Sunday, June 16, 2013


Note the resemblance in the eyes:

Descendant of Charles Darwin becomes a Catholic apologist

A direct descendant of Charles Darwin has become a Catholic apologist. 
Laura Keynes, a great-great-great-granddaughter of the English naturalist, has joined Catholic Voices, the project set up to speak up for the Church in the media. 
When she began studying for a doctorate in philosophy at Oxford she started to “reassess those values. Relationships, feminism, moral relativism, the sanctity and dignity of human life”. 
The debate sparked by Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion inspired her to read more about the subject, and she concluded that “New Atheism seemed to harbour a germ of intolerance and contempt for people that could only undermine secular Humanist claims to liberalism”. 
She writes: “If atheism’s claim to the intellectual high ground is bolstered by my ancestor’s characteristic ability to explore and analyse inconsistencies in the evidence, that same family characteristic led me towards a sceptical assessment of what can and can’t be known absolutely.”

From darkness to light.

Bless her.


  1. Michael,

    Well, we can add ignorance of genetics to the list of things you're ignorant of, which is an extensive list, including climate science, biology, history, the meaning of words, etc, etc, etc.

    Actually, we already knew you were ignorant about genetics after the ENCODE/junk DNA fiasco.

    Genetics isn't everything. Virtually every psychological trait you can consider is roughly 50% nature (not necessarily genetic) and 50% nurture.

    Even if she'd been a male and a perfect clone, and Darwinian evolution hadn't already been discovered and well supported to be true (unlikely since Wallace had come up with the same theory at the same time), (s)he would have gone into different areas - just because the formative experience of the voyage on the Beagle was missing.

    And anyway, she's such a distant relative of Charles Darwin, she probably has very few genes from Charles Darwin, most of which have been mixed with other genes.

    1. Can you please show me a statement of the part of Dr. Egnor that indicates ignorance of genetics. Sounds like you're just being acrid again, Bachfiend. Maybe you should persuade rather than browbeat.


    2. Trish,

      There's so many examples, including Egnor's statement that he's not an expert on genetics. He claimed that ENCODE 'confirmed' his assertion that almost all the human genome is functional, whereas it showed that anywhere between 20 and 80% of the genome is 'functional' using a definition of 'functional' so liberal that being transcribed just once is 'functional', even if it doesn't have any effect.

      Egnor has been challenged on many occasions to give a figure for 'almost all', which he has refused, famously noting he's not an expert. And refuses to comment on the tens of thousands of broken pseudogenes in the human genome (almost as many as functional genes), the numerous active and inactive viral elements and the 800,000 or so short segment polymorphisms (SNPs) which have only the use as DNA fingerprints in forensics and markers for nearby genes causing disease, such as BRCA1.

    3. Yeah, well, this post had nothing to do with the human genome project.


    4. Trish,

      Well, Egnor quoted her stating about Darwin's 'characteristic ability' and 'the same family characteristic'. The only thing remotely common between Darwin and her are genes. Genetics.

      Egnor is ignorant about genetics. You asked me to give an example. I did.

      Anyway. Egnor doesn't think biology is everything, taking pleasure that a descendent doesn't take after Darwin.

      And anyway, he's right. Biology isn't everything. As an aside, I think it was you who once mentioned the 'gay gene', a term made popular by journalists as an explanation for homosexuality being innate.

      Homosexuality can be innate, but not necessarily genetic. The concordance rate of homosexuality in identical twins, which should be 100% identical genetically near enough, isn't 100%, it's just 20%.

    5. You really are all over the place.

      All he said was "From darkness to light. Bless her."

      You're attributing her words to him. Maybe you should stop that, for the sake of intellectual honesty.

      I don't think I'm the only one on this blog who laughs at the utterly unscientific notion of a "gay gene" that still hasn't been found, much like unicorns. Its a fanciful notion invented for political reasons and has no place in science. The purpose is to take something that everyone in the world prior to the 1980's understood to be a behavior, and transform it into an immutable characteristic fixed from birth, something like race. Nonsense. Who you CHOOSE to sleep with is nothing at all like race.


    6. Trish,

      Egnor (and the original site) wouldn't bother publishing a story on someone who is completely unrelated to Charles Darwin and who decided to become a Catholic apologist. It was only the fact that she's a very distant direct descendent and the (false) idea that she shares some genes with the great Charles Darwin.

      Charles Darwin's genes have been diluted by a factor of 32. Ignoring meiotic crossover, she could have one of Charles Darwin's chromosomes. Or none.

      She also lacks Charles Darwin's upbringing and experiences in 19th century Britain. And his 5 year voyage on the Beagle. And his subsequent chronic illness.

      And anyway, Egnor does recycle wrong ideas from thread to thread, so he's all over the place. He often brings up extraneous material. If you criticise his denial of AGW he often accuses his critic of something else. Such as eugenics. Or the 'banning' of DDT in malaria control.

      The 'gay gene' is unscientific. It's an invention of journalists. There may be multiple genes with a weak individual effect on sexual preference, but giving a stronger additive effect (similar to autism), but that's all.

      The idea that homosexuality is 'innate' is based on the weak evidence that individuals identify themselves as homosexual from a very early age. Very weak evidence. The idea that it's genetic is disproved from the fact that the concordance rate in identical twins is so low.

      Biology isn't everything.

  2. Bach out in left field again. Where did the good doctor say more in reference to genetic descent than that she had her great-great-great-grandfather's eyes? And who couldn't like her eyes?

  3. From darkness to light? I understand the young lady switched from one Christian cult (protestant) to another (Catholic). We can only hope that she keeps a close eye on her kids when they are in the vicinity of the depraved clergy of that sick cult.

    1. Troy, Catholic priests are no more likely to rape children than men generally; in other words, no more likely to rape children than you.

      Your falling back on vicious and untruthful stereotypes reveals you as a bigot with an ax to grind and thus absolutely without credibility.


  4. Some, backfire, KW, troy, would rather stay in darkness.
    Yet the Sun shines for everyone...

  5. I heard that one of J.S. Bach's descendents isn't actually that good at music!!!!!! I can't believe it. Bach must have been wrong! I'd better throw all his compact discs in the bin now. Oh, what a shame!