Biologic Explores the Successes and Pitfalls of Evolutionary Biomimetics

The Biologic Institute has an excellent article discussing how biologists are copying the “brilliant designs” they see in nature for technological purposes. We’ve discussed this intriguing phenomenon of biomimetics many times before here on ENV. (For a couple examples, see here, here or here.) The presumption of evolutionary biologists, of course, is that these “brilliant designs” evolved by natural selection preserving random, but beneficial mutations. Engineers operating under such presumptions have thus tried to mimic not only the “brilliant designs,” but also the evolutionary processes that allegedly produced the designs. Biologic’s article notes that one success story of such methods was the case of NASA engineers who used evolutionary computing to produce a better antenna. Did they use truly Darwinian Read More ›

The Catechism Versus the Data (Part 5): When Did Neo-Darwinism Become a Dirty Word?

This is the fifth installment of a series responding to John Timmer’s online review of the supplementary biology textbook Explore Evolution (EE). The first part is here, the second here, the third here, and the fourth here. 5. When Did Neo-Darwinism Become a Dirty Word? Timmer objects to Explore Evolution‘s subtitle, “The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism,” claiming that “[d]uring the roughly 20 years I was directly involved in biology research, I’d never come across the term ‘Darwinism.’” EE‘s subtitle actually uses the word “neo-Darwinism,” not “Darwinism,” but regardless, Timmer’s complaint reveals more about his own ignorance than it does about any inaccuracy on the part of EE. Terms like “Darwinism” and “neo-Darwinism” (or similar cognates like “Darwinian,” “neo-Darwinian,” or Read More ›

Predictions About Ronald Wetherington and His Forthcoming Review of the Texas Science Standards

In my first post on TEKS reviewer Ronald Wetherington, professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University (SMU), I discussed his history of trying to stifle free speech on evolution and then denying his intolerant actions. In one of his articles about Discovery Institute’s SMU conference, Wetherington attacked the conference because it was “not … a … balanced discussion, but rather a partisan promotion,” elsewhere attacking it as “not a debate, but a one-sided promotion.” (Wetherington must have forgotten Discovery Institute invited SMU Darwinists to participate in the conference, but they declined.) When writing about a different issue, he lamented incidents where “dissent is treated as irrelevant.” So out of one side of his mouth, Wetherington protests “one-sided promotions” and discussions Read More ›

Science Censor Appointed to Review Texas Science Standards

One of the expert reviewers of the draft Texas science standards, Southern Methodist University (SMU) professor Ronald Wetherington, has a track record of advocating censorship to restrict the free flow of information on evolution to students. So extreme is Wetherington’s intolerance that last year he attempted to ban a voluntary conference on intelligent design at SMU co-sponsored by a student group and Discovery Institute. That’s right: Not only does Wetherington want to control what goes on inside the classroom, he wants the power to censor speakers outside the classroom co-sponsored by students on their own time! Wetherington is one of three pro-Darwin-only scientists asked to review proposed changes to the state’s science standards. Last week, we reported on the other Read More ›

Darwin Defender Daniel Bolnick Illustrates How to Market Evolution to the Public

Daniel Bolnick, a leader of the pro-Darwin only “Texas 21st Century Science Coalition,” recently published an op-ed in the Waco Tribune which provides some good lessons on how to argue for “evolution” to the public: Be extremely dogmatic and vague about the evidence. Lesson 1: Vaguely Assert Massive Support for “Evolution” From the Scientific Literature Bolnick writes that in the past decade, “biologists have published more than 30,000 research articles demonstrating that evolution has occurred and how it works,” further stating that “[m]ore than 100,000 published biological research studies demonstrate the fact of evolutionary change.” So just how does Bolnick define “evolution”? He doesn’t, thus introducing equivocation and vagueness into the discussion. “Evolution” can refer to something as simple as Read More ›