyrilluk says:

    It remind me people who believe that being good at managing the economy is a “right” thing…

  4. 4
    Ludwig says:

    Neither of these guys knows what they’re talking about. What a waste of time.

  5. 5
    toc says:

    Chris Matthews is “the true believer,” a partisan simpleton.

    In spite of his sophomoric questions, how is what he says relevant, other than the fact that the popular media considers him important?
    Perhaps we should ignore this distraction and move along.

  6. 6
    4Simpsons says:

    Good points. My favorite retort to the claims that we are supposedly anti-science is to see if they are pro-life (they are usually not) then point out to them the scientific fact that a new human life is created at conception (Hey, at least that’s what all those pesky embryology textbooks say!).

    They either have to deny the science or shift to philosophical arguments about viability, personhood, etc. I just keep pointing out that those aren’t scientific arguments.

    You get to make a case for life and dismantle the “Christians are anti-science” canard at the same time. It drive’s ’em crazy 😉 . The arguments are so powerful I have to remember to be gentle with them.

  7. 7
    Nathaniel says:

    I like the (interrupting) and (screaming) parts you objectively injected in your transcript. Nice touch!

    It doesn’t matter what Matthews thinks about science, he asked direct questions that Pence had every opportunity to directly answer. But he didn’t! He reflected, and started saying vague things about God creating the seas. That’s not an answer. Either you accept the scientific theory of evolution, or you don’t. Maybe you even know enough to offer opinions on the theory, but refusing to answer at all shows insincerity in no other person than Pence himself.

    It’s also a statistical fact that there are a lot of people in the States that reject evolution and believe the earth is a mere thousands of years old. That isn’t really up for debate, unless you have ulterior motives. Another fact is that the Republican party appeals to these people in a way that the Democratic party doesn’t. Since it’s all politics, this means that R has to maintain an image that keeps the YEC anti-evolution believers among them

    Pence couldn’t admit that he accepted the theory of evolution, because that would have cost him votes and followers. He couldn’t admit that he didn’t accept the theory of evolution either, because then he’d be ridiculed by those who actually understand science. His only option, and the one he chose, is to ignore any direct questions or give vague enough answers as to not really give an answer at all.

  8. 8
    BGOG says:

    Is that seriously your definition of screaming??

  9. 9
    critiacrof says:

    MATTHEWS is like a child. He seems to be totally unaware of the arguments of creationists or ID-ers.
    Also he gets a lot totally backwards. He seems to like his own voice.

    Here are some things that make my blood boil:

    -science or creationism in school(evolution==science, creationism!=science)(straw-man, because nobody wants creationism in school)
    -don’t believe in stem cell research(embryonic or adult stem cells?)
    -accept the scientific method?
    -bones planted in the ground!?!
    -against science(founding fathers of science where mostly creationists BTW)
    -believe in belief itself!
    -don’t believe in progress
    -don’t believe in climate change(straw-man^2)

    PENCE is apparently avoiding a direct confrontation of the question of yes or no evolution. And for a good reason in this case.
    Without proper definitions and proper scientific background of MATTHEWS , a clear and dogmatic answer is not possible.

  10. 10
    dgw says:

    According to #6, the question is whether or not to accept the theory of evolution. Matthews asks do you believe in evolution or not. Matthews changes a debatable point of scientific inquiry into a article of faith–either you are one of us or not. Pence had the opportunity to assert that the religion of science does not belong in the classroom, researchers (and students) should follow the evidence where it leads. Matthews choice of language is significant. “Do you believe in the virgin birth” should be contrasted with “do you accept atomic theory.”

  11. 11
    uoflcard says:

    If your party is to be credible on science, you’ve gotta accept science. Do you?

    So if one is to be scientifically credible, you have to accept anything and everything that scientists believe? Hmm, this doesn’t really match with the rest of scientific history, but okay Dr. Matthews! Thanks for clarifying that the rest of scientific history that didn’t completely agree with the norms of the science community were actually wrong! Einstein was a quack for doubting the completeness of Newton’s theory. What an out-of-date fundy he was

    I agree with Ludwig at #4

    Neither of these guys knows what they’re talking about. What a waste of time.

