Dan Ely’s colleagues take down his Kansas testimony

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Dr. Dan Ely of the University of Akron testified at last year’s Kansas Creationism hearings. Ely represented himself as knowledgeable about the issues, and supported the Kansas minority report that gutted the teaching of evolutionary biology in Kansas schools.

Ely was also a member of the writing team that produced the ID creationist model lesson plan for Ohio, and testified before the Ohio State Board of Education on a number of occasions. He was also touted as an expert by several board members, including Deborah Owens Fink who first introduced a “two model” approach (evolution and ID) to the Ohio Board of Education in 2000.

Now Ely’s colleagues at the University of Akron have written an open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education taking down Ely’s qualifications, his representations of his conversations with them, and his conclusions. Pat Hayes at Red State Rabble has the story here and here.

One of the money quotes from the Akron biologists’ letter:

It is clear from these statements about his own research that Dr. Ely knows literally nothing about the evolutionary processes that he claims to be competent enough to criticize, which is understandable in that he is a physiologist with no graduate-level training in evolutionary biology whatsoever.

RBH

Addendum A correspondent points out that Ely’s behavior is of a piece with the ID movement’s general practice of having “experts” who attest to material well outside their area of professional competence. If one looks at the “experts” who testified at the Kansas hearings, not one evolutionary biologist or paleontologist was in the list of supporters of the creationist Minority Support.

56 Comments

While I generally dislike posting comments that don’t go into some detail for clarity’s sake, I hope the PT community will indulge the following:

So. Very. Owned.

Thank you.

How long before the Disco Inst decries the letter from the Akron scientists as vicious attack on Dr. Ely’s academic freedom?

I am shocked!, shocked! I say, to discover that an IDC proponent may have misrepresented himself.

Is Dan Ely a creationist? Casey Luskin says he isn’t. Ely claims he’s not, but the evidence clearly demonstrates that he is.

A post by Luskin says:

When advocating that the Board repeal the Critical Analysis of Evolution Lesson Plan, Board Member Martha K. Wise repeatedly emphasized the claim that authors of the Critical Analysis of Evolution Lesson Plan were creationists. Wise alleged that during the Kansas hearings, Dan Ely testified that he was “struggling with the age of the earth” and stated “He [Ely] thinks the earth is only Five-thousand years old. That’s not just ID. That’s young earth creationism.

Ely’s testimony fully rebutted Wise’s misrepresentation of Ely’s viewpoint. Ely said that in Kansas, many of the witnesses were asked about their views on the age of the earth. “My answer was ‘We heard today anywhere from five-thousand years to five million years or five billion years,” and everybody laughed, “And most of the evidence looks like it’s very old.” Ely called Martha Wise’s alleged explanation of Ely’s views on the age of the earth “totally erroneous.”

A look at the Kansas Science Hearings transcript, however, clearly demonstrates (as if you didn’t already know) that Wise was quite correct. Once again, it was Ely who played fast and loose with the truth:

Cross Examination by Pedro Irigonegaray: (From page 27 of the May 6 PM transcript)

Q: Welcome to Kansas. I have a few questions for the record for you. First I have a group of yes or no questions that I would like for you to answer, please. What is your opinion as to the age of the earth?

A: In light of time I would say most of the evidence that I see, I read and I understand points to an old age of the earth.

Q: And how old is that age?

A: I don’t know. I just know what I read with regards to data. It looks like it’s four billion years.

Q: And is that your personal opinion?

A: No. My personal opinion is I really don’t know. I’m struggling.

Q: You’re struggling with what the age of the earth is?

A: Yeah. Yeah. I’m not sure. There’s a lot of ways to measure the age. Meteorites is one way. There’s a lot of elements used. There’s a lot of assumptions can be used and those assumptions can be challenged so I don’t really know.

Q: What is the range that you are instructing?

A: I think the range we heard today, somewhere between 5,000 and four billion.

Q: You– you– you believe the earth may be as young as 5,000 years old. Is that correct?

