Archive for Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KU profs support evolution skepticism

Three faculty members sign petition voicing need to question theory

February 21, 2006


Three KU Medical Center doctors are among more than 500 doctorate holders who have signed a petition voicing skepticism of evolution.

The petition includes signatures of Kansas University's James Harbrecht, clinical assistant professor of cardiology; Gregory Ator, associate professor of head and neck surgery; and Jeanne Drisko, clinical assistant professor of alternative medicine. Harbrecht and Ator declined comment; Drisko did not return a call.

"There's no doubt that these scientists represent a minority, but it is a growing minority," said Robert Crowther, spokesman for the Discovery Institute, which started the petition.

Signatures are vetted to ensure those who sign have doctoral degrees, Crowther said.

Leonard Krishtalka, director of KU's Biodiversity Institute and a vocal critic of intelligent design, said if one worked at it, it's possible to compile a list of signatures of people who believe the earth is flat.

"That's just a PR campaign," he said of the petition. "There is no debate among all scientists. There is no debate. Evolution is a fact of nature. Intelligent design is nothing but creationism under a new name."

The petition started in 2001 with about 100 signatures. There is heavy representation from states such as Texas, Georgia, and Ohio where the issue of evolution teaching has come to the forefront in recent years. Six people who are listed as having ties to Kansas signed the list.

"I think it's wrong - evolution," said Darrell Parnell of Topeka, a retired Washburn University professor who signed the petition. "I think it's going down the wrong track. ... It's not science because it's close-minded. It's not open to anything else. You've got to think outside the box, and that's what some scientists have done before."

Robert Lattimer, of Ohio, who received his doctoral degree from Kansas University in 1971 and now works as a senior research associate for Noveon Inc., also signed the petition.

"Among scientists, we're a distinct minority," Lattimer said. "Among the public, I'd say I'm easily in the majority."

The full list of those who have signed the petition can be found at

The petition started in 2001 with about 100 signatures. There is heavy representation from states such as Texas, Georgia, and Ohio where the issue of teaching evolution has come to the forefront in recent years. Six of the doctorate holders who signed are listed as having ties to Kansas .


b_asinbeer 12 years, 3 months ago

By signing this petition, we now know why they're associate professors, and not the real deal....tough luck.

Jeff Barclay 12 years, 3 months ago

Can any evolutionist provide evidence of a species becoming a new species through adaptation and natural selection? I am not asking for evidence of change within a species- i.e. bacteria becoming immune to an antibiotic. That is only evidence for change within a kind and can not be portrayed as evidence of evolution. I am asking for hard science based research, not emotional speculation about yet to be discovered missing links, that can take evolution beyond theory. I would also like to know the mechanism that evolution uses to overcome the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy).

devobrun 12 years, 3 months ago

Krishtalka says: "That's just a PR campaign," he said of the petition. "There is no debate among all scientists. There is no debate. Evolution is a fact of nature. Intelligent design is nothing but creationism under a new name."

If he had continued, he would have said that without evolution his science becomes an expensive form of stamp collecting. I must be a scientist, I know that I am. I am, I am, I am.....

Top flight science, that's all there is to it.

Oh, I went to the evo exhibit at Dr. K's museum a few weeks ago. So who is engaged in the PR, Dr. K?

weirdchemgirl 12 years, 3 months ago

1 - I would like to make note that they make no supposition on this petition about an alternative theory - only that scientists should continue to question things. This is what scientists do. In fact the petition states at the very top of it, and almost any scientist would agree with the 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." No scientist would ever challenge that careful examination should continue. This petition makes no claim about any other theory that exists as being scientific or not. Perhaps public relations should get out of the science business and let the rest of us get back to work.

3- there are plenty of full prof's and emertius and highly recognized faculty members that will encourage research that challenge any hypothesis.

2- It's interesting that the University of Kansas will make no comment about professors being published in newspapers about questioning Darwinian theory but provide no such backing for those that support it.

mcoan 12 years, 3 months ago

Science is about a preponderance of evidence which proves a theory. I agree that ANY and all science must remain open to new evidence and debate about that new evidence. Being closed-minded about new evidence does no one any good.

One thing about science is that it is often later proved wrong by new happens all the time. I think you would be hard-pressed to find any scientist who would disagree with that.

But without new evidence, science must continue down its existing path. That's how it works. And the existing path includes teaching students what the current preponderance of evidence is and how that evidence led to a settling of the debate.

If the creationists have new evidence to justify opening what has generally become a settled debate about evolution, I encourage them to publish it so scientists can test it and begin the usual healthy debate.

How about it creationists...what's the new evidence you can use to justify re-opening the debate? For example, do you have new evidence to prove that God created the Big Bang? That would be REALLY helpful.

Oh, that's right YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE TO REFUTE EVOLUTION. Therefore, until you do, the debate over evolution will remain settled among the majority of PROFESSIONAL scientists.

You can't put forth a theory (creationism) and except those who rely on evidence to start questioning the previous theory and its evidence: you have to back up your theory with testable evidence.

If you have no evidence, then FAITH is all you can use to support a theory. And, by definition, that's not science, that's religion. Science requires evidence, not faith.

And the new evidence against evolution is.......

ksmattfish 12 years, 3 months ago

Why do the IDers act like there is no outlet for their ideas? Don't they go to church? Teach your kids intelligent design in christian churches, and teach your kids science in science class, then let them make up their own minds. What have you got to lose if intelligent design makes so much sense?

