Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Business Insider Magazine Promotes Science Denial

Why would a business magazine have a science section?

More importantly, why would it have a science section and then promote science denial?

Let's dig in!

First of all, The Discovery Institute isn't a think tank.  It's a religious public relations organization.  See my separate page, "Comparing The Creationist & Hormesis Cults" on right hand side of this webpage.

Like all such organizations it doesn't produce anything new, it just sits back and concocts criticisms of science in order to promote their ideology, in this case creationism.  They are like chihuahuas snapping at the ankles of the public's understanding of science.

It's a bit ironic that following the magazine's denial points of evolutionary biology, there's a bit on the irrefutable evidence that climate change is real!  I've found more often those who promote the propaganda of  biology denial also tend to do the same in regards to climatology denial.  They're typically called Republicans.

Let's address the biology denial propaganda points:

1.  Random mutations cause harm to organisms and do not build complexity

No, most mutations are neutral, fewer are harmful, and even fewer are beneficial.  They build complexity because they allow for the production of new proteins which can build new structures and perform new tasks.  The complexity develops over time, as mutations that do benefit an organism are retained, those that lead to the demise of organisms are lost.  By retaining more and more mutations over time, complexity builds up.  Since different organisms find themselves in different environments over time, we see rich diversification in modern day organisms.

2.  Random and undirected processes do not seem capable of producing cellular complexity.

The processes are undirected, but not random, they follow the four forces of physics.  They do not seem capable of producing cellular complexity at first glance.  But with advances in molecular biology we can describe all kinds of biochemical processes which occur in the cell as a result of these four forces.

3.  The fossil record shows abrupt appearance and generally lacks intermediate fossils.

Fossils are hard to come by.  Soft tissue doesn't fossilize, only hard tissue is capable of doing so, but only under the proper conditions  Meanwhile, the Earth is a dynamic place with continents moving, volcanoes erupting, erosion, etc.  So many fossils are destroyed.  Of those which are capable of being found, someone actually has to find one.

When someone actually considers evolution, predicts where a particular transitional fossil should be, and goes and finds it...that's science!  Take the fish-amphibian transitional fossil name Tiktaalik.

Of course, it's a lot easier sitting in an office thinking up propaganda.

4.  Despite DNA discoveries, biologists are failing to reconstruct Darwin's "tree of life".

If you keep your head in the sand (or up something else), you can't see the light.

5.  The chemical origins of life remain an unsolved mystery.

That's true, but that has nothing to do with Darwin's theory of evolution, which is what the article is trying to refute.  That phenomenon is called abiogenesis.  Today, we realize everything evolves...hydrogen evolves into stars, which evolve into nebula or something else, and produce new matter which can evolve into solar systems, and planets within solar systems can evolve life.  Life can evolve into different species.

Now, when faced with an unsolved mystery, there are two paths forward.  One is willful ignorance and criticism:

The other path forward, is rolling up one's sleeves, and accepting the challenge and getting to work.  In other words, scientific inquiry to solve the mystery.

But even if this mystery is never solved, that doesn't mean anyone gets to insert their "answer", if it's an unsolved mystery than that's what it is.

6.  Textbooks often overstate or misstate key lines of evidence for modern evolutionary theory.

Jeez...not Haeckel's embryos again (see my "Comparing The Creationist & Hormesis Cults").

Textbooks do occasionally make errors, not often.

But compared to the degree that religious texts get science wrong, there's really no comparison.


  1. On point 2, I would phrase my response the other way round. The changes are random yet directed (or even "selected" - strictly after the fact, though). The mutations are random, but the survival, health and reproductive success of the resulting organism is "directed" by the interaction of the mutated organism with its environment (including other organisms).

    And, of course, we're all mutated organisms.

    I try to guard myself against using "evolve" too freely, at least in the context of these sort of discussions. In a biological sense, populations evolve - individuals only develop. And your other examples of using "evolve" under point 5 don't reflect that population-shift characteristic.

  2. I think Point 2's use of "directed" is related to the "process", not the organism. In other words, the interaction of the organism and its environment is a process. The Disc. Inst. say it must be directed by an intelligent designer, I'm saying the process is not directed.

    Evolve in a broad sense just means to change. In the sense of evolution of species it applies to populations. But more broadly the Universe is not static, it is constantly evolving. To fixate on evolution of species as a unique process, is what the Disc. Inst. would like. But when we acknowledge the Universe evolves, we'd expect that life would too. And it does.