The Mystery of the Missing Chromosomes, Continued: An Update From Your Preening Blogger

The Loom
By Carl Zimmer
Jul 20, 2012 2:21 AMNov 20, 2019 3:37 AM


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[Note: This is the second of a four-part series:Part One: The Mystery of the Missing Chromosome (With A Special Guest Appearance from Facebook Creationists)Part Three: Four Days of Fusion Chromosome Freak-Out

Part Four: And Finally the Hounding Duck Can Rest]

Wow, what people will do to avoid answering your question. Last night I started asking the people who run a creationist Facebook page for the evidence to back up a claim of theirs about evolution. I was told to buy their book. When I was asked again, I was told nothing. I ended up researching the latest on this particular aspect of human evolution--the fusion of two of our chromosomes millions of years ago--and wrote a blog post today. This afternoon I got an email from the creationists.

Dear Carl,

I edit Discovery Institute's Evolution News & Views website. We'd be interesting [sic] in hosting an online debate between you and a contributor to Science and Human Origins. There are interesting issues to address and this is, I think, a much better format for that than Facebook. Please let me know if you're agreeable in principle. If so, we can nail down a specific topic to debate and go over any further parameters. The format would be a simple point-counterpoint-point-counterpoint, with each post limited to 1000 words and focusing strictly on the ideas, not on personalities.

Best wishes, David

I'm fairly sure that this is legitimate, because it comes from a address, and because another Discovery Institute employee hinted at the same idea on the Facebook page

. I thought the question I asked was pretty simple. I wasn't asking to hold a Lincoln-Douglas debate. I just asked what the evidence was for one of the claims made by the creationists. Now it seems that in order to get that answer, I can either buy a book--which apparently is based on no peer-reviewed research of the authors, but just cherry-picked quotes from a ten-year old paper--or I can donate my time to write several thousands words for free for a creationist web site. Making this offer even richer is Klinghoffer's ground rules about focusing "strictly on the ideas, not on the personalities." Klinghoffer himself has used Evolution News & Views to call people pathetic

, a worthless bully

, cowards

, illiterate

, and "a tyranny of the unemployed"

(referring to Wikipedia editors). In one piece he wrote for Evolution New and Views, Klinhoffer mocked a post by a science blogger as "preening and self-congratulatory."

That blogger happened to be me. I will answer Mr. Klinghoffer publicly: no thanks. I never asked for a debate, and your arbitrary decrees, such as a mysterious thousand-word cutoff (my blog post on the chromosomes alone clocked in at over 2,000 words) make it even less appealing. I am particularly opposed to web sites that do not allow readers to comment. That's how I ended up on Facebook in the first place--because the Discovery Institute's web sites do not permit commenting. You, on the other hand, are more than welcome to leave a comment on my blog. My comment policy is very lax: I only throw out commenters who curse uncontrollably, hawk their own wares, or can't stay on topic after repeated warnings. We have a thriving, fascinating discussion here, one from which I regularly learn new things from my readers. You might too. Update: Klinghoffer confirms

it was indeed he who emailed. He is also very tired of my asking the same question again and again, likening me to a duck. A preening duck, no doubt.

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