A: Well, we’re learning that there’s such a thing as junc –

Q: Sir, answer —

A: – really has a function.

Q: Just please answer my question, sir.

A: We’re learning a lot about micro –

Q: Sir?

MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Mr. Abrams, please instruct the witness to answer the question.

CHAIRMAN ABRAMS: I think —

Q: (By Mr. Irigonegaray) The question was – and winking at him is not going to do you any good. Answer my question. Do you believe the earth may be as young as 5,000 years old?

A: It could be.

Q: Do you accept the general principle of common descent, that all life is biologically related back to the beginning of life? Yes or no?

A: No.

Wow, they aren’t ####ing around. This makes Lehigh’s statement on Behe and ID look pretty tame in comparison.

Very brave of him to put his neck out. Another martyr for the cause. If the scientific establishment could tolerate dissent, perhaps he wouldn’t have to go through this unreasonable character assassination.

Look at Dr Ely’s comment in Ohio “Daniel Ely, professor of biology at the University of Akron, praised the Ohio plan, saying that when students are presented a subject in the form of a controversy and are permitted to argue one side or the other, they “take ownership” of the subject. “When I was a kid, we learned about Communism,” he said. “You have to understand both sides.” Perhaps some one should point out to him that like Communism, intelligent design” is an ideology — not a science.

Doubtless, Ely is a creationist, and his Kansas testimony was misleading on many levels, but that letter from his bio colleagues, honestly man … that was harsh.

I wonder whether there isn’t something else going on that the letter doesn’t spell out.

Andrea wrote

I wonder whether there isn’t something else going on that the letter doesn’t spell out.

I think the writers were (and are) incensed that Ely misrepresented his conversations with them, and by implication used them as authorities backing his flawed interpretations and uninformed opinions, essentially hauling them in as background supporters of his glop.

RBH

I wonder whether there isn’t something else going on that the letter doesn’t spell out.

Entirely possible. That’s a pretty scathing letter by academic standards.

I would think, perhaps, that the problem is one of professional ethics - if the biology department armed him with information to educate him about evolution, and then he turned around and used it to further a creationist agenda, they would probably (justifiably) believe they had been backstabbed by him.

This might be the return fire, so to speak.

That’s baseless speculation, but that was the first thought that popped into my head after reading the article and the context of some of the statement. I may be completely wrong, of course…

Most distressing to me: The idea that a physiologist can get a Ph.D. without some graduate-level classroom training in evolutionary biology.

My own Ph.D. program, in a biological-sciences department, had a six-course required core that included two semesters of cell biology (prokaryotic and eukaryotic), two semesters of physiology (animal and plant), and two organismal courses (evolution and population ecology). That requirement has been relaxed, which I think is a shame; while I’m all for more flexibility, I think that all Ph.D. students should have studied at least five out of six at the graduate level.

Of course, taking one course in evolutionary biology doesn’t make one an expert in that field, any more than taking two physiology courses made me a physiologist. Also, someone who has a religious or political aversion to a scientific topic can’t be forced to accept or understand what he learns. But there’s no excuse for not being exposed to that material in a classroom setting. At the very least, a biologist in one subspecialty should be able to understand the basics of a paper written by a researcher in a different subspecialty.

Focusing on one’s research in graduate school is fine, but if we don’t start out equipped with adequate tools, our work becomes more difficult and entirely too compartmentalized. Molecular, cellular, physiological, ecological, and evolutionary processes are intimately interdependent; we can and should learn how to confine specific research studies to the appropriate scale, but the results are still meaningful at all levels of organization.

MD’s are technicians, not scientists. Different education altogether. ANd a good thing too. THey have a lot riding on their ability to be a good technician and almost nothing riding on their understanding of just about anything else.

Julie,

So, from a policy standpoint (forgive me, I’m a state DOE employee), what do you think would be a solution to that issue?

