Sunday 16 January 2005 - Filed under Essays
In regards to the Supreme Court decision ruling that “textbook stickers referring to evolution as ‘a theory not a fact’ are unconstitutional”, the Discovery Institute says: “The bottom line is that what matters in science is evidence, not motives. In science you follow the evidence where it leads no matter the presumed motives of the scientists. There are more than 300 scientists who doubt Darwinism, that’s evidence that proves this is a scientific debate.”
And the competing theory is…nothing! There is no alternative scientific theory of how we got all these animals and plants and stuff. There is only an anti-theory which is it certaintly can’t be evolution. The alternative to Darwinism is currently nothing. Intelligent design is not a scientific theory. People don’t write papers with evidence and experiments that are peer-reviewed and debated and published like scientists do. Creationists just write op-ed pieces and lobby school boards. I repeat, there is no other theory to teach! These people are arguing against evolution because they can’t argue (scientifically) for anything else. Creation and intelligent design are not science. Believe them if you want, I don’t care, but we cannot teach them as science.
I don’t think science is at odds with religion — they are entirely separate things. Science is interested only in what you can “prove” and what you can predict. The word “prove” is always in quotes because in science you can’t really prove things are true, you can only prove what is not true. We often take observational evidence as proof but the underlying physics that explains why we observe what we do can never be proven, per say. It can only be supported or refuted by evidence. Example: matter is made of atoms, atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons and all of these are made of quarks (except electrons). How do we know this? We don’t. We have a model that explains what we observe very, very accurately. We can predict things with this model to a high degree of accuracy. Is our model of the atom “true”? We don’t know. All we know is it correctly predicts the results of experiments.
Evolution is another such theory. Is it true? We don’t know. We do know that it fits the evidence. It is a scientific theory in that it is based on sciences like genetics, evolutionary development, cell development and archeology. We have a model that explains why some animals are very similar and others are very different. It explains why we don’t see modern humans 100,000 years ago in the fossil record. The theory of evolution is based on the fundamental scientific tenant that whatever happened happened in a way that can be explained, in this case in terms of biology and physics.
So if creationism is to be a science it has to be a theory of biology and physics. If you want to believe that God pointed his finger and Adam appeared, that is fine, but it is not a biological/physical theory, it is religion. The theory of intelligent design is not a theory of biology or physics, it is based on a premise of a supernatural will and that takes it completely out of the realm of science. There is no scientific theory of creation because it’s not science. Note that the theory of evolution does not in any way imply that the hand of God was not somehow involved, only that, if so, God did his work in a intelligent and organized way which, when studied, yields beautiful physical relationships such as those we have discovered.
2005-01-16 » lolife