Watch out what you wish for fanatic christians. It appears to me that the fanatic muslims are much more willing to bust balls over this sort of thing than you are. If the christian creation myth breaks into science class, in a decade or so your grandchildren may be learning all about Allah too. One good creation myth deserves another, or a dozen. It would be hilarious if while your were busy worrying that your kids might accept science, they converted to islam.

May you all, fanatics and true believers alike, be touched by his noodley appendage.

Bradley Kemp 12 years, 3 months ago

Barclay expressed a desire to "know the mechanism that evolution uses to overcome the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy)."

The answer: It doesn't.

Living systems grow increasingly complex as a result of increasing entropy.

Read Evolution As Entropy by Daniel R. Brooks and E. O. Wiley.

txcspdrmn 12 years, 3 months ago

More than 500 scientist on the list eh? That's very impressive - but how many of them are named Steve?

DaREEKKU 12 years, 3 months ago

There is a difference between questioning evolution for scientific reasons and for religious reasons. This is clearly for religious reasons, has no place in our schools, end of story. If people are so secure in their religion then why do they feel the need to shove it off on everybody else? Obvioiusly they are not......

mefirst 12 years, 3 months ago

I say open Evolution up to criticism. In doing so, by default, you open Intelligent Design up to criticism. Funny, you don't hear anyone calling for criticism of Intelligent Design. The argument is framed simply as using ID as a means of critiquing evolution.

A second grader could poke holes in the theory of ID. But then again, it's hard to argue against the very solid argument of, "well, it's that way darling, because that's the way God intended..." That argument covers just about everything, but is based on NOTHING but faith.

Jamesaust 12 years, 3 months ago

chuckle Okay, I'd admit that an assistant professor of alternative medicine has more scientific training that I.

But as has already been amply demonstrated, the odds are overwhelming that there are more doctorate holders in science in Kansas named some variation of Stephen or Stephanie (Steve, Steffie) that disagree with ID than just 3.

Shardwurm 12 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 3 months ago

If people are so secure in their belief of evolution, then why do they feel the need to shove it off on everybody else?? See, any comment can be turned around to fit the other side's views.

I see nothing wrong with both teaching the theory of evolution and also teaching students to question everything. You should never just blindly believe everything that's told to you.

At one point in time there was no cure or treatment for rabies. Yet someone questioned that current theory, and now people no longer have to die from it.

At one time it was believed impossible to go into outer space or visit the moon. Yet someone questioned that theory, and found a way to do it.

All kinds of advancements have occurred because someone questioned the accepted theory.

Even if evolution is never debunked, what's so wrong with questioning it? If you're so sure it's true, what are you afraid of?

fossilhunter 12 years, 3 months ago

MoreThanUltimate - I was at that meeting. It was interesting watching the science department from the Dover Public Schools get a standing ovation from 500 scientists for standing up to ID. Scientists get it.

Barclay - you keep asking for fossil evidence of evolution and I keep giving it and you never acknowledge. Please, once and for all, how can whales with vestigal legs not be concrete evidence for evolution?

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago


Your message is so full of misinformation that it hardly is worth responding to. As wendt has pointed out usually those who question evolution are those who haven't studied it or understand little about it. You use words like "beliefs" and "blindly" or "shove it off" which clearly shows your bias and your desire to misinform. Evolutionary theory has created all kinds of advancement itself and you are blind not to recognize it or understand that. It isn't fear of being debunked crazy, it is all about misinformation and suppression of the truth. The examples you should actually look at that is more representative of the attacks on evolution is Galileo and the concept of being the center of the universe.

I also find it curious that the Lawrence Journal World would give you the website for the scientists against evolution but not mention the response to that list. Several posters here have already mentioned it or provided the link for it. It is a list of names that have some variation of Stephen on it that support evolutionary theory. It was formed as a tribute to Stephen Jay Gould and contains over 400 names. This list is said to contain less than 1% of the scientists that support evolution which would mean that there are over 40,000 scientists who support and use evolutionary theory.

txcspdrmn 12 years, 3 months ago

"Even if evolution is never debunked, what's so wrong with questioning it? If you're so sure it's true, what are you afraid of?"

There is nothing wrong with questioning it. That's what science is all about. Scientists are constantly testing the predictions made by evolutionary theory against the real world.

It is a testament to the strength of the theory that it explains so much of the observed variety in living things, and that its application has led to great advances in many fields, especially (and ironically in the current context) medicine

True, there were flaws in Darwin's understanding of the mechanisms of heredity, but as Mendelian genetics and molecular biology emerged, they only served to confirm the strength of the underlying theory that species evolve, and that the main driver of this evolution is natural selection of heritable traits.

The only thing that the scientific community is afraid of is the damage being done to the scientific literacy of the general public by the manufactured "controversy" being promulgated by those who would insert a particular religious view into the public schools of the United States.

txcspdrmn 12 years, 3 months ago


Your numbers are a little out of date. There are now over 700 of us "NCSE Steves". Assuming that 1% of scientists are called Steve (or Stephanie, or Esteban), that is tehe equivalent of an open list of some 70,000.

concerned_citizen 12 years, 3 months ago

Souki: Read Evolution As Entropy by Daniel R. Brooks and E. O. Wiley.

a controversial work and hardly the last word.

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

Ah txcspdrmn,

Thanks for updating me. I actually was going by my recollection of a book written years ago so I should have qualified it by saying that it was outdated or behind the times.

fossilhunter 12 years, 3 months ago

Barclay -- waiting for that response to the fossil evidence....1 hour and counting...Google faster.

