Intelligent Design

PZ Myers: The Anti-Authoritarian Authoritarian

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Is there a religious influence and authoritarian tradition in science? Evolutionist PZ Myers rejects any such notion. Though Myers relies on the usual theological truth claims that are fundamental to evolution, he is sure that science is free of all such nonsense. When he is not busy shutting down scientific inquiry with religious dictates, he reassures his readers that science is a process that empowers questioning and change.

Certainly that is what science should be, but it is precisely the opposite in the hands of evolutionists such as Myers. They believe evolution is a fact, based on religious dogma that goes back centuries. Far from the empowering the asking of questions when the evidence contradicts their theory, they protect evolution from harm. You can see examples of Myers’ religious commitment here and here. Myers criticizes the religious ignorance and dogma he disagrees with, but he ignores the religious dogma that is foundational to evolution.

49 Replies to “PZ Myers: The Anti-Authoritarian Authoritarian

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    This article reminds me of this quote I just read over at ENV:

    In fact, even some of the evolutionary biologists who risked “ridicule” to seek function for junk-DNA have lamented how their paradigm has stifled research into junk-DNA. Also in 2003, John Mattick, an evolutionist biologist who is a standout because of his research seeking function for junk-DNA, stated in Scientific American the following striking comment:

    “I think this will come to be a classic story of orthodoxy derailing objective analysis of the facts, in this case for a quarter of a century,” Mattick says. “The failure to recognize the full implications of this—particularly the possibility that the intervening noncoding sequences may be transmitting parallel information in the form of RNA molecules—may well go down as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of molecular biology.”

    (John S. Mattick quoted in W. Wayt Gibbs, “The Unseen Genome, Gems Among the Junk,” Scientific American (November, 2003).)

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/

  2. 2
    allanius says:

    The difference is that Christianity is rational and evolutionism is not. Myers believes that the universe created itself and that life came from that which is not life. The more we learn about nature, the more we realize just how irrational these beliefs really are.

  3. 3
    Alan Fox says:

    Does Barry’s invitation to Professor Myer still stand?

  4. 4
    Alan Fox says:

    Oops, Professor Myers

  5. 5
    Alan Fox says:

    If it does, maybe Professor Myers could tell us what he believes, rather than commenters like allanius asserting “Myers believes that the universe created itself and that life came from that which is not life.”

  6. 6
    Alan Fox says:

    Though I suspect PZ endorses Richard Dawkins expressed view that dialogue with creationists is unproductive. I hasten to add that what Dr. Dawkins considers a creationist does not necessarily equate with everyone’s idea of a creationist.

  7. 7
    herb says:

    Ken Ham, quoted in Meyer’s blog:

    Ken Ham: God worked for six days and then rested for one. This is where our seven-day week comes from! If God created everything in six long periods (or millions of years), our week would be millions of years long! That wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever.

    Whew! I can’t imagine a millions-of-years long week. I’m beat after just 5 days of work!

  8. 8
    Alan Fox says:

    Ken Ham, quoted in Meyer’s blog

    it’s Paul Zachary Myers

    not, for instance, Stephen C. Meyer!

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Stephen C. Meyer has stated his belief for how the universe started at the beginning of this video:

    Evolution vs. Information
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL2-56eF34c

  10. 10
    PhilosophyFan says:

    To be fair, I wouldn’t say it’s religious in the sense that revealed dogma is religious, but only philoshical theology.

  11. 11
    Cabal says:

    allanius @ 2:

    The difference is that Christianity is rational and evolutionism is not.

    Could you show us an example of that?

  12. 12
    Joseph says:

    Dialogue with evolutionists is unproductive because they NEVER substantiate their claims.

    All they can do is bloviate over the definitions promoted by IDists all-the-while concealing the fact that their position doesn’t have anything nearly as well defined.

    People like PZ and Dawkins just don’t realize that ID will fade away if they EVER start suppoorting their position with actual scientific data as opposed to relying on glossy narratives.

