Science’s Blind Spot – Part 1

Cornelius G. Hunter has a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Computational Biology and is an Adjunct Professor at Biola University. He spends most of his time doing research, specifically in the area of molecular biophysics. His first two books (Darwin’s God and Darwin’s Proof) did not impress me. Don’t get me wrong – I essentially agree with the views presented in them. Darwin’s God said that evolution is not the same as atheism and, in fact, Darwin was actually trying to “glorify” God by removing Him from the sordid details of nature. As pointed out in that book, Darwin clearly didn’t believe in the God of the Bible, but he clearly did believe in God and sought to make this God more powerful by essentially saying that He created the natural laws that ended up allowing organisms to create themselves.

In his second book, Darwin’s Proof, he shows that common features in organisms don’t imply common ancestry, and he gives plenty of scientific evidence to show that the general principles of macroevolution (one kind of organism evolving into another kind) are clearly wrong. While both books present many truisms, neither added much to what is already known about Darwin or the misuse to which scientists have put his views.

Science’s Blind Spot is Hunter’s latest book, and it is superior to both of his previous ones. In this book, Hunter attempts to explore the benefits of naturalism in science as well as its limitations. Clearly Hunter has spent a lot of time thinking about this, and his insights are both interesting and refreshing.

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It Doesn’t Take Much to Destroy Dawkins

As The Irrational Atheist shows, it doesn’t take much to destroy the arguments of the New Atheists. The arguments of Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. are simply no match for a computer game designer armed with a few facts. Indeed, Dawkins couldn’t even hold his own against a former political speechwriter.

Well, it turns out that it doesn’t even take a computer game designer or former political speechwriter to make Dawkins look like an idiot. Even a radio talk show host can do it. Hugh Hewitt is an attorney who has a radio talk show that I have never heard. However, someone sent me the transcript of his discussion with Dawkins, and after reading it, I had to admit feeling sorry for poor old Richard. Of course, it’s not his fault. His position is so weak that such embarrassments are inevitable.

Did Darwin Promote Racism?

In Darwin’s Racists, authors Sharon Sebastian and Raymond G. Bohlin try to make the case that Darwin’s ideas promote racism. They tie Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and Planned Parenthood to Darwinism. In Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, he tries to tie Darwinism to the holocaust. Answers in Genesis says, “Although racism did not begin with Darwinism, Darwin did more than any person to popularize it.” On the other hand, in Darwin’s Sacred Cause, Adrian Desmond and James Moore argue that Darwin’s main motivation for his scientific investigations was his hatred for slavery. According to these two authors, Darwin wanted to prove that all men have a common ancestor to show that all men should be treated equally.

So who is right? Was Darwin a racist? Did his theory promote racism? Was Darwin an abolitionist who attempted to show that all men are part of the same, happy family? The short answer is that Darwin was a racist, but neither he nor his theory promoted racism. In the same way, neither he nor his theory fought against racism. The long answer, of course, is much more interesting.

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Creationist Prediction about the Human Appendix

The creationist view of science is a robust paradigm that has made many predictions regarding the data. Time and time again, those predictions have been demonstrated to be correct. Not all that long ago, I wrote about the fact that the only successful predictions regarding the data related to planetary magnetic fields come from a young-earth creationist model. Well, it turns out that specific creationist predictions have been confirmed again, much to the chagrin of evolutionists.

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Sing It: What a Friend We Have in NeoDarwinism…

When Darwin was around, evolution was science. Darwin made observations, formed a hypothesis, made predictions, and then compared those predictions to the data. In his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, he showed the data that compared favorably to his predictions, and he argued why the data that did not compare favorably to his predictions should not be taken too seriously. Overall, it was an excellent work of science.

The problem is that as time has gone on, more and more data have been shown to be squarely against the predictions of the evolutionary hypothesis. For example, Darwin himself said that if his view was correct, there should be all sorts of vestigial organs (organs that serve no useful purpose) in nature. He reasoned that as variations occurred in organisms, some useful organs would eventually stop becoming useful – their functions would be “overwritten” by new biological structures that made the creature more fit to survive. However, the now useless organs would not necessarily go away. It would take a long time for natural selection to get rid of them, so at any given time, vestigial organs should be around in a variety of creatures. In fact, Darwin compared vestigial organs to the silent letters in a word. Silent letters don’t necessarily serve a function in the word, but they can give you a hint about the word’s origin. In the same way, he reasoned, vestigial organs don’t serve a useful purpose in an organism, but they can give hints to the organism’s origin1.

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P.Z. Myers Blows a Gasket – What Fun!

Recently, my favorite atheist (P.Z. Myers) went to the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum with about 300 fellow atheists. It was an event organized by the Secular Student Alliance. He wanted to go there to make fun of the exhibits and provide fodder for his blog.

The Creation Museum, of course, was happy to have them. They helped the SSA arrange the whole thing and had a tent outside for them, etc. In fact, the SSA’s organizer for the event, Lyz Lydell, said:

Now, I was absolutely blown away by how accommodating and friendly the Creation Museum staff were. They knew we were coming; they knew exactly who we were. And there had been a little bit of tension about the purpose of our visit before we went. But after we got there, the staff were just phenomenally polite and kind and helpful, and the security guards were very polite and helpful to us. We were expecting more tension, so to have everything so polite and so smooth was absolutely great.1

Imagine my surprise, then, when I read P.Z. Myer’s accounts of the visit.

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Okay…So Most Likely, Birds Didn’t Evolve From Dinosaurs.

The University of California Museum of Paleontology has an online exhibit called DinoBuzz, which is all about dinosaurs. Part of the reason they have this online exhibit is that they think the truth about dinosaurs has been obscured by the “…latest wild hypothesis about dinosaurs” 1 regularly promulgated by the media. Well…in order to correct such problems, they have articles like the one entitled, “Are Birds Really Dinosaurs?” Unfortunately, rather than trying to correct the latest wild hypothesis, they buy right into it, saying:

Ask your average paleontologist who is familiar with the phylogeny of vertebrates and they [sic] will probably tell you that yes, birds (avians) are dinosaurs. Using proper terminology, birds are avian dinosaurs; other dinosaurs are non-avian dinosaurs, and (strange as it may sound) birds are technically considered reptiles. Overly technical? Just semantics? Perhaps, but still good science. In fact, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of birds being the descendants of a maniraptoran dinosaur, probably something similar (but not identical) to a small dromaeosaur. 2

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