Intelligent Design

The Evolution Catechism

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Adam Gopnik has written an impertinent piece for the New Yorker (February 19, 2015), arguing that political candidates should be put on the spot and required to affirm their acceptance of evolution before being allowed to take office. Evolution, he writes, is “an inarguable and obvious truth” which is “easy to understand,” and if you oppose “Darwinian biology,” you thereby “announce yourself against the discoveries of science, or so frightened of those who are that you can be swayed from answering honestly.” A politician who fails to publicly embrace evolution “shouldn’t be trusted with power.” As Gopnik puts it:

It does seem slightly odd to ask a man running for President — or, for that matter, for dogcatcher — to recite a catechism on modern science…

But the notion that the evolution question was unfair, or irrelevant, or simply a “sorting” device designed to expose a politician as belonging to one cultural club or another, is finally ridiculous. For the real point is that evolution is not, like the Great Pumpkin, something one can or cannot “believe” in. It just is — a fact certain, the strongest and most resilient explanation of the development of life on Earth that there has ever been…

What the question means, and why it matters, is plain: Do you have the courage to embrace an inarguable and obvious truth when it might cost you something to do so? A politician who fails this test is not high-minded or neutral; he or she is just craven, and shouldn’t be trusted with power.

Let me note for the record that Gopnik, despite his numerous awards, has no scientific qualifications whatsoever; he earned a B.A. degree from McGill University and did some graduate work at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts.) To his credit, he appears to have read widely on the subject of evolution, but the most signal failing of his well-written but misguided piece is his inability to understand that evolution is a theory on many different levels. To affirm the theory of organic evolution in the broadest sense is quite different from affirming the theory of evolution as understood by most scientists. One can believe, as I do, that all living things are descended from a common stock, from which they evolved over millions of years, and that most of the genetic differences between the different kinds of organisms on Earth are due to either random changes (e.g. genetic drift) or non-random natural selection. But it is another thing entirely to affirm that these unguided processes are sufficient to account for the key structural innovations in the history of life – such as the origin of the nucleus of the eukaryotic cell, or the appearance of no less than 30 distinct animal body types over a relatively short period that comprises a mere 0.5% of the history of life on Earth, let alone the suite of genetic changes that took place in the human lineage within the last few million years and culminated in the most stupendously complex device the world has ever seen: the human brain. Moreover, there is certainly no scientific consensus at present regarding the claim that macroevolution is but microevolution writ large: in fact, a number of respectable biologists dispute this highly questionable assertion. To be sure, Gopnik does not explicitly make this claim in his piece – indeed, he acknowledges that evolutionists disagree on the question, “How gradual does ‘gradual’ have to be? – but it is implied by his contention that life on Earth “proceeds through the gradual process of variation and selection” and that “we arrived in bits and were made up willy-nilly, not by the divine designer but by the tinkering of time.”

And that brings me to another point: despite Gopnik’s vocal protestations that belief in evolution is compatible with a wide gamut of worldviews ranging from Marxist to Catholic to Wiccan, his own characterization of the theory of evolution is flat-out incompatible with the belief – held by a solid majority of Americans who embrace the theory – that evolution is a God-guided process. By shrilly insisting that we were “made up willy-nilly, not by the divine designer but by the tinkering of time,” Gopnik risks alienating his core constituency: people who are open to the findings of science, but who also believe that life – and in particular, human life – is the product of God’s design.

Gopnik evidently considers anyone who doubts evolution, after being presented with the evidence for it, to be deeply irrational. One wonders, then, what he would make of the testimony of Professor Richard Smalley (1943-2005), winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Towards the end of his life, Dr. Richard Smalley became an Old Earth creationist, after reading two books (Origins of Life and Who Was Adam?), written by Dr. Hugh Ross (an astrophysicist) and Dr. Fazale Rana (a biochemist). Dr. Smalley explained his change of heart as follows:

Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading Origins of Life, with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred. The new book, Who Was Adam?, is the silver bullet that puts the evolutionary model to death. (Montana News Association report, December 21, 2005.)

And what would Gopnik make of Professor James M. Tour, who was ranked one of the ten most cited chemists in the world in 2009, and who has forthrightly declared in an online essay that while microevolution (or small changes occurring within a species) is well-understood by scientists, there is no scientist alive today who understands how macroevolution is supposed to work, at a chemical level?

