Crank Science – By Jerry Coyne


The Boston Review has an article entitled “More Crank Science” and is by Jerry A. Coyne, a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution … its well worth reading … I highly recommend it … here is an extract … following by a link to the full article …

Just as evolutionary biologists were getting used to the attacks of Biblical creationists, we are now being goaded by a new species of gadfly: the academic anti-evolutionist. Unlike our old foes, these critics, personified by David Berlinski, Phillip Johnson, and Michael Behe, possess respectable academic credentials, and, if their views are rooted in religion, keep it to themselves. They do, however, share several features with religious creationists. Both groups lack formal training in evolutionary biology, do not publish their views in the professional scientific literature, and see evolutionists as a beleaguered lot, zealously guarding a shopworn Darwinism that we secretly distrust. Moreover, like Behe’s “argument from complexity,” many of the anti-evolutionists’ arguments are identical to those of Biblical creationists, merely gussied up a bit for academic consumption. (It is instructive, for instance, to compare Phillip Johnson’s treatment of the fossil record in Darwin on Trial with that of Duane Gish in Evolution: The Fossils Say No!.)

Behe has been particularly influential because he is a genuine biochemist. Allen Orr’s estimable critique of Darwin’s Black Box shows, however, that Behe’s central argument about “irreducible complexity” is deeply flawed. Although Orr uses scientific ammunition to demolish this argument, one should not assume that Darwin’s Black Box is itself a serious work of science. The book bears many traces of “crank science,” that fringe genre that includes the study of homeopathy, polywater, and cold fusion:

Professor Coyne then proceeds it demolish the nonsense these kooks come out this … click here to read the full article.

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