    We might as well watch Axl Rose and Shaq debate this subject. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by conversations like this. One person is wrong (Matthews) by saying that if you don’t accept neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, then you aren’t scientifically credible (what does believing an unfalsifiable theory of historical science have to do with supporting analytical science, which is over 99% of all “important” scientific research?) and the other is just giving a purely political answer, because he has to. He might be an atheist, or he might be a YEC. But either stance will probably cost him the next election, so he has to tightrope on a line of vagueness, leading his answers to be meaningless

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:


    Re, # 1: Mike Pence and other members of government are really going to have to start engaging the Chris Matthews’ and Colbert’s of the media much better than they are currently

    You are right.

    I think some first steps in such an answer are:

    0] Before we begin, challenge the looseness of the term itself: “evolution” means many things from minor population variations to a grand metaphysical story on the origin of all life. But, given the context, the likeliest meaning is towards the latter, far more controversial and questionable end of the spectrum of meanings. (Not to mention the gross and ill-founded assumption or implication that it is such materialists who have cornered the market on scientific rationality!)

    1] To then identify what science is supposed to be, at its best: an unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) pursuit of the truth about our world based on evidence and reasoned discussion

    2] Contrast the ideological censorship being imposed by many in positions of institutional scientific power on science through a priori materialism, e.g. through NAS member Richard Lewontin’s remarks in his infamous 1997 review of Sagan’s last book; including the underlying ill-informed anti-God sentiment:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

    –> in short so-called methodological naturalism is in effect a stalking horse for the ideology of evolutionary materialist “scientific” atheism.

    –> And, for commonly associated ideological agendas; many of which are neither intellectually responsible nor ethically defensible.

    3] Expose the ignorance or distortion of the views of the founders of modern science (who were “thinking God’s thoughts after him”), and the linked distortion of a view that accepts the possibility of miracles [i.e. for miracles to be recognisable, they must stand out against an orderly world — one in which science is a reasonable venture].

    4] Highlight how censorship, ignorance and distortion are being pushed into education and other important spheres of concern to all citizens, e.g. this from NAS’s 2008 pamphlet on Science and Creationism:

    In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. . . . Unless a proposed explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could potentially count against it, that explanation cannot be subjected to scientific testing.

    –> This distorts that there is another very relevant contrast to “natural”: ARTificial, i.e we have spontaneous causes tracing to chance and/or necessity, and intelligent ones tracing to agents.

    –> And, as we know from abundant experience such designs often leaves empirical traces that are reliable signs.

    –> Traces that are not only amenable to scientific testing, but which are routinely studied in many fields of science [occasionally appearing in the courtroom!].

    –> So, the NAS is indulging in censorship in service to concealed materialism, suppressing that intelligent causes just might have had something to do with say origins, and that we have means that are capable of seeing if that was credibly true.

    5] Further highlight how such materialistic evolutionism can very easily promote destructive amorality and oppression, e.g. from H G Wells’ opening words to his War of the Worlds, which predicted all too accurately what would happen in the following C20:

    No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water . . . No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us . . . . looking across space with instruments, and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of, they see, at its nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope, our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and grey with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow, navy-crowded seas.

    And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that, generation after generation, creeps upon them . . .

    –> So, what rights can jumped up pond slime reasonably raise to challenge the more powerful?

    –> What a contrast do we see when we read that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights . . .

    GEM of TKI

  13. 13
    Nnoel says:

    “Follow the evidence wherever it leads” is such a ambiguous statement.

