The perils of asking intelligent design creationists for evidence

In a new post that follows up the events that I wrote about before, science writer Carl Zimmer describes his back-and-forth with the intelligent design creationists.

Here’s a summary of the story so far:

  1. Zimmer writes a post explaining the standard evolutionary view of how the number of pairs of chromosomes in humans got reduced by one by the fusion of two chromosomes in our ancestral line.
  2. David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute has a post touting a new book put out by one of its sister organizations called the Biologic Institute that supposedly contains evidence that this explanation is wrong.
  3. Zimmer asks a question on the Biologic Institute Facebook page (their blogs don’t allow comments) asking to see this evidence.
  4. Someone from the Biologic Institute tells him to read the book.
  5. Zimmer says that he is just asking for the citation(s) to the paper(s) that provide the evidence.
  6. Klinghoffer then responds by inviting Zimmer to take part in an extended online debate on this topic.
  7. Zimmer says that he does not want a debate. All he is asking for are the citations.
  8. Another IDer named Denyse O’Leary then chimes in and invites Zimmer to write a post explaining his argument. Zimmer points out that this would be redundant since he had already done so, which was where this business started. He then adds, “What the hell’s the matter with you people? Why are you so dense? I do not want to read the book or engage in debates or write posts for other websites. All I want are the GODDAMN CITATIONS, for crying out loud!” (Actually, Zimmer is very polite and does not use those words. I am reading between the lines and reconstructing his sentiments.)
  9. The ID people are now writing posts saying “Zimmer is a cowardly weenie who’s afraid to debate! Neener, neener, we win!”

And that is why asking ID creationists for evidence never gets you anywhere.


  1. Chiroptera says

    These people claim to be scientists, but they remind me more of alchemists, not only for the huge injection of preferred beliefs and apparent mysticism but also because so much of their “research” seems to be conducted in secrecy.

  2. says

    They wrote the citations down but the dog ate them and now they can’t remember where they got their supporting evidence from! They deserve to be cut some slack – science recognizes that dogs do, periodically, eat homework.

  3. Jager2 says

    Changing the subject–a time-honored tradition for people who make s*** up and get called out on it.

  4. says

    I mean, really, does anyone who has written a proper paper with references seriously imagine that they’d have trouble just rattling off a reference? I might be going, “uh, it’s by lastname and lastname but I forget their first names but it was in the journal of blankey blank in 2001 or 2002…” Not “REFERENCES? SATAN PROMPTED YOU TO ASK THAT, DIDN’T HE?!?!?!”

  5. Mano Singham says

    I know what you mean. I was recently asked for a reference and although I could not place it precisely I could remember roughly the period (mid 1970s), the authors’ last names, and the journal. It was easy then to track it down.

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