The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution: A reply to Jerry Coyne

At his blog, Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne, professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago, has been analyzing my recent paper, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution,’” which appears in the latest issue of the Quarterly Review of Biology. Although I usually don’t respond to blog posts I will this time, both because Coyne is an eminent scientist and because he does say at least one nice thing about the paper. First, the nice thing. About half-way through his comments Professor Coyne writes: My overall conclusion: Behe has provided a useful survey of mutations that cause adaptation in short-term lab experiments on microbes (note that at least one of these–Rich Lenski’s study– Read More ›

Martin Gaskell and the Argument From Scientific “Consensus”

One needs to hammer and hammer away at the simple but crucial lesson of the scandalous Martin Gaskell case out of the University of Kentucky. A superbly qualified astronomer was rejected for a job because he expressed very modest Darwin doubts. Darwinists and their useful idiots are full of reminders to us to recall that a “consensus” of scientists compels our assent to Darwinian evolution. Yet with the Gaskell story being merely the latest instance, we see again and again how Darwin-doubting scientists are punished for speaking up in even the mildest way. A fortune in research money is at stake, as well as institutional reputations. Anyone who’s had the experience of being penalized by an employer for saying something Read More ›

Darwinists in a Muddle: Do Lenski’s Microbes Show “Why Evolution Is True,” or Not?

Jerry Coyne is ticked off that readers are attributing significance in the wider evolution debate to Michael Behe’s current paper in the Quarterly Review of Biology, explicating the results of viral and bacterial evolution studies — notably the famous long-term study of Richard Lenski: As I predicted, the IDers completely ignore the limitations of this paper (see my analyses here and here), and assert, wrongly, that Behe has made a powerful statement about evolution in nature. What Coyne “completely ignores” is that Darwinists have accustomed themselves to waving Lenski as a banner that makes “a powerful statement about evolution in nature.” In The Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins devoted an ecstatic and detailed discussion to Lenski’s work, enthusing: Creationists Read More ›

Methinks New PNAS Paper Is Like a Weasel

A paper by Wilf and Ewens recently published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, titled “There’s plenty of time for evolution,” reads like a printed version of Groundhog Day — the classic movie where comedian Bill Murray keeps awakening to find it’s the same day again. The paper’s authors sniff at unnamed benighted folks who think there hasn’t been enough time for (Darwinian) evolution to build the complexity we see in life. Not so, they protest. Why, all one has to do to see the light is to use the right mathematical model: “After guessing each of the letters, we are told which (if any) of the guessed letters are correct, and then those letters are Read More ›

Prehistoric “Man” as a Case of Epistemological Regress: Some Historical Lessons From Lukacs and Koestler

Consider this from John Lukacs At the End of An Age (2002): In Chapter 1 of this book I suggested another fundamental limitation of Darwinism, which is the application of Evolution ever further and further backward, claiming that humans may have existed as early as one million years ago. That is a prime example of how unreason lies buried at the bottom of any and every materialist interpretation of mankind, because of its thesis of matter preceding human mind, with mind gradually appearing: when? perhaps in dribs and drabs, much later. (I happen to believe that there is no such thing as ‘pre-historic’ man, historicity being the fourth dimension of human existence from the beginning.) But perhaps the essential fault Read More ›