Grey Thoughts
13.5.05
 
Evolution - Not useful in practice
Previously, I have written about how the false claim that many scientific advances have been made because of evolutionary theory (specifically the theory of common descent via modifaction).

Today, ID The Future links to a statement by Professor Philip S. Skell, Member, National Academy of Sciences and Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus Penn State University. This open letter explains just what I was saying. Practical biology does not rely on Evolutionary theory in the slightest. From the letter
Darwinian evolution is an interesting theory about the remote history of life. Nonetheless, it has little practical impact on those branches of science that do not address questions of biological history (largely based on stones, the fossil evidence). Modern biology is engaged in the examination of tissues from living organisms with new methods and instruments. None of the great discoveries in biology and medicine over the past century depended on guidance from Darwinian evolution---it provided no support.

It doesn't get clearer than that. However, I doubt the die hard atheists will stop making this false claim...as the letter also says and I agree that
For those scientists who take it seriously, Darwinian evolution has functioned more as a philosophical belief system than as a testable scientific hypothesis. This quasi-religious function of the theory is, I think, what lies behind many of the extreme statements that you have doubtless encountered from some scientists opposing any criticism of neo-Darwinism in the classroom. It is also why many scientists make public statements about the theory that they would not defend privately to other scientists like me.

Indeed.
Comments:
Wow! Great Post. Skell makes some strong statements that basically agree with what creationists have been saying for years. While there is no case where evolution has helped further medicine, there are many cases where a belief in evolution has led to bad science - like the belief in vestigal organs. Instead of looking for the purpose in the appendix, for example, evolution taught scientists that it was useless - a vestige of our ape-like ancestors. Of course, scientists have since discovered that the appendix performs important functions in a baby's digestive system development.
 
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