New NAS book on Evolution & Creationism

| 124 Comments | 1 TrackBack

coverThe National Academy of Sciences’ new book, Science, Evolution, and Creationism is now available for free download. It is a revision of an older work and features chapters on the nature of science, the evidence for evolution, and creationist claims. No doubt the Discovery Institute will respond with its usual blather.

1 TrackBack

Most readers are probably aware of the Discovery Institute’s "Dissent from Darwinism" statement which now has 700 signatories willing to claim "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to ... Read More

124 Comments

Um … it looks like the summary brochure is available for the free download; the book still costs money. Not that I begrudge the NAS having a revenue stream.

Not true, read the book and then click download. You need to ‘register’

Just [SIGN IN] under “PDF”.

Shouldn’t that be FrumiousBandersnatch? You’ve conflated The Hunting of the Snark with Jabberwocky.

this is great. NAP has a treasure trove of publications that are accessed by scholars of every discipline. now with this title becoming available a scholars from outside the life sciences are going to have a quick and clean source of information that can be used to dismiss the pompous but frivolous babble that is dished put by the likes of Denyse O’Leary

Joel:

Shouldn’t that be FrumiousBandersnatch? You’ve conflated The Hunting of the Snark with Jabberwocky.

The Boojum tree is in the Hunting of the Snark, right?

The Boojum tree is in the Hunting of the Snark, right?

Even if it were, what would that have to do with the fact that the Frumious Bandersnatch is in Jabberwocky, not in tHotS?

But no, while there’s a Tumtum tree in Jabberwocky and there are Boojum trees in Baja California, there’s no Boojum tree in tHotS – unless the Snark was tree, “for the Snark was a Boojum, you see”.

In any case, I think Joel may have forgotten Deacon Dodgson’s fondness for “portmanteau” words, which FrumiousBandersnark is a fine example of, methinks.

No doubt the Discovery Institute will respond with its usual blather.

Right on schedule:

www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/01-03-2008/0004730355&EDATE=

They say that the report “exaggerates the success of evolution” and then they equivocate by dredging up their list of 700 dissenters from “Darwinism” and their one NAS member, Phillip Skell, as if that balances out the ledger.

You may giggle at will, Gridley …

Ignoring the non biologists, and the academics from outside USA and the faculty of diploma mills, there is probably less than 50 people worth contacting on the list of “700 dissenters”.

If we, science supporters, ask them to comment on a few more topics other than the carefully crafted big tent statement they (allegedly) signed. If we could get their views on the age of Earth, on common ancestry between chimpanzee and humans and on the scientific status claimed by ID, the responses would prove to be quite interesting.

Lurkers, please check if there is anyone on the list from your univ or institution. See if you could get them to explain their endorsement of DI/ID.

Some more reaction from opponents of evolution:

http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/s[…]5&EDATE=

The NAS exaggerates the success of evolution, hyping it as “the foundation for modern biology.” This outrageous claim continues to meet a growing skepticism from scientists around the world. Over 700 doctoral scientists have publicly declared their disagreement by signing a list dissenting from Darwinism, including National Academy of Sciences member Phillip Skell.

Instead of treating evolutionary theory as an area open to further scientific inquiry, the NAS report canonizes evolution as perfect and immutable, “so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter it.”

“Under their definition, a theory is not a testable area of science but rather an unquestionable dogma,” said CSC program officer Casey Luskin.

Of course, this should come as no surprise, given the NAS’s bias against intelligent design, which challenges Darwinian evolution on scientific grounds. Rather than addressing the science of ID, the report misrepresents the theory as an untestable religious belief. While the report ignores what design theorists actually claim, it chooses to cite the Kitzmiller ruling instead, apparently trusting a judge who copied the ACLU and disregarding the academic freedom of the scientists who stake their reputations and careers on the scientific merit of intelligent design.

At bottom, this report does little more than reveal a tired and weary voice of an establishment unwilling to actually address the scientific claims or the thoughtful skepticism of a growing number of scientists who disagree.

There was a report on this story on BBC News 24 last night via ABC news. A brief interview with Ken Ham at the Creation Museum (I think David Menton also gave an opinion and accused science educators of running scared) showed how silly YECism really is (Ham didn’t have to do anything to look silly).

I’ll expect AiG to pick up on this over the next few days.

Ravilyn Sanders Wrote:

If we could get their views on the age of Earth, on common ancestry between chimpanzee and humans and on the scientific status claimed by ID, the responses would prove to be quite interesting.

How dare you steal my line! Seriously, I’m ecstatic that someone other that me brought that up first.

A very good bet is that the total who specifically deny human-ape common ancestry, old-Earth and young-Earth combined, will be less than the total who are also documented members of the DI and other well-known pseudoscience outfits.

I took a close look “Dissent from Darwin” list in October. Of its 704 signatories, 314 (45%) self-report being in a life sciences field. Only 159 (23%) were in a life science directly related to the study of evolution.

