Tag Archives: Phil Skell

Does Darwinian evolution matter for the progress of biology?

Over on Tough Questions Answered, they have analyzed an article by Phil Skell, emeritus professor of chemistry at Penn State. Skell’s article appeared in Forbes magazine. Skell argues that evolution has no bearing on the progress of science in biology.

TQA writes:

Skell writes that Darwinists “overstate both the evidence for Darwin’s theory of historical biology and the benefits of Darwin’s theory to the actual practice of experimental science.”

Experimental science, in biology, has “dramatically increased our understanding of the intricate workings within living organisms that account for their survival, showing how they continue to function despite the myriad assaults on them from their environments.”

These advances, however, have little or nothing to do with explanations of Darwinian origins.  They “are not due to studies of an organism’s ancestors that are recovered from fossil deposits.”  The study of fossils “cannot reveal the details that made these amazing living organisms function.”

Another (even better) Forbes article by neurosurgeon Michael Egnor is here. He explains why practicing scientists don’t need to be Darwinians, because Darwinism is irrelevant to the practice of science.


The fossil record shows sharp discontinuity between species, not the gradual transitions that Darwinism inherently predicts. Darwin’s theory offers no coherent, evidence-based explanation for the evolution of even a single molecular pathway from primordial components. The origin of the genetic code belies random causation. All codes with which we have experience arise from intelligent agency. Intricate biomolecules such as enzymes are so functionally complex that it’s difficult to see how they could arise by random mutations.

Egnor then asks why Darwinism is so important to some activists. And he describes how strongly they cling to their belief in Darwinism, often in very facistic and insulting ways:

I came to learn why evolutionary biologists are so fiercely devoted to Darwinism. I was vilified on the Internet. Calls came to my office demanding that I be fired.

And much of the venom was ideological. The vast majority of evolutionary biologists are atheists. I’m Catholic, and my religious faith was mocked by my fellow scientists. Many Darwinists openly express their hatred for Christianity–atheist biologist P.Z. Myers desecrated a Eucharistic host on his Web site.

In 1989, Oxford evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in the New York Times book review section that people who don’t accept evolution are “ignorant, stupid, insane … or wicked.” He has described the religious upbringing of children as “child abuse.”

In his book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, atheist philosopher and Darwinist Daniel Dennett has written that “[s]afety demands that religions be put in cages too–when absolutely necessary.” The fight against the design inference in biology is motivated by fundamentalist atheism. Darwinists detest intelligent design theory because it is compatible with belief in God.