Clarifying Dr Richard Buggs' position on evolution

Hi friends,

I’m wondering if anyone could clarify whether or not Dr. Richard Buggs (@RichardBuggs) affirms evolution? This may seem a silly question given he is a professor of evolutionary biology and genomics but I’ve been reading his interactions regarding Denis Venema’s work on population genetics and his posts regarding the similarity between the human and chimp genomes and I’m confused as to where he stands.

Does he believe that humans share a common ancestor with chimps and more generally the theory of common descent among all living things? (I’ve mentioned him above so maybe he could clarify himself if he has time!)

Many thanks in advance!

Hi, Diplodocus - and hopefully you’ve been welcomed to the forum by now; even if not on this thread apparently! I think a lot of responders [lurkers] here were hoping somebody more knowledgeable about Buggs would weigh in here to give you a more definitive answer. Since that hasn’t been forthcoming [yet], you’ll have to accept my humble first offering here. Which is only to admit that I know little of Dr. Buggs save the impression he left here in his long exchange with Dr. Venema.

Here is a link to part 1 of that exchange from almost a couple years ago now between Buggs and Venema which I think ranks among the most prolific exchanges between a pair of people in the history of this forum. It’s a little like someone asking what earth is like and me referring you to an expansive set of encyclopedias. Sorry I can’t do better, but that thread (and it’s only part 1!) probably provides a wealth of links to other places/people who (if not Dr. Buggs themselves) may have knowledgeable association with him. You can also use the magnifying glass search tool in this forum to search out all mentions of “Buggs”, which should get you to places of interest.

My main impression from all that exchange is that Dr. Buggs was eager to press Dr. Venema for some sort of retraction of a specific claim Venema had made in his book, and that seemed to be Buggs’ single-minded pursuit for an amazingly long time - almost as if his only ambition in life was to score some badly needed point against Dennis for some constituency of his own. But that is an unfair summary if left by itself as I recall Buggs making quite a few points that roused good discussion and clarification from Dennis that most all of us benefited watching from the sidelines. I don’t recall Buggs ever outright denying common descent even though I’m sure participants here eagerly pushed him to come clean on that. Perhaps like Behe, those things are just accepted quietly in the background but not pushed because they don’t wish to antagonize their main fan base. Again - these are my hasty recollections without going back to review that (now 2-year old) fire hose of exchanges myself. So please don’t take my word for it without much more serious inquiry.

[I think it fair to say that Dr. Buggs established himself as a worthy critic of various facile arguments, characterizations, or confidences in established evolutionary mechanisms / timelines that are often put forward by evolutionary enthusiasts. So whatever his acceptance of the events themselves, he probably has valued street-cred among evolutionary critics - at least at that time.]


If memory serves I did ask him once or twice if he accepted common ancestry, etc - but he did not reply. He did say he was willing to accept the premise of common ancestry for the sake of discussion but he was not willing to confirm that he actually believed it. FWIW.

If folks are interested in the Buggs thing I later did a podcast with Apologetics Canada that covered that topic and highlighted just how unrealistic his proposed scenario is: instantaneous reduction of the hominin population to two survivors, followed by immediate, explosive growth - and all of this spread over all of Africa and Asia. He was not willing to propose a mechanism by which an event like that could occur. I am similarly not able to think of one either.

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You could also ask him directly: he’s @RichardBuggs on this forum, but I don’t know if he’s still “around” as it were.

@DennisVenema, thanks so much for the reply. This quite is helpful, I thought his origins model might be something like this - perhaps accept common ancestry but also a reduction of the founder popular down to two, so A&E could then be at the headwaters of humanity. Hopefully he could clarify himself.

Thanks for this detailed reply, really appreciate the time you took to fill me in. Also, thanks for the welcome!

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