Quote mining… agnostics?

Well, quote mining is a well known technique for Creationists, but obviously, we haven’t seen the strangest things yet… There are also agnostics out there that don’t accept evolution (well, not surprising, there are billions of us out there, so probably even the strangest combinations exists somewhere), but obviously some of them are not really better than Creationists…

I found a review of a book from David Berlinski, which cited an interesting statement:

In a recent paper published by an evolutionary biologist named Joel Kingsolver, the author said, “Important issues about selection remain unresolved.” “Of those important issues,” Berlinski writes, “I would mention prominently the question whether natural selection exists at all.”

So it’s a quote of a quote and nothing the reviewer himself wrote, but anyway, sounds fishy, doesn’t it? It implies, that there is some evolutionary biologist, who „admits“ that selection is really doubtful, probably just a stupid idea… Really? Well, what do you think, he doesn’t. I searched around, first only finding some quotes in forums or christian pages, looking up Joel Kingsolver, which made me even more curious, as this guy doesn’t seem like the type to say something like that…

But then, the original paper, „The strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations“ which I found here, sounds more like this…

This review demonstrates that our information about the strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations has increased dramatically in the past 2 decades, but many important issues about selection remain unresolved [..]

Second, we have abundant information about directional selection on morphological traits. By contrast, selection on quantitative behavioral and physiological traits remains largely unknown and should be the focus of future studies.

Honestly, I am not a biologist, I am not an expert, but even I can see clearly that this has nothing to do with what Berlinski wants us to believe. He wants to imply that Kingsolver somehow doubts that selection exists, but of course it’s just another dishonest attempt of quote mining. It’s like saying… „Some expert said, that important issues about gravity remain unsolved, thus gravity is a lie!“. While obviously a physicist would say the first thing (it’s true – for almost everything, we simply don’t know everything), the conclusion is complete and utter nonsense.

Well, Berlinski only proves one thing: You can be an agnostic and still behave like a Creationist. Not really a surprise, is it?

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