If we’re trying to “reform” our standards for biology PhDs and MDs, is that something that accrediting bodies need to do, or is something that should be left to self-regulation by degree-granting universities and medical schools?

I vote for the latter.

while i share Julie’s lament at the changes made to the graduate training program in physiology, there’s always reasons for that.

One would hope by the time that a biology major reaches grad school, that they themselves will realize the importance of understanding the fundamental theories of biology at a graduate level. If they don’t, then one can only hope that their advisors make it clear to them. If both the student and the advisor fail, then the program itself starts to become suspect, and no amount of classwork will fix it.

The only thing i wonder is what kind of orals exams are these candidates given?

Seriously don’t you think that over pandering to postmodernist “equal time for kooky ideas” is why this whole thing is such a big problem.

It is almost as though everyone is treating each other as though they were over emotionally sensitive babies. There probably is a history behind the letter and there does seem to be a sense of frustration, but their professional reputations are at stake as well.

Daddy what did you do in the culture wars ?

Keep in mind that Howard what’s his name at the DI wants to have a Theocracy that would make the Taliban blush.

What makes you think that it is not already in place?

When was the last time a modern western country had to have a priest say a prayer before, probably the foremost authority in the world on High School Biology textbooks, gave a talk on evolution?

When was the last time your religious credentials were called into question?

Why do journalists in the major press have to declare they are church goers.

Not to mention the questioning of a Judges religious convictions or for that matter a Presidents ?

Dizzy asked

So, from a policy standpoint (forgive me, I’m a state DOE employee), what do you think would be a solution to that issue?

If we’re trying to “reform” our standards for biology PhDs and MDs, is that something that accrediting bodies need to do, or is something that should be left to self-regulation by degree-granting universities and medical schools?

Well, for damn sure we don’t need the state in that business. What we need is more colleagues like the Akron biologists and the Lehigh biologists to nail people like Ely and Behe who systematically misrepresent issues outside their area of competence. The academic world, and scientists in particular, have been too polite to those who lie about and willfully distort the science they themselves don’t do.

RBH

MD’s are technicians, not scientists

actually, they’re supposed to be diagnosticians. not quite the same as a technician.

It’s problematic that good diagnostic skills do seem to be lacking in many general practitioners that i have met over the last 15 years or so.

OTOH, the trend towards quick and dirty diagnostics from GP’s most likely reflects the increasing pressure from HMO’s to have GP’s process ever more patients for ever less time, and has less to do with their actual educations.

funny, but when i was about 10, my family doctor was talking about retiring early because of the pressure from HMO’s that he saw causing the very trend I speak of now.

S T_J wrote

actually, they’re supposed to be diagnosticians. not quite the same as a technician.

I was an electronics technician for some years back in the days when computers glowed in the dark and heated large buildings, and I did a whole lot of diagnostic work in troubleshooting circuits. I had to have a good working knowledge of electronics and the behavior of electronic components, but that required essentially zero knowledge of the physical theories that underpinned it.

RBH

I’m not exactly advocating government intervention in higher ed, although it definitely and justifiably happens (e.g. with state universities and any federal regulations tied to funding).

But we’ve seen some examples (Ely, Behe) already of people who are supposedly expert scientists putting religion first, science second. You’d hope that whatever system we have would be better at weeding these people out.

Relying on self-regulation works fine most of the time, but it relies of unwritten rules based on collective conscience - unfortunately, some degree-granting institutions don’t really *have* much of a conscience where science education is concerned, yet on paper they’re accredited and just as “valid” as other institutions.

RBH-

it depends on the level of skill you’re talking about.

to be a computer diagnostician doesn’t require knowledge of particle level physics, but it does require a good knowledge of general electronics, as you point out.

in the same way, an MD doesn’t require knowledge of physical chemistry in order to make diagnoses, but does require a good knowledge of physiology, genetics, developmental biology, etc.

if you say they don’t require knowledge of evolutionary biology, then how do you think a GP without such knowledge would deal with bacterial resistance in his patients, for example.

