The Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” list examined

In my review of the so called “Leaders Guide” (part 1 and 2) put out by the producers of the movie Expelled I addressed its reference to the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” list.

L.G. More than 700 scientists have signed this statement!

A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism

“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.” (p.12)

To which I responded: “Yes they have a list of scientists, and many of them are the usual creationist suspects. Still others are scientists whose field of study is not particularly relevant to the subject of evolutionary theory. More importantly they constitute a tiny fraction of the global scientific community.”

DonExodus2 over on YouTube has done a little more digging into this list:

[Via Pharyngula]

Now the Disco Institute might complain that they didn’t intend that the list was necessarily meant to express dissent from the theory of common ancestry but merely for the Darwinian mechanism of random mutation and (non-random) natural selection. But such a complaint would be belied by the fact that both the Expelled Leaders Guide (see my two part posts on the Guide) and the Disco Institutes own web page on their list make statements which make it clear that their problem isn’t merely with Darwinian mechanisms for evolution but with evolution (common ancestry) itself:

During recent decades, new scientific evidence from many scientific disciplines such as cosmology, physics, biology, “artificial intelligence” research, and others have caused scientists to begin questioning Darwinism’s central tenet of natural selection and studying the evidence supporting it in greater detail. [Emphasis mine]

But how could supposed evidence from cosmology and physics cause questions to be raised about natural selection which has nothing to do with cosmology or physics? These statements only make sense if they are questioning not just natural selection but much of the conclusions of the entire scientific endeavor (looking for natural explanations for the natural world).

Yet public TV programs, educational policy statements, and science textbooks have asserted that Darwin’s theory of evolution fully explains the complexity of living things. The public has been assured that all known evidence supports Darwinism and that virtually every scientist in the world believes the theory to be true.

The scientists on this list dispute the first claim and stand as living testimony in contradiction to the second. Since Discovery Institute launched this list in 2001 over 700 scientists have courageously stepped forward to sign their names. The list is growing and includes scientists from the US National Academy of Sciences, Russian, Hungarian and Czech National Academies, as well as from universities such as Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and others.

See the DonExodus2 video for a response to the above.

The arguments that ultimately unravel the Darwinian synthesis aren’t terribly difficult to grasp. Anyone who remembers the rudiments of logic they learned in freshman composition can follow the essentials of the argument. Below are three articles to get started:

Fact Sheet: Microevolution vs. Macroevolution
Fact Sheet: The Cambrian Explosion
The Survival of the Fakest

All three of these linked articles attack not just the Darwinian mechanism for evolution but evolution itself. So any complaint that they are only questioning the efficacy of natural selection as a mechanism would be disingenuous at best.

In reality their problem is not just with natural selection or even with evolution itself, it is with any scientific finding that they believe contradicts or casts doubt on their theological beliefs.

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One thought on “The Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” list examined

  1. Pingback: Dissent from Darwinism list - further analysis « Open Parachute

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