MoreThanUltimate 12 years, 3 months ago


Wish I could have been there to see it, too! I'm so glad to see that scientists and educators are standing up to this nonsense. Finally, these ID quacks are being put into place by those who have reason and knowledge to do so. Funny how the overwhelming majority of scientists don't buy into this, yet those ignorant of science buy into this scam hook, line and sinker. When will the public get it? Probably about the same time they understand what this administration and the republicans are doing to science in general!

ben_ness 12 years, 3 months ago

I am with Dr. Leonard on this one. I would hope nobody considers 500 signatures representative of all Scientists who have a stake in this debate.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago

What a laugher. MDs expounding about evolution. Most MDs know about as much about evolutionary science as I know about bunion removal (which is not much).

This is a shame and it is the fault of science education for not training them.

MDs are the engineers of human biology. There is far more to science than simple-minded engineering and technical manipulation.

Some MDs are true scientists, but calling most MDs scientists is like calling a plumber a hydrogeologist or a materials physicist. Don't get me wrong. I love plumbers, but I would not consider them scientists.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago


Barclay is up to his old Veritas Academy tricks again. He has been presented with evidence multiple times but he still keeps asking for evidence as if he has never been presented with it.

Either he is extremely dumb or is a simple prevaricator. Probably both.

hobb2264 12 years, 3 months ago

According to Dr. Krishtalka;

"it's possible to compile a list of signatures of people who believe the earth is flat."

I doubt if you will be able to compile a list of people with PhD's in the sciences though. What an ignorant remark from someone who is supposed to be an intellect. Kind of like saying "Evolution is a fact of nature". Spoken like a true unbiased scientist. In other words, just another soundbyte for the LJW to print.

500 PhD's....admittedly in the minority. These people are willing to put their professional reputations on the line because of what they think. Maybe...just maybe...they are righ...or maybe we shouldn't explore the evidence further and instead just accept evolution as a fact of nature. Really, what good can come out of skepticism of the status quo....kind of like believing the earth is flat.

fossilhunter 12 years, 3 months ago

nightmare - He's thrown stones, written editorials and called people out. I'm tired of ID weenies getting away with this. I'm pumped after attending the AAAS "Evolution on the Frontline" town hall meeting this weekend. If we let these guys get away with this, then they will get their way.

Barclay - refute the evidence, please.

blessed3x 12 years, 3 months ago

When will everyone learn? Don't dare question evolution or the secret evolution police will drag you into the street and you'll never be heard from again.


fossilhunter 12 years, 3 months ago

Blessed - by all means, please question science! Use science to question science. No one that has any knowledge of biological science or paleontology has seen 1 scrap of evidence that contradicts evolution, and a mountain that supports it.

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

Well I am sure glad Blessed3x is finally getting the message. Now if we could just get everyone else tote the company line, we'll be sitting pretty....

Mr_Christopher 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey after they start teaching intelligent design in science how much longer will it be before they claim the Bible Code is also science?

William Dembski thinks the Bible Code is legit. What a dunce!

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

Typical dramatic commentary by someone who is both ignorant of the evidence supporting evolution and can't offer any kind of logical rationale to support their position.

Bradley Kemp 12 years, 3 months ago


I don't think Evolution As Entropy is a particularly controversial work -- although you're right in saying that it is not the last word on the subject. In science, nothing is the last word. And Evolution as Entropy does present a cogent and fairly accessible argument that evolution isn't anti-entropic.

Which is what Barclay inquired about.

ben_ness 12 years, 3 months ago

Hobbs - I believe what Dr. Krishtalka is trying to say is anything is possible. Admittedly, using the world is flat as an example is probably a bit extreme, but the fact of the matter is that if you believe enough in a cause you can find people, Ph.Ds or not, to stand behind you. I concur with nightmare on this one. The layman, who is on the fence, doesn't realize the scope of a typical MD's knowledge of evolutionary science and will back the agenda of the IDs based on the MD's credentials as a medical doctor. This list is purely strategic and holds no water.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago

Evolution is constantly questioned by scientists and has been for 150 years. This makes evolution among the most solid scientific theories. It has survived 150 years of scientific assault.

ID creationism has also been vetted by science. This hypothesis was rejected by science because it failed to explain factual observations about the natural world.

I am sick and tired of people who know nothing of science or evolution leveling criticisms that are not scientific. You can choose to ignore science, but cease with the uninformed criticism.

Science is not about fairness and equality of ideas. It is about observation and hypothesis testing. Ideas that fail are rejected. Period. ID creationism is a scientifically-failed idea. Get over it, you wishful-thinking, heel-clicking Dorothys.

MoreThanUltimate 12 years, 3 months ago

How can there be a debate of evolution using ID?

No scientist worth their salt objects to debate of current thinking. Science educators fit into this catagory as well. The only objection to debate of evolution by the science community is ID must be a VALID SCIENTIFIC theory that can be backed up with real evidence to the contrary. The ID community does not have any valid scientific evidence to support ID theory. They only have evidence in their mind they feel is valid ( And I would even debate they really believe what they say!). Almost the entire scientific communtiy agrees that there is no debate of evolution in science. There is only debate by those who wish to pawn this junk science on everyone else that does not have a backround to make an informed and correct conclusion to get creationism back in the classroom through the back door.

Case Closed.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 3 months ago

Kodiac, Well, actually, I didn't use the term "shove it off" first...I was misquoting another posting. Yep, I did that on purpose. To show that any comment used to justify your position could just as easily be used by the other side.

Where did I say that evolution hadn't created (nice choice of words) many advancements? I also never said that ID had "created" advancements. I merely stated that many advancements have been made in history because someone didn't let themselves be stifled by current norms. They questioned the status quo. I never said which belief system was the cause of those advancements.

