Nature (journal)

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Nature is one of the two most influential journals in the scientific world. According to E.J. Larson it was founded in 1869 by members of so called X-Club as the mouthpiece of scientific naturalism with goal to unabashedly promote Darwinism and influence the editorial polices in that respect.[1] The journal's original mission statement to this day remains unchanged. The first Nature article was written by T. H. Huxley, who did more than anyone to promote Darwin's theories, on the supposed role of nature in the development of human beings. Astrophysicist Norman Lockyer was the first editor of Nature and remained in this position for 50 years.[2] Later among editors was also well known scientist Sir John Maddox who according to John C. Lennox found the idea of beginning [of our world] repugnant.[3]

Controversies

  • In 1878 the journal published the article on the ' Discovery of Vulcan ', a non-existent hypothetical planet that was believed by naturalist scientists to exist due to the shift in the perihelion of planet Mercury.[4] Peer-reviewing Darwinists approved the report on this discovery by a scientist who "in [his] eagerness to discover this hypothetical planet ...had decided to ignore nearly all of the phenomena attending the eclipse". This way he was not only able to corroborate the discovery of the intra-Mercurial planet by Prof. Watson 'beyond any doubt' and see it 'some four or five minutes later, using θ as a comparison star', but also to substantiate the position given by him.[5] Nevertheless no such planet is nowadays recognized and the case is being commonly used as an deterrent example of scientists inappropriately trying to solve problems in their theories (aiming to explain unknown natural phenomena) by establishing so called fudge factors instead of acknowledging ignorance. Contemporary dark matter and dark energy hypothesis are frequently compared with 'discovery' of Vulcan.[6]
  • In 1929 the journal published the paper by D.M.S. Watson in which he declared that the theory of evolution is accepted not because it would be supported by logically coherent arguments or because it would be observed to occur, but only because no alternative explanation is credible and because it is believed to fit all the facts of taxonomy[note 1] and geographical distribution. Whilst "every biologist" is reported as having accepted "the fact of evolution" the mode in which it has occurred and the mechanism in which it has been brought about are portrayed as still disputable.[note 2] As the only alternative to the Theory of Evolution is presented special creation that is however for naturalistic scientists "clearly incredible".[9][note 3] C.S. Lewis criticised this position of orthodox Darwinism on grounds that it depends not on positive evidence but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice violating the elementary scientific Socratic principle. Further on he questions modern naturalism as devised not to get in facts but to keep out God.[11][note 4]

Notes

  1. The claim about taxonomy however seems to contradict the article published in 1985: "The taxonomic case against Darwin"[7]
  2. cf. Stephen Jay Gould: "I well remember something that Francis Crick said to me many years ago, when my own functionalist biases were strong. He remarked, in response to an adaptive story I had invented with alacrity and agility to explain the meaning of repetitive DNA: ‘Why do you evolutionists always try to identify the value of something before you know how it is made?’"[8] (Emphasis by Conservapedia)
  3. The article can be found also here[10] on page 88, the statement on special creation is at page 95.
  4. The text by C.S. Lewis can be found also here[12].

References

  1. E.J. Larson (2006). Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. New York: Modern Library, 108-109. ISBN 0-8129-6849-2. “The end result was much the same in Britain. There, Darwin, Huxley, and their allies effectively collaborated to take over the scientific establishment, with the goal of enthroning naturalism as the ideology of science and science as the mainspring of modern society. At first they consciously sought to minimize open scientific debate over Darwinism while systematically advancing interests of biologists who utilized an evolutionary approach. Working through an intimate group of like-minded intellectuals known as the X Club, Huxley and his friends managed to assume leadership roles in many of Britain's leading scientific societies, place supporters in prominent university and museum positions, and influence the editorial polices of scientific journals. In 1869, they founded the journal Nature as the mouthpiece of scientific naturalism, and unabashedly promoted Darwinism in its pages. ..."So successful was this takeover of the British scientific community," historian Peter Bowler says about the X-Club putsch, "that by the 1880s its remaining opponents were claiming that Darwinism had become a blindly accepted dogma carefully shielded from any serious challenge."” 
  2. History:Timelines:The first 100 years (1869-1969). Nature Publishing Group. “Astrophysicist Norman Lockyer and Thomas Henry Huxley encourage Alexander Macmillan to publish "a general scientific journal". Consequently, the House of Macmillan launches Nature, a weekly illustrated journal of science. The journal's original mission statement to this day remains unchanged. Norman Lockyer becomes the first editor of Nature, and remains in this position for 50 years. ...After Darwin's "Origin of Species" is published in 1859, Huxley does more than anyone to promote its theories. As well as being instrumental in the conception of Nature, Huxley writes the first Nature article, on the role of nature in the development of human beings.”
  3. John C. Lennox (2009). God's undertaker. Has science buried God?. Oxford, England: Lion Hudson, 68. ISBN 978-0-7459-5371-7. “Another well known scientist who found the idea of a beginning repugnant is Sir John Maddox, a former editor of Nature. He pronounced the idea of a beginning 'thoroughly unacceptable', because it implied an 'ultimate origin of the world', and gave creationist 'ample justification' for their beliefs.” 
  4. Lewis Swift (19 September 1878). Discovery of Vulcan. journal Nature. DOI:10.1038/018539a0. “By three careful estimates the two stars pointed exactly to the sun's centre. When it is considered that a deviation of not over 15", in two objects so close, will cause them to point considerably to one side of the centre of the sun-three degrees away-it maybe assumed that its declination was quite correctly estimated.”
  5. Swift, Lewis. Discovery of Vulcan. Retrieved on 2012-10-14. “the position given by Prof. Watson of the intra-Mercurial planet discovered on that day agrees so closely with that star, it may have been the object discovered, I have thought it advisable to give the facts concerning it, in order to correct such an impression if it still exists. That he had a view of the planet as stated there is no doubt, for I myself saw it some four or five minutes later, using θ as a comparison star, and am able not only to corroborate the discovery, but to substantiate the position given by him.”
  6. Hartnett, John (2007). Starlight, Time and the New Physics. Creation Ministries International, 34-36. ISBN 978-0-949-906687. “The form of 'dark' matter envisaged by theorists of the day varied; some preferred an inner asteroid belt within Mercury's orbit and some an additional planet -the planet Vulcan, which was said to orbit very close to the Sun...but in such a manner that it was always conveniently hidden from view by Earth observers, on the other side of the Sun. (They didn't seem to mind that an object near Mercury would have a shorter orbital period than Earth.)” 
  7. Tom Bethel (February (Harper’s Magazine) or May 15 (MANAS) 1985). Agnostic evolutionists: The taxonomic case against Darwin (Harper’s Magazine) or Non-Darwinian Evolution (MANAS) 61 (Harper’s Magazine) 4 (MANAS). Harper’s Magazine or MANAS. “The theory of evolution has never been falsified. On the other hand, it is also surely true that the positive evidence for evolution is very much weaker than most layman imagine, and than many scientist want us to imagine. Perhaps, as Patterson says, that positive evidence is missing entirely”
  8. Stephen J. Gould (1995). Adam’s Navel. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-146-000-478. 
  9. D.M.S. Watson (August 10, 1929). Adaptation 231 – 234. Nature. DOI:10.1038/124231a0. “Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or is supported by logically coherent arguments, but because it does fit all the facts of taxonomy, of pakeontology (sic), and of geographical distribution, and because no alternative explanation is credible. Whilst the fact of evolution is accepted by every biologist, the mode in which it has occurred and the mechanism by which it has been brought about are still disputable. ... The extreme difficulty of obtaining the necessary data for any quantitative estimation of the efficiency of natural selection makes it seem probable that this theory will be re-established, if it be so, by the collapse of alternative explanations which are more easily attacked by observation and experiment. If so, it will present the parallel to the Theory of Evolution itself, theory universally accepted, not because it can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.”
  10. D.M.S.Watson. Adaptation. Retrieved on 201-10-14.
  11. C.S. Lewis (1965). Screwtape Proposes a Toast: And Other Pieces. Fontana books. ISBN 9780006224853. “After that it is hardly worth noticing minor difficulties. Yet these are many and serious. The Bergsonian critique of orthodox Darwinism is not easy to answer. More disquieting still is Professor D. M. S. Watson's defence. "Evolution itself," he wrote, "is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or... can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible." Has it come to that? Does the whole vast structure of modern naturalism depend not on positive evidence but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice. Was it devised not to get in facts but to keep out God .Even, however, if Evolution in the strict biological sense has some better grounds than Professor Watson suggests--and I can't help thinking it must--we should distinguish Evolution in this strict sense from what may be called the universal evolutionism of modern thought. By universal evolutionism I mean the belief that the very formula of universal process is from imperfect to perfect, from small beginnings to great endings, from the rudimentary to the elaborate: the belief which makes people find it natural to think that morality springs from savage taboos, adult sentiment from infantile sexual maladjustments, thought from instinct, mind from matter, organic from inorganic, cosmos from chaos. This is perhaps the deepest habit of mind in the contemporary world. It seems to me immensely implausible, because it makes the general course of nature so very unlike those parts of nature we can observe. You remember the old puzzle as to whether the owl came from the egg or the egg from the owl. The modern acquiescence in universal evolutionism is a kind of optical illusion, produced by attending exclusively to the owls emergence from the egg. We are taught from childhood to notice how the perfect oak grows from the acorn and to forget that the acorn itself was dropped by a perfect oak. We are reminded constantly that the adult human being was an embryo, never that the life of the embryo came from two adult human beings. We love to notice that the express engine of today is the descendant of the "rocket;" we do not equally remember that the " Rocket" springs not from some even more rudimentary engine, but from something much more perfect and complicated than itself-namely, a man of genius. The obviousness or naturalness which most people seem to find in the idea of emergent evolution thus seems to be a pure hallucination.” 
  12. C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis on Evolution (Is Theology Poetry?). Retrieved on 2013-02-03.
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