EDarr1776 at aol.com
EDarr1776 at aol.com
Mon Mar 15 16:24:51 PST 2004
In a message dated 3/15/2004 2:49:56 PM Central Standard Time,
jeastman at chapman.edu writes:
> Scholarly fraud? That is a pretty serious accusations and, from what I
> have learned of the science on the subject, clearly false. Has Leiter opened
> himself up to a libel claim? Have the devotees of Darwinism grown so concerned
> about the correctness of their own theories that they have to resort to the
> ad hominum in response to a challenge to the Darwinian citadel that takes
> seriously Darwin’s own methodology?
I haven't read the NRO article, but I will testify under oath to scholarly
fraud on the part of the Discovery Institute if asked. Serious
misrepresentations have been made before official bodies in at least four states.
Truth is a defense in libel. I think the author could be in the clear.
There is not a single publication in any juried science journal that supports
anti-Darwinian hypotheses since the Arkansas trial in 1981. I have searched
without success to find a single laboratory that is doing work that might lead
to the publication of such an article. There is no biology program at any
major research university where one may learn problems of Darwinian theory, nor
one where one may learn a hypothesis of intelligent design or creationism to
teach in its place.
Prof. Beckwith and others from the Discovery Institute claim that school
boards may question Darwin and teach intelligent design without legal
To my experience, Leiter may be too harsh on the kid at Harvard, but the
kid's only defense would be that he trusted Beckwith and Beckwith's publishers to
have gotten the facts right. I do not think Beckwith's book could survive a
good cross examination.
There is a fair amount of what scientists would call fraud, what would be
prosecutable were it done under federal research aegis, against Darwinian theory.
It's quite a scandal, even if not well known. Among other false claims made
against science by the campaign against Darwin in the past several years are
these: That the No Child Left Behind law requires "intelligent design" to be
taught (before the Ohio School Board) (the law has no such requirement); that
a sense of the Senate resolution is as good as law (it has no force of law);
that moth researchers now question whether Kettlewell's research on peppered
moths shows natural selection (to a person, the researchers say Kettlewell's
research does show natural selection, though it is not clear that the species of
titmouse which did the predation in Kettlewell's experiments is the sole
predator); that "intelligent design" has been supported in peer review science
publications (this is from a press release from the Discovery Institute, and it is
At the Texas textbook hearings last summer I spoke with a fellow who
suggested it's not academic fraud if the view is a genuine religious belief.
I've read Leiter's site. He goes rather easy on the critics of science and
teaching Darwin, IMHO.
Darwinians appreciate any criticism that is based in data, and they
appreciate a great debate on science any day. The problem is that the critics will not
do science, and instead ask for political action to stifle science. It
raises the ire of scientists that few others are concerned at such academic
dishonesty. When a book states one position on an issue and cites the major
researchers and their latest works for support, one would expect that those
researchers and their publications would indeed support that position. When the facts
are otherwise, one would be justified in questioning the appropriateness of the
How would a court deal with an lawyer who cites cases, or law review
articles, which argue exactly the opposite of the point being cited?
Hundreds of scientists, including all the Texas Nobelists in physiology and
medicine, rose up to call for an end to such shenanigans, and the Texas School
Board voted 11 to 4 to approve books without the shenanigans. Beckwith
testified in favor of the shenanigans, and I don't have a difficult time believing
that a good review of his book might suffer from too little study of the
Perhaps someone should invite Prof. Beckwith to join this list, and we could
discuss the issue more directly. As the NRO author points out, Prof. Leiter
is respected in his field. Perhaps he knows what he writes about.
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