Why Evolution Is True

Here’s another great video from the recent AAI Convention. It’s a presentation by Jerry Coyne based on his recently published book “Why Evolution Is True.”

I haven’t read it yet but it has had great reviews. Jerry describes it as complimentary to Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth.

The video is great. Jerry Coyne does present a lot of very convincing information. I don’t see how anyone exposed to this could possible believe that evolution is not true.

Thanks to Richard.dawkins.net: ‘Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry Coyne, AAI 2009

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28 responses to “Why Evolution Is True

  1. I agree, Ken. Although I’ve followed his blog for quite some time it was a nice change to hear him talk. The science behind evolution is as much fact as the reality of anything; questioning the one means questioning reality itself. When one considers the chance that so much would have to be so perfectly aligned and yet supposedly unconnected, such a position reveals just how reliant anti-evolutionists must be to continue to believe in such randomness in the universe.

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  2. Pingback: Why Evolution Is True | Open Parachute

  3. Interesting… unfortunately he bases his ideas on Natural Selection being rejected by creationist/ID.

    If someone tested this speech on me I’d tell them to go back to the drawing board. So many times he claims that creationists don’t have an explanation when in fact that’s not necessarily true.

    I think he could have made a good case when talking about islands, but he focused too much on the wrong aspects.

    But then, his target audience isn’t creationists looking to be refuted by sound science.

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  4. Scrubone – are you claiming that creationists accept natural selection?

    I thought they completely rejected it – but please inform me where I am wrong.

    Nor could I see how creationists could explain the evidence he presented (except by denying it – which they do a lot of). You didn’t back that up with any examples.

    I just can’t agree with you – Jerry covered a spectrum of different independent groupings of evidence – evidence converging overwhelmingly on support for evolutionary science.

    Obviously in the talk he was only able to give a fraction of the material in his book.

    But, if you have good arguments to the contrary – I am always willing to be exposed to evidence. So far all you have presented is opinion.

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  5. Yes, creationists accept micro evolution – within species, and things evolving *down*, i.e. losing genetic material as well the environment dictating which species survive in that environment (natural selection).

    Who knows? In the past all dolphins may have had 4 fins and that part of the genetic code has degraded.

    The stuff about “we can only explain this with evolution” sounds very much like “God of the Gaps” stuff .

    But other sections seemed sound.

    The reason why isn’t not convincing… well, let me use an illustration.

    He talked about branching and the fossil record. That’s like you showing me samples of road that come from a theoretical route from Invercargill to Auckland. I’ll accept that it’s unreasonable to demand photos of the entire route (there are always going to be some gaps in the fossil record) but you’re never going to show me a photo of a road going across cook straight – we know that doesn’t exist.

    I guess what I’m saying is that the talk is fine if you reassuring your fellow scientists that they’re right(and I’ve been present at talks that could only be taken seriously from that point – they made even less attempt to address the opposition), but you’re not addressing the big road blocks that the other fellow puts up.

    That’s not unexpected, all I’m saying is that your statement “I don’t see how anyone exposed to this could possible believe that evolution is not true.” is quite correct, because it’s a statement of what you can or can’t see.

    But I look at the video through different eyes, and to me it’s quite unconvincing as it’s focused on the wrong things.

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  6. Sorry – I should have added “open minded” in there somewhere.

    Obviously you have preconceived ideas which lead you to reject Jerry’s talk. But WTF has Cook Straight got to do with it? Surely we can’t get stuck into Darwin over Cook Straight, can we??

    With god of the gaps – you say “god did it.” No explanation. No mechanism. No evidence, No hypothesis. And no further investigation. That’s not science.

    In evolutionary science hypotheses can be proposed and investigated. Validated or shown wrong. Normal science.

    And an incredibly dynamic and active science. Ideas are developing all the time. New discoveries being made, new hypotheses. Plenty of scientific debate. Great.

    Nothing like that with people who are satisfied with “god did it.” And, after all, isn’t that the exact creationist position? And isn’t that why they do no work? And their ideas receive no scientific support – just religious support.

