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Eugenie Scott v. Steve Meyer on Fox News

A transcript of the Fox News interchange on May 6 between Eugenie Scott and Discovery Institute's Stephen Meyer has been posted on the Fox News website. During the segment Eugenie Scott continues her recent effort to defend "evolution" by virtually disowning Darwin in public.

"Evolution is the inference that living things had common ancestors," she claims at one point. To hear Scott talk, you would think natural selection acting on random mutations has nothing to do with modern evolutionary theory. Ditto for the traditional neo-Darwinian idea of universal common ancestry--the claim that every living thing ultimately can be traced back to one universal common ancestor.

Scott also declines to defend theories of chemical evolution about the origin of the first life. "The origin of life is a completely separate problem, much less well investigated," she concedes.

If Scott really believes that the origin of life has nothing to do with evolution (and that the science behind chemical evolution is slim), then why does her group devote so much time and effort to defending the long-discredited "Icon of Evolution" contained in biology textbooks, the Miller-Urey orgin of life experiment? (See Jonathan Wells' rebuttal to the NCSE's continued defense of this icon, here.) And if Dr. Scott really doesn't want to defend theories of chemical evolution, why doesn't she endorse the proposed addition to the Kansas science standards that would require students to know about the various theories of the origin of the first life, as well as the scientific critiques of those theories?

More generally, if the only thing Eugenie Scott is really concerned about is the claim that "living things had common ancestors," why does her group immediately try to shut down any critical discussion in the classroom of the sufficiency of the neo-Darwinian mutation-selection mechanism and any coverage of scientific criticisms of universal common ancestry?

Considering that Scott and her group typically claim the evidence for evolutionary theory is well-nigh overwhelming, it's intriguing to see her defend less and less of the theory when speaking in the mass media.