Thursday, July 2, 2020

'97% Of Climate Scientists Agree' Is 100% Wrong
Alex Epstein

If you've ever expressed the least bit of skepticism about environmentalist calls for making the vast majority of fossil fuel use illegal, you've probably heard the smug response: “97% of climate scientists agree with climate change” — which always carries the implication: Who are you to challenge them?

The answer is: you are a thinking, independent individual--and you don’t go by polls, let alone second-hand accounts of polls; you go by facts, logic and explanation.

Here are two questions to ask anyone who pulls the 97% trick.

1. What exactly do the climate scientists agree on?

Usually, the person will have a very vague answer like "climate change is real."

Which raises the question: What is that supposed to mean? That climate changes? That we have some impact? That we have a large impact? That we have a catastrophically large impact? That we have such a catastrophic impact that we shouldn't use fossil fuels?

What you'll find is that people don't want to define what 97% agree on--because there is nothing remotely in the literature saying 97% agree we should ban most fossil fuel use.

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It’s likely that 97% of people making the 97% claim have absolutely no idea where that number comes from.

If you look at the literature, the specific meaning of the 97% claim is: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause--that is, that we are over 50% responsible. The warming is a whopping 0.8 degrees over the past 150 years, a warming that has tapered off to essentially nothing in the last decade and a half.

Even if 97% of climate scientists agreed with this, and even if they were right, it in no way, shape, or form would imply that we should restrict fossil fuels--which are crucial to the livelihood of billions.

Because the actual 97% claim doesn’t even remotely justify their policies, catastrophists like President Obama and John Kerry take what we could generously call creative liberties in repeating this claim.

On his Twitter account, President Obama tweets: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” Not only does Obama sloppily equate “scientists” with “climate scientists,” but more importantly he added “dangerous” to the 97% claim, which is not there in the literature.

This is called the fallacy of equivocation: using the same term (“97 percent”) in two different ways to manipulate people.

John Kerry pulled the same stunt when trying to tell the underdeveloped world that it should use fewer fossil fuels:

And let there be no doubt in anybody’s mind that the science is absolutely certain. . . 97 percent of climate scientists have confirmed that climate change is happening and that human activity is responsible. . . . . they agree that, if we continue to go down the same path that we are going down today, the world as we know it will change—and it will change dramatically for the worse.

In Kerry’s mind, 97% of climate scientists said whatever Kerry wants them to have said.

Bottom line: What the 97% of climate scientists allegedly agree on is very mild and in no way justifies restricting the energy that billions need.

But it gets even worse. Because it turns out that 97% didn’t even say that.

Which brings us to the next question:

2. How do we know the 97% agree?

To elaborate, how was that proven?

Almost no one who refers to the 97% has any idea, but the basic way it works is that a researcher reviews a lot of scholarly papers and classifies them by how many agree with a certain position.

Unfortunately, in the case of 97% of climate scientists agreeing that human beings are the main cause of warming, the researchers have engaged in egregious misconduct.

One of the main papers behind the 97 percent claim is authored by John Cook, who runs the popular website, a virtual encyclopedia of arguments trying to defend predictions of catastrophic climate change from all challenges.

Here is Cook’s summary of his paper: “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97 percent [of papers he surveyed] endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.”

This is a fairly clear statement—97 percent of the papers surveyed endorsed the view that man-made greenhouse gases were the main cause—main in common usage meaning more than 50 percent.

But even a quick scan of the paper reveals that this is not the case. Cook is able to demonstrate only that a relative handful endorse “the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.” Cook calls this “explicit endorsement with quantification” (quantification meaning 50 percent or more). The problem is, only a small percentage of the papers fall into this category; Cook does not say what percentage, but when the study was publicly challenged by economist David Friedman, one observer calculated that only 1.6 percent explicitly stated that man-made greenhouse gases caused at least 50 percent of global warming.

Where did most of the 97 percent come from, then? Cook had created a category called “explicit endorsement without quantification”—that is, papers in which the author, by Cook’s admission, did not say whether 1 percent or 50 percent or 100 percent of the warming was caused by man. He had also created a category called “implicit endorsement,” for papers that imply (but don’t say) that there is some man-made global warming and don’t quantify it. In other words, he created two categories that he labeled as endorsing a view that they most certainly didn’t.

The 97 percent claim is a deliberate misrepresentation designed to intimidate the public—and numerous scientists whose papers were classified by Cook protested:

“Cook survey included 10 of my 122 eligible papers. 5/10 were rated incorrectly. 4/5 were rated as endorse rather than neutral.”

—Dr. Richard Tol

“That is not an accurate representation of my paper . . .”

—Dr. Craig Idso

“Nope . . . it is not an accurate representation.”

—Dr. Nir Shaviv

“Cook et al. (2013) is based on a strawman argument . . .”

—Dr. Nicola Scafetta

Think about how many times you hear that 97 percent or some similar figure thrown around. It’s based on crude manipulation propagated by people whose ideological agenda it serves. It is a license to intimidate.

It’s time to revoke that license.

Alex Epstein is founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare

On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem. I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.

But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as expert reviewer of its next assessment report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.

Here are some facts few people know:

  • Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”

  • The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”

  • Climate change is not making natural disasters worse

  • Fires have declined 25 percent around the world since 2003

  • The amount of land we use for meat—humankind’s biggest use of land—has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska

  • The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California

  • Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s

  • The Netherlands became rich, not poor while adapting to life below sea level

  • We produce 25 percent more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter

  • Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change

  • Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels

  • Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture

I know that the above facts will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism.

In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies.

Some people will, when they read this, imagine that I’m some right-wing anti-environmentalist. I’m not. At 17, I lived in Nicaragua to show solidarity with the Sandinista socialist revolution. At 23 I raised money for Guatemalan women’s cooperatives. In my early 20s I lived in the semi-Amazon doing research with small farmers fighting land invasions. At 26 I helped expose poor conditions at Nike factories in Asia.

I became an environmentalist at 16 when I threw a fundraiser for Rainforest Action Network. At 27 I helped save the last unprotected ancient redwoods in California. In my 30s I advocated renewables and successfully helped persuade the Obama administration to invest $90 billion into them. Over the last few years I helped save enough nuclear plants from being replaced by fossil fuels to prevent a sharp increase in emissions.

But until last year, I mostly avoided speaking out against the climate scare. Partly that’s because I was embarrassed. After all, I am as guilty of alarmism as any other environmentalist. For years, I referred to climate change as an “existential” threat to human civilization, and called it a “crisis.”

But mostly I was scared. I remained quiet about the climate disinformation campaign because I was afraid of losing friends and funding. The few times I summoned the courage to defend climate science from those who misrepresent it I suffered harsh consequences. And so I mostly stood by and did next to nothing as my fellow environmentalists terrified the public.

I even stood by as people in the White House and many in the news media tried to destroy the reputation and career of an outstanding scientist, good man, and friend of mine, Roger Pielke, Jr., a lifelong progressive Democrat and environmentalist who testified in favor of carbon regulations. Why did they do that? Because his research proves natural disasters aren’t getting worse.

But then, last year, things spiraled out of control.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Britain’s most high-profile environmental group claimed “Climate Change Kills Children.”

The world’s most influential green journalist, Bill McKibben, called climate change the “greatest challenge humans have ever faced” and said it would “wipe out civilizations.” Mainstream journalists reported, repeatedly, that the Amazon was “the lungs of the world,” and that deforestation was like a nuclear bomb going off.

As a result, half of the people surveyed around the world last year said they thought climate change would make humanity extinct. And in January, one out of five British children told pollsters they were having nightmares about climate change. Whether or not you have children you must see how wrong this is. I admit I may be sensitive because I have a teenage daughter. After we talked about the science she was reassured. But her friends are deeply misinformed and thus, understandably, frightened. I thus decided I had to speak out. I knew that writing a few articles wouldn’t be enough. I needed a book to properly lay out all of the evidence.

 And so my formal apology for our fear-mongering comes in the form of my new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. It is based on two decades of research and three decades of environmental activism. At 400 pages, with 100 of them endnotes, Apocalypse Never covers climate change, deforestation, plastic waste, species extinction, industrialization, meat, nuclear energy, and renewables.

Some highlights from the book:

  • Factories and modern farming are the keys to human liberation and environmental progress

  • The most important thing for saving the environment is producing more food, particularly meat, on less land

  • The most important thing for reducing air pollution and carbon emissions is moving from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas to uranium

  • 100 percent renewables would require increasing the land used for energy from today’s 0.5 percent to 50 percent

  • We should want cities, farms, and power plants to have higher, not lower, power densities

  • Vegetarianism reduces one’s emissions by less than 4 percent

  • Greenpeace didn’t save the whales, switching from whale oil to petroleum and palm oil did

  • “Free-range” beef would require 20 times more land and produce 300 percent more emissions

  • Greenpeace dogmatism worsened forest fragmentation of the Amazon

  • The colonialist approach to gorilla conservation in the Congo produced a backlash that may have resulted in the killing of 250 elephants

Why were we all so misled?

In the final three chapters of Apocalypse Never I expose the financial, political, and ideological motivations. Environmental groups have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests. Groups motivated by anti-humanist beliefs forced the World Bank to stop trying to end poverty and instead make poverty “sustainable.” And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern civilization are behind much of the alarmism.

Once you realize just how badly misinformed we have been, often by people with plainly unsavory or unhealthy motivations, it is hard not to feel duped. Will Apocalypse Never make any difference? There are certainly reasons to doubt it.

