Dr Michael Egnor challenges evolution!

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Time magazine has a science blog, Eye on Science, and the writer, Michael Lemonick, doesn't hesitate to take on the Intelligent Design creationists. A recent entry criticizes the Discovery Institute's silly list of dissenters from 'Darwinism'. Not only is the number that they cite pathetically small, but they rely on getting scientists whose expertise isn't relevant.

Continue reading "Dr Michael Egnor challenges evolution!" (on Pharyngula)

27 Comments

Michael Lemonick says: “Not only is the number that they cite pathetically small, but they rely on getting scientists whose expertise isn’t relevant.”

I wouldn’t call 150 scientists a pathetically small number, especially since the others who deny evolution are in great fear of loosing their jobs if they decide to ‘come out.’

Secondly,I would say that any of the fields of biology would be VERY relevant to evolution.

Mr. Lemonick is a sore looser, he knows that evolution is loosing favor as each day goes by.

Jim Collins, PS:And I have a relevant degree also, the difference is I use logic and Lemonick is mesmerized.

Jim:

That’s loser. Spell check will only get you so far.

150 scientists is a small number. I could go down to the front door of the building I’m in right now with a club, pull the fire alarm, and bag more than that like baby seals as they broke cover. All of them would have relevant degrees.

Looking at the comments in that blog, Egnor is simply parroting the old DI Party line. I’m surprised he hasn’t mentioned Haeckel’s drawings or Peppered Moths glued to trees.

Jim: Accepting your assessment that of the 700 people who signed the DI list 150 are scientists (not the impression the DI tries to give) how many of those are biologists or geologists, the two most relevant subgroups of scientists?

It is a pathetically small number, especially considering the statement itself is something virtually no biologist could disagree with. Of course, mutation and natural selection are not the sole causes of evolution. Of course, all theories should be examined carefully. However, most biologists realize that all statements the DI asks you to sign should also be examined carefully for the uses to which they will be put (notice that although it is often presented as a list of ‘Darwin dissenters’ the statement itself does not actually say that the theory of evolution is false).

And as for biologists in fear of losing their jobs if they spoke out … ! If you told me that a majority of the world economists think we should go back to using cowries but don’t say so because they are afraid of losing their jobs, I would be more inclined to believe you.

Any biologist who had any evidence against the theory of evolution would be completely unsupressible once they became convinced. If they could persuade others, it would be stunning news that would set the biological world alight and give them instant fame and fortune.

You mention you use logic. I am curious, exactly where do you use logic? Many creationists seem to feel that logic, even if based on false premises, trumps evidence. Do you?

Jim -

What is your “relevant degree”, and when and where did you get it?

Just curious.

Jim: Conspiracy theories are for loosers [sic].

More seriously, isn’t it the case that the number of clergy that signed on Evolution Sunday accepting evolution dwarfs the number of scientists who do not, perhaps by an order of magnitude?

Now that Lemonick has posted all the comments held up in the moderation queue, it looks like Egnor is taking a whupping of epic proportions…LOL

“Not only is the number that they cite pathetically small, but they rely on getting scientists whose expertise isn’t relevant.”

I wouldn’t call 150 scientists a pathetically small number, especially…”

Many spanish spoken people say “Coma mierda, millones de moscas no pueden estar equivocadas” (eat shit, millons of flys can’t be wrong) regarding to former “arguments”

Actually, since 1800’s, there are many refutations to evolution theory. Here are the two of them:

1. Louis Pasteur refuted evolution theory because, through a long research, he proved that one of evolusionist concept: Spontaneous Generation, is imposible to happen (see Sidney Fox, Klaus Dose, Molecular Evolution and The Origin of Life, W.H Freeman and Company, San Francisco, 1972, p. 4). 2. Gregor Mendel (founder of Genetic Law) refuted Jean B. Lamarck’s (the first founder of evolution theory) and Darwin’s evolution theory. One of Mendel’s refutation to Darwin’s theory is about transitional form, (see B.E Bishop, “Mendel’s Opposition to Evolution and to Darwin”, Journal of Heredity, 87, 1996, p. 205-213).