    When someone on the ‘right’ says it, they mean prove the bible and gods are real, and when someone on the ‘left’ says it, it means ‘follow the evidence wherever it leads’.

    lol 😛

    Scientists have been following the evidence for hundreds of years, but APPARENTLY the ‘right’ thinks everyone with their fancy technology and advanced medical knowledge have been on the wrong path all this time, hence avoiding the question.

    very amusing. 🙂

  14. 14
    SpitfireIXA says:

    Nnoel said:

    When someone on the ‘right’ says it, they mean prove the bible and gods are real, and when someone on the ‘left’ says it, it means ‘follow the evidence wherever it leads’.

    You mean, like how darwinist scientists follow the Precambrian Explosion where it leads, or the fixed forms of the fossil evidence where it leads, correct?

    APPARENTLY the ‘right’ thinks everyone with their fancy technology and advanced medical knowledge have been on the wrong path all this time, hence avoiding the question.

    Darwinist evolutionary scientists aren’t building my iPod or coming up with better knee surgery. Engineers and surgeons are, because they suffer negative consequences when they don’t follow where truth leads.

  15. 15
    DonaldM says:

    Nathaniel in #6

    It doesn’t matter what Matthews thinks about science, he asked direct questions that Pence had every opportunity to directly answer. But he didn’t! He reflected, and started saying vague things about God creating the seas. That’s not an answer. Either you accept the scientific theory of evolution, or you don’t. Maybe you even know enough to offer opinions on the theory, but refusing to answer at all shows insincerity in no other person than Pence himself.

    I disagree. Pence is smart enough to know that Matthew’s question “Do you believe in evolution” is a rigged question. The very fact that Matthews put it that way shows how little he understands the issue. Evolution is not something one “believes” in. Now, if Matthews had asked “Do you accept the theory of evolution as a true explanation for the diversity of life on earth?”, he would have shown that he understands the science. But he doesn’t.

    And, as I already pointed out, Pence would not be my first, second or 39th choice to discuss science. Even in Congress, there are more knowlegable sources on this particular issue.

    I like the (interrupting) and (screaming) parts you objectively injected in your transcript. Nice touch!

    Actually I didn’t add those adjectives. A friend of mine, who alerted me to this interview copied the transcript off another website, I’m not sure where, and I just took it as it was for convenience. Make of the parenthical comments what you will. The conversation remains the same.

    The bottom line for me in this exchange is the straw man put forth by Matthews that it is only the Dems who are pro science and the Reps who are “anti” science. For guys like Matthews things like evolution, embryonic stem cell research or gloabal warming are all “settled” science. Matthews will never understand that there’s no such thing as “settled” science (perhaps he should read Kuhn!). And anyone who dare oppose these “settled” matters is “anti science”. That is utter non-sense!!! That is the real point of this interview in my mind, and why I choose to blog on it here.

  16. 16
    C Bass says:

    When someone on the ‘right’ says it, they mean prove the bible and gods are real, and when someone on the ‘left’ says it, it means ‘follow the evidence wherever it leads’.

    Let’s fix that for you:

    “When someone on the ‘left’ says it, they mean prove the bible and gods are not real, and when someone on the ‘right’ says it, it means ‘follow the evidence wherever it leads’.”

    That’s the problem with unsupported assertions — they do nothing to actually foster discussion. Spitfire has some solid points that I suspect you won’t address. The Cambrian Explosion is real evidence against the Darwinian model. So is the copious stasis in the fossil record and the information content of DNA. These items along with the fine tuning of the Universe, the cosmic background radiation, etc., can be seen as evidence against a maerialist world-view, all of which hard-core materialists tend to downplay or ignore.

    So, who is or isn’t following the evidence where it leads? (The question is rhetorical, of course. I don’t expect an honest answer from those who cling to materialism, and I do not believe it is as politically dichotomic as you imply.)

  17. 17
    SpitfireIXA says:

    To follow CBass’s comments:

    Good theories generally have their predictions validated. When Newton watched the apple fall, he predicted that the same force acting on the apple acted on the moon, stars, etc. His predictions, bot general and specific, were mostly correct.