I guess he’d have to use a lifeline, eh?

by the time a student gets to med school, it is assumed the ALREADY have a good background in the relevant fields, so i can understand why evolutionary biology and developmental biology might not be stressed, for example, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable assets in diagnostics.

From a policy standpoint, I think it is incumbent upon universities to police themselves.

Ultimately, the embarassment that people like Behe bring upon their respective insititutions might be the driving factor. Just imagine how that must influence the decisions of potential bio students going to Lehigh…

Once again, we are brought round to the elephant. Religion makes people nuts. k.e. put it rather succinctly this time:

Seriously don’t you think that over pandering to postmodernist “equal time for kooky ideas” is why this whole thing is such a big problem.

It is almost as though everyone is treating each other as though they were over emotionally sensitive babies.

There probably is a history behind the letter and there does seem to be a sense of frustration, but their professional reputations are at stake as well.

Daddy what did you do in the culture wars ?

I’m sorry Raging Bee, but religion is nutty- and it’s OK to say that. It creates jobs out of lies, death out of truth and a wastland of peace. I don’t know anything better but goddamn, I’d be pissed too if I were the other faculty. I wouldn’t want to just brush him off, I’d want to cut him off at the knees.

I know that this is totally antithetical to our western society and that it is also sort of a catholic church to galileo kind of thing with that same potential but where does it stop? The Earth IS round. The Earth DOES go round the sun. The Earth IS ~4.5billion years old. Some damn force bends light around celestial bodies. God is not anything that anyone has ever said god is and religion is absolutely nothing more than human attemopts to explain things. No one has EVER “talked” to god. NEVER. And these nutjobs get up and try to tell us that we need to believe a pile of crap and we, for fear of being insensitive or politically incorrect, say, “Well, that is one way to look at it.” When in fact it is the way a brainwashed nutcase would look at it. /rant

S TJ, Not really, they don’t need to know that stuff. They need to know what drugs or treatments work on specific things. They are trained in the list of “specific things”. Doesn’t mean that most Dr.’s don’t know biology but it does mean they don’t necessarily have to. My aunt is a MD and she doesn’t know squat about hardly anything except the details of pathology. Identifying specific types of things.

BWE, How dare you,EVERYONE knows so-called science is just a big pile of secular lies made up solely to take the credit away from God. There is no other way of putting it! They need to stop calling it Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, and Physics. Do they think that the people of God are going to stand by like idiots and let them rot this country’s education system with the mythology of evolution. Truth can’t be found in the light of a Bunson Burner. It can only be seen in the Light of God’s Word. And that is only found in the Bible. The Bible will tell you that God did not make man from so-called carbon; He made him with dirt. Scientist are nothing more than Satanists with spectacles and pockets full of pencils and rulers. In fact, the word “scientist” is actually a Latin translation for “Satanist.

Re “Scientist are nothing more than Satanists with spectacles and pockets full of pencils and rulers.”

And slide rules - don’t forget the slide rules. ;)

Henry, I did my graduate work over 20 years ago and I never once used a slide rule. I did become a satanist though. It’s one of the entrance requirements for graduate work in science @ UW (huskies). I more thought of it as taking Judaism if you marry a Jew though. More like lip service.

In fact, the word “scientist” is actually a Latin translation for “Satanist.

Boy, I just love that word, “Satanist.” How can anyone of Religion A think that there’s another Religion B that worships the embodiment of evil that exists only in Religion A? Kind of like cannibalism*, or history: written by the victors.

* IIUC, a group of anthropologists went out searching for the truth about cannibals (that is, regularly eating other humans for sustinance rather than occasionally as part of a ceremony) and found that it was all finger-pointing at that “other tribe.”

Dizzy wrote:

Julie,

So, from a policy standpoint (forgive me, I’m a state DOE employee), what do you think would be a solution to that issue?

If we’re trying to “reform” our standards for biology PhDs and MDs, is that something that accrediting bodies need to do, or is something that should be left to self-regulation by degree-granting universities and medical schools?

Don’t know whether I’ve got an answer to that. The other extreme of our educational problems may well lie in “teaching to the test”, and it would be sad to see so many strictures put on graduate programs that we do this to graduate students, who are supposed to be developing self-motivated research skills. Also, one size clearly doesn’t fit all. I was an engineering major who went back to grad school in biology 12 years later. At the other extreme, there are prodigies who are functioning at the level of graduate researchers in their chosen field during their undergrad years.

I do worry, though, that among a lot of my peers, I’ve seen the attitude that the best research programs are the ones with little or no coursework. I’d like to know, for one thing, if anyone has any data to either support or refute this assertion. There may be cases where an additional semester of biochemistry or statistics or entomology or molecular genetics saves someone a year of floundering in the lab – or a life-long poor understanding of his or her field past the narrowest of subdisciplinary boundaries.

Maybe this is the place where graduate research committees need to really step up and be proactive with their students.

Bill C, You may offer some clever scientific statement, but hell is for real,and teaching so called science to our children will send them straight there. Jesus told us that we need to become like children if we want to get into Heaven. You see, Jesus doesn’t want us to get puffed up with so-called education and knowledge,scientists(satanists) would have you believe that salvation can be found in the accumulation of knowledge. They say that “knowledge” will set you free, hogwash,according to our Lord and Savior, we know that all knowledge outside of the Holy Bible is a lie.

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

It is clear from these statements about his own research that Dr. Ely knows literally nothing about the evolutionary processes that he claims to be competent enough to criticize, which is understandable in that he is a physiologist with no graduate-level training in evolutionary biology whatsoever.

Once again it’s up to me…

The only thing that is clear to me is that Ely either “knows literally nothing about the evolutionary processes…” or knows a lot about them and misrepresents them anyway. Why is it so hard for anyone to even mention the possibility that these people understand and privately accept evolution, but misrepresent it for the sake of the big tent? The guy has a PhD, and he talks to biologists, so no matter how little formal training in evolutionary biology he has, or how much he may suffer from Morton’s Demon, some of it must sink in.

Oops, it was the Akron biologists’ letter, not Richard B. Hoppe, that was the source of my quote above.

hell is real, huh .….usually because ignorance is bliss

sorry couldnt resist

frankly i dont think that letter from dr ely’s colleagues was harsh at all.…he doesnt know sh*t and he shouldnt profess to be an expert and i hate to type, so sorry,no caps

I don’t see any harshness in the letter that isn’t apropos to the context. Andrea’s suspicion is, AFAICS, without foundation.

Identifying specific types of things

and if your aunt runs into something that isn’t in the standard quick check list?

uh, that’s where diagnostic skills come in.

If what you are trying to say is that MD’s have no training or background in the skills necessary for diagnostics, either you are mistaken, or it’s become even more pathetic than i had imagined.

If the latter, combined with the mess HMO’s have made of things, you can kiss decent health care goodbye.

hell, even a computer tech has to be able to solve problems on the fly.

actually, they’re supposed to be diagnosticians. not quite the same as a technician.

They’re supposed to be both, some more one than the other. The doctor who performed arthroscopic surgery on me was able to read my X-ray as to be expected, but he is the most sought after in this area not for that but for his surgical technique and results.

She is one of the best pathologists in Arizona. She’s fabulous at both diagnosis and technical ability. Neither of those require a deep, meaningful understanding of much outside of her bubble. It just so happens that she accepted evolution as real because she wasn’t poisoned by a church before medical school. However, plate tectonics is something she has simply never considered. If she would have gone to med school already poisoned by church she would have had no problem denying evo and still being as good as she is.

ToeJam wrote “One would hope by the time that a biology major reaches grad school, that they themselves will realize the importance of understanding the fundamental theories of biology at a graduate level. If they don’t, then one can only hope that their advisors make it clear to them. If both the student and the advisor fail, then the program itself starts to become suspect, and no amount of classwork will fix it.