I do have scientific problems understanding macroevolution as it is usually presented. I simply can not accept it as unreservedly as many of my scientist colleagues do, although I sincerely respect them as scientists. I simply can not accept it as unreservedly as many of my scientist colleagues do, although I sincerely respect them as scientists. Some of them seem to have little trouble embracing many of evolution’s proposals based upon (or in spite of) archeological, mathematical, biochemical and astrophysical suggestions and evidence, and yet few are experts in all of those areas, or even just two of them. Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?…

I simply do not understand, chemically, how macroevolution could have happened. Hence, am I not free to join the ranks of the skeptical and to sign such a statement without reprisals from those that disagree with me? Furthermore, when I, a non-conformist, ask proponents for clarification, they get flustered in public and confessional in private wherein they sheepishly confess that they really don’t understand either. Well, that is all I am saying: I do not understand. But I am saying it publicly as opposed to privately. Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution?”

Gopnik is silent in his article regarding the origin of life – and for good reason. Evolutionary biologist Dr. Eugene Koonin, in his peer-reviewed article, The Cosmological Model of Eternal Inflation and the Transition from Chance to Biological Evolution in the History of Life (Biology Direct 2 (2007): 15, doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-15), has calculated (using a “toy model” which is not intended to be realistic, but which deliberately errs on the side of generosity in its scientific assumptions) that the odds of even a very basic life-form – a coupled replication-translation system – emerging anywhere in the observable universe are astronomically low: 1 in 1 followed by 1,018 zeroes! To overcome these daunting odds, Dr. Koonin is forced to postulate the existence of a multiverse containing a vast number of universes, of which ours just happens to have a planet on which life evolved. But the problem with this kind of explanation is that it explains too much: you can explain away literally any level of complexity by invoking a multiverse, if you really want to.

Finally, the central contention of Gopnik’s article is that scientific belief in evolution is driven purely by the evidence, and that any open-minded person, examining the evidence in a detached manner, would arrive at the same conclusion. But in that case, what would he make of the following admission by Professor Richard Lewontin, in a memorable review (New York Times, January 9, 1997) of Carl Sagan’s book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. 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.

Given such an a priori commitment, we might well ask: can we reasonably expect scientists to examine the alleged evidence for Intelligent Design in a fair and objective manner? I think not.

Of course, Professor Lewontin himself has no doubts about the fact of evolution: in a more recent review (“Why Darwin?”, New York Review of Books, May 28, 2009), he praises Jerry Coyne, the acclaimed author of Why Evolution Is True, for presenting “the incontrovertible evidence that evolution is a physical fact of the history of life on earth.” Nevertheless, he is honest enough to draw his readers’ attention to a vital weakness in Coyne’s case. Demonstrating organic evolution is one thing; showing that it was driven by the unguided process of natural selection is quite another:

In referring to the theory of evolution he [Coyne] makes it clear that we do not mean the weak sense of “theory,” an ingenious tentative mental construct that might or might not be objectively true, but the strong sense of . In this he is entirely successful.

Where he is less successful, as all other commentators have been, is in his insistence that the evidence for natural selection as the driving force of evolution is of the same inferential strength as the evidence that evolution has occurred…

There is, of course, nothing that Coyne can do about the situation. There are different modes of “knowing,” and we “know” that evolution has, in fact, occurred in a stronger sense than we “know” that some sequence of evolutionary change has been the result of natural selection.

It is a great pity that Adam Gopnik, in his piece for the New Yorker, fails to display the same nuanced understanding of evolution that Lewontin does.

Gopnik contends that “Darwinism is easily falsified, and it has survived every possible test.” I would advise him to carefully read Dr. Douglas Axe’s article, The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds, in BioComplexity 2010(1):1-12. doi:10.5048/BIO-C.2010.1. Dr. Axe is certainly a qualified scientist: after obtaining a Caltech Ph.D., he held postdoctoral and research scientist positions at the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Medical Research Council Centre, and the Babraham Institute in Cambridge. He has also written two articles for the Journal of Molecular Biology (see here and here for abstracts). He has also co-authored an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an article in Biochemistry and an article published in PLoS ONE.

But let us continue. Gopnik writes: “There were not enough fossils in Darwin’s own lifetime to do more than offer a hunch about what they’d show, but the fossils unearthed since show that Darwin’s hunches were right…” But Darwin himself acknowledged “the almost entire absence, as at present known, of formations rich in fossils beneath the Cambrian strata” as a difficulty “of the most serious nature” for his theory (Origin of Species, sixth edition, London: John Murray, 1872, Chapter 10, p. 289). And while we can now trace the history of life back over 3.5 billion years, the relatively brief 20-million-year Cambrian explosion, in which at least 30 animal body types burst on the scene between 540 and 520 million years ago, remains an enigma. Indeed, one of Britain’s top geneticists, Dr. Norman C. Nevin OBE, BSc, MD, FRCPath, FFPH, FRCPE, FRCP, who is Professor Emeritus in Medical Genetics, Queen’s University, Belfast, has publicly praised Intelligent Design advocate Stephen Meyer’s recent book, Darwin’s Doubt as a welcome contribution to the literature on the subject:

With the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, Darwin acknowledged that there wasn’t an adequate explanation for the pattern in the fossil record in which a wide diversity of animal life suddenly appeared in the Cambrian geological period. His doubt about the “Cambrian explosion” centered on the wide range of body forms, the missing fossil intermediates and the lack of evidence for antecedents.
Meyer’s book examines the implications of the “Cambrian explosion.” It is a fascinating story and analysis of Darwin’s doubt about the fossil record and the debate that has ensued. It is a tour de force

Many leading biologists criticize key aspects of evolution. The main problem with neo-Darwinism is the origin of new biological information. Building a living organism requires an immense amount of information. The issue that arises is the source of the information and how can random mutations and natural selection generate the necessary biological information to produce such a diversity of animal forms without antecedents.

This book is well informed, carefully researched, up-to-date and powerfully argued. Its value is that it confronts Darwin’s doubt and deals with the assumptions of neo-Darwinism. This book is much needed and I recommend it to students of all levels, to professionals and to laypeople.

Another thing Darwin certainly didn’t predict was the discovery of orphan genes – a subject on which Dr. Ann Gauger has written a very fair-minded essay for interested laypeople (see here for another viewpoint). I’m not going to argue here that orphan genes demonstrate design, but I also think it would be premature to rule it out, especially when I read that some of these genes played a key part in the evolution of the human brain. To focus, as Gopnik does, on the (admittedly impressive) “sequence of skulls and skeletons” which seem to indicate that humans evolved gradually, is to overlook the most important evidence of all: the human brain, whose historical evolution is chronicled by Holloway et al. in their 2009 article, Evolution of the Brain in Humans – Paleoneurology ( New Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, Springer, 2009, pp. 1326-1334), by Karin Isler and Carel P. van Schaik in their article, How Our Ancestors Broke through the Gray Ceiling (Current Anthropology, Vol. 53, No. S6), and by Benoit Dubreuil in Paleolithic public goods games: why human culture and cooperation did not evolve in one step (Biology and Philosophy (2010) 25:53–73, doi 10.1007/s10539-009-9177-7). At the present time, scientists are in no position to affirm that the brain, whose complexity dwarfs that of the entire Internet, could have arisen by a purely unguided process, and for Gopnik to declare that it was generated “not by the divine designer but by the tinkering of time” is sheer dogmatism – which is precisely the kind of thing which he declares to be incompatible with science, in his piece.

One of the most comical contentions in Gopnik’s piece is his assertion that the DNA evidence for Darwinism “slips into the fossil evidence seamlessly.” What? Is Gopnik completely unaware of scientific conflicts regarding the base of the tree of life? And has he never heard of the bitter wrangling between paleontologists and molecular biologists over the family tree of mammals (for instance, which mammals are bats’ closest relatives?) – which was not satisfactorily resolved until 2013, with the publication of a paper showing that the different groups of placental mammals diverged relatively suddenly after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event of 66 million years ago? Or what about the timing of the split between the line leading to orang-utans and the line leading to humans, chimps and gorillas – a subject I blogged about here? Fossil evidence dates the split to somewhere between 9 and 13 million years ago, while new molecular evidence suggests a date of between 34 and 46 million years ago. Is this what Gopnik would describe as seamless congruence?

Let me close with a final suggestion of my own. If Adam Gopnik really wants to sort out the wheat from the chaff, when assessing political candidates’ openness to science, the question he should ask them is this: “Do you believe that high school and college students should be presented with the scientific evidence for the modern theory of evolution, along with peer-reviewed articles critiquing the various outstanding problems with this theory?” That’s a question to which any Intelligent Design proponent would unhesitatingly answer, “Yes.”

16 Replies to “The Evolution Catechism

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    Your concluding paragraph is all too reasonable, vjt. It plainly offends against the naturalists’ visceral instinct for the numinous. It might be worth trying to insert an allusion to the multiverse.

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Great article. The comedy begins in your very first paragraph where he says: Evolution is “an inarguable and obvious truth” which is “easy to understand”.

    He then explains how evolution works: “we arrived in bits and were made up willy-nilly”.

    Who could argue with that? And that’s certainly easy to understand. 🙂

  3. 3
    GCS says:

    Just a thought. Maybe the question should be: If you believe in Darwinian Evolution, do you live by it?

