The Lewontin Moment

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. Source

For a few years now I have been tracking Mary Schweitzer’s find of red blood cells from a 68 million year-old T-Rex and eventually an 80 million year old hadrosaur.

A young, theistic evolutionist has recently been commenting on the GTY blog. During the course of our interchanges, a few commenters raised the assertion that evolutionists will ignore and spin evidence that goes contrary to their constructs. They noted as an example the significant out cry by evolutionary paleontologists against Schweitzer’s findings. Initially, they accused her sample of being contaminated and then published papers against her saying she merely discovered bacterial film mimicking the appearance of red blood cells. Eventually, they all had to admit she did indeed identify red blood cells, because not only was she able to identify proteins, but a second sample was found in the Hadrosaur bone. Three teams of laboratories confirmed the presence of red blood cells and viable dinosaur tissue that was not fossilized.

In response, our young theistic evolutionist posted an outstanding video of a CBS 60 Minutes report from November 2009 that has Lesley Stahl interviewing Schweitzer and her mentor, Jack Horner, regarding the background to their findings. The young theistic evolutionist wrote as commentary to the video that, “The bone samples had to be soaked in solution before the tissues were made plastic! Even 60mins pointed that out!” Well, that is not entirely true. Our young evolutionist makes it sound as if soaking the bone in acid some how created the blood or soft tissue. What happened is that the petrified portions of the bone were dissolved leaving the soft tissue samples.

The video is around 13 minutes long, but worth the watch: B-REX
(sorry for the commercials)

But notice how no one really addresses the elephant in the room, or should I say dinosaur. How is it possible for soft tissue to be extracted from bone 68 MILLION YEARS OLD! That is a 68 followed by six zeros! 24 billion, 820 million days, to be exact. The reaction by Schweitzer and Horner is like “Gee golly! would you looky there, there’s blood in there. Idn’t that neat-o!? — Did you know chickens are related to dinosaurs?” The commitment to their evolutionary traditions are breath taking to say the least, and is a clear indication how even the most allegedly unbiased scientist will explain away the evidence that radically challenges the foundations of their beliefs.

It is what I have coined, A Lewontin moment (c), named after evolutionary biologist, Richard Lewontin who wrote that quote at the top in a book review of Carl Sagan’s book, Demon Haunted World. Schweitzer and Horner, and our theistic evolutionary commenter, are willing to accept the absurd, dino tissue existing intact for nearly 70 million years, rather than to allow for a divine foot in the door.


3 thoughts on “The Lewontin Moment

  1. That was 13 minutes of pure comedy. I, too, had followed this story since its inception. But actually seeing the, as you put it, the "elephant in the room," was far more eye opening than simply reading the accounts.

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