Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”- Theodosius Dobzhansky
The recent debate between Bill Nye and creationist Ken Ham has renewed my disdain for those who reject evolution or those who present a corrupted version of evolution. Obviously one of my interests is dogs but like every biologist I also have a deep interest in the backbone of all biology: evolution. This means when I see someone spout nonsense about dogs and evolution, it gets me doubly upset.
Within the context of dogs, I am of course talking about self-proclaimed physics/cognition/evolution “expert” Kevin Behan. I see many similarities between Ken Ham and Kevin Behan; both are hardcore science denialists who think far too much of themselves and the ‘truth’ is only accessible through them.
Take the simple case of selection and the term coined by Herbert Spencer, ‘survival of the fittest’;
a tautological Neo-Darwinian logic (i.e. those proto-dogs that understood human gestures survived and those that didn’t, didn’t.)
With this quote Behan shows us he is profoundly ignorant of evolutionary theory. Behan knows just enough to know selection played a role but not enough to understand the concept of selection. Here is a short animated clip the subject.
The ‘tautology’ argument is raised so often by creationists, the science site TalkOrigins has a page dedicated to debunking this claim: Is Evolution False because its Description is a Tautology?
the mind of the animal learns the same way the body of the animal evolves, by participating in the flow of emotion
Behan is such a “genius” that his views on evolution even stretch to include relatively difficult subjects like evolutionary development which includes body planning, patterning, spatial organization and cell differentiation.
Color me skeptical. Given that we still learning the way bodies evolve, Behan’s claims seem like a load of horse crap. Without getting complicated, the evolution of an animal’s body involves genes like Hox and dlx, the re-purposing of transcription factors and other regulatory elements - I’m confident an animal doesn’t learn the same way.
I’m often asked for the science behind NDT and my response is that the findings are already in. However the research has either been misinterpreted or the significance of a given experiment missed.
Funnily enough, young earth creationists make the same bold assertion about science. They too claim that science supports a young earth and radiometry, molecular clocks, geological and cosmological data has been “misinterpreted.” The truth is Behan doesn’t understand the research better than the people carrying out the work. Neither do I, but at least I know this.
the only theory of cognition that does not need to be revised…..is NDT.
And with this final quote Kevin Behan reaches for omniscience while unknowingly admitting to being a complete idiot.
Here too, Behan argues like a creationist. Neither creationists nor NDTalists understand science and so they view the constant revision as a weakness. It fact that is its true strength.
Indeed all human knowledge is provisional and our view of psychology, biology, chemistry, physics and all sciences is different today than it was 50 years ago. And 50 years from now, it will be different too. It’s called progress.
Progress, revisions, reassessments, that’s science. Pseudoscience? Pseudoscience doesn’t have to be revised because it never progresses. NTD is intellectually dead and stagnant as its peddlers.
The domestication and evolution of dogs is a complicated matter that still confounds researchers. Despite diligent work by scientists across the world the answers remain fuzzy and often conflict. It’s a complicated topic and those offering easy answers are lying.