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  7. Three questions for scrubone:

    1) by what criteria do you separate ‘micro-evolution’ from ‘macro-evolution’?

    2) by what criteria do you separate species?

    3) what is the magical ‘barrier’ that stops micro-evolution over time from becoming macro-evolution?

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  8. I think Jerry said many times that ID/creationists don’t have any ‘good’ explanations, by which he means explanations that are predictive, can be tested, and falsified, explanations that offer us a theoretical framework to explain the evidence we do have, evidence of what is.

    There are lots of explanations offered by ID/creationists that are not good in this sense. In comparison between the theory of evolution and the theoretical framework of ID/creationism, the former meets all the requirements and is fully informed each and every step of the way while the latter is empty of anything but wishful thinking, contradictions, unsubstantiated assertions, and simplistic belief that defies common sense.

    By writing this, I expect I will never be gainfully employed by the Discovery Institute nor be eligible for a Templeton prize. Oh well. Supporting what’s true, however, has its perks, not least of which is intellectual integrity, which Jerry has clearly demonstrated in his ongoing struggle to get the teaching of evolution into the basic science curriculum. It is for trying to attain this goal that he also has had to struggle to get the official religious apologist policy out of the NCSE guidelines. As a geneticist, this struggle he has willingly undertaken against religious nonsense posing as any kind of ‘alternative’ to evolution carries with it a professional price, and I for one appreciate what he does and like the rest of the public who cares about what’s true, am in his debt.

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  9. what is the magical β€˜barrier’ that stops micro-evolution over time from becoming macro-evolution?

    Oh yeah. Bring on the magic.
    πŸ™‚

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  10. “Obviously you have preconceived ideas which lead you to reject Jerry’s talk.”

    Um, well duh. πŸ˜‰

    “Nothing like that with people who are satisfied with β€œgod did it.” And, after all, isn’t that the exact creationist position? ”

    But that’s the problem. Creationism *isn’t* “God did it” any more than evolution is “evolution did it”. Creationist ideas are developing all the time, looking at why we see the world we do. For example, pointing to design flaws isn’t really an arguement, since these flaws could have crept in over time.

    Just saying is all. I was hoping to have my faith rocked, I guess I need to read the book and get the detail. Any offers to gift one can be made at my email address πŸ˜‰

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  11. So where are these creationist “ideas” being developed? By who? And where are they based? Where do they publish their work?

    Sent from my iPod

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  12. John A. Davison

    Evolution WAS true, undeniably true. There is little evidence it is still in progress. More important “natural selection,” the cornerstone of Darwinian mysticism, never had anything whatsoever to do with either speciation or the appearance of any of the higher taxonomic categories. Phylogeny was planned from beginning to end and the end is any time now.

    http://www.jadavison.wordpress.com

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  13. John A. Davison

    I am a creationist but not with the Protestant capital C. I refer you to –

    http://www.jadavison.wordpress.com

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  14. John A. Davison

    Ken Perrot

    I notice in describing yourelf that you are a great fan of Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins, both remarkably prolific wordsmiths. Yet neither, in my opinion, has ever written a word clarifying the “causes” of phylogeny, the only issue that has ever been at stake. Nor is there a word in Darwin’s Origin that has anything to do with its title. Dawkins, like Paul Zachary Myers continues to pretend that I, like all my sources, do not exist . That has always been the Darwinian way.

    I have repeatedly challenged them to a confrontation on a neutral venue, or on their turf or mine, only to be ignored. Furthermore, I have been banished from their websites, so all I can do is implore others to promote that confrontation, so far with no success. Perhaps you would be willing to sponsor such an event?

    I have concluded that they are terrified of me just as Darwinians have always been terrified of their several critics over the century and a half that Darwin’s fantasy has prevailed.

    Maybe it is just as well. According to Samuel Johnson –

    “I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.”

    and

    “No man was ever great by imitation.”

