The Best Way To Celebrate Darwin Day

Today is Charles Darwin’s birthday, also known as Darwin Day. They’re taking it very seriously at the Discovery Institute. This was just posted at their creationist blog: Say Happy Birthday to Charles Darwin.

It was written by John West, whom we affectionately call “Westie.” Wikipedia describes him as: “a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (DI), and Associate Director and Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs of its Center for Science and Culture (CSC), which serves as the main hub of the Intelligent design movement.” We’ll give you some excerpts from Westie’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Today, February 12, is Charles Darwin’s birthday. [Yeah, we know!] For the past two decades, secularists and atheists have celebrated “Darwin Day” almost like a religious holiday. [Gasp!] Tonight, for example, the American Humanist Association will hold an event where they promise you can “Discover how Darwin’s apostles… launched a campaign for truth.” I’m not kidding — they really do refer to “Darwin’s apostles”!

Egad — it’s blasphemy! Following that utterly shocking information, Westie says:

Meanwhile, the official Facebook page for Darwin Day posts statements like this: “Using scientific logic, we can be as sure of God’s nonexistence as we are of the nonexistence of the aether, phlogiston or werewolves!”

How can Darwin Day have an “official” page? Anyway, we can certainly understand how that statement offends Westie. He tells us, with his bold font and italics:

While some continue to worship in the cult of Darwin, here is some good news in time for Darwin’s birthday: The number of prominent scientists around the world who are leaving Darwin behind is growing!

Westie then mentions a couple of Discoveroid heroes who have recently emerged from their creationist closets. We’ve written about them before: Marcos Eberlin, the Brazilian chemist, and Yale University computer scientist David Gelernter. He also mentions the event that caused us to write Brazil Succumbs to Creationist Madness. Then, inspired by those creationist victories and convinced that the cosmic momentum is on his side, Westie declares:

Given these developments, wouldn’t it be fun if we turned Darwin’s birthday into a day to support the overthrow of Darwin? [Yeah, go for it, Westie!] Here’s a suggestion: Give a “birthday gift” on Darwin’s birthday to support Discovery Institute’s work advancing intelligent design! [Link omitted.]

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Great idea — celebrate Darwin Day by sending money to the Discoveroids! Westie continues:

Just imagine if thousands of people start giving “birthday gifts” on Darwin’s birthday to advance the work of scientists, scholars, and writers working to topple Darwin.

What a thrilling idea! Let’s read on:

If you send us a gift for Darwin’s birthday, I will send YOU a free gift: a digital download of the 380-page book Debating Darwin’s Doubt. This is one of the books Yale scientist David Gelernter said influenced his journey away from of Darwinism.

Go for it, dear reader! And now we come to the end:

This will drive Darwinists crazy! Won’t you help us start this new movement for Darwin Day this year?

You wanna help ol’ Westie? Then go ahead, send him all your money. And be sure to tell him the Curmudgeon sent ya.

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17 responses to “The Best Way To Celebrate Darwin Day

  1. Sorry, Westie, your suggestion, far from driving me crazy, provides this “Darwinist” (or scientist, if you prefer) with one of the few things in the news to chuckle about.

  2. Laurette McGovern

    Creationists do seem to be fixated on Charles Darwin. But even if they did manage to “topple” Darwin (whatever that means), there would then be Wallace. And if they did topple Wallace, there would be another scientist.

    It’s the Theory of Evolution that’s important, dummies! Try to topple that.

  3. Michael Fugate

    That quote is from a blogpost by Mano Singham
    And here is why he said it:
    “The history of science suggests that entities are considered to not exist when two conditions are met: there is no preponderance of positive evidence for them and they cease to be necessary as explanatory concepts.”

  4. @Michael Fugate
    The second condition seems to require that there be an alternative explanation. If there is no alternative, it seems that scientists will make do with a flawed theory.

  5. Michael Fugate

    Aren’t all of our theories flawed in some way?

  6. I looked it up at DD’s facebook, but the quote is actually from a Mano Singham column at Oxford University Press. I don’t think DD should have quoted it uncritically, true or not.

  7. Darn you, Michael F! That should teach me to reload the page before I post.

  8. Michael Fugate

    Yesterday the DI posted about Behe’s podcast where they said:
    “But as Witt and Behe note, Darwin also cleverly placed the burden of proof on his opponents , an arguably dubious maneuver given that his proposed evolutionary mechanism has never once been observed to generate a fundamentally new biological form or molecular machine.”

    They know that evolutionary novelty doesn’t exist, yet know that God does?

  9. Westie is right!

    “This will drive Darwinists crazy!”
    from laughter.

    @TomS: a good example of “make do with a flawed theory” is superconductivity. BCS is flawed and its flaws have been recognized for several decades. Still nobody, not even IDiots, propose “goddiddid ….”

  10. Karl Goldsmith

    They seem to be confused that “Darwin Apostles” is what the authors called their book. At the same time as not understanding an apostle is “a vigorous and pioneering advocate or supporter of a particular policy, idea, or cause.”

  11. It is the flaws in any theory that attracts students of the theory.
    Although, if there is a perfect theory, then it can still be studied for practical applications.

  12. Michael Fugate

    “if all your knowledge comes from a Bible, everything looks like a religion”

  13. The Latin derivation of “apostle” is “one who is sent out”; “emissary”, “messenger”. It never had an exclusively sacred or Churchly meaning. Anyone who carries the word of any new idea to anyone, is an apostle of that idea. West is, as usual, flailing away at empty air.

    But the assertion that intrigues me is this: “The number of prominent scientists around the world who are leaving Darwin behind is growing!”

    I should hope that this is the case. In one sense, Darwin was indeed left behind well over eighty years ago, when population genetics confirmed that a low incidence of advantageous mutations was enough, and that they rapidly spread through a population; and again when the discovery of DNA gave a mechanism; and again when punctuated equilibrium more accurately described the process; and again and again as the effects and implications of it became clearer. All of that “left Darwin behind” rather as a DC3, or a Tomcat, or an F-22 would leave the Wright Flyer behind. It would be astonishing if any scientific theory over 150 years old were not “left behind” in that sense. But the Wright Flyer actually flew. Darwin’s theory, as originally published, actually described reality.

    But in the sense West means it? That is, “The number of scientists around the world who deny the theory of evolution, is growing!” Show me the numbers. Windy claims are cheap. Let’s have the facts. Who has published peer-reviewed scientific findings – data that denies the main heads of the theory of evolution? How many such papers have appeared? How many authors have they? Have these numbers actually increased over the last ten, twenty, fifty years? Show me the data.

    Because, unlike the proposition “There is a God”, this is something that can be demonstrated. If the theory of evolution is wrong, the data that would invalidate it should be findable. Can you demonstrate that advantageous mutations are impossible? Can’t be done. The converse has been demonstrated. Demonstrate that they don’t rapidly spread through a breeding population? It has been demonstrated that they do. Demonstrate that speciation doesn’t happen? Ditto. Demonstrate that species don’t diverge over time in different environments? Ditto. Demonstrate that divergence of higher taxa doesn’t happen, given enough species divergence and time? The fossil record – the only record over the amount of time required – demonstrates the converse, whenever that record is detailed enough to show it.

    Nobody, nobody, nobody, has shown any data to the contrary. There are no papers, no research, no reproducable findings, no facts, no data. Nothing. Nada. Nichevo. Aucune. Not a whisper.

    There are always contrarians, of course. There are a few cranks, and a few who go off their heads, especially late in what might have been a productive career, usually in fields that have little contact with actual biology. But their numbers are not growing, and they have nothing.

    West is deluding himself. He is trying to delude others. But there is a special category of liar: one who makes statements for which he has no justification, not knowing whether they are true or not. West is that kind of liar.

  14. @Dave Luckett
    The number of people who can be counted among X – those who have gone to the Moon, those who thought that the Moon is green cheese, whatever – is not decreasing. As long as there is occasionally a new one, it is increasing. That should not be surprising.

  15. “… one who makes statements for which he has no justification, not knowing whether they are true or not. West is that kind of liar.”
    Technically known as a BS-er:

  16. [Westie:] “If you send us a gift for Darwin’s birthday, I will send YOU a free gift: a digital download of the 380-page book Debating Darwin’s Doubt.”

    Is it possible to receive it in hardcover format instead? A digital file could not be used to stabilize a wobbling table or at the toilet.

  17. Karl Goldsmith

    “The number of scientists around the world who deny the theory of evolution, is growing!” And yet they had only three articles publshed in their own so called research journal last year.