Is Edward Humes, Monkey Girl Author, a Partisan? (Part I): "There is more scientific evidence ... to support evolutionary theory than ... gravitational theory"
[Editor's Note: For a full and comprehensive review and response to Edward Humes' book, Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, and the Battle for America's Soul, please see A Partisan Affair: A Response to Edward Humes' Inaccurate History of Kitzmiller v. Dover and Intelligent Design, "Monkey Girl.]
The York Dispatch has an article promoting an anti-ID book about the Dover trial by a Darwinist journalist, Edward Humes. Last spring, I was contacted by Mr. Humes, who requested an interview for his book. He immediately tried to convince me he was fair and objective, which is usually a red flag that a reporter isn't going to be fair or objective. I would directly quote Humes declaring his commitment to a non-partisan journalism, but he is refusing to give me permission to quote his original emails. Due to my suspicions last year, I only granted Humes a short phone interview where we discussed the nature of intelligent design (ID). Now that Humes' book, Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion and the Battle for America's Soul, is published, he's posted an FAQ on his website which is strongly pro-evolution and anti-ID. There's nothing wrong with having a viewpoint, but unlike Humes, most people aren't going around requesting interviews of ID-proponents while claiming to be non-partisan. The highly biased, inaccurate, and partisan nature of Humes' present FAQ makes me feel that my suspicions of his intent were justified.
Evolution vs. Gravity
During our brief call last year, I got Humes to admit that he accepted evolution. That's not necessarily a big deal, but just how staunch is Humes' support for evolution? Now we learn: Humes' present FAQ states, "There is more scientific evidence, laboratory testing and direct observation to support evolutionary theory than virtually any other scientific theory, including gravitational theory..." (emphasis added)
I've never seen a single journalist who promised he was fair and non-partisan subsequently claim that evolution has more scientific support than gravity. In fact, I can't recall witnessing anyone anywhere ever claim that evolution has more scientific evidence than gravity. (I'm sure some Darwinist bloggers will now repeat this claim, which will be amusing to watch.) I'll let you, the reader, judge for yourself whether Humes' prior pledges of neutrality are credible.
Evolution and Randomness
Humes' FAQ states: "Fact: Evolution is mindless, but never random." (emphasis added) He told me that he would engage in careful fact-checking, but did Humes check his facts here? Consider what Darwinist textbooks, Nobel laureates, and other leading scientists say about whether evolution is "never random":
[N]o species has "chosen" a strategy. Rather, its ancestors--little by little, generation after generation--merely wandered into a successful way of life through the action of random evolutionary forces .... Once pointed in a certain direction, a line of evolution survives only if the cosmic dice continues to roll in its favor. ... [J]ust by chance, a wonderful diversity of life has developed during the billions of years in which organisms have been evolving on earth. (Burton S. Guttman, Biology, pgs. 36-37 (1st ed., McGraw Hill, 1999), emphases added.)Evolution clearly includes both random and non-random factors. This is explained by Sean B. Carroll in The Making of the Fittest, where he writes that evolution entails "[t]he individual components of chance (in producing variation) and selection (in determining which variants succeed)." (pg. 32)
[E]volution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection. (Letter from The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity: Nobel Laureates Initiative, emphasis added.)
Evolution certainly does involve randomness; it does involve unpredictable chance. For example, the origin of new genetic variation by mutation is a process that involves a great deal of chance. Genetic drift, the process I referred to earlier, is a matter of chance. ... In addition, the particular sequence of environmental changes that the Earth underwent and that organisms were exposed to over billions of years has left a long-term imprint on species as they are today. If the sequence of environmental changes were different, you would have a different evolutionary history, leading to entirely different organisms over time. (Natural Selection: How Evolution Works: Interview with Douglas Futuyma, emphasis added.)
Carroll also charges that "[t]he role of chance is often inflated (sometimes deliberately so by opponents of evolution) to mean that evolution occurs completely at random." In this instance, I think the reverse is occurring: a staunch proponent of evolution is deliberately downplaying the role of chance by saying evolution is "never random." But that isn't what many leading Darwinists say, and again, we see Humes behaving in a highly partisan manner.
Humes' Refusal to Make Book Proposal Public
When Humes contacted me last year, I asked him if he would provide his book proposal because that would probably show if had an agenda. He declined, stating as his given reason that he didn't want to risk anyone stealing his book idea. That sounded fair, so I dropped my request. But now that his book is published, no one can steal his ideas, so I recently re-asked him to make his book proposal public so he can prove that he had no agenda when writing Monkey Girl. But Humes still refuses to make his book proposal public!
Indeed, Humes won't even give me permission to quote his old emails where he declared to be neutral and non-partisan. All of this has made his statements towards me last year even more suspect.
Humes' book has glowing endorsements from P.Z. Myers, Micheal Shermer, Judge Jones, and various Darwinist bloggers. Humes and his Darwinist defenders will probably reply by claiming Humes started off neutral but developed his viewpoint while writing his book. Perhaps that's true. If it is, then I'd love for Humes to make his book proposal public and show everyone that he was indeed unbiased when he interviewed his subjects and wrote his book. But I've asked Humes to disclose his book proposal, and he won't. All of the facts I have to go on presently suggest Humes is an extremely partisan journalist.
In response to my recent email inquiries, Humes modified his FAQ, and even made changes which he did not disclose to me. After this, he accused me of misstating his FAQ. This only gives me more reason to doubt his intentions and suspect him of extreme partisanship. I'll be discussing some of Humes' changes and accusations and the partisan nature of his FAQ further in the next installment...