    Poor theories predict poorly. Darwin saw finch beaks and expanded that to life forms as a whole. He drew predictions. Those predictions fared very poorly, and had to be replaced with explanations instead. He did not follow the evidence where it lead, but covered over the trails as he went.

  18. 18
    DATCG says:


    Another strawman, another lie.

    Please tell me what macro-evolutionary event in history from Darwin’s storytelling do you need to operate on a heart? Or to design a new drug?

    This is not a right/left issue. Matthews makes up bogus arguments as a form of propaganda tool to demonize the right. Thats his job for his messiah and king, Obama.

    “Matthews prefaced his argument with, “There are people on your side of the argument who believe that all the prehistoric bones we’ve discovered in this world, all the dinosaur bones and all that stuff was somehow planted there by liberal scientists to make the case against the Bible.“”

    Who said that? What is Matthews source?

    To bad he does not mention Pilt-Down or Nebraska man as a matter of unbiased reporting. Due to his bias, he leaves out the truth of fraud in the past on his side of the argument. Pence could do exactly the same thing back to Matthews. He could have said,

    Chris “tingly legs” Matthews, there are people on your side who believe that creationist made up all the missing links like Piltdown and Nebraska man. That Creationist somehow planted fraudulent missing links to make the case against atheistic evolution and to discredit Darwinist.”

    Either argument by Matthews or the above proposed reply is absurd, a lie and a strawman. It is Matthews ideology however that selects one absurd argument over the other.

    While I agree, this type of idiocy is useless to anyone informed. Pence and others must be better prepared to argue the points and ask hard questions back to fascist propagandist like Matthews. Because unfortunately, audiences at propaganda networks like MSNBC rarely get the truth on such complex subjects. Their audience is largely blind being led by the blind ideological far left.

  19. 19
    Nakashima says:

    Mr DATCG,

    Drug design certainly needs to understand evolution, for example to calculate how long it will be effective against an infection.

  20. 20
    DATCG says:


    “Drug design certainly needs to understand evolution, for example to calculate how long it will be effective against an infection.”

    You outlined a micro-evolutionary timeline. No one is arguing this point. Please note I said macro-evolutionary history. Your example excludes macro-evolutionary story telling. This is another strawman argument. The same problem with Matthews original and misleading argument.

    Creation scientist(young earthers), theistic scientist, and IDist or Design Theist of all kinds, recognize micro and macro evolution. They disagree if it is directed or non-directed.

    And they “certainly” have no problem solving scientific problems like Designer Drugs or new genetic “species” of bug resistant maze for example.

    That is operational science. Not a belief system.

    What you describe is micro-evolution. An observed, testable, repeatable and operational science. No one disagrees with you.

    Scientist, doctors, geneticist, drug makers do operational science today that do not “believe” in macro evolutionary events as theorized or hypothesized by Darwin and/or Modern Evolutionary Theorist.

    The macro theory is in crisis. Everyone here knows Darwin’s original theory is dead, thus Modern Synthesis, now it to has wilted, in comes HGT to the rescue, but that spawns even more problems for the Gradualist than the problems it solves.

    This is the problem of Matthews hit piece. He does not explain any of this to the audience. Most are left clueless and blind by a biased journalist if they do not know the current state of affairs in evolutionary science.

  21. 21
    Nakashima says:

    Mr DATCG,

    I’m not sure why you bolded ‘design’. Design was part of your question.

    Let me be more specific. Say I work for a drug company and I have to design a new herbicide. It has to affect grasses, but not dicots, or vice versa. I need to know which features distinguish them. This is based on the cladogram of plants. Knowing the cladogram, the nested hierarchy of macro-evolutionary differences, will let me design a drug (a herbicide in this case) that will target some plants and not affect others. Reaching further back in the cladogram, I might be able to avoid affecting animals, also.

  22. 22
    DATCG says:


    And that is comparative science of pattern recognition systems.

