Climategate and Attacks on Darwin Dissenters

Stephen Meyer points out the remarkable parallels at Human Events.

Believers in human-caused global climate change have been placed under an uncomfortable spotlight recently. That is thanks to the Climategate scandal, centering on e-mails hacked from the influential Climate Research Unit (CRU) at England’s University of East Anglia. The e-mails show scientists from various academic institutions hard at work suppressing dissent from other scientists who have doubts on global warming, massaging research data to fit preconceived ideas, and seeking to manipulate the gold standard “peer review” process to keep skeptical views from being heard.

Does this sound familiar at all? To me, as a prominent skeptic of modern Darwinian theory, it sure does. For years, Darwin-doubting scientists have complained of precisely such abuses, committed by Darwin zealots in academia.

There have been parallels cases where e-mail traffic was released showing Darwinian scientists displaying the same contempt for fair play and academic openness as we see now in the climate emails. One instance involved a distinguished astrophysicist at Iowa State University, Guillermo Gonzalez, who broke ranks with colleagues in his department over the issue of intelligent design in cosmology. Released under the Iowa Open Records Act, e-mails from his fellow scientists at ISU showed how his department conspired against him, denying Dr. Gonzales tenure as retribution for his views. (Continue article)

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Brian Leiter’s Ongoing Attacks Against Thomas Nagel

Thomas Nagel teaching an undergraduate course ...
Image via Wikipedia

By any accounts, Thomas Nagel has proven himself a more nimble philosopher than the hamfisted Brian Leiter. That’s perhaps why Leiter simply can’t get over that Nagel liked Stephen Meyer’s SIGNATURE IN THE CELL (reported at UD here). For Leiter, when scholars of Nagel’s stature endorse books coming out of the rogue Discovery Institute, that endorsement itself constitutes an attack on liberal democracy, cultured discourse, science, etc. Leiter simply can’t let this go. Here are the posts to date on his blog:

leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2009/12/nagels-nonreply.html

leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2009/12/more-comments-from-philosophers-on-thomas-nagels-shameful-stunt.html

leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2009/12/thomas-nagel-jumps-the-shark.html

leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2008/09/nagel-wins-ba-3.html

(Via Uncommon Descent)

Here is a short response from Nagel to a chemist named Stephen Fletcher who criticized Nagel for recommending Signature in the Cell.

Sir, – Stephen Fletcher objects to my recommending Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell in Books of the Year. Fletcher’s statement that “It is hard to imagine a worse book” suggests that he has read it. If he has, he knows that it includes a chapter on “The RNA World” which describes that hypothesis for the origin of DNA at least as fully as the Wikipedia article that Fletcher recommends. Meyer discusses this and other proposals about the chemical precursors of DNA, and argues that they all pose similar problems about how the process could have got started.

The tone of Fletcher’s letter exemplifies the widespread intolerance of any challenge to the dogma that everything in the world must be ultimately explainable by chemistry and physics. There are reasons to doubt this that have nothing to do with theism, beginning with the apparent physical irreducibility of consciousness. Doubts about reductive explanations of the origin of life also do not depend on theism. Since I am not tempted to believe in God, I do not draw Meyer’s conclusions, but the problems he poses lend support to the view that physics is not the theory of everything, and that more attention should be given to the possibility of an expanded conception of the natural order.

THOMAS NAGEL
29 Washington Square, New York 10011.

Another chemist, John C. Walton, defends Nagel here.

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Most Want Alternatives to Evolution in the Classroom

According to an international poll released by the British Council, the majority of Americans — 60% — support teaching alternatives to evolution in the science classroom. The percentage is the same for Britons, despite the fact that both countries have been inundated with pro-Darwin media coverage in this super-mega Darwin Year.

Across the board, most respondents from the ten countries polled thought that “other perspectives on the origins of species” “such as intelligent design and creationism” should be taught in science class*. When the poll is weighted to include only those respondents who have heard of Charles Darwin and know something about his theory of evolution, the percentage supporting alternate theories increases, from 60% to 66% in Britain and 60% to 64% in the U.S.

The correlation appears again when we consider which countries have more knowledge of Darwin’s theory. The highest numbers of those in support of alternative theories in the classroom correspond to the highest numbers of those familiar with Charles Darwin — 60% in Britain, 65% in Mexico, 61% in China, 66% in Russia, and 60% in the U.S. It appears that the more people know about Darwin’s theory, the more they want to see alternatives in science class.

*This takes both those who select “other perspectives” only and those who select “other perspectives” together with “evolutionary theories.” It should be noted that Discovery Institute opposes efforts to mandate teaching alternative theories in the science classroom — we’d rather have the whole picture of evolution, the scientific arguments both for and against the theory, presented instead.

(Excerpted from Evolution News & Views)

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The College Student’s Guide to Intelligent Design (PDF)

Speaking of ID (see next post), the Discovery Institute is making available a PDF written especially for college students educating them on Intelligent Design and addressing common misunderstandings of it.

The guide contains suggestions for helpful pro-ID books, articles, and websites for students to read when investigating the issue. Additionally, it contains “Answers to Your Professor’s Most Common Misinformed Objections to Intelligent Design.” Nine answers are given to common but false arguments against ID like “Intelligent Design Proponents Don’t Conduct or Publish Scientific Research” or “Intelligent Design Is a Science Stopper” or “Intelligent Design Has Been Refuted by the Overwhelming Evidence for Neo-Darwinian Evolution.”

The Darwinian educational establishment doesn’t make it easy to become objectively informed on the topic of evolution and ID. The way around the typical one-sided evolution curriculum is to investigate the issue for yourself. Yes, study and learn about the pro-evolution evolution viewpoint being taught. But also read material from credible Darwin skeptics to learn about other viewpoints. Only then can you truly make up your mind in an informed fashion.

This student’s guide will help you to do that—and will help you open up the minds of uninformed critics and skeptics about the facts regarding intelligent design.

(Via Evolution News & Views)

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