Nice take down

A while back I mentioned Dan Ely, the University of Akron physiologist who seems to be unsure about the age of the earth. According to Red State Rabble, three of his departmental colleagues have written to the Kansas BoE to fix two of Ely's "misrepresentations". Their first correction ultimately attacks the modus operandi of the Discovery Institute in supporting the likes of Ely, Philip Skell, and other know-nothings.

Dr. Ely implies in his testimony that he has background in evolutionary biology, and that his current research is related to evolutionary biology. Both of these notions are highly misleading. Dr. Ely has no formal training in evolutionary biology outside what he may have received in an introductory biology course.

Dr. Ely is a physiologist, receiving his formal training in a medical school environment. From Dr. Elyâs own statements as well as our various interactions with him, it is abundantly clear that Dr. Ely has a poor understanding of evolutionary biology.

Indeed, if undergraduate majors in our biology department revealed such profound misconceptions about basic evolutionary biology we would have serious misgivings about conferring their degrees in biology. We have attached a critique of several of his statements at your hearings to make clear our contention.

In addition, while Dr. Elyâs work may be of interest in an evolutionary context, he has not pursued such interpretations. Strictly speaking, Dr. Ely is working on factors on the Y-chromosome that affect hypertension. His research is primarily aimed at delineating physiological mechanisms by which they operate.

Although some of the sequence work that has been done to assay the genetic underpinnings of hypertension could be used in an evolutionary biology study, his work does not specifically test any evolutionary theories, nor is he doing research that can directly address the question posed of him: "Is there indeed, in your view, molecular evidence that tends to not support the idea of common ancestry?"

Because Dr. Ely has no training in evolutionary biology, and because his publications do not reveal any inclination to apply his results to evolutionary theory, we feel that he has misrepresented himself by agreeing to testify as a type of "expert witness" as to the validity of the statement that there is molecular evidence that "tends to not support the idea of common ancestry."

By his own admission, Dr. Ely does not accept evidence for "common ancestry" and thus has not spent much time exploring the field of evolutionary biology. Moreover, his statements suggest he thinks it is possible that the earth may be only 5,000 years old!

Clearly his views are not consistent with the preponderance of evidence available to both geologists and evolutionary biologists. We want to make it clear that Dr. Ely is not an evolutionary biologist that has come to decide that evolution has so many discrepancies that he no longer supports the idea of common ancestry.

Rather, Dr. Ely is a physiologist whose religious beliefs have caused him to seek out non-existent "discrepancies" in evolution to prove his preconceived notion that common ancestry must be false. Thus, Dr. Elyâs statements are overwhelmingly shaded by his desire to claim evolution is wrong.

Precisely. The Discovery Institute's list of "dissent from Darwin" is full of such individuals. Only in the fevered mind of the DI and its supporters are all scientists equally able to comment on research in other fields.

Read the rest of the letter at RSR.

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