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To Have a View on the Darwin Debate, Do You Need a PhD in Evolutionary Science?

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In a tweeted exchange with David Klinghoffer last week, National Review‘s Kevin Williamson wrote that having an opinion about Darwinian evolution requires advanced graduate study in the field: "’The needed study’ = graduate-level work in evolutionary science."

Uh huh. That’s an often-heard claim, and it sure gives an out to the journalist inclined, for whatever reason, to accept the prestige view, as presented in popular media accounts of the evolution debate, that Darwinian theory is scientifically unassailable.

But no, in fact, just as you don’t need a graduate degree in meteorology to understand why tornados will never turn rubble into houses and cars, you don’t need "graduate-level work in evolutionary science" to understand that unintelligent forces alone cannot cause civilizations to arise on barren planets, and for the very same reasons. See Chapter 5 of our mathematician colleague Granville Sewell’s new book, In the Beginning: And Other Essays on Intelligent Design, excerpted recently at ENV, "Why Evolution Is Different."

Williamson may be right that a graduate degree in meteorology is necessary to fully understand climate change, but that’s not the case with the debate pitting Darwinism versus intelligent design. Sewell in his book quotes Jay Homnick:

It is not enough to say that design is a more likely scenario to explain a world full of well-designed things. Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident…you have essentially lost your mind.

Homnick wrote that, by the way, in another conservative magazine, The American Spectator, where he is a senior editor. Klinghoffer remarks that conservatives are divided on whether an attitude of passivity or independence is more fitting when confronted with controversial claims made in the name of science, whether about life’s origins or the future of Earth’s climate.

Jay Homnick is not a scientist, but unlike Kevin Williamson, he understands that you don’t need a scientific background to realize something is terribly wrong with the scientific "consensus" on evolution. You may need a PhD before people will listen to you as an authority, but you emphatically don’t need one to draw the correct conclusion for yourself.

See, again, Granville Sewell at ENV, "Just Too Simple! Needs More Math."

Often it seems it doesn’t matter how much evidence you present to these people, or how clearly you present it. They’ll just keep saying, "All our elite scientists reject ID, who am I to question elite scientists?" Meanwhile, as the evidence piles up, those same scientists keep repeating, "Intelligent design is not science, intelligent design is not science."

Maybe someday in the future, after a poll shows that most of our elite scientists have finally accepted the obvious, folks like Kevin Williamson will say, "Wow, imagine that…believing that the survival of the fittest was enough to generate human brains and human consciousness. I guess that was a pretty stupid idea after all."

Image: � Rob / Dollar Photo Club.

Evolution News

Evolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues.