500 doctoral scientists skeptical of Darwin
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Growing list of signatories challenges claims about support for theory
More than 500 scientists with doctoral degrees have signed a statement expressing skepticism about Darwin's theory of evolution.
The statement, which includes endorsement by members of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences and Russian Academy of Sciences, was first published by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute in 2001 to challenge statements about Darwinian evolution made in promoting PBS's "Evolution" series.
The PBS promotion claimed "virtually every scientist in the world believes the theory to be true."
"Darwinists continue to claim that no serious scientists doubt the theory and yet here are 500 scientists who are willing to make public their skepticism about the theory," said John G. West, associate director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture.
The institute is the leading promoter of the theory of Intelligent Design, which has been at the center of challenges in federal court over the teaching of evolution in public school classes. Advocates say it draws on recent discoveries in physics, biochemistry and related disciplines that indicate some features of the natural world are best explained as the product of an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.
West said Darwinist "efforts to use the courts, the media and academic tenure committees to suppress dissent and stifle discussion are in fact fueling even more dissent and inspiring more scientists to ask to be added to the list."
The statement, signed by 514 scientists, 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."
West said the Discovery Institute was encouraged to launch a website for the list because of the growing number of scientific dissenters.
"Darwin's theory of evolution is the great white elephant of contemporary thought," said David Berlinski, a signatory and mathematician and philosopher of science with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. "It is large, almost completely useless, and the object of superstitious awe."
Other 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 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 list include 154 biologists, 76 chemists and 63 physicists. They hold doctorates in biological sciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, computer science and related disciplines.
Many are professors or researchers at major universities and research institutions such as MIT, The Smithsonian, Cambridge University, UCLA, University of California at Berkeley, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, University of Georgia and University of Washington.