The only thing i wonder is what kind of orals exams are these candidates given?”

Well, some Universities I know have faculty from allied fields as examiners. This is done so that individual departments don’t screw the pooch with respect to standards, and to make sure students are well rounded.

Seems like something was either missing from Ely’s education or was absent.

“Seems like something was either missing from Ely’s education or was absent.”

THat should read, either something was missing from Ely’s examinations or was absent from his curriculum..

Probably both.

Well, some Universities I know have faculty from allied fields as examiners

When i was at berzerkeley, we had to choose 5 advisors, but we could choose cross departmental advisors if we so chose (and i did - 2 from zoology, one from paleontology and 2 from ecology).

that had its ups and downs, to be sure, but i felt I sure learned a lot more than if i had chosen all 5 from the zoology department.

I don’t think it’s constructive to belittle physicians. Clinical medicine, like biological research, requires specific skills. In each field, there are people who are narrowly focused and people who are broad, synthetic thinkers. Some clinicians are also terrific researchers, while others are either mediocre researchers or have no interest in research.

I suspect that creationist physicians, like creationist biochemists, can become good at compartmentalizing their beliefs. It would probably be very easy to follow clinical guidelines that have an evolutionary rationale (“Now remember to take all your amoxicillin, even if you feel better …”) while completely tuning out any thoughts about why this is necessary. The problem isn’t so much whether such a physician would be competent to diagnose and treat illness – it’s whether this person is considered, by the public, a credible source on all aspects of science simply by virtue of having an MD.

As for the letter of complaint about Ely: His colleagues were well within their rights to write it, and I applaud them for it. Ely certainly has the freedom to hold a disputed belief, and to speak about it on his own behalf. He had no right, however, to lie about the work and the professional opinions of other faculty members.

I don’t think it’s constructive to belittle physicians.

I am inclined to agree with this; there are many physicians (and engineers, likewise) who are not wingless quailtards (to shamelessly quote the Daily Show).

As for the letter of complaint about Ely: His colleagues were well within their rights to write it, and I applaud them for it. Ely certainly has the freedom to hold a disputed belief, and to speak about it on his own behalf. He had no right, however, to lie about the work and the professional opinions of other faculty members.

This, I think, is very important. When scientists begin to coherently, concisely, and consistently speak up about the misrepresentations of the ID crowd, there is going to be trouble. People have a hard time believing in the “scientific” underpinnings of ID when legitimate scientists tear them down at every turn using facts and evidence. Ultimately, I think the reason that ID is going to lose ground again is this precise phenomenon. If scientists keep pressure on those who are not performing science while claiming to do so, they will eventually lose ground.

I prefer the term Davetard, named after Dave Springer

I’m sorry. I tried to make it clear that I’m not belittling physicians. It’s just that it is pretty easy to compartmentalize in med school. It is more like technical training that requires some biology. Most of the “science” for med school is undergraduate. Not that Dr.’s are stupid but that it’s not really “science” that they do. It’s more physiology. Very few Dr.’s are involved in research and lots of Dr.’s are specialists. So, thinking that there is something about med school or the medical profession that immunized a med student against creationist drivel is probably mistaken. Other than that you would think that any education at all would do that. Thinking in general ought to do the trick but, as Dr. Ely proves, that is not always the case.

STJ Wrote:

If what you are trying to say is that MD’s have no training or background in the skills necessary for diagnostics, either you are mistaken, or it’s become even more pathetic than i had imagined.

If the latter, combined with the mess HMO’s have made of things, you can kiss decent health care goodbye.

If you haven’t kissed decent health care goodbye yet…

You’re too late.

you can kiss decent health care goodbye

Um, most of us never even got to kiss it “hello”.

If you haven’t kissed decent health care goodbye yet…

You’re too late.

kind of a “so long, and thanks for all the fish!” thing, eh?