So, when we add these two world class biologists’s name to the Discovery Institute’s list of Darwinism dissenters, we have 702 anti evolutionists scientists. And until today, no single evolutionist can proof that Mendel’s and Pasteur’s refutations are wrong. For more than 150 years, Mendel’s and Pasteur’s refutations are, evolutionistly, irrefutable.

Haha, good parody Inal.

Uh, that was a parody, right?

(checks website)

Oh, you’re a Yahyaist. Anyone else get the impression that the Harun Yoyos are even more ignorant and batcrap insane than the christian fundies?

Inal: You need to learn the difference between spontaneous generation and the origins of life. Pasteur demonstrated that, if existing organisms were excluded from the growth medium, he did not find bacteria or maggots forming spontaneously (which was a widespread belief at the time). Although he showed this fairly convincingly, you could even argue he did not prove the non-existence of spontaneous generation.

People who study the origins of life (OOL) are looking at the prospects of far simpler systems developing over much longer periods. Surely you can see the difference between the entire Earth over hundreds of million years developing the first simple replicator and a hunk of meat in a muslin meat safe developing a maggot in three weeks?

I do not know of Mendel’s “refutation”. Perhaps you could explain further? I would be astounded if it is really is a valid criticism.

I have noticed these two claims pop up several times recently, but seldom refuted. I guess this is because, at least the first, is so trivial people don’t consider it worth responding to. It is hard not to sound condescending but the fact that you make it is a clear indication that you have little understanding of current OOL problems and research.

As a final point, the theory of evolution has nothing to say about how life got started so your first point is in any case irrelevant.

Mr. Simons:

You have a point. Darwin never talked about origin of life in his books. His interest was on origin of species. So, when we talk about spontaneous generation, it means we talk about origin of species, not origin of life. But because of spontaneous generation, a cornerstone concept for Darwin’s theory, people in medieval times was more convinced that life could be created from inanimate matters. This kind of belief, infact, still survived until today, in modern world of science, where evolutionists live. So, actualy, spontaneous generation had affected, indirectly, evolutionists mindset who have been studying origin of life. Louis Pasteur announced his refutation through his lecture at Sorbonne in 1864, 5 years after Darwin’s book: Origin Of Species, was published.

Two of Mendel refutations are about imposibility of transitional form and imposibility of inheritance of acquired traits. Mendel’s genetic law showed that acquired traits are not passed on. The law is successful to provide the view that species remain unchanged. No matter how many monkeys we saw in the jungles, the species itself will never change: monkey will always be monkey. Read the paper in: http://jhered.oxfordjournals.org/cg[…]87/3/205.pdf

Thomas Kuhn said in his book: Scientific Revolution (1970), that the sign of science development is the rise and fall of paradigms. That’s also the reason why there are thesis and anti thesis in science world. In the context of Pasteur’s and Mendel’s refutation, evolutionists should write anti theses to those world class biologists’s refutations in order to uphold Darwin’s paradigm. But unfortunately, until today, there are none. On the contrary, all evolutionists accepted the truth about pasteurization and Mendel’s Genetic Law.

So, it is a clear indication that you, Mr. Simons, has lack of knowledge about history of evolution theory and philosophy of science. But your opinion is quite inspiring me, though.

Oh dear. Dear, dear, dear, it looks like we’re going to have to take this one V E R Y S L O W L Y for the benefit of the Yohyo. Fruitless, I know, but what the heck, I have a thing for not letting supremely arrogant ignorance go unchecked.

1. Simons has already explained the difference between Pasteur’s work and the modern study of abiogenesis, but I will elaborate somewhat. For one thing, the first organisms proposed to exist are far, far simpler than even the simplest bacterium; it is likely that they were little more than a lipid shell around some self-replicating molecule(s) like RNA (which can have catalytic properties); that’s all that’s needed. And on the other end, the conditions present on prebiotic Earth were far more complex than a simple flask of sterile culture medium. Earth had seas, volcanoes, deep-sea thermal vents, rising and receding tidal pools; a massive panoply of potential conditions for the generation of organic molecules. The Miller-Urey experiment is only the beginning; numerous experiments since then have used varying conditions thought to replicate conditions on prebiotic Earth, and they’ve still managed to produce organic molecules necessary for life.