And evolution is a belief, just as creationism is. You believe that evolution is true, don't you? Just as theologians believe that creationism is true. What's the difference? A belief is a belief, no matter what it is. Some people believe in aliens, while others do not. It's still a belief, isn't it? If you don't "believe" in evolution, why promote it?

Suppression of the truth? How exactly is evolution going to be suppressed when it's the only theory that's stated in textbooks?

And you should never blindly follow any theory, whether it's evolution or anything else. You should also never blindly follow any religion, just because that's the one that all your family belongs to. You should question everything. Curiosity is the main reason that advancements are made.

Children should be taught, first and foremost, to be curious about the world, regardless of what they've been taught.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago


Unfortunately, most physicians do not receive a science education. They do learn facts generated by science, but often the scientific process is not taught to them. This is why the combined MD/PhD program was created: to combine the practical skills of an MD with the critical thought and observational skills of a scientist.

Most MDs are simply technicans trained to fix the human body like an auto mechanic. Medicine is a trade, not a science.

Again, don't get me wrong, I love MDs and auto mechanics etc., but they are not scientists.

ben_ness 12 years, 3 months ago

Wendt - Would you say an MD is at less risk of compromising his/her professional integrity by aligning his/her self with ID vs. evolution? Could this be why they were approached to sign this petition?

fossilhunter 12 years, 3 months ago

Crazyks - Quote: And evolution is a belief, just as creationism is. You believe that evolution is true, don't you? Just as theologians believe that creationism is true. What's the difference? A belief is a belief, no matter what it is. Some people believe in aliens, while others do not. It's still a belief, isn't it? If you don't "believe" in evolution, why promote it?

Evolution is not a belief. Scientist do not say "I believe in evolution." That would be the same as saying "I believe in gravity." Scientists have empirical data that shows that evolution is a valid process through which life changes. There is ample evidence. It is testable. It is "falsifiable". It is science.

The same can not be said for ID creationism.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

You can question the evolutionary theory of the origin of species without resorting to junk science and religious philosophy, and you can advance the cause of science without succumbing to flawed logic.

I think we'd all be a lot happier if ID proponents stopped pretending they just want to question evolution fairly under the auspices of science, and admitted that they have a specific alternate theory that they want to advance. Let them make the case for ID, instead of 'proving' it must be a viable theory by bringing forth questions in evolutionary theory.

There are a lot of questions evolutionary theory doesn't answer. There are a lot of questions most scientific theories don't answer. Nature of the beast. But just because I can point to a cloudy day and say, "It's not universally true that the sky is blue," that doesn't mean it is true that the sky is green. I can take pictures right before a tornado and demonstrate that the sky can (provided certain criteria are met) become green, but for the majority of people in the world, "The sky is generally assumed to be blue" is a reasonable truism, with a great deal more evidence in its favor than against it.

But is it? How do we define blue? Sky? Generally? Assumed? What do the terms we use mean? Where did our definitions of them come from? How do sunset and sunrise and cloud cover affect it? The sky isn't blue when you look at it from the other side. What does that mean, and how do you account for those data while still advancing towards a stable, reasonable, workable theory about the sky?

Those are all reasonable questions, and they belong in a discussion of the merits of the Blue Sky Theory. However, the interests of science aren't remotely advanced by the intrusion into that discussion of the Green Sky Theory adherents, who insist that their view, which doesn't stand up at all to a thorough review of all the data, is validated because questions remain regarding the BST.

The evolutionary theory of the orgin of species is questioned constantly. Without any sort of law or mandate, I was taught in high school and again in college that there are holes - and that these holes neither invalidate evolutionary theory nor prove any other theory, but rather that they set up areas for further investigation and reinforce the thought that we do not yet have a fully functioning, comprehensive theory regarding the origins of life, that accounts for all data, just a reasonable truism with more data favoring it than against.

ben_ness 12 years, 3 months ago

I am not a scientist nor very familiar with the scientific process beyond what I learned in 9th grade biology. I can, however, give my perspective as an outsider looking in. My significant other's Father is the former Secretary of Education for the State of VA. About a month ago I asked him what he thought about the ID/Evolution debate in Kansas especially as it pertains to public education and recent decision of the KSBOE. He rolled his eyes and chuckled. Now, if this was just a teacher or the average Joe, then his reaction wouldn't be that significant, but considering the office he held and the sterling reputation of public education in VA, those taking the side of ID should consider how the rest of the country is viewing this entire debate.

MoreThanUltimate 12 years, 3 months ago


You defy logic when using ID to support your position. Questioning authority or a theory is good provided that the questions or arguements raised are valid and truthful. ID just isn't a valid arguement against evolution on many points it tries to raise or tries to refute.

Theology is belief by faith, not by scientific method. You cannot prove the origin of the bible. You cannot prove who wrote the bible first. You cannot prove which bible is the true bible to follow. You cannot prove the existence of G-d. The evidence to support these questions doesn't exist to support a scientific answer to these questions. Evolution does have this sort of overwhelming evidence.

Evidence of evolution surrounds us and can be used to show the validity of evolution through scientific method. ID cannot and has not been successful in stating a valid arguement or provide evidence that a vast majority of scientists can say is a good question, good theory or good proof. Religion cannot be proved by scientific method, only debated by scholors as to its' origin and its' meaning. That is where your stance has a fatal flaw.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago


Indeed some MDs are scientists, particularly those who do research publish scientific studies. However, many MDs do not have the dynamic mindset of a scientist and instead see medicine as a set of tools, which it is.

