Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

the MYTH...

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • the MYTH...

    [b][i]WHY FALSIFY HISTORY?: PROBLEMS WITH THE PBS "EVOLUTION" SERIES


    The PBS series, "Evolution," is a symptom of a worldview in profound crisis. The worldview is evolutionary naturalism -- and the crisis is one of credibility. Good science doesn't need the support of fabricated history, misleading claims, or religious polemics. Yet, sadly, each of these is present in the PBS series. Over the next couple of days, I'll explain how the "Evolution" series fails the test of credibility -- and how you can use this flawed program to educate yourself, and others, about the shortcomings of the naturalistic worldview.

    Let's start with Monday's episode. Entitled "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," the two-hour opening segment purports to tell the story of Darwin's discovery of evolution via natural selection. I have to say "purports," however, because what the program actually presents is false history in some instances, shamelessly false.

    The problems start with the very first scene. Charles Darwin is depicted as the young naturalist of the Beagle voyage, walking across a plain in Argentina as he searches for fossils. With Darwin is the Beagle's captain, Robert FitzRoy. When they come upon the skull of a large extinct mammal, Darwin wonders why the species went extinct. FitzRoy replies that there wasn't enough room on the Ark. Darwin laughs and FitzRoy takes offense.

    Real history? No. This conversation between Darwin and FitzRoy never took place. The scene is entirely fictitious. And while one might allow for some artistic license in an historical drama, this scene actually falsifies history. FitzRoy's own writings make plain that during the Beagle voyage, he doubted the Biblical Flood. Thus the opening scene isn't reasonable artistic conjecture. It's an outright falsehood.

    In the next scene, FitzRoy is shown reading loudly to the ship's crew from Genesis, while Darwin rolls his eyes in his cabin below. But -- again -- this scene falsifies history. The evidence indicates that Darwin regularly attended the Beagle's church services. In fact, Darwin and FitzRoy published a joint letter defending the work of missionaries in Tahiti and New Zealand.

    But the scriptwriters apparently needed a religious villain to contrast with their idea of an open-minded, enlightened Darwin. A fictionalized "Captain FitzRoy" fit the role, despite the actual evidence.

    Worst of all, midway through the program a scene depicts Erasmus Darwin, Charles' older brother, singing the hymn "Rock of Ages" in the family church. Erasmus isn't so much singing the hymn as he is mocking it, by singing loudly, out of tempo, and off-key.

    There's absolutely no evidence that this or anything like it ever happened. It's another fabrication. So ask yourself -- why did PBS put this scene in the show? What's the point of mocking a classic Christian hymn?

    The science of evolutionary biology doesn't need to make fun of Christianity. But the worldview of evolutionary naturalism, whose credibility is in doubt, does -- and that worldview is what this program promotes.

    Public tax dollars fund PBS, and the public deserves better than this. And we deserve time to respond to falsified history and religious bias. Let's let PBS know that "Evolution" needs a reply.



    References

    Janet Browne, Charles Darwin, Voyaging: Volume I of a Biography (New York: Knopf, 1995), pp. 272-273.

    Written by:
    Dean: Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Ph.D.
    Associate Dean: Jim Nelson Black, Ph.D.
    Managing Editor: Jim Tonkowich, D.Min.
    Senior Writer: Anne Morse
    Associate Editor: Roberto Rivera
    Associate Producer: Teresa Woodward
    Research Associate: Kim Robbins

  • #2
    [b][i]LOOKING FOR THE REAL EVIDENCE: WORLDVIEW VERSUS GENUINE SCIENCE


    In the case of the television series "Evolution," airing next week on public television stations nationwide, assumptions take the place of knowledge -- and truth suffers. Consider Tuesday's episode entitled "Great Transformations." According to PBS, "Great Transformations" asks the question, "What caused the incredible diversity of life on Earth, and how have complex life forms, including humans, evolved?"

    Well, to ask how something happens is to ask for its actual mechanism. If one can't provide evidence for that mechanism, it's reasonable to conclude that one doesn't really know how the process occurs. No amount of other information, no matter how interesting, can make up for the missing knowledge.

    Keep that fact in mind as you watch "Great Transformations." You'll see a lot of fascinating information, like fossil whales, extinct amphibians, interviews with scientists, and new discoveries about development. But what you won't see is evidence for the mechanism of macroevolution. You won't see the answer to the critical "how" question -- the answer Darwin thought he provided with his theory of random variation and natural selection. You won't see the evidence, because no one knows how macroevolution would occur - or, of course, if it ever does.

    "Great Transformations" talks a lot about the discovery of so-called "master control genes" in development, and features interviews with some of the scientists involved in these discoveries. In one of the most amazing discoveries in biological history, scientists have found that organisms as different as fruit flies and mice use many of the same genes to regulate their development.

