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  1. #1
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    The REAL death of Darwin?

    Source: The Skeptic Tank
    http://www.skepticf iles.org/ evolut/darwinno. htm

    SCIENTIST THREATENS TO MAKE DARWIN EXTINCT

    ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
    by Neville Hodgkinson, Science Correspondent
    ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -

    It is like asking Christians to abandon the Bible. The world of science this
    week faces the biggest challenge yet to one of its most basic beliefs:
    Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

    An authoritative compilation of scientific findings suggests that the theory
    - taught as gospel throughout the world - is so discredited it should be
    abandoned as an "elegant" but unsupported myth.

    The challenge comes from Richard Milton, a science writer, engineer, and
    amateur geologist, in a book entitled The Facts of Life: Shattering the Myth
    of Darwinism.
    Its publication on Thursday coincides with the annual meeting
    in Southampton of the British Association for the Advancement of Science,
    whose gathering in June 1860 heard Thomas Huxley, Darwin's champion, expound
    the revolutionary theory that mankind is descended from the apes.

    More than 130 years later, it is science itself which, according to Milton,
    has destroyed the "beautiful idea" of evolution with ugly facts. Milton, who
    says he has no Creationist or other religious convictions
    , has spent 20 years
    collecting evidence that challenges the Darwinist theory about "the survival
    of the fittest".

    His book marshals discoveries indicating that the earth is far younger than
    the hundreds of millions of years needed for species to have evolved through
    chance mutations followed by natural selection. It also claims that Darwinism
    and subsequent modifications have failed to present conclusive evidence that
    one species can evolve into another.

    This weekend his assault on evolutionists was supported by Bishop Hugh
    Montefiore, former chairman of the Church of England's board for social
    responsibity, who said it "knocked for six the dogma taught in all our
    schools". However, he doubted it would force a change of heart in the
    scientific establishment: "There is a vested interest in upholding it and I
    don't imagine this book will bring the end to it."

    Dr Melvin Cook, a former professor of metallurgy at the University of Utah,
    whose radiocarbon dating methods have put the age of the earth's atmosphere
    between 10,000 and 15,000 years said: "The facts do not support the theory of
    evolution."

    Milton's book highlights significant discrepancies between the received
    wisdom and recent scientific discoveries:

    o Repeated experiments by scientists at the Hawaiian Institute of
    Geophysics, using radioactive decay of potassium to argon to date volcanic
    lavas, found ages ranging from 160m years to three billion years; in fact the
    rocks are known to be 190 years old
    .

    o Experiments at Harvard University by the British biologist Dr John Cairns,
    subsequently confirmed and extended by Dr Barry Hall of Rochester University,
    show that when bacteria are deprived of certain essential nutrients, they can
    give rise to descendents capacble of maufacturing their own. "This strongly
    suggests it is possible for organisms to evolve in a directed, purposeful
    way. We don't understand how it happens but it is not chance, so it is not a
    Darwinian mechanism," Milton says.

    o Darwinists believe the principal rocks of the earth's crust were created
    by layers of sediments formed on the beds of ancient oceans, and that the
    creatures whose fossils are found in them lived millions of years ago; but
    fossilised trees up to 40 feet tall are found standing in coal seams and
    other sediments, showing that these rocks form rapidly, not over milliobns of
    years.


    o Darwinists have claimed that the fossilised skeleton of archaeopteryx, a
    feathered bird-like creature, was an example of a transitional form of life,
    from reptiles to birds; but last year, in the Philosophical Transactions of
    the Royal Society, Sankar Chatterjee, professor of Palaeontology at Texas
    Tech University, described a newly discovered fossil of a pheasant sized bird
    said to predate archaeopteryx by 75m years. "What this really shows is that
    the dataing is faulty, and birds and reptiles were contemporaries in a more
    recent past," Milton says.

    o Carbon dating, considered one of the most reliable methods for dating
    plant and animal remains of relatively recent origin, when applied to the
    earth's atmosphere points to an age of only 10,000 to 15,000 years.


    o In spite of repeated Darwinist claims, more than a century of excavation
    has failed to produce evidence of the "missing link" - a creature with part
    ape, part human characteristics need to support the theory of evolution.

    E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank



    __._,_.___
    "Ethics" is simply a last-gasp attempt by deist conservatives and
    orthodox dogmatics to keep humanity in ignorance and obscurantism,
    through the well tried fermentation of fear, the fear of science and
    new technologies.
    There is nothing glorious about what our ancestors call history,
    it is simply a succession of mistakes, intolerances and violations.

