Jonathan Wells
Jonathan Wells Jonathan Wells is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California-Berkeley and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University. His books include Icons of Evolution (2000), The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (2006), and The Myth of Junk DNA (2011). He has published peer-reviewed articles in many journals, including Development, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, BioSystems, The Scientist and The American Biology Teacher.
  • Review of Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker On February 12, followers of Charles Darwin around the world will reverently celebrate his birthday, which they have christened “Darwin Day.” Known to most Americans as Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12 has become for some people the secular equivalent of Christmas. Yet British writer A.N. Wilson begins his new biography of the man with the words “Darwin was wrong.” February 1, 2018
  • Whale of a Tale Charles Darwin wrote in the first edition of On the Origin of Species that North American black bears had been seen “swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, like a whale, insects in the water. Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects were constant, and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in the country, I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more and more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale. June 5, 2017
  • Goose Stepping for Science Imagine yourself in Moscow in 1950, taking part in a March for Science. Science in the Soviet Union had been suffering for many years under Trofim Lysenko, a third-rate biologist who promoted unsound agricultural policies. Lysenko’s ideas appealed to Joseph Stalin, who elevated him to a high position. Eventually, all criticisms of Lysenko were prohibited. Thousands of scientists lost their jobs. Some were even imprisoned or executed. You and others in the imaginary Moscow March for Science would be risking your lives to protest Stalin’s rule. Contrast this imaginary March for Science in 1950 with the March for Science on April 22, in Washington, D.C. Organizers describe the Washington march as “a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. ... April 19, 2017
  • The March for Science is Really a March for Conformity I am a scientist, but I won’t be joining the worldwide March for Science April 22. That’s because it’s really a march for something that undermines good science. March organizers say “our diversity is our greatest strength.” They say “a wealth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas is critical for the scientific process.” But they don’t really mean it. Their passion for diversity extends to race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, but not to opinions, perspectives and ideas. In particular, it doesn’t extend to diversity of opinion about two controversial ideas. The first idea is that you evolved from ape-like ancestors by unguided processes such as accidental mutation and natural selection. The second idea is that manmade global warming threatens ... April 18, 2017
  • Zombie Science In 2000, biologist Jonathan Wells took the science world by storm with Icons of Evolution, a book showing how biology textbooks routinely promote Darwinism using bogus evidence — icons of evolution like Ernst Haeckel’s faked embryo drawings and peppered moths glued to tree trunks. Critics of the book complained that Wells had merely gathered up a handful of innocent textbook errors and blown them out of proportion. Now, in Zombie Science, Wells asks a simple question: If the icons of evolution were just innocent textbook errors, why do so many of them still persist? Science has enriched our lives and led to countless discoveries. But now, Wells argues, it’s being corrupted. Empirical science is devolving into zombie science, shuffling along Read More › April 7, 2017
  • “In China We Can Criticize Darwin” Editor’s note: ENV is delighted to present in two parts Jonathan Wells’s account of the memorable 1999 International Symposium on the Origins of Animal Body Plans and Their Fossil Records, Kunming, China, the subject of recent Internet chatter. This is part two. Find part one here. In June 1999, Paul Nelson and I flew to Kunming in southern China to attend an International Symposium on The Origins of Animal Body Plans and Their Fossil Record, held at Fuxian Lake Hot Springs Resort. According to the invitation letter, the symposium would take “an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the study of the origin and evolution of animal body plans. The organizers encourage not only paleontologists and evolutionary biologists, but also morphologists and Read More › April 17, 2014
  • Flailing Blindly I did not watch the sixth episode of Cosmos on April 13, but I’m told that it included animations to illustrate the molecular workings of a chloroplast — the organelle that carries out photosynthesis in a plant cell. In a review of the episode posted on the blog of the censor-everything-but-Darwinism National Center for Science Education, Josh Rosenau called the animations “cartoonish industrial machinery, rather than the messy complexity of the real molecular workhorses within a cell.” Rosenau cited an April 14 piece in the New York Times by Carl Zimmer, who wrote that a widely used 2006 animation titled “The Inner Life of a Cell” was “a piece of art. The scientists and animators made choices about what to Read More › April 17, 2014
  • The Myth of Junk DNA According to the modern version of Darwin’s theory, DNA contains a program for embryo development that is passed down from generation to generation; the program is implemented by proteins encoded by the DNA, and accidental DNA mutations introduce changes in those proteins that natural selection then shapes into new species, organs and body plans. When scientists discovered forty years ago that about 98% of our DNA does not encode proteins, the non-protein-coding portion was labeled “junk” and attributed to molecular accidents that have accumulated in the course of evolution. Recent books by Richard Dawkins, Francis Collins and others have used this “junk DNA” as evidence for Darwinian evolution and evidence against intelligent design (since an intelligent designer would presumably not Read More › May 31, 2011
  • Dawkins and Darwin’s Three-Ring Circus Review: The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution byRichard Dawkins (New York: Free Press, 2009) Some years ago an anonymous well-wisher sent Richard Dawkins a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Evolution: The Greatest Show on Earth.” The T-shirt inspired Dawkins with the title for his latest book, which he describes as his “personal summary of the evidence that the ‘theory’ of evolution is actually a fact—as incontrovertible a fact as any in science” (p. vii). Dawkins is a good writer, and his book is quite entertaining, so it is appropriate that he named it after the famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus. Let’s imagine The Greatest Show on Earth as a three-ring circus being performed before an audience of Read More › June 15, 2010
  • Why Darwinism is False Jerry A. Coyne is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago. In Why Evolution is True, he summarizes Darwinism — the modern theory of evolution — as follows: “Life on earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive species — perhaps a self-replicating molecule — that lived more than 3.5 billion years ago; it then branched out over time, throwing off many new and diverse species; and the mechanism for most (but not all) of evolutionary change is natural selection.”1 Coyne further explains that evolution “simply means that a species undergoes genetic change over time. That is, over many generations a species can evolve into something quite different, and those differences are based on Read More › May 18, 2009