Steve Saves The Day : 2004-06-15
Back in April, I ranted
about Linda Seebach's column, Timing of evolution gripe little helps its shaky case
. Today I received an email from Ms. Seebach:
Jason Rosenhouse, who blogs at the Panda's Thumb, just came across your
response to an earlier column of mine on evolution and the Dsicovery (sic)
Institute. He thought I'd enjoy it, and I did; it's hilarious.
Anyway, I thought you might like to make a second attempt about last
Saturday's column ...
Naturally I went back to read my rant and see what was so hilarious. I found that I had actually been a little harsh, obviously in full-rant mode that day. Ranting at mythical figures is easy--when they come to life, even by email, you tend to feel a little sheepish. So, while I stand behind the core of my content, I apologize to Ms. Seebach for being less gracious than I should have been. The printed word tends to come across more strongly than the same words delivered in person with a grin. I don't want her--or anyone else--to think that spittle was miraculously hurtling from my tightly-pursed lips as I hammered the keyboard in demented fury. Hopefully this rant will convey a mere modicum of lunacy on my part. And so we take up the challenge...
Ms. Seebach's June 12 column was called Evolution-touting scientists make point with Steves list
. It described how evolutionists have assembled a list of scientists named "Steve" (or some variation thereof) to humorously counter lists by non-evolutionists delineating scientists who question Darwinian evolution.
I enjoyed the column, and found the "Steve List" idea to be quite humorous. Of course, it's not surprising to find lengthy lists of evolutionists named Steve; after all, not one "Steve" has ever been president of the U.S. or prime minister of Canada. And yes, for the humor-impaired, I'm well aware that an evolutionist by any other name would smell as common. I'm not one of those who sees a day when evolutionists will be outnumbered, if for no other reason than the fact that many scientists will not want to acknowledge a creator and will be forced to embrace evolution by default. Add those convinced that nothing intelligent could be behind the complexity of the eye, the brain, or even a single cell, and then add in those who believe in a deistic God who kick-started life before letting evolution take its course, and the creationist side will always be in the minority, not that minority reports are always wrong.
Where I take issue with Seebach continues to be her unwillingness to even consider the creationist viewpoint as a sane, let alone viable, alternative. For example,
People who oppose the teaching of evolution in the schools or who want nonscientific theories such as "intelligent design" to be part of the curriculum
How does she define "science" and "nonscientific"? Her epistemology may be sound, but apparently her faith in evolution is of such solemnity that even considering possible challenges is verboten
As purported evidence for their claim, they compile lists of scientists - well, some of them are scientists - who agree with them.
Since Seebach doesn't reference any specific list, her insinuation that the lists are padded with non-scientists is inconsequential at best. She goes on to assert that evolution is the sine qua non
They are very short lists, compared with the hundreds of thousands of scientists who understand that evolution by natural selection is the foundation of all the biological sciences
Again, her point is assumed and not defended with even a single example. The founder of "Project Steve" is "Matt Inlay, then a graduate student in biology at the University of California at San Diego." Interestingly enough, a list I offered in my first response to a Seebach column included Gregory J. Brewer
, who received his Ph.D. in Biology from the same school. Despite his failure to understand the foundation of his chosen field, Brewer was awarded his doctorate by the once-respected UC San Diego, and somehow managed to become Professor of Neurology and Medical Microbiology at Southern Illinois University. Or is it possible that despite Dr. Brewer's disbelief in evolution, he can function quite well in his field because evolution is actually peripheral to most of the actual science of biology, being more of an appendage than a foundation?
The column concludes,
"If I were a parent whose children were entering high school," Inlay concludes, "and I kept reading in the news that many scientists thought evolution was a theory in crisis and that students were being prevented from hearing about this controversy by dogmatic Darwinists, I would want to know that in reality, 99 percent of scientists support evolution, and only an insignificant minority question it."
Parents should indeed know that.
Where does Inlay get his news? I keep reading in the News that creationists are not true scientists, apparently being little more than mere idiots masquerading as scientists. I don't know what the actual percentages are, but even if it's only one percent, I'd want to know about any challenges to establishment dogma that were issued by intelligent thinkers out of the mainstream. I would think that someone with a background as diverse as Ms. Seebach's would be just as open, and unafraid to examine alternative views.
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