Jonathan Wells Iconoclast and Molecular and Cell Biologist

Articles

At What Point In Its Development Can a Human Being Feel Pain?

Editor’s note: See also Dr. Wells’s earlier article, “Why Should a Baby Live?” This is Part Two of a two-part series about abortion. This part focuses on the second question I raised in Part One: At what point in its development can a human being feel pain? I will attempt to answer the question scientifically, as a developmental biologist. By “scientific” I mean based on evidence, not on materialistic story-telling or the current “scientific consensus.” I will conclude with a brief personal reflection.  The title of my first essay was “Why Should a Baby Live?” It was adapted from a 2012 article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” That article cites a 1985 book co-authored

Why Should a Baby Live?

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series by Dr. Wells. My title is adapted from a 2012 article by two philosophers, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. The article was titled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” Giubilini and Minerva argued that “fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons.” In a follow-up article defending their position, the authors pointed out that “Catholic and pro-life philosophers,” among others, hold that “fetuses and newborns share the same moral status.” I am not a Roman Catholic, but the published Roman Catholic view is that fetuses, like newborns, have full human rights: “From the moment of conception… a human being must be

Evolutionary Theory Might Explain…a Deadly Disease

Editor’s note: As biologist Jonathan Wells observes, “he measures being taken against the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic owe nothing to evolutionary theory.” Yet a persistent claim from evolutionists is that medical research would be crippled without a Darwinian framework. Evolution News presents a series of our previously published work addressing the myth of “Darwinian medicine.” Most readers of Evolution News are well aware that evolutionary theory fails to explain what almost all biology students are told it explains: the origin and diversity of life. It now seems that evolutionary theory might actually explain the opposite: cancer. In March 1973, neo-Darwinian biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky published an article in The American Biology Teacher titled “Nothing in biology

Textbooks Still Misrepresent the Origin of Life 

Editor’s note: The profoundest mystery and thus the deepest inspiration is life itself. Discovery Institute Press has just published a greatly expanded edition of the 1984 classic of intelligent design science literature, The Mystery of Life’s Origin. Below is an excerpt adapted from a brand new chapter. Dr. Wells, the author of the chapter, is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Science & Culture. He holds PhDs in Molecular and Cell Biology (U.C. Berkeley) and Religious Studies (Yale University). The Miller-Urey experiment may well be called the poster child for origin-of-life research. Most modern biology students have seen some version of the drawing below, which represents an experimental apparatus used in 1952 by University of Chicago graduate student Stanley L.

Coronavirus, Intelligent Design, and Evolution

Many people have been wondering about the relevance of intelligent design (ID) or evolution to the new coronavirus reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. What follows is my view as a molecular biologist. The new virus goes by several names. It was initially called 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (with “n” standing for “new”). Since its RNA sequence is similar to that of the coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses renamed it SARS-CoV-2 in March 2020. The disease caused by the virus has been called COVID-19 (with “d” standing for “disease”). There are other coronaviruses (including MERS-CoV, the virus that caused the 2012 epidemic of Middle East

Darwinism and Intelligent Design in Poland 

On January 29, 2020, I arrived in Warsaw, Poland, in the middle of a blizzard. Fortunately, most of the snow had cleared away by January 31, when I lectured at an event celebrating the release of a new Polish translation of my book, Icons of Evolution.  The event was organized by Fundacja En Arche (the En Arche Foundation, or roughly, the Origins Foundation). Although its critics call it a “creationist” organization, Fundacja En Arche is not about biblical creationism (whether young Earth or old Earth). Instead, it focuses on the scientific and philosophical issues of Darwinism and intelligent design. I told the staff that the foundation reminded me of Discovery Institute twenty years ago.  A major part of En Arche’s work so far has been translating into Polish books

On Evolution, Can’t We All Just Get Along?