I will again point to the MD/PhD program. This joint program is an attempt to give MDs the critical experimental analysis skills of a scientist. The very existence of such a program is a tacit acknowledgement that traditional medical education trains technicians, not scientists.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago

I will re-post my previous comments for your enjoyment:

I am sick and tired of people who know nothing of science or evolution leveling criticisms that are not scientific. You can choose to ignore science, but cease with the uninformed criticism.

Science is not about fairness and equality of ideas. It is about observation and hypothesis testing. Ideas that fail are rejected. Period. ID creationism is a scientifically-failed idea. Get over it, you wishful-thinking, heel-clicking Dorothys.

fossilhunter 12 years, 3 months ago

Oh Barclay....I answered your question....come out come out wherever you are....

hobb2264 12 years, 3 months ago


Have you actually looked at the list? Whether you believe MD's truly practice science (and I believe, like some others, that they do), by looking at the list I see that the overwhelming MINORITY are MD's. There are biologists, zoologists, chemists, astrophysicists, microbiologists, engineers, and among that group a handful of medical doctors.

ben_ness 12 years, 3 months ago

Wendt - Thank you for the elaboration.

hobb2264 12 years, 3 months ago

wendt said:

"Physicians are approached to sign the petitions, probably by their pastors, because they are an intellectual catch"

Smart enough to get a doctorate, but not so smart to think for that what you are implying? Or are you implying that pastors are out actively recruiting scientists to put on this list. Both ideas are hilarious...but keep them coming I need a good laugh today.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago


"Why would you want to be a reseracher when you can be a physician and make much more?"

The chicks, man! No, because of a love a research and knowledge and science.

Of course MD training is rigorous and involves alot more than many other trades. I would also argue that learning the scientific method and its implementation takes alot more than a seventh-grade science course and even more than an undergraduate science education.

ben_ness 12 years, 3 months ago

Hobb - I have looked at the list. The credentials are very impressive. However, much thought and craft was put into the creation of this list. While it does promote a dissent from Darwinian thought it doesn't specifically endorse the theory of ID either. While many of these people are from reputable institutions the list is still quite small and the opinion of the minority - unless you are in KS. My assumption would be that you wouldn't find these names on a list explicitly endorsing intelligent design.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago


I think it is comforting to think of my physician as an auto mechanic or plumber or other tradesman. They know how to fix my car/sink/body. I do not. I certainly don't want my physician experimenting on me.

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey Crazy,

Guess I don't have to really say much since most of your post has been dealt with especially with the comments concerning beliefs.

As far as advancements was concerned, I was merely pointing out to you what I thought would be obvious I guess I will need to elaborate. You said in you first posting "All kinds of advancements have occurred because someone questioned the accepted theory." You also said in your second posting "I merely stated that many advancements have been made in history because someone didn't let themselves be stifled by current norms". So the way I read your original comment was that you were implying that evolution being the status quo or "accepted theory" or "current norm" stifled advancements of which you implied again in your second posting. Maybe I was not understanding what you were trying to say but it seems to me that you making an implication about evolution. I was simply saying that evolutionary theory has not stifled science, on the contrary it has "created" new fields of science and has in general, advanced understanding of our world.

It is apparent again after reading your second post that you have little understanding of what evolutionary theory is and what science is overall. I suggest you follow your own advice Crazy and become curious about the world.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago

The list is useful. Now some more in-depth analysis of the demographics of the list can begin.

Questions such as these can be addressed: 1) Are the signatories practicing scientists? 2) Do the signatories work in academic or industrial science? 3) Are the signatories recipients of research funding from federal/private sources? 4) Do the signatories publish their work in high-impact journals (or publish at all)? 5) What are the religious/political affiliations of the signatories?

Answers to these questions will provide some depth to the analysis instead of just a list of doctorates willing to sign a sheet of paper.

At first glance, the list is not impressive. I recognized none of the names (aside from Dumbski and Behe). Many of the institutions listed are second-rate, lower tier institutions.

My first take is that these are second-rate individuals who are willing to allow their religious/political leanings to interfere with their scientific training.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago

wendt: "The Scientific Method is pretty powerful and pretty simple. Yes, a seventh grader can understand it."

I'm not so sure about this. A seventh-grader might be able to grasp the concept, but implementation and depth of understanding is a different story.

I point to the broad lack of understanding of the scientific method as evidence of this.

devobrun 12 years, 3 months ago


What is the difference between evidence and test? I'd really like to know yer views here. Because the best I can tell, yer definition of scientist vs engineer, MD, plumber is that scientists are all theory, no application.

Is it true that science is necessarily a matter of teasing data to find an R-squared of > 20%, but < 70% ? If the correlation exceeds 90%, then you've become an applied...... what? engineer? MD? plumber?

Oh, BTW, the difference between a bigot and a theoretical scientist is mostly a matter of social context. Just ask Freud

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago


Wendt has it about right. Tests provide evidence which then is used as ther basis for further tests.

Of course in science one applies previous knowledge to derive new hypotheses and new tests of those hypotheses. But it is not "applied" in the sense you mentioned, manipulating a process such that the most efficacious conditions are found, such as engineering of a chemical reaction. Yes, assays often take some tweaking to ensure uniformity and consistency, but not to the degree that an engineer might manipulate the system.

