Sunday, October 12, 2008

How About Someone that's an Actual Palaeontologist, Please?

The Discovery Institute has, on its Evolution News blog three more people that have doubts about evolution. One is a sociologist Steven Fuller, who has written a book called Dissent over Descent. About it, the writer says:

Fuller argues that intelligent design is not anti-science (just anti-establishment), as biological study continues to become more like an engineering project, it will be harder for scientists to deny that life is intelligently designed.

*sigh* another book to read.

The second guy is Ray Bohlin, a molecular biologist and Discovery Institute researcher, who wrote a book called The Natural Limits to Biological Change, in 1984.

The third gentleman is the stuff of Expelled!:

Rodney LeVake, a former high school biology teacher, informally expressed doubts about evolution to a colleague who then reported him to the principal. LeVake ended up losing his biology position, not because he taught creationism or intelligent design, but because he committed a thought crime by doubting Darwinism.

Answers in Genesis has their take on the LeVake affair here:

As we reported earlier (Time magazine gets it wrong again!), LeVake is a Christian biology teacher in Minnesota whose ‘crime’ was simply to expose his students to some of the scientific flaws in evolution. He did not even teach creation but merely brought up problems with evolution. His punishment was removal from his high-school biology classroom (to teach the ‘safer’ subject of general science).

Here is a very short section of a transcript on CNN between LeVake and Kathy Slobogin from 2001:

SLOBOGIN: A few years ago in the small town of Faribault, Minnesota, Levake was promoted to a job he had wanted for years: teaching biology in the local high school. But he ran into trouble with the other biology teachers when he didn't teach evolution. Levake claims he ran out of time in a shortened school year and had to skip the chapters on evolution. The school says the other biology teachers managed to fit them in. When school officials questioned Levake about his future intentions, one thing became clear: He wouldn't teach evolution their way.

LEVAKE: No, I -- I'm not willing to teach evolution as a fact. I'm willing to teach evolution and take a look critically at both sides of the issue. That I -- I feel like I could do.

SLOBOGIN (on camera): Are you bringing your religious beliefs into the classroom?

LEVAKE: No, absolutely not. There is a vast difference between questioning evolution as a theory and teaching science from a religious standpoint.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): Levake says he's simply trying to expose his students to what he calls holes in the theory of evolution.

LEVAKE: But why would a peacock evolve such a beautiful tail if one of the main purposes of evolution was survival of the fittest?

Funny, that's not what he said in an interview with the AP in 1999:

FARIBAULT, Minn. --- Science teacher Rodney LeVake says believing in evolution is as absurd as thinking the Earth is the center of the universe.

LeVake is speaking over apple pie in a restaurant in this quiet southern Minnesota town of 20,000 that has become the scene of the latest flare-up in the debate about teaching evolution in high school.

"I'd like an evolutionist to look me in the eye," he says, "and tell me one thing about evolution that is true."

Digging a bit deeper reveals that LeVake has a degree in biology education, not biology. He is a product of the education system, not the biological curriculum. I can tell him a whole bunch of things that are true about evolution and if he had a basic background in biology, he could too.


Of course, one wonders why the DI is just now putting him on their honor role since all of the above happened eight to nine years ago. Interestingly, the DI could not come up with an honest-to-goodness, regular, garden-variety biologist who doubts evolution, let alone a palaeontologist.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like Ray Bohlin is an actual biologist. I wonder if he denies common descent though. I'm not aware of any biologists that DI endorses that deny common descent. Anytime I hear someone has doubts about "Darwinism" I wonder if they plan to deny common descent, which as far as I am concerned is all that really matters.

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  2. Ray Bohlin's views can be found here. His view of biology seems to be restricted to the present day, since he spouts the same hogwash about the Cambrian Period that most creationists do. He has also latched onto this notion of "defeating darwinism." Curious. No biologist that I know of uses the term "Darwinism." That word tends to be a giveaway that they are not really talking about the evolutionary record but rather the "Godless atheism of Darwinism." You want to yell "Go out and look at the fossil record, for a change!"

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