  13. 13
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph,

    Everybody who expects claims to be taken seriously should back them up. Could you back up (or perhaps withdraw) your earlier claim that discussions of macroevolution should be restricted to animals?

  14. 14
    herb says:

    All they can do is bloviate over the definitions promoted by IDists all-the-while concealing the fact that their position doesn’t have anything nearly as well defined.

    Precisely! One example would be the hedging and back-peddling we see over in the “Species” thread right now. The Darwinistas can’t even make sense of this concept which is fundamental to their theory. Maybe they should simply change the name of Darwin’s OOS and cut their losses!

    OTOH, on the ID side you will find a wealth of rigorously defined concepts and associated theorems, such as specified complexity, irreducible complexity, LCI, physical inertia, ontogenetic depth, 10^-120, baramin, etc, etc, etc, all of which place biology on a firm non-materialist foundation.

  15. 15
    Dave Wisker says:

    Hi herb,

    The Darwinistas can’t even make sense of this concept which is fundamental to their theory

    Can you please explain how the species concept is essential to evolutionary theory? For example, how does variation and natural selection depend on any particular definition of a species? Is population genetics dependent upon any taxonomic definitions? If so, how?

  16. 16
    NSM says:

    @ Herb

    “Whew! I can’t imagine a millions-of-years long week. I’m beat after just 5 days of work!”

    Imagine if you were born on a Monday.

  17. 17
    Joseph says:

    David Kellogg:

    Everybody who expects claims to be taken seriously should back them up.

    Which means evolutionists should not be taken seriously.

    Especially when they say that evolution predicts a nested hierarchy.

  18. 18
    herb says:

    Hi Dave [15],

    I was just making the very pedestrian observation that at least Darwin must have thought the concept of species was important, since the word appears in the title of his seminal work.

    Regarding your other questions, I don’t know the answers. If there weren’t species or “kinds”, if you will, wouldn’t that mean that any two organisms could interbreed? That would lead to things like crocoducks and such. Eventually every member of the animal kingdom would be a form of beetle.

  19. 19
    Joseph says:

    Dave Kellogg:

    Could you back up (or perhaps withdraw) your earlier claim that discussions of macroevolution should be restricted to animals?

    That all depends on what one counts as “macroevolution”.

    I know for a fact that the definition that evolutionary biologists use is useless because it includes an arbitrary word- species- and not even YECs have a beef with their definition.

    Therefor when evolutionists say they have an example of “macroevolution” there needs to be a giant salt-lick nearby.

    That said if you have an example of plants “evolving” entirely new structures and organs please let us know.

    But if all you have is plants beefing up what they already have the you don’t have anything to brag about.

  20. 20
    PhilosophyFan says:

    I love all the “you made this claim back in______” now admit it and I’ve ruined your reputation, and now UncommonDescent is proven to be full of fools. Come on people, stay on topic.

  21. 21
    Dave Wisker says:

    HBi herb,

    I was just making the very pedestrian observation that at least Darwin must have thought the concept of species was important, since the word appears in the title of his seminal work.

    Darwin developed his theory to explain life’s diversity. Yet he came to realize, as I have quoted on another thread, that the terms “species” and “variety” were actually arbitrary constructs. And far from just making a “pedestrian observatoiopn, you went further to say we “Darwinistas” cannot make sense of a concept that is “fundamental to our theory”. Naturally , as a card carrying Darwinista who fails to see how the concept is fundamental to the theory, I was curious.

    Regarding your other questions, I don’t know the answers. If there weren’t species or “kinds”, if you will, wouldn’t that mean that any two organisms could interbreed?

