The March for Science is Really a March for Conformity

In this Sept. 21, 2014, file photo, a woman carries a placard depicting "One Planet, One, People, One Future" and protests against climate change at the People’s Climate March along 6th Avenue in Manhattan, N.Y.

By Jonathan Wells Published on April 18, 2017

I am a scientist, but I won’t be joining the worldwide March for Science April 22. That’s because it’s really a march for something that undermines good science.

March organizers say “our diversity is our greatest strength.” They say “a wealth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas is critical for the scientific process.” But they don’t really mean it. Their passion for diversity extends to race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, but not to opinions, perspectives and ideas.

In particular, it doesn’t extend to diversity of opinion about two controversial ideas. The first idea is that you evolved from ape-like ancestors by unguided processes such as accidental mutation and natural selection. The second idea is that manmade global warming threatens civilization, and our government must take drastic action to stop it, even if that means wrecking the economy.

History should teach us to be wary of consensus.

Skeptics of the first idea are labeled “creationists.” Often, they are expelled from science altogether. And if global warming alarmists have their way, skeptics of the second idea may soon be criminally prosecuted.

Note the hypocrisy. Organizers describe the march as “a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.” But then they silence and expel those who won’t bow to the community’s majority opinion — the “scientific consensus.”

History should teach us to be wary of consensus. In 1750, the scientific consensus held that maggots are generated spontaneously in rotting garbage. In 1900, it held that atoms consist of electrons orbiting a nucleus like planets around the sun. In 1910, it held that the continents had never moved. In 1940, it held that protein, not DNA, is the stuff of heredity.

All of these views turned out to be wrong. And the history of science is full of other such cases.

The Message of the March: Ignore the Evidence and Trust Us

Some of our newly elected politicians refuse to bow to the scientific consensus on evolution and global warming. So defenders of the consensus are marching to pressure them to submit.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is a big supporter of the march. So is the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).

The AAAS vigorously defends evolution. The NCSE insists “there is no scientific debate” over evolution. And they strongly oppose criticisms of it. They were in classic form last month in Indiana. The Indiana Senate had resolved that students should be “informed” about “scientific evidence” regarding evolution and develop “critical thinking skills.” The NCSE called this language “antiscience.” Why? It might lead students to raise uncomfortable questions about the evidence for evolution.

As a biologist I know there is a scientific debate over the evidence for evolution. There are dissenters. And some are willing to speak out publicly even though doing so may threaten their careers.

The reason for the dissent is simple. The evidence does not support Darwinian evolution. Mutation and natural selection have never been observed to produce anything more than minor changes within existing species.

Science is supposed to seek truth by testing hypotheses against the evidence. But evolution is materialistic story-telling.

In place of evidence-based science, Darwin and his followers have relied on materialistic philosophy. That philosophy says only matter and physical forces are real. It says mind, spirit, free will, God and intelligent design are illusions.

In 1859, Darwin wrote that he “would give absolutely nothing” for his theory if it required “miraculous additions at any one stage of descent.” He allowed only unguided natural processes. In other words, Darwinism is materialistic.

For many in the nineteenth century, this was its most attractive feature. As Historian Neal Gillespie explained, “It was more Darwin’s insistence on totally natural explanations than on natural selection that won their adherence.”

As a scientist, I am bothered by this. Science is supposed to seek truth by testing hypotheses against the evidence. But evolution is materialistic story-telling. And the story persists even when the evidence contradicts it. I call this “zombie science,” and I describe many examples of it in my book of the same name. I’ll mention just one here. Students are shown drawings of some embryos of animals with backbones. In the drawings, all the embryos look similar in their earliest stages. Darwin believed this showed that we evolved from fish. But the story is false. Worse, mainstream biologists have long known that the drawings are false. They know that human and fish embryos look very different in their early stages. But many textbooks recycle the lie year after year anyway. Why? Because the materialistic story must be true.

The Sky is Falling

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a big supporter of the March for Science. The UCS started as a leftist political movement in the 1960s, and it still champions various progressive causes. One of these is environmental activism. According to the UCS, “an overwhelming majority of climate scientists” believe in manmade global warming. More than that, “there is no debate” among scientists over global warming. None. Nada.

