Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Denyse O'Leary Never Learns

Since first meeting Denyse O'Leary a few months ago, we've had several interactions where I attempted to explain why "Darwinism" is not an appropriate synonym for modern evolutionary biology. From time to time she actually seems to get it. She's even agreed to try and be more honest about referring to evolution instead of harping on "Darwinism" as the number one bogey man.

Alas, it didn't last long. Denyse has posted a long diatribe based on some unsubstantiated claim that a professional society is "hassling" a scientist who dares to question Darwin. She says,
Darwinism is their perpetually virgin theory that can never be impugned. Have you noticed how absolute are the claims they make for it? You’d have as much luck discussing science-related questions about Darwin’s theory with them as discussing Mary’s state of grace with Mickey and Ladislaw.
Once again, you're dead wrong Denyse. Lots of us question classic "Darwinism," as did Stephen Jay Gould, the former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, a professional society). Modern evolutionary theory has moved well beyond what Darwin knew in the nineteenth century. Science is constantly changing—it does not rely on the literal reading of ancient texts. When will you ever learn?


  1. I believe that this is another example of the ID cheap tricks department. After all if you are trying to promote a theistic worldview by rhetoric alone it is a lot easier to aim at a named Bogeyman rather than a process.

  2. I read O'Leary's posting. Given the conversation you've reported having with her, I offer two not-exclusive explanations:

    1) She regards ID as part of her religious faith, and as a result, divides the world into the reasonable people who agree with her and the 'bad people' who disagree. Saying bad things about bad people seems fundamentally honest to her, to the extent that she does not think or realize she's distorting their positions to the point of lying about them.

    2) She genuinely thinks there are fundamentalist Darwinians out there, and those are the ones she's complaining about.

    I also notice that DaveScot has kicked you off the board. What a tool.

  3. One of my three strikes on UD was stating that Roddy Bullock had described evolutionary biology as a religion, when he'd used "Darwinism" (whilst actually referring to evolutionary biology) throughout.


  4. Larry said:

    You got three strikes?

    It seems Davescot liked (FSVO) me.

    Mind you, the third strike was stating an alternative moral to the story of the boy who cried wolf...