Sunday, April 24, 2005

Making the rounds

A source passed on this email exchange. Note the support that Ken Willard, Board of Ed. member, gives to this pile of nonsense.

How Vietnam connects to academic reform is, perhaps, a question for another day. How many KU students are Vietnam Veterans is an entirely different question.

I haven't actually read every line in Mr. Magruder's email. What I've looked at is the cheapest sort of creationist quote-mining, combined with the sorts of petty misunderstandings that anyone should be able to see through.

As for Willard's hope that this nonsense would be published in its entirety is absurd. It would run several pages. Compare it with P. Z. Myers's Op-Ed in the Star Tribune. See how one is concise, well-reasoned and matches reality, while the other is a rambling and barely rational screed?

What this shows is that scientists have one great advantage. We're smart. But that only works when we reach out to the public. So write your own letters. The Strib has a call out for evolution themed letters. But any local paper will probably enjoy well-reasoned, well written letters.

Here's my quick advice on letters to the editor. Write short. Short letters are easy for editors to squeeze in. A really excellent letter might get you invited to shorten it to fit, but they'll probably just toss it. So if they say 150 words, write 100. If you want 200, write 150. Make one point.

When I write, I usually start with a blog post, or a letter to a congress critter. That lets me say what has to be said. Once that's off my chest, I choose the one idea that needs to be heard, and spend some time with a thesaurus to get the exact right words. You can usually have your letter ready by the time the story hits the wires, and you can customize it by referring to a particular story as needed.

Make a positive case. Don't refer to other letters, because no one can keep track of what someone said a week ago. Make your point in a way that makes sense to people who aren't scientists, and aren't aware of the issues.

And here, dear friends, is how not to write a letter to anyone.

(with a student auxiliary at K.U., but failed to register this semester. Back this summer)

Leonard Magruder -Founder/President
Former professor of psychology, Suffolk College, N.Y.
Member: National Association of Scholars


Reporters from "Lawrence Journal-World" and "Daily Kansan", as well as NBC and National Public Radio,  walked right past Professor Magruder as he handed out material quoting  world-class evolutionists   admitting  Darwin's evolutionary theory of gradualism was a failure.The material was handed out in a protest at a meeting of pro-evolutionists at a local church. It had been handed out the day before to reporters  at "The Journal-World", and the newsroom at Channel 6.  Once again the media prepares to, "Tar and feather  Kansas as a hayseed state," (Dr. Leonard Krishtalka), if the School Board lets students know of the problems with evolution being discussed by evolutionists themselves.

Dear Mr. Magruder,

As a member of the KS State Board of Education and a Vietnam veteran (US Navy 68-72) I want to thank you for this excellent letter of support for academic reform. I'll be looking to see if your letter reaches any KS newspapers.

Ken Willard

KS State Board of Education Member , District 7
National Association of State Boards of Education , Central Area Director

Dear Mr. Willard:

Thank  you for your letter. To my knowledge no newspaper has mentioned my article pointing out the flaws in current evolution theory, nor has anyone called to inquire. Furthermore, no reporter from the local newpapers or any other media people stopped to ask me what I was up to as I handed out an article at a meeting by pro-evolutionists at a church here in Lawrence yesterday.

During the presentation inside, in a lecture by an evolutionist from K.U. he made the statement that no scientist questions the truth of evolution, or neo-Darwinism. During the question and answer period I pointed out that many recent books on evolution refer to a large and  growing dissention within evolution ranks, the main problem being the absence of intermediates in the fossil record. The speaker answered that this problem was" irrelevant". I raised my hand to rebut this outrageous statement but the Chairman immediately closed down the question and answer period.  I had wanted to point out the obvious,  that this was the most crucial criticism in the whole debate.

The whole meeting was an exercise in the suppression of truth. The very premise of the meeting , that for the School Board to tinker with evolution as currently taught would endanger the state bioscience program, was a farce. Actually it was a not too subtle threat against anyone who would question neo-Darwinism. The only thing relevant is what is the truth, not the economy of Kansas. Although that is important, you could just as well argue that any state that allows students to critically examine any scientific theory will set an example for intergrity in science for the whole nation to follow. (Incidentally, "The Journal-World" and others continue to misuse the word "evolution". Evolution refers to change over time. Obviously that  happened, from the original one -celled animal to the complexity of humans. Few people question that. The issue is the process or mechanism by which this occured, currently the neo-Darwinian theory.) 

Other bizarre statements made at this meetng include one by Dr. Leonard Krishtalka, Director of the Kansas University Natural History who said, "Intelligent design is nothing but creationism in a cheap tuxedo". He is noted  for such quips, once having said that intelligent design is like the tale that "storks bring babies." Recent symposiums at Baylor University and Yale University included the most eminent evolutionists, scientists, and philosophers  from all over the world. Did they gather to discuss storks and babies? Intelligent design is being seriously discussed all over the world, except at K.U. ,"The Daily Kansan" and "The Lawrence Journal-World" who between them keep the citizens of Lawerence completely in the dark in a massive cover-up.

On Dr. Krishtalka's suggestion that intelligent design is not science. 24 scientists, all with PhDs, in defense of liberalizing the teaching of evolution in a Georgia county portrayed the issue as "a live and growing scientific controversy." In filing a "friend of the court" lawsuit these scientists said, " There is growing scepticism that evolution as first elucidated by Darwin can account for the complexity of life. We, the signatories, represent a sample of the growing number of scientists who are skeptical of neo-Darwinism's claim that the undirected mechanisms of natural selection and random genetic variations can account for the complexity of life , and are also skeptical of chemical evolutionary's  theory's ability to account for the origin of life. "

"Standard high-school and college biology textbooks ", they said," routinely ignore scientific data challengeing neo-Darwin and chemical evolutionary threories. Furthermore, many textbooks contain purported evidence for neo-Darwinism theory that have long been discredited by scientists."

During the evolution controversy in Ohio not long ago 56 scientists from Ohio State University , many of them evolutionists, appeared in support of the desire of the School Board to allow students to learn about alternatives to neo-Darwinism, which passed, taking Ohio back to where Kansas was in  1999. A number  of states have since then followed Ohio.

The university and the media want everybody to believe the issue is between evolution and creationism. This is to cover up the real issue, which is the growing controversy between scientists themselves within the evolution camp. This is what is being hidden from the public and why a hearing with all sides of the controversy being present is absolutely legitimate and imperative. Only fanatics would try to boycott such a hearing.

As the eminent evolutionist David M. Raup wrote in “The Geological and Paleontological Arguments of Creationism.” “It would be folly for evolutionists to claim that they have a complete and accurate understanding of the history of life and of the processes that produced that history. We should consider alternatives and we should consider the possibility that we might be wrong in at least some parts of the basic framework of evolutionary thinking. And this consideration of alternatives is, in fact, going on in the 1980’s with challenges from within evolutionary biology itself to the neo-Darwinian model as it applies to macroevolution .”

The key word here is "macroevolution". Where were the universities of Kansas, the science associations, the media , and our esteemed Governor, when the whole world jumped on the 1999 School Board’s decision with regard to macroevolution ? What hypocrisy - to cover up the fact that macroevolution is, and has been for some time, under fire within the evolution camp itself.

In your  position as a member of the School Board, I am petitioning you at this time to consider proposing to the School Board that they ask the evolutionists at the hearing in May to respond to the statements below made by some of the world's most eminent evolutionists, all taken from the material I handed out at the church, and buried by "The Lawrence-Journal World", "The  Daily Kansan" , NBC, National Public Radio. The truth is that unless  the School Board itself asks evolutionists about these statements, the media will  never allow the public to know about them, or the raging diagreement over the validity of neo-Darwinism  within the evolution camp itself. 

The statements listed below need to be looked at in light of what Darwin wrote,"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organism existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my  theory would absolutely break down."

All of the leading scientists quoted below question Darwin's concept of gradualism. "Puntuated equilibrium" may throw light on the problem, but so also might intelligent design. Both should be at least mentioned in any discussion in a classroom of the mechanism of evolution.

Said world-class molecular biologist Michael Behe in an article in "The New York Times:"
"Teach Darwin's theory. But also discuss where it has real problems accounting for the data, where the data is seriously limited, where scientists may have engaged in wishful thinking, and where alternative, even "heretical" explanations are possible." By "heretical" he means intelligent design.

Dr. Jonathan Wells, a PhD in molecular and cell biology from the University of California - Berkeley, in his recent book, "Icons of Evolution," shows where almost all of the textbooks used in high schools and colleges have for decades repeated material as scientific fact which were discredited by scientists themselves decades ago, material which is crucial to the case for evolution being true.

Writes Wells, “Contemporary biology textbooks contain massive distortions and even faked evidence.” And at the end of his article he gives you a list of the 10 most widely used biology texts all of which contain these claims that were debunked decades ago. All of these textbooks should be banned  in Kansas.

Stephen Jay Gould, professor of paleontology at Harvard and a preeminent figure in evolution theory wrote “That theory, macroevolution, as a general proposition is effectively dead despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy. Most species exhibit no directed change during their tenure on Earth, nor does a species arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestry. It appears all at once and fully formed. All paleontologists, scientists who study fossils, know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms. Transition between major groups are characteristically abrupt. The lack of fossil evidence for macroevolution is the trade secret of paleontology. "

Dr. Steven Stanley, professor of paleontology at Johns Hopkins University, writes, “The known fossil record fails to document a single example of gradual evolution accomplishing a major morphological transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic [Darwinian] model can be valid. The fossil material is now so complete that the lack of transitional species cannot be explained as due to the scarcity of material. The gaps are real and they will never be filled.”

Wrote George Gaylord Simpson, perhaps this century’s greatest evolutionist, who preceded Gould at Harvard, “This is true of all 32 orders of mammals. In no case is an approximately continuous sequence of one order to another known. The break is so sharp and the gap so large that the origin of the order is speculation. The absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals. It is an almost universal phenomenon and has long been noted by paleontologists.” (Noted to each other, perhaps, but not in the textbooks they write for the schools, which, as Wells says, portray all kinds of transitions, illustrated, but totally imaginary and fabricated. This is what Gould means by “textbook orthodoxy,” a euphemism for lies.)

Richard Goldschmidt, professor of geology at the University of California at Berkeley, writes, “Darwin’s theory of natural selection has never had any proof. There may be wide discrepancies within species (microevolution), but the gaps with between the species (macroevolution) cannot be bridged.”

Wrote D’Arcy Thompson in one of the great classics of biology "On Growth and Form", “Evolution has not taught us how birds descended from reptiles, mammals from earlier quadrupeds, quadrupeds from fishes or vertebrates from invertebrates. To seek the stepping stones between the gaps is to seek in vain, forever.”

From the Bulletin of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, “Species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. It is rarely clear that the descendants were actually better than their predecessors… biological improvement is hard to find.”

Said the eminent paleontologist  Donald J. Johanson (discoverer of Lucy), “Modern gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees spring out of nowhere, as it were. They are here today, they have no yesterday.”

On the evolution of reptiles, University of California paleontologist R.A. Simpson points out, “There is no proof from the fossil record.”

Said the dean of French zoologists, Pierre-P. Grasse, “We are in the dark concerning the origins of insects.”

Said E. White, world-class authority on lungfishes, “The lungfish, like every other group of fish that I know, have their origins firmly based on nothing.”

Said David Raup, professor of geology at the University of Chicago, “The origins of the higher categories are shrouded in mystery; they appear abruptly in the fossil record without evidence of transitional forms.”

Wrote Lewis Binford, archaeologist at Southern Methodist University, "Our species (humans) has arrived - not as the result of progressive processes, but explosively, in a relatively short period of time. "

Molecular biologist Michael Behe in his recent book "Darwin's Black Box", wrote of Lynn Margulis, the very distinguished professor of Biology at U. Mass, "In her public talks she asks molecular biologists in the audience to name one single unambiguous example of a formation of a new species by the accumulations of mutations. Her challenge goes unanswered. Neo-Darwinism, she says, is in a complete funk."

"Some of the high priests of biology have all but abandoned their own sacred texts. Many of them are more than prepared to committ Darwin's version to the historical archives. Remarkably little has been written about this rebellion in the popular press. But one by one the dissenters  have   surfaced, their voices, once a faint murmur have swelled into a chorus of discontent, pitting Darwinists against a new generation of theoreticians casting around for a more satisfactory explanation of the origin and development of species. " "The Darwinian Sunset", Algeny.

In a massive study by 120 scientists by the  Geological Society of London and the Paleontological Association of England, professor of natural science John N. Moore reported on the results,"Groups of both plants and animals appear suddenly in the fossil record , whales, bats, primates, elephants, hares, squirrils, etc..All are as distinct at their first appearance as they are now. There is not a trace of a common ancestor , much less a link with any reptile, the supposed progenitor. No transitional forms have been found in the fossil record. Very likely transitions between animal kinds and/or any other  transitions between plant kinds never occured."

Said professor of paleontology Steven Stanley at Johns Hopkins University, “The known fossil record fails to document a single morphological transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model of Darwinism can be correct. Doubts about gradualistic evolution have been for long years suppressed.”

Said Niles Eldridge, prominent evolutionist and colleague of Gould, “We paleontologists have said that the history of life, the fossils, supports the story of gradual adaptive change, all the while knowing that it does not.”

Said Philip Johnson in his book,"Darwin on Trial, "How could a deception of this magnitude possibly have been perpetrated by the whole body of a respected science dedicated almost by definition to the pursuit of truth ?"

How can students be asked to believe in evolution as currently explained when evolutionists themselves question it as a fact and the textbooks students learn from are riddled with falsehoods?

Then you need to consider the impact on students of the philosophy of despair in what neo-Darwinism implies about life. "The universe:", writes the eminent evolutionist Richard Dawkins ("The Blind Watchmaker") "has no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference."

The true situation as regards evolution today is probably best summed up by the noted entomologist W.R. Thompson in his introduction to the centenary edition of Darwin’s "Origin of Species":

“This situation where scientific men rally to the defense of a doctrine they are unable to defend scientifically, much less demonstrate with scientific rigor, attempting to maintain its credibility with the public by the suppression of criticism and the elimination of difficulties, is abnormal and undesirable in science.”

The stubborn realities of nature that serve as the main fuel in the evidentiary debate remain the same: 1) The Cambrian explosion, now  underscored and heightened in  the recent discoveries in China, 2) the general  absence of transitional fossils between the higher taxonomic categories outside of the Cambrian, 3) the cell's  molecular systems of breathtaking complexity, recently elucidated, 4) the quiet experiment- driven collapse of  confidence in "chemical soup" senarios for the origin of life. These four sets of brute facts may lead to a genuine paradigm crisis. There seems to be no way that  the scientific world can escape the relentless growth of criticism from scientists themselves. In other words, Darwinism, it is now argued, is now to be modified or even  rejected, not for its religious incompatibility, but because of its scientific inaccuracy and cumulative implausibility.

Leonard Magruder
may be copied and distributed