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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thinkquote of the day: Darwinist Jerry Coyne on whether Darwinian evolution has any use

Jerry A. Coyne, of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, criticizing an author named David P. Mindell in the eminent science journal Nature, for announcing that everything including sliced bread is one of the benefits of believing Darwin, which means believing that the entire history of life after its origin can be explained by natural selection acting on random genetic mutations:
To some extent these excesses are not Mindell's fault, for, if truth be told, evolution hasn't yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn't evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of 'like begets like.' ( "Selling Darwin" Nature, Vol 442, 31 August 2006 - but you must pay.)

So then why are careers endangered or wrecked over carefully considered refusals to believe in Darwinism (which Coyne, like most Darwinists, merely describes as "evolution")?

Well, readers of this blog will know my own view, that Darwinism is the creation story of secularist atheism. Demands for assent to Darwinism (or, in some tellings, universal Darwinism) are demands for assent to the rule of the public square by that particular body of thought.

Dr. Coyne ends by ridiculing creationists and intelligent design supporters for doubting that Darwinism is the origin of new species, even though there is so little evidence that he is forced to use the analogy that one language can change slowly into another. But, of course, languages are intelligently designed by the groups that use them (working, of course, from a logical base that is innate).

I might be a bit light blogging for a couple of days because I have to go give a talk at the Toronto ID conference on why there is an intelligent design controversy and why it isn't going away - and why trying to force people to say they agree with Darwin or punish them when they don't - will not make it go away. Thanks to Dr. Coyne for helping me understand.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being granted tenure at Baylor after a long struggle - even after helping in a small way to destroy the Baylor Bears' ancient glory - in the opinion of a hyper sportswriter.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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