Evidence comes in multiple forms in science, but all are based upon observable phenomena. First, there is the "laboratory manipulation" test that I think you understand. But there is also critical observation of phenomena that are not repeatable in the lab, such as stars, the fossil record, and geology/climate. The latter can be supported/rejected by experiments in the lab, but "weight of evidence" is a more appropriate way of describing scientific proof of non-repeatable phenomena.

devobrun 12 years, 3 months ago


Well, I was looking for nightmare, because he has been so caustic in his remarks about applied scientists, but you'll do.

So, based upon the above, evidence is used to suggest a theory. It is used to form a conjecture. Further evidence is useful to modify or support the conjecture.

Now, theory is about finding connections. So, I can go out and gather evidence from as many sources as possible, put them into a massive polynomial fit program and predict damn near anything. If the theoretical model isn't sufficiently precise, gather more evidence and expand the degrees of freedom until you have it within the parameters required. Neat.

Test? Gather more evidence and be prepared to modify the model and call it a scientific success because you "tested" it. Want support? Go to the High Commission on Science and gain approval. Nothing better than sharpening the theory of a prestigious colleague.

This support side of things is a political gambit whereby the young researcher graduates from a prestigious U. He then does a series of post-docs at different Universities. Thus, he builds a reputation and allies who have clout with the referees. Science marches on. Someday, he too, will guide young researchers through the complexities of science, carefully avoiding the death trap of fecundity.

Never produce science that truly tests a foundational theory, like macroevolution. Better yet, make sure that your science produces clever modifications to the present state of the art. This simultaneously stimulates the intellect without challenging the authority.

Just what the old scientists want to see.

So the ID guys have produced lousy science that also breaches the protocol of the High Commission. I don't believe in either because I don't have to. Both the evolutionists and the religious faithful have to believe in some explanation of the origins. So they duke it out here, in the Ks and Dover, Pa school boards, and the courts.

I have seen your science fellas and I'm not impressed.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago

MD, You said "And don't go labeling MD's as not being scientists. I can feel the fists balling up at those words."

Yes, I suppose my words about MDs were a bit harsh. But the fact remains that a standard medical education is light on science methodology. This is why the MD/PhD program was created; to give practicing MDs a working knowledge about scientific research (

What other explanation do you have for the MD/PhD?

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 3 months ago


You have rehashed your previous views, which we all understand now very well.

I ask you this in all seriousness: what is to be done about the fossil record? What is to be done about those little points of light in the sky?

Should scientists ignore fossils and stars? Sweep them under the rug? How should science deal with these parts of our natural world? Please answer.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 3 months ago

I am curious about the world, Kodiac.

I'm especially curious, today, about how so many people have assumed that I am a proponent of ID. I never once said in my posts that this was the case. I also never said I was a proponent of evolution. In fact, I never stated my opinions on that one way or the other.

I am not a particularly religious person. I probably know less about that than I do science, though I think science is more interesting.

But the risks included in any dogma, scientific, religous, political, or otherwise, is that in the quest to promote one view over another, to prove one view over another, any ideas from students that don't conform to that dogma are going to automatically be ignored, thus stifling creativity and curiosity.

That was my main point. Sorry if it was too simple for you.

Now you can all go on arguing and not listening to each other, and I'll go read a book.

I'm reading Narnia right now. A much more pleasant world today than this one, apparently, where no one can seem to get along and everyone seems to be on the attack.

devobrun 12 years, 3 months ago

Nightmare asks: " I ask you this in all seriousness: what is to be done about the fossil record? What is to be done about those little points of light in the sky?"

Same thing that science does with hypocrisy, love of a mother for her child, or fairness. All very real parts of the human experience, but not subject to scientific inquiry because they can't be tested.

Wendt said: "Obviously there are some phenomenon that can't be repeated due to size, distance, or length of cycle.

Doesn't mean that the correlation isn't there or that the theory isn't correct because what you're talking about doesn't fit into a 10X20 foot room."

So, correlation and theory make science? No wonder you guys have rejected my approach for lo these many months. You have no idea what a test is!

Wendt also said : "The peer review process is not some political process." If there are any scientists on this board, they must be laughing at that one. So, you never ran into NIH? Oh, not that one, I'm talking about Not Invented Here.

Science is like all other human pursuits, it has human emotion all over it. Jealousy, greed, love, fear, arrogance, hypocrisy, determination, etc. are all over the place. Either you have never done science or you worked for an outfit that insulated you from the realities of science culture.

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

I know this is kind of off the subject but I am wondering how Devo would approach a career that involves some kind of relationship to data that can't be tested in real time but presents itself as historical circumstancial evidence. I was thinking of say like a police detective. I am sure (unless I am being misled by Hollywood) there are cases where there are no witnesses and no way to actually connect a person to a crime from a realtime standpoint but there exist a mountain of circumstancial evidence. So Devo how would you view this. Correct me if I am wrong, but if we follow your line of reasoning Devo then there is no way we could ever connect a person to a crime because we can't go back in time and actually see it happening and nobody witnessed the actual event. What do you think Devo?

Linda Endicott 12 years, 3 months ago

"Evolution is not a belief. It requires no faith."

If there are facts in evolution that cannot be proven, nor duplicated in a laboratory, doesn't this require "faith" to believe that the fact is, indeed, true?

Main Entry: be*lief Pronunciation: b&-'lEf Function: noun Etymology: Middle English beleave, probably alteration of Old English gelEafa, from ge-, associative prefix + lEafa; akin to Old English lyfan 1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing 2 : something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group 3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

Just a matter of symantics, I suppose.

I cannot fathom why you think you know me so well, and think I'm trying to fool anyone. I also cannot fathom why it seems so vitally important to you.

No, I am not a religious person, and I am not a proponent of ID.