Pasteur did not disprove abiogenesis in principle; he only proved it wrong under the conditions he tested. That you confuse the two reflects only your selective thinking and overwhelming desire to pick out anything – anything at all – that you think disproves evolution. And shows your ignorance of scientific principles. 2. Regarding Mendel, you are garbling some very simple concepts. Mendel was not addressing “transitional forms” as we understand them today, but rather hybridization between existing varieties or species, which was posited at the time as a source of variation. This was only provisional, though, and Darwin had his own doubts about variation.

Modern genetics postdates Darwin, naturally, so he was ignorant of it; but what we do know fits in perfectly with Darwin’s ideas. We know about DNA mutations – in fact, we can observe them, and track their spread through a population. Mutations are heritable traits (not acquired; learn the difference!), this is an empirical fact. That you’d try to draw the opposite conclusion demonstrates your utter blindness to empirical observations and reliance on outdated appeals to authority – authorities whose ideas you don’t even comprehend, or want to comprehend.

Calling Simons ignorant on top of that has to be the irony of the century.

I was about to point out that mutations aren’t acquired traits, but somebody beat me to it.

Inal writes:

In the context of Pasteur’s and Mendel’s refutation, evolutionists should write anti theses to those world class biologists’s refutations in order to uphold Darwin’s paradigm.

You mean like RA Fisher did in 1930?

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Minimalist:

Spontaneous generation is a hypothetical organic phenomenon by which living organisms are created from nonliving matter. Abiogenesis is the supposed development of living organisms from nonliving matter. From these definitions we can see that spontaneous generation is classical notion of abiogenesis. It means, spontaneous generation and abiogenesis have similar main purpose: to observe how life could spontaneously generate. So, Pasteur’s work and the modern study of abiogenesis have the same purpose. The differences are only in object of research and technology. Through his lecture at Sorbonne in 1864, Louis Pasteur said: “Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal block struck by this simple experiment”, (Harun Yahya, Darwinism Refuted, Tranlated by: Carl Nino Rossini, Goodword Books, New Delhi, 2002, p. 15., See also Sidney Fox, Klaus Dose, Molecular Evolution and The Origin of Life, W.H Freeman and Company, San Francisco, 1972, p. 4). The essence of this Pasteur’s statement is: through simple or even complicated experiments, it is imposible to create living organisms from nonliving matter. So, Pasteur disprove spontaneous generation and abiogenesis in principle.

In 1866, through one of his paper on hybridization: “Experiments on plant hybrids”, Mendel stated: “Transitional forms were not observed in any experiment”. Later, Hugo de Vries, a scientist who had studied Mendel’s works, said: “The lack of transitional forms between any two simple antagonistic characters in the hybrid is perhaps the best proof that such characters are well delimited units”, (B.E Bishop, “Mendel’s Opposition to Evolution and to Darwin”, Journal of Heredity, 87, 1996, p. 211. See also de Vries H, 1900, “The law of segregation of hybrids (English translation)”, The origin of genetics: a Mendel source book (Stem C and Sherwood ER, eds), 1966. San Francisco: W. H Freeman; 107-117). Those statements showed that through hybridization, Mendel refuted the existence of transitional form. If you want to know about Mendel’s opposition to evolution and to Darwin, I urge you to read this paper from Journal of Heredity: http://jhered.oxfordjournals.org/cg[…]87/3/205.pdf ).

