Is Darwin’s Theory Essential to . . . Mathematical Statistics?

My Darwinist interlocutor Orac, the surgical oncologist who blogs anonymously to hide his professional identity, but who takes umbrage at my observation that his posts are sometimes unprofessional, repeated his claim recently that Darwin’s theory is essential to medicine. That’s an odd assertion, even at first glance, given that Darwin’s theory isn’t taught in medical school and there are no specific requirements that pre-medical students have any grounding in the theory. There are lots of things that medical school admissions and curriculum committees recognize as indispensable to medical practice and research–calculus, physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, physiology, anatomy, pharmacology and pathophysiology, to name a few–but Darwin’s fundamental assertion–that all natural functional biological complexity arose by non-teleological variation and natural selection–isn’t a Read More ›

Pat Sullivan and Marketing Darwin

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 Read More ›

Jack Russell Terriers and Cockroaches: A Challenge to Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins reviewed Mike Behe’s new book The Edge of Evolution in the June 30 New York Times Book Review. Dawkins offered no surprises. Much of the review was simply a sneer: I had expected to be as irritated by Michael Behe’s second book as by the first. I had not expected to feel sorry for him…[this] is the book of a man who has given up. Trapped along a false path of his own rather unintelligent design, Behe has left himself no escape. Poster boy of creationists everywhere, he has cut himself off from the world of real science. Nothing new here. Dawkins uses the standard Darwinist ad-hominem attacks. What’s remarkable about the review is Dawkins’ lack of substantial Read More ›

It’s Not Easy Being a Materialist

P.Z. Myers and I have been discussing this question for a while: is the brain sufficient for the mind? It’s clearly necessary for the mind, in everyday experience. Strokes and ethanol affect the brain and alter the mind. But necessity is not sufficiency. Is the brain alone — just matter — entirely sufficient for the mind? I think the mind needs an immaterial cause, like the soul. Myers doesn’t. How, from a scientific standpoint, could we resolve our disagreement? We would have to show, empirically, whether matter alone could, under the right circumstances, give rise to a mind. This is an experimental question, and it turns on the ability to create artificial intelligence (A.I.). If we could build machines that Read More ›

Evolutionary Science: Deconstructing (Other Peoples’) Religious Beliefs

A recent study in American Scientist should ignite a blaze of research in evolutionary psychology. In Evolution, Religion, and Free Will, Gregory Graffin and William Provine report their survey of the religious beliefs of eminent evolutionary scientists. The results are striking. Evolutionary scientists hold views about God and religious belief that are radically at odds with those of most Americans. To evolutionary scientists such extreme variance from the mainstream views would normally raise fascinating questions about selection factors associated with atheist adaptation. Graffin and Provine’s study should give rise to scores of papers about the evolutionary origins of atheism. But it won’t.