Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nobel laureate rejects Darwinism

scordova over at blogged on Oct 24th, 2006

[anecdote 2004] Nobel Laureate given standing ovation after slamming Darwinism during a graduation ceremony

by scordova on October 24th, 2006 · 23 Comments

In preparing a letter to the editor of UVa magazine, I was researching the case of 1996 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Richard Smalley. I was astonished to discover that he delivered an anti-Darwinian speech during a graduation ceremony and apparently received a standing ovation. I also thought it an appropriate time to remember this extraordinary scientist.

Here is the account of Smalley’s speech:
Tuskegee University 2004

Smalley mentioned the ideas of evolution versus creationism, Darwin versus the Bible’s “Genesis.” The burden of proof, he said, is on those who don’t believe that “‘Genesis’ was right, and there was a creation, and that Creator is still involved.

Smalley also commented here:

Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading Origins of Life with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear that [biological] evolution could not have occurred.”

–Richard Smalley, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate-Chemistry, 1996



Just like Smalley, scordova himself has rejected Darwinism and the intent of this message most likely goes along the lines of: "If a prominent scientist (a Nobel laureate with a background in chemistry and physics) has rejected Darwinism, why shouldn't other scientists and non-scientists do the same?" This is a very popular sort of argument and it is, of course, fallacious. It is nothing but an appeal to authority. To see this, just look at the "The burden of proof, he said, is on those who don’t believe that “‘Genesis’ was right, and there was a creation, and that Creator is still involved. " quote from above. Now, I can interpret this statement in two ways: 1) Smalley claims that science has to prove biblical creation wrong (which is impossible given that his God is supposedly omnipotent). 2) Science has to prove evolution (which is true, in a sense) and that if that fails, biblical creation is the default alternative (which is wrong). Whichever way you look at it, Smalley's reason for preferring biblical creation over evolution is not a scientific one (it might, of course, be true that Smalley had other reasons for choosing biblical creation, but none was presented by scordova). And if Smalley's reasons for choosing biblical creation are not scientific, then it matters not one iota what his scientific credentials were.

Sidenote: scordova also implies that Smalley got his standing ovation because his speech was anti-Darwinian, something I can see no evidence of. Smalley certainly seems to have mentioned God more than once, but he also seems to have been talking about a lot of other things.


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