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May anyone at all question Darwinism? Scientists or non-scientists?

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The very fact that Darwinism flourishes so readily where intellectual freedom is absent is a good reason to question it.

Here are some excerpts from John West’s chapter in The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos (2021).

If you are a scientist:

Biology professor Caroline Crocker at George Mason University was “barred by her department from teaching both evolution and intelligent design” after committing the crime of mentioning intelligent design in a course on cell biology. “It’s an infringement of academic freedom,” she told the journal Nature.2 Subsequently her contract was not renewed.

Oregon community college instructor Kevin Haley was terminated after it became known that he criticized evolution in his freshman biology classes. Haley’s college refused to state why his contract was not renewed, but some of Haley’s colleagues were upset that students who took his biology class were starting to challenge evolution in their classes.4 Before the controversy over evolution, Haley had been regarded as an excellent teacher.

John G. West, “Do Scientists Have Freedom to Question Darwinism?” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 11, 2022)

Question? Why does anyone suppose that the Woke care whether someone is a good teacher or not? That isn’t what they are About.

If you are a non-scientist:

College professors are not the only targets in academia who face discrimination because of their skepticism of Darwinism. Students can be even more vulnerable. Ohio State University doctoral candidate Bryan Leonard had his dissertation defense put in limbo after three pro-Darwin professors filed a spurious complaint attacking Leonard’s dissertation research as “unethical human subject experimentation.” Leonard’s dissertation project looked at how student beliefs changed after students were taught scientific evidence for and against modern evolutionary theory. The complaining professors admitted that they had not actually read Leonard’s dissertation. But they were sure it must be unethical. Why? According to them, there is no valid evidence against evolutionary theory. Thus — by definition — Leonard’s research must be tantamount to child abuse.4

John G. West, “Do Non-Scientists Have Freedom to Question Darwinism?” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 14, 2022)

Sadly, many people think the Woke aren’t coming for them. They, they assure us, never provoke the Woke.

Actually, most of them just haven’t stumbled on one of the Wokester’s sensitive patches yet.

The very fact that Darwinism flourishes so readily where intellectual freedom is absent is a good reason to question it.

7 Replies to “May anyone at all question Darwinism? Scientists or non-scientists?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Are teachers contractually and ethically bound to teach the set curriculum or not? Are teachers free to teach their own religious views in a science class or not?

    According to the Wikipedia entry on the movie Expelled Caroline Crocker

    … a former part-time cell biology lecturer at George Mason University who became the center of controversy over intelligent design. In the film Stein states, “After she simply mentioned Intelligent Design in her cell biology class at the … [u]niversity, Caroline Crocker’s sterling academic career came to an abrupt end”, and she was blacklisted. Crocker tells Stein that before the incident she was routinely offered jobs on the spot following an interview, but afterwards she was unable to find a position in academia.

    According to the university and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), Crocker was not fired; her position was non-tenure track and her employment was on a course-by-course basis. She taught to the end of her contract, which was not renewed. A George Mason University spokesman said this was for reasons unrelated to her views on intelligent design, and that although they wholeheartedly supported academic freedom, “teachers also have a responsibility to stick to subjects they were hired to teach,… and intelligent design belonged in a religion class, not biology. Does academic freedom ‘literally give you the right to talk about anything, whether it has anything to do with the subject matter or not? The answer is no.'”[41]

    The NCSE also stated that she did more than merely mention intelligent design, but in fact posed many refuted creationist arguments.[42] Crocker also did find a position at Northern Virginia Community College, where she was later profiled by The Washington Post. The Post’s article stated she claimed “that the scientific establishment was perpetrating fraud, hunting down critics of evolution to ruin them and disguising an atheistic view of life in the garb of science”. Her lecture, which she said was the same she taught at George Mason, taught students creationist claims about evolution and promoted intelligent design in a biology class, telling them that Nazi atrocities were based on Darwin’s ideas and on science.[41]

  2. 2
    BobRyan says:

    Sev, you included the following, “telling them that Nazi atrocities were based on Darwin’s ideas and on science.”

