In honor of Darwin Day this week we issued our annual update to the Scientific Dissent from Darwin list. Apparently, it is dishonest to point out that 700 scientists are skeptical of Darwinian evolution. Never mind that we have never tried to claim that a majority of scientists are Darwin doubters, not even close. The whole point of the list was to refute the claim in PBS’ 2001 Evolution series that no scientists doubted Darwin. (Then it was ‘no credible scientists’; which became ‘well, not very many scientists’; and so on.) Still. Time magazine journalist Michael Lemonick got himself all in a huff over the list. So much so he even attacked the doctor we quoted in the release about the list. Lemonick attacks Dr. Michael Egnor –professor of Neurosurgery at State University of New York– for not knowing enough about biology, for not having a degree in the field, for only being a brain surgeon. That’s rich coming from a guy who writes for a weekly news tabloid. His credentials:
I’ve been covering science in major publications for more than two decades. Consider the fact that I may have actually learned a thing or two along the way.
Egnor responded on Lemonick’s blog and an enlightening debate ensued. Egnor doesn’t pull his punches and holds his own very well, consistently and repeatedly poking Lemonick in the eye with the relevant issues.
I am asking a simple question: show me the evidence (journal, date, page) that new information, measured in bits or any appropriate units, can emerge from random variation and natural selection, without intelligent agency.
And again later:
My ‘argument’ is just a question: how much new information can Darwinian mechanisms generate?
Egnor points out that Darwinists never answer his question. So, Lemonick answers him by saying: “… that your question isn’t a legitimate one in the first place, and thus doesn’t even interest actual scientists.”
Rather than answer the question (you’d think after covering the issue for two decades, he could come up with an answer or two) or deal with the relevant scientific issues, Lemonick responds with comments like these:
Sorry to break the news, but evolution has passed every test required of a scientific theory. It offers a mechanism, makes predictions about what we should find in the fossil record that have been fulfilled and explains in an elegant way the relationships between creatures living and dead. Calling it a religion is, I’m sad to say, just plain ignorant.
Despite what has often been claimed, here and elsewhere, evolution has not been falsified.
There is no scientific controversy over evolution in any meaningful sense, and the Discovery Institute is spinning like a top to pretend otherwise.
Yet his own blog is evidence of the scientific debate.
Egnor finally concludes:
“I’m on my fourth post here, and my fourth request for a number and references on the amount of information that Darwinian mechanisms can generate. The response has been handwaving, algorithms, credentials thumping, political sneers, and insults. No experimental biological data.”
Another Darwinist poster makes this amazing assertion:
Proteins, however, are the natural result of lightning striking primordial ooze — it’s been shown in the lab. So, what we have here is, again, random chance creating new information. That’s all that goes on here. Random chance creates new information, then natural selection prunes away the information that is not conducive to reproduction.
Proven in a lab? Talk about committing intellectual fraud. He should go back and read CSC senior fellow Dr. David Berlinski’s enlightening piece On the Origins of Life. Or Icons of Evolution by Dr. Jonathan Wells.
If this is the best they can do, then you really don’t have to be a brain surgeon to poke holes in their arguments — but it can’t hurt.