Can Neo-Darwinian Processes Account for Complexity in Nature?

In their critique of William Dembski, Wesley Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit write, “there is abundant circumstantial evidence that Darwinian processes can account for complexity in nature, but Dembski excludes this evidence because it does not pass his video-camera certainty test.” This badly misrepresents Dembski’s argument. Looking at all the theoretical work Dembski is doing to test the ability of Darwinian processes to generate specified complexity (see his papers at www.evoinfo.org) it should be clear that Dembski is NOT demanding “video-camera certainty” but rather is willing to test the ability of present-day causes to generate high CSI empirically, and theoretically, and then apply his findings to make inferences from the historical record. That’s exactly how historical scientists ought to study these Read More ›

The Recapitulation Myth

Casey Luskin recently posted two blogs showing that textbooks still misuse Haeckel’s long-discredited embryo drawings when attempting to provide evidence for Darwinian evolution (see here and here). Luskin provided ample documentation to demonstrate that these drawings are still printed in some recent textbooks. Over at The Panda’s Thumb blog, apologists for Darwinian theory have defended (see here and here) Ernst Haeckel from the charge of fraud and have argued, albeit unconvincingly, that, in principle, the concept of recapitulation is a valid one.According to Nick Matzke: Haeckel didn’t ignore the differences in embryos in the earliest period just after fertilization (differences which are visually significant but mostly fairly trivial, due to the different amounts of yolk in different vertebrate eggs).

Article on Evolution Education in Science Endorses Teaching Students Evidence “That Supports … Or Does Not Support”

In a recent article in Science titled “Arguing to Learn in Science: The Role of Collaborative, Critical Discourse,” education theorist Jonathan Osborne explains the importance of using debate, argument, and critique when teaching science. In fact, he laments that these teaching strategies not employed more often: Argument and debate are common in science, yet they are virtually absent from science education. Recent research shows, however, that opportunities for students to engage in collaborative discourse and argumentation offer a means of enhancing student conceptual understanding and students’ skills and capabilities with scientific reasoning. As one of the hallmarks of the scientist is critical, rational skepticism, the lack of opportunities to develop the ability to reason and argue scientifically would appear to Read More ›

Richard Dawkins Opens Mouth; Inserts Foot

In 2003, the BBC launched a documentary series known as Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, presented by the atheist Jonathan Miller. The interviews that were conducted, being too lengthy for inclusion in the 2003 series, were later archived in a 2004 documentary series, entitled The Atheism Tapes, a supplementary series of six programs, consisting of the uncut interviews with a single contributing atheist. One such film featured Jonathan Miller interviewing our old friend, Richard Dawkins. A clip from that interview is appended below: Three minutes into the embedded interview, in speaking of the purported instances of irreducible complexity in nature, Richard Dawkins succeeds in decimating any pretense to neo-Darwinism’s status as a falsifiable proposition. He states, “There cannot have Read More ›

Current Textbooks Misuse Embryology to Argue for Evolution

Sylvia Mader’s 2010 textbook, Biology, uses colorized versions of Haeckel’s embryo drawings with only a few small modifications. As seen in the side-by-side comparison above, the black and white drawings are Haeckel’s original drawings and the colored drawings are from Mader’s 2010 textbook. Just like Haeckel’s original drawings, Mader’s colorized drawings obscure the differences between the early stages of vertebrate development in order to give students the following misleading caption: “At these comparable developmental stages, vertebrate embryos have many features in common, which suggests they evolved from a common ancestor. (These embryos are not drawn to scale.)” (Sylvia S. Mader, Biology, p. 278 (McGraw Hill, 2010).) Click the graphic for the full picture. Haeckel’s long-discredited recapitulation theory is not necessarily Read More ›