The news media have been making apocalyptic pronouncements about climate change since the late 1980s, and do not seem disposed to stop. The ideology behind environmental alarmism—Malthusianism—has been repeatedly debunked for 200 years and yet is more powerful than ever.

But there are also reasons to believe that environmental alarmism will, if not come to an end, have diminishing cultural power. The coronavirus pandemic is an actual crisis that puts the climate “crisis” into perspective. Even if you think we have overreacted, COVID-19 has killed nearly 500,000 people and shattered economies around the globe.

Scientific institutions including the World Health Organisation and IPCC have undermined their credibility through the repeated politicization of science. Their future existence and relevance depends on new leadership and serious reform. Facts still matter, and social media is allowing for a wider range of new and independent voices to outcompete alarmist environmental journalists at legacy publications.

Nations are reverting openly to self-interest and away from Malthusianism and neoliberalism, which is good for nuclear and bad for renewables. The evidence is overwhelming that our high-energy civilization is better for people and nature than the low-energy civilization that climate alarmists would return us to.

The invitations from IPCC and Congress are signs of a growing openness to new thinking about climate change and the environment. Another one has been to the response to my book from climate scientists, conservationists, and environmental scholars. “Apocalypse Never is an extremely important book,” writes Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb. “This may be the most important book on the environment ever written,” says one of the fathers of modern climate science Tom Wigley.

“We environmentalists condemn those with antithetical views of being ignorant of science and susceptible to confirmation bias,” wrote the former head of The Nature Conservancy, Steve McCormick. “But too often we are guilty of the same. Shellenberger offers ‘tough love:’ a challenge to entrenched orthodoxies and rigid, self-defeating mindsets. Apocalypse Never serves up occasionally stinging, but always well-crafted, evidence-based points of view that will help develop the ‘mental muscle’ we need to envision and design not only a hopeful, but an attainable, future.”

That is all I hoped for in writing it. If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ll agree that it’s perhaps not as strange as it seems that a lifelong environmentalist, progressive, and climate activist felt the need to speak out against the alarmism.

I further hope that you’ll accept my apology.


Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” and president of Environmental Progress, an independent research and policy organization. He is the author of Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us AllFollow him on Twitter @ShellenbergerMD.

Feature image: The author in Maranhão, Brazil in 1995.

Physics Needs Philosophy / Philosophy Needs Physics
Philosophy has always played an essential role in the development of science, physics in particular, and is likely to continue to do so

By Carlo Rovelli on July 18, 2018
Physics Needs Philosophy / Philosophy Needs Physics
Credit: Dimitri Otis Getty Images
Contrary to claims about the irrelevance of philosophy for science, philosophy has always had, and still has, far more influence on physics than commonly assumed. A certain current anti-philosophical ideology has had damaging effects on the fertility of science. The recent momentous steps taken by experimental physics are all rebuttals of today's freely speculative attitude in theoretical physics. Empirical results such as the detection of the Higgs particle and gravitational waves, and the failure to detect super-symmetry where many expected it, question the validity of philosophical assumptions common among theoretical physicists, inviting us to engage in a clearer philosophical reflection on scientific method.

Against Philosophy is the title of a chapter of a book by one of the great physicists of the last generation: Steven Weinberg.1 Weinberg argues eloquently that philosophy is more damaging than helpful for physics—it is often a straightjacket that physicists have to free themselves from. Stephen Hawking famously wrote that “philosophy is dead” because the big questions that used to be discussed by philosophers are now in the hands of physicists.2 Neil de Grasse Tyson publicly stated: “…we learn about the expanding universe, … we learn about quantum physics, each of which falls so far out of what you can deduce from your armchair that the whole community of philosophers … was rendered essentially obsolete.”3 I disagree. Philosophy has always played an essential role in the development of science, physics in particular, and is likely to continue to do so.

This is a long-standing debate. An early delightful chapter of the debate was played out in Athens during its classical period. At the time, the golden youth of the city were educated in famous schools. Two stood out: the school of Isocrates, and the Academy, founded by a certain Plato. The rivalry between the two was not just about quality: their approach to education was different. Isocrates offered a high-level practical education, teaching the youth of Athens the skills and knowledge directly required to become politicians, lawyers, judges, architects and so on. The Academy focused on discussing general questions about foundations: What is justice? What would be the best laws? What is beauty? What is matter made of? And Plato had invented a good name for this way of posing problems: “philosophy.”

Isocrates' criticisms of Plato’s approach to education and knowledge were direct and remarkably like the claim by those contemporary scientists who argue that philosophy has no role to play in science: “Those who do philosophy, who determine the proofs and the arguments … and are accustomed to enquiring, but take part in none of their practical functions, … even if they happen to be capable of handling something, they automatically do it worse, whereas those who have no knowledge of the arguments [of philosophy], if they are trained [in concrete sciences] and have correct opinions, are altogether superior for all practical purposes. Hence for sciences, philosophy is entirely useless.”4

As it happened, a brilliant young student in Plato’s school wrote a short work in response to Isocrates’ criticisms: the Protrepticus, a text that became famous in antiquity. The bright young fellow who authored the pamphlet later left Athens, but eventually returned to open his own school, and had quite a career. His name was Aristotle. Two millennia of development of the sciences and philosophy have vindicated and, if anything, strengthened Aristotle’s defense of philosophy against Isocrates’ accusations of futility. His arguments are still relevant and we can take inspiration from them to reply to the current claims that philosophy is useless to physics.

The first of Aristotle’s arguments is the fact that general theory supports and happens to be useful for the development of practice. Today, after a couple of millennia during which both philosophy and science have developed considerably, historical evidence regarding the influence of philosophy on science is overwhelming.

Here are a few examples of this influence, from astronomy and physics. Ancient astronomy—that is, everything we know about the Earth being round, its size, the size of the moon and the sun, the distances to the moon and the sun, the motion of the planets in the sky and the basis from which modern astronomy and modern physics have emerged—is a direct descendent of philosophy. The questions that motivated these developments were posed in the Academy and the Lyceum, motivated by theoretical, rather than practical concerns. Centuries later, Galileo and Newton took great steps ahead but they relied heavily on what had come before.5 They extended previous knowledge, reinterpreting, reframing, and building upon it. Galileo's work would have been inconceivable without Aristotelian physics. Newton was explicit about his debt to ancient philosophy, Democritus in particular, for ideas that arose originally from philosophical motivations, such as the notions of empty space, atomism and natural rectilinear motion. His crucial discussion about the nature of space and time built upon his discussions with (and against) Descartes.

In the 20th century, both major advances in physics were strongly influenced by philosophy. Quantum mechanics springs from Heisenberg’s intuition, grounded in the strongly positivist philosophical atmosphere in which he found himself: one gets knowledge by restricting oneself to what is observable. The abstract of Heisenberg’s 1925 milestone paper on quantum theory is explicit about this: “The aim of this work is to set the basis for a theory of quantum mechanics based exclusively on relations between quantities that are in principle observable.”6 The same distinctly philosophical attitude nourished Einstein’s discovery of special relativity: by restricting to what is observable, we recognize that the notion of simultaneity is misleading. Einstein recognized very explicitly his debt to the philosophical writings of Mach and Poincaré. The philosophical influences on the conception of general relativity were even stronger. Once again, he was explicit in recognizing his debt to the philosophical arguments in Leibniz, Berkeley and Mach. Einstein claimed that even Schopenhauer had had a pervasive influence on him. Schopenhauer’s ideas on time and representation are perhaps not so hard to recognize in Einstein’s ideas leading to general relativity.7 Can it really be a coincidence that, in his younger days, the greatest physicist of the twentieth century should have had such a clear focus on philosophy,8 reading Kant’s three Critics when he was 15?

Why this influence? Because philosophy provides methods leading to novel perspectives and critical thinking. Philosophers have tools and skills that physics needs, but do not belong to the physicists training: conceptual analysis, attention to ambiguity, accuracy of expression, the ability to detect gaps in standard arguments, to devise radically new perspectives, to spot conceptual weak points, and to seek out alternative conceptual explanations. Nobody puts this better than Einstein himself: “A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.”9 It is sometimes said that scientists do not do anything unless they first get permission from philosophy. If we read what the greatest scientists had to say about the usefulness of philosophy, physicists like Heisenberg, Schrödinger, Bohr and Einstein, we find opposite opinions to those of Hawking and Weinberg.

Here is a second argument due to Aristotle: Those who deny the utility of philosophy, are doing philosophy. The point is less trivial than it may sound at first. Weinberg and Hawking have obtained important scientific results. In doing this, they were doing science. In writing things like “philosophy is useless to physics,” or “philosophy is dead,” they were not doing physics. They were reflecting on the best way to develop science. The issue is the methodology of science: a central concern in the philosophy of science is to ask how science is done and how it could be done to be more effective. Good scientists reflect on their own methodology, and it is appropriate that Weinberg and Hawking have done so too. But how? They express a certain idea about the methodology of science. Is this the eternal truth about how science has always worked and should work? Is it the best understanding of science we have at present?

It is neither. In fact, it is not difficult to trace the origins of their ideas. They arise from the background of logical positivism, corrected by Popper and Kuhn. The current dominant methodological ideology in theoretical physics relies on their notions of falsifiability and scientific revolution, which are popular among theoretical physicists; they are often referred to, and are used to orient research and evaluate scientific work.

