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Propelling Evolution to Unchallengable Status in Spite of Its Weaknesses

It’s surprising that editorial writers aren’t better educated on the issues they pontificate on.
Last weekend it was the New York Times making the claim that there are no weaknesses in modern evolutionary theory, albeit they were likely led astray by the misleading article by Laura Beil.
(As an aside, Ms. Beil finally did respond to my question about why she didn’t bother to contact Discovery Institute or Texans for Better Science Education, both of which she attacked in her story. Her response:

I did not contact you before the story because I was focusing on the situation here in Texas, and I am not aware that you have any direct involvement. I did not contact Texans for Better Science Education (other than to note their efforts) because the best source to represent their views is Don McLeroy.

You would think that in Journalism 101 reporters would learn that the best source to represent one’s views is one’s self, not someone else. But it is the New York Times, after all.)
Today it’s the Waco Tribune with this statement.

Evolution is fact, not theory.

Of course, it depends on what you mean by evolution.

Presumably they mean what they write next.

Life forms change — evolve — based on natural selection.

Later the Trib editorial states again:

Evolution simply implies change, whether at stable or rapid rates, based on conditions for thriving and surviving.

No one doubts that life forms change based on natural selection. When debating this issue, it is important to know which definition of evolution someone is using. There are three simple but very different definitions of biological evolution:
1) Change over time (regardless of how much time — most scientists who dissent from Darwin believe the universe is billions of years old)
2) Common ancestry — all forms of life evolved from a single original life form
3) Natural selection acting on random mutation is the primary mechanism by which life forms have evolved.
Few if any scientists have a problem with definition #1. There is some debate over definition #2, even within so-called “mainstream” science. Definition #3, commonly referred to as Darwinian evolution, is a specific part of evolution that is what is most often challenged by the evidence. So be sure you know what people mean when they say “evolution.” The Waco Tribune editorial writers, like so many Darwinists, are vague on what they mean when they say evolution.
Just like they play loose with who they define as evolution skeptics.

With most creationists, their template is a “young earth,” one only thousands of years old.

The tactic here is to say that anyone who doubts Darwin’s theory is a creationist, and a young-earth creationist at that. That’s simply not true.
Lots of scientists are extremely skeptical of Darwinian evolution — definition number three. So much so that sixteen of the world’s leading thinkers on evolutionary biology are meeting next month to see where to go from here — here being the fact that Darwinian evolution is an inadequate theory.

What it amounts to is a gathering of 16 biologists and philosophers of rock star stature — let’s call them “the Altenberg 16” — who recognize that the theory of evolution which most practicing biologists accept and which is taught in classrooms today, is inadequate in explaining our existence. It’s pre the discovery of DNA, lacks a theory for body form and does not accommodate “other” new phenomena.

There are numerous scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution. The scientific literature is full of them. Those familiar with the debate in Ohio some years ago will remember that Discovery Institute submitted the “Bibliography of Supplementary Resources” to the Ohio State Board of Education:

These 44 scientific publications represent important lines of evidence and puzzles that any theory of evolution must confront, and that science teachers and students should be allowed to discuss when studying evolution… The publications represent dissenting viewpoints that challenge one or another aspect of neo-Darwinism (the prevailing theory of evolution taught in biology textbooks), discuss problems that evolutionary theory faces, or suggest important new lines of evidence that biology must consider when explaining origins.

Fact, not theory.