Below is a guest post from my friend Eric. I am still struggling with this wretched sore throat. It’s much better now, but I still can’t sleep through the night.
1. Many immediately reject creation or ID from the many embarrassingly bad “why are there still monkeys” arguments used by laymen. They assume there’s nothing beyond that.
2. It’s what they were taught in school and they never questioned it. “I didn’t give it much thought; It wasn’t my area of concern”, as Michael Behe reflected of his postdoc research days as an evolutionist. “college students have not been shown the weakness of Darwinian evolution” as Joseph Kuhn wrote in 2012.
3. A lot of biologists aren’t exposed to problems outside their own field. For example paleontologist and ID critic Don Prothero wrote that “Nearly all metazoans [meaning animals] show stasis, with almost no good examples of gradual evolution… the prevalence of stasis is a puzzle that has no simple answer” but lamented, “by and large the neontological [non-paleontologist] community still ‘doesn’t get it’… The journal Evolution continues to publish almost no contributions by paleontologists”.
4. Others just don’t talk about the problems. Renowned chemist James Tour (inventor of nanocars) describes his own experience: “Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science – with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone… I say, “Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?” Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go ‘Uh-uh. Nope.’ These people are just so far off, on how to believe this stuff came together. I’ve sat with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes I will say, ‘Do you understand this?’ And if they’re afraid to say ‘Yes,’ they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.”
5. Some see anything other than materialistic naturalism is seen as a violation of scientific professionalism. At one conference, “Chinese scientists encouraged the investigation of a variety of new hypotheses to explain the Cambrian explosion: hydrothermal eruptions, sudden seafloor changes, even intelligent design. This last was too much for one American paleontologist who stood up and shouted, ‘This is not a scientific conference!'” Likewise the famed Lynn Margulis (proposed symbiogenesis theory) said, “The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or ‘God did it.'”
6. Many biologists don’t have much training in engineering. Many of the patterns claimed to only arise by common descent are the same I see in the code I write or among other objects designed by humans.
7. Some recognize insufficiencies in evolutionary theory, but hope new theories will arise to resolve them. Evolutionists Depew & Weber published in 2012: “Darwinism in its current scientific incarnation has pretty much reached the end of its rope… however, we are confident that a new and more general theory of evolution is evolving.”
8. A bias toward sensationalism in the media–which is true everywhere and not just with evolutionary biology.
9. It’s taboo to publish anything from the ID movement. As one example, Springer (a large scientific publisher) was going to publish 20-so-papers from ID proponents. They had already passed Springer’s internal peer review and Springer agreed to publish them. But a public campaign threatened to boycott Springer if they published, even though none any of the critics had even read the papers. Springer complied, but the papers were still published in World Scientific after also passing peer review there.
10. A small number of rather popular evolution “evangelists” shame anyone who dissents from the Party line. For example see Jerry Coyne’s response to Lynn Margulis claiming evolution doesn’t work (cited above). Coyne says she’s “dogmatic, willfully ignorant, and intellectually dishonest,” “wrong in the worst way a scientist can be wrong,” and “embarrasses both herself and the field.”
11. Rigged debates. Sean B. Carroll (well known biologist) wrote a critique of Michael Behe’s work in the journal Science: He cited “the tuning of color vision in animals” as a response to Michael Behe as an example of observed evolution creating through a long process of gradual steps. To support this, Carroll cites his own book where he describes (based on phylogeny) lineages would have had to evolve color vision multiple times, lose it, and then evolve it again. This would have happened among the presumed ancestors of reptiles, fish, and mammals so none of it is even observed to begin with. Behe correctly noted that Carroll’s papers show “different species have different protein binding sites” but “they demonstrate nothing about how the sites arose.” Behe submitted a brief response, only to have Science to trim the last 100 words. Science gave Carroll a far longer response chastising Behe for not addressing this very point he addressed in the 100 words that were trimmed.