On February 10, 2020, Lutheran theologian Ted Peters published an online article titled “Fighting over Evolution. Why?“ He concluded that “a culture war is raging, to be sure. But, this is not a war between science and faith.” I agree completely — if by “science” we mean empirical science. Empirical science searches for the truth by proposing hypotheses and comparing them with the evidence. If a hypothesis is consistent with the evidence we tentatively take it to be true. If it is inconsistent with the evidence we revise it or reject it as false. In reality, things can get a bit more complicated. But this is science at its best. A Different Meaning Yet “science” has taken on a different meaning in the modern world. For many people, “science” is the search

Cancel Culture Comes to Poland

The term “cancel culture” has recently come to mean the practice of boycotting, or denying a speaking platform to, people whose ideas are considered offensive. I experienced it recently in Warsaw, Poland. Fundacja En Arche (the En Arche Foundation, or roughly, the Origins Foundation) is a Polish group that focuses on the scientific and philosophical issues of Darwinism and intelligent design. Although often labeled “creationist,” it is not about biblical creationism (whether young Earth or old Earth). In many ways it is a lot like Discovery Institute.  A Job Well Done A major part of the foundation’s work so far has been translating into Polish books such as Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial, Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Michael Behe’s

Meeting Phil Johnson at Berkeley

Editor’s note: Phillip E. Johnson, Berkeley law professor and author of Darwin on Trial and other books, died on November 2. Evolution News is currently sharing remembrances from Fellows of Discovery Institute. Dr. Wells is the author most recently of Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution. In 1991 I was a graduate student in molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley when I heard that a Berkeley law professor had just published a book critical of Darwinism. Although I was quietly a critic of Darwinism, I resisted reading the book because most of the critiques of Darwinian evolution I had already seen were either focused on the age of the Earth or they were embarrassingly shoddy. It seemed unlikely that a law professor could do any better. A

Is Gender in Penguins a Human Construct?

“Gay penguins at London aquarium are raising ‘genderless’ chick.” So announced NBC News on September 10, 2019. The penguins are of the Gentoo species. According to the Irish Post, “Staff have taken the decision not to describe the Gentoo penguin as either male or female because they say gender is more of a human construct.” The penguins caring for the chick at the London aquarium are both females. There have also been reports of two male penguins caring for chicks. In Gentoos and other penguin species, males share responsibility with females to incubate eggs. Penguins have no external genitalia. Even as adults, the males and females can be difficult to tell apart. In many cases, the only way to distinguish reliably between male and female penguins is to examine

Archives

Coronavirus, Intelligent Design, and Evolution

Many people have been wondering about the relevance of intelligent design (ID) or evolution to the new coronavirus reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. What follows is my view as a molecular biologist. The new virus goes by several names. It was initially called 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (with “n” standing for “new”). Since its RNA sequence is similar to that of the coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses renamed it SARS-CoV-2 in March 2020. The disease caused by the virus has been called COVID-19 (with “d” standing for “disease”). There are other coronaviruses (including MERS-CoV, the virus that caused the 2012 epidemic of Middle East

The Mystery of Life’s Origin

The Continuing Controversy
The origin of life from non-life remains one of the most enduring mysteries of modern science. The Mystery of Life’s Origin: The Continuing Controversy investigates how close scientists are to solving that mystery and explores what we are learning about the origin of life from current research in chemistry, physics, astrobiology, biochemistry, and more. The book includes an updated version of the Read More ›

Ten Questions to Ask About Your Biology Textbooks

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 unfazed by opposing evidence. Discredited icons of evolution rise Read More ›

Zombie Science

More Icons of Evolution
About the Book 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 Read More ›

The Design of Life

Discovering Signs of Intelligence in Biological Systems
About the Book The power of Darwinian evolution on the modern mind lies mainly in its contention that natural selection can account for the appearance of design without a designer. In this comprehensive overview of intelligent design (ID) in biology, mathematician William Dembski and biologist Jonathan Wells make a compelling case that design in biology is real, not an illusion.

Jonathan Wells’s Centriole Hypothesis

A microtubule-dependent polar ejection force that pushes chromosomes away from spindle poles during prometaphase is observed in animal cells but not in the cells of higher plants. Elongating microtubules and kinesin-like motor molecules have been proposed as possible causes, but neither accounts for all the data. In the hypothesis proposed here a polar ejection force is generated by centrioles, which Read More ›

Intelligent Design Under Fire, pt. 4: Q&A with Charlotte Laws & Larry Herber

In Intelligent Design Under Fire, Dr. Stephen Meyer and colleagues Dr. Jonathan Wells, Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, and Dr. Paul Nelson respond to questions about intelligent design from a panel of critics. Part 4 features questions from writer and columnist Dr. Charlotte Laws, retired geology professor Dr. Larry Herber, comparative religion professor Dr. Craig Nelson, and others. Video Read More ›