The “chemical evolution thesis” of Miller-Urey experiment (1953) did not produce evidence for abiogenesis or spontaneous generation, because, although amino acids are the building blocks of life, the key to life is information of life itself. Miller-Urey experiment, chemicaly, failed to provide this key. Then, numerous experiments since then have used varying conditions thought to replicate conditions on prebiotic Earth. Unfortunately, after a half century has passed, no single evolutionist has managed to produce any further progress. Stanley Miller himself confesed: “All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We all believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did”, (See in W. R. Bird, The Origin of Species Revisited, Thomas Nelson Co., Nashville, 1991, p. 325). In 1970, Stanley Fox, an evolutionist who was influenced by Miller-Urey scenario, conducted a, similar purpose but different object of research, experiment by joining amino acid together, which he called “proteinoids”. However, after amino acids were combined, there was no single protein obtained. So, Fox’s experiment also failed. Evolutionists then had to face the fact that the “primitive atmosphere experiments” by Stanley Miller, Sydney Fox, and others were invalid. For this reason, in the 1980s the evolutionists tried again with “RNA World” hypothesis. But then, evoutionists themselves found out that RNA World is scientificly unacceptable. Is that for real? Read these statements from evolutionists:

Evolutionist John Horgan admitted: “As researchers continue to examine the RNA-World concept closely, more problems emerge. How did RNA initially arise? RNA and its components are difficult to synthesize in a laboratory under the best of conditions, much less under really plausible ones”, (John Horgan, “In The Beginning”, Scientific American, vol. 264, February 1991, p. 119). Evolutionist microbiologists Gerald Joyce and Leslie Orgel, in their book: In the RNA World, wrote: “This discussion… has, in a sense, focused on a straw man: the myth of a selfreplicating RNA molecule that arose de novo from a soup of random polynucleotides. Not only is such a notion unrealistic in light of our current understanding of prebiotic chemistry, but it would strain the credulity of even an optimist’s view of RNA’s catalytic potential”, (Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity, New York, 1971, p. 143). Further, an article that was published in the pro evolutionist journal: Nature, made it clear that the concept of “self replicating RNA” is a complete product of fantasy, and, actually, this kind of RNA has not been produced in any experiment: “DNA replication is so error-prone that it needs the prior existence of protein enzymes to improve the copying fidelity of a gene-size piece of DNA. “Catch-22” say Maynard Smith and Szathmary. So, wheel on RNA with its now recognized properties of carrying both informational and enzymatic activity, leading the authors to state: “In essence, the first RNA molecules did not need a protein polymerase to replicate them; they replicated themselves.” Is this a fact or a hope? I would have thought it relevant to point out for ‘biologists in general’ that not one self-replicating RNA has emerged to date from quadrillions of artificially synthesized, random RNA sequences”,(Gabby L. Dover, “Looping the Evolutionary loop, review of the origin of life from the birth of life to the origin of language”, Nature, 1999, vol. 399, p. 218). But, until now, the modern studies of abiogenesis are still based on RNA World and DNA mutation.

Minimalist, you have a point. Mutation and acquired traits are different. But they have one thing in common: they have failed to provide scientific facts about evolution. Mutations are breaks or replacements taking place in the DNA molecule, which is found in the nuclei of the cells of a living organism and which contains all its genetic information. These breaks or replacements are the result of external effects such as radiation or chemical action. Every mutation is an “accident,” and either damages the nucleotides making up the DNA or changes their locations., and all kind of mutations are dangerous. The evolutionist scientist Warren Weaver comments on the report prepared by the Committee on Genetic Effects of Atomic Radiation, which had been formed to investigate mutations that might have been caused by the nuclear weapons used in the Second World War: “Many will be puzzled about the statement that practically all known mutant genes are harmful. For mutations are a necessary part of the process of evolution. How can a good effect—evolution to higher forms of life—result from mutations practically all of which are harmful?”, (Warren Weaver et al., “Genetic Effects of Atomic Radiation”, Science, vol. 123, June 29, 1956, p. 1159.) For example, all mutations that take place in humans result in physical deformities, in infirmities such as mongolism, Down syndrome, albinism, dwarfism , cancer, etc.

