Darwinian theory: “huge disparity” between public presentation and scientific literature

by Stephen Hewitt | Published 13 May 2020

man holding a michrophone
Stephen Meyer speaking in New York, from a video dated 12 September 2013, on youtube

In May 2020 a video on youtube shows Stephen Meyer, author of Darwin's Doubt, in a conversation dated 12 September 2013 before a live audience. In this conversation Meyer mentions a “huge disparity between the public presentation of the status of modern darwinian theory” and “what's going on in the peer reviewed scientific literature”.

After about forty minutes in the video Stephen Meyer is seen saying:

“In the new book, one of the themes, I tell a mystery story but there's kind of a journalistic expose involved in the story as well because I show that there's a huge disparity between the public presentation of the status of modern Darwinian theory by people at the New York Times or er in all the major science organisations have committees that make pronouncements on this, by the public spokesmen for the theory like Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne, so there's a huge disparity between what they say and how they present the theory to the public and what's going on in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. And by that I don't just mean biology generally I am even talking about evolutionary biology. And one of the things I do in the book is I look at, there are six new theories of evolutionary biology that have been proposed in just the last few years by scientists who are breaking with the text book orthodoxy of neo-darwinism. Some of them are openly calling for a new theory of evolution precisely because they recognise that the mutation-natural selection lacks the creative power that has long been attributed to it.”

The host responds by describing his own surprise on researching a “book of apologetics” he wrote a few years before. “...I mean most of us in er school”, he says, gesturing towards his New York audience, “someplace, saw the famous Haeckel drawings, the ontology recapitulates phylogeny uhm which shows that in embryo form all these different animals look exactly the same and it shows that you know that we sort of we come from a common ancestor whatever and you know I learned that those drawings which are so famous and ingrained in so many of our minds were basically fudged and are no longer accepted and I was just amazed...”

Stephen Meyer responds: “And oddly in that case they were known to be fraudulent since 1894. The famous Cambridge embryologist Adam Sedgwick had exposed that almost a century ago.”

Stephen Meyer has a PhD from Cambridge.

Seen in the audience at the start of the video and singled out for mention by the host is the American writer Tom Wolfe, author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Darwin and his theories were some of the subjects of a book by Tom Wolfe that was subsequently published, called The Kingdom of Speech.

According to titles in the video the conversation was between Eric Metaxas and Stephen Meyer. It took place on 12 September 2013. According to the notes on the youtube webpage it took place at the Union League Club in New York City, USA.