Sunday, January 08, 2006

Not everyone buys into evolution

There are significant numbers of people who do not think that the theory of evolution accurately accounts for the biodiversity we see today. This should come as no surprise--there are also significant numbers of people who do not think the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, or that vaccines can be efficacious, or that Northerners ever owned slaves.

The simple fact is, significant numbers of people do not have the specialized education and knowledge to properly judge whether or not evolutionary theory is well supported. And yet hordes of creative writers, political scientists, journalists and others with little or no training in science (much less in evolutionary biology, geology, and related fields) avidly pontificate about how evolution researchers have got it all wrong. They were awfully quick to dismiss Federal Judge John Jones's decision in Kitzmiller &al. v. Dover &al., which held that teaching Intelligent Design was an infringement of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution (and was in violation of the State of Pennsylvania's constitution as well). It appeared that many critics who called Judge Jones an activist judge did not read the decision, even though it is readily available.

But I guess that's typical of life in the United States: why listen to a doctor if you can hear medical advice from an actor? Why ask a climatologist for information about global warming, when you can read a novel? Why believe peer-reviewed research published in reputable scientific journals, when you can listen to a televangelist?


Blogger MichaelBains said...

Excuse me if add: Why use the scientific definition of what science is, when you can simply make one up as "Doctor" Behe did in that trial.

Just found you on Brent's site and had to take a read because I loved your use of Discombobulatory Institute. Brilliant!

Read on I shall.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks! You're not joking about defining science--a stated goal of the ID folks is to