Monday, August 25, 2008

Dissent from Darwin: The 700 PhDs

Over at, there's a list of 700 PhD holders who have agreed to sign up in support of the following statement:

"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

This list is obviously used by creationists as evidence that the scientific community is in disagreement about the truth of evolution. Now, for starters let's overlook the fact that many of these people hold PhDs in subjects completely unrelated to evolution, such as computing, engineering, philosophy, mathematics or astronomy (it seems to be a common idea among creationists that if you hold a PhD you have the authority to discuss any aspect of science and that your opinion has the same worth as that of an expert in the field).

Let's also overlook the fact that scientific truth is not decided by petitions or popular vote. Science isn't a democracy, the truth is the truth, and always will be, and even if the creationists triumph and the teaching of evolution in schools is replaced by creationism, that won't change the fact that we evolved.

Take a closer look at the statement these doctors are in support of. Notice that the statement does not say that these scientists think the theory of evolution is wrong, it doesn't even say that they disagree with it on a personal level. Just that they are skeptical of it, and believe it should be subjected to testing rather than accepted on faith. But this is exactly how ALL good scientists should approach ANY theory or idea. It is, in fact, a fairly succinct definition of the scientific method. All scientific theories should be treated with skepticism and subjected to tests. It's how the good theories are weedled out from the bad. Those theories that fail the testing are adandoned and those that pass are retained. And unfortunately for the creationists, the theory of evolution, just like quantum theory or the theory of relativity, has so far passed all rigorous scientific testing with flying colors.

So now I must admit that I'm also a PhD holder who agrees completely with the above statement. Will I sign the petition? Absolutely not, because I'm well aware of the purpose behind it; it's pure creationist propaganda designed to mislead the general public, cheap trickery and nothing more. It's a perfect example of creationist sleight-of-hand, a tactic they must rely on, having no evidence of their own.

It is perhaps the "softness" of the statement that has allowed so many professionals to feel safe to sign it and provide their personal details. I wonder how many of them would sign up in support of the following:

"We believe that evolution by natural selection alone cannot explain the diversity of life."

At a first glance this seems pretty much the same as the original statement, but it's fundamentally different. This second statement is truly dissent from Darwin, and is exactly how the organizers of the petition are hoping the general public will understand their version.

Shame on the 700 PhD holders participating in this charade.


Aaron said...

You should have a look at the web page from which the full list can be obtained ( On the right hand side of each sub section of the website there are random quotes from several of the "scientists" who have signed the petition. Those quotes display some true idiocy. I offer a fine example,

<<"Darwin’s theory of evolution is the great white elephant of contemporary thought. It is large, almost completely useless, and the object of superstitious awe."

Dr. David Berlinski, Ph.D Philosophy>>

While most of the website is layed out to present the "statement" as being very innocuous (and as you correctly point out, it is technically the definition of the scientific method) the quotes by many of the petition signatories reveal the true nature of the petition.


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Steven said...

This shows me the typical bull-headedness of Evolutionists to believe anything but what they make up in their heads. Nice job making up fairytales, you should be writing children books!

Smidoz said...

"the theory of evolution, just like quantum theory or the theory of relativity, has so far passed all rigorous scientific testing with flying colors."

Please explain this testing, as far as I know, you cannot test something that takes millions of years, unless you have millions of years to test it.

Please try not to use micro evolution as a giant leap to macro evolution. Darwin was right, all the finches he observed probably had a common ancestor, how this proves that you are related to a banana is beyond me.

Since this site is about proving evolution, what is the proof, I have spoken to numerous people, within the field of biology, for a proof for evolution, not a single one has been able to give me one that, when subjected to a critical review, they don't end up admitting has serious problems. So there it is, a request for a proof for evolution were the facts used are open to no other interpretation.

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Eric said...

I'm not a scientist, nor do I possess a degree, but I am an educated person with a high IQ and can spot arrogance a mile away. Many in the scientific community have become so blind, so arrogant that they insist their way of thinking is the only correct one. It is so off-putting to see scientists who should be respectable become so much like the Roman Catholic leadership of the Middle Ages. "We have the expertise, we have the credentials, we have the degrees. You do not, therefore you are ignorant, unqualified, and do not know what you are talking about. Be quiet and let us do the work." You surely cannot truthfully say that there is NO evidence against Darwinian or macro- evolution because some of the most respected scientists have expressed such skepticism for decades. If you are trying to win people to your argument try some humility and common sense rather than appeal to authority and with a chip on your shoulder.

sszorin said...

Eric, credit for your attempt to think for yourself and for refusing to be fed scientistic baloney but you are still not free from scientistic myths, which were most probably inflicted on you in the progressivist schools. On the evidence of your words you do not have much knowledge about the Middle Ages and about the leadership of the Catholic Church in those times. The prelates and the elite of the Catholic Church actually did a very fine job. They were instrumental in creating the Western civilisation, science included. In fact they created conditions for and started the scientific revolution on this planet of ours. Please fix the black hole in your education, centered on the history of the Middle Ages and on the history and teachings of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

They do have the right to believe they know more about science than the average person because they do. If your child had to get open heart surgery would you say, "I don't want no arrogant doctor coming here acting like he knows more than me about cardiovascular surgery just cause he studied rigorously for 8 years, then passed the USMLE, then did a 4 year general surgery residency, then did 2 years in a cardiac surgery fellowship program, then passed another even harder exam and became board certified. I have strong intuition and I'm super-duper smart. I'll do it myself!"

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