Doubters Defy Darwin Dogma
One would think that the near unanimous opinion of international scientific societies opposing creationism and ID would carry a lot of weight with the public, but it doesn’t. There are indications that a substantial percent of the population is not impressed with the dogmatic pronouncements that evolution is a fact, and that anyone who disagrees is a religious nut (see also 04/21/2006). This seems to be frustrating the daylights out of evolutionists who seem unable to do anything about it. Some samples:
- Go to H*** / H*** No, We Won’t Go: One would think the editor of the prestigious journal Nature would get a little respect by virtue of his position, but when he tried blogging as an overture to the public, he got an earful for his mouthful. Nature decided to join the blogosphere in April as part of its initiative for openness, in the aftermath of recent scientific scandals over peer review (06/13/2006). One of the first experiments was a Nature Blog in April about the fish-o-pod Tiktaalik (04/06/2006). After getting worked up over some creationist responses to the find, Gee jumped into the fray. He argued that creationists cannot embrace the science that gave us modern health care and cheap travel and abjure other parts like evolution. He likened creationists to those wanting to return to the Dark Ages and live like Bedouins. Though he claimed to believe in God (as a Jew), Gee ended his tirade against Biblical creationism with:
I object to the cheap, wilful [sic], nasty traduction of my religious faith by a group of people who would pervert it to further their questionable political ideals. I call on all scientists of faith to join me in its damnation, and to educate certain in the evolutionary biology community of the rank and damning illogicality of their position.
Some of the “Evolution is a FACT!” folk said Hear, hear, but not everyone. Gee may have felt smug in consigning “fundamentalists” to the flames, but for some of his targets, the feeling was mutual. One signing himself a biochemist called the Tiktaalik missing link claims “Pure rubbish” and said “The fact that this article is being heralded in media rags is one sign of payola and not necessarily substance.” Another retorted, “macroevolution is a fairy-tale for those grown-ups who personally feel the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible to be unacceptable.” Another commented, “Dr. Gee repeats an error so egregious that I cannot resist commenting; The Scientific advances he mentions from which we all benefit are all the result of impirical [sic] science. They have absolutely nothing to do with evolution.” Another pointed out, “The irony of this find is lost on the authors – that a single find of a fossil of a supposed transitional life form is a major news item.” Another advised, “If you actually want to do something about the rise of 6-day creationism, arrogance isn’t going to help,” indicating what he thought of Gee’s decorum. One wonders how often the editor of Nature has had to leave the comfort zone of academia and face live hecklers.
- Medical Malpractice: A similar blog counterattack came when Stanford Medicine Magazine made anticreationism its summer cover story, “Darwin Lives.” After a series of attack pieces like “Scientists mobilize to fight the forces of intelligent design,” the magazine invited readers, “Visit our evolution blog and tell us what you think.” Despite the magazine’s portrayal of creationists as nothing more than politically-motivated religious zealots, many of the uncensored responses were not shy about refusing to be pushed into that corner. “Saying over and over that it is a religion vs. science debate doesn’t make it so,” said one. “Sure, you can find politicians and creationists to bash, but to be taken seriously, you must address the critics of Darwin who hold prestigious scientific positions within our universities and science organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences.” Another called the magazine’s tactics “propaganda.” Those supportive of the magazine’s assessment were outnumbered nine to five. Many of the anti-evolution responses appeared reasoned and informed, not the work of religious dogmatists; they argued that the dogmatic Darwinist position is the real fundamentalism.
- The Great Unconvinced: Curtis Dahlgren had some fun in an op-ed piece for Renew America, commenting on the apparent chagrin with which an alumni paper from the University of Wisconsin wrote,
”Putting Faith in Science,” the subhead of which is, “Intelligent design – an alternative theory of life supported by many Christians – argues that science alone can’t explain the mysteries of our existence. And most Americans agree. Why has science been so unconvincing?
Dahlgren accused the accusers of blind faith, retorting, “So who is calling whom ‘stupid’?”
- Poll Homeostasis: Lest one think blog entries do not represent a scientifically-valid sample, Evolution News listed polls from 1982 to 2005 that show “skepticism of evolution continues to remain at a very high level in the United States” despite the fact that “For years Darwinists have been doing their best to remind the world of the good news that evolution and religion can be compatible.” In another piece, Evolution News argued that students reject evolution because of the science, not religion. In a third piece, Evolution News noted that the pace of scientists willing to sign their Dissent from Darwin list is accelerating (see also a separate list for doctors).
Some anticreationists may be having second thoughts about the Darwin-in-your-face strategy. Portraying evolution doubters as backwoods flat-earthers and fundamentalists who want to destroy science isn’t accurate, said pro-evolution science historian Ronald Numbers in a recent PBS interview. When asked by the PBS interviewer if the evolution war represents another science vs. religion split, he said:
To me, the struggle in the late 20th Century between creationists and evolutionists does not represent another battle between science and religion because rarely do creationists display hostility towards science. If you read their literature, you’ll rarely come across an anti-scientific notion. They love science. They love what science can do. They hate the fact that science has been hijacked by agnostics and atheists to offer such speculative theories as organic evolution. So, they don’t see themselves as being antagonistic to science any more than many of the advocates of evolution – those who see evolution as God’s method of creation – view themselves as hostile to Christianity.
That’s a remarkable admission for someone who had recently signed on with Elliot Sober and other staunch anticreationists in a “call to action” against intelligent design.1
1Attie, Sober, Numbers et al., “Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action,” Journal of Clinical Investigation, 116:1134-1138 (2006). doi:10.1172/JCI28449.
We hope you see that CEH also loves science. When you compare who wants rational discussion about these important issues and who wants to browbeat their listeners into submission, the choice is clear.
We also like to keep our sense of humor. Apparently the irony was lost on poor Ms. Amy Adams who, in her submission to the Stanford Medicine Magazine anticreationist barrage, summarized her thoughts on evolution as, “Evolution in a nutshell.”