Dissent From Darwin

Dissent From Darwin “Goes Global” as Over 600 Scientists From Around the World Express Their Doubts About Darwin’s Theory

Scientific Dissent From Darwinism Continues to Grow

By: Staff
Discovery Institute
June 20, 2006

Dissent From Darwin “Goes Global” as Over 600 Scientists From Around the World Express Their Doubts About Darwin’s Theory
The list is now located at the website, www.dissentfromdarwin.org

SEATTLE — Over 600 doctoral scientists from around the world have now signed a statement publicly expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. The statement, located online at www.dissentfromdarwin.org, reads: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

The fastest growing segment of the list is scientists from outside the United States. International scientists now represent just over 12% of all signers, and as a group has seen nearly 40% growth in the past four months.

“I signed the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism statement, because I am absolutely convinced of the lack of true scientific evidence in favour of Darwinian dogma,” said Raul Leguizamon, M. D., Pathologist, and a professor of medicine at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico.

“Nobody in the biological sciences, medicine included, needs Darwinism at all,” added Leguizamon. “Darwinism is certainly needed, however, in order to pose as a philosopher, since it is primarily a worldview. And an awful one, as Bernard Shaw used to say.”

The list of 610 signatories includes member scientists from National Academies of Science in Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India (Hindustan), Nigeria, Poland, Russia and the United States. Many of the signers are professors or researchers at major universities and international research institutions such as Cambridge University, British Museum of Natural History, Moscow State University, Masaryk University in Czech Republic, Hong Kong University, University of Turku in Finland, Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico, University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine in France, Chitose Institute of Science & Technology in Japan, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, MIT, The Smithsonian and Princeton.

“Dissent from Darwinism has gone global,” said Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman, former US Ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna. “Darwinists used to claim that virtually every scientist in the world held that Darwinian evolution was true, but we quickly started finding US scientists that disproved that statement. Now we’re finding that there are hundreds, and probably thousands, of scientists all over the world that don’t subscribe to Darwin’s theory.”

Discovery Institute first published its Scientific Dissent From Darwinism list in 2001 to challenge false statements about Darwinian evolution made in promoting PBS’s “Evolution” series. At the time it was claimed that “virtually every scientist in the world believes the theory to be true.”

Prominent signatories include U.S. National Academy of Sciences member Philip Skell; American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow Lyle Jensen; evolutionary biologist and textbook author Stanley Salthe; Smithsonian Institution evolutionary biologist and a researcher at the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Biotechnology Information Richard von Sternberg; Editor of Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum –the oldest still published biology journal in the world– Giuseppe Sermonti; and Russian Academy of Natural Sciences embryologist Lev Beloussov.

The Scientific Controversy Over Whether
Microevolution Can Account For Macroevolution
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When Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, it was already
known that existing species can change over time. This is the basis of artificial breeding,
which had been practiced for thousands of years. Darwin and his contemporaries were
also familiar enough with the fossil record to know that major changes in living things
had occurred over geological time. Darwin’s theory was that a process analogous to
artificial breeding also occurs in nature; he called that process natural selection. Darwin’s
theory was also that changes in existing species due primarily to natural selection could,
if given enough time, produce the major changes we see in the fossil record.
After Darwin, the first phenomenon (changes within an existing species or gene
pool) was named “microevolution.” There is abundant evidence that changes can occur
within existing species, both domestic and wild, so microevolution is uncontroversial.
The second phenomenon (large-scale changes over geological time) was named
“macroevolution,” and Darwin’s theory that the processes of the former can account for
the latter was controversial right from the start. Many biologists during and after
Darwin’s lifetime have questioned whether the natural counterpart of domestic breeding
could do what domestic breeding has never done — namely, produce new species, organs,
and body plans. In the first few decades of the twentieth century, skepticism over this
aspect of evolution was so strong that Darwin’s theory went into eclipse. (See Chapter 9
of Peter Bowler’s Evolution: The History of an Idea, University of California Press,
revised edition, 1989).
In the 1930s, “neo-Darwinists” proposed that genetic mutations (of which Darwin
was unaware) could solve the problem. Although the vast majority of mutations are
harmful (and thus cannot be favored by natural selection), in rare instances one may
benefit an organism. For example, genetic mutations account for some cases of antibiotic
resistance in bacteria; if an organism is in the presence of the antibiotic, such a mutation
is beneficial. All known beneficial mutations, however, affect only an organism’s
biochemistry; Darwinian evolution requires large-scale changes in morphology, or
anatomy. Midway through the twentieth century, some Darwinian geneticists suggested
that occasional “macromutations” might produce the large-scale morphological changes
needed by Darwin’s theory. Unfortunately, all known morphological mutations are
harmful, and the larger their effects the more harmful they are. Scientific critics of
macromutations took to calling this the “hopeful monster” hypothesis. (See Chapter 12
of Bowler’s book.)
The scientific controversy over whether processes observable within existing
species and gene pools (microevolution) can account for large-scale changes over
geological time (macroevolution) continues to this day. Here are a few examples of peerreviewed
scientific articles that have referred to it just in the last few years:
• David L. Stern, “Perspective: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the
Problem of Variation,” Evolution 54 (2000): 1079-1091.
“One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved…
Historically, the neo-Darwinian synthesizers stressed the predominance of
micromutations in evolution, whereas others noted the similarities between some
dramatic mutations and evolutionary transitions to argue for macromutationism.”
• Robert L. Carroll, “Towards a new evolutionary synthesis,” Trends in Ecology
and Evolution, 15 (January, 2000): 27.
“Large-scale evolutionary phenomena cannot be understood solely on the basis of
extrapolation from processes observed at the level of modern populations and
• Andrew M. Simons, “The continuity of microevolution and macroevolution,”
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 15 (2002): 688-701.
“A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of
microevolution and macroevolution — whether macroevolutionary trends are
governed by the principles of microevolution.”
It should be noted that all of the scientists quoted above are believers in Darwinian
evolution, and that all of them think the controversy will eventually be resolved within
the framework of that theory. Stern, for example, believes that new developmental
studies of gene function will provide “the current missing link.” (p. 1079) The important
point here is that the controversy has not yet been resolved, precisely because the
evidence needed to resolve it is still lacking. It is important for students to know what the
evidence does or does not show — not just what some scientists hope the evidence will
eventually show.
Since the controversy over microevolution and macroevolution is at the heart of Darwin’s
theory, and since evolutionary theory is so influential in modern biology, it is a disservice
to students for biology curricula to ignore the controversy entirely. Furthermore, since
the scientific evidence needed to settle the controversy is still lacking, it is inaccurate to
give students the impression that the controversy has been resolved and that all scientists
have reached a consensus on the issue. 

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