What Do Darwinism and “Climate Change” Have in Common?

It’s the question raised by yesterday’s New York Times article on the push for balance in classroom discussions of global warming, though, as Jay Richards aptly notes over at The American, the real point of Leslie Kaufman’s story is “to connect the teaching of evolution to the climate change debate.” Now when I read anything on the environment in the New York Times, I try to keep a couple of deconstructionist qualifiers running in the back of my head: “This is what the New York Times wants me to believe about the issue” and “What are they trying to accomplish with this piece?” I know it’s cynical, but when it comes to environmental stories, I just don’t trust New York Read More ›

Testing the Orchard Model and the NCSE’s Claims of “Nested Patterns” Supporting a “Tree of Life”

In my previous post responding to the National Center for Science Education’s (NCSE) attacks on Explore Evolution‘s treatment of biogeography, I explained that there are many examples where there is inconsistency between evolutionary expectations of biogeography and plate tectonics. The NCSE is thus wrong to have claimed that “The consistency of these sorts of nested patterns cannot be explained without reference to common descent. The creationist ‘orchard’ is scientifically meaningless, since it makes no predictions.” * The classical “universal common descent” view is contrasted with the orchard model at below: The NCSE’s claim is perplexing because, as noted, the NCSE also claimed that “continuity [between biogeographic and evolutionary patterns] is what would be expected of a pattern of common descent, Read More ›

Sea Monkeys Are the Tip of the Iceberg: More Biogeographical Conundrums for Neo-Darwinism

In my previous post responding to the National Center for Science Education, I observed that the origin of South American monkeys (platyrrhines) is a striking example of a discontinuity between evolution and biogeography. As I observed at the end of that post, which was adapted from “The NCSE’s Biogeographic Conundrums: A Defense of Explore Evolution‘s Treatment of Biogeography“: the NCSE was not quite accurate when claiming that “By comparing macroevolutionary patterns between different groups, we find that the same patterns repeat. This strongly suggests that the same forces drove the diversification of those different groups.” The truth is that whenever oceanic “sweepstakes” dispersal is required, we find an exception to expected neo-Darwinian rules of biogeography. And as will be seen Read More ›

Sea Monkey Hypotheses Refute the NCSE’s Biogeography Objections to Explore Evolution

(Cartoon Courtesy of Pete Chadwell)  In its response to the chapter on biogeography in the supplementary textbook Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism (EE), the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) asserts that EE “mangles the tiny fraction of biogeography covered.”* My response to the NCSE’s arguments, “The NCSE’s Biogeographic Conundrums: A Defense of Explore Evolution‘s Treatment of Biogeography,” notes that “[t]he NCSE’s approach is to cherrypick examples to support their arguments for universal common descent, but a large number of ‘biogeographic conundrums’ that challenge neo-Darwinism could be discussed.” For example, in its response regarding marsupials, the NCSE admits, “If the [North American] opossum truly had roots in Australia, it would indeed be a biogeographic conundrum.” Since North Read More ›

A Malodorous Argument for Darwinian Evolution

University of California evolutionary biologist John Avise has penned a book, Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design, and gotten it published by a top academic publishing house, Oxford University Press. Avise, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, has for decades been a leading researcher in evolutionary and ecological genetics. He has written hundreds of research articles and over a dozen books. Clearly he has an impressive scientific mind. Which makes it all the more astonishing that his new book shows all the intellectual savvy of a typical late-night college dormroom bull session. As his subtitle announces, Avise is anxious to show that, despite the claims of certain renegade biochemists, the molecular features of the human Read More ›