The blog Panda's Thumb
is the most important blog refuting scientific
arguments (or ostensibly scientific arguments)
by advocates of Intelligent Design and creationism.
I have made a series of guest posts there:
Note -- in 2016 Panda's Thumb migrated to a new software system for
comments. For the moment, comments on old posts are missing. Some of the
comments -- the first page worth for each post -- are visible if one looks up
the page on archive.org (the Wayback machine, where the PT site archives will
be found here). The old comments have been
saved and will ultimately reappear at PT, once the necessary migration work can
and after that I became part of the Panda's Thumb "crew" so my posts were not
guest posts. Posts after that are:
These are in addition to my numerous comments at PT on posts by others.
- (5 May 2008) A population-genetic argument by creationist Sal Cordova
for the ineffectiveness of natural selection. I pointed out that his
calculation gives a
misleading impression. (And
-- in comment no. 2 -- is a 2010 comment at Uncommon Descent showing that Cordova has learned
nothing from that exchange).
- (1 August 2009) Not about creationism or ID, but a happy birthday to Lamarck.
- (21 August 2009) Theologian and mathematician William Dembski and
electrical engineering professor Robert Marks have published a peer-reviewed
Dembski argues supports Intelligent Design. Why it is just as supportive of more mundane views of the world.
- (24 August 2009) More on why Dembski and Marks's argument, which they believe
shows intervention in the world by a Designer to make fitness surfaces smooth,
not refute evolutionary biology.
- (and here
is a comment I made later at Dietmar Eben's
blog summarizing my conclusions about the implications of Dembski and Marks's “Search for a
- (12 December 2009) How Cornelius Hunter, a biophysicist and old-earth
creationist, fails to put forward a scientific theory.
- (February 18, 2010) How the weeds in our back yard show that if an argument by creationist mathematician
Granville Sewell (published by the Discovery Institute) is correct, the
Second Law of Thermodynamics is wrong.
- (13 April 2010) How a Bayesian calculation of the posterior probability
of evolution being correct, made by Cornelius Hunter,
that he have some alternative scientific theory (which he refuses to put
forward), and how the mathematical
statistician Peter Olofsson rather thoroughly thrashed Hunter by making
just these points in the comments at Hunter's own blog.
- (1 August 2010) Happy 266th birthday to Lamarck.
- (28 September 2010) Why a calculation at the Uncommon Descent
anti-evolution blog supposedly showing that humans and chimps differ in DNA
sequence by a lot more than 1% is totally wrong.
- (27 February 2011) Oh no! It's Granville Sewell again. This time he
has published a paper in Applied Mathematics Letters repeating his old
arguments, without any acknowledgment that they are absurd and have been
demolished. Here I
once again make fun of him by pointing out that he has “proven”
that weeds can't grow in your garden and for that matter, neither can flowers!
(Apparently, AML rescinded its acceptance of Sewell's paper after some people
complained and pointed out its fatuity. But here is a video he
has since posted on 6 June 2011 repeating the same discredited argument.
Sewell subsequently had a lawyer pressure AML, which agreed to pay him $10,000
for violating their own rules for publishing papers. It sounds as if AML had
little valid review in the first place, accepted the paper on insufficient
grounds, and then paid Sewell the $10,000 but without agreeing to reinstate
the paper and publish it, perhaps because they know it is a silly paper.)
- (27 March 2011) A commentary by me on Complex Specified Information (CSI)
and whether it is important to get it formally defined in terms of information
theory to understand William Dembski's argument about The Design Inference (I
say not, the problem with his argument is elsewhere). This was in reaction
to the article by "MathGrrl" at Uncommon Descent where, in spite of being
an opponent of Intelligent Design, she was allowed to post there asking for
the pro-ID commenters to define what they meant by CSI. They couldn't.
- (25 May 2011) Oh no! It's “niwrad” again, over at Uncommon Descent, making
the same argument that I
criticized earlier. Now it's comparing two human
genomes, and finding that they are much more different than people say.
This done by (1) asking how many contiguous blocks of 30 bases are identical
in the two genomes, while (2) keeping a straight face. I have pointed out the silliness in all this and suggested the use of
blocks of 1000 sites instead, to make the degree of difference much greater.
- (5 June 2011) At Uncommon Descent, the engineer Gil Dodgen once again
posted the dramatic conclusion that “Darwinism” has collapsed but
that evolutionary biologists are in denial about this obvious fact. That is
not new -- he's always dramatically concluding that. But this time he got
carried away and said that ID apologists “continue to mount what I
perceive as increasingly indefensible assaults on the creative powers of the
Darwinian mechanism of random errors filtered by natural selection”.
agree: these assaults are indeed indefensible!
- (1 August 2011) The annual celebratory post for the birthday
The discussion in the comments starts out interesting but degenerates into
trollery. The troll ends up putting forward a non-theory, misunderstanding
Lamarck's theory thoroughly, and asserting that I am not an expert in
behavior or biochemistry (both true but irrelevant to that discussion) but
somehow seems to think he is an expert in those areas (very much not true).
Incidentally, my article in Reports of the National Center for Science Education:
Felsenstein, J. 2007. Has natural selection been refuted? The arguments of William Dembski.
Reports of the National Center for Science Education 27 (3-4): 20-26.
is available online (free) here.
In addition, I have been honored by having joined a most distinguished
group of opponents of creationism and Intelligent Design, having actually
met the famous Dr. Steve Steve. The
good doctor's assistant, Reed Cartwright, photographed us together at the
Portland Convention Center in June, 2010 at the Evolution2010 meetings.
I was so excited that my hair stood on end! (At my age you're so happy
to have any hair that you don't care which way it goes).
Here is Dr. Steve Steve's account of this.
Dr. Steve Steve's role in the debate can be examined
where all posts about him at PT are collected.