    The cladogram can be wrong from 150, 100, 50, 10yrs ago in some areas dependent upon models used in the past. It can change depending upon new phylogentic trees of new contemporary models. What one scientist says 10 years ago is changed by todays latest research dependent upon which protein, rna is targeted for comparison charts.

    You are describing a functional, operational science that depends upon a pattern matching technique. The selection process is a intellectual exercise that does not depend upon a billion year history intepretation. The plants can be a thousand years old or a billion years old. I do not care. I only care about detecting the patterns.

    You only need to care about the information content and pattern recognition.

    Nested hierarchies are not macro-evolutionary dependent across long periods of time. These events can happen rapidly.

    There is much debated on that topic about whether it is a true nested hierarchy. Because we know that research finding changes this sometimes monthly or yearly depending upon targeted sequences.

    The designs are functionally dependent for a herbicide to exclude or include others.

    Time is meaningless. What is releavent is the information in the actual plants.

    Do you understand now what I’m stating?

    This has nothing to do with time or macro events in past history.

    If you want to infer historical events over long periods of time as an answer for your beliefs, thats fine.

    Even if I agree. It still does not matter if for operational science.

    Pattern recognition does not require the Darwinian model. It requires a functional search. Othewise, the search is useless.

    Let me provide another post for fodder on the Tree of Life.

  23. 23
    Reg says:

    DonaldM said “A friend of mine, who alerted me to this interview copied the transcript off another website, I’m not sure where, and I just took [(interrupting) and (screaming)] as it was for convenience.”
    In future I’m sure many in the internets’ community would appreciate it if you would clearly flag up stuff which you “took for convenience” but doesn’t actually match what can be seen and heard in the attached video in some way, perhaps by use of footnotes or an alternative typeface. Otherwise it almost looks like someone is being lazy and mindlessly copy/pasting what a friend sent to them. Certainly nobody screams during the posted exchange. Did you not bother to watch the video before posting it alongside the transcript which you copied from a source which you can’t remember?

    Posting inaccurate stuff from places you don’t remember isn’t a good way to come across as doing science. By the way, that site you found the transcript on – are you sure it want’t the reliable Mr Limbaugh? That’s the only site I could find with google which matched what you quoted.

  24. 24
    DATCG says:


    Below is not a direct post to you. But a general post containing information about TOL and media bias. Discard the media portion and discuss the science if you like. I think the information about the TOL effects future research on functional information instead of nested historical information that are at best guesses depending upon sequencing of targeted data.

    The fruitful approach is functional search, where time is meaningless across any tree, branch, or twig.

  25. 25
    Frost122585 says:

    Truth is Pence did a bad job articulating his view and the predominant view of conservatives- which I would have explained as…

    I do not believe that evolution (which has several different meanings) is a complete explanation for the existence of things- primarily complex things such as life- consciousness or mind. I do think there is a scientific argument for universal common ancestry but that it is not a proven theory yet – for every intermediate of fossil found there are thousands that have not been proven to have every existed. This does not mean I reject or think it a false historical construct but that I am not convinced 100% of its total truth- and more over i am not a scientist privy to all of the information and evidence needed to make an honest educated assessment of the theory’s overall strength. I am aware that there is a majority concensus on universal common ancestry but i am also aware that lke with all controversial matterts there are credntialed vioces on the opposing saide as well.

    This eally is not a difficult issue to articulte.

    I however warn everyone o nthis site that the primary reason Mathews is brining this issue up is to CREATE controversay by attacking poeple’s most cherished belifes- all i na nattemp to increase his audience.

    We would be smart to ignore Chris Mathew’s publicity stunt which is the result of his low ratings due to the fact that people are wising up and moving on away from his garbage TV show.

  26. 26
    David Kellogg says:

    kairosfocus [12], there are only 24 hours in a day.

  27. 27
    DATCG says:

    Current State of affairs in Macro-Evolution, that Chris Matthews did not report to his audience:

    I did not look far to find evidence of “Evolution, a theory in crisis”(ty Michael Denton; 1985).