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Hence, in declaring the uselessness of philosophy, Weinberg, Hawking and other “anti-philosophical” scientists are in fact paying homage to the philosophers of science they have read, or whose ideas they have absorbed from their environment. The imprint is unmistakable. When viewed as an ensemble of pseudo-statements, words that resemble statements but have no proper meaning, of the kind recurrent for instance in the way Neil de Grasse Tyson mocks philosophy, these criticisms are easily traced to the Vienna Circle’s anti-metaphysical stance.10 Behind these anathemas against “philosophy,” one can almost hear the Vienna Circle's slogan of “no metaphysics!”

Thus, when Weinberg and Hawking state that philosophy is useless, they are actually stating their adhesion to a particular philosophy of science.

In principle, there's nothing wrong with that; but the problem is that it is not a very good philosophy of science. On the one hand, Newton, Maxwell, Boltzmann, Darwin, Lavoisier and so many other major scientists worked within a different methodological perspective, and did pretty good science as well. On the other hand, philosophy of science has advanced since Carnap, Popper and Kuhn, recognizing that the way science effectively works is richer and more subtle than the way it was portrayed in the analysis of these thinkers. Weinberg and Hawking’s error is to mistake a particular, historically circumscribed, limited understanding of science for the eternal logic of science itself.

The weakness of their position is the lack of awareness of its frail historical contingency. They present science as a discipline with an obvious and uncontroversial methodology, as if this had been the same from Bacon to the detection of gravitational waves, or as if it was completely obvious what we should be doing and how we should be doing it when we do science.

Reality is different. Science has repeatedly redefined its own understanding of itself, along with its goals, its methods, and its tools. This flexibility has played a major role in its success. Let us consider a few examples from physics and astronomy. In light of Hipparchus and Ptolemy’s extraordinarily successful predictive theories, the goal of astronomy was to find the right combination of circles to describe the motion of the heavenly bodies around the Earth. Contrary to expectations, it turned out that Earth was itself one of the heavenly bodies. After Copernicus, the goal appeared to be to find the right combination of moving spheres that would reproduce the motion of the planets around the Sun. Contrary to expectations, it turned out that abstract elliptical trajectories were better than spheres. After Newton, it seemed clear that the aim of physics was to find the forces acting on bodies. Contrary to this, it turned out that the world could be better described by dynamical fields rather than bodies. After Faraday and Maxwell, it was clear that physics had to find laws of motion in space, as time passes. Contrary to assumptions, it turned out that space and time are themselves dynamical. After Einstein, it became clear that physics must only search for the deterministic laws of Nature. But it turned out that we can at best give probabilistic laws. And so on. Here are some sliding definitions for what scientists have thought science to be: deduction of general laws from observed phenomena, finding out the ultimate constituents of Nature, accounting for regularities in empirical observations, finding provisional conceptual schemes for making sense of the world. (The last one is the one I like.) Science is not a project with a methodology written in stone, or a fixed conceptual structure. It is our ever-evolving endeavor to better understand the world. In the course of its development, it has repeatedly violated its own rules and its own stated methodological assumptions.

A currently common description of what scientists do is collecting data and making sense of them in the form of theories. As time goes by, new data are acquired and theories evolve. In this picture scientists are depicted as rational beings who play this game using their intelligence, a specific language, and a well-established cultural and conceptual structure. The problem with this picture is that conceptual structures evolve as well. Science is not simply an increasing body of empirical information and a sequence of changing theories. It is also the evolution of our own conceptual structure. It is the continuous search for the best conceptual structure for grasping the world, at a given level of knowledge. The modification of the conceptual structure needs to be achieved from within our own thinking, rather as a sailor must rebuild his own boat while sailing, to use the beautiful simile of Otto Neurath so often quoted by Quine.11

This intertwining of learning and conceptual change and this evolution of methodology and objectives have developed historically in a constant dialogue between practical science and philosophical reflection. The views of scientists, whether they like it or not, are impregnated by philosophy.

And here we come back to Aristotle: Philosophy provides guidance how research must be done.  Not because philosophy can offer a final word about the right methodology of science (contrary to the philosophical stance of Weinberg and Hawking). But because the scientists who deny the role of philosophy in the advancement of science are those who think they have already found the final methodology, they have already exhausted and answered all methodological questions. They are consequently less open to the conceptual flexibility needed to go ahead. They are the ones trapped in the ideology of their time.

One reason for the relative sterility of theoretical physics over the last few decades may well be precisely that the wrong philosophy of science is held dear today by many physicists. Popper and Kuhn, popular among theoretical physicists, have shed light on important aspects of the way good science works, but their picture of science is incomplete and I suspect that, taken prescriptively and uncritically, their insights have ended up misleading research.

Kuhn’s emphasis on discontinuity and incommensurability has misled many theoretical and experimental physicists into disvaluing the formidable cumulative aspects of scientific knowledge. Popper’s emphasis on falsifiability, originally a demarcation criterion, has been flatly misinterpreted as an evaluation criterion. The combination of the two has given rise to disastrous methodological confusion: the idea that past knowledge is irrelevant when searching for new theories, that all unproven ideas are equally interesting and all unmeasured effects are equally likely to occur, and that the work of a theoretician consists in pulling arbitrary possibilities out of the blue and developing them, since anything that has not yet been falsified might in fact be right.

This is the current “why not?” ideology: any new idea deserves to be studied, just because it has not yet been falsified; any idea is equally probable, because a step further ahead on the knowledge trail there may be a Kuhnian discontinuity that was not predictable on the basis of past knowledge; any experiment is equally interesting, provided it tests something as yet untested.

I think that this methodological philosophy has given rise to much useless theoretical work in physics and many useless experimental investments. Arbitrary jumps in the unbounded space of possibilities have never been an effective way to do science. The reason is twofold: first, there are too many possibilities, and the probability of stumbling on a good one by pure chance is negligible; more importantly, nature always surprises us and we, limited critters, are far less creative and imaginative than we may think. When we proudly consider ourselves to be “speculating widely,” we are mostly playing out rearrangements of old tunes: true novelty that works is not something we can just find by guesswork.

The radical conceptual shifts and the most unconventional ideas that have actually worked have indeed been always historically motivated, almost forced, either by the overwhelming weight of new data, or by a well-informed analysis of the internal contradictions within existing, successful theories. Science works through continuity, not discontinuity.

Examples of the first case−novelty forced by data−are Kepler’s ellipses and quantum theory. Kepler did not just “come out with the idea” of ellipses: nature had to splash ellipses on his face before he could see them. He was using ellipses as an approximation for the deferent-epicycle motion of Mars and was astonished to find that the approximation worked better than his model.12 Similarly, atomic physicists of the early 20th century struggled long and hard against the idea of discontinuities in the basic laws, doing everything they could to avoid accepting the clear message from spectroscopy, that is, that there was actually discontinuity in the very heart of mechanics. In both instances, the important new idea was forced by data.

Examples of the second case−radical novelty from old theories−are the heliocentric system and general relativity. Neither Copernicus nor Einstein relied significantly on new data. But neither did their ideas come out of the blue either. They both started from an insightful analysis of successful well-established theories: Ptolemaic astronomy, Newtonian gravity and special relativity. The contradictions and unexplained coincidences they found in these would open the way to a new conceptualization.

It is not fishing out un-falsified theories, and testing them, that brings results. Rather, it is a sophisticated use of induction, building upon a vast and ever growing accumulation of empirical and theoretical knowledge, that provides the hints we need to move ahead. It is by focusing on empirically successful insights that we move ahead. Einstein’s “relativity” was not a “new idea”: it was Einstein’s realization of the extensive validity of Galilean relativity. There was no discontinuity: in fact it was continuity at its best. It was Einstein’s insightful “conservatism” in the face of those who were too ready to discard the relativity of velocity, just because of Maxwell’s equations.

I think this lesson is missed by much contemporary theoretical physics, where plenty of research directions are too quick to discard what we have already found out about Nature.

Three major empirical results have marked recent fundamental physics: gravitational waves, the Higgs, and the absence of super-symmetry at LHC. All three are confirmations of old physics and disconfirmations of widespread speculation. In all three cases, Nature is telling us: do not speculate so freely. So let’s look more closely at these examples.

The detection of gravitational waves, rewarded by the last Nobel Prize in fundamental physics, has been a radical confirmation of century-old general relativity. The recent nearly simultaneous detection of gravitational and electromagnetic signals from the merging of two neutron stars (GW170817) has improved our knowledge of the ratio between the speeds of propagation of gravity and electromagnetism by something like 14 orders of magnitude in a single stroke.13 One consequence of this momentous increase in our empirical knowledge has been to rule out a great many theories put forward as alternatives to general relativity, ideas that have been studied by a large community of theoreticians over the last decades, confirming instead the century-old general relativity as the best theory of gravity available at present.

The well-publicized detection of the Higgs particle at CERN has confirmed the Standard Model as the best current theory for high-energy physics, against scores of later alternatives that have long been receiving much attention.

But CERN's emphasis on the discovery of the Higgs when the Large Hadron Collider became operational has also served to hide the true surprise: the absence of super-symmetric particles where a generation of theoretical physicists had been expecting to find them. Despite rivers of ink and flights of fancy, the minimal super-symmetric model suddenly finds itself in difficulty. So once again, Nature has seriously rebuffed the free speculations of a large community of theoretical physicists who ended up firmly believing them.

Nature's repeated snub of the current methodology in theoretical physics should encourage a certain humility, rather than arrogance, in our philosophical attitude.

Part of the problem is precisely that the dominant ideas of Popper and Kuhn (perhaps not even fully digested) have misled current theoretical investigations. Physicists have been too casual in dismissing the insights of successful established theories. Misled by Kuhn’s insistence on incommensurability across scientific revolutions, they fail to build on what we already know, which is how science has always moved forward. A good example of this is the disregard for general relativity’s background independence in many attempts to incorporate gravity into the rest of fundamental physics.

Similarly, the emphasis on falsifiability has made physicists blind to a fundamental aspect of scientific knowledge: the fact that credibility has degrees and that reliability can be extremely high, even when it is not absolute certainty. This has a doubly negative effect: considering the insights of successful theories as irrelevant for progress in science (because “they could be falsified tomorrow”), and failing to see that a given investigation may have little plausibility even if it has not yet been falsified.

The scientific enterprise is founded on degrees of credibility, which are constantly updated on the basis of new data or new theoretical developments. Recent attention to Bayesian accounts of confirmation in science is common in the philosophy of science, but largely ignored in the theoretical physics community, with negative effects, in my opinion.14

What I intend here is not a criticism of Popper and Kuhn, whose writings are articulate and obviously insightful. What I am pointing out is that a simple-minded version of their outlooks has been taken casually by many physicists as the ultimate word on the methodology of science.

Far from being immune from philosophy, current physics is deeply affected by philosophy. But the lack of philosophical awareness needed to recognize this influence, and the refusal to listen to philosophers who try to make amends for it, is a source of weakness for physics.

Here is one last argument from Aristotle: More in need of philosophy are the sciences where perplexities are greater.

Today fundamental physics is in a phase of deep conceptual change, because of the success of general relativity and quantum mechanics and the open “crisis” (in the sense of Kuhn, I would rather say “opportunity”) generated by the current lack of an accepted quantum theory of gravity. This is why some scientists, including myself, working as I do on quantum gravity, are more acutely aware of the importance of philosophy for physics. Here is a list of topics currently discussed in theoretical physics: What is space? What is time? What is the “present”? Is the world deterministic? Do we need to take the observer into account to describe nature? Is physics better formulated in terms of a “reality” or in terms of “what we observe,” or is there a third option? What is the quantum wave function? What exactly does “emergence” mean? Does a theory of the totality of the universe make sense? Does it make sense to think that physical laws themselves might evolve? It is clear to me that input from past and current philosophical thinking cannot be disregarded in addressing these topics.

In loop quantum gravity, my own technical area, Newtonian space and time are reinterpreted as a manifestation of something which is granular, probabilistic and fluctuating in a quantum sense. Space, time, particles and fields get fused into a single entity: a quantum field that does not live in space or time. The variables of this field acquire definiteness only in interactions between subsystems. The fundamental equations of the theory have no explicit space or time variables. Geometry appears only in approximations. Objects exist within approximations. Realism is tempered by a strong dose of relationalism. I think we physicists need to discuss with philosophers, because I think we need help in making sense of all this.

To be fair, some manifestations of anti-philosophical attitudes in scientific circles are also a reaction to anti-scientific attitudes in some areas of philosophy and other humanities. In the post-Heideggerian atmosphere that dominates some philosophy departments, ignorance of science is something to exhibit with pride. Just as the best science listens keenly to philosophy, so the best philosophy listen keenly to science. This has certainly been so in the past: from Aristotle and Plato to Descartes, Hume, Kant, Husserl and Lewis, the best philosophy has always been closely tuned in to science. No great philosopher of the past would ever have thought for a moment of not taking seriously the knowledge of the world offered by the science of their times.

Science is an integral and essential part of our culture. It is far from being capable of answering all the questions we ask, but it is an extremely powerful tool. Our general knowledge is the result of the contributions from vastly different domains, from science to philosophy, all the way to literature and the arts, and our capacity to integrate them.

Those philosophers who discount science, and there are many of them, do a serious disservice to intelligence and civilization. When they claim that entire fields of knowledge are impermeable to science, and that they are the ones who know better, they remind me of two little old men on a park bench: “Aaaah," says one, his voice shaking, "all these scientists who claim they can study consciousness, or the beginning of the universe.” “Ohh," says the other, "how absurd! Of course they can't understand these things. We do!”


Steven Weinberg,Dreams of a Final Theory,Chapter VII (Vintage, 1994)
Stephen Hawking,The Grand Design(Bantam, 2012)
In, at time 1:03.
 Isocrates quoted in Iamblichus, Protrepticus, VI 37.22-39.8 (de Gruyter 1996)
C. Rovelli, “Aristotle's Physics: A Physicist's look”,Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 1 (2015) 23-40, arXiv:1312.4057.
W. Heisenberg, “Über quantentheoretische Umdeutung kinematischer und mechanischer Beziehungen,” Zeitschrift fur Physik 33 (1925) no. 1, 879–893.
D. Howard “A Peek behind the Veil of Maya: Einstein, Schopenhauer, and the Historical Background of the Conception of Space as a Ground for the Individuation of Physical Systems.” InThe Cosmos of Science: Essays of Exploration. John Earmanand John D. Norton, eds. Pittsburgh-Konstanz Series in the Philosophy and History of Science, vol. 6. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press 1997) Konstanz: Universitätsverlag, 87–150.
D. Howard, “'A kind of vessel in which the struggle for eternal truth is played out’-Albert Einstein and the Role of Personality in Science.” InThe Natural History of Paradigms: Science and the Process of Intellectual Evolution.John H. Langdon and Mary E. McGann, eds. Indianapolis: University of Indianapolis Press, 1994, 111–138.
A. Einstein. Letter to Robert A. Thornton, 7 December 1944. EA 61-574, inThe Collected Papers of Albert Einstein(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986-present).
R. Carnap, “Überwindungder Metaphysik durch Logische Analyse der Sprache” inErkenntnis, vol. 2, 1932 (English translation 'The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language' in Sarkar, Sahotra, ed.,Logical empiricism at its peak: Schlick, Carnap, andNeurath, New York : Garland Pub., 1996, pp. 10–31).
W. V. O. Quine,Word and Object. (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2015).
Johannes Kepler,Astronomia Nova, translated by William H. Donahue, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1992).
Abbott, B. P.; et al. (LIGO Scientific Collaboration & Virgo Collaboration) "GW170817: Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Neutron Star Inspiral”,Physical Review Letters. 119 (16) 2017. “Multi-messenger Observations of a Binary Neutron Star Merger"The Astrophysical Journal. 848 (2) 2017.
The worst episode of this misunderstanding is the confusion between the the (strong) common-sense notion of `confirmation’ and the (weak) Bayesian notion of `confirmation’ that has driven the controversy over Richard Dawid's work on non-empirical confirmation [R. Dawid,String Theory and the Scientific Method(Cambridge University Press, 2013).] An attempt to study the actual source of (possibly unjustified) confidence in a theory has been re-trumpeted by scientists as a proof of validity.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The evidence for evidence-based therapy is not as clear as we thought
is programme director of psychology and director of the Psychological Clinic, both at the University of Kansas, Edwards Campus.
is assistant professor in psychology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia.
1,200 words
Edited by Christian Jarrett

Over the past decade, many scholars have questioned the credibility of research across a variety of scientific fields. Some of these concerns arise from cases of outright fraud or other misconduct. More troubling are difficulties in replicating previous research findings. Replication is cast as a cornerstone of science: we can trust the results originating in one lab only if other labs can follow similar procedures and get similar results. But in many areas of research – including psychology – scientists have found that too often they cannot replicate prior findings.
As psychologists specialising in clinical work (Alexander Williams) and methodology (John Sakaluk), we wondered what these concerns mean for psychotherapy. Over the past 50 years, therapy researchers have increasingly embraced the evidence-based practice movement. Just as medicines are pitted against placebos in research studies, psychologists have used randomised clinical trials to test whether certain therapies (eg, ‘exposure therapy’, or systematically confronting what one fears) benefit people with certain mental-health conditions (eg, a phobia of spiders). The treatment-for-diagnosis combinations that have amassed evidence from these trials are known as empirically supported treatments (ESTs).
We wondered, though: is the credibility of the evidence for ESTs as strong as that designation suggests? Or does the evidence-base for ESTs suffer from the same problems as published research in other areas of science? This is what we (with our coauthors, the US psychologists Robyn Kilshaw and Kathleen T Rhyner) explored in our study published recently in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Top of Form
The Society of Clinical Psychology – or Division 12 of the American Psychological Association – has done the arduous work since the 1990s of establishing a list of more than 70 ESTs. They have continued to update the ESTs listed, and the evidence cited for them, to the present day. We conducted a ‘meta-scientific review’ of these ESTs. Across a variety of statistical metrics, we assessed the credibility of the evidence cited by the Society for every EST on their list. We examined measures related to statistical power, which indicates plausibility of the reported data given the sample sizes of the experiments. We computed Bayesian indices of evidence that shows how probable the results were, assuming the therapies actually helped those receiving them. We even looked at rates of misreported statistics – if a study reports, say, ‘2 + 2 = 5’, we know that there must be a problem with at least some of the numbers. All told, we analysed more than 450 research articles. What we found is a study in contrasts.
Around 20 per cent of ESTs performed well across a majority of our metrics (eg, problem-solving therapy for depression, interpersonal psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa, the aforementioned exposure therapy for specific phobias). This means not only that the therapies have been subjected to clinical trials, but that the evidence produced from these clinical trials seems credible and supports the claim that the EST will help people. We also found a ‘murky middle’: 30 per cent of ESTs had mixed results across metrics, performing neither consistently well nor poorly (eg, cognitive therapy for depression, interpersonal psychotherapy for binge-eating disorder).
That leaves 50 per cent of ESTs with subpar outcomes across most of our metrics (eg, eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing for PTSD, interpersonal psychotherapy for depression). In other words, although these ESTs seemed to work based on the claims of the clinical trials cited by the Society of Clinical Psychology, we found the evidence from these trials lacked statistical credibility. For these ESTs, the relevant research results are sufficiently ambiguous that we cannot be sure that they really do work better than other forms of therapy.
There is a large, dense body of literature showing that psychotherapy usually helps those who seek it out. Our results don’t challenge that conclusion. What does it mean, though, if the evidence behind the therapies thought to be best supported by research is not as strong as one would hope?
One conclusion we draw is that we might be in need of what we’re calling ‘psychological reversal’. The term, a version of what the US medical scholars Vinay Prasad and Adam Cifu called medical reversal, argues for desisting from the use of psychological practices if they are found to be ineffective, inadvertently harmful or more expensive to employ than equally effective alternatives. If some ESTs lack credible evidence that they are superior to simpler, less costly and time-consuming forms of therapy, shifting resources towards the latter group of treatments will benefit therapy clients and all those bearing the costs of mental-health care.
The other conclusion is a lesson in humility for those who provide therapy (one of the authors of this article among them). For close to a century, psychologists have debated the ‘dodo bird hypothesis’. Deriving its name from the proclamation of the Dodo Bird in Alice in Wonderland (‘Everybody has won and all must have prizes!’), the dodo bird hypothesis suggests that different forms of psychotherapy perform equally well, and that this is because of the common factors of all therapies (eg, they all provide clients with a rationale for the therapy). The existence of ESTs seems to refute the hypothesis, demonstrating that some therapies do work better than others for certain mental-health conditions. We put forward a different possibility: the ‘do not know’ bird hypothesis. Given the problems with credibility we found across many clinical trials, we contend that we currently do not know in many cases if some therapies perform better than others. Of course, this also means we do not know if the majority of therapies are equally effective, and, if such equality exists, we do not know if it owes to common factors. When it comes to comparing psychotherapies, therapists could do worse than to channel every philosophy undergrad: when someone purports one therapy works better than another, wonder aloud: ‘How do we know?’
Psychotherapy could be on the verge of a renaissance. Research on mental-illness treatment can benefit greatly from the lessons psychology has learned about credibility. For example, investigators can ensure that their studies have sufficient power; that is, enough participants in a clinical trial to reliably detect if a psychotherapy works. They can also practise open science by making their datasets publicly available so that other researchers can verify that a trial’s statistics are reported accurately; and/or preregister their therapy trials, specifying in advance their methods and hypotheses, which makes the research process transparent and helps prevent the burying of negative findings.
Ethical therapists can continue to engage in practice that is evidence-based, not eminence-based, rooting their therapies in scientific evidence rather than their own conjecture or that of senior colleagues. They can also continue the routine outcome measurement many already employ: solicit therapy clients’ feedback early and often, be open to surprise about what’s working and what’s not, and adjust accordingly. Clients can ask their therapists upfront if they will offer the opportunity for such mutual assessment of their progress.
Therapy helps the vast majority of those who receive it. Happily – if the discipline embraces reform in research, and cultivates a humble, flexible approach to therapy – it could help even more.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Neo-Darwinism and the Big Bang of Man’s Origin 
February 25, 2020, 5:11 AM
When law professor Phillip E. Johnson1 was asked whether he wouldn’t be “a bit out of [his] element” writing about evolution, neo-Darwinism,2 and intelligent design, he gave the following intriguing answer. It is acutely relevant for all readers and researchers who are interested in the origin of man but who are not paleoanthropologists: 
Well, if I am out of my element then Charles Darwin must also have been out of his element because his training was in medicine and theology3 although he was, in fact, a very good scientist, self-taught, a gentlemen amateur like others of his time. Charles Lyell, the father of modern geology, was a lawyer. But you know, the thing about Darwinian evolution today is that it is a general philosophical concept that connects many disparate fields of science. So that you see, a molecular biologist [is] relying on fossil experts, paleontologists, and vice versa. And they are all relying on geneticists and each one of these groups of scientists outside their own element is just a generalist, is just a layman like anyone else. So there aren’t really any specialists in evolution. It’s a generalist’s country.
He could have mentioned as well the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel4, often called “the father of genetics,” and many others in biology up to the present5. A further statement by Johnson is all the more relevant for the general reader, as well as for any philosopher, scientist, or other researcher:
The other thing to be said about the outsider is that every one of the great authorities of Darwinism, from Charles Darwin and T. H. Huxley at the beginning, through Dobzhansky, Simpson, Julian Huxley a generation ago, to Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins and so on today, is that every one of those authorities wrote books for the general public. They addressed the general public and not a single one of them ever said “this evidence is inaccessible to you. Don’t try to figure it out because you can’t understand it.” Indeed, the implied premise of all the books was, it’s easily understood and anyone who isn’t completely prejudiced or ignorant can see that it’s obviously true. So, I like to think of myself as the reader for whom all those books were intended and I’m speaking back to the authors and explaining to them what they overlooked, that, in fact, their books are not convincing because they’re assuming at the beginning of the inquiry the point that they claim to have demonstrated at the end and so there is a thinking flaw…. [Emphasis added.]6
Simply put, the proponents of the ruling theory tell us that we are all undoubtedly intelligent enough to fully grasp their theory, as long as we concur with it. But we are nothing but totally unqualified outsiders if we raise critical questions concerning any of its basic tenets, or if we come to the conclusion that it is mostly wrong. Applying this method to Johnson himself, an evolutionist wrote in Wikipedia: “Despite having no formal background in biology, he felt that he could add insight into the premises and arguments.”7 Nevertheless, if an intelligent outsider has honestly and painstakingly checked an argument and raises fundamental questions and objections, he should also be taken seriously.
So, let’s reject this self-contradictory yardstick of neo-Darwinism, and reassess the theory. In particular, let us check and investigate some important points on the origin of humans.
The Dominant Theory of Evolution
According to today’s dominant theory of evolution — neo-Darwinism, also called “the synthetic theory of evolution” or the “modern synthesis” — humans have evolved gradually from extinct apes. This process occurred through natural selection of an almost endless array of mutations with “slight or even invisible effects on the phenotype” (in the words of Mayr, one of the architects of the modern synthesis), or phenotypically, exactly as in Darwin’s formulations of his theory between 1859 and 1882 by “innumerable slight variations,” “extremely slight variations,” and “infinitesimally small inherited variations.”8
This key point of the theory, its bottom line, core, and essence, even “the same yesterday, and today and forever”9 — gradualism in combination with omnipotent natural selection10 — can hardly be overemphasized. Thus I would like to continue to point out that Darwin correspondingly imagined the origin of species (and, in fact, of all life forms) by selection of “infinitesimally small changes,” “infinitesimally slight variations,” and “slow degrees.” He hence imagined “steps not greater than those separating fine varieties,” “insensibly fine steps” and “insensibly fine gradations,” “for natural selection can act only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a leap, but must advance by the shortest and slowest steps,” or “the transition [between species] could, according to my theory, be effected only by numberless small gradations”11 (emphasis added). Virtually the same is said by neo-Darwinists today.12
How many transitional links are then required on the assumed evolutionary road to humans? How many, in fact, must actually and historically have existed during the last approximately 17 million years of geologic time, as stipulated for the last common ancestor of humans and great apes?13
Well, on the basis of the ruling theory: Certainly millions! In Darwin’s own words in the Origin (which are yet fully up-to-date) “the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [must] be truly enormous,” and “the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great.” And of these millions of links, a few suggestive representatives have been shown by a popular image like the following one14 (presented with small variations almost worldwide). It is a faulty caricature, which is nevertheless thought to be sufficient to convey to the uninformed reader ad oculus the gradual origin of humans:

However, the unavoidable implication of the theory is, of course, that not only “truly enormous” and “inconceivably great” numbers of transitional links must have existed for the postulated continuum, but also infinite numbers of intermediate links on the extinct side branches. This is hinted by the only illustration in Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859, pp. 116-117), below:

Yet, this propagandist oversimplification can almost be set aside compared with the iconic image’s basic scientific faults and misconceptions, which Bernard Wood, Professor of Human Origins at George Washington University, has designated an “illusion”:
There is a popular image of human evolution that you’ll find all over the place, from the backs of cereal packets to the advertisement for expensive scientific equipment. On the left of the picture there’s an ape — …. On the right, a man … Between the two is a succession of figures that become ever more like humans … Our progress from ape to human looks so smooth, so tidy. It’s such a beguiling image that even the experts are loath to let it go. But it is an illusion.15
The Illusion of Gradualism  
Carefully analyzing and scientifically testing the icon shown above reveals that it is, in fact, an illusion on several levels.
First: Apart from connotations to orthogenesis, “the biological hypothesis that organisms have an innate tendency to evolve in a definite direction towards some goal (teleology) due to some internal mechanism or ‘driving force’”16 (a concept emphatically denied by all protagonists of the modern synthesis), I would like to point out that even on the neo-Darwinian presuppositions of evolution by mutation and selection, it has not been possible to document and prove the essentially assumed gradual process of man’s origin. This is in spite of enormous efforts and copious financial expenditure. Quite the opposite: the discoveries made by paleoanthropology during the last some 150 years proved to be neither smooth nor tidy. That observation is briefly documented by the following clear statements of several of today’s leading paleoanthropologists (generally accepted as “insiders”): 
Ian Tattersall (Professor and Head of the anthropological department of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City from 1971 to 2010; now curator emeritus): 
We differ from our closest known relatives in numerous features of the skull and of the postcranial skeleton, in important features of brain growth, and almost certainly in critical features of internal brain organization as well. These differences exist on an unusual scale. At least to the human eye, most primate species don’t differ very much from their closest relatives. Differences tend to be largely in external features such as coat color, or ear size, or even just in vocalizations; and variations in bony structure tend to be minor. In contrast, and even allowing for the poor record we have of our closest extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented. Still, we evidently came by our unusual anatomical structure and capacities very recently: There is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became what we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense. [Emphasis added.]17
The aforementioned Bernard Wood: 
Even with all the fossil evidence and analytical techniques from the past 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive.18
Jeffrey H. Schwartz (Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburg, past President of World Academy of Art and Science): 
[W]e should not expect to find a series of intermediate fossil forms with decreasingly divergent big toes and, at the same time, a decreasing number of apelike features and an increasing number of modern human features.19
Professors John D. Hawks, Keith Hunley, Sang-Hee Lee, Milford Wolpoff (see the endnote for their universities and academic positions20): 
…no gradual series of changes in earlier australopithecine populations clearly leads to the new species [Homo sapiens], and no australopithecine species is obviously transitional. This may seem to be an unexpected statement, because for 3 decades habiline species have been interpreted as being just such transitional taxa, linking Australopithecus through the habilines to later Homo species.
We, like many others, interpret the anatomical evidence to show that early H. sapiens was significantly and dramatically different from earlier and penecontemporary australopithecines21 in virtually every element of its skeleton and every remnant of its behavior.
…Our interpretation is that the changes are sudden and interrelated and reflect a bottleneck that was created because of the isolation of a small group from a parent australopithecine species. In this small population, a combination of drift and selection resulted in a radical transformation of allele frequencies, fundamentally shifting the adaptive complex (Wright 1942); in other words, a genetic revolution (Mayr 1954 ; Templeton 1980). [Emphasis added.]
For further documentations, see the excellent scientific expositions of paleontologist Günter Bechly (2017 to 2019)22 and biologists Christopher Rupe and John Sanford (2019).23
A Big Bang at Man’s Origin?
To repeat the key points quoted above, we may emphasize that
  1. “differences exist on an unusual scale” 
  2. Homo sapiens appears […] distinctive and unprecedented”
  3. “There is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became what we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
  4. “…we evidently came by our unusual anatomical structure and capacities very recently.”
  5. “…a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive” 
  6. “[W]e should not expect to find a series of intermediate fossil forms with decreasingly divergent big toes and, at the same time, a decreasing number of apelike features and an increasing number of modern human features.”
  7. “No gradual series of changes in earlier australopithecine populations clearly leads to the new species [Homo sapiens], and no australopithecine species is obviously transitional.”
  8. “…early H. sapiens was significantly and dramatically different from earlier and penecontemporary [as well as coexisting] australopithecines in virtually every element of its skeleton and every remnant of its behavior.”
  9. “Our interpretation is that the changes are sudden and interrelated,” “a genetic revolution.”
Evolutionary biologists have further designated the origin of humans as an “explosion” and “an abrupt evolutionary emergence.”24 Correspondingly, one may agree with a commentary by Diane Swanbrow, ISR Director of Communications, Lead Public Relations Representative of the University of Michigan, speaking of a “big bang theory of human evolution.”25
However, one should keep in mind that the vocabulary used by many evolutionary biologists is sometimes not identical with that of common/normal language usage. “Very recently,” for example, can mean one hundred thousand years and more. Even so, the terminology of the abrupt appearance of man is all the more revealing since no creationist nor (as far as I know) intelligent design hypothesis is implied by the statements of the evolutionary paleoanthropologists quoted above. Thus, it seems that these researchers were driven by paleontologic and anatomic facts and findings alone to choose a vocabulary starkly at odds with gradualism. 
On the other hand, there is no question that there are many further authors who, almost totally focusing on similarities between humans and apes, prefer to overlook the enormous differences between humans and the problematic ape-like links. They even go so far as to speak as if there were hardly any notable distinctions and dissimilarities between them at all.
Yet, as paleoanthropologist Jonathan M. Marks so clearly and convincingly stated:
It is not that difficult to tell a human from an ape, after all. The human is the one walking, talking, sweating, praying, building, reading, trading, crying, dancing, writing, cooking, joking, working, decorating, shaving, driving a car, or playing football. Quite literally, from the top of our head (where the hair is continually growing, unlike gorillas) to the tips of our toes (the stoutest of which is non-opposable), one can tell the human part from the ape part quite readily if one knows what to look for. Our eye-whites, small canine teeth, evaporative heat loss, short arms and long legs, breasts, knees, and of course, our cognitive communication abilities and the productive anatomies of our tongue and throat are all dead giveaways.26
And one may go on with Ann Gauger, emphasizing the following points (some overlapping with those mentioned by Marks, yet written from another perspective, and adding other important observations):
We write motets, we calculate equations that take us into space, we write jazz songs about flying to the moon and sing them at age 7, we plan ways to terraform Mars (no chimp does that!) and study Greek plays by people long dead.
We use voice dictation software that others of us have made, that is sometimes almost poetic in its interpretation of what we just said, in fact, so poetic that we can’t tell what it was supposed to be. No chimp does that.
We build incredible cities. We do horrible things well beyond what animals are capable of to each other. We have language, that wonderful, marvelous, treacherous gift. We have music, that powerful, glorious, dangerous gift. And we have art, that beautiful, transcendent, painful gift. All these gifts are things that animals don’t have. They are qualitatively, not just quantitatively, different, and they are well past anything that could have evolved.27
According to Ian Tattersall, the reason for what others have called the big bang of man’s origin probably was “a short-term event of major developmental reorganization,” “driven by a rather minor structural innovation at the DNA level.” This has been my answer to this hypothesis:
Nonetheless, “…a rather minor structural innovation at the DNA level” appears to be, for all that can be known at present, a rather unsatisfactory proposal for a comparable origin of some 696 new features (out of 1065) which distinguish man from chimpanzees, 711 from orang, 680 from gorilla, 948 from Gibbon (Hylobathes), presupposing a similar magnitude of different anatomical and other features (“distinctive and unprecedented”) from his supposed animal ancestor, “our closest extinct kin,” not to speak of 15.6% differences on the DNA level between man and his alleged closest cousin, the chimpanzee, which means, in actual numbers, more than 450 million bp differences of the some 3 billion bp constituting the genomes overall.28
This does not include most of the further points referred to above by Marks and Gauger. So here we are, after more than two centuries of materialistic speculations (starting with Lamarck in 1809). Apart from the dominant neo-Darwinian theory, these hypotheses include neo-Lamarckism (Jablonka), punctuated equilibrium (Gould and Eldredge), neutral evolution (Kimura), evolution without (any) selection (Lima de Faria), cybernetic evolution (Schmidt), evolution by transposons (McClintock), saltational evolution (Goldschmidt), and more. None of these has ever produced a satisfactory explanation of the origin of species in general or of humans in particular. The question may then be raised: Why should we not be allowed to include intelligent design in our theories? (Please see below.)
Man “Was Not Planned” — Science or Illusion?  
Second: One of the many implications of the Darwinian icon shown above is the idea that man was not planned. This is somewhat in line with the basic premise of materialism that “nothing made everything for no reason and made life from non-life for no reason and made meat robots who think they have purposes but don’t for no reason.”29
Or as George Gaylord Simpson, who established the modern synthesis in paleontology, emphatically stated:
Man is the result of a purposeless and material process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned. He is a state of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates….Man was certainly not the goal of evolution, which evidently had no goal. He was not planned, in an operation wholly planless.30
