Federalist: Why 1/3 of Scientists Question Darwinism

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1


One sadly confused law student. Someone needs to let him know that we all agree that non-Darwinian mechanism are important too.


In other news, 100% of physicists question Newtonian physics.

(Curtis Henderson) #3

This “exposé” earned a rather exaggerated eyeroll from me.

(Robert Byers) #4

once again it must be insisted that it does not matter what scientists think. Scientists don’t know squatt about evolutionism unless its the subject they have studied to justify it mattring that they are scientists in asking thier opinion.
its like they have a myth that scientists , specialists if ever there were, have a general competence on all sciency subjects and a greater right to be heard on this then others who have not studied it professionally.
what the real investigation should be IS what do people conclude WHO have had very careful investigation of all sides on the issue of evolutionism.
In fact evolutionary biologists might be suspect themselves having gone into the subject from a pre existing belief.
Even if it “helps” my side its still dumb poor research on informed opinion on evolutionismetc.

(Ashwin S) #5

There are also a 1000 “sadly confused” scientists who have signed the dissent from Darwinism…A lot of them have PHDs in biology…

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(Retired Professor & Minister.) #6

Ashwin, I wouldn’t say all of them are “sadly confused” scientists. Indeed, every competent scientist would agree that (1) skepticism towards scientific theories is always important, and (2) that mutations and natural selection have been known for many decades now to be an insufficient explanation for the diversity of life on earth. If not for the propaganda agenda of the “Dissent from Darwinism” petition and its use in science misrepresentation contexts, I would not have any problem agreeing with the statements within the petition, even as I fully affirm evolutionary biology. As applied to poorly informed audiences in propaganda contexts, it is a silly petition.

I disagree. Very very few of the signers of that petition have PhDs in biology. Huge numbers have their degrees in totally unrelated fields, such as engineering and even dentistry. (Google Project Steve for further perspectives on silly petitions.)

In this case even Robert recognizes that the clumsy attempt at the Argument from Authority Fallacy in the “Dissent from Darwinism” petition is largely irrelevant. A bunch of scientists signing a petition doesn’t really matter. Evidence matters. Peer-reviewed publications matter.

Robert, do you agree that most people who deny evolutionary biology have “gone into the subject from a pre-existing belief”? Are you opposed to pre-existing beliefs or only when someone disagrees with you?

(Ashwin S) #7

The list is available online… I once put it on an excel sheet to check if most were engineers and dentists… it’s not so.
The largest groups are biologists and chemists.

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(30-year veteran) #8

No, they don’t.

(Ashwin S) #9

How do you know… have you checked the list?

(30-year veteran) #10

Just did it. Downloaded the latest version and searched for occurrences of “biolo” vs “engin”. Took about 2 minutes.

The current list contains 153 instances of “biolo” and 181 instances of “engin”, suggesting that it contains more engineers than biologists. For completion, there are 237 "chemi"s and 1 “denta”/“denti”.

So no, there aren’t a lot of biologists listed, and no, biologists don’t outnumber engineers.

(Ashwin S) #11

Most of the chemists are bio chemists…

As to Engin… It will also include genetic engineering also…

Anyway, your claim was that there were no PHDs in biology in the list… Are you now saying you were wrong?

Edit: there are 19 connected to genetics, 10 conn credit to “biomedical”; also…
Main point being that a good number are directly connected to biology, bio chemistry etc.
There are a good number of engineers too…

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(Ashwin S) #12

There are three main groups… one is the ID one with dissent against Darwinism.
Then there are the third way people (around 61 accomplished scientists if I remember correctly).
And then there are the EES people.

Reducing the issue to only a matter of propoganda+ confusion + personal aggrandisement (in case of the third way) is a very weak argument…


The Federalist is fringe.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #14

I did not claim that “most were engineers and dentists.”

Where did Roy claim that there were “no PhDs in biology in the list”?

Ashwin, some of your posts appear to misrepresent what people have posted—but I don’t think that you are being disingenuous. I want to give leeway to possibilities of misunderstandings due to language issues. Do I recall you stating in the past that English is a second language for you? (My memory may be flawed here, so my question is a sincere one. Please accept my apologies if I am confusing you with someone else. Your English skills displayed on this forum are generally quite excellent but even generally fluent readers of a non-native language can run into comprehension complications at times. I certainly do.)

In my criticisms of the Dissent from Darwinism petition over the years, I don’t ever recall saying anything about any signers of the petition being motivated by “personal aggrandisement”, though perhaps other critics have done so. Nevertheless, I continue to stand by my criticisms that the petition is poorly constructed and has been a silly and self-defeating propaganda tactic.

It is also worth repeating that I’m a born-again evangelical Christian who certainly believes that God designed the universe and did so intelligently. As to Intelligent Design theory, all I’ve seen so far from the ID community is ID philosophy being spun and promoted as if it is a scientific theory. I’ve yet to see anyone publish an evidence-based and falsifiable Comprehensive Theory of Intelligent Design which has survived peer-review.

I have nothing against “ID theory” as a philosophical and/or theological hypothesis which happens to deal with scientific topics. I consider philosophy to be an important academic discipline. However, I don’t confuse philosophical claims with a scientific theory.

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(30-year veteran) #15

No, they aren’t. 205 chemists, only 81 biochemists or organic chemists.

Are you making this stuff up?

Bovine faeces.

My claim was that there were not a lot of them with biology PhDs. There aren’t. There are more engineers than biologists.

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The problem with the list is that a biologist who accepts the modern theory of evolution could sign that list and be consistent with the science they accept. Every biologist is skeptical of positive and negative selection alone being responsible for everything we see in biology.

(Ashwin S) #17

What do you take this to mean?

(Ashwin S) #18

Your claim was not clear because it ammounted to 'No there isnt"

Some of those whom you identify as engineers are biomedical engineers…

Anyway, there are several hundred biologists, biochemists and chemists on that list.

Most of the people are not engineers and dentists.
Ignore the engineers in the list, that doesn’t take away the biologists with PHDs in it.

English is a second language for me… however, I can understand the language very well.

I wrote something in brackets after personal aggrandisement… I was talking about some responses here about the advocates for the “third way”.

(Jonathan Burke) #19

That not a lot of them have PhDs in biology. It certainly does not say “None of them have PhDs in biology”.


There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of biologists who accept the theory of evolution. That list is just a tiny, tiny percentage of biologists. It is dwarfed by just the Steve’s that accept the theory of evolution: