Evergreen

Darwin Devolves

A Response to My Lehigh Colleagues

Recently in the journal Evolution, two of my colleagues in the Lehigh University Department of Biological Sciences published a seven-page critical review of Darwin Devolves. As I’ll show below, it pretty much completely misses the mark. Nonetheless, it is a good illustration of how sincere-yet-perplexed professional evolutionary biologists view the data, as well as how they see opposition to their Read More ›

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Beautiful butterfly in Hunei, Taiwan
Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

Here’s How to Tell if Scientists are Exaggerating

How much can the public trust confident claims by scientists? Especially about morally or politically or philosophically charged topics? Alas, not so much, as the New York Times Magazine reminds us once again in a recent article, “How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution.” The subtitle asks, “The extravagant splendor of the animal kingdom can’t be explained by natural selection alone — …

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Discovery Institute office interior staircase
Photo by Nathan Jacobson

More Than a Think Tank

I remember a Seattle Weekly article circa 2000 — around the time that I was hired as Executive Director — that described Discovery Institute as a think tank where people “sit around a big table and think really hard.” Needless to say, the article was neither friendly, nor indicative of the role that think tanks really play in policy development. It missed a bigger point, too. Discovery Institute is more than a think tank. While we still maintain an interest in public policy, we are increasingly a cultural institution — one that examines and challenges the worldview assumptions and cultural influences that drive public policy. If policies and the culture flow like a river, we work at the headwaters. Other think tanks do admirable work in the rivers and tributaries. This unique approach is one that has developed over our twenty-five year history. For those of you who are not familiar, here is a brief retelling of that story.

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The White Space in Evolutionary Thinking

When certain biologists discuss the early stages of life there is a tendency to think too vaguely. They see a biological wonder before them and they tell a story about how it might have come to be. They may even draw a picture to explain what they mean. Indeed, the story seems plausible enough, until you zoom in to look at the details. I don’t mean to demean the intelligence of these biologists. It’s just that it appears they haven’t considered things as completely as they should. Like a cartoon drawing, the basic idea is portrayed, but there is nothing but blank space where the profound detail of biological processes should be.

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The spark of life, abstract fractal render for topics such as biology, evolution

The Top Ten Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution

Is it true that there are "no weaknesses" in evolutionary theory? All one must do is examine the technical scientific literature and inquire whether there are legitimate scientific challenges to chemical and biological evolution. This article reviews some of this literature and the scientific challenges to Darwinian theory and chemical evolution therein. Read More ›
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Professional audio mixing console in concert.
Photo by Day Of Victory Stu. on Adobe Stock

List of Fine-Tuning Parameters

“Fine-tuning” refers to various features of the universe that are necessary conditions for the existence of complex life, including the initial conditions and “brute facts” of the universe, the laws of nature or the numerical constants present in those laws, and local features of habitable planets. Read More ›
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Make a Wish
Photo by Erik Brolin at Unsplash

Surprise and Creativity

Why in the world do we need yet another “new” economics? Jamming the libraries and the bookstores of the world are avatars of what must be every variation on the great themes of market and managerial economics. Scores of Nobel Prizes have been awarded for various nugatory refinements of the prevailing ideas. All these schemes, however, fail to answer the Read More ›