Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Bogey Moment with PZ Myers

It is interesting to see how evolutionists respond to failures of their theory. For all their talk of following the evidence and adjusting to new data, evolutionists find all kinds of ways to resist learning from their failures. Consider one of the major failures of evolution, its view of the very nature of biological change. Twentieth century evolutionary theory held that biological change is a rather simple process that is blind to the needs of the organism. As Julian Huxley, grandson of Darwin confidant T. H. Huxley, put it, mutations "occur without reference to their possible consequences or biological uses."

Observations have long since been made to the contrary, but evolutionists cast it as the Lamarckian heresy. Researchers knew they should not suggest a correlation between environmental pressure and biological response, as the careers of those who did were ruined. An early example was Paul Kammerer, an Austrian biologist who experimented with toads.

Kammerer committed suicide after he was assailed as a fraud and ever since Lamarckian ideas could only be whispered in the hallways. Even today the Wikipedia entry begins:

Lamarckism (or Lamarckian inheritance) is the once popularly accepted, but since mainly discredited, idea that an organism can pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring.

Discredited? Only in the minds of evolutionists. Yes, what we now understand is far more intelligent and nuanced than anything Lamarck envisioned. And it won't likely produce large-scale, macro evolutionary change.

But the notion of environmental pressures causing biological change which can be passed on to subsequent generations--what Kammerer argued he had observed--certainly remains intact.

Not only is it not discredited, but since the days of Kammerer evidence has mounted for precisely this type of inheritance. In recent decades the abundant evidence for such inheritance has simply become undeniable--except, that is, to evolutionists. The whole topic has remained a third rail in evolution-dom. As one evolutionist recently admitted:

The really heretical thing to say is that the environment could be pushing the epigenetic information in a direction that is beneficial … that raises the hackles.

Epigenetics is the field of study that investigates the incredibly complex molecular mechanisms responsible for a wide range of responses, including Lamarckian inheritance. You can see a recent review here.

Nonetheless evolutionists continue to resist and deny the long-standing evidence. Sharon Begley's recent piece in Newsweek about Kammerer, for instance, sent evolutionist PZ Myers into a Bogey Moment as he declared:

Aaaargh! Epigenetics is not Lamarckism! ... I don't think academia has been neglecting this field because of dogma, either. Epigenetics is hot right now (and again, it's NOT Lamarckism!), ... We're all the evolution police. It isn't as sinister as Begley seems to imply: we just demand a little more evidence than speculation.

Not Lamarckism? Unbelievable. And I suppose Darwin didn't use any religious arguments either. And of course there is no dogma in any of this, certainly not. The ball bearings are rolling.

And the evolutionist's are merely seeking a little more evidence than speculation? You've got to be kidding me, an evolutionist downplaying speculation? That would be like Bozo downplaying unicycles. Should we laugh or cry at this hypocrisy. If this wasn't ruining science it would be hilarious.

Evolution dramatically failed in its view of biological change. The response of the evolutionists is even more telling.


  1. Excellent discussion. If a critic points out that new evidence nullifies a previously accepted idea, evolutionists pronounce this a natural part of science. At the same time they only accept new evidence if it meshes with their favorite theories, otherwise they attack it.

    A similar situation occurs with disagreement among scientists. If a critic points out that scientists cannot agree on any aspect of evolution, diehard evolutionists dismiss this as a normal part of science. Yet they do their best to cover up dissent from their peers so the general public won't see it, frequently making statements such as "everyone agrees on X."

    Science should be about open inquiry and public disclosure. Diehard evolutionists want neither.

    Lisa A. Shiel
    author of The Evolution Conspiracy

  2. I really HAD to laugh at the "more evidence than speculation" bit of PZ's phrase. His cognitive dissonance is notorious.

  3. Somehow everything becomes evidence for evolution. Vestigal organs were considered proof of evolution. Then when it was discovered that many vestigal organs were not vestigal at all, it was sited as proof of the amazing power of natural selection to remove non-functioning organs. When junk DNA was discovered, it was considered proof of evolution. That was the whole point of "The Selfish Gene". Then it was discovered that junk DNA isn't really junk, that was sited as proof of evolution. Now thye have recently discovered that genetics does not macth morphology, and the whole tree of life thing has to be re-written. So they have come up with the idea of horizontal gene transfer as the main force driving evolution.

  4. rather than throwing stones from the sidelines, it seems like it would be more productive to actually replicate Kammerer's experiment and see what happens. it would probably be fairly low cost and would easily be publishable no matter the results. how about it, Cornelius? time to get back in the science game?

  5. Wow, I should really start working out so my children will be Arnold Schwarzenegger! I hope my grasp of calculus gets passed down through the sperm too!

    God is too amazing!

  6. "Wow, I should really start working out so my children will be Arnold Schwarzenegger! I hope my grasp of calculus gets passed down through the sperm too!

    God is too amazing!"

    Just another bogey moment.

  7. I second Khan's suggestion. Surely PZ Myers is just about to do something similar, though perhaps he should start by putting Italian wall lizards in captivity on a vegetarian diet: apparently nurse toads are tricky to breed in captivity, and Dr. Myers is known to be very excited about the rapid evolution of those cecal valves on Pod Mrcaru. I'm sure he'd like to demonstrate how these things work in Science.

  8. so we're all agreed, we should all spend less time arguing on the internet and more time doing science..

  9. "so we're all agreed, we should all spend less time arguing on the internet and more time doing science.."

    NO. Science is good, but not the most important thing in life. The most important thing is life is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. All glory, honor, & praise given to him is what life is about my friend.

  10. wait, was that a "Bogey moment"? I'm so confused.

  11. Khan, I have a good feeling most of your moments in life are bogey.

  12. wow, what a zinger. you really got me.

  13. Khan, Using a thesaurus does not make you smart.

  14. "I should really start working out so my children will be Arnold Schwarzenegger! I hope my grasp of calculus gets passed down through the sperm too!"

    Shouldn't need to work out, maybe you could just mate in front of a pic of Arnie.

    Gen 30:37-39:
    And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

  15. Can someone explain to me any connection of this topic to "directed mutation" as investigated by Barry Hall in the '70's and after? For some reason I never see any reference to directed mutation (or "selection-induced mutation"), and I follow the popular evolution debate almost every day. Why do I never see reference to this in the debate?

  16. "Can someone explain to me any connection of this topic to "directed mutation" as investigated by Barry Hall in the '70's and after?"

    Yes, Barry Hall was one of the early investigators of adaptive or directed mutations. Much good work, though there were a few false starts.