Mark Mathis does not come off as a nice man in interviews. You may have listened to the SciAm interview, a truly painful experience in which he made claims about evolution and then backtracked when confronted with his mistakes…and admitted that he knew nothing about the subject. He’s done it again in an interview with a Detroit weekly (scroll down to the “Unevolved” article on that page).
I confront Mathis with this point, and he counters that evolutionary theory is also untestable. This is patently untrue—to give just one example, scientists have witnessed speciation, the arisal of a new species from an old one.
When I point this out, he interrupts me immediately: “Whoa! Wait a minute! Please send me whatever material you have that demonstrates that we can observe speciation because I have not seen anything. I’ve never heard anyone even claim that!”
Is he serious? He’s just produced a film about evolution, and he’s never heard of the fact that speciation has been observed and thoroughly documented in the scientific literature? I’m stunned. I send him peer-reviewed research confirming this fact via e-mail, and he later responds, “This isn’t an important argument for me.”
So I ask him about falsifiability. Clearly, evolution could potentially be disproved, but how could one ever disprove the existence of a deity? He laughs. “You can’t apply falsifiability to Darwinian evolution. How is it falsifiable?”
I respond by quoting the biologist J.B.S. Haldane: “Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian.” One instance of fossils appearing in the wrong strata would disprove current evolutionary theory in an instant. Mathis pauses before saying, “If you want to get into the science…” He then trails off and mutters something irrelevant before finally confessing, “Look. You can get into the intricacies of the science on both sides. And I am not qualified.” On that point, we can both agree.
It’s really easy to find descriptions of speciation events on the web, there are thousands of papers on the subject, and there are even whole books discussing it (with difficult, hard-to-find titles like Speciation, which must be why Mathis couldn’t find them). It is cute how the poor man melts down when he meets anyone with even a hint of scientific knowledge. I don’t think “Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian” counts as a scientific intricacy, at least not in the circles I hang out in, where it’s more of a glib quickie. But then, even that level of science probably leaves poor Mathis floundering and lost.
You’ll have to read the rest to find out what he says about me, personally. I guess calling him the ass-prod was an insult that really stung.