Now, the questions may be raised: How did Simpson — like the large majority of evolutionary biologists today — know all this? And how can such statements be scientifically tested? In the words of Stephen Jay Gould and other biologists, the process of evolution is “utterly unpredictable and quite unrepeatable.”31 As far as I can understand it, the assertion of the “purposeless and material process” of the origin of man seems to be entirely beyond any rigorous scientific testability. Or in stronger words: It appears to be nothing but a doubtful part of an essentially unverifiable, non-falsifiable, and unquantifiable theory. In that theory, “chance” (from random mutations to historical contingency) occupies an important place. As integral parts of its teaching structure, it includes — to underline Gould’s key points — the principal non-reproducibility of the main events and results postulated (macroevolution) as well as the unpredictability of future macroevolution. Thus the theory falls largely outside the realm of science. It eventually constitutes nothing but a seductive mirage of the materialist worldview, not only without any real substance but also convenient to divert truth-seekers from essential biological and philosophical questions, as for example whether “A single-couple human origin is possible.”32
Nothing to Do with Randomness?
Third: There is an awkward tendency among the proponents of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution to deny the utmost importance of chance for their theory. Richard Dawkins, for example, comments:       
Where did this ridiculous idea come from that evolution has something to do with randomness?…The statement that “evolution refers to the unproven belief that random undirected forces [produced a world of living things]” is not only unproven itself, it is stupid. No rational person could believe that random forces could produce a world of living things.33
He admits after the first sentence quoted above that “The theory of evolution by natural selection has a random element — mutation.” Yet he tries to downplay this admission by saying “by far the most important part of the theory of evolution is non-random: natural selection.”
So, the first question may be whether natural selection really has nothing to do with randomness. Theodosius Dobzhansky commented in his book Genetics and the Origin of Species (often viewed to be the crystallization point for the origin and growth of the modern synthesis): 
With consummate mastery Darwin shows natural selection to be a direct consequence of the appallingly great reproductive powers of living beings. A single individual of the fungus Lycoperdon bovista produces 7 x 1011 spores; Sisymbrium sophia and Nicotiana tabacum, respectively, 730,000 and 360,000 seed [orchid Cycnoches 3,751,000 per ovary, i.e. in case of some 30 flowers per plant 112,530,000 seed], salmon, 28,000,000 eggs per season [cod 6,500,000, turbot 9,000,000]; and the American oyster up to 114,000,000 eggs in a single spawning. Even the slowest breeding forms produce more offspring than can survive if the population is to remain numerically fairly stationary. Death and destruction of a majority of the individuals produced undoubtedly takes place. If, then, the population is composed of a mixture of hereditary types, some of which are more and others less well adapted to the environment, a greater proportion of the former than of the latter would be expected to survive. In modern language this means that, among the survivors, a greater frequency of carriers of certain genes or chromosome structures would be present than among the ancestors…34 [Species in square brackets added.]
However, especially from the 1950s onward, French biologists, such as Cuénot, Tétry, and Chauvin, who did not follow the modern synthesis, raised the following objection to this kind of reasoning (according to Litynski):
Out of 120,000 fertilized eggs of the green frog only two individuals survive. Are we to conclude that these two frogs out of 120,000 were selected by nature because they were the fittest ones; or rather — as Cuenot said — that natural selection is nothing but blind mortality which selects nothing at all?35
I commented in an encyclopedia article that similar questions may be raised about the 700 billion spores of Lycoperdon, the 114 million eggs multiplied with the number of spawning seasons of the American oyster, for the 28 million eggs of salmon and so on. King Solomon wrote around 1000 BC: “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, […] but time and chance happeneth to all of them” (KJV 1611).
Further, if only a few out of millions and even billions of individuals are to survive and reproduce, then there is some difficulty believing that it should really be the fittest who would do so. Strongly different abilities and varying environmental conditions can turn up during different phases of ontogenesis. Hiding places of predator and prey, the distances between them, local differences of biotopes and geographical circumstances, weather conditions and microclimates all belong to the repertoire of infinitely varying parameters. Coincidences, accidents, and chance occurrences are strongly significant in the lives of all individuals and species. Moreover, the effects of modifications, which are nonheritable by definition, may be much more powerful than the effects of mutations which have only “slight or even invisible effects on the phenotype,” specifying that kind of mutational effects most strongly favored for natural selection and evolution by the neo-Darwinian school. Confronting the enormous numbers of descendants and the never-ending changes of various environmental parameters, it seems to be much more probable that instead of the very rare “fittest” of the mutants or recombinants, the average ones will survive and reproduce.
So, can there be the least doubt that also in natural selection there is a strong element of chance and randomness? 
Indeed, this conclusion is corroborated by population genetics. Most of these slight phenomena belong to the neutral range of genetic differences, which remain virtually unrecognized by natural selection. Even mutants with a selective advantage of 1 percent have — according to population genetics — to occur at least 50 times independently of each other in order to have a chance to spread in a population.
Moreover, survival in natural selection is clearly build on the functionality of all the structures and organs of the organisms: A hare is assumed to run faster, a lion to jump farther, a zebra senses a carnivore better, an eagle spots prey at a greater distance, a chimp responds more effectively than his or her conspecifics. Why? Because — according to the neo-Darwinian doctrine — the chance events of mutation have equipped them as needed, with all structures originating until then as well as the newly gained improvements. All this is assumed to occur in a continuous process of evolution by “innumerable slight variations,” “extremely slight variations,” and “infinitesimally small inherited variations.” Thus, chance events determine everything in evolution: form and function of all structures dominating natural selection in the struggle for life and hence the entire phylogeny of plants and animals.
So, Nobel Laureate Jacques Monod was right in characterizing the modern synthesis by affirming that “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, [is] at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”36 And Dawkins is absolutely right in saying that “No rational person could believe that random forces could produce a world of living things.”
A Time Frame for the Evolution Man
Fourth: In my experience with countless discussions, in which I present a series of biological facts that my neo-Darwinian interlocutors cannot explain under their theory, the frustrated scientist (or whatever he or she may be) eventually appeals to the enormous amount of geological time: “But consider the millions of years. Everything was possible by mutation and selection within such a time frame, things that we cannot explain with our theory today.”
However, Sanford et al. have shown that any time frame offered so far is definitely too short for mutations and natural selection to transform apes into man: 
To establish a string of five nucleotides required on average 2 billion years. We found that waiting times were reduced by higher mutation rates, stronger fitness benefits, and larger population sizes. However, even using the most generous feasible parameters settings, the waiting time required to establish any specific nucleotide string within this type of population was consistently prohibitive.…
Some of the subsequent papers have been critical. Yet even those papers show that establishing just two specific co-dependent mutations within a hominin population of 10,000 can require waiting times that exceed 100 million years (see discussion). So, there is little debate that waiting time can be a serious problem, and can be a limiting factor in macroevolution.37
Thus, the necessary hundreds of coordinated mutations would not occur even in a time frame of billions of years of random mutagenesis.
The Fallacy of Connecting Links 
Fifth: Almost any larger science museum around the globe presents a series of connecting links between extinct apes and humans such as Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy”), Ardipithecus ramidus, Orrorin tugensis and others. For a brief overview on such assumed links see Lönnig (2019).38 I include there a series of references to papers and books that do not simply presuppose evolution and neo-Darwinism as the final truth on the origin of species without any scientific alternative (as is common practice nowadays). Instead, these works critically discuss the relevant details, showing in depth the untenability of the evolutionary scenarios usually given to these would-be links generally put forward as indisputable scientific facts.
Now evolutionary biologists in general and paleoanthropologists in particular have also produced an array of phylogenies on the origin of man. But these clearly contradict each other on basic questions (including those researchers honestly admitting larger numbers of question marks for all the fossils, of which they cannot assign a scientifically testable sure place in their evolutionary schemata), thus showing the insufficiency of the answers presently given. For a detailed discussion of such contradictory phylogenies, please see The Evolution of Man: What do We Really Know? Testing the Theories of Gradualism, Saltationism and Intelligent Design.
98.5 Percent Human/Chimp DNA Identity?
Although long disproved, the assertion that human and chimp DNA display approximately 98.5 percent identity is still forwarded in many papers and books. The present state of the art has been clearly articulated by Richard Buggs, Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London. He asks, “What does the data say today in 2018, and how can it be described to the public in an adequate manner?” Key answer: “The total percentage of the human genome that I can know for sure has one-to-one orthology with the chimp genome is 84.4 percent” (“our minimum lower bound”)39, i.e., more than 450 million differences (15 percent of 3 billion bp = 450 million). We are beginning to see that there are profound ape/human differences that transcend DNA sequences. These includes many epigenetic systems such as differential nucleosome formation, 3-D DNA structure, DNA methylation, transcription, RNA splicing, RNA editing, protein translation, and protein glycosylation.”40
“What Makes Paleoanthropologists Tick”
Richard G. Delisle, evolutionary paleoanthropologist and philosopher at the University of Lethbridge, Canada, has published a series of captivating observations in his article “The Deceiving Search for ‘Missing Links’ in Human Evolution, 1860-2010: Do Paleoanthropologists Always Work in the Best Interests of Their Discipline?” I would like to direct the reader to some points under his subheading, “What Makes Paleoanthropologists Tick?”41
He calls it “a common paleoanthropological practice: namely, the twofold strategy of claiming that one’s discovery is likely a direct evolutionary link to living humans, and of displacing other specimens from this position (if necessary).”
Why? Well, scientific fame is at stake. “Without doubt, the discovery of a claimed ‘missing link’ attracts more attention than discovering a specimen that is deemed an ‘evolutionary dead end.’ Indeed, the pursuit of recognition within and beyond the boundaries of one’s discipline is a common feature of scientific endeavors, paleoanthropology being one.”
Media attention is of utmost importance: “for example, radio, television, documentaries, popular science magazines, semipopular books, and even high-impact scholarly magazines and journals — are likely to cover an event announcing the discovery of a new ‘missing link,’ especially if it impacts views of human evolution. This is so even at the risk of distorting the scientific message in order to attract public attention.” (See several references for these statements in the original article.)
