THE neo-theocrats have another of their “Bah, humbug!” blogs post at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). This one is by that scientific giant, Jonathan Wells — about whom we wrote The Genius of Jonathan Wells.
Without further introduction, dear reader, we present some excerpts from his year-end rant: PBS: Pushing Bad Science. With bold font added by us, and with a few of his links left out, Wells says:
As 2009 comes to an end, so does the delirium of “Darwin Year.” From “Darwin Day” on February 12 (Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday) to November 24 (the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species), Darwin’s disciples spared no expense (using mostly taxpayers’ money) in their exuberant celebrations, even though most of Darwin’s ideas were mistaken and his contributions to science were insignificant compared to those of hundreds of others—including (to name just a few) Isaac Newton … [list of worthies omitted].
Quite an opening — delirium, Darwin’s disciples, taxpayers’ money, mistaken ideas, insignificant. Let’s read on:
What Darwin promoted was not empirical science but materialistic philosophy.
Actually, it was empirical science, and much of it has held up very well, in spite of continuous testing whenever a new fossil is found or another creature’s DNA is explored. We continue:
But the assumption that everything can be explained by natural causes is characteristic of materialistic philosophy. This is why atheists want to establish Darwin Day as a secular alternative to Christmas.
Darwin Day instead of Christmas? We hadn’t heard of such a proposal, but new holidays are constantly being promoted by various groups — far more than there are available days in the year. Aside from that, which Wells tossed in as an emotional distraction to fire up his natural fan base, the philosophy of metaphysical naturalism probably does assume that “everything can be explained by natural causes,” because that philosophy asserts that no other causes exist.
Science, however, is not congruent with metaphysical naturalism. Whatever personal beliefs a scientist may have about supernatural affairs — and some definitely have a wild streak — a scientist’s professional work is concerned only with natural phenomena. That isn’t because he’s philosophically required to reject the existence of fairies and angels, but because there’s no way to verifiably observe supernatural entities or test their influences on the natural world.
Then Wells gets around to the matter suggested by his article title — “bad science” pushed by PBS:
The U. S. “Public” Broadcasting System (PBS) has a long history of promoting materialistic philosophy disguised as empirical science. In 1980, PBS brought us Carl Sagan’s thirteen-part Cosmos series, which featured Sagan — in the name of Science — assuring us that “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”
That must have driven the creationists crazy. We can imagine them screaming at their television sets: “There’s more than the cosmos! Much more — there’s also Oogity Boogity!” Maybe that’s true, but until the Discoveroids devote their resources to inventing an angel detector, we won’t be able to study the supernatural side of things. Moving along:
In 2001, PBS broadcasted the seven-part series Evolution. The first episode featured atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett praising “Darwin’s dangerous idea,” which according to Dennett “eats through just about every traditional concept” — including the concept of God. (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, p. 63) At the time, the Discovery Institute published a scene-by-scene viewer’s guide that documented the flawed science and anti-religious bias of the series, yet PBS’s Evolution is still being used to indoctrinate students in U. S. public schools.
How frustrating it must be to produce material that the rational world regards as worthless. Here’s more:
Now PBS is about to jump on the departing Darwin Year bandwagon with another special, “What Darwin Never Knew,” scheduled to air on December 29.
Wells included a link to a Discoveroid blog article about the new PBS show. Instead of wasting your time with that, here’s what the National Center for Science Education says about it: What Darwin Never Knew.
What else does Wells have in his article? Quite a bit, but little of it is worth your attention. For example:
If the developmental genes of insects and mammals are similar, then — as Italian geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti puts it — why is a fly not a horse?
The standard Darwinian answer still attributes differences to DNA mutations. But biologists have now generated all possible developmental mutations in fruit flies, and the evidence shows that there are only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly. Not even a new species of fruit fly, much less a horse fly or a horse.
We’ve found that all of Wells’ writing is more or less at that level. Click over there and read the whole article — if you like that sort of thing. We’ll leave you with his final paragraph:
The American people deserve better from their “Public” Broadcasting System.
We too have gripes about using tax money for PBS — and for a thousand other things — but that’s not the issue here. Wells’ complaint seems to be of a more theocratic nature — he’s upset that the government isn’t promoting his personal religious views.
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.