What really matters in science is not an opinion poll. It is the evidence.

The AAAS and NCSE are also determined to enforce the consensus on global warming.

But there is a scientific debate over manmade global warming. Some climate scientists think the evidence does not support the consensus. The way to address the question is to debate the issue. It’s to weigh the evidence pro and con. Yet the UCS would silence dissenting scientists.

What really matters in science is not an opinion poll. It is the evidence. And some scientists argue persuasively that the evidence does not support Darwinian evolution or manmade global warming.

So the March for Science is not really about “evidence-based policies.” It is about enforcing the scientific consensus. It is about materialistic philosophy and progressive politics. And you’d better believe it!

 

Jonathan Wells, Ph.D. is a senior fellow of Discover Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He’s the author of Icons of Evolution, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Evolution and Intelligent Design, and the new book Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution.

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  • Gary

    “But evolution is materialistic story telling.”

    Exactly right. Evolution is one of the beliefs of materialism, or naturalism, which is a philosophy, or a kind of religion. The evidence contradicts both evolution and materialism.

  • GPS Daddy

    Science is not done in a vacuume. The world view of the scientist plays into how the data is interpreted. This means that no one is unbiased. The closer that the scientific method of investigation is followed the less bias can be put into the science itself. Origin of life studies has precious little true scientific method in it. So the “explanation” is nearly all story telling using scientific language to make it sound like science.

    It is what it is in this field. We can make guesses at how life came about but they are just guesses. We not going to know like we know about gravity or Newtons laws of motion. Why? Because we cannot truly apply the scientific method in this field.

    It’s time for the scientific community to be honest about this. Doing so is being a good scientist.

    • Timothy Horton

      How life arose is investigated by the science of abiogenesis. Science freely admits we don’t know how life started. Right now we have several different hypotheses, each with varying amount of supporting but not conclusive evidence. In trying to recreate events that happened over 4 billion years ago we may never discover fully how it occurred.

      The science of how life changed after it was here is evolution. That evolution over deep time has occurred is supported by such a large quantity and quality of positive evidence it is considered scientific fact. The theory of evolution is the scientific explanation for the mechanisms which caused the empirically observed fact of evolution. Like all scientific theories it is subject to modification or even outright rejection pending the introduction of new evidence. The nonsense the ID crowd is pushing doesn’t come anywhere close to impacting the current theory.

      • Gary

        Unless you look at things through a materialist lens, the evidence cannot honestly be interpreted to support evolution.

        • Jim Walker

          its time to stop feeding the troll…

          • Timothy Horton

            LOL! Tell us again about time dilation and how the farther away from Earth you are the slower time goes. 😀

            That was one of the dumber Creationist claims I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard some doozies! 🙂

      • begroeg

        You want to believe your ancestors were apes. Have at it! Mine were human. You are not as smart as you think you are. Just another angry atheist.

        • Timothy Horton

          Humans are apes, cladistically speaking. We’re also hominids, and haplorhines, and primates, and mammals, and chordates, and animals.

          • begroeg

            I’m not impressed. Go away.

      • Brad

        How can you be so confident in a completely materialistic view of life when there is no way of demonstrating that life arose from natural causes? The first lifeform is meant to be the simplest life form yet the amount of fortuitous events for it to occur renders it impossible by natural means. No archeologist would conclude a clay tablet rendered with hyroglifics dug up in Egypt to be due to the product of wind and water? Or perhaps the key for my house was randomly placed in a grinder and it fits the lock perfectly? Yet these things are more likely than life arising by natural causes.

        I don’t doubt that evolution exists as in the case of antibiotic resistance, or malaria resistance from sickle cell disease. However there is no scientific experiment available that can be used to demonstrate how new life-forms arose in the fossil record as the answers lie back in time. We have only speculation by a bunch of dinosaur geeks creating just-so stories on how scales became feathers or how sexual reproduction was “invented”.

        If you feel materialistic evolution is the only force in the development of life come to my work, I’ll put your reproductive organs under my x-ray machine for a while and I can accelerate the random mutation part of evolution. Then we will see how many of your offspring are fitter for survival! Game?

        • Timothy Horton

          How can you be so confident in a completely materialistic view of life when there is no way of demonstrating that life arose from natural causes?

          In the entire history of science going back over 500 years every last phenomenon we’ve discovered the cause of has turned out to be completely materialistic. Every. Last. One. That makes the working assumption (pending the introduction of new evidence) life on the planet arose through completely materialistic causes too. If you have any evidence of supernatural intervention anytime, anywhere in the world you’re free to write it up and submit it for verification and publication, then go collect your Nobel Prize.

          If you feel materialistic evolution is the only force in the development of life come to my work, I’ll put your reproductive organs under my x-ray machine for a while and I can accelerate the random mutation part of evolution.

          Populations evolve, not individuals. You may want to learn at least a little about the actual theory before blindly attacking it from your ignorance-based personal incredulity.

          • Brad

            Isn’t that the theory? Decent with modification? A change cannot be distributed into a population without occurring on an individual level first. As we know from radiation science we are more likely to produce destructive changes as opposed to beneficial ones. The point was to show that random change is more likely to devolve than improve.

            There is a difference is explaining how something works to explaining how it arrived. As J.Wells said it has been demonstrated that mutation and natural selection cannot produce anything but minor variations within existing species. That has been the case for 150 years if trying to demonstrate macroevolution.

          • Timothy Horton

            Isn’t that the theory?

            No. Like I said, you may want to learn at least a little about the actual theory before blindly attacking it from your ignorance-based personal incredulity.

            J.Wells said it has been demonstrated that mutation and natural selection cannot produce anything but minor variations within existing species

            J Wells is a professional Creationist and proven liar with a well known anti-science agenda. He says a lot of things that are demonstrably false.

          • Brad

            Not from what I’ve read. He has exposed embellishments if evolutionary science that have been proved wrong. Although I’m sure that you’ll try say otherwise. But you haven’t actually rebutted anything that he has said just called him a liar.

            Anyway there’s no point arguing I’m outta here

  • Timothy Horton

    LOL! Right on cue here comes the next Discovery Institute professional Liar For Jesus, making the same demand that science institute an Affirmative Action program for evidence-free ID-Creationist stupidity.

    It never dawned on these clowns that all they have to do to be accepted by mainstream science is provide some positive evidence for their remarkable claims. Or it did dawn on them and they realize they have nothing to offer besides their God, er, Intelligent Designer of the Gaps argument: “Science doesn’t know every last detail of evolution so therefore GAWDIDIT!!”.

    Science isn’t fooled by such shenanigans even a little. Sadly though their target audience isn’t scientists but rather uneducated layman they can gull and keep those donations flowing.

    • Michael Gore

      Thank you for proving the author’s point very effectively. It’s almost sad how lacking in coherent thought this response is.
      He says there is real debate and dissent on the viewpoint of Darwinian evolution, you respond with ad hominem attacks that are irrelevant to the article.
      You only hurt your own cause when you respond in this manner.

      • Timothy Horton

        ID-Creationist liars say a lot of things that aren’t true. The simple fact is there is no debate – none – in the scientific community over the fact evolution over deep time has occurred. All that gets debated are the fine details, the unknown pieces of the jigsaw puzzle still being researched. That sort of healthy discussion doesn’t negate the other 150+ years of positive evidence for evolution.

        Wells and the other IDiots can enter into a proper debate anytime they want by submitting and publishing their evidence in the primary scientific literature. That’s where honest scientific discussion is done. But these clowns won’t. All they have is BS and propaganda like Wells is pushing here.

        • Gary

          Your materialist philosophy won’t allow an explanation that is outside of nature. That is why you insist on only naturalistic explanations for what exists. The problem you have, that you won’t face up to, is that naturalistic explanations don’t make sense, and are actually impossible.

        • Michael Gore

          So when you say there is no debate within the Scientific community, do you mean that nobody disagrees, or that the environment of the scientific community is not one that it conducive to actually having a proper debate on the issue?
          Would you categorically deny that there is an effort within the so called scientific community to marginalize and discredit anyone who would challenge the scientific norms of Neo-Darwinian-ism and Man-made Global warming? I don’t think the evidence would support that claim.
          The problem is the Scientific community is full of scientists, who are people just as much as anyone else, influenced by bias and worldviews just as much on the Darwinian side as on the Intelligent design side. So when someone like Dr. Stephen Meyers, for example, publishes a book like Darwin’s Doubt, that raises very valid objections to the theory, instead of engaging with the ideas, there is typically a dismissal as being “religiously motivated”. That’s intellectual dishonesty, if ID ideas are so bad, then they should be refuted in debate and papers, not silenced. The attempt to silence a position is a sign of weakness in ones own position. The problem with Darwinists is that they typically don’t read what is being published on the other side of the issue, hence why there is no debate. They don’t often feel that there is anything to learn from the opponents of their position. It’s just close-mindedness.

          • Timothy Horton

            So when you say there is no debate within the Scientific community, do you mean that nobody disagrees, or that the environment of the scientific community is not one that it conducive to actually having a proper debate on the issue?

            I mean that there are no competent scientists who doubt evolution over deep time happened. Debating the details of how that happened isn’t the same as debating it did happen.

            Would you categorically deny that there is an effort within the so called scientific community to marginalize and discredit anyone who would challenge the scientific norms of Neo-Darwinian-ism and Man-made Global warming?

            Yes I do deny it. What gets marginalized and discredited are the charlatans who try and bypass proper scientific methodology and critical peer review vetting by publishing their junk in the popular press. This end run around actual science is loathsome to most actual scientists.

            So when someone like Dr. Stephen Meyers, for example, publishes a book like Darwin’s Doubt, that raises very valid objections to the theory, instead of engaging with the ideas, there is typically a dismissal as being “religiously motivated”.

            I recently posted analysis of two glaring errors in Meyer’s claims (“no new information” and “Cambrian explosion” ) on the thread Meyer started. Not a single ID-Creationist had a response to either. So much for their “intellectual honesty”.

            That’s intellectual dishonesty, if ID ideas are so bad, then they should be refuted in debate and papers, not silenced

            When the IDiots start publishing in mainstream science journals their papers written for the scientific community they’ll be rebutted in mainstream science papers. But the clowns never do. It’s all self-published popular press nonsense directed at scientifically ignorant laymen.

          • Charles Burge

            I mean that there are no competent scientists who doubt evolution over deep time happened.

            That’s a “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

          • Timothy Horton

            No, it’s an empirical observation.

          • Michael Gore

            You are only proving my point:
            “no competent scientists who doubt evolution over deep time happened.” So according to you, if one does not hold a particular belief about evolution, they are not able to be a competent scientist, yet you say there is no attempt to marginalize people who would disagree with your belief on the matter. All in all the only thing you have proven yourself to be is a bigot, in the proper definition of the term (a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices – Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
            Talk about a lack of circumspection. You basically have said you cannot hold a particular viewpoint on a scientific issue and be competent (which I think is a pretty common viewpoint among naturalists), then deny that there is an effort within the community to marginalize scientists who hold that viewpoint. How is a proponent of ID to publish in “mainstream science journals” when the people who edit such journals frequently hold the same bigoted view you do? It’s not as if nobody is submitting the papers…
            How can any meaningful debate actually take place when this is the state of things. All people like you do is ruin the credibility of actual science by elevating Darwinism to the level of religion. It’s sad to see.

          • Timothy Horton

            LOL! If I say “no competent aircraft pilot thinks his plane is held aloft by magic pixies” is that being unfair and marginalizing the magic pixie pusher crowd?

            The bottom line as always is when the ID-Creationists come up with some positive evidence for their position, then they can talk. Until then it’s just BS propaganda and hot air.

          • Timothy Horton

            How can any meaningful debate actually take place when this is the state of things

            Meaningful debate can take place when the ID-Creationists start following established scientific protocols and submitting their work for critical peer review, the same as everyone else in science does.

            As long as they keep making an end run around honest science and targeting their woo at the unknowledgeable and often gullible general public they’ll keep getting called on it.

            It’s not as if nobody is submitting the papers…

            Please provide a list of papers supporting ID which were presented to mainstream journals and rejected solely for their conclusions, not the poor science content. Should be easy if there’s all these papers being submitted as you claim, right?

