Jerry Coyne pwns Paul Nelson

| 28 Comments

I’ve had my disagreements with Jerry Coyne over a few things, but this is freakin’ genius. Bonus points for the Marshall McLuhan/Annie Hall reference.

28 Comments

That is pretty funny!

I really have to wonder why Paul Nelson agreed to have his accusation posted in light of the responses by all the folks he referenced demonstrating his claim was erroneous. Maybe this is a form of indulgence or some such.

An approach I fully approve of. Years ago the DI published a document during the Ohio science standards fight that listed 40 articles they believed supported the position that evolution was questionable science. NCSE wrote the authors of these articles and got blistering responses – some of which we couldn’t publish. When our allies in Ohio presented these responses to the board members, it seriously undercut the DI’s claims. Eventually, of course, the Ohio standards turned out OK, but it wasn’t an easy struggle. http://ncse.com/creationism/general[…]bibliography For the real fanatics among us, the full list of 40 articles is here: http://ncse.com/creationism/general[…]phy-appendix

If a scientist so much as emails the oil company about a bill, some creationist will interpret that as doubting evolution.

Just look at the hilarious attempts to word-game this away over at Unimaginably Dense.

Be sure to also scroll down to response #18, which is from Paul Nelson himself. He basically ignores the letters altogether and adds more quotes. Moreover, those quotes don’t really say what he wants them to say. The authors are quite clearly disputing the prominence of natural selection as a mechanism for evolution. They are not disputing speciation, or the evolution of ‘body plans’ (which seems to be Nelson’s main issue).

The real denoument comes about 3/4 down the page, where one commenter says ‘you’re misreading Lynch’s work. I don’t have to read it to know this, I can just walk down the hall and ask him’ and Nelson replies that he will weigh that comment but against what Lynch has published. IOW, he won’t believe he’s misreading someone’s position even if the guy’s co-worker walks down the hall and asks him about it. I’ll go out on a limb and say Lynch could probably show up on UD, say outright that Nelson is misrepresenting his position, and the creationists still wouldn’t believe it.

The IDM likes to “recruit” scientists they desperately want to believe are questioning evolution. The thinking seems to be “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” What they don’t realize is that these people are often their harshest critics.

I understand Mr Nelson is not saying they are not evolutionists nor believe selection is important in biology but only that their reservations about aspects of it are fair to itemize as criticisms of the present evolutionary conclusions. The musings and questionings can rightly be interpreted as important misgivings by evolutionists themselves. thats what Mr Nelson thinks and I don’t know. he has some reason to bring up their names.

In the comments you can already seen Mr. Nelson furious scrounging quotes from other writings to try and counter the words from the horses’ mouths.

Please let me know if I am off target; I have not studied the subject in every detail:

Nelson’s argument is that there are serious doubts in the scientific community about the role of natural selection in the evolution of species.

Whereas the position taken by Coyne et al is that natural selection never have lost its explanatory power as a major force in the origins of species. But that doesn’t mean science is blind to the contribution to the genetic process by other mechanisms as well WRT heredity and distribution of alleles in a population, with differential reproductive success as the “end product” and engine of evolutionary speciation.

(As always, the words I use may not be the ones I would have used if I could.)

Rolf: Almost. But it isn’t the origin of species per se that we’re talking about. It’s the origin of adaptation, though Nelson sometimes branches out into the origin of body plans. No two of these are the same. But none of the argument between Coyne and Nelson is about speciation.

By the way, how do I stop being a Masked Panda?

Even worse than I thought then? Adaptation can’t be that hard to accept? What would life on Earth be without adaptation?

The sheep on North Ronaldsay share an adaptation known only from only one other species, the leguans of the Galápagos islands.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/j5i6uksLusgE[…]j_JIeOO3eKfg–#35e25 said:

By the way, how do I stop being a Masked Panda?

You reregister using a different name. The IDiots are trying to make that work. It supposedly fools quite a large number of people. When you get tired of pretending you can go back to what you always were like Santorum.

Robert Byers said:

I understand Mr Nelson is not saying they are not evolutionists nor believe selection is important in biology but only that their reservations about aspects of it are fair to itemize as criticisms of the present evolutionary conclusions. The musings and questionings can rightly be interpreted as important misgivings by evolutionists themselves.

Not in the way you mean “criticisms” and “misgivings.” Let me try an analogy: let us imagine that the topic is “causes of the civil war” rather than evolution. Coyne is like an historian who argues that the primary cause was disagreement over the legality of slavery. Lynch et al. are like historians who argue that the primary cause was a broader disagreement over the extent of federalism (i.e., states’ rights). All of these historians agree that the other person’s “primary cause” was A cause in the civil war, they just disagree over the relative importance of the two causes. Now, along comes Nelson, a YEC. He is claiming the civil war never happened. Does Lynch’s disagreement with Coyne support this? Does Lynch’s claim that the slavery was not the main cause of the civil war undermine the claim that there was a civil war? Absolutely not. It would be an utter lie to try and claim that. When you and Nelson and other creationists try and insinuate that Lynch et al.’s work throws doubt on whether descent through modification happened, you are either ignorantly misunderstanding what they are saying (stuff about the mechanisms of evolution), or you are intentionally misrepresenting their work.

