Pat Sullivan and Marketing Darwin

Michael Egnor

On June 18th, blogger Pat Sullivan posted his thoughts on the difficulties that Darwinists are having with the public acceptance of their theory. Pat is an entrepreneur and a marketing expert who is the creator of ACT! and SalesLogix, software programs that help businesses with marketing and customer relations. When it comes to marketing, he knows what he’s talking about. He observes:

What interests me as a marketing observer is this; after tens of thousands of exposures to the Darwin marketing “message” only some 34% of people buy the message. And with almost NO exposures to the contrary message except in Sunday school and mom and dad, 66% of people believe we were created by a designer. Personally, I believe the main reason this is the case is the ease with which people look at the world and readily conclude it looks designed. The arguments to the contrary just are really hard to follow.

Pat notes that I.D. makes a lot more sense to people:

An example. The concept of “irreducible complexity” put forth by Dr. Michael Behe in his book “Darwin’s Black Box”. I read the book and it was very easy to follow. He uses the concept of a mousetrap to get his point across. I came across a rebuttal to Behe’s concept written by longtime Darwinist Dr. Ken Miller, author of “Finding Darwin’s God”. Now I am not a scientist but I probably would not be considered stupid by most people. (For sure some though!) I read his entire rebuttal of Behe’s work. I don’t follow the logic of it at all. It is too complex. I find that generally this is true of most stuff I read by Darwinist’s rebutting ID stuff. I really try to follow their arguments and find myself bewildered. As a marketer this explains why most people simply say, “it looks designed, it is designed, next question”.
Pat concludes:

If Darwinism is ever going to succeed it is going to have to find ways to explain itself in easy to follow, yet credible ways to get people to believe it. You should not have to be a trained biochemist to understand Darwinism. I expect this won’t happen and ID as a scientific idea will gain a lot of ground in the mind of the marketplace.

The Darwinists’ reply to Pat’s observations was scathing. Pat was attacked by Darwinists Orac and P.Z. Myers. In reply to a rhetorical question that Pat asked about the historical emergence of writing, Myers opined:

This should win a prize for the dumbest excuse from a creationist that I’ve heard in, oh, about 24 hours…
This same creationist also makes a “marketing” argument, that creationism is better because it is easier to understand than evolution. He claims to have read both Darwin’s Black Box by Behe and Finding Darwin’s God by Miller, and that Behe’s book was easier and used a mousetrap to “get his point across”, while Miller’s book was too complex. That’s an interesting example of selective memory: both books deal with similar subjects on a roughly similar level. Behe’s book has details (some of which are wrong) of cilia and blood-clotting cascades and such, all of which seemed to have slipped out of this creationist’s memory. Miller’s book deals with similar subjects, but doesn’t make the stupid errors Behe’s does.
Yet all Mr Marketer remembers is that mousetraps don’t evolve.

Darwinists would be well-advised to pay careful attention to Pat’s observations about Darwinism’s problems with public acceptance. Contrary to Pat’s self-deprecating comments, he’s obviously a very smart guy. Pat has real insights into Darwinism’s credibility problems, and Pat speaks for millions of Americans who question Darwinists’ dogmatic assertions and their venomous denigration of thoughtful people who ask questions about their science. Sneering ad hominem attacks from a scientist (Myers) and from a physician (Orac) are lamentable, and Myers’ and Orac’s unprofessional behavior contributes to Darwinism’s growing problem with public credibility.

Michael Egnor

Senior Fellow, Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Michael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.