An Honest Look at Evolution and Intelligent Design
I have been heartened by a number of people taking an honest look at Evolution and Intelligent Design recently. Many of the points being made are ones I have said before myself.
Take for instance, this article from Dilbert creator, Scott Adams.
To me, the most fascinating aspect of the debate over Darwinism versus Intelligent Design is that neither side understands the other side’s argument. Better yet, no one seems to understand their own side’s argument. But that doesn’t stop anyone from having a passionate opinion.Of course, Scott doesn't really say where the ID people are misunderstanding the other side's argument (He does give an example of evolutionists misunderstanding ID arguments).
Further down Scott says
Here’s where it gets interesting. The Intelligent Design people allege that some experts within each narrow field are NOT convinced that the evidence within their specialty is a slam-dunk support of Darwin. Each branch of science, they say, has pro-Darwinists who acknowledge that while they assume the other branches of science have more solid evidence for Darwinism, their own branch is lacking in that high level of certainty. In other words, the scientists are in a weird peer pressure, herd mentality loop where they think that the other guy must have the “good stuff.”Which is actually something that Young Earth Creationists (YEC) have been saying for years. Scott follows with an analogy from his career about how this is possible and finishes off with
I’d be surprised if 90%+ of scientists are wrong about the evidence for Darwinism. But if you think it’s impossible, you’ve lived a sheltered life.
Another article by journalist Fred highlights the parallels between how the evolutionists want to enforce their ideas with marxist practice.
The desire to centralize government, impose doctrine, and punish doubt is never far below the surface, anywhere. Thus our highly controlled media, our “hate-speech” laws, our political correctness and, now, Evolutionary Prohibition. The Catholic Church once burned heretics. The Church of Evolution savages them in obscure journals and denies them tenure and publication. As a heretic I believe that I would prefer the latter, but the intolerance is the same.In looking into why the evolutionists fear having ID or creationism being taught in schools Fred observes
I note that Compulsory Evolutionists are fellow travelers of the regnant cultural Marxism, though I don’t think that they are aware of it. They display the same hermetic materialism, the same desire to suppress dissent by the application of centralized governmental power, the same weird hostility to religion. They do not say, “I think Christianity is nonsense and will therefore ignore it,” but rather “These ideas shall not be permitted.”
A more likely explanation is a fear that children might realize that a great deal of Evolution, not having been established, must be accepted on faith, and that a fair amount of it doesn’t make a lot of sense. While Creationism is unlikely to convert children into snake-handlers, it does suggest that orthodox Evolution can be examined critically. Bad juju, that.Fred finally gives an example of the typical responses he received when asking simple questions to highlight whether scientists have shown it is possible or even probable that life could come from non-life. The responses were predictable. Christian's thought he had disproved evolution. Independent people responded thoughtfully, and zealous evolutionists responded by calling him names. As Fred puts it
This is the behavior not of scientists but of true believers....dispassionate discussion with them is not possible, anymore than it is with Gloria Steinem or Herbert Marcuse or Cornell West, and for exactly the same reasons. They are the same people. How sad.
The Dawn Treader has an interesting email interview (parts 1, 2, and 3) with a molecular biologist (ironically named steve). Steve has a lot of interesting things to say, but one thing stood out quite strongly
The essential disagreement is whether homology = Evolution. In other words, does the fact that there are similarities between species mean that Evolution must have produced it? While it is reasonable, it is clearly begging the question to say so. The important thing is that, genetically and functionally, species are in fact similar in many ways. This is very useful in research. I would love to give examples, but no one would dispute this.As I have said before, the observations that Evolution try to explain are what are useful to research and scientific advances. Evolution itself is pretty much irrelevant to the research.
Evolution is a paradigm- a framework upon which one can hang observations in a way that makes sense- it is not a testable theory. We use homology to design experiments, but Evolution is an explanation for those homologies. It is not something that we can refer to when designing experiments.
Steve continues with an even more blunt point
Me: So you are saying that evolutionary theory is not falsifiable?In this, Steve is in good company with such people as Karl Popper. These of course, are the sort of comments that would get the people that Fred above referred to as 'true believers' (of evolution) frothing at the mouth.
Steve: Yes, that is the crux of my point. I respectfully disagree with those who say that Evolution is a theory like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Einstein himself, along with many who followed, suggested experiments which would prove it wrong- falsify it. Such experiments simply cannot exist for Evolution. Accordingly, any theory that cannot be falsified is not a scientific theory.
While Evolution is an elegant idea and should be learned by all who study biology, I would argue that it is a paradigm not a theory.
Ultimately, open and honest debate cannot be good for Evolution, but it can be good for science.