    Some scientist say the problems started happening in the 90s(when they discovered problems), but the truth is the failed Darwinian model has misled scientist for 150yrs. They were merely unable to extract data to ascertain the failures until recent history of vast computer power to sequence genomes.

    Matthews reports none of this to his audience.

    Evotionary News quotes an evowed evolutionist interviewed by New Scientist.

    “For a long time the holy grail was to build a tree of life,” says Eric Bapteste, an evolutionary biologist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France. A few years ago it looked as though the grail was within reach. But today the project lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence.

    Bapteste is being honest. And he does not deny evolution happened. But the single TOL model is a failure. If the trunk is a failure, then what happens to the branches?

    Facts that Matthews did not inform his audience of in regards to current science. Because he does not care about science, he cares about winning political seats and power.

    Bapteste says…

    Many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded.

    Matthews does not report this.

    Fact. Many biologist now argue a model is obsolete after 150yrs since its original concept.

    How much damage is done? It contributed to a fruitless endeavor, a waste of time for historical fancy. Imagine all the scientist who wasted time, money and mental capacity on categorizing organisms based upon failed models and elaborate fictional novels of what-if stories? Yes, I said “fictional because if the Trunk of the models are false, so to are the books based upon them.

    Building up one false phylogenetic tree after another. Great adventures in story telling. I’m talking about a purely historical belief system, not operational science.

    “We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality,” says Bapteste. That bombshell has even persuaded some that our fundamental view of biology needs to change.2

    Please read Bapteste statement again. He said, “We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality”.

    “our fundamental view of biology needs to change”.

    It should be a shocker to Matthews, who touted his educational past. Instead, it shows how clueless he is to reality in science today. This should be big news for everyone irregardless of sides.

    But again, Matthews, MSNBC, does not report it and instead slings mud as the propaganda piece of GE and Obama.

    “Fundamental views” must change because past heuristics failed. It depends upon which genes you select and sequence and which target proteins, or RNA, etc., to make comparisons.

    This blind chance technique gives rise to scientist producing research papers that look more like basketweaving. Each new opinion overlappng each others research opinion, than any real breakthroughs in Tree modeling. I’m not saying information cannot be gleaned from the research. Indeed a good meta-analysis of all the research data may turn up patterns that are fruitful, but not to the original Darwin TOL.

    Instead, today, based upon Bapteste statements, we end up with “Endless Trees Most Beautiful”, but not a successful model for research.

    The single Tree model by many is now considered broken. Matthews did not inform his watching audience of this either, did he?

    If Matthews wants to argue about todays evolutionary science, he should pick up a few science magazines and tune into reality of the current crisis that Michael Denton described over two decades ago.

    Otherwise, he needs to admit the tingle he felt in his leg for Obama is a virus. A virus of radical fascism that disallows dissent and shouts down opponents with insults, lies and strawman arguments. He’s been infected and the odds are long that he will ever recover.

  28. 28
    DATCG says:

    I want to be clear. Evolution happens. But the events, speciation, “Tree of Life” models predicted in the past are failed models according to many scientist today in this battle. There is a discontinuity of patterns along with a continuim in areas of core processes.

    From NewScientist; Jan 21, 2009.

    “Doolittle made the provocative claim that “the history of life cannot properly be represented as a tree” (Science, vol 284, p 2124). “The tree of life is not something that exists in nature, it’s a way that humans classify nature,” he says.”

    Classification does not match reality. In most fields of hard engineering sciences, this is a failure. This is why there are so many stories of maybe, might-be’s, could’ve, may have and possible evolutionary events many contradicting another. Each TOL scientist has a story to tell. And he may be right about his particular search space. Brilliant minds work on this, so the problem is not them. It is the theoretic construct and the fact that history, HGT, Endosymbiosis obstructs them from ever finding the one true Tree of Life.

