Thursday, January 2, 2020

#2290: Walter L. Starkey

Walter L. Starkey is a Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Ohio State University, and a creationist. He does not appear to have done much scientific research at least since the 1950s, but since he has a degree he is nevertheless eligible for signing the Discovery Institute’s silly petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, thereby illustrating, if more illustrations were needed, just how laughable that petition actually is. 

Starkey is also the author of several books defending intelligent design creationism, such as The Cambrian Evolution (which has been recommended by e.g. Harun Yahya) and Evolution Exposed and Intelligent Design Explained, which of course achieves neither of the goals suggested by the title by any stretch of the imagination. Evolution Exposed was a vanity press publication – The Cambrian Evolution was at least published by something called CSS Publishing, a publisher of “Christian Books, Christian Subscriptions, Sermon Subscriptions, Sermon Books, Sermon Resources, Christian Preaching Resources, Worship Resources … to meet that needs of pastors and the global ministry” – and was accompanied by a press release. According to the press release Starkey “discovered – backed with concepts on science, engineering, and mathematics – that the theory of evolution is the greatest scientific mistake of all time,” which one suspects wasn’t a very surprising discovery given that he had already published another book with the same conclusion years before. That his discovery is “backed with concepts from science, engineering, and mathematics” (our emphasis) doesn’t inspire much confidence in the author’s understanding of basic distinctions or how science works, for that matter. Of course, as we’d come to expect from creationist publications the book was never intended to be a science book, but a book for outreach: its explicitly intended audience was “young people who are in their formative years;” it’s all rhetorical tricks in the service of winning souls for Jesus, of course. 

The aim of Evolution Exposed is to show “that (1) the natural forces of the earth have no intelligence whatsoever, and therefore they could not have designed the animals, (2) human beings are intelligent enough to design machines but they are not intelligent enough to design the animals, and (3) the only entity that could design the animals would be the superhuman being who is much more intelligent than any human being; thus, the theory of Intelligent Design.” In other words, Starkey does not have the faintest idea how evolution is supposed to work. The book is further described here.

Diagnosis: Deluded, ranting pseudoscientist. Utterly lost, and probably relatively harmless.

Update: Walter Starkey may have passed away.

1 comment:

  1. Starkey indeed died in 2014. See, e.g.,