Field of Science

Jerry Coyne slams Forbes and Michael Egnor

Jerry Coyne has a refutation of Michael Egnor's egregious commentary, both in Forbes Magazine.

Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago, author of Why Evolution is True, is seriously pissed that Forbes let several well-known creationists (Ken Ham claiming Darwin is responsible for racism) spout insidious claims about something they obviously do not understand much of (or they are willfully trying to deceive their readers), and he lets them hear for it:
Can we expect that it will balance stories on medicine with the competing views of shamans, Christian Scientists and spiritual healers? Will articles on the Holocaust be rebutted by the many Holocaust deniers? When the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing rolls around this July, will Forbes give a say to paranoids who think the landing was a fraud, staged on a movie lot?

This, in effect, is what Forbes has done by giving equal time to evolution-deniers. Journalists have an obligation to be fair, but this doesn't mean that they must give charlatans a prestigious platform from which to broadcast their lies. By doing so, Forbes has debased both journalism and science.
Whatever the reasons Forbes had for giving these creationists a voice, let's hope that at the end of the day the effect is more people exposed to the theory and fact of evolution.

The only quip i have with Coyne is when he says
Among genuine scientists, there is not the slightest doubt about the truth of these ideas. In contrast to Egnor's claim, the evidence for all of them is not only strong but copious--so much so that evolution has graduated from a scientific theory to a scientific fact.
It's not that I don't know that Coyne knows that the theory of evolution explains the fact of evolution, and that perhaps he says it to underline the extent to which we know that evolution occurs. But it also supplies yet another quote to mine for creationists who doesn't understand that evolution is both. If creationists can counter than it is a weakness that evolution is only a theory, as Coyne here would have them believe, then they will have no roblem finding other biologists stating that evolution is indeed a theory, and (as it is not uncommon to hear as an argument against evolution) if the evolutionists can't even agree, then what does that tell us about the validity of evolution?

And with that, happy birthday, Charles.


  1. Pardon my Swedish, but this guy totally kicks ass. I'm reading his "Why Evolution is True" (which is mainly a rehash of stuff I've known for years, but still a fun read) - and he's awesome. The world needs more scientists with balls.

    Um, I'll stop now. Hey, do you know of a way I can comment in this blog without all the annoying machinations by blogger? It's a real knot in my knickers. I blog at wordpress and there's none of that "validation shmalidation" stuff there.

    Also, if this is a self-hosted blog, why not put comment subscription?

  2. Hi. I quite agree about Coyne. I'd like to read his book, but there are so many others...

    The only thing I can tell you about commenting is that once you register with, there is a 'subscribe by email' at the bottom of the form. Not sure what to do about the rest. Sorry.

  3. Well, if is has to bee off-topic, then praise is the way to go. Thanks.

    P.S. Yeah, I have heard about that site, Google.


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