    No, why would it? Do genetic incompatibilities between organisms and how they arise rely on a definition of species? What about the simple observation that organisms which exchange genes will be more alike than those that do not. Does that depend on an arbitrary definition like species? What about the observation that local populations of genetically similar individuals will develop as long those individuals exchange genes? Or that assemblages of these local breeding populations (called ‘metapopulations’) can develop through gene exchange and migration? Or that if some become isolated enough they can diverge from the other local groups in the assemblage and form lineages and metapopulations of their own? Would it really matter if subgroups in one lineage might still be interfertile with subgroups in another lineage, if they were still reproductively isolated enough (through things like distance, or behavior, or ecological conditions)to prevent actual gene exchange? The answer is no. Divergence and increased diversity would still occur regardless. Mutations would still occur, recombination would still generate even more variation, and natural selection would still drive adaptation. Defining a category one particular way would add NOTHING to the process, and certainly would not prevent it from occurring.

  22. 22
    Mapou says:

    I predict that Paul Zachary Myers will convert to Christianity within the next five years or else he will be admitted to a psychiatric hospital and kept in a padded cell for his own safety and that of the other patients.

  23. 23
    CannuckianYankee says:

    We have some vacant beds in our facility, but no padded cells. Keep me up on what’s going on with him, and I’ll see what I can come up with. 🙂

  24. 24
    PaulBurnett says:

    “herb” (#14) wrote: “…on the ID side you will find a wealth of rigorously defined concepts and associated theorems, such as…baramin…”

    You’re mixing apples and kumquats here, herb. The term “baramin” is used in Young Earth Creationism – it is not used at all in orthodox intelligent design. See http://www.conservapedia.com/Baramin for a discussion.

  25. 25
    herb says:

    Hi Paul,

    The term “baramin” is used in Young Earth Creationism – it is not used at all in orthodox intelligent design. See http://www.conservapedia.com/Baramin for a discussion.

    But what is “orthodox” intelligent design? The ID movement has wisely avoided imposing orthodoxy on itself, and takes no position on the question of a young Earth vs. an old Earth.

    Moreover, Walt ReMine, who posts here periodically, is mentioned on the very Conservapaedia page you linked to. See this page for more information.

  26. 26
    sparc says:

    Precisely! One example would be the hedging and back-peddling we see over in the “Species” thread right now. The Darwinistas can’t even make sense of this concept which is fundamental to their theory.

    Indeed. Species concepts obviously don’t make sense in biology. The evidence for this fact has been presented during an IDEA conference back in 2002 in San Francisco. IIRC, much of the argument was based on wolfs and thylacines.

  27. 27
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph [19], that’s a non-responsive response. I was referring to another thread where you wrote both authoritatively and wrongly about YEC and related issues. Is that the only area where you act like an expert but display ignorance?

  28. 28
    Joseph says:

    David Kellogg:

    Joseph [19], that’s a non-responsive response.

    Both [17] and [19] answered your queries.

    Just because you don’t like the responses doesn’t mean anything to me.

  29. 29
    Joseph says:

    As for ignorance well the theory of evolution DEPENDS on it.

    Evolutionary biologists act like experts but when the rubber meets the road they don’t have a clue as to whether or not the transformations required are even possible.

    So if you want to get into ignorance and unsupported claims just start with your position.

  30. 30
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    The Wiki page on the Evolutionary History of Plants shows the fossil evidence for leaves, seeds, flowers, etc, evolving. You may be interested in looking it over before claiming there is no evidence for macro-evolution of entirely new structures and organs in plants, which I believe is the opposite of your previous position that macro-evolution could occur in plants but that didn’t count for some reason in a discussion of macro-evolution.

  31. 31
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph, alas, your earlier responses did nothing but pound the table. Recall that, earlier, you had said YEC’s don’t care about plant evolution and that in the Bible plants don’t reproduce “after their own kind.” Now you say that YEC’s accept the evolutionary definition of “species.” You have thus shown profound ignorance of both YEC and the Bible.

  32. 32
    Joseph says:

    Nakishima:

    The Wiki page on the Evolutionary History of Plants shows the fossil evidence for leaves, seeds, flowers, etc, evolving.

    Fossils show what the observer wants them to show.

    What is needed is GENETIC data which demonstrates the transformations are even possible.

    However there isn’t any way to test the premise.

  33. 33
    Joseph says:

    David Kellogg:

    Now you say that YEC’s accept the evolutionary definition of “species.”