Even when you state something over and over on these boards, people make assumptions about you. Right now, I'm assuming that you are a self-righteous overbearing prig, that feels the need to be right all the time. Is this correct?

No? Then prove me wrong. You are making assumptions about me. I thought I'd return the favor.

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey Crazy,

What do you think of this statement by R. C. Lewontin...

It is time for students of the evolutionary process, especially those who have been misquoted and used by the creationists, to state clearly that evolution is a fact, not theory, and that what is at issue within biology are questions of details of the process and the relative importance of different mechanisms of evolution. It is a fact that the earth with liquid water, is more than 3.6 billion years old. It is a fact that cellular life has been around for at least half of that period and that organized multicellular life is at least 800 million years old. It is a fact that major life forms now on earth were not at all represented in the past. There were no birds or mammals 250 million years ago. It is a fact that major life forms of the past are no longer living. There used to be dinosaurs and Pithecanthropus, and there are none now. It is a fact that all living forms come from previous living forms. Therefore, all present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different. Birds arose from nonbirds and humans from nonhumans. No person who pretends to any understanding of the natural world can deny these facts any more than she or he can deny that the earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun. The controversies about evolution lie in the realm of the relative importance of various forces in molding evolution.

  • R. C. Lewontin "Evolution/Creation Debate: A Time for Truth" Bioscience 31, 559 (1981) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism, op cit.

A matter of semantics maybe? Belief or Fact?

Curious minds want to know your opinions Crazy.

devobrun 12 years, 3 months ago


Nice attack on me from the point of view of science and the rational. I think that you would just like for me to go away before some others on this board figure out that the elephant in the living room isn't the argument between evolutionary biology and intelligent design.

No sir, the problem is that evo-bio folks are doing lousy science and they don't want the public to know it. This business of testing is a real problem for you guys. What you are doing may or may not be true. I don't know. I do know that the scientific testing aspect of your work is lame.


Yes Kodiak, rational thought and organized gathering of evidence is a very important part of everyday life. The law, literature, business, all benefit from the notion that rational connection leads to valid conclusions.

None are science

To use your example, the law passes judgement on the basis of the opinion of a jury. Its judgement is based on evidence presented in court and gathered by a variety of means, including science (CSI). However, the law says conviction based on the absence of reasonable doubt, not scientific fact. Not proof of guilt, not testing.

Thus, the law is a fine endeavor which attempts to do its best to be fair. It isn't science, and neither is macroevolution because neither can be tested. Does it make them false. No, just not science.

Oh, wendt, I don't drink and my dad can beat up your dad. Nah nah nah nah nah.

Grow up wendt.

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

Ah Devo,

Still stuck in that seeing is believing mode are you. Well I guess some things just never change do they. Still waiting for your definitive paper or book that will redefine science as you see it. Not much to say to you since you seem to be off in your own little world. Let me know when you decide to join the rest of the scientific world.

I was thinking if you really wanted to push it Devo, you could ulitmately say that nothing is science since even if you are seeing it, hearing it, touching it, reproducing it etc. it is still being done through human senses which has bias and subjectivity. Ultimately everything we think of or come up with originates from the human experience.

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago


I am curious if you have signed the above dissent against evolution. After all you do have a Ph.D. in engineering and I am sure they would love to have another strong christian scientist such as yourself on board.

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

Hey Devo,

Tell me what do you teach to your misinformed students regarding the theory of gravity. Do you explain to them that it is not science since the mechanisms that underlie gravity cannot be empirically proven. Does that mean that physics (that is the subject you teach) is not science? Just like time, the quantum level is just not quite available to us. So we can't really understand or show empirically the mechanism that gives mass to matter. Does this mean that Physics is not science?

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago


It is hard for me not to suspect that Brunfeldt has some kind of religious agenda here. He claims not to but is very passionate about the evolution debate as evidenced by his postings of 130 or more and all of them relate to evolution somehow. His stance really puzzles me since he does not express that kind of passion toward any of the other sciences. Maybe a evolutionists hit him with a rock or something or maybe he flunked biology. I don't know. I certainly think he has an obsession for evolution and shows such rabidity that is unrivaled by any of the IDist/Creationists I have ever seen posted on here. As far as being drunk, well I guess that could be a possibility since that is my state most of the time I am posting on here. Speaking of drunkedness, I think I need to get another beer....

Kodiac 12 years, 3 months ago

Sorry Wendt,

All I have is Shiner Heifenweizers and lemons. Did enjoy a few Oats at FSB the other day though. What is your preference in Oats. I will pick some up on my next liquor run and have a few cold ones waiting...

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago

Hey Devo,

I was rereading some of your wonderful "original" ideas such as...

"Nice attack on me from the point of view of science and the rational. I think that you would just like for me to go away before some others on this board figure out that the elephant in the living room isn't the argument between evolutionary biology and intelligent design."

Or how about "I teach experiments, tests. Others do not emphasize this as much, and I speak up. I have had engineers from the university, (present and retired) tell me to continue the battle."