      • Timothy Horton

        I tend to be harsh on these professional Creationist liars because as a working scientist I see the potential damage they can cause. These clowns are constantly trying to undermine science education in the U.S. to make it easier to push their Creation BS back into public schools. We in the scientific community have to invest real time and real money fighting the dishonest and underhanded falsely called “academic freedom” legislation the DI keeps pushing. That’s time and money much better spent on productive research instead of dealing with their religious nonsense. The only “academic freedom” they want is freedom to lie to kids with their anti-science horsecrap. Not on my watch.

        • LgVt

          You are a “working scientist”?

          Would you mind sharing what field of science, precisely, you work in?

          • Timothy Horton

            Ecological studies. The effects on biodiversity / species loss in changing habitats due to both urban encroachment and climate change effects.

          • Christian Cowboy

            When you continually call someone who disagrees with you idiots and clowns and other names – you don’t sound like a working scientist to me. The scientists and engineers I work with and around treat others with respect – even when they disagree.

          • Timothy Horton

            When I deal with other honest scientists I do treat them with respect. When I deal with proven liars and dishonest charlatans like the professional ID-Creation pushers I treat them like liars and charlatans. It’s not just disagreement, it’s disgust over the nefarious and underhanded ways they go about pushing their anti-science garbage.

            They get the respect their disreputable actions earn them, no more, no less.

          • I’ve Googled “Timothy Horton ecological studies” with no meaningful results. Until evidence is presented, Mr. Horton will be labeled a Liar for Darwin.

          • LgVt

            “Ecological studies. The effects on biodiversity / species loss in
            changing habitats due to both urban encroachment and climate change
            effects.”

            So, other than calling yourself a scientist, you have no particular expertise on the question of evolutionary development, and you have a vested financial interest in one particular answer to the question of global warming/climate change/EIEIO, just like the “professional liars” you continually harangue.

            Thank you for clearing that up for us, Mr. Horton.

        • If you are a scientist — and I’m rather doubtful — then you’re further evidence for Dr. Wells’ claims. You are the shrieking, bigoted, intolerant scientist who has polluted science with agenda.

          • Timothy Horton

            LOL! These anti-science threads always bring the scientifically illiterate Fundy jerks out of the woodwork, don’t they? 😀

    • You are aware that these childish, emotional outbursts make you look like an imbecile, correct? I assure you, nothing you’ve just stated in your tear-soaked rant is convincing anyone of the accuracy of your position. You sound like an insecure brat clinging to an outdated idea. I wonder why that is? 😉

      • Timothy Horton

        That’s funny, I didn’t see you offer any response to the major problems with Dembski’s ID claims I outlined in his thread. Looks like your big mouth is writing checks your scientific evidence can’t cash. 🙂

  • Christian Cowboy

    “And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me— Banish lies from my lips and liars from my presence…………””
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:7-9‬ ‭MSG‬‬

  • m-nj

    on a slightly tangential note… here is YOUR chance to give feedback tot he EPA on their excessive regulations… they are soliciting public comment on how they can respond to the President’s Executive Order calling for re-evaluation and rollback of regulatory overreach that is NOT based on good science but done solely for gaining control over every aspect of your life and our economy

    EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190
    www . regulations . gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190

    based on what i read so far, the liberals are commenting in force, so i encourage you to share this far and wide to make sure their voice (e.g., all regulations are good, more regulations are even better) is not the only voice EPA hears.

  • Gary

    Materialists would like everyone to believe what they do. But that isn’t going to happen. There will be no conformity.

  • Gary

    Those who believe nature is all there is should view non-conforming opinions as natural as any mutation.

  • Rationalist1

    There is as much debate about evolution in the scientific community as there is about the geocentric theory, or the germ theory of disease or the efficacy of homeopathy. There are scientists who discount all of these scientific positions and they are free to do this but no matter how much they protest they will not be taken seriously as the overwhelming evidence is not on their side.

  • Stephanie Thompson

    I’d like to see his credentials, other than claiming to be a scientist and a PhD at the end. PhD in what? Out of the hundreds I know, he’d be the ONLY to feel this way. I’m going to have to research him

  • “Evolution is more impossible than the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Headless Horseman.” Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo.

    That is SCIENCE. Let’s march!

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