    I said YECs accept speciation.

    I said that Linne once placed the Created Kinds at the level of “specvies” but then changed it to “Genus”.

    I said that YECs do NOT accept evolutionary biologists definition of macroevolution.

    As for ignorance I will put up $10,000 in a debate against you on evolution, YEC and the Bible.

    Just tell me when and where.

  34. 34
    Joseph says:

    And as for pouding the table- that is ALL evolutionists do.

  35. 35
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph, how about starting the debate with your earlier claim:

    In a YEC scenario plants do not “reproduce after their own Kind”. That only pertains to animals.

    The ignorance of that is breathtaking.

  36. 36
    Joseph says:

    David your ignorance is breathtaking.

    You haven’t shown any knowledge of anything.

    YEC rapid speciation video

    $10,000- let’s see who knows more than the other.

  37. 37
    Joseph says:

    David,

    How about you starting the debate with your claim that evolution predicts a nested hierarchy.

    Then you could move on to supporting other claims made by evolutionists.

    For example you can explain how to test the premise that a bacterial flagellum can evolve in a population that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    Then perhaps you can explain how 6% of a vision system is better than %5% even though the vision system doesn’t work until it is 100%- nevermind that was Dawkin’s ignorance…

    But anyways I am waiting for clarification from a YEC on plants.

    But if you cannot wait we can always meet and get it over with sooner…

  38. 38
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    Your preference for data sources cannot always be accomodated, but in this case it can.

    Fellow commenter Arthur Hunt has written about a study in which a mutation of two genes changes an annual plant into a woody perennial. This a good example of how the genotype-phenotype mapping is non-linear. A small change in genotype produces a large change in phenotype.

    Neither the woody perrenial habit nor the annual habit can be called a deleterious mutation, they just put the plant into two different ecological niches.

  39. 39
    Joseph says:

    Nakashima-san,

    I read Art’s essay and the corresponding paper.

    I don’t see how it violates the Creation variation within a kind.

    I don’t see how it violates the Creation definition of macroevolution.

    It very well could have to do with epigenetics, but I may have more on that later…

  40. 40
    Joseph says:

    BTW what Art Hunt calls macroevolution is not what Creationists call macroevolution.

    Just so you know:

    Creation: evolution, biological:

    1) “microevolution”—the name used by many evolutionists to describe genetic variation, the empirically observed phenomenon in which exisiting potential variations within the gene pool of a population of organisms are manifested or suppressed among members of that population over a series of generations. Often simplistically (and erroneously) invoked as “proof” of “macro evolution”

    2) macroevolution—the theory/belief that biological population changes take (and have taken) place (typically via mutations and natural selection) on a large enough scale to produce entirely new structural features and organs, resulting in entirely new species, genera, families, orders, classes, and phyla within the biological world, by generating the requisite (new) genetic information. Many evolutionists have used “macro-evolution” and “Neo-Darwinism” as synonymous for the past 150 years.

    evolutionists on macro/ micro

    In evolutionary biology today, macroevolution is used to refer to any evolutionary change at or above the level of species. It means at least the splitting of a species into two (speciation, or cladogenesis, from the Greek meaning “the origin of a branch”, see Fig. 1) or the change of a species over time into another (anagenetic speciation, not nowadays generally accepted [note 1]).

    Microevolution refers to any evolutionary change below the level of species, and refers to changes in the frequency within a population or a species of its alleles (alternative genes) and their effects on the form, or phenotype, of organisms that make up that population or species. It can also apply to changes within species that are not genetic.

    And if you watch the video in comment 36 you will see that YECs are OK with macro as defined by evolutionists.

  41. 41
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph, just to be clear, you are saying that in YEC, plants do not reproduce “after their own kind”? That “after their own kind” refers only to animals? If so, the list of things you know nothing about can be augmented by one.

  42. 42
    Joseph says:

    David Kellogg,

    What part of:

    But anyways I am waiting for clarification from a YEC on plants.

    But if you cannot wait we can always meet and get it over with sooner…

    don’t you understand?

