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 ›

There He Goes Again: Ken Miller Misrepresents Behe’s Arguments on the Immune System

Recently, I discussed how in his book Only a Theory, Kenneth Miller badly misrepresented intelligent design (ID) as it relates to common descent. Another egregious error in the book comes in Dr. Miller’s section titled “Just Not Good Enough” (pgs. 70-74). Anyone familiar with the Dover trial knows exactly what Miller’s error is and where this is going. Dr. Miller claims that when the plaintiffs’ attorneys at the Dover trial did a literature-dump bluff on Michael Behe during cross-examination — placing before him over 50 papers and nearly a dozen books purportedly explaining the evolution of the immune system — Behe said, in Judge Jones’s report of the exchange, that they were “not ‘good enough.’” Miller even goes so far 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 ›

Scientists Say Intelligent Designer Needed for Origin of Life Chemistry

In a recent ENV post, Stephen Meyer critiqued a May 2009 Nature paper co-authored by John D. Sutherland titled, “Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions.” The paper claimed to have produced RNA nucleobases under prebiotic conditions, but Meyer observed that it utterly failed to address the most crucial question in the origin of life (OOL): the origin of information, a topic Meyer addresses extensively in his new book Signature in the Cell. Other scientists agree with Meyer. Organic chemist Dr. Charles Garner recently noted in private correspondence that “while this work helps one imagine how RNA might form, it does nothing to address the information content of RNA. So, yes, there was a lot of guidance by Read More ›