Thursday, February 13, 2014

What to Do With a Photographer that Doesn't Understand Evolution? Why, Publish Him, of Course!


I'm always amused by the creationist site, Uncommon Descent. They employ all the usual creationist tactics, including the elevation of nonentities to the status of experts, and all the usual crackpot tactics, like attacking the most celebrated theories and scientists.

Here is a good example, where we are treated to the vapid analysis of one Laszlo Bencze. Bencze seems to think that evolution should be "laden with intimidating mathematical formulas and at least as difficult to master as Newton’s Mechanics or Einsteins [sic] Relativity", but it is not. And therefore it's wrong. Or something.

Who is Laszlo Bencze? As far as I can see, the guy's just some wedding photographer who lives in Sacramento. No evidence that I can see that he's ever studied science at an advanced level, let alone biology or evolution or mathematics.

Anyway, Bencze is wrong. If you learn more about evolution than you can find in creationist cartoon books, you know right away that the mathematics of evolution is well-studied and taught in biology classes at nearly every university. For example, there's Haldane's celebrated calculation of the probability of fixation of a new beneficial allele A in a large population; it's about 2s, where s is the selective advantage of A. How much do you want to bet that Bencze doesn't know this classic result from 1927 (!), let alone be able to derive it? Can he state and prove the Hardy-Weinberg theorem? It's not that hard! Does he know the basics of coalescent theory? Very, very doubtful.

Yup, Bencze's just another in a parade of ignorant anti-evolution blowhards. That's why it's so funny to see him promoted by the intelligent designoids as an expert with a point of view worth publishing.

7 comments:

Neil Rickert said...

Your link to that UD post is broken (an extraneous quote symbol).

I'll credit Bencze with giving a clear statement of the strawman cartoony version of evolution that they keep refuting.

IThinkWithMy Liver said...

Boom! Vapid analysis not found!

Good! :)

lukebarnes said...

Can you recommend an introduction to the mathematics of evolution?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Luke: there are lots of different books that deal with mathematical aspects of evolution. I am not an expert in the area, but a few titles come to mind, such as Nowak's Evolutionary Dynamics, Hofbauer and Sigmund, and The Evolution of Cooperation.

Quokka said...

There's no better evidence for the claim that ID has peaked and is rapidly declining into irrelevance than watching the parade of dimwits at UD...

Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen said...

Maybe dear mr. Bencze should take a stab at this:
Biological evolution and Statistical Physics.

Piotr GÄ…siorowski said...

Now Laszlo Bencze weighs in on the question, "What IS a gene?"

Ask a wedding photographer.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/darwinism/laszlo-bencze-responds-to-but-what-is-a-gene/