Friday, 13 August 2010

Thou shalt not doubt Darwin

Although Darwin year came and went, this documentary is still making news.

Joel Kontinen

Writing in a recent issue of e- Skeptic, Jonathan Lowe takes issue with how the documentary Darwin: The Voyage that Shook the World managed to include pro-Darwin scientists in a film that is critical of Darwin. He thinks that they were deceived into taking part. The evidence? Creation Ministries International used Fathom Media to produce the film. (Read CMI’s response to alleged deception here.)

Lowe, who is a novelist, then asks a number of pro-Darwin scientist, for instance doctors John Hutchinson and Brian Charlesworth, to counter the claims of the film. They are adamant that irreducible complexity can be explained away by the Darwinian method of using old parts in new contexts, that Darwin’s reliance on the uniformitarian views of Charles Lyell is no problem, Darwin’s finches support evolution and DNA is mostly junk.

In other words, when it comes to Darwin, there is not much skepticism in e-Skeptic.

The ”junk DNA” argument is especially interesting. Nick Matzke, formerly of the National Center for Science Education, claims:

The genomes of animals and plants, at least those with large genomes like humans, are mostly junk. And whatever you’ve heard from creationists, or even certain poorly-informed scientists, saying that ‘junk DNA’ isn’t junk is mostly wrong.”

It seems that either Matzke has overlooked recent research published in Nature on the complexity of the genome or he chooses to ignore it.

Lowe discusses many other arguments included in the film, always giving a Darwinian spin on issues. He ends his apology for Darwin by quoting Dr. Brian Charlesworth: ”Appealing to non-natural processes to explain away difficulties simply means you are not doing science. ”

The e-Skeptic reviewer regards Darwinian evolution and billions of years as fact. All critical assessments of the weaknesses of the non-theistic wordview are absent. There seems to be no room for discussing the significance of the presence of C-14 in diamonds or soft tissue in dinosaurs in an otherwise skeptical world.


Lowe, Jonathan. 2010. Distorting Darwin. e-Skeptic (4 August).