We can be virtually certain that the Discovery Institute has exhausted their limited list of material, because in the latest post at their creationist blog they’re quoting Casey Luskin — a now vanished Discoveroid — as their ultimate authority. They titled it Evolution as a Failed “Map”.
It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.
Writing here at Evolution News, Casey Luskin has warned Darwin skeptics against using the line that airily dismisses evolution as “just a theory.” First of all, you’d need to know which of three major definitions of evolution you’re talking about.
Gasp — there are three major definitions! So what? Everyone knows what a scientific theory is — a testable, well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world. And everyone also knows that when a creationist starts tinkering with definitions, he’s frantically trying to muddy things up, in order to disguise his lack of evidence. Watch as Klinghoffer does just that:
Second, the term “theory” is equivocal. In conversation it can refer to mere speculation. In science, we’re always told, it designates something much more firmly grounded. “Theories are neither hunches nor guesses,” writes science reporter Carl Zimmer. “They are the crown jewels of science.”
But Klinghoffer won’t let Zimmer get away with that. Let’s read on:
Writing in the NY Times (“In Science, It’s Never ‘Just a Theory'”), Zimmer cites Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller, articulating the familiar talking point about crown jewels. But then he quotes philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith, who offers a helpful analogy. Says Godfrey-Smith, a theory in the scientific context is like a map. It seeks to relate sets of facts. But then it seems to follow that the map itself is not necessarily a “fact.”
We haven’t read the article Klinghoffer refers to, so what he says about it may or may not be accurate. However, if what he gets from it is that a scientific theory (analogized to a map) still isn’t a fact, well, DUH!, we can’t imagine any sane person claiming otherwise. He then gives a big quote from the article, which purportedly includes this:
To judge a map’s quality, we can see how well it guides us through its territory. In a similar way, scientists test out new theories against evidence. Just as many maps have proven to be unreliable, many theories have been cast aside.
That sounds right. Even Klinghoffer agrees — but only a little bit. Observe how he draws the line at evolution:
Exactly. Zimmer goes on to list “evolution,” however defined, as among those rock-solid theories, on a par with the “general theory of relativity, the theory of plate tectonics, the theory that the sun is at the center of the solar system, and the germ theory of disease.”
You know that’s a problem for creationists. Here’s how Klinghoffer disagrees:
And sure, you knew that’s what he was going to say. But the point here is that agreeing that evolution (in its controversial sense of an unguided mechanism successfully accounting for all biological innovation) is a theory doesn’t tell you whether it satisfactorily maps the known facts. It might, or it might not. The question can’t be adjudicated by an appeal to the dictionary, but only by a careful weighing of evidence.
Get that? Klinghoffer questions whether evolution satisfactorily maps the known facts. He continues with a quote from the venerable Casey Luskin, who is gone from the Discoveroids, but not forgotten:
How, then, should we speak about “evolution” as a theory? Rather than using imprecise language, and saying things like “Evolution is just a theory,” a better way to express legitimate doubts on the subject is simply to say, “The scientific evidence does not support Darwinian evolution.”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Klinghoffer, having quoted such a highly-regarded authority, ends his post with this:
Another way to say the same thing is that as a “theory,” it is a failed — or perhaps more generously, a failing — map.
There you are, dear reader. That’s the best the Discoveroids can do. Are you persuaded?
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