  2. #2
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    Re: The REAL death of Darwin?

    Experiments at Harvard University by the British biologist Dr John Cairns,
    subsequently confirmed and extended by Dr Barry Hall of Rochester University,
    show that when bacteria are deprived of certain essential nutrients, they can
    give rise to descendents capacble of maufacturing their own. "This strongly
    suggests it is possible for organisms to evolve in a directed, purposeful
    way. We don't understand how it happens but it is not chance, so it is not a
    Darwinian mechanism," Milton says.
    What it strongly suggests is that some genes are expressed only when conditions require it. I wonder if Mr. Milton is aware than the human body, when deprived of certain essential nutrients, manufactures its own, something it does not do when those nutients are present in its diet.

    Carbon dating, considered one of the most reliable methods for dating
    plant and animal remains of relatively recent origin, when applied to the
    earth's atmosphere points to an age of only 10,000 to 15,000 years.
    How would one carbon date the atmosphere? Given the constant exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the Earth's surface, any two portions of the atmosphere would have different ages.

  3. #3
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    Re: The REAL death of Darwin?

    Alternate take of Mr M...





    Review of Richard Milton: The Facts of Life: Shattering the myth of Darwinism. Published in New Statesman, (London), 28th August 1992.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Every day I get letters, in capitals and obsessively underlined if not actually in green ink, from flat-earthers, young-earthers, perpetual-motion merchants, astrologers and other harmless fruitcakes. The only difference here is that Richard Milton managed to get his stuff published. The publisher - we don’t know how many decent publishers turned it down first - is called ‘Fourth Estate.’ Not a house that I had heard of, but apparently neither a vanity press nor a fundamentalist front. So, what are ‘Fourth Estate’ playing at? Would they publish - for this book is approximately as silly - a claim that the Romans never existed and the Latin language is a cunning Victorian fabrication to keep schoolmasters employed?

    A cynic might note that there is a paying public out there, hungry for simple religious certitude, who will lap up anything with a subtitle like ‘Shattering the Myth of Darwinism.’ If the author pretends not to be religious himself, so much the better, for he can then be exhibited as an unbiased witness. There is - no doubt about it - a fast buck to be made by any publishers unscrupulous enough to print pseudoscience that they know is rubbish but for which there is a market.

    But let’s not be so cynical. Mightn’t the publishers have an honourable defence? Perhaps this unqualified hack is a solitary genius, the only soldier in the entire platoon - nay, regiment - who is in step. Perhaps the world really did bounce into existence in 8000 BC. Perhaps the whole vast edifice of orthodox science really is totally and utterly off its trolley. (In the present case, it would have to be not just orthodox biology but physics, geology and cosmology too). How do we poor publishers know until we have printed the book and seen it panned?

    If you find that plea persuasive, think again. It could be used to justify publishing literally anything; flat-earth, fairies, astrology, werewolves and all. It is true that an occasional lonely figure, originally written off as loony or at least wrong, has eventually been triumphantly vindicated (though not often a journalist like Richard Milton, it has to be said). But it is also true that a much larger number of people originally regarded as wrong really were wrong. To be worth publishing, a book must do a little more than just be out of step with the rest of the world.

    But, the wretched publisher might plead, how are we, in our ignorance, to decide? Well, the first thing you might do - it might even pay you, given the current runaway success of some science books - is employ an editor with a smattering of scientific education. It needn’t be much: A-level Biology would have been ample to see off Richard Milton. At a more serious level, there are lots of smart young science graduates who would love a career in publishing (and their jacket blurbs would avoid egregious howlers like calling Darwinism the "idea that chance is the mechanism of evolution.") As a last resort you could even do what proper publishers do and send the stuff out to referees. After all, if you were offered a manuscript claiming that Tennyson wrote The Iliad, wouldn’t you consult somebody, say with an O-level in History, before rushing into print?

    You might also glance for a second at the credentials of the author. If he is an unknown journalist, innocent of qualifications to write his book, you don’t have to reject it out of hand but you might be more than usually anxious to show it to referees who do have some credentials. Acceptance need not, of course, depend on the referees’ endorsing the author’s thesis: a serious dissenting opinion can deserve to be heard. But referees will save you the embarrassment of putting your imprint on twaddle that betrays, on almost every page, complete and total pig-ignorance of the subject at hand.