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. D avison

    http://www.jadavison.wordpress.com

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  15. John A. Davison

    I couldn’t find any reference to a paper of yours in a scientific journal via Google Scholar.

    You don’t appear to worked in this area?

    Whoops, sorry, there is something. But why are they all listed on Uncommon Descent – Bill Dembski’s site.

    Surely that’s the kiss of death for any credibility in this area?

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  16. John A. Davison

    Ken

    That doesn’t surprise me in the least. Google is left of Lenin and swims in the tank with Richard Dawkins, Paul Zachary Myers my mortal enemies. I am also no friend of William Dembski. DaveScot/David Springer was kind enough to list my publications at Uncommon Descent. Like myself, he too is now banished from Uncommon Descent.

    I recommend you go to my website where you will also find my papers, published and unpublished. As for the kiss of death, it is Dawkins, Myers, Gould, Mayr, Provine and all the rest of the atheist chance worshippers that are walking zombies. Darwinism, was dead on arrival in 1859, as Mivart was quick to establish, as did many others in their day. Phylogeny, exactly like ontogeny, proceeded (past tense) on the basis of information already present at the beginning or more likely beginnings of each creative sequence. A monophyletic evolution WAS extremely unlikely and creative evolution is definitely a phenomenon of the distant past. Read my Essays and published papers for the evidence for a new hypothesis for organic evolution. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have once I am convinced you have digested not only my papers but those of the several distinguished scientists on whose work my own firmly rests.

    You are welcome to register and participate on my website. I prefer users of my blog to identify themselves. I have no respect for anonymity and ordinarily ignore comments from such sources but in your case I am making an exception. Incidentally, I welcome verbal abuse as it reflects the character of the abuser, not the abused but prefer that the vitriol come from a real person rather than an anonymous coward.

    If you do decide to visit my weblog, be sure first to read the Welcome thread so you will know what the rules are.

    http://www.jadavison.wordpress.com

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  17. John, the impression you create with these comments is that of a nut. All I am trying to do is establish your credibility (with comments like google being left of Lenin in response to my question this credibility is exactly zero).

    Being listed on Dembski’s blog also doesn’t win you any credibility. I certainly am not attracted to read rubbish recommended by them.

    If you have published in credible scientific journals I am Interested to know which papers they are. If not you are wasting my time.

    Sent from my iPod

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  18. John A. Davison

    Ken, whoever you are, and I suspect I will never know.

    My first evolutionary paper was published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology in 1984. It resulted in an effective boycott of any more evolutionary papers from me either in that journal or in any of several other contemporary journals nearly all of which are now run by Darwnian zealots. I was able to publish several papers in Rivista di Biologia but even that journal has rejected my contributions apparently over my differences with its Editor, Giuseppi Sermonti.

    I currently am holding forth in my own journal, modeled after Gregor Mendel’s –

    “Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Brunn (Austria).

    He too had encountered violent opposition from the ruling establishement and wisely chose to publish in the journal for which he was the Editor. I have chosen to do the same and for some time now have been publishing in –

    “The Proceedings of the Natural History Society of South Burlington (Vermont).”

    You and others are welcome to submit manuscripts for publcation there. You can be certain that I with my Editorial Board will give them careful consideration. However, we do not publish papers by anonymous authors. No respectable scientific journal ever has.

    I told you where to go to find out all about me. Then, If you have any real questions, I will be happy to answer them here or elsewhere. I am not on trial here or anywhere else. Atheist inspired Darwinian mysticism is and always has been. There is no question that it is the most successful hoax ever conceived and then perpetuated in the history of human communication.

    “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
    Albert Einstein

    I am but the champion of the several great minds who each long ago established the bankruptcy of Darwin’s monumentally naive, hopelessly inadequate interpretation of the great unsolved mystery of phylogeny. You will find my most recent essay on that history in messages #231 and #233 in the “Predictions” thread of my weblog. It is titled –

    “What’s wrong with Darwinism?

