Skip to comments.Warnings from the Ivory Towers
Posted on 10/11/2005 7:27:16 AM PDT by Valin
In the most recent issue of the American Scientist, Pat Shipman issued a warning to his fellow Darwinists, informing them of the impending threat placed upon their theory by intelligent design (ID):
These events prompted me to take ID seriously, and this movement scares me. Now I feel like a jogger in the park at night who realizes that she is far too isolated and that the shadows are far too deep . I fear my days are numbered unless I act soon and effectively. If you are reading this, the chances are that you are in the same position.
Shipman has officially sounded the alarm. This comes after twenty years of warnings from the ivory towers, issuing the message, Protect Darwin, or else.
In 1983, Dr. John Patterson, self-avowed atheist and evolutionist, was serving as one of the members of the Iowa State University committee on instruction in the sciences and humanities. He presented a proposal to the committee suggesting that any student who was enrolled in a science-related course, and who, at the conclusion of the course, continued to maintain a personal belief in creation, should receive a failing grade. Furthermore, Patterson said that if the university discovered that it inadvertently had conferred a degree upon a student who, upon having graduated, nevertheless believed in creation, the degree should be rescinded.
Twenty years later, Micah Spradling, a pre-med student at Texas Tech University, applied for entrance to Southwestern Universitys medical school. In order to complete his application, he needed a letter of recommendation from a specific faculty member, Michael Dini, an associate professor of biology at Texas Tech. Dini required that in order to receive a letter of recommendation with his signature, a student was required to meet a three part criteria. The first two criteria were standard academic requirements. The third criteria, however, is one Spradling was not prepared to fulfill. Dini asked that Spradling truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer to the question: How do you think the human species originated? Spradling was denied a recommendation based entirely on the fact that he did not accepted Darwinism as a fact.
Just the next year, Nancy Bryson, a biology professor at Mississippi University for Women, was asked to give an extra-curricular presentation on a topic of her choosing. Bryson, who earned her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of South Carolina, held a talk entitled Critical Thinking on Evolution. The talk presented evidencemarshaled by scientists, philosophers of science, mathematicians, law professors, and geologistsof serious problems with Darwinian evolution. Immediately following the talk, a professor of biology stood in front of the group, reading a prepared statement attacking Brysons presentation. This is just religion masquerading as science" he urged in his five minute soliloquy. After the diatribe, students warmly approached Bryson, thanking her for her talk, sharing their disgust with the attack pointed at her by the professor. The following morning, several professors from the Department of Sciences and Mathematics filed complaints to the Vice President of Academic Affairs regarding her presentation. The next day, the VPAA informed Bryson that in the next academic year, she would lose her position as the Division Head of her department. She was also told she was in grave danger of losing her tenure-track appointment.
This June, Bryan Leonard, who received his Master's Degree in microbiology, presented his doctoral dissertation to the committee responsible for granting his Ph.D. at Ohio State University. Leonards doctoral dissertation deals with the area of evolution education, specifically looking at how students react and shape their beliefs when presented with the scientific information both supporting and challenging macroevolution. In his dissertation, Leonard presents clear data that shows the majority of students are interested in learning both sides from a scientific perspective. Leonard's dissertation was suddenly postponed after three professors at OSU struck down his dissertation research because of his views on evolution, his use of human subjects for testing, and his public association of his beliefs with OSU. The three professors, in their letter to the committee, said, "We note a fundamental flaw: There are no valid scientific data challenging macroevolution. Mr. Leonard has been misinforming his students if he teaches them otherwise Of the 350 students polled by Leonard, 312 said that they would be more interested in learning the scientific information supporting and challenging macroevolution.
Earlier this month, President Timothy White of the University of Idaho issued a letter informing faculty that it was inappropriate for anyone to teach views that differ from evolution in any life, earth, and physical science courses or curricula." The statement prohibits any views that differ from evolution, no matter how scientific, and no matter how related to the courses under study. Whites letter was released just as University of Idaho biologist and ID supporter, Scott Minnich, was set to testify about ID in a Pennsylvania lawsuit. Ironically, the university's own faculty handbook declares that "academic freedom is essential for the protection of the rights of faculty members in teaching and of students in learning" and that "teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects" so long as they don't introduce irrelevant material.
There are two ways to win in the marketplace of ideas: you can either make the best productsformulating robust arguments and communicating your ideas clearlyor sabotage your competitorsstopping their research and censuring their work.
Joe Manzari is a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute.
> The question of believing in evolution as FACT can actually be answered quite simply. If it were indeed proven fact, it would not be called a "theory". ... The THEORY of Evolution is not proven fact, by its very name, which does have scientific significance.
Wow. Just... wow.
Tell me: are the results of the Thoery of Relativity a fact, or not? If an atom of uranium fissions, is there energy release? Does subjective time change for a body moving near the speed of light?