Well, I’m quite sure it had at least one foot out the door a few years ago. I walked into an ER with a chest injury sustained at work. After some X-Rays and two hours sitting in the ER without having seen a doctor, one stuck his head into my little cubicle and informed me that my ribs were not broken. Which I found rather confusing, since one of them was sticking out of my chest like that little guy from “Alien” just before he broke the skin. I grabbed his hand and stuck it under my shirt (didn’t even get a thrill) and asked him to repeat his diagnosis. Then I marched him down the hall to make him show me the X-Rays. They didn’t even develop. His response? “Well we don’t do anything for broken ribs anyway.”

Sorry, didn’t mean to hijack the thread.

I’m not a scientist, historian, philosopher, or artist. That’s just the view from a Carpenter’s son.

While it is clear that Ely is an idiot, claiming that a scientist isn’t qualified to speak on a scientific subject because he has no “graduate-level training” in it is pretty bogus. Science doesn’t work that way. I study microbial genomes, but I never took a “genomics” course, because in my day (not too long ago) such things didn’t exist.

A more useful critique would be that Ely hasn’t *published* any papers on the subject of evolution.

Frank J. asked:

Why is it so hard for anyone to even mention the possibility that these people understand and privately accept evolution, but misrepresent it for the sake of the big tent?

Maybe that’s true in some cases. But, I think most of these people reject evolution privately as well as publicly, even if they actually understand evolution and the weight of the evidence that supports it.

Their problem is that evolution conflicts with the accepted truths of their religion. Therefore, evolution must be wrong. It doesn’t matter that the evidence supports it. That just means the evidence must be wrong, too.

I agree that some of these people knowingly misrepresent evolution, but I don’t think that shows they privately accept it. I think it shows they “know” that it’s wrong and evil. Therefore, evolution must be discredited. But at some level, they also know they can’t scientifically discredit a fair representation of evolution. So misrepresentation is the only option.

Jonathan Badger Wrote:

While it is clear that Ely is an idiot, claiming that a scientist isn’t qualified to speak on a scientific subject because he has no “graduate-level training” in it is pretty bogus. Science doesn’t work that way.

True, but off target.

The U. of Akron letter didn’t make that argument. They argued that Ely’s lack of training and his lack of relevent publications disqualify him as an expert witness:

Because Dr. Ely has no training in evolutionary biology, and because his publications do not reveal any inclination to apply his results to evolutionary theory, we feel that he has misrepresented himself by agreeing to testify as a type of “expert witness” as to the validity of the statement that there is molecular evidence that “tends to not support the idea of common ancestry.”

They also said (in the addendum):

It is clear from these statements about his own research that Dr. Ely knows literally nothing about the evolutionary processes that he claims to be competent enough to criticize, which is understandable in that he is a physiologist with no graduate-level training in evolutionary biology whatsoever.

The point was that Ely’s statements demonstrate that he doesn’t understand evolution and isn’t qualified to speak on it. (At least, not in any scientific capacity.) The lack of training is just a reasonable explanation for why he doesn’t understand.

A more useful critique would be that Ely hasn’t *published* any papers on the subject of evolution.

Yes, and that critique was included in the U. of Akron letter. But degrees and publication records only address whether Ely has formal credentials in evolutionary biology. They don’t address whether he understands it.

The letter and addendum highlight the most relevant critique: regardless of credentials, Ely’s statements prove that he doesn’t understand evolution.

Quetzal said: Their problem is that evolution conflicts with the accepted truths of their religion

More like “the problem” is that; …what they have been told to accept as “truth” about reality from respected elders (foreskin collectors) in their social group during childhood is so contrary to man’s actual knowledge of reality and nature that to reject it would cause a crisis in personal identity and rejection from that group.

And that they actually lack the ability to become properly functioning self aware adults but merely non-questioning absolutist robotic clones, slaves to an identity.

Remove their so called “truth” and they loose their mind…literally and that rejection of knowledge is the clever paradox of the cult .…you all know where the word “martyr” comes from?.