    Battle comes to a head

    The battle came to a head in 2006. In an ambitious study, a team led by Peer Bork of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, examined 191 sequenced genomes from all three domains of life – bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes (complex organisms with their genetic material packaged in a nucleus) – and identified 31 genes that all the species possessed and which showed no signs of ever having been horizontally transferred. They then generated a tree by comparing the sequences of these “core” genes in everything from E. coli to elephants. The result was the closest thing yet to the perfect tree, Bork claimed (Science, vol 311, p 1283).

    Other researchers begged to differ. Among them were Tal Dagan and William Martin at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany, who pointed out that in numerical terms a core of 31 genes is almost insignificant, representing just 1 per cent of a typical bacterial genome and more like 0.1 per cent of an animal’s. That hardly constitutes a mighty oak or even a feeble sapling – more like a tiny twig completely buried by a giant web. Dagan dubbed Bork’s result “the tree of 1 per cent” and argued that the study inadvertently provided some of the best evidence yet that the tree-of-life concept was redundant (Genome Biology, vol 7, p 118).

    Quoted from Genome Biology and other excerpts… “the tree of 1 per cent” argues in favor of those seeking other models.

    This is the problem also of excluding non-coding regions from the start as JunkDNA, but I digress.

    Endosymbiosis blurs the picture as well.

    “The neat picture of a branching tree is further blurred by a process called endosymbiosis. Early on in their evolution, eukaryotes are thought to have engulfed two free-living prokaryotes. One of these gave rise to the cellular power generators called mitochondria while the other was the precursor of the chloroplasts, in which photosynthesis takes place. These “endosymbionts” later transferred large chunks of their genomes into those of their eukaryote hosts, creating hybrid genomes. As if that weren’t complicated enough, some early eukaryotic lineages apparently swallowed one another and amalgamated their genomes, creating yet another layer of horizontal transfer (Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol, 23, p 268).”

    So, evolutionist moved away from a simple Darwinian view of RM & NS with Modern Synthesis and new mechanisms in the last few decades. But in doing so, they allowed in the door a proponderance of evidence that they can never track back gradualistic trees of life history. It is an argument that can never be solved because the information is not available in gradual steps.

  29. 29
    DonaldM says:


    Drug design certainly needs to understand evolution, for example to calculate how long it will be effective against an infection.

    A good friend of mine leads a major research team at a major pharmeceutical company. I once asked him what role evolution played in their research for new drugs and treatments. His answer was “None!” He said there wasn’t a single scientist on his team who paid any attention at to evolution for their research because it simply plays no part in it.

  30. 30
    Nakashima says:

    Mr DATCG,

    Your description of a scientist working with data such as the nested hierarchy in a purely operational way is extremely strained. The data cannot be just used, it has to be understood. Otherwise you cannot do inferences about the data.

    I’m quite familiar with the New Scientist article on the failure of the tree model at the base of the tree of life. This does not invalidate its utility for metazoa.

  31. 31
    DonaldM says:


    Posting inaccurate stuff from places you don’t remember isn’t a good way to come across as doing science. By the way, that site you found the transcript on – are you sure it want’t the reliable Mr Limbaugh? That’s the only site I could find with google which matched what you quoted.

    As I said, I didn’t get it off a website, but from an e-mail from an associate of mine. The actual transcript of what was said is accurate and that’s all that matters. The parenthetical comments can be taken as one wishes, it changes nothing about the point of my OP and this thread. Its a dead horse already…put away your stick.

  32. 32
    Nakashima says:

    Mr DonaldM,

    That could well be true, depending on what kind of work they doing in his lab. That doesn’t invalidate the example I gave above about herbicide design. Mr DATCG just asked for a single example, not an average across all drug design efforts in every company.

    I think that in the area of human specific drug design, these concerns with macro-evolutionary events would come up mostly in HIV related fields, and other fields where disease vectors have resevoirs in other species and occasionally jump to humans. Another possible area in which it could be important is drugs with accidental or intentional impact on development, because it is in metazoan development that we can see the constraints caused by our distant ancestors, our inner fish.