I started a similar analysis of the Project Steve list but never finished. I looked at 126 of the PS signatories. 84 (67%) were in the life sciences and 58 (46%) were in a field directly related to evolution.

How many Project Steve signatories are NAS members?

Long time, non-biologist, layman lurker here.

Recognizing P.T. Barnum’s observation, there may be little the NAS nor other well intentioned organizations nor individuals can do to quell the yapping terriers of ignorance. No one can force them to change their minds - they have to do this on their own and it may help a little for them to reap the consequences of their misguided political and social activities: leave them to their own devices and allow more Kitzmillers to occur.

Dave

Ravilyn Sanders:

Lurkers, please check if there is anyone on the list from your univ or institution. See if you could get them to explain their endorsement of DI/ID.

Ack!

I just discovered a “Dissenter from Darwinism” in my own department! That makes two that I know personally, one at work, one at church. Neither of them are biologists. (Full disclosure: I am not now, and have never been a biologist.)

Here’s an interesting question … how many academic departments include both a “Dissenter” and an NCSE Steve? Based on my horrifying discovery above, at least one!

2Hulls said: …there may be little the NAS nor other well intentioned organizations nor individuals can do to quell the yapping terriers of ignorance. –

I think the scientific community needs to start hiring publicists.

The NAS exaggerates the success of evolution, hyping it as “the foundation for modern biology.” This outrageous claim continues to meet a growing skepticism from scientists around the world. Over 700 doctoral scientists have publicly declared their disagreement by signing a list dissenting from Darwinism, including National Academy of Sciences member Phillip Skell.

What a mindless non sequitur.

And yes, it is the foundation for modern biology. I was noticing this recently while talking dinosaurs with a couple of my nephews, since for them (creationists, thus far) dinosaurs are a bewildering variety of names, characteristics, and separate types. Thus, knowing about dinosaurs means knowing a whole lot of facts, a pile of Lego parts which mean nothing besides their present arrangement in space-time.

For me, of course, dinosaurs are a continuity, a variation on the reptile body plan which continues today in birds. I therefore don’t need to know so much about the particulars or the names, but about the major lineages (saurischians and ornithiscians) and what became of dinosaurs.

It’s the difference between mere cataloging and doing actual science, in other words. Evolution isn’t the only concept which ties biology together, certainly, but it is the most universal and comprehensive theory and idea in biology.

Of course I also love how quick the DI is to trash evolution any time it is brought up as the basis for biology, because they claim not to be opposed to evolution at all, but are supposedly merely interested in promoting another possible means for evolving. Meaning that they, too, know that they are in fact creationists for all intents and purposes.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

By the way, I managed to catch blurbs about this book on two of the three old-line networks last night. NBC and ABC seem right, but I can’t be sure.

I thought that both were fairly good, if quite short, reports, telling of the scientific acceptance of evolution and the perceived need to combat antievolutionists. Sure, they had the detractors come on with their pablum, but I didn’t think that they appeared especially convincing to anyone who wasn’t sure about the issue (and I was trying to see it from the viewpoint of the populace). I was pleased to see it hit the news despite the hoopla over the Iowa caucuses.

Then again, those reports probably had less of an impact, due to the caucuses, than they’d have had on a more usual night. I can’t blame the networks for that, though, and I wonder if the timing of the release was very well planned.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

2Hulls Wrote:

Recognizing P.T. Barnum’s observation, there may be little the NAS nor other well intentioned organizations nor individuals can do to quell the yapping terriers of ignorance.

No one expects the activists to stop their endless spin. The NAS is not trying to educate the activists, but rather the general public, and defenders of science who might need brushing up on evolution and the “debate”.

As for the general public, from various polls it seems like 20-25% will not admit evolution under any circumstances, another 20-25% rejects it simply because they are misinformed, and another 15-20% claims to accept it but has still fallen for the “it’s only fair to teach the controversy” nonsense.

The NAS exaggerates the success of evolution, hyping it as “the foundation for modern biology.” This outrageous claim continues to meet a growing skepticism from scientists around the world. Over 700 doctoral scientists have publicly declared their disagreement by signing a list dissenting from Darwinism, including National Academy of Sciences member Phillip Skell.

I always thought that “700” seemed an odd number, but after buzzing through the television channels last night, I think I may have found the main source of those “700” signatures.

The 700 Club

Hey, real quick, folks: With reference to the Dishonesty Institute’s infamous list of 700 “dissenters” - that’s 700 out of how many? What’s the sum total of all scientists? Anybody got a plausible number? (I’m in a debate on another blog.) Thanks

Having lived in Va. Beach (location of CBN, 700 Club, etc) in 1985 when Pat Robertson “turned” hurricane Gloria away from the coast via prayer, I and others figured out the true origin of the name, “700 Club.” It’s because membership is limited to those who scored less than 700 (combined math and verbal) on their SATs.

Little know trivia: when it was pointed out to Pat that after bypassing Va. Beach, Gloria made landfall on Long Island, he was asked, “Why didn’t you help those folks as well?”

Pat: They’re Catholics.

Hey, real quick, folks: With reference to the Dishonesty Institute’s infamous list of 700 “dissenters” - that’s 700 out of how many? What’s the sum total of all scientists? Anybody got a plausible number? (I’m in a debate on another blog.) Thanks

IIRC, from talkorigins, 480,000 science type people in relevant fields. Check with talkorigins.org for the best information.

It is better to deal with percentages. In the USA, 99% of scientists in relevant fields accept the fact of evolution, higher in Europe. The few who don’t freely admit they don’t on religious grounds.

A lot of those 700 signatures are in irrelevant fields, computer programming and so on. The statement is also vaguely worded and many who signed didn’t know they were going to be used for propaganda purposes. One poster on PT claimed that 80 or 90% of a sample contacted said creationism was nonsense.

For comparison, you could probably find more scientists in mental hospitals or detox centers than scientists who reject evolution on religious grounds.

Frank J:

How dare you steal my line!

Students don’t steal from their gurus Frank, they learn

Anyway, I thought I will do some surfing from the names and see if any of those who signed the dissent have published any papers on evolution or on design, or used a design argument instead of natural selection argument etc.

Started with Lyle H Jensen at scholar.google.com

Author “Lyle H Jensen” Check mark “return articles in bio only”

(LH Jensen picks up another author too, so could not check it out quickly.)

Five hits, the first one, 1962 paper on Bacterial Ferridoxin has impressive 168 citations. Add “evolution” to the filter and got 0 hits. Found no publication after 1988.

Is there a place where we can do some kind of community literature search and share the notes? I don’t want to pollute threads in PT with such things. I want us to be able to counter DI and their shills “Of that 700 only xx have published any research on evolution and only yy have used design perspective instead of MET perspective in their research. And zz of them have actually used MET in their publications, despite their (alleged) dissent”.

If enough lurkers contribute we can find the values for xx, yy and zz and document how we arrived at the values.

The DI’s complaint:

Instead of treating evolutionary theory as an area open to further scientific inquiry, the NAS report canonizes evolution as perfect and immutable, “so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter it.”

… is (surprise, surprise) a quote mine. The booklet actually says:

Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the Sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics). Like these other foundational scientific theories, the theory of evolution is supported by so many observations and confirming experiments that scientists are confident that the basic components of the theory will not be overturned by new evidence. However, like all scientific theories, the theory of evolution is subject to continuing refinement as new areas of science emerge or as new technologies enable observations and experiments that were not possible previously. (Emphasis added)

Ideologists are, of course, perfectly free to compare themselves to geocentrists and other kooks if they like. If the shoe fits, as they say …

For anyone who believes that the NAS exaggerates the success of evolution, be aware that evolution is alive, well, and increasingly successful in the scientific literature.

I’ll expect AiG to pick up on this over the next few days.

It didn’t take even that long: http://www.answersingenesis.org/art[…]ttle-resumes

AiG has indeed picked up on the release of the book:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/art[…]ttle-resumes

This was the news report that i referred to earlier and it was Menton that I saw being interviewed on the report:

On the news broadcast, Dr. Menton was seen asking: “Why are the evolutionists so defensive? If their ideas are so compelling, I would think they would welcome a challenge.”

Still, this coming from a YEC such as Menton is ironic. YEC science is just plain nonsense and doesn’t stand up to scrutiny at all.

The fact that the creation museum has gotton away with it so to speak, I wonder if scientists should call their bluff ?

This book will not make one iota of difference to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have visited the museum, and the millions more who reject all forms of modern science.

Furthermore, I just wonder what will happen to science standards in the US if Mike Huckabee were to become president (in light of last night’s result in Iowa this could now be a real possibility) ? Will he endorse Ham’s museum ?

Dr. Menton:

Why are the evolutionists so defensive? If their ideas are so compelling, I would think they would welcome a challenge.

I think the answer is that challenges are welcome from credible challengers who are willing to admit defeat should the struggle not go their way, and who will not use the mere acceptance of the challenge for propaganda purposes. IDCs have historically failed all of these criteria.

Hi, A fantastic read….very literate and informative. Many thanks….what theme is this you are using also

Coursework Help

Hi, You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Thanks

Custom Term Paper

Interesting topic! Hope you will elaborate more on it in future posts

Custom Essays

Blog is very good, I learned many things for this blog, thank you very much for your information, nice job keep it up.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by John M. Lynch published on January 3, 2008 3:57 PM.

T(h)resholds on Comer was the previous entry in this blog.

Making Babies - How Simple Rules Build Complex Bodies is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter