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Thread: Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth

  1. #1

    Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth

    I guess we all know how many times an argument about evolution has raged on these boards. Typically, CS, myself and a few others would fight the entrenched "fact" of evolution and try to withstand the onslaught of opinion that (for the most part) declared evolution was so.

    Our dissent would be passionate and, in laymans terms, we would do the very best we could to try to relate what we had learned. I think some of what we related was scientifically valid and very much philosophically vaild. And through all of these discussions, I have come to learn much of the character of the people we discoursed with. From Warfish's keen sense of logic to Plumber (I think) who has insight on the scienctific/religious core and everyone else, I learned that plenty of folks who frequent this thread are pretty bright. But one poster in particular (whose name I forget) really struck me. He asked, in the course of my arguments, for me to reference the scientific journals I was citing. Not being a biologist or even scientist, I could not (of course that in no way implied I was wrong:) ). But this gentleman, a bio student looking to do doctoral level work, and what he asked for always stuck with me. But I just did not have the know how or resources to answer................

    Well, the other day I am driving home listening to an interview. The guest was a man named Jonathon Wells. He boasted PhDs from Berkeley and Yale in microbiology. Furthermore, he was in the thick of the late 60s / early 70s radical lw Berkeley crowd. It seems he had left the movement because he was disiliuusioned by its violence. And now, I guess still the rebel at heart, he has decided to take on the scientific establishgment and its use/misuse of Darwinian evolution. In his book, Icons of Evolution, Wells hardly ever mentions God or Creationism (and when he does it is limited to a historical usage). His book is all about the evidence within the scientific and biological communities; in other words, he uses mainstream science (there are 0, nada, no Intelligent Design arguments) to counter the assertions of evolution. What's more, I have just about finished the book: I read 240 pages in a day a half - so it is a quick read nad not some bland text book. And best of all, in the back, Wells cites study after study and study all from peer revierwed journals, that form the basis for his attack on evolutionary theory.

    At no point in the book does Wells even intimate that there is a God of any kind. He assassinates science with science.

    In a nutshell, what wells does is take the 10 Icons of Evolution (the most referenced proofs for evolution) and diswcusses them in detail and tells you all of the details you did not know from the mouths of peer reviewed scientists themselves. The Icons are:
    1) The Miller - Urey Experiment
    2) Darwin's Tree of Life
    3) Homology in Vertabrate Limbs
    4) Haeckel's Embryos
    5) Archeopteryx
    6) Peppered Moths
    7) Darwin's Finches
    8) Four Winged Fruit Flies
    9) Fossil Horses and Directed Evolution
    10) From Ape to Human

    So for anyone who might want to learn, without the slightest reference to God or Creationism or ID, what the HUGE problems with evolution are ................ reading this book will provide entirely secular reasons to doubt any or all validity that the theory of evolution has.

    I'm pretty sure I paid under $15 for the book at Amazon.

  2. #2
    [QUOTE=Wikipedia]John Corrigan "Jonathan" Wells is an author, a prominent promoter of intelligent design and an opponent of evolution[1], which Wells and other intelligent design proponents often refer to as "Darwinism."[2][3][4]

    In his book, Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?, Wells says that evolution conflicts with the evidence, and argues against its teaching in public school science classes[5] However, his views on evolution, as well as AIDS, run counter to scientific consensus on evolution and the causal link between HIV and AIDS, skeptics of which are known as the AIDS reappraisal movement.[6][7] [B][U]Wells rejects evolution in favor of intelligent design[/U][/B][1] and denies the causal link between the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).[8][9][10][6] The scientific community overwhelmingly accepts evolution[11] and considers the causative role of HIV to be well proven and dissident arguments are the result of ideologically-driven cherry-picking and misrepresentation of predominantly outdated scientific data, with the potential to endanger public health by dissuading people from utilizing proven treatments.[12][13][14][15] Both intelligent design and AIDS reappraisal are viewed within the scientific community as pseudoscience.[16][17]