    We could check that with a few simple questions like: “Do you feed the birds in winter?” or “Have you ever taken antibiotics for an infection?” Both those cases involve interfering with nature through an action specifically DESIGNED to avoid natural selection from occurring.

    Thank You and God Bless

  4. 4
    OldArmy94 says:

    These types of pronouncements are frightening, because his calls for allegiance to materialist orthodoxy are akin to those who would punish others for their beliefs about gay marriage or other “hot button” issues. ANY politician should have the right to run on his/her own personal platform and allow the voters to decide the merits.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    The problem is that people like Gopnik don’t have a clue as to what is actually being debated. And for the life of me I cannot understand why IDists let that stand.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: Gopnik contends that “Darwinism is easily falsified,,”

    No it is not, but Intelligent Design is easily falsified:

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”

    In fact, Darwinism is notoriously difficult to falsify since Darwinist ‘explain away’ contradictory findings simply by adding more epicycles:

    “When their expectations turn out to be false, evolutionists respond by adding more epicycles to their theory that the species arose spontaneously from chance events. But that doesn’t mean the science has confirmed evolution as Velasco suggests. True, evolutionists have remained steadfast in their certainty, but that says more about evolutionists than about the empirical science.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    Who would have thought that it would be biologists that came up with the first Theory of Everything?
    Biological divergence? Evolution. Biological convergence? Evolution. Gradual variation? Evolution. Sudden variation? Evolution. Stasis? Evolution. Junk DNA? Evolution. No Junk DNA? Evolution. Tree of life? Evolution. No tree of life? Evolution. Common genes? Evolution. Orfan genes? evolution. Cell with little more than a jelly-like protoplasm? Evolution. Cell filled with countless, highly-specified nano-machines directed by a software code? Evolution. More hardy, more procreative organisms? Evolution. Less hardy, less procreative organisms? Evolution.
    – Evolution explains everything. –
    William J Murray

    The primary reasons why Darwinism is a pseudo-science instead of a proper science are as such:

    1. No Rigid Mathematical Basis (Falsification Criteria)
    2. No Demonstrated Empirical Basis
    3. Random Mutation and Natural Selection are both grossly inadequate as ‘creative engines’
    4. Information is not reducible to a material basis, (in fact, in quantum teleportation it is found that material ultimately reduces to a information basis)

    Due to advances in science, Darwinism is now falsified empirically. The empirical falsification of Darwinism is as such:

    It is now found that ‘non-local’, beyond space-time matter-energy, Quantum entanglement/information ‘holds’ DNA (and proteins) together:

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – short video

    Quantum entanglement holds together life’s blueprint – 2010
    Excerpt: When the researchers analysed the DNA without its helical structure, they found that the electron clouds were not entangled. But when they incorporated DNA’s helical structure into the model, they saw that the electron clouds of each base pair became entangled with those of its neighbours. “If you didn’t have entanglement, then DNA would have a simple flat structure, and you would never get the twist that seems to be important to the functioning of DNA,” says team member Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford.

    The DNA Mystery: Scientists Stumped By “Telepathic” Abilities – Sept, 2009
    Scientists are reporting evidence that contrary to our current beliefs about what is possible, intact double-stranded DNA has the “amazing” ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands from a distance. Somehow they are able to identify one another, and the tiny bits of genetic material tend to congregate with similar DNA. The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.

    That ‘non-local’ quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints (Bell, Aspect, Leggett, Zeilinger, etc..), should be found in molecular biology on such a massive scale, i.e. found in every DNA and protein molecule, is a direct empirical falsification of Darwinian claims, for how can the ‘non-local’ quantum entanglement ‘effect’ in biology possibly be explained by a material (matter/energy) cause when the quantum entanglement effect falsified material particles as its own causation in the first place? Appealing to the probability of various ‘random’ configurations of material particles, as Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the material particles themselves to supply!

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”

    Closing the last Bell-test loophole for photons – Jun 11, 2013
    Excerpt:– requiring no assumptions or correction of count rates – that confirmed quantum entanglement to nearly 70 standard deviations.,,,
    per physorg
    etc.. etc..

    In other words, to give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Improbability arguments of various ‘special’ configurations of material particles, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply since the cause is not within the material particles in the first place!
    Thus Darwinism, even though most Darwinists will certainly refuse to accept the falsification, is empirically falsified as to its claim that information is ’emergent’ from a material basis.

