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Friday, December 25, 2009

Darwin skeptic Suzan Mazur is one fine journalist

Here is her interview with David H. Koch, a Darwin-thumping multi-millionaire who has done much to front the cult to the public ("Evolution Sea Change?: David H. Koch Weighs In ," Archaeology Today, February 17, 2009). Mazur made headlines last year when she wrote about the Altenberg 16, scientists who met in Austria to plan a way of understanding evolution that was free of tax-funded Darwin worship. Anyway, among other things, we learn:
Next year, the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins opens at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where evidence of 6 million years of human evolution will be part of an interactive display that includes the Laetoli footprints and a reconstruction of Lucy. Visitors will be able to pass through a time tunnel to view early humans "floating in and out of focus," touch models of ancient human fossils as well as watch their own faces morph into those of extinct species. The Smithsonian display follows the creation of the American Museum of Natural History's David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing.

Rendering of proposed "Human Characteristics" display at the Smithsonian's David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, now in development. (Courtesy David Koch)
Richard Potts, director of the Smithsonian's Human Origins Program, explained about the new exhibition, "David's commitment to science and the study of human evolution will enable the Smithsonian to bring the latest discoveries in this field to the broadest audiences. The exhibition, still in the planning stages, encourages the public to explore the lengthy process of change in human characteristics over time. It also presents one of the new research themes in this field--the dramatic changes in environment that set the stage for human evolution. Although the subject can be controversial, the unearthed discoveries that bear on the question of human origins are a source of deep interest and significance for everyone to contemplate."

David Koch is Executive Vice President of $110 billion Koch Industries (he owns 42%) and CEO of its subsidiary, Koch Chemical Technology Group. He is often described as Manhattan's wealthiest resident, and contributes to Lincoln Center, Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the fertility clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, to name a few. He is also is the principal private funder of PBS's Nova series.
It gets better when she begins to challenge him:
Suzan Mazur: As a man committed to the principles and practices of freedom, including scientific freedom, and as a scientist yourself with degrees from MIT in chemical engineering - is it your perspective that we are now witnessing a sea change in evolutionary thinking? That even as the global celebration begins for Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, the man who brought us the theory of evolution by natural selection 150 years ago--Darwinian selection, or survival of the fittest, is now being viewed by serious evolutionary scientists as not enough to explain our existence?

To quote from my interview several months ago with NASA astrobiologist Chris Mckay, who was featured in the recent Nova Mars documentary you helped underwrite: "Something had to precede Darwinian natural selection. The Darwinian paradigm breaks down in two obvious ways. First, and most clear, Darwinian selection cannot be responsible for the origin of life. Second, there is some thought that Darwinian selection cannot fully explain the rise of complexity at the molecular level." So the question is: Is it your perspective that we are now witnessing a sea change in evolutionary thinking?

David Koch: No. I don't think it's a sea change. The sea change occurred back when Darwin published his evolutionary theories, backed up by massive, overwhelming evidence. What's happened since is that there's been a rather steady progressive acceptance of the concepts of evolution in the general public. It's amazing to me that in America a large faction of the population still doesn't believe in it.

Suzan Mazur: But the point is that Darwin started with life. He addressed what happens once you have life. He didn't address the origin of life. That's what Chris McKay, the NASA astrobiologist is saying.
And so it goes, until she gets him to admit that he does not know what he is talking about.

Well, we must give the guy marks for honesty. The average third-rate biology prof is just content to emit Darwin noises and know as little as possible about real challenges.

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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