    Background
    [B][U]After dropping out of college (where he was majoring in geology)[/U][/B] and working as a taxi driver in New York City, Wells was drafted into the United States Army, serving from 1964 to 1966. After returning to college at UC Berkeley, he was ordered to reserve duty. Being by that time a critic of the Vietnam War, [B][U]he refused to report for duty and was incarcerated for 18 months at the Leavenworth military prison[/U][/B].[18]

    In the 1970s [B][U]Wells joined Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church[/U][/B]. [B][U]He graduated from the church's Unification Theological Seminary in 1978 with a Masters in Religious Education[/U][/B].[19] He has since written extensively on Unification theology and since 1981 has taught from time to time at the Unification Theological Seminary.[20]Wells worked for the Unification Theological Seminary until 1996 and is an ordained cleric in the Unification Church.[21] The president of the school, David S.C. Kim, said Wells had made a great contribution to the school's development.[22] Wells has written on the subject of marriage within the Unification Church [23] and has been called a "Unification Church marriage expert" by church sources. [24] He is married and has two children. [25]

    [B][U]In 1986 Wells earned a PhD in Religious Studies at Yale University.[26] He then returned to UC Berkeley where in 1994 he was awarded a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology.[26] Shortly after completing his doctorate, Wells joined former UC Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson, father of the intelligent design movement, at the Discovery Institute.[[/U][/B]27][26] After receiving his doctorate, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher in developmental biology;[28] however it is alleged that this was an unpaid position arranged[27] by Johnson.

    [B][U]Wells now serves as a fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, hub of the intelligent design movement, and at the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design,[29] an organization that promotes intelligent design.[/U][/B]

    [edit] Opposition to evolution
    Of his early student days at Unification Theological Seminary (1976-78), Wells said, "One of the things that Father [Reverend Sun Myung Moon] advised us to do at UTS was to pray to seek God's plan for our lives." He later described that plan: "To defend and articulate Unification theology especially in relation to Darwinian evolution."[30]

    Wells stated that his religious doctoral studies at Yale focused on the "root of the conflict between Darwinian evolution and Christian doctrine" and encompassed the whole of Christian theology within a focus of Darwinian controversies. He said, "I learned (to my surprise) that biblical chronology played almost no role in the 19th-century controversies, since most theologians had already accepted geological evidence for the age of the earth and re-interpreted the days in Genesis as long periods of time. Instead, the central issue was design."[31]

    [B][U]Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church bankrolled Wells's education.[[/U][/B]32][33] [B][U]Wells said that learning how to "destroy Darwinism," the term he and intelligent design proponents use to mean evolution[2][3][4] which is opposed by the Unification Church,[34][35][36][37] was his motive for seeking his second Ph.D. at Berkeley:[/U][/B]

    "[B][U]Father's [Sun Myung Moon's] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism[/U][/B], just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle." --Jonathan Wells, Darwinism: Why I Went for a Second Ph.D. [38]

    [B][U][COLOR="Red"]Wells's statement and others like it are viewed by the scientific community as evidence that Wells lacks proper scientific objectivity and mischaracterizes evolution by ignoring and misrepresenting the evidence supporting it while pursuing an agenda promoting notions supporting his religious beliefs in its stead.[[/COLOR][/U][/B]39][40][41][42][43] Massimo Pigliucci, having debated Wells, said Wells [B][U]"clearly lied"[/U][/B] during his debates and misrepresented his agenda and science.[44] Moreover, Pigliucci wrote Wells simply does not understand some of the theories Wells tries to attack. The Discovery Institute responded that "Darwinists have resorted to attacks on Dr. Wells’s religion"[45].

    Wells has written a large number of articles attacking evolution and defending Intelligent Design.[46] He was one of the contributors to Natural History Magazine's 2002 debate between ID advocates and evolution supporters.[47]

    [edit] Icons of Evolution
    Main article: Icons of Evolution
    Wells is best known [48][49][50] for his 2002 book Icons of Evolution, in which he discusses ten examples which he says show that many of the most commonly accepted arguments supporting evolution are invalid. Icons of Evolution has been called an "influential intelligent-design book."[51]

    [B][U][COLOR="Red"]Wells's assertions and conclusion in this book, as well as in his other writings, are rejected by the scientific community[/COLOR][/U][/B].[52] Scholars quoted in the work [B][U]have accused Wells' of purposely misquoting them and misleading readers[/U][/B]. Biology Professor Jerry Coyne wrote of Icons, "Jonathan Wells' book rests entirely on a flawed syllogism: ... textbooks illustrate evolution with examples; these examples are sometimes presented in incorrect or misleading ways; therefore evolution is a fiction."[53][/QUOTE]

    Additional information on the Author.

    It seems quite clear he is both very religious, and clearly a Creationist/ID supporter.
    Last edited by Warfish; 12-16-2007 at 11:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    You can get that same info on the icons of evolution from a Jehovah Witness book. You really don't want to be seen as the same as the JoHos, do you?

  4. #4
    [QUOTE=Warfish;2269843]Additional information on the Author.

    It seems quite clear he is both very religious, and clearly a Creationist/ID supporter.[/QUOTE]

    Warfish, you miss the point entirely. The point is that according to scientists, in order to question the Theory of Evolution with any legitimacy, you must do so without a reference to ID. In this book, Wells has done exaxtly that. He has taken mainstream scientific journals and peer reviewed work. He has quoted from brilliant PhDs from Harvard, the University of Chicago, Berkeley...................... far too many institutions to recall.

    Here's an example. I have known for some time that the Evolution Edict that "ontology recapitulates phylogeny" is false. But in Icons, Wells was able to give the names of the exact studies that said so. Furthermore, he was able to able to show that the Haeckel drawings that are purported to support the onotology to phylogeny claim knowingly use drawings that are, literraly, a fraud. He even shows where leading evolutionists like Stephen Jay Gould knowingly used the drawings to "prove" evolution - despite knowing for 20 years that they were frauds!

    Here's the thing: If I attempt to persuade you by quoting Genesis, I completely understand that you reject such reasoning because it is based on faith, feelings and definitely not science. However, if I argue the falsity of Evolution and cite study after study after study from within mainstream science that contradicts the conclusions of Evolution, what I believe is irrelevant because my source is what they believe.

    So what if Wells is whacked? His research and conclusions are unimpeachable, so instead the attacks are not on his work, but on his character. It sounds like a play out of the Clinton Political Playbook!

    The question at hand is not is Wells a nice guy, is Wells a Muslim, a Christian or a kook or anything in between. The question is has Wells used mainstream science to discredit the Theory of Evolution. THe answer is clearly yes. How do you know that without reading the book? No one is claiming anything he researched is in error.
    Last edited by JCnflies; 12-17-2007 at 09:49 AM.

  5. #5
    [QUOTE=JCnflies;2270321]The question is has Wells used mainstream science to discredit the Theory of Evolution. THe answer is clearly yes. How do you know that without reading the book? [B]No one is claiming anything he researched is in error.[/B][/QUOTE]

    this sure sounds like they're questioning his research, or at least his interpretation of it:

    "Wells's statement and others like it are viewed by the scientific community as evidence that Wells lacks proper scientific objectivity and mischaracterizes evolution by ignoring and misrepresenting the evidence supporting it while pursuing an agenda promoting notions supporting his religious beliefs in its stead.[39][40][41][42][43] Massimo Pigliucci, having debated Wells, said Wells "clearly lied" during his debates and misrepresented his agenda and science.[44] Moreover, Pigliucci wrote Wells simply does not understand some of the theories Wells tries to attack."

  6. #6
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    Evolution is real.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=JCnflies;2270321]Warfish, you miss the point entirely.[/QUOTE]

    I'm sorry my friend, but I have not.

    Your source here is simply not a credible Scientist is any form whatsoever, is an accused liar, manipulator, scientific ignoramous and clearly a ideology-driven Intelligent Design promoter. What you did in your OP was imply he was some run-of-the-mill-no-bais scientist/researcher who, without any preconceptions or intended end results, chose to take on aspects of Evolutionary Theory. That is [U]clearly[/U] not the case, as his bio points out unquestionably.

    He is a faith-based ID promoter, bought and paid for (and educated by) Faith (a fringe faith at that), on a holy quest to destroy Evolution. His position, not mine.

    And please, I assume you read the bio information, his work is INDEED criticised, roundly, wholey, and by most of the people he references. He is called a liar, a manipulator and a fraud. He works for a "research" agency that is a front for the ID Agenda.

    I'm sorry JC, but he is simply not credible as a Scientist, nor is his work, based on the information I have read on him. If you choose to believe it, that is your choice.

  8. #8
    I think any sense of a lie would have more to do with Well's being a proponent of ID than him lying about any of his research.

    What does it mean to know less about a specific topic than those who did the research? Anyone with intellect can derive reasonable conclusions.

    Do you need to have a degree in embryology to understand that the Haeckel drawing are fakes and that, in spite of this fact, they are still used in textbooks today?

    Do you need a degree in genetics to know that, when scientists are able to genetically engineer a fruitfly with 4 wings, the resulting fly has trouble flying and is only possible to create when three very specfic mutants of fruitflys are combined and that those fruitflies are strictly confined to the laboratory because the genetic mutations would be eliminated once mixed with the general population?

    The book is full of such things.

    And of course, before we jump to the conclusion that Wells is a flack, let is remember he boasts PhDs from Berkeley and Yale - not exactly associate degrees from the local college.

    It's funny. One of hte quotes Wells ahs in Icons is from a Chinese paleontologist. He says it is ironic that, in China, you can question Darwin but you can;t question t he government and, in America, you can question the government but you can;t question Darwin.

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=JCnflies;2270461]let is remember he boasts PhDs from Berkeley and Yale - not exactly associate degrees from the local college.[/QUOTE]

    And remember, his Phd from Yale is in....Religious Studies.

    His Masters is from Sun Myung Moon's Unification Theological Seminary, in.....Religious Education.

    Only his U.C. Berkley degree is in a Science, and it was obtained AFTER he had dedicated his life to his Holy Crusade of Destroying Evolution:

    [QUOTE=Wells]"One of the things that Father [Reverend Sun Myung Moon] advised us to do at UTS was to pray to seek God's plan for our lives." He later described that plan: "To defend and articulate Unification theology especially in relation to Darwinian evolution."[/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE=Wells]Wells said that [B][U]learning how to "destroy Darwinism"[/U][/B]....which is opposed by the [B][U]Unification Church[/U][/B], [B][U]was his motive[/U][/B] for seeking his second Ph.D. at Berkeley:[/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE=Wells]"Father's [Sun Myung Moon's] words, my studies, and [B][U]my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism[/U][/B], just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle."[/QUOTE],

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=Warfish;2270450]I'm sorry my friend, but I have not.

    Your source here is simply not a credible Scientist is any form whatsoever, is an accused liar, manipulator, scientific ignoramous and clearly a ideology-driven Intelligent Design promoter. What you did in your OP was imply he was some run-of-the-mill-no-bais scientist/researcher who, without any preconceptions or intended end results, chose to take on aspects of Evolutionary Theory. That is [U]clearly[/U] not the case, as his bio points out unquestionably.

    He is a faith-based ID promoter, bought and paid for (and educated by) Faith (a fringe faith at that), on a holy quest to destroy Evolution. His position, not mine.

    And please, I assume you read the bio information, his work is INDEED criticised, roundly, wholey, and by most of the people he references. He is called a liar, a manipulator and a fraud. He works for a "research" agency that is a front for the ID Agenda.

    I'm sorry JC, but he is simply not credible as a Scientist, nor is his work, based on the information I have read on him. If you choose to believe it, that is your choice.[/QUOTE]

    What I said, from the start, is that Icons only refers in any substance at all to peer reviewed mainstream science work. I never said anything about his own pov because it has nothing to do with the peer reviewed work he cited.


    Were any of the references to his reporting from mainstream scientific journals not clear? ALL of his knocks on evolution come from all of the same peer reviewed journals ALL scientists use. If you choose not to find this out for yourself - if you choose to be ignorant of entirely scientific knocks on evolution - it is on you. But for anyone who feels this way, that does not mean in any way shape or form that they do not exist.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=JCnflies;2270508]What I said, from the start, is that Icons only refers in any substance at all to peer reviewed mainstream science work. I never said anything about his own pov because it has nothing to do with the peer reviewed work he cited.


    Were any of the references to his reporting from mainstream scientific journals not clear? ALL of his knocks on evolution come from all of the same peer reviewed journals ALL scientists use. If you choose not to find this out for yourself - if you choose to be ignorant of entirely scientific knocks on evolution - it is on you. But for anyone who feels this way, that does not mean in any way shape or form that they do not exist.[/QUOTE]

    [QUOTE]Wells's assertions and conclusion in this book, as well as in his other writings, are rejected by the scientific community.[52] Scholars quoted in the work have accused Wells' of purposely misquoting them and misleading readers.[/QUOTE]

    There is additional criticism of the specific journals he has published in as well, but I'll leave that for you to persue if you wish.

    However, you seem as if if you're getting angry about this subject, and for that I'm sorry. I hope you have a great day JC. Don't let the doubts of us heathens get you down.

  12. #12
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    No pro-evolution person uses Haeckel's embryo drawings for probably going on 100 years now... that's a common argument by ID folks, and is 100% untrue

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=Warfish;2270492]And remember, his Phd from Yale is in....Religious Studies.

    His Masters is from Sun Myung Moon's Unification Theological Seminary, in.....Religious Education.

    Only his U.C. Berkley degree is in a Science, and it was obtained AFTER he had dedicated his life to his Holy Crusade of Destroying Evolution:

    ,[/QUOTE]

    So let me get this right................. someone senses or sees that there are falws with the Theory of Evolution. So they go back to college and earn a PhD from a leading university. But because their mission is to dispute the theory, somehow that makes their PhD or research less valid?

    Bias goes into research all the time. In fact, Dawkins chooses to define biology as the something like (I don't recall the exact words) understanding descent with random modification (evolution) despite looking like design. (I can get you the exact definition later.) Darwin himself allowed for the chance that there was a Creator that got the whole ball of wax started, but then said there was only blind chance nad never considered anything except blind chance.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=JCnflies;2269584]

    So for anyone who might want to learn, without the slightest reference to God or Creationism or ID, what the HUGE problems with evolution are ................ reading this book will provide entirely secular reasons to doubt any or all validity that the theory of evolution has.

    I'm pretty sure I paid under $15 for the book at Amazon.[/QUOTE]

    There may be a few holes in evolution theory.

    But you know what the hole in creation theory is? There isn't one single piece of physical evidence to support it.

    Not one.

  15. #15
    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2270619]No pro-evolution person uses Haeckel's embryo drawings for probably going on 100 years now... that's a common argument by ID folks, and is 100% untrue[/QUOTE]

    Would you like a list of popular textbooks that still use the drawings? Also, Gould himself knew of the fraud but used a college text that referenced them and only noted the inaccuracy when confronted by a non-evolutionist.

    But thank you for confirming one of Wells points, that haeckels drawings are not only a fraud, but have been known to be so for nearly a century. But despite that, most HS and many college biology texts still refer to the drawings and many even show them.