Existence and its very meaning of “being” can be manipulated by just a few clever stories and the effect is so powerful that whole societies can share a “reality” that can motivate a nation to go to war seemingly against the “reason” of free will.

It’s called “social realism” and YOU ARE living IN IT.

Goebbels was interviewed by an American Journalist just before WWII as was asked [This is from memory so it’s anecdotal] “How hard it was to prepare a country for war” his reply “Very easy, just create “the other”, an enemy, and tell everyone how evil they are”

Man’s ability to socialize in very large groups must be an evolutionary beneficial trait so I would suggest we are “hard wired” to accept anything as true and defend it to the death either physically OR the accept the death of the EGO…the conscious identity of self and projected as a persona through an actors mask.

Here is an example *to be read in a subjective manner*.In Buddhism so-called Nirvana is reached after many deaths and rebirths of the ego (in the here and now) THAT is what is meant by re-incarnation NOT an actual physical death, although the experience may be that cathartic that it seems like death with the consequent rebirth of the ‘new more knowledgeable/wise’ self. Note the parallel with the re-born Christian convert if young JC had lived to ripe old age instead of trying to change the world overnight and ticking off the local oligarchy Christan’s may have found out what the next step IS. I know this may seem irrational to some, but show me a rational human.… and don’t expect me to stop laughing for ..oh ..a week. Strangely if one was to look hard enough it may be in the words of some of the Gnostic’s in the west and it is hinted at in the Egyptian book of the dead with the final step before death of the person metaphorically eating up all their ego projections through life and absolving themselves at the time of death.

The further one removes oneself from the here and now (viewing the world through the culturally free child’s eye Christ kept talking about) the further one puts off the inevitable acceptance of reality. Are you listening Carol ?

Fundamentalists become worm food whether they like it or not and no there isn’t a place in the clouds where life is wonderful all the time. They a dangerous and driven .…its called animal survival and when you mess with nature be prepared for a few scratches and that is putting it mildly.

“The U. of Akron letter didn’t make that argument.”

I take your word that it didn’t, but the supposed “money quote” (whatever that is) certainly seems to:

“It is clear from these statements about his own research that Dr. Ely knows literally nothing about the evolutionary processes that he claims to be competent enough to criticize, which is understandable in that he is a physiologist with no graduate-level training in evolutionary biology whatsoever.”

My point is that “physiologist with no graduate-level training in evolutionary biology whatsoever” is irrelevant. As you say, had Ely made similar statements even with such a background (as indeed people like Kurt Wise do), they would be equally bogus.

“Well we don’t do anything for broken ribs anyway.”

hairline fractured ribs, no they don’t; displaced fracture ribs, they sure as hell are supposed to.

what happened?

I assume eventually you were treated somehow?

I had one too:

after getting surgery to remove my gall bladder (gallstones ain’t no fun), I had some severe complications with my liver. I went to the emergency room with serious liver problems, informed them of the surgery, and had the emergency room physician assume it’s because of intravenous drug use and dismiss me with a perscription for benadryl.

2 weeks later (no the problem had not gone away) they called me and told me i didn’t have infectious hepatitis from using dirty needles.

er, thanks?

I spent a month and a half suffering immensely before the symptoms finally went away on their own.

no diagnosis was ever performed by the doctors at that hospital, and no followup was forthcoming.

KE:

perhaps this is the Goering quote you were thinking of:

http://home.earthlink.net/~tjneal/goering.jpg

you can kiss decent health care goodbye

Um, most of us never even got to kiss it “hello”.

That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. If I was dumb enough to be sipping a drink over my computer as I read a quip from Lenny, I would have spewed liquid all over my monitor. But I’m smarter than that.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on March 6, 2006 12:59 PM.

Lecture on ‘intelligent design’ flaw Monday was the previous entry in this blog.

Writeup on Eric Rothschild in the Pennsylvania Gazette is the next entry in this blog.

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