The American pathologist David A. Demick notes the following in a scientific article about mutations: “With this array of human diseases that are caused by mutations, what of positive effects? With thousands of examples of harmful mutations readily available, surely it should be possible to describe some positive mutations if macroevolution is true. These would be needed not only for evolution to greater complexity, but also to offset the downward pull of the many harmful mutations. But, when it comes to identifying positive mutations, evolutionary scientists are strangely silent”, (David A. Demick, “The Blind Gunman”, Impact, no. 308, February 1999). Every effort put into “generating a useful mutation” has resulted in failure. For decades, evolutionists carried out many experiments to produce mutations in fruit flies, as these insects reproduce very rapidly and so mutations would show up quickly. Generation upon generation of these flies were mutated, yet no useful mutation was ever observed.The evolutionist geneticist Gordon Taylor wrote: “It is a striking, but not much mentioned fact that, though geneticists have been breeding fruit-flies for sixty years or more in labs all round the world—flies which produce a new generation every eleven days—they have never yet seen the emergence of a new species or even a new enzyme”, (Gordon Rattray Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery, Abacus, Sphere Books, London, 1984, p. 48). Mutation could be useful in one condition: genetic change through mutation that could illustrate the evolution theory must not only add new information to organism’s genome, it must also add new information to the biocosm. But no single evolutionist had come up with such findings. It means that no useful mutation has been so far observed. So, until today, mutation a.k.a “heritable traits” has not yet brought any good to all living organism.

In universal philosophy of science point of view, man build theory in order to solve problems in their life. Therefore, theory must be useful. If it’s not useful, man will repair the theory, or throw it away into bin of history and build a new one. But why are there a bunch of scientists who has been studying a theory that is not useful for life of human kind? After more than 150 years, had evolution theory helped human kind to understand origin of life or origin of species comprehensivly? No it had not. Had evolution theory universaly satisfied our reasoning? No, it had not.

And for you, minimalist, you have lack of history of evolution theory and have problem on definition. You should read and learn more about evolution and anti-evolution.

Pasteur’s work and the modern study of abiogenesis have the same purpose.

Not exactly. Try reading what minimalist and I wrote. Do you truly believe that a pronouncement made 140 years ago is of great significance to modern science?

Regarding Mendel, it might help in your understanding if you realize that Mendel’s Laws would have been better called ‘Mendel’s Postulates”.

Mendel’s genetic law showed that acquired traits are not passed on.

Which of his laws is this? In any case, just how does this refute the theory of evolution?

Mendel did not see intermediates in his experiments because he used genes that cause simple, well-defined traits, like on/off switches. You can’t have a switch half on and half off. Similarly, with the genes he was using, the pea flowers were either purple or they were white. Besides, who is saying that intermediates are likely to arise in a few generations?

You might also like to bear in mind that Mendel’s results were considerably better than would be expected to occur by chance, suggesting that he ‘adjusted’ his results.

You then wander off in to the ‘no mutation is a good mutation’ realm, together with what looks strongly like a 50-year-old quote-mine from Warren Weaver (and his credentials in genetics and evolution were … ?) on the effects of mutations. I would be surprised indeed if, in the very next sentence, he did not resolve the puzzle he refers to. (I do not have easy access to the journal). This is such a hackneyed argument you must have seen plenty of references to examples in which mutations were beneficial. In which case you are either lying or have your mind completely shut.

P.S. Pasteur did not prove or disprove anything. All he did was show that, under the conditions of his experiments, bacteria and maggots did not spontaneously develop.

Inal: before you start pretending that Harun Yahya is an authority on anything, you might want to do a quick Google search on the name. I just did, and this is just what I found in the first minute (from Wikipedia):

He is an anti-zionist and anti-mason which he sees as very interrelated movements. Although he rejects allegations of anti-Semitism, claiming pagan and Darwinist roots for anti-Semitism [2] he is also credited as a Holocaust denier,[3] with his book Soykırım Yalanı (The Holocaust Hoax).

So anti-Semitism has “Darwinist roots” even though it predates Darwin by over a thousand years? Even Pope Palpadict can sound smarter than that.

You creationists must be getting pretty desperate if you’re quoting flakes like this.

Here’s some more tidbits on Yahya:

Born in Ankara in 1956, Adnan Oktar lived there through his high school years. In 1979 he moved to Istanbul to attend a interior design-study at Mimar Sinan University.

