Hello! While reading the Fresno Bee today, I came across this little jewel:
STARGAZE IN MADERA
In the mood for some stargazing? A "Star Party" will be hosted Monday at Home Grown Cellars, 13702 Road 20, Madera.
The event is free and starts at 6 p.m. People are encouraged to bring red lens flashlights, binoculars, telescopes, chairs and blankets. Guest speakers will include Dr. Theodore Johnstone, author of "Boundaries of Evolution" and Tom DeSilva talking about the constellations.
Hmm. Star-gazing? Evolution? This is the kind of thing that stimulates my baloney detector.
So I did a little research.....and sure enough, Johnstone is one of these fellows pushing some form of skepticism where evolution is concerned:
What does this have to do with stargazing, though? Johnstone is by all accounts a Madera County physician who earned his M.D. 49 years ago...In fact, I've met him on more than one occasion as part of meetings of the Fresno chapter of Reasons To Believe. I mean, he seems like a nice enough fellow, but he earned his degree as I said, nearly a half-century ago and then went into private practice. Which means that virtually everything he might have learned in an academic setting about evolution occurred before the genetic code was discovered, before speciation events and other episodes of natural selection in action were directly testable by genetic analysis, before the Human Genome Project, before Hox genes, before the whole field of 'evo-devo'. The chances that Johnstone actually had a college-level course in evolutionary theory at any time in the last fifty years is remote. Thus, like a lot of ID sympathizers, Johnstone appears befuddled by abiogenesis and the Cambrian Explosion, as if these had any bearing on the general correctness of the Darwinian paradigm:
Boundaries of Evolution describes the unlikelihood of evolutionary theory to explain how it is supposed to scale three major biological cliffs. The first cliff is the need for a logical explanation of how random chemical reactions could produce the first living cell from the primordial soup. The second is the problem of explaining how the first single-celled eukaryote evolved from a prokaryote. Mathematical improbabilities of evolutionary theory to scale the first two cliffs, in the time available, are demonstrated. The third insurmountable cliff is the necessity for a reasonable explanation of how millions of different kinds of multi-celled eukaryotes could have quickly evolved from single-celled eukaryotes.
And now this medical doctor is going to be appearing as a 'guest speaker' at an astronomy function? A carrot gets you a car that he's going to turn the talk from cosmological origins to 'origins of life' and use the venue as an opportunity to push some version of creationism. Um, I think I may be checking out this event.