Oh what a martyr you are, out to save those poor lost souls from irrationality and such nonsensical crap being generated by the g-men of evolution. I think you must have some kind of messianic complex. The arguments that you put out here Devo have been around since before Darwin. You can find contemporaries of Darwin who were considered to be giants in their fields (such as Whelen and Herschel) and they all have said essentially the same exact things you say. Your arguments are not original Devo. I have noticee that you also are largely silent regarding the historical context of the very arguments you offer on here as well as the philosophical debates over evolution. Yeah I know you have mentioned Popper a few times but you always try to show it as some kind of support for your own unoriginal ideas. As far as your own scientific analysis, all I here you saying is that "I've seen the science, and I ain't impressed". What a copout Devo. And just love the little conspiracy theories you spin about how the young scientists are brainwashed when it comes to evolution so the theory keeps become more and more entrenched. That is a pretty elaborate scam wouldn't you say Devo. Then you go on to talk about how all of the scientists just make everything fit to some test to show proof. Or how about the your little rantings about how the theory of evolution has no useful value. Again and again Devo, you resort to attacks that have been propounded by creationists for a century. I imagine if you really look at it, all of your arguments historically have come from individuals that have been religiously motivated. It is no wonder why many of us suspect you to have religious underpinnings. The only elephant in this room is the one where you are not being called out for who you really are. If you really wanted to explore the validity of evolution, then you need to start talking about the molecular evidence, or phylogenetics, or past history, or evolutionary mechanisms etc.

So Devo/David, you can talk all you want about your little philosophies but you are behind the times for evolutionary biology has progressed and continues to do so regardless of the philosophical quibbling.

fossilhunter 12 years, 2 months ago

No Barclay?..... Dude, seriously, this is 3 times in a row you've done this. Is this how your ID Creationism "Science" works? Ask a question, and if you don't like the answer, act like it never happened?

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 2 months ago


Your answer to my question: "Same thing that science does with hypocrisy, love of a mother for her child, or fairness. All very real parts of the human experience, but not subject to scientific inquiry because they can't be tested."

So your answer is indeed sweep them under the rug. Ignore them. Pretend they don't exist. What a copout. Some "scientist" you are. Oh, I forgot, you're not a scientist, you're an engineer.

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago

And Devo replies to me vie email so I am reprinting it here in its entirety:

Devo says:

"My reply to your letter is difficult because of this: martyr, messianic complex, unoriginal, copout. Wow, where to start?

I don't believe in souls. I have no intention of giving my life for science, no matter how it is defined. Originality is for people who want credit, who cares. Copout from what? When I say I'm not impressed, I refer to my feelings about what I've seen. You know (or should) that I hold science to be validated by testing. Thus, when I say I'm not impressed, it is a feeling about the lack of testing that I see in the papers I read on the subject. No I haven't read everything, far from it. After a while, however, there seems to be a pattern in that which I have read. I don't like the tests. The last thing I need is to see molecular evidence, Kodiac. Evidence is subject to interpretation via hypothesis. Good first step to the real science, testing.

I just got back from Big 10 swimming championships where I saw Kevin Swander go 52.64 in the 100 breaststroke. 3rd fastest all time. It was not a theory, evidence, hypothesis. It is meaningless except that other people also try this and find it difficult. He has investigated his own humanity and worked on his stroke technique, training, and used the latest in theoretical models for the stroke. And then, and then, oh no Kodiac, not this. Yes sir he tested himself. It was real, even if it is meaningless, at least it was real. Have you ever done anything real in your life, sir (madam)? Do you know what it is to engage in a test, a trial, an evaluation of value? Or are you satisfied with forming a committee to investigate the theoretical possibility of investigating the formation of a hypothesis to organize a group to investigate the modalities of further investigation.

Finally, it is not a conspiracy, any more than the need for people to eat and drink. That is, people have the need to explain the unknown to themselves. They also have the habit of trying to convince others that their explanations are true, so that they are validated in their own beliefs. The only thing I'm trying to convince you of is that I don't know where we came from and you don't either. If you want to believe in Darwin or the cosmic creampuff, I don't care. If you want to teach kids that what you say about Darwin's evolution is fact, then I challenge you. That's all, Kodiac. That's it. No conspiracy, no messianic complex, no alternative stories, no god explanation. Ok, Kodiac, if you must have an alternative, it's: "sh*t happens". Oops, not original, sorry.

Are we not men? We are Devo."

Kodiac 12 years, 2 months ago


Again and again you give us statements that are empty. You will not and have not gone over any of the actual evidence supporting evolution mentioned previously . Again you skirt around the issues with philosophies rather than the actual science. It is apparent from your statements regarding testing that you are biased and have an agenda toward evolution since there is no difference in the testing of evolution and the testing you mentioned above. Oh yes, devo real time testing is done that supports evolution. The fact that you will not even talk about it shows that prejudice on your part. Devo look at your own statement: "The only thing I'm trying to convince you of is that I don't know where we came from and you don't either. If you want to believe in Darwin or the cosmic creampuff, I don't care" . Darwin the cosmic creampuff?or how about your choice of words "where we came from"? Devo why do you teach physics? Do you know where matter came from? Can you give us a mechanism for how mass is given to matter? You can't test these things. By your logic we should not be teaching physics at all since we do not understand where it all began or how it came into being. This is no different Devo. It is clear that you are blinded by a prejudice that you are hiding behind.

Devo, do you understand that science has left you behind. That evolutionary biology continues to progress and provide more and more insights and understanding about our natural world.

In the meantime Devo, I strongly encourage you to reexamnine your own writings. I apologize if this offends but your arrogance is clearly present and you continue to display a messianic complex. I am still waiting for that definitive paper or book that you will write that redefines science. Oh wait a minute, I forgot you are merely repeating what religiously motivated people have been trying to promote for the last century. While they may not be original, at least they were honest about where they were coming from.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 2 months ago

By the way, devo, the whole "devolution" idea of the band Devo is sarcastic. It is making fun of the anachronistic idea that humans are the pinnacle of evolution/creation and thus superior. Please don't misuse Devo.

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