In the first half of the 1980s, he gathered young students around him, to teach them his views about Islam, mixing mysticism with scientific rhetoric. These young people belonged to socially active and prominent families of Istanbul which had a high economic status. From 1982 to 1984, a group of 20-30 young people was formed. In 1986 Adnan Oktar’s published a book “Judaism and Freemasonry” on Jews and Freemasonry. The book suggests the principal mission of the Jews and freemasons in Turkey was to erode the spiritual, religious and moral values of the Turkish people and thus make them like animals as stated in the verse of Distorted Torrah.[4] Oktar asserts that the materialist standpoint, evolution theory, anti-religious and immoral lifestyles were indoctrinated to the society as a whole.

But wait, it gets worse:

In early 1998, Adnan Oktar and the BAV launched a campaign against Darwinism. Thousands of free copies of Adnan Oktar’s book, The Evolution Deceit and the booklets based on this book were distributed within Turkey. BAV spearheaded an effort to attack Turkish academics who taught evolutionary theory. A number of academics have been harassed, threatened and slandered in fliers that labeled them “Maoists” for teaching evolution. In 1999, six of the professors won a civil court case against BAV for defamation and were awarded $4,000 each.[6] Fear of persecution by the BAV allegedly has continued, Professor Umit Sayin is reported to have said in 2005: In 1998, I was able to motivate six members of the Turkish Academy of Sciences to speak out against the creationist movement. Today, it’s impossible to motivate anyone. They’re afraid they’ll be attacked by the radical Islamists and the BAV.

Any comments, Inal?

Here’s some more tidbits on Yahya:

Yahya’s a yoyo, but this attack on Inal’s … um … gallop is ad-hominem. IMHO it’s better to point out that he’s wrong on all counts and that he’s blatantly quote-mining.

If Inal is quoting Yahya as an “authority,” then it’s perfectly appropriate to point out that a) his “authority” is completely bogus (he didn’t even study any science, ferfucksake, just interior design), and b) anyone who bases any arguments on such an “authority” as Yahya is himself automatically suspect.

Inal:

I was puzzled as to how someone managed to come up with a superficially-damaging quote-mine from an apparently unrelated article from the 1950s so I did a Google search on a couple of widely-separated sentences in your comment. They both came up with the same 18 web pages. The ones I looked at had very similar content, down to the photos, yet they were ostensibly written by different people. Large chunks of ‘your’ last comment appeared in them.

Which one did you plagiarize from?

You realize that in academia presenting someone else’s writings as your own is considered a serious violation of ethics that, as an undergraduate, could get you thrown out of a course? It has resulted in working scientists losing their jobs.

In future, do not lie to us by presenting other people’s thoughts as your own. After all, it may make us think that you are incapable of thinking for yourself.

If Inal is quoting Yahya as an “authority,”…

Seems you’re right about this. I was going to make this point about how Inal was in fact plagiarizing Yahya, and therefore not relying on argument from bad authority, but in fact there’s at least on attribution.

Shouldn’t the Mendel thing be added to the index of creationist claims? I don’t see it addressed.

Darwin never talked about origin of life in his books. His interest was on origin of species. So, when we talk about spontaneous generation, it means we talk about origin of species, not origin of life.

“So”?? That’s a remarkably ungrounded inference. In fact, spontaneous generation is about the origin of life – specifically, in the context of Pasteur, the origin of microorganisms in fermented solutions.

But because of spontaneous generation, a cornerstone concept for Darwin’s theory

Uh, no. As you just wrote, “Darwin never talked about origin of life”.

Richard Simons said:

Inal:

I was puzzled as to how someone managed to come up with a superficially-damaging quote-mine from an apparently unrelated article from the 1950s so I did a Google search on a couple of widely-separated sentences in your comment. They both came up with the same 18 web pages. The ones I looked at had very similar content, down to the photos, yet they were ostensibly written by different people. Large chunks of ‘your’ last comment appeared in them.

Which one did you plagiarize from?

One of this, probable the first: http://www.askdarwinists.com/

http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/mechanisms06.html

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