Does an apple fall according to the precepts fo Newtons theory of gravity?
Do you even knwo what "theory" *means?*
A scientist who does not believe in the scientific method is no more a scientist than a priest who does not believe in God is a priest. They are both pretenders.
The analogy is problematic because it equates FAITH (the belief in something without evidence) with SCIENTIFIC JUDGEMENT (the belief in something due to evidence, as informed by the scientific method).
One must be allowed to question any scientific theory, within the bounds of the scientific method. One must also be allowed to broach the questions that may or may not bridge the observable - such as "What made the big bang happen".
I am not arguing one side or the other between ID and evolution, but am instead saying this analogy of apples to oranges doesn't work.
> One must be allowed to question any scientific theory, within the bounds of the scientific method.
Yes. But *denial* of the scientific method, which is what Creationism/ID entail, makes one not a scientist.
I think I see where you are having trouble, here.
Newtons Laws have been verified countless times in science classes and through experimentation.
Until we can measure the results of experiments which happen faster than sensors can record them, we will have nowhere near the base of reproducible results which will elevate the Theory of Relativity to the status of "Law".
No one can conclusively answer the question, often postulated as a joke, of whether the headlights come on if you are traveling at .9999c and hit the switch--or whether they light your path.
Physics, too has its 'untouchables', the working base assumptions which remain unverified and which may one day be refuted.
Merely asking a question about the velocity of gravity got me a firm committment from my professor that I would be summarily flunked should I ever broach the topic again.
Macroevolution...Hmmm. Let's get a few planets slicked up with primordial (but lifeless) ooze, and wait a while and see if we get humans...
(Frankly, I'd give it a pass if you could just get from amino acids to rudimentary vertebrates, amphioxis, sp. aside. Who needs hypothetical ancestral neotenic tunicate larvae stock, anyway?)
If you don't get that, study up.
Tough to run an experiment like that, and I'd really hate for that to be a taxpayer funded grant.
The reality is that Darwin's theory came along at a convenient time in European colonial expansion, (ca 1850) in which the colonization of vast areas of the planet by Europeans could be handily justified if they were just exercising their God given right to dominate the lower species, including the "inferior" races of man.
After all, it was the Europeans who were at the pinnacle of evolution. How handy.
So it is no wonder that a theory which has (still) more missing links than most even imagine, more hypothetical ancestors and ancestral stocks than Carter has pills, not only gained nearly immediate acceptance in the European scientific circles (where necessary made more palatable by the addition of the ministrations of a loving God), but has since become the darling of the Godless.
After all, just about any undermenschen can be deprived of resources or eliminated, either from the breeding population, the voting population, or the living, by virtue of their evolutionary inferiority.
Why have a God when you can be one?
But anyway, back to your questions.
Tell me: are the results of the Thoery [sic] of Relativity a fact, or not? If an atom of uranium fissions, is there energy release? Does subjective time change for a body moving near the speed of light?
The Theory of Relativity covers more than a fissioning atom, which certainly releases energy, as does a match when struck, even if a few quanta downscale. The jury is still out.
I have in the past been accused of driving too fast, and in at least one instance I am sure the passenger would have testified to a time dilation effect, but in reality no one has gone anywhere near the speed of light, so I'll leave this in the "unverified" pile, along with other notable theories.
Does an apple fall according to the precepts fo [sic] Newtons theory of gravity?
Within the measurable parameters, an apple does indeed fall conformably with Newton's Law of Gravity. This has been verified ad nauseum with a variety of objects, and qualified with such factors as wind resistance, terminal velocity, etc., but has been empirically substantiated often enough to become, in the scientific mind, Law.
Do you even knwo [sic] what "theory" *means?*
Yes! Which is the reason I posted in the first place.
What is your definition of testable. I think what you are saying is that macroeveolution is not instantaneously testable, like the laws of physics, or even testable within you lifetime. This is not the same thing as "testable."
Just because you can theoretically test something doesn't mean that you can actually do it.
Change the Scientific Method, and I'll change my opinion.
Given your shocking lack of understanding of the state of science regarding relativity, perhaps you shoudl start with the basics.
>>Do you even knwo [sic] what "theory" *means?*
Clearly, the accurate answer is "no." Here, read up:
Not a law. It may be accepted as a working premise for the purpose of making other hypotheses, but it has not been proven.
I understand fully, I AM a scientist.
The writer there states that theories are more complex than Laws. Not necessarily, but the simpler the premise, the easier it is to isolate it experimentally and prove it. Thus, laws tend to be simple and monotopical.
However, the theory of evolution has a simple premise. That through a variety of mechanisms, mutation, natural selection, etc., new Kindoms, Phyla, Classes, Orders, Genae, and species have developed, all from a common ancestral stock.
Were there one modern, naturally occuring, example of new species development, just one, then I might concede possibility.