    If I create the impresssion that I am a nut, so much the better. My intellectual heroes then must also share that evaluation because I have offered relatively little that is original with me.

    It doesn’t get any better than this. I love it so!

    http://www.jadavison.wordpress.com

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  19. Ken:

    John is very well-known, but not in a positive way. Had I caught on sooner I wouldn’t have replied to him earlier.

    Basically, once he starts self-promoting he’ll not stop… that’s the key reason he’s been cut off so many blogs. He has apparently even managed to get banned from some pro-ID sites!

    As for his “science”, it ain’t.

    My personal take is the guy suffers from some form of “delusions of grandeur”.

    He once (at least in his mind) ran for Governor of Vermont.

    As he says he can’t get his “work” published even in “two-bit” journals, his “scientific journal” is hosted on a wordpress blog

    Darwin didn’t work on phylogenetics either, phylogenetics came much later.

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  20. Yes, I guessed he is a crank. His web site has very little traffic indicated by subscriptions and all the comments are from him!

    He comments on coming here and declares his intention to be banned! Obviously collects this sort if thing. Strange way to pass one’s time.

    Sent from my iPod

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  21. John A. Davison

    Heraclides and Ken, anonymous cowards both.

    It is not my intenton to be banned, only my expectation based on long experience. This blog is swimming in the same fantasy pond with Richard Dawkins and Paul Zachary Myers, neither of whom has contributed a scintilla to the only matter which was ever in question – the “mechanism “by which a past evolution took place.

    Since you don’t have the stomach to delete my comments, let me add this weblog to the long list of venues both creationist and atheist that I have abandoned in disgust, intellectual vacuums that they have all proven to be.

    Good luck with your “groupthink,” just one more useless, pseudo-intellectual vessel bobbing about aimlessly in a sea of indescribable ignorance.

    http://www.jadavison.wordpress.com

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  22. I see you have no pretense of approaching things as a scientist would.

    It is the substance of what is said that matters, not who says it. That’s the main reason I took on the alias: as an experiment to get people to focus on the substance. The only objections I’ve ever had a from literalist Christians, which I think is telling.

    Seeing you are all bile and hate (when not self-promoting), I have no further wish to receive “correspondence” from you, thank you.

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  23. John A. Davison

    Heraclides, whoever that is.

    Don’t confuse hate with pity. Humans whose identity remains unknown leave nothing to prove they were ever here. It is my conviction that anonymity is thoroughly anti-intellectual in its effect. Nearly always it proves to be license for vitriol.

    Furthermore, if you think I am a literalist Christian, you have read none of my papers.

    I promote not myself but my predecessors without whom I am nothing which you would also know had you read my papers.

    It is true that I have become intolerant, a natural response to years of verbal abuse nearly all from anonymous sources like yourself.

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  24. John is very well-known, but not in a positive way.

    It was only a matter of time before he came here.
    Pandasthumb ended up disemvowelling his comments and banning him.

    (Considering how tolerant the moderation policy is at Pandasthumb.org, you can imagine what Davison had to do to reach that rarified club.)

    His comments will always be the same endlessly dreary stuff.
    It will never change.
    Don’t respond to him.
    Don’t let him pollute the blog.
    Please.
    It’s happened to too many blogs already.

    Like

  25. Cedric,

    I know. I will always give people *one* chance to do the right thing. He’s already had his…

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  26. John A. Davison

    So, I see now that Heraclides is the
    “blogczar” here. That figures. Real people have always been hesitant to banish we many critics of the most enduring hoax in the history of science. A confident person would use his real name.

    “Enemies are so stimulating.”
    Katherine Hepburn

    especially insecure anonymous ones.

    It doesn’t get any better than this.

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  27. John A. Davison

    Heraclides.

    http://jadavison.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/why-banishment/#comment-2428

    #668

    You have been thoroughly exposed, my standard response to bullies.

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  28. I’d love it for Chrome to have a built in kill-file feature, but anyhow, ban Davidson before the spam-nami/blog whoring fully begins.

    Like

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