    One publisher, when confronted with the false nature of the drawings, said that he knew of it but that, because evolution was inherently true, he felt that including them was not wrong because it helped guide the students to a greater truth and that subsequent texts at higher levels could point out the inconsistencies.

  16. #16
    My point is very specific and I hope not to get sidetracked. If you would like to punch holes in Creationism, blast away - but please in another thread. I know some about ID (not a ton) and think it answers many questions. But you could be very right .................. perhaps it has even greater holes than evolution.

    The reason I started this thread was as a direct response to those who asked for peer reviewed, scientific facts that questioned aspects of evolutionary theory. Anyone with intellect who reads Icons can not deny the existence of such literature.................... even if the literature was researched by a Moonie ....................... or a lw Berkeley lib ................. or a guy who got his PhD for the express purpose of fighting evolutionary theory.

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=Warfish;2270565]There is additional criticism of the specific journals he has published in as well, but I'll leave that for you to persue if you wish.

    However, you seem as if if you're getting angry about this subject, and for that I'm sorry. I hope you have a great day JC. Don't let the doubts of us heathens get you down.[/QUOTE]

    Your wit is great ................. now if we can work on the wisdom:)

    Here's the thing. I understand that you have read that there are criticisms. Of course there are ................... it goes with the turf. But it seems to me that many people drink the kool aid - evolution is all there is and ever was, blah, blah , blah.

    Creationist or ID believers are labeled as narrow minded because they feel that whatever is true must fit into their Biblical world view. But evolutionists do the exact same thing.................... they claim that ID is not science (falsely) and that only science that follows established scientific protocols are considered "science." But when mainstream science is used, the tactic changes to attacking the source................... like saying ID is Creationism. Btw, did you know there is at least one prominent atheist who thinks ID is the best explanation for life?

    But you point out a good thing. I have been getting upset and I should not be. All I or anyone else can do is bring to the attention that other sources exist. At the end of the day, I can feel comfortable knowing that I once bought into Evolution - particularly when I was in college taking bio and physics. As time went on, I learned of a mountain of evidence that contradicts the very things I was told were true. I researched and read book after book after book. So for those who, like me, feel that the "truth" is not as it seems, I offer a resource to further their knowledge. I should not get upset if they dismiss it out of hand withuot serious consideration. Sorry.

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=Warfish;2269843]Additional information on the Author.

    It seems quite clear he is both very religious, and clearly a Creationist/ID supporter.[/QUOTE]

    Attacking the character or motives of someone rather than the idea itself. This post reeks of one of the most basic logical fallacies of all, argumentum ad hominem.

    I would have expected more from you, Warfish -- perhaps write some commentary on the work itself rather than going right to Wikipedia to see what kind of smear you can dig up on the author.

  19. #19
    [QUOTE=JCnflies;2270791]My point is very specific and I hope not to get sidetracked. If you would like to punch holes in Creationism, blast away - but please in another thread. I know some about ID (not a ton) and think it answers many questions. But you could be very right .................. perhaps it has even greater holes than evolution.

    The reason I started this thread was as a direct response to those who asked for peer reviewed, scientific facts that questioned aspects of evolutionary theory. Anyone with intellect who reads Icons can not deny the existence of such literature.................... even if the literature was researched by a Moonie ....................... or a lw Berkeley lib ................. or a guy who got his PhD for the express purpose of fighting evolutionary theory.[/QUOTE]


    You cannot "punch holes" in space. There is no evidence supporting creationism. None. Not a single piece.

    You can punch holes in evolution because there is a ton of evidence supporting it --and some (shrinking) gaps within that massive case for it.

  20. #20
    [QUOTE=pauliec;2271010]Attacking the character or motives of someone rather than the idea itself. This post reeks of one of the most basic logical fallacies of all, argumentum ad hominem.

    I would have expected more from you, Warfish -- perhaps write some commentary on the work itself rather than going right to Wikipedia to see what kind of smear you can dig up on the author.[/QUOTE]

    Sorry you're disspointed.

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