Bronze-level articleJerry Bergman

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Evolution and racism are the same thing.
—Jerry Bergman[1]

Gerald R. “Jerry” Bergman is a young earth creationist affiliated with the Institute for Creation Research, as well as a signatory to the CMI list of scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation. He has a doctorate in human biology from Columbia Pacific University, a nonaccredited correspondence school that was ordered to cease operations in California in 1999 by the Marin County Superior Court.[2] Bergman is a prolific writer with, according to Answers in Genesis, over 600 articles (none in peer-refereed scientific journals, of course,[3] but quite a few for Answers Research Journal) and 20 books to his name.

He considers himself one of the victims of persecution by "Darwinists", after he was denied tenure and dismissed from Bowling Green State University in 1978 “solely because of my beliefs and publications in the area of creationism”. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to take the university to court over religious discrimination. (It should be added that, in a signed letter published in David Duke's National Association of White People newsletter, he stated that “reverse racial discrimination was clearly part of the decision,” so even according to himself it cannot have been solely because of his religious beliefs.[4]) According to the courts, however, Bergman was terminated because of ethics, namely that he claimed to have credentials in psychology when, in fact, he “had no psychological credentials.”[5]

Bergman is known to be rather skilled at public debates, where he can Gish gallop at will and opponents don’t have the time or opportunity to debunk all of his claims, misrepresentations, and fundamental misunderstandings.

Contents

[edit] A history of Orwellian debate tactics and quote-mining

One of Bergman’s favorite tactics is to redefine words. For instance, Bergman claims that he has scientifically proven that there is no such thing as vestigial organs, therefore evolution is false. He accomplished this by redefining “vestigial” to mean “having no function at all”; thus, all he had to do was to demonstrate that alleged vestigial organs did or potentially did anything whatsoever.[6] Of course, this is not the definition of “vestigial”. That did not prevent Bergman from writing a book about it (with George Howe).

Bergman has predictably enough argued that evolution leads to Hitler.[7] In fact, one of his primary debate tactics is character-assassination of Darwin[8]. According to Bergman, “Charles Darwin’s major goal in developing his theory was religious, he wanted to “murder” god (his words).” The passage in which Darwin talked about “murder” is this:

At last gleams of light have come, & I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable.

It doesn’t quite appear to say what Bergman thinks it says.

Other things Bergman attributes to Darwin are:

  • He was active in “converting” all he could to his theory of origins.
  • Darwin plagiarized most of his major ideas.
  • Darwin was a racist of the worst kind and believed the lower races (the blacks) would go extinct.
  • Darwin was opposed to helping the sick, but realized this idea would not go over well.
  • Darwin felt a wife was better than a dog (really!).
  • He was severely mentally and physically ill, likely an agoraphobic.
  • As a young man he was sadistic and loved to kill animals with anything he had: guns, sticks, even hammers!

His evidence for these claims is based on, shall we say, unconventional interpretations of passages from Darwin; and in addition, even if these claims were true, it is hard to see how they would undermine the scientific theory of evolution.

[edit] Bergman’s special take on irreducible complexity

According to Bergman, everything is irreducibly complex, perhaps with the exception of sub-atomic particles. For instance, a carbon atom has a specific number of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and if you change those, it is no longer a carbon atom. He claims that this fits Michael Behe’s definition completely.[9] Behe’s definition is:

By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution.

Thus, according to Bergman

The only way to refute the concept of irreducible complexity is to demonstrate that all objects can be reduced to a fundamental particle and still function properly. If a radio, a functional eye or ear, can be achieved, for example, by a single quark (the particle scientists now believe is irreducible)–or all, of the functions of an intelligent human, including the ability to reproduce with other humans, can be produced by a single quark, they are not irreducibly complex.

So there; irreducible complexity is irrefutable. Notice, however, that when Bergman claims that everything is irreducibly complex according to Behe’s definition, he actually refutes Behe’s argument that you need intelligent agents to create irreducibly complex systems, since actual natural process (on the sun, for instance) are producing carbon atoms at this very moment. In other words, granting Bergman’s use of irreducible complexity makes it impotent as an argument for anything supernatural.

[edit] Selected publications

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Bergman, J. “Evolution and the Development of Nazi Race Policy”, Bible-Science Newsletter, 1988
  2. Quackwatch entry on CPU
  3. Rivista Di Biologia, discussed here, is a pseudojournal and does not count.
  4. talkorigins article by Jim Lippard and Tom McIver
  5. The ruling
  6. Blogpost from November 2009
  7. Blogpost, November 2009
  8. Blogpost from March, 2011 ; the claims are detailed in his book ‎The Dark Side of Charles Darwin: A Critical Analysis of an Icon of Science.
  9. In his own words, if you must.
  10. talkorigins response to Bergman
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