  7. 7
    scordova says:

    The proper way a Republican politician should respond to this inqusition:

    Mr. Reporter, if someone believes in evolution, that means they also believe Barrack Obama descended from a monkey! That’s racist. Evolutionary theory is one of the most racist ideas out there. Darwin’s book on evolution was subtitled The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

    I don’t agree with a lot of Obama’s policies, but I think his ancestors were specially and miraculously created by God and he didn’t descend from a monkey. Do you have a problem with that?

  8. 8
    Moros says:

    “Mr. Reporter, if someone believes in evolution, that means they also believe Barrack Obama descended from a monkey!”

    No, that only indicates that he believes in Creatolution, the Creationist strawman version of evolution.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Now this just can’t be good for Darwinism:

    Ask an Embryologist: Genomic Mosaicism – Jonathan Wells – February 23, 2015
    Excerpt: humans have a “few thousand” different cell types. Here is my simple question: Does the DNA sequence in one cell type differ from the sequence in another cell type in the same person?,,,
    The simple answer is: We now know that there is considerable variation in DNA sequences among tissues, and even among cells in the same tissue. It’s called genomic mosaicism.
    In the early days of developmental genetics, some people thought that parts of the embryo became different from each other because they acquired different pieces of the DNA from the fertilized egg. That theory was abandoned,,,
    ,,,(then) “genomic equivalence” — the idea that all the cells of an organism (with a few exceptions, such as cells of the immune system) contain the same DNA — became the accepted view.
    I taught genomic equivalence for many years. A few years ago, however, everything changed. With the development of more sophisticated techniques and the sampling of more tissues and cells, it became clear that genetic mosaicism is common.
    I now know as an embryologist,,,Tissues and cells, as they differentiate, modify their DNA to suit their needs. It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism.

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    Moros @ 8. Are you denying that the standard evolutionary narrative posits that humans descended from primates? It sounds like you are. Maybe I misunderstood you.

  11. 11
    CHartsil says:

    >Jonathan Wells

    >The guy that thought busting open a modern bacteria and it not reforming was an argument against abiogenesis.

  12. 12
    bFast says:

    Maros (8), I think you are a bit confused about your “Creatolution” conjecture. I believe that the self-superior Darwinian accusation is that Creationists say that humans are descended from chimps. This, of course, is not technically accurate as both humans and chimps are supposedly descended from a common ancestor who is neither human nor chimp.

    The problem with this accusation, however, is that most people who “believe” in but do not richly understand “evolution” hold the same error. Therefore accusing “creationists” of being the propagator of the error is just a bit thick.

    That said, it is perfectly clear that common ancestry posits that the ancestor of the human was a great ape, a primate. Apparently the first primates had tails, therefore they were “monkeys”. Therefore if common ancestry is correct the great ancestors of man, including Obama, were monkeys.

  13. 13
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: Are you denying that the standard evolutionary narrative posits that humans descended from primates?

    Technically, humans are primates.

  14. 14
    Axel says:

    Ostensibly, but the reality is that they belong to a unique order of creation.

  15. 15
    rvb8 says:


    IDists don’t let that dogmatic Darwinism stand, or at least they squeel around the edges and nip interminably like an annoyed terrier.

    ID has been around for centuries, most recently here. It snarls, combats, fights, argues and ultimately fails utterly.

    So, the obvious question is why? The answer is given clearly and concisely by the brilliant New Yorker piece.

    Argue with it Joe. You are an IDist. I fail to see why you shouldn’t bring down the edifice of Evolutionary Theory.

  16. 16
    es58 says:

    Easy to understand? Why can’t *this guy* (see link below) understand it? He says he’s only read about 10 books on the topic.

    Nick (there) seems to agree he’s *smart enough* to understand it (generous of him to say so), but probably hasn’t *tried hard enough*. He has to read a bunch of papers Nick refers to. Has the author of the New Yorker article read all of them? Perhaps. But, I’d bet every housewife on the net who’s sure evo is true, who knows better than every politician that isn’t sure, hasn’t read them. So, which is it?

    To understand do you have to:

    -) be smart as Dr Tour
    -) read all Nick’s referenced materials

    [do you *really* think Dr Tour has put in less effort
    than all those who say they are “sure”?
    Dr Tour may be a pathological liar, but, recall, he
    says he’s discussed this privately with Nobel Laureates,
    heads of bio departments, members of national academy of science, deans, and, in private, they’ve all agreed that that *don’t understand it*; but *none of them would say it in public* – what does that say to you?]

    making the author of the New Yorker article
    (and nearly every internet “pundit”: housewives,
    script writers, teenagers, you-name-it, …) wrong

    [and possibly lending credence to the doubting politician’s
    doubt, or at least absolving him/her of being pilloried in public ]


    Is it as easy as the author of the New Yorker article states, making Nick wrong?

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