  33. 33
    jerry says:

    I just watched this video and there was lots of shouting or screaming if you want to call it that. I have seen Matthews hundreds of times and this is typical of how he interviews a Republican or a conservative. It is rapid fire, talk over the other person, interrupt often. He has a template and wants to pin the person to it.

    It is similar to the what the anti ID people do here. Except they do not want to talk about evolution because they know they will get their clocks cleaned.

  34. 34
    Frost122585 says:

    The bias with which he interviews conservatives and especially republicans (since he is a democrat who use to work for the DNC)Chris Mathews is disgusting to me.

  35. 35
    russ says:

    <blockquote<kairosfocus [12], there are only 24 hours in a day.

    Hey! David Kellog. Lay off kairofocus. He’s one of the most interesting commenters here. If you think a particular post is too long, skim it and go on to the next one. 😉

  36. 36
    CannuckianYankee says:

    This interesting exchange between Pence and Mathews illustrates one important point: we do not want the media, nor politicians to do our bidding in questions of science, no matter what our philosophical perspective. Yet it seems that we all appeal to these lowest common denominators. Are we gluttons for punishment, or what?

  37. 37
    Frost122585 says:

    Jerry, that is correct and that is for two main reasons- one he has an agenda pure and simple- and two because he is not intelligent enough to debate the subject fairly enough in real time. If Mathews even was intelligent enough to debate this issue on its merits he still would be in the troubling postions of being wrong from the start- that is he conflates poltics with sceince religion and philosophy so that he doesn’t have to address the truth- that they are seperate spheres of thought with seperate questions and issues that need to be indivudually adressed.

    Mathews just simply wanted to try and up his ratings by creating a hot topic – one that will grab people’s attention back to his show by insulting them- this segment should have been called

    “Republicans don’t believe in evolution because they are anti science”- which is a massive generality- and bigoted statement.

    This is why I will never watch his show- it is completely unintelligible as it reflects the host and the BS.NBC channel as a whole.

  38. 38
    rvb8 says:

    The argument between ‘Macro-evolution'(ID accepts) and ‘Micro-evolution'(ID does not accept) is a red hearing, and I’m a little dissapointed in Mr/Miss Nakashima for using these terms; they are the creations of people who need to encapsulate their worlds within boundaries they can deal with. Mr/Miss Nakashima your posts are, to me high lights in generally mediocre thinking. Please don’t lower yourself to pandering to a vocabulary, that within the science community itself, does not exist. There is evolution only. If some people wish to dwell within walled worlds, let them, but please don’t stoop to using their invented language, and evolved meanings.

  39. 39
    rvb8 says:

    Of course I mean Macro-evolution (ID does not accept), Micro Evolution, (ID does accept).

  40. 40
    Frost122585 says:

    rvb8, ID can accept macro-evolution just not in the Darwinian (undirected chance) form.

  41. 41
    Frost122585 says:

    ^but now that i reread your post I think you are just projecting but dont actually hold that misunderstanding. Sorry.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:


    Thanks. (Cf my remarks to DK, here.)

    GEM of TKI

  43. 43
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Rvb8,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    With respect to ‘macro-evolution’, it is a term that has appeared historically in the literature.

    While I accept your comment that it’s micro-evolution all the way down, that perspective is not always the most helpful. Sure, we are just fish. Sure, we are just biofilms of bacteria. But speciation is a reality.

    I’m quite interested in exactly those inputs to speciation that are not reducible to evolution. These might be things like co-evolution and the creation and destruction of niches in the physical environment.

    I personally see the current state of “we accept micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution” and “evolution works, but only by active information” as a phase in a historical process. So I am happy to engage at the current moment with people using their current vocabulary, where it makes sense. I agree that if someone wnated to make an argument based on baraminology or some other invented stuffs, I would have to ask them to change their vocabulary before we could have a successful dialogue. In the case of macro-evolution, I don’t feel that’s necessary, modulo checking definitions.

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