Funding imperatives play a role: “Funding agencies are usually more generous when significant discoveries, such as those dealing with missing links, are involved.” He continues: “Unfortunately, given increasingly limited financial resources, funding agencies are forced to weigh the potential impact of the research projects they subsidize. Consequently, the search for potential missing links is intrinsically more appealing than adding another specimen to a known fossil record, especially if this merely corroborates the identity of evolutionary dead ends.”
Further points are discussed in the article. “To sum up: (1) scientists in human evolution are often driven by extra-scientific considerations, including fame, media attention, funding, and being lucky (along with a few other reasons); and (2), much of this is due more to the sociology of the sciences than to scientific or epistemic rigor. … That discoverers repeatedly claim to find missing links, even though most of them will be wrong — as they themselves probably suspect — is troubling, and it reveals paleoanthropology’s lack of rigor and scientific maturity.”
The Case for Intelligent Design
A series of comprehensive books and articles has been published on this topic in recent decades. The authors include Axe, Behe, Bethell, Dembski, Denton, Johnson, Leisola, Lönnig, Meyer, Moreland et al. (eds.), ReMine, Sanford, Scherer, Sewell, Swift, Wells, and many others. What I can do in this article is hardly more than give a few hints and invite the reader to consult the authors’ publications, which can easily be found on Google (usually just by searching the names of a respective author plus “intelligent design”).42
Perhaps just one additional observation, though, from cell physiologist Siegfried Strugger: “The cell is the most perfect cybernetic system43 on Earth [consisting of thousands of spatio-temporally precisely matched gene functions, gene interactions, cascades and pathways in a steady-state network of ingeniously complex physiological processes characterized by specified as well as (often) irreducible complexity including an abundance of information probably in the gigabyte to terabyte range and more]. All the automation of human technology is, in comparison to the cell, only a primitive beginning of man in principle to arrive at a biotechnology.”44
Consider, please: Conscious action, imagination, perception, intelligence, intellect, wisdom, mental concepts, spirit, and mind were already absolutely necessary at the “primitive beginning.” How much more is an inference to design demanded by the origin of the infinitely more complex cybernetic systems of life’s45 “endless forms most beautiful and wonderful.”46 That includes, of course, all of biology’s specified and irreducibly complex47 structures!
In my view, only ingenious design — rather than randomness and the materialistic philosophy that “nothing made everything for no reason” — can adequately explain the big bang of the origin of man. Gradualism is an illusion. Mutation and selection have been weighed and found wanting. All evolutionary time frames offered are too short for the tasks to be met. Contradictory phylogenies and diametrically opposed interpretations of almost all the supposed links have shown that “Even with all the fossil evidence and analytical techniques from the past 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin of Homo remains elusive.” I would add “…for the evolutionary origin of Homo remains elusive.” The 98.5 percent DNA identity of chimps and man has been revealed as a propagandistically effective delusion. And this leaves aside the fact that “scientists in human evolution are often driven by extra-scientific considerations, including fame, media attention, funding, and being lucky (along with a few other reasons).”
The evidence is overwhelming: for human uniqueness as well as for the staggering complexities of synorganized structures on all organismic levels, from DNA, RNA, cellular and tissue systems perfectly fine-tuned into organs and coordinated organ networks, integrated into whole organisms and species to biocenoses and vice versa involving the origin of enormous magnitudes of information for generating their necessary specificity and irreducibility. All this, I hope, invites the non-dogmatic reader to seriously consider the theory  of intelligent design in his or her further scientific studies. 
  1. Phillip E. Johnson: 18 June 1940 – 2 November 2019, professor at Boalt School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley (faculty member from 1967 to 2000 and subsequently emeritus professor).
  2. For the usage and development of the term “neo-Darwinism” please see See also footnote p. 1. For more recent examples you may check, for example, Denis Noble 2020: and many more instances at Google Scholar ( Neo-Darwinism 2020 and/or since 2016 or any time.
  3. “…this [being an outsider] could perhaps also be said of Darwin (Wuketits, 2015) who after two years of studies dropped out of medical school in Edinburgh and then decided to become a clergyman, enrolling at Christ’s College, Cambridge, for the necessary BA — the first step to prepare him for a career in the Church of England.” Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “Mendel’s paper on the laws of heredity (1866): Solving the enigma of the most famous ‘sleeping beauty’ in Science.” ELS (March 2017, p. 2). For an abstract, see
  4. See, please, again: Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “Mendel’s paper on the laws of heredity (1866): Solving the enigma of the most famous ‘sleeping beauty’ in Science.” ELS (March 2017). For an abstract, see
  5. Cf. for a comprehensive book on the topic: Harman and Dietrich: Outsider ScientistsRoutes to Innovation in Biology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). .
  6. Focus on Darwinism – An Interview with Phillip E. Johnson. (online 13 August 2014). For an independent analysis of the Darwinian method regarding outsiders see Lönnig 1998 and 2001.
  7. (retrieved 3 December 2019; emphasis added)
  8. For all the references of the Darwin quotes, see, please
  9. Hebrews 18:8; Authorized King James Translation 1611:
  10. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig,“Evolution by Natural Selection – Unlimited and Omnipotent?” See (2018): and Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig (2016): “On the Limits of Natural Selection.” Cf.
  11. See please again
  12. See documentation by Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “The evolution of man: What do we really know? Testing the theories of gradualism, saltationism and intelligent design.”
  13. Various numbers are given for the assumed split between Homininae and Ponginae: 14 to 18 million years ago, for example in: (retrieved 31 December 2019) 7 to 10 million years: However, the latter source seems to refer only to the hypothesized split between the tribes Hominini and Gorillini.
  14. (Original by José-Manuel Benitos) See also: comment at Illustration below:
  15. Bernard Wood, “Who are we?” New Scientist 176 2366: 44-47. 26 October 2002:
  16. Wikipedia: “Orthogenesis” (retrieved 12 January 2020).
  17. Ian Tattersall, Masters of the Planet: The Search for our Human Origins (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012, and New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), 207.
  18. Bernard Wood, “Human evolution: Fifty years after Homo habilis.” Nature 508: 31-33 (2014).
  19. Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Sudden Origins. Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1999), 378. See also: Jeffrey H. Schwartz (Ed.), Rethinking Human Evolution (Cambridge, Mass. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2018. For a critical discussion of the hypotheses of Schwartz (1999), see Stephen C. Meyer (2013/2014): Darwin’s Doubt, pp. 317-321.
  20. John D. Hawks: Associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; Keith Hunley: Associate Professor Department Chair, the University of New Mexico; Sang Hee Lee: Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside; Milford Wolpoff: Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Museum of Anthropology.
  21. As to “penecontemporary australopithecines”: See, however, Chapter 11 Coexistence Australopith & Man: Pp. 233-267 of Christopher Rupe and John Sanford, Contested Bones (Canandaiguam NY 14424: FMS Publications, First edition, Second [revised and enlarged] Printing 2019).
  22. Günter Bechly: Check please there all eight contribution by Bechly on Human Origins up to 6 Sept. 2019.
  23. Christopher Rupe and John Sanford, Contested Bones (Canandaiguam NY 14424: FMS Publications, First edition, Second [revised and enlarged] Printing 2019). Since apart from the exquisite scientific analyses, sometimes (although rarely and briefly) specific religious ideas are implied or addressed by Rupe and Sanford (“Our Personal Perspective”, pp. 351-353), I would like to mention that I can follow the authors only partially on this level, yet would have to contradict them on several basic points. This can also be said about the materialist religion of the Darwinian authors, as in part discussed in the present article (“re-ligio”: bound to a postulate). For more on this point, see p. 33 (2019). In brief: I respect their different world views without following them.
  24. For the references cf. “Missing transitions: Human origins and the fossil record,” Chapter 14, pp. 437-473 in J. P. Moreland et al. (ed.): Theistic Evolution. (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2017).
  26. Marks J., “What is the viewpoint of hemoglobin, and does it matter?” Hist Philos Life Sci 31(2):241-62, p. 246, 2009.
  28. See again: (now pp. 10/11)
  29. Michael Egnor, “Atheism Is a Catastrophe for Science,“ (September 2016).
  30. George Gaylord Simpson, The Meaning of Evolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950). Quoted according to Richard Weikart, The Death of Humanity and The Case for Life. Introduction. (Washington and New York: Regnary Faith, 2016). Simpson similarly in his revised edition of 1967, pp. 295, 345.
  31. Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life. The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1989). Paperback 1990.
  32. Ola Hössjer and Ann Gauger, “A single-couple human origin is possible“ BIO-Complexity (2019) (1): 1-20, See also
  33. Richard Dawkins, “The Alabama Insert”. Excerpted from: Charles Darwin: A Celebration of his Life and Legacy. Editors: James T. Bradley and Jay Lamar.
  34. Theodosius Dobzhansky, Genetics and the Origin of Species. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1937).
  35. Litynski, Z. (1961). “Should we burn Darwin?” Science Digest 51 (1961): 61-63.
  36. Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity (New York: Vintage Books, 1972) 112 below:
  37. John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner “The waiting time problem in a model hominin population”. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling(2015, Sep 17), 1-22.
  38. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “The Evolution of Man: What do We Really Know? Testing the Theories of Gradualism, Saltationism and Intelligent Design” (2019, 70 pp.)
  39. Further Details at: (retrieved 7 December 2019)
  40. Christopher Rupe and John Sanford, Contested  Bones (Canandaiguam  NY  14424: FMS  Publications, First edition, Second [revised and enlarged] Printing 2019, p. 311).
  41. Text at (retrieved 7 December 2019).
  42. “Unbiased as I am,” I have enumerated here only some authors pro intelligent design, presently the minority position in biology. There are of course also many critics of the theory.
  43. For the principal identity of cybernetic systems in technology and organisms, see please Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, Auge widerlegt Zufalls-Evolution (Cologne: Naturwissenschaftlicher Verlag Köln, 1989): Chapter Die Entstehung des Auges:
  44. Siegfried Strugger: Botanik (Frankfurt am Main: Das Fischer Lexikon. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1962). Text in square brackets added by W.-E. L.
  45. On the depth of the problems involved in the origin of life, see, for example James Tour, “Time out, an appeal to the OOL research community,” Inference 4, Issue 4, July 2019: For several further critical articles on the topic of the origin of life by the author, see
  46. Darwin: Formulation in the last sentence in the Origin: See
  47. Michael J. Behe, Darwin Devolves (New Yo