    And again I will put my knowledge of things up against yours any and every day.

    Ya see I am neither a YEC nor a YEC expert. Nor am I a Bible guy.

    I only know enough about YEC to know when someone is slinging nonsense- ie erecting strawman after strawman.

    For example the micro v macro thingy.

  43. 43
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    I think gaining a woody stem would qualify as a “new structure”, and becoming a perennial as a “new structural feature”, so even under the private YEC definition of the term, these two mutations in concert cerate macro-evolutionary change.

    However, I would beware of relying on private definitions of terms in the first place. No one is going to be convinced by an argument that relies on a series of private definitions. This particular definition is highly suspect. Evolutionists could hardly have been using macro-evolution and Neo-Darwinism as synonymous for 150 years when the term “Neo-Darwinism” was coined in 1895. Similarly, “macroevolution” was invented in 1927. Whoever T. Wallace is, they are not doing you any favors with definitions like these.

  44. 44
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    If you are not a YEC, why make such a personal commitment to their positions and definitions?

    BTW, what kind of face to face meeting are you interested in? What area do you live in?

  45. 45
    Joseph says:

    Nakashima-san,

    What good is it using a definition which no one debates?

    I say it is very deceptive to use the evolutionary definition as it is meaningless. Not only that if we go by that definition then there isn’t any debate!

    And that is just plain nonsense.

    the Creation definition has been out for many years, perhaps even decades.

    If you are not a YEC, why make such a personal commitment to their positions and definitions?

    As I said to prevent strawman arguments.

    They are boring and demonstrate ignorance.

    BTW, what kind of face to face meeting are you interested in?

    Kellogg has his panties in a knot so I figured I could help him with that.

    What area do you live in?

    New England. Not too far from David.

    That said I am not so sure woody stems and becoming perennial or annual meet the qualifications.

    Perhaps you could write to Answers in Genesis and ask them. I did and I am waiting for their response- if they do respond- usually they do.

    They ARE the YEC experts.

  46. 46
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    There are other, more productive discussions than definitional ones. And as you say, the two definitions overlap such that YECS are OK with the mainstream definition. So why defend this flawed definition? I don’t see the need to invest so much into this position.

    And if the YECs accept the mainstream definition how can it be meaningless? I’m not sensing a coherent position, here.

    Where in New England? I would be interested in meeting you.

    On the issue of whether those changes in character would qualify for a new species definition, you might also want to write to a local professor of botany or systematics. As you say, the YECs would accept what he had to say about it.

  47. 47
    Joseph says:

    And if the YECs accept the mainstream definition how can it be meaningless?

    1- it is meaningless because it includes the ambiguous word “species”.

    2- It is meaningless because no one debates it.

    So why even use a word that no one debates?

    And as I said speciation is NOT being debated.

    Also you can call that an example of macroevolution if you would like but it is an example that does NOT refute anything.

    And that is another reason why it is meaningless.

    Where in NE?- Keene, NH- home of the Owls (Keene State).

  48. 48
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Joseph,

    Both YEC and mainstream definition contain the same word species. Since the word is ambiguous, if you want to discuss macro-evolution you can share your definition of species.

    There obviously is debate over macro-evoution even within the mainstream biology community, and there is the kind of discussion we are having here.

    Since both definitions of macro-evolution include speciation, I don’t think you can arbitrarily exempt speciation from the discussion.

    An example of macro-evolution that does not refute the claim that macro-evolution does not exist? Because you’ve changed your definition of macro-evolution in mid-argument to a completely personal one? No.

    Keene sounds nice, but snowy. I’ve only been in NH twice.

  49. 49
    Dave Wisker says:

    I’m stil waiting for someone to convincingly show us why plants are qualitatively different enough from animals to precude them from discussions of macroevolution. Some have claimed plants just don’t possess the complex features animals have. I have to ask, then, what about plant immune systems? Are they not complex adaptations? Why are they not worthy of the discussion, especially under the ID definition of macroevolution as described by jerry?

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