Comment on Swank Antievolution

I left a comment to the opinion letter of a Greg Swank, M.D.. Dr. Swank gave a Gish Gallop and finished up with argument from authority.

My background is in the medical field and I find it interesting that from a science background I am defending Intelligent Design as a scientific probability, while Rev. Ward defends evolution.

So here’s my bit, just fitting into the character limit on comments there:

Dr. Greg Swank has overlooked some information. The objections that he notes in his letter, plus the hundreds more he didn’t have space for, are listed — and rebutted — in Mark Isaak’s “Index to Creationist Claims”. This resource is available online at http://talkorigins.org/indexcc .

Evolutionary science is rather more productive than Swank admits, being an indispensable part of even medical research. It shapes our best knowledge on why indiscriminate use of antibiotics is bad, leading to today’s “superbugs” like MRSA, and why developing a vaccine for HIV is hard work, since HIV evolves so quickly. It also contributes to agriculture. The Soviet Union rejected evolutionary science and adopted Lysenkoism, leading to decades of crop failures and famine. When China adopted Lysenkoist antievolution in 1958, they went from grain surpluses to a famine that killed tens of millions of people.

Evolutionary science is worth learning about and teaching.

Wesley R. Elsberry, Ph.D.
Palmetto, FL

Update: I added another comment attached to Swank’s letter:

Dr. Swank advances “intelligent design” (ID) as a “scientific probability”. But the transcript of the 2005 “Kitzmiller v. DASD” trial in Pennsylvania plainly showed even the ID advocates admitting in sworn testimony that for ID to be considered as science, one must use a definition of science broad enough that astrology would fit the bill, too.

The transcripts are at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover.html

When it comes to ID-speak about probability, I can go Dr. Swank one better: I have published articles in the technical literature on exactly this topic. Versions of those are available online at http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/theftovertoil/theftovertoil.html and http://www.antievolution.org/people/wre/papers/eandsdembski.pdf

ID is simply a form of religious antievolution, not science. Its content is entirely a subset of the arguments advanced before under the “creation science” label. ID is a sham to evade contrary legal decisions.

Wesley R. Elsberry, Ph.D.

Update: Other commenters say that Swank is not an M.D. I posted one apologizing for having given Swank more credit than someone merely “in the medical field” deserves.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

5 thoughts on “Comment on Swank Antievolution

  • 2010/05/07 at 6:34 am
    Permalink

    Swank was a school board member, elected in 2006. He has lost in the next two elections.

  • 2010/05/07 at 8:28 am
    Permalink

    I found that Swank was a school board member in 2006-2008, but has lost his last two election attmepts.

  • 2010/05/08 at 7:38 am
    Permalink

    It is worth noting that all of the so-called advances you cite are from the very field the good doctor is trying to rebut! A conflict of interest, perhaps?

    Second, those advances would be given alternative best explanations on the ID side. So citing them is a non-starter!

    NS

  • 2010/05/08 at 10:02 am
    Permalink

    “notedscholar”,

    Apparently, Greg Swank is not known to be a doctor, much as you are not known to be a noted scholar. Read the updates.

    I purposely cited examples in the domain of medicine to show that stuff someone “in the medical field” should know about was not mentioned or accounted for in Mr. Swank’s letter. It’s no “conflict of interest” on my part to provide those, certainly, nor to express disagreement with Mr. Swank’s erroneous claims simply because I accept evolutionary science and Mr. Swank does not. There’s not the slightest issue with my ethics involved here, but there is something wrong with the thought process that thinks it is appropriate to imply that such is the case.

    Second, IDC has no explanations for any of those things. IDC advocates either play the “that’s just microevolution” card, which means that they defer to an explanation within evolutionary science, or they try to nitpick the details of instances to make out that while evolution occurs in the phenomena, assigning causation is not known beyond their unreasonable doubts.

    Citing the things I did is precisely responsive to Swank’s claim that evolutionary science is “a story” without consequence in the here-and-now. Swank is wrong because denial of evolutionary science does have consequences in the here-and-now. You are wrong because, well, I don’t know why you are wrong so consistently, but it is obvious that your objections don’t hold up to the slightest scrutiny. Maybe you should learn something about these topics before commenting if you want to build a better track record?

  • 2010/05/10 at 8:40 am
    Permalink

    Good job, Wesley.

Comments are closed.