    But is that evidence for undirected evolution, or for intelligent design? Here's where you need to watch very closely -- and to keep your critical radar finely tuned. Neo-Darwinism as shown on PBS claims that random mutations to these "master control genes" can modify development and thus change the body plans of organisms as macroevolution requires.

    Yet what the program actually shows when it depicts these mutations is highly misleading. It's possible in a laboratory to damage the developmental control genes in fruit flies, for instance, and cause legs to grow in place of antennae or cause an extra pair of wings to grow.

    But these flies are then helpless cripples that couldn't survive outside the lab. The four-winged fly couldn't fly because the extra pair of wings lacks muscles. And no healthy fly would mate with a mutant with legs growing out of its head. These macromutations shown on PBS do not survive in real life, only under laboratory conditions.

    And evolutionary biologists know this. Geneticist David Stern of Cambridge University wrote recently that "one of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved" -- namely, the problem of how macroevolution occurs. After next Tuesday, the public still won't know how macroevolution occurs.

    So what can we do? Call your local PBS affiliate and tell them you want to hear the other side of this debate. And call your representatives and tell them that public funding requires fairness in public broadcasting.


    References

    Lawrence, Peter. The Making of a Fly. London: Blackwell Science, 1995.

    Stern, David L. "Perspective: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Problem of Variation." Evolution 54 (2000):1079-1091.

    Written by:
    Dean: Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Ph.D.
    Associate Dean: Jim Nelson Black, Ph.D.
    Managing Editor: Jim Tonkowich, D.Min.
    Senior Writer: Anne Morse
    Associate Editor: Roberto Rivera
    Associate Producer: Teresa Woodward
    Research Associate: Kim Robbins

    Comment


    • #3
      [b][i]UPHOLDING ACCURACY IN SCIENCE JOURNALISM: PBS MISSES THE MARK


      For the past couple of days, I've been telling you about grave problems with the PBS "Evolution" series that is being broadcast this week. Today I'd like to consider the deepest issue raised by this series -- who disagrees with Darwin?

      In many respects, that's the most important question raised by this series and the one it handles most inadequately. At bottom, the central claim of modern evolutionary theory is that God had nothing to do with how organisms and human beings came to be. Sometimes this claim is put more modestly -- if God did have something to do with our existence, we cannot know that as a matter of science -- but the practical effect is the same. Natural causes explain our origin.

      If that's what evolution asserts, however, most Americans disagree. Polling evidence over the past two decades has consistently shown that approximately 90 percent of Americans think either that God created human beings directly, or that he controlled the process of evolution to create us. In either case, intelligent design went into our creation. We don't exist simply because of natural causes.

      In addition to the public, many leading scientists believe God created us.

      Now, scientific truth is not a matter of counting noses. If 100 percent of the American public thought that the moon was made of green cheese, then 100 percent of the American public would be wrong. But any journalistic effort that claims to be accurately surveying the current debate about evolution, while omitting coverage of both sides of the debate, has failed at its task.

      In its final hour, entitled "What About God?" the series portrays those who disagree with Darwin. Unfortunately it leaves out both scientific arguments and inconvenient evidence. The scientific case for the intelligent design of life is missing. Instead dissent from evolution is depicted either as unthinking Protestant fundamentalism or as ignorance to be corrected by better education. Good religion, says PBS, accepts Darwinian evolutionary theory. Bad religion doesn't.

      You won't see it on PBS, but many responsible scientists disagree with Darwin. Take Michael Behe of Lehigh University. Dr. Behe argues that cell biology reveals a breathtaking complexity best explained by intelligent design. And the series ignores the views of Baylor University mathematician, Dr. William Dembski, who says that science can reliably detect the action of a designer. In fact, unlike the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, which earlier this year put the intelligent design debate on their front pages, the PBS series completely omits any discussion of the intelligent design community except for a passing reference by an anti-design advocate.

      Folks, that's just not honest science journalism. Most of the American public doesn't accept undirected Darwinian evolution as a full or adequate explanation of our existence. And many well-trained scientists and philosophers think that intelligent design is a better explanation. Odds are, the very people hearing my voice right now fall into these groups. Your views deserve a respectful and fair hearing. PBS hasn't given you one. They haven't even come close.

      Your tax dollars help pay for public broadcasting. A full and accurate debate serves the cause of truth. Anything less is PROPAGANDA from a worldview that has already lost much of its credibility in ACADEMIA itself of all places.

      ==================
      For more on PBS's Evolution series, see the website, http://www.reviewevolution.org

      Dean: Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Ph.D.
      Associate Dean: Jim Nelson Black, Ph.D.
      Managing Editor: Jim Tonkowich, D.Min.
      Senior Writer: Anne Morse
      Associate Editor: Roberto Rivera
      Associate Producer: Teresa Woodward
      Research Associate: Kim Robbins
      Editor, Wilberforce Online: Douglas C. Minson
      Editor, BreakPoint Online: Peter L. Edman
      List Maintainer: Larry Wilson

      Comment

      Working...
      X