A local AM talk-radio program regularly features guest speakers, and callers can offer questions or comments for discussion. One of the hosts is a staunch Tea Party advocate and his co-host is more liberal in his views and often assumes the role of devil’s advocate (plus, he is clearly more knowledgeable of government and history). The liberal co-host posed this question, “How do you scientifically test for God?”, to guest Sharon Sebastian, co-author of Darwin’s Racists. Ms. Sebastian did not provide an answer, but rather her response was to paraphrase this quote by Albert Einstein:
“I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.”
Her reasoning is an obvious “appeal to authority” fallacy. Albert Einstein was very intelligent. He says God created this world. It was Einstein who said it, therefore it must be true. Ms. Sebastian continued with a series a statements perfect for a lesson on logical fallacies, as well as many erroneous and contradictory statements. For example, she refers to Aldous Huxley as “Darwin’s bulldog” (not Thomas H. Huxley), quotes Stephen Jay Gould (punctuated equilibrium concept with Niles Eldridge) to argue against Darwin’s Theory of evolution, but then asks, “Where are all the intermediate forms?” When the hosts finally took a question a caller asked, “Why can’t we believe that God created evolution?” Sharon Sebastian’s answer. “Because the Bible says he didn’t.” (I saved this program as an MP3 file).
The Veracity Of Climate Models
In a similar manner, Sharon Sebastian and the people who are heralding her as a “great author” claim that Global Climate Change is agenda driven “hoax science”. She argues that predictions made by Al Gore have not become true, as well as predictions made by some of the climate modelers from the e-mail debacle. Even though these self-serving spokespeople for GCC have not made accurate predictions, this does not negate the occurrence and science of climate change. Just like George Hull and P.T. Barnum, with their giant ape-human artifacts carved from gypsum (the former, the Cardiff giant, the latter a duplicate to discredit the “original”). Sebastian uses these faux fossils as a similar argument to discredit the theory of evolution. Piltdown Man, the Cardiff Giant and other frauds were not created to “prove” evolution. They were created for profit. George Hull charged 50 cents per person to view his Cardiff giant. P.T. Barnum charged a dollar. One could also argue that Al Gore and certain global climate scientists were not out to prove anything either, but rather, win a Nobel prize, sell a book/video series and go on the lecture circuit in the case of Gore, and keep the grant money and publications flowing in the case of the climate scientists.
The second flank of the attack on the theory of evolution by Darwin’s Rascists authors Sharon Sebastian & Raymond G. Bohlin is more fallacious ad hominem attacks on Charles Darwin. In the abovementioned radio program Ms. Sebastian’s argument against the theory of evolution is that Darwin’s Origin of Species has discussions of race, which in some contexts include human races. She argues further that Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler and President Obama have read Darwin’s work and have therefore are guilty of racism. That is equivalent to saying that if Saddam Hussein, Ted Kaczynski and Richard Nixon all read John Locke’s Two Treatises of Civil Government, all the ideas would be invalidated by association with persons some would find objectionable.
Self-described “experts” like Sharon Sebastian can only make arguments against theories such as evolution or global climate change that rely on discrediting the science by personal attack, or logical fallacy. I conclude with these questions: If Albert Einstein was a different person, perhaps an alcoholic, racist, homophobic, child molester, would his theories of relativity be invalid? If a person miscontrues valid scientific for personal gain or malicious intent, does that invalidate the science?