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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Darwinism best career choice for aspiring influential atheists?

Of the 25 most influential atheists featured at a student homework help site, it’s curious how many are best known or widely known for pushing Darwinism.

(I’m sure Larry Krauss, at #11, is as solid a brass-footed fish as you could hope for, but he is best known for preaching the end of all things, including science, so he’s not in tonight’s lineup.)

How about, instead:

#1 Richard Dawkins (“Darwin’s Rottweiler”, ‘nuff said)

#4 Daniel Dennett (winner of Darwin look-alike contest) and the Darwinist education award: “If you insist on teaching your children falsehoods- that the earth is flat, that "Man" is not a product of evolution by natural selection-then you must expect, at the very least, that those of us who have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity.”)*

#7 Michael Shermer (skeptical of everything except Darwinism, I gather, but as Dennett would assure him, Darwin answers all needs)

#12 Edwin O. Wilson, prophet of Social Darwinism, oops, make that sociobiology, no wait, “evolutionary psychology”is the new brand name. To see the reason for continual rebranding, see #4 above.

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How science sense becomes popular nonsense, later fishwrap

Here biophysicist George Hunter offers some helpful explanations of how honest research findings become nonsense in the pop science press:
Is it conceivable that so many scientific papers and reports, with their conclusions about evolution, are making the same mistake? Before answering this we first must understand the hierarchy of the evolution apologetics literature.

At the base of the pyramid are the scientific papers documenting new research findings.

Next up are the review papers that organize and summarize the state of the research.

And finally there is the popular literature, such as newspaper and magazine articles, and books.

Across this hierarchy evolutionists make different types of claims that should not be blindly lumped together. Yes, there are problems across the spectrum, but they tend to be different kinds of problems.
So, for example (this is my simplified example, his is more complex),

- The honest scientist spends a third of his career with his face jammed down a mole hole. He discovers that those moles who did not eat their granddams outnumber those who do, over time. He cobbles together some “I can PROVE Darwin!” explanation, publishes, and moves on.
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