Not, mind you the subspecies hairsplitting being done among those creatures capable of producing viable offspring, but a new species, with unique characteristics, capable of producing viable offspring only with its own kind, which posess those same characteristics.
Even at this fundamental level, there is no contender.
While extinction is well documented, and has occurred far, far, more often than not, that is not evolution, just dying out.
Evolution remains a theory, unproven.
"Yeah, "stuff happens." Wait logn enough and your city will be trashed by *something*. Not exactly a world-shattering realization."
It's more than that. For example, on one side of the earth there are numerous stories about a very long day, while on the other side of the world there are stories about a very long night.
The stories of the flood match up very well.
Other stories of catastrophe match almost perfectly culture-to-culture, as if they had all experienced the same thing.
Anything by Shapiro or the self-organizational theorists. Perhaps also the book "Evolution in four dimensions".
Let me clear up a few misconceptions you have. All scientific theroies, even the laws you mention, are not proven. There are no proven theories in science. Also, a scientific theory, by definition, can never be a fact. A scientific theory is an explanation for observed facts. It is the narrative that explains the observed facts. It is impossible to prove a theory. Scientific theories can only be disproven through the accumulation of facts that do not support the arguments of the theory. If newly obtained facts do not fit the established theoretical framework, then either the theory has to be modified (i.e. Newtonian physics extended to relativistic physics) or a newer theory, with more sufficient explanative properties, must be constructed. Evolution fits this definition of a scientific theory. It is testable and has been supported by predicted observations.
To elevate theories to the status of laws implies a willingness to atribute far more weight to the lowly hypothesis than is warranted.
Based on your additional statemetns regarding theories and hypotheses, you, like many people, are not scientifically literate. A hypothesis is a testable prediction that will produce additional observed facts. The results of thousands of testable hypotheses have been used to generate the facts that are used to construct theories. In the heirarchy of science: hypotheses are used to produce facts. The observed facts are organized under theories.
Make of that what you will, but as a scientist, the refusal to state that any theory is fact is entirely scientifically correct.
You are correct, but for the wrong reasons as I've listed above.
You are wrong. Newton's laws have been demonstrated to be false. They do not predict the behavior of motion at high speeds or under intense gravity. This has been reproducibly proven many different ways. Newton's laws are man-made theories that have a limited range of scope. They can be demonstrated easily in a class room. Can you tell me why? If you were scientifically literate in the least, you would understand this. Maybe you need to spend some time in a univeristy library reading what research has actually accomplished rather than trying to be an armchair scientist.
A political scientist? A social scientist? You certainly have not demonstrated an adequate knowledge of the scientific method to qualify you as a professional in the hard sciences like physics, chemistry or biology.
> I understand fully, I AM a scientist.
Evidenmce suggests otherwise. You staggerign lack of understanding of the vast pile of evidence supporting relativity, for example. And then there's THIS howler:
"Evolution remains a theory, unproven."
No scientist worth his salt would ever state such a thing and consider it a useful statement.
> Were there one modern, naturally occuring, example of new species development, just one, then I might concede possibility.
Then you should concede. Do some research.
> While extinction is well documented, and has occurred far, far, more often than not, that is not evolution, just dying out.
True. However, the fact that at one time some species were around and others weren't, and at some later time the originally extant species are now gone and new ones are there, is sufficient evidence, when one takes a look a tthe vast warehouse of such things.
> For example, on one side of the earth there are numerous stories about a very long day, while on the other side of the world there are stories about a very long night.
Really? Odd. None of the cultures that were around 3000 years ago and that kept good records, such as the Indians and the Chinese, who recorded every odd thign in the sky, make any mention of such.
Perhaps you shoudl back up your claim.
> The stories of the flood match up very well.
No, they don't. Stories of big floods are universal, it's true. But then, big floods are fairly universal experiences, and are hardly unlikely to affect people. Floods, far more than storms or earthquakes or plagues, stand a good chance of wiping out not only the works of a civilization, or the people of a civilization... but *both*.
Once you prove a theory, it is no longer a theory, it is a Law.
If you maintain that no theory can be proven, then quit trying to sell me evolutionary theory as fact.
Is evolution testable? If so where are the new species? Live ones, of course, not just more fossils. After all if evolution is working, new species should be developing all the time. Hmmmm. Maybe next year.
If you wish to play games by redefining terms, have fun, but do not call me a scientific illiterate as a result.
I took a year of paleontology as an undergrad, a very good course (two courses, actually), geared toward the evolutionary development of the phyla, not just taxonomy, and taught by an avowed atheist. The theory is as full of holes as the rock in this oil reservoir we are drilling.
BTW, my raw score on the Geology GRE was 720. Not bad for a "scientific illiterate".
Now, excuse me, but I have to get back to work.
Should you teach that the bacterial flagellum evolved?
You want me to dig up your evidence?
Put up or shut up.