    The Nazis were eugenicists, which originates in Darwin and was considered science. Eugenics is rooted in Darwin’s second book, where it makes clear there is a distinction between races. With some being privileged and others being savage. He wrote that the civilized should bring about the extinction of the savage for the benefit of his perceived superior races.

  3. 3
    Bob O'H says:

    BobRyan – even if all that was true, how would it bear on whether something that in Not Cell Biology should be taught in a Cell Biology class?

    Honestly, the university should have acted in the same way if she had decided to teach population genetics.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    bear on whether something that in Not Cell Biology should be taught in a Cell Biology class

    Darwinism is great science but just genetics. By all means teach that in Cell Biology class.

    There is just no evidence it has anything to do with the Evolution debate. Teach that too in Cell Biology class.

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    Honestly, the university should have acted in the same way if she had decided to teach population genetics.

    You’re joking, of course. The professors can teach political, environmental, social, cultural, literary, philosophical and historical views (over-and-above without avoiding the curriculum itself) and nobody is going to get fired.
    In fact, atheism can be taught in the biology class – as a number of textbook entries show it has been.
    But the science of Intelligent Design cannot be mentioned because it’s too dangerous.

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    SA – nope, I’m not joking. She was hired as an adjunct to specifically teach cell biology. Had she been hired to teach whatever she wanted you might have a point.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O’H holds that Caroline Crocker was rightly ‘let go’ because, “She was hired as an adjunct to specifically teach cell biology”, and she was apparently bringing up things that did not deal directly with cell biology (and which, apparently, reflected badly on Darwinian evolution).

    The trouble for Bob O’H is that, number one, Darwinian evolution itself has nothing to do with biology,

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    – Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superfluous one.”
    – Adam S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.
    In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.,,,
    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology.”
    – Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005

    And since Darwinian evolution itself has nothing to do with cell biology, then, according to Bob O’H’s own line of reasoning, anyone who mentions Darwinian evolution is a cell biology class should be ‘let go’ from teaching cell biology since he/she is not adhering to teaching only ‘strict’ cell biology..

    The second, more pressing, problem for Bob O’H, (in wanting only ‘strict’ cell biology to be taught in the classroom), is that “it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language”.

    “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence.
    Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”
    – Denis Noble – Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.
    http://www.thebestschools.org/.....interview/

    In short, it is impossible to speak about biological processes without using teleological words that directly imply ‘Intelligent Design’,

    teleological – adjective
    exhibiting or relating to design or purpose especially in nature
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teleological

    As this working biologist honestly confessed, “in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.”

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on.
    – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    And in the following article, Stephen Talbott challenges Darwinists to, “pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness (i.e. teleological language)”

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness 1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    As Talbott noted in his article, it “cannot be done”.

    As the following 2020 article found, “teleological concepts cannot be abstracted away from biological explanations without loss of meaning and explanatory power, life is inherently teleological.”

    Metaphor and Meaning in the Teleological Language of Biology Annie L. Crawford – August 2020
    Abstract:
    Excerpt: However, most discussions regarding the legitimacy of teleological language in biology fail to consider the nature of language itself. Since conceptual language is intrinsically metaphorical, teleological language can be dismissed as decorative if and only if it can be replaced with alternative metaphors without loss of essential meaning. I conclude that, since teleological concepts cannot be abstracted away from biological explanations without loss of meaning and explanatory power, life is inherently teleological.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/biologists-cant-stop-using-purpose-driven-language-because-life-really-is-designed/

    Thus in conclusion, although Bob O’H is apparently in favor of ‘letting go’ of anyone in cell biology who dares to mention doubts about Darwin in the classroom, and who does not teach ‘strict’ cell biology, the fact of the matter is that ‘strict’ cell biology itself is one of the greatest witnesses against Darwinian evolution.

    So my question for Bob O’H is this, since cell biology itself screams ‘Intelligent Design”, “Should we also ban teaching cell biology in cell biology classrooms?” 🙂

    Verse:

    Psalms 139:14
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

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