Eugenie Scott Coaches Scientists to Talk About Evolution Without Revealing Any Weaknesses

Eugenie Scott plays many roles in the evolution debate. Now, in a recent enlightening interview in Science News, she offers her wisdom as a media coach for scientists talking publicly about evolution. Her most important piece of advice? Never use terminology that could imply any real weakness in evolutionary biology. Dr. Scott counsels: To put it mildly, it doesn’t help when evolutionary biologists say things like, “This completely revolutionizes our view of X.” Because hardly anything we come up with is going to completely revolutionize our view of the core ideas of science…. An insight into the early ape-men of East and South Africa is not going to completely change our understanding of Neandertals, for example. So the statement is Read More ›

Peppered Moth Now Reverts Back to Gray: Evidence of Oscillating Selection?

In the world of peppered moths, gray is the new black. The “peppered moth” became famous after textbooks started using it as an iconic example of evolution. It’s still employed in some current textbooks: Douglas Futuyma’s 2005 edition of Evolution states, “By the 1930s, however, examples of very strong selection came to light. One of the first examples was Industrial Melanism in the peppered moth (Biston betularia). … There is considerable evidence, obtained by several independent researchers, that birds attack a greater proportion of gray than black moths where tree trunks, due to air pollution, lack the pale lichens that would otherwise cover them.” (p. 393) While Futuyma is right to further note that “other factors also appear to affect Read More ›

Ken Miller’s Only a Theory Attacks Straw Man Version of Intelligent Design on Common Descent

A friend recently wrote me an e-mail asking if I had any critiques of Ken Miller’s 2009 book Only a Theory. Writing back to him, I observed that the book has many problems, but that I would offer a few quick responses to two or three of its most egregious errors. This serious of three posts (or three topics, really) will look at three errors and mischaracterizations of intelligent design (ID) in Only a Theory, starting with Miller’s mischaracterization of ID and common descent. On page 51, Miller states: What does design theory tell us about the details of the horse family over the past 55 million years? First, it would not consider it a family at all. From the Read More ›

“Expelled Exposed” Is Wrong: Materialists Allowed to Challenge Neo-Darwinian Orthodoxy, Intelligent Design Proponents Are Not

[Note: For a more comprehensive rebuttal to “Expelled Exposed,” please see: NCSE Exposed at NCSEExposed.org] We’re often told that the evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution — where unguided natural selection acting on random mutations is the driving force generating the complexity and diversity of life — is “overwhelming.” But hints of dissent from this position can be found throughout the mainstream scientific literature. One article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution last year acknowledged that there exists a “healthy debate concerning the sufficiency of neo-Darwinian theory to explain macroevolution”.[1] Likewise, Günter Theißen of the Department of Genetics at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany recently wrote earlier this year in the journal Theory in Biosciences: while we already have a quite Read More ›

Eugenie Scott Claims Evolution Is Threatening to Certain Christian Traditions

In March, I blogged about how the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) usually tries to project a religion-friendly image, but somehow their “talking points” they released for Texas State Board of Education meeting in January advocated that activists press the SBOE to adopt scientism as the state’s official ideology and expressly deny the existence of the supernatural as a matter of state education policy. As the NCSE’s talking points argued: “Science posits that there are no forces outside of nature. Science cannot be neutral on this issue…. All educated people understand there are no forces outside of nature.” Yet in a recent radio interview with the Minnesota Atheists, Eugenie Scott claims that the NCSE “doesn’t take a stand on Read More ›