Darwin Exhibit at the AMNH
Michael Powell's article in today's Washington Post on the Darwin exhibit at the AMNH contains what you would expect - describing Darwin as an heroic and misunderstood figure. It also includes the usual mantras of the mainstream media: objections to Darwin are religious and cultural in nature and the evidence for evolution (note use of vague term) is overwhelming.
Making some effort at balance, he does acknowledge this:
Darwin's theories gave birth to some misshapen children, from early-20th-century eugenicists intent on selecting out "the feeble and the inferior" through sterilization to the German scientist Ernst Haeckel, who found in Darwin's work support for anti-Semitic and racist notions. The exhibition elides this past. Perhaps that's as it should be, as Darwin harbored no such beliefs.
But in its eagerness to declare the grand evolutionary questions settled, the show takes its lone stumble. Only four decades ago, most paleontologists rejected the theory, now broadly accepted, that comets and volcanic eruptions delivered mass extinctions and so played a key role in speeding evolution. Nor are scientists clear on the mechanism by which one species evolves into another; curator Eldredge and the late scientist Stephen Jay Gould crafted the once heretical theory of punctuated equilibrium, which holds that species sometimes evolve in grand leaps.
Even in this slanted article, the absurdity of the standard claims shines through. The only reason to doubt "Darwin's insights -- that we descend from common ancestors and that natural selection drives the evolution of living things" is for religious reasons. Yet scientists are currently not "clear on the mechanism by which one species evolves into another." Yep, we know everything about macroevolution except the mechanism. But then, isn't understanding the mechanism overrated?
Powell states that the exhibition "reflects the gnawing worry within the scientific class that it has failed to vigorously present its case in the public arena." I find this quite humorous. Darwinists have been extremely vigorous. Their problem is that they have not just vigorously presented their case, but have also made every effort to stifle any dissent. They have constantly avoided a free and open debate on the merits in the marketplace of ideas. They will never convince the public with such tactics.
Here is a tip: Americans love a good debate. They hate bullies and thought police.