    All qualified physicists, biologists, cosmologists and geologists agree, on the basis of massive, mutually corroborating evidence, that the earth’s age is at least four billion years. Richard Milton thinks it is only a few thousand years old, on the authority of various Creation ‘science’ sources including the notorious Henry Morris (Milton himself claims not to be religious, and he affects not to recognise the company he is keeping). The great Francis Crick (himself not averse to rocking boats) recently remarked that "anyone who believes that the earth is less than 10,000 years old needs psychiatric help." Yes yes, maybe Crick and the rest of us are all wrong and Milton, an untrained amateur with a ‘background’ as an engineer, will one day have the last laugh. Want a bet?

    Milton misunderstands the first thing about natural selection. He thinks the phrase refers to selection among species. In fact, modern Darwinians agree with Darwin himself that natural selection chooses among individuals within species. Such a fundamental misunderstanding would be bound to have far-reaching consequences; and they duly make nonsense of several sections of the book.

    In genetics, the word ‘recessive’ has a precise meaning, known to every school biologist. It means a gene whose effect is masked by another (dominant) gene at the same locus. Now it also happens that large stretches of chromosomes are inert - untranslated. This kind of inertness has not the smallest connection with the ‘recessive’ kind. Yet Milton manages the feat of confusing the two. Any slightly qualified referee would have picked up this clanger.

    There are other errors from which any reader capable of thought would have saved this book. Stating correctly that Immanuel Velikovsky was ridiculed in his own time, Milton goes on to say "Today, only forty years later, a concept closely similar to Velikovsky’s is widely accepted by many geologists - that the major extinction at the end of the Cretaceous ... was caused by collison with a giant meteor or even asteroid." But the whole point of Velikovsky (indeed, the whole reason why Milton, with his eccentric views on the age of the earth, champions him) is that his collision was supposed to have happened recently; recently enough to explain Biblical catastrophes like Moses’s parting of the Red Sea. The geologists’ meteorite, on the other hand, is supposed to have impacted 65 million years ago! There is a difference - approximately 65 million years difference. If Velikovsky had placed his collision tens of millions of years ago he would not have been ridiculed. To represent him as a misjudged, wilderness-figure who has finally come into his own is either disingenuous or - more charitably and plausibly - stupid.

    In these post-Leakey, post-Johanson days, creationist preachers are having to learn that there is no mileage in ‘missing links.’ Far from being missing, the fossil links between modern humans and our ape ancestors now constitute an elegantly continuous series. Richard Milton, however, still hasn’t got the message. For him, "...the only ‘missing link’ so far discovered remains the bogus Piltdown Man." Australopithecus, correctly described as a human body with an ape’s head, doesn’t qualify because it is ‘really’ an ape. And Homo habilis - ‘handy man’ - which has a brain "perhaps only half the size of the average modern human’s" is ruled out from the other side: "... the fact remains that handy man is a human - not a missing link." One is left wondering what a fossil has to do - what more could a fossil do - to qualify as a ‘missing link’?

    No matter how continuous a fossil series may be, the conventions of zoological nomenclature will always impose discontinuous names. At present, there are only two generic names to spread over all the hominids. The more ape-like ones are shoved into the genus Australopithecus; the more human ones into the genus Homo. Intermediates are saddled with one name or the other. This would still be true if the series were as smoothly continuous as you can possibly imagine. So, when Milton says, of Johanson’s ‘Lucy’ and associated fossils, "the finds have been referred to either Australopithecus and hence are apes, or Homo and hence are human," he is saying something (rather dull) about naming conventions, nothing at all about the real world.

    But this is a more sophisticated criticism than Milton’s book deserves. The only serious question raised by its publication is why. As for would-be purchasers, if you want this sort of silly-season drivel you’d be better off with a couple of Jehovah’s Witness tracts. They are more amusing to read, they have rather sweet pictures, and they put their religious cards on the table.

    Richard Dawkins
    "Ethics" is simply a last-gasp attempt by deist conservatives and
    orthodox dogmatics to keep humanity in ignorance and obscurantism,
    through the well tried fermentation of fear, the fear of science and
    new technologies.
    There is nothing glorious about what our ancestors call history,
    it is simply a succession of mistakes, intolerances and violations.

  4. #4
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    Re: The REAL death of Darwin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Parcival
    How would one carbon date the atmosphere? Given the constant exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the Earth's surface, any two portions of the atmosphere would have different ages.
    Not to mention that most of the carbon in the atmosphere today is from car exhaust and power plants. The rest would be from volcano eruptions. How much carbon was put in during Mt. St. Helens? Where did it all go? It was cleaned out by rains etc. Carbon date some fossil records... then you will see carbon that hasn't been re-mixed for a few hundred thousand years...

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