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100 Scientists, National Poll Challenge Darwinism
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Published: 17 years ago

100 Scientists, National Poll Challenge Darwinism

SEATTLE Monday, September 24, 2001--In an ironic greeting to the seven-part public television series "Evolution" that begins tonight, 100 scientists have declared that they "are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life." The signers say, "Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based public policy center, compiled the list of statement signers (attached). Among other things, the long list may help to answer the contention of designated spokespeople for the series "Evolution" that "virtually all reputable scientists in the world" support Darwin's theory. Institute officials charge that officials of WGBH/Clear Blue Sky Productions have used that contention to keep any scientific criticism of Darwinism from being acknowledged or examined in the eight-hour series. "They want people to think that the only criticism of Darwin's theory today is from religious fundamentalists," said Discovery president Bruce Chapman. "They routinely try to stigmatize scientists who question Darwin as 'creationists'."

Chemist and five time Nobel nominee, Henry "Fritz" Schaefer of the University of Georgia, commented on the need to encourage debate on Darwin's theory of evolution. "Some defenders of Darwinism," says Schaefer, "embrace standards of evidence for evolution that as scientists they would never accept in other circumstances." Schaefer was on the roster of signers of the statement, termed "A Scientific Dissent on Darwinism."

Meanwhile, a Zogby Poll released today shows overwhelming public support--81 percent--for the position that "When public broadcasting networks discuss Darwin's theory of evolution, they should present the scientific evidence for it, but also the scientific evidence against it." Only 10 percent support presenting "only the scientific evidence that supports" Darwin's theory. (Less than 10 percent said "Neither" or "Not sure.")

"Public television producers are clearly at odds with overwhelming public sentiment in favor of hearing all scientific sides of the debate," said Chapman, a former Director of the US Census Bureau. "The huge majorities in the poll cross every demographic, regional and political line in America." The national sample of 1,202 adults was conducted by Zogby International from August 25-29. The margin of error is +/-3.0%.

Discovery Institute commissioned the Zogby poll, though the survey itself was designed by the Zogby organization. It also included questions on education and "intelligent design," a theory that some scientific critics of Darwin support. (That theory makes no religious claims, but says that the best natural evidence for life's origins points to design rather than a process of random mutation and natural selection.) Discovery Institute last week also opened a special website ( to critique the WGBH/Clear Blue Sky series in a scholarly "Viewer's Guide." Discovery officials say that the website analyzes all program segments in the series and has uncovered numerous scientific and historical errors, exaggerations and omissions. Full results of the Zogby poll also are available on the website.

"The numbers of scientists who question Darwinism is a minority, but IT IS GROWING FAST," said Stephen Meyer, a Cambridge-educated philosopher of Science who directs the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. "This is happening in the face of fierce attempts to intimidate and suppress legitimate dissent. Young scientists are threatened with deprivation of tenure. Others have seen a consistent pattern of answering scientific arguments with ad hominem attacks. In particular, the series' attempt to stigmatize all critics--including scientists--as religious 'creationists' is an excellent example of viewpoint discrimination."

Signers of the statement questioning Darwinism came from throughout the US and from several other countries, representing biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, geology, anthropology and other scientific fields. Professors and researchers at such universities as Princeton, MIT, U Penn, and Yale, as well as smaller colleges and the National Laboratories at Livermore, CA and Los Alamos, N.M., are included. A number of the signers have authored or contributed to books on issues related to evolution, or have books underway.

Despite repeated requests, the series' producers refused to cover scientific objections to Darwinism. Instead, the producers offered only to let scientific dissenters go on camera to tell their "personal faith stories" in the last program of the series, "What About God?" According to Discovery's Chapman, "This was almost an insult to serious scientists. Some of these dissenting scientists are not even religious. When you watch that last program, you realize they were wise to refuse to take part in it."

Jed Macosko, a young research molecular biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and a statement signer, said, "It is time for defenders of Darwin to engage in serious dialogue and debate with their scientific critics. Science can't grow where institutional gatekeepers try to prevent new challengers from being heard."


A Scientific Dissent on Darwinism

"I am skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

Henry F.Schaefer: Director, Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry: U. of Georgia • Fred Sigworth: Prof. of Cellular & Molecular Physiology- Grad. School: Yale U. • Philip S. Skell: Emeritus Prof. Of Chemistry: NAS member • Frank Tipler: Prof. of Mathematical Physics: Tulane U. • Robert Kaita: Plasma Physics Lab: Princeton U. • Michael Behe: Prof. of Biological Science: Lehigh U. • Walter Hearn: PhD Biochemistry-U of Illinois • Tony Mega: Assoc. Prof. of Chemistry: Whitworth College • Dean Kenyon: Prof. Emeritus of Biology: San Francisco State U. • Marko Horb: Researcher, Dept. of Biology & Biochemistry: U. of Bath, UK • Daniel Kubler: Asst. Prof. of Biology: Franciscan U. of Steubenville • David Keller: Assoc. Prof. of Chemistry: U. of New Mexico • James Keesling: Prof. of Mathematics: U. of Florida • Roland F. Hirsch: PhD Analytical Chemistry-U. of Michigan • Robert Newman: PhD Astrophysics-Cornell U. • Carl Koval: Prof., Chemistry & Biochemistry: U. of Colorado, Boulder • Tony Jelsma: Prof. of Biology: Dordt College • William A.Dembski: PhD Mathematics-U. of Chicago: • George Lebo: Assoc. Prof. of Astronomy: U. of Florida • Timothy G. Standish: PhD Environmental Biology-George Mason U. • James Keener: Prof. of Mathematics & Adjunct of Bioengineering: U. of Utah • Robert J. Marks: Prof. of Signal & Image Processing: U. of Washington • Carl Poppe: Senior Fellow: Lawrence Livermore Laboratories • Siegfried Scherer: Prof. of Microbial Ecology: Technische Universitaet Muenchen • Gregory Shearer: Internal Medicine, Research: U. of California, Davis • Joseph Atkinson: PhD Organic Chemistry-M.I.T.: American Chemical Society, member • Lawrence H. Johnston: Emeritus Prof. of Physics: U. of Idaho • Scott Minnich: Prof., Dept of Microbiology, Molecular Biology & Biochem: U. of Idaho • David A. DeWitt: PhD Neuroscience-Case Western U. • Theodor Liss: PhD Chemistry-M.I.T. • Braxton Alfred: Emeritus Prof. of Anthropology: U. of British Columbia • Walter Bradley: Prof. Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering: Texas A & M • Paul D. Brown: Asst. Prof. of Environmental Studies: Trinity Western U. (Canada) • Marvin Fritzler: Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: U. of Calgary, Medical School • Theodore Saito: Project Manager: Lawrence Livermore Laboratories • Muzaffar Iqbal: PhD Chemistry-U. of Saskatchewan: Center for Theology the Natural Sciences • William S. Pelletier: Emeritus Distinguished Prof. of Chemistry: U. of Georgia, Athens • Keith Delaplane: Prof. of Entomology: U. of Georgia • Ken Smith: Prof. of Mathematics: Central Michigan U. • Clarence Fouche: Prof. of Biology: Virginia Intermont College • Thomas Milner: Asst. Prof. of Biomedical Engineering: U. of Texas, Austin • Brian J.Miller: PhD Physics-Duke U. • Paul Nesselroade: Assoc. Prof. of Psychology: Simpson College • Donald F.Calbreath: Prof. of Chemistry: Whitworth College • William P. Purcell: PhD Physical Chemistry-Princeton U. • Wesley Allen: Prof. of Computational Quantum Chemistry: U. of Georgia • Jeanne Drisko: Asst. Prof., Kansas Medical Center: U. of Kansas, School of Medicine • Chris Grace: Assoc. Prof. of Psychology: Biola U. • Wolfgang Smith: Prof. Emeritus-Mathematics: Oregon State U. • Rosalind Picard: Assoc. Prof. Computer Science: M.I.T. • Garrick Little: Senior Scientist, Li-Cor: Li-Cor • John L. Omdahl: Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: U. of New Mexico • Martin Poenie: Assoc. Prof. of Molecular Cell & Developmental Bio: U. of Texas, Austin • Russell W.Carlson: Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: U. of Georgia • Hugh Nutley: Prof. Emeritus of Physics & Engineering: Seattle Pacific U. • David Berlinski: PhD Philosophy-Princeton: Mathematician, Author • Neil Broom: Assoc. Prof., Chemical & Materials Engineeering: U. of Auckland • John Bloom: Assoc. Prof., Physics: Biola U. • James Graham: Professional Geologist, Sr. Program Manager: National Environmental Consulting Firm • John Baumgardner: Technical Staff, Theoretical Division: Los Alamos National Laboratory • Fred Skiff: Prof. of Physics: U. of Iowa • Paul Kuld: Assoc. Prof., Biological Science: Biola U. • Yongsoon Park: Senior Research Scientist: St. Luke's Hospital, Kansas City • Moorad Alexanian: Prof. of Physics: U. of North Carolina, Wilmington • Donald Ewert: Director of Research Administration: Wistar Institute • Joseph W. Francis: Assoc. Prof. of Biology: Cedarville U. • Thomas Saleska: Prof. of Biology: Concordia U. • Ralph W. Seelke: Prof. & Chair of Dept. of Biology & Earth Sciences: U. of Wisconsin, Superior • James G. Harman: Assoc. Chair, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry: Texas Tech U. • Lennart Moller: Prof. of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute: U. of Stockholm • Raymond G. Bohlin: PhD Molecular & Cell Biology-U. of Texas: • Fazale R. Rana: PhD Chemistry-Ohio U. • Michael Atchison: Prof. of Biochemistry: U. of Pennsylvania, Vet School • William S. Harris: Prof. of Basic Medical Sciences: U. of Missouri, Kansas City • Rebecca W. Keller: Research Prof., Dept. of Chemistry: U. of New Mexico • Terry Morrison: PhD Chemistry-Syracuse U. • Robert F. DeHaan: PhD Human Development-U. of Chicago • Matti Lesola: Prof., Laboratory of Bioprocess Engineering: Helsinki U. of Technology • Bruce Evans: Assoc. Prof. of Biology: Huntington College • Jim Gibson: PhD Biology-Loma Linda U. • David Ness: PhD Anthropology-Temple U. • Bijan Nemati: Senior Engineer: Jet Propulsion Lab (NASA) • Edward T. Peltzer: Senior Research Specialist: Monterey Bay Research Institute • Stan E. Lennard: Clinical Assoc. Prof. of Surgery: U. of Washington • Rafe Payne: Prof. & Chair, Biola Dept. of Biological Sciences: Biola U. • Phillip Savage: Prof. of Chemical Engineering: U. of Michigan • Pattle Pun: Prof. of Biology: Wheaton College • Jed Macosko: Postdoctoral Researcher-Molecular Biology: U. of California, Berkeley • Daniel Dix: Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics: U. of South Carolina • Ed Karlow: Chair, Dept. of Physics: LaSierra U. • James Harbrecht: Clinical Assoc. Prof.: U. of Kansas Medical Center • Robert W. Smith: Prof. of Chemistry: U. of Nebraska, Omaha • Robert DiSilvestro: PhD Biochemistry-Texas A & M U., Professor, Human Nutrition, Ohio State University • David Prentice: Prof., Dept. of Life Sciences: Indiana State U. • Walt Stangl: Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics: Biola U. • Jonathan Wells: PhD Molecular & Cell Biology-U. of California, Berkeley: • James Tour: Chao Prof. of Chemistry: Rice U. • Todd Watson: Asst. Prof. of Urban & Community Forestry: Texas A & M U. • Robert Waltzer: Assoc. Prof. of Biology: Belhaven College • Vincente Villa: Prof. of Biology: Southwestern U. • Richard Sternberg: Pstdoctoral Fellow, Invertebrate Biology: Smithsonian Institute • James Tumlin: Assoc. Prof. of Medicine: Emory U. Charles Thaxton: PhD Physical Chemistry-Iowa State U.

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