You seem to be an honest (if misinformed) guy. So a word of advice; stop misrepresenting the views of scientists who propose alternate mechanisms of evolution. Their work in no way supports the creationist claim that evolution doesn’t happen.

I’m presuming that Nelson thinks selection works for little adaptations but not for big ones. Everything you show to his satisfaction as being the result of selection is a little adaptation. Everything that’s a big adaptation will not be shown to his satisfaction as being the result of selection. Of course he isn’t actually interested in mechanisms of evolution, only in finding disagreement among scientists, because that shows the field to be in disarray and in need of a creationist overhaul.

Yes, it’s a Theory in Crisis TM. It’s also a worldwide conspiracy.

But lots of little’s add up to a big! ;)

Henry J said:

But lots of little’s add up to a big! ;)

A reply to Byers on another thread:

How many trivia does it take to make a significa?

One cigarette. One shot of whiskey. One razor cut. One mph over the speed limit. One flirtation with another man’s wife. One shade darker camouflage.

By how many do you have to multiply such “trivial” things before they become very significant indeed?

eric said:

Robert Byers said:

I understand Mr Nelson is not saying they are not evolutionists nor believe selection is important in biology but only that their reservations about aspects of it are fair to itemize as criticisms of the present evolutionary conclusions. The musings and questionings can rightly be interpreted as important misgivings by evolutionists themselves.

Not in the way you mean “criticisms” and “misgivings.” Let me try an analogy: let us imagine that the topic is “causes of the civil war” rather than evolution. Coyne is like an historian who argues that the primary cause was disagreement over the legality of slavery. Lynch et al. are like historians who argue that the primary cause was a broader disagreement over the extent of federalism (i.e., states’ rights). All of these historians agree that the other person’s “primary cause” was A cause in the civil war, they just disagree over the relative importance of the two causes. Now, along comes Nelson, a YEC. He is claiming the civil war never happened. Does Lynch’s disagreement with Coyne support this? Does Lynch’s claim that the slavery was not the main cause of the civil war undermine the claim that there was a civil war? Absolutely not. It would be an utter lie to try and claim that. When you and Nelson and other creationists try and insinuate that Lynch et al.’s work throws doubt on whether descent through modification happened, you are either ignorantly misunderstanding what they are saying (stuff about the mechanisms of evolution), or you are intentionally misrepresenting their work.

You seem to be an honest (if misinformed) guy. So a word of advice; stop misrepresenting the views of scientists who propose alternate mechanisms of evolution. Their work in no way supports the creationist claim that evolution doesn’t happen.

I like the way you put this. Your analogy is a good one. I am saying Mr Nelson doesn’t mean there was no war but is using a disagreement of the cause of the war to say this doubt does question the iold confidence. Mr Nelson simply read from these people criticism about the SOLE idea of selection being the mechanism or how it works and so read it as denial of its historic claim to mechanism. He is not misrepresenting even IF he misread. If he thinks they deny selection as the mechanism then he justs needs to be corrected.

However refining how evolution works, that these researchers seem to be doing newly, means there is something doubtful about how it ghas been said to be working. In short its not doing the job of explanation. It can be read as a doubt in its power and so he reports it as such. He believes they are solid evolutionists. He thinks he read they question selection as a true thing or as true as it used to be. If one refines something one is replacing it however humbly refining.

Paul Nelson’s argument is very simple: you cannot build animal body plans via cne, but cne is all the rage in evolutionary circles, , therefore - Noah

However refining how evolution works, that these researchers seem to be doing newly, means there is something doubtful about how it ghas been said to be working. In short its not doing the job of explanation.

Depends, I suppose. A coroner would say the victime was killed by a bullet. A politician might say he was killed by a gun. A lawyer might say he was killed by the shooter. Nelson would say that all this disagreement must mean that the “theory” that someone was killed is doubtful!

And some others would say “were you there?”! ;)

Flint said:

However refining how evolution works, that these researchers seem to be doing newly, means there is something doubtful about how it ghas been said to be working. In short its not doing the job of explanation.

Depends, I suppose. A coroner would say the victime was killed by a bullet. A politician might say he was killed by a gun. A lawyer might say he was killed by the shooter. Nelson would say that all this disagreement must mean that the “theory” that someone was killed is doubtful!

I don’t think he said or meant this. If he did he was wrong. Either the added new ideas in his mind means the selection idea is rejected or it shows it doesn’t satisfy anymore and so can be said to be in doubt. Its possible he got too excited about the new ideas and thought it meant rejection of selection or as the great thing it used to be. I think he just meant their new ideas being added on in effect corrected the old idea. So the old idea has lost influence amongst evolutionists themselves. Everyone should always watch nuance.

Sterility indeed.

If one refines something one is replacing it however humbly refining.

Are you nuts? Refining something you make it better, pure. You familiar with white sugar and how it is made?

Paul Nelson clearly failed the DI’s introductory course in Quote Mining. The first rule of Quote Mining 101 is to never quote a live person. Always quote some historical figure who is safely dead, and so cannot refute your claims about what they meant to say.

Scott F said:

Paul Nelson clearly failed the DI’s introductory course in Quote Mining. The first rule of Quote Mining 101 is to never quote a live person. Always quote some historical figure who is safely dead, and so cannot refute your claims about what they meant to say.

But that would limit their sources to fossil quotes, which aren’t renewable!

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on December 11, 2012 10:12 AM.

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