How Not to Defend Darwin on “Survival of the Fittest”

Evolutionary biologists make poor historians, especially when it comes to Charles Darwin. So intent on preserving the reputation of St. Charles, evolutionists typically do their best to paper-over Darwin’s less-than-savory views on issues like race or the application of natural selection to society. British biochemist and theistic evolutionist Denis Alexander runs true to form in a newly posted interview at BioLogos. In the interview, Alexander does his best to disassociate Darwin from the idea of “survival of the fittest,” noting that the phrase was coined by Herbert Spencer rather than Charles Darwin, and that it was then picked up by nasty politicians like Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler, who used it to promote their noxious views. Alexander is correct that Read More ›

Karl Giberson v. Al Mohler on Darwin: The Grudge Match

It’s always a bad sign when people start publishing “open letters” to one another. Our BioLogos friend Karl Giberson is embroiled in a strangely bitter dispute with Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Bitter, at least, on Dr. Giberson’s side. In this dustup, theistic evolutionist Giberson displays a lot less dignity than the object of his ire, Dr. Mohler, and less regard for truth notwithstanding that it’s precisely a lack of truthfulness with which he seeks to tar Mohler. Dr. Giberson’s concern as always is to demonstrate the Christian bona fides of Darwinian theory. Writing on the Huffington Post under the striking headline “How Darwin Sustains My Baptist Search for Truth,” he now takes Mohler to task Read More ›

Zombie Genes?

On August 19, Gina Kolata reported in The New York Times that geneticists “have seen a dead gene come back to life and cause a disease.” According to Kolata, the human genome “is riddled with dead genes, fossils of a sort, dating back hundreds of thousands of years–the genome’s equivalent of an attic full of broken and useless junk,” though some of those genes “can rise from the dead like zombies.” Now a supposed “zombie gene” is implicated in a type of muscular dystrophy abbreviated FSHD–a hereditary disease that affects about 1 in every 20,000 people. Kolata cites a recent Science article that begins by reviewing work dating back to the 1990s that establishes a link between FSHD and a Read More ›

The Phantom Menace of Creationism

Conspiracy theorist Lauri Lebo, writing at Religion Dispatches, seeks to defend once more her cloudy thesis that by criticizing a move in Louisiana to teach creationism in public schools, Bruce Chapman revealed Discovery Institute’s secret plot to support teaching creationism in public schools. Even as conspiracy theories go, this one lacks plausibility. I wrote here earlier that Ms. Lebo, a journalist with a specialty in these issues, is presumably aware of the “enormous differences” between creationism on one hand and intelligent design (or even mere Darwin doubting) on the other. She assures us she does know the difference but there’s still no evidence of that in her latest column. Instead she thinks she has found a smoking gun, linking Discovery Read More ›

Dear Lauri Lebo, Please Help Me Understand Your Conspiracy Theory

At Religion Dispatches, Lauri Lebo has a perplexing post up criticizing Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman for being “disingenuous.” He had written at the American Spectator website against the move by school board members in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, to explore teaching “creationism” to students. In Chapman’s comments, Lauri Lebo finds evidence of cowardliness as well as deceit: Once again, after pushing for anti-evolution language that opens the door to teaching creationism, the good fellows at the Discovery Institute bravely turned around and ran away from the local creationist-talking school board members who want to champion their cause. She’s referring to the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act, which establishes the parameters under which teachers may introduce scientific supplements in the classroom Read More ›