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Jerry Coyne is Upset at Paul Nelson: Be Encouraged

As David Klinghoffer mentioned yesterday, Jerry Coyne is pretty upset at Paul Nelson for saying his challenge to natural selection has broad scientific support, as Paul did in an email to Coyne and in a recent talk. Read Coyne’s post: There is hardly a scientific argument against Paul Nelson to be found, either in Coyne’s comments or in the comments of the scientists he contacted who affirmed that they, indeed, are not “creationists.” No surprise in that, but it hardly negates their criticisms of modern neo-Darwinian theory.

Now watch Paul’s talk. Paul didn’t invent quotes from any of these evolutionary scientists, who published their own remarks in peer-reviewed scientific papers, explaining serious problems with standard textbook descriptions of neo-Darwinism.

Very little needs to be said in response to Coyne. The blog post in question is substance-free and politically motivated. And Coyne closes by asking his readers to be “civil”? Yet look at the tone he takes, calling Paul Nelson a “liar,” “ignorant,” “lying” etc. Coyne’s commenters follow generally his uncivil, substance-free approach. If this is Coyne’s response, his best shot at a reply to Paul’s actual arguments, we ought to feel encouraged.

At the end of his talk, Paul Nelson offers that if you e-mail him asking for citations of papers that challenge the neo-Darwinian model, he’ll “bury you in articles.” I know Paul isn’t bluffing because I’ve had the experience of being buried by his collection of papers myself. So who makes a stronger case?

  • The evolutionary biologist who uses name-calling while posting short e-mails from other evolutionary biologists pledging that they aren’t creationists?
  • Or the ID proponent who promises to “bury you in articles” that challenge the modern synthesis?

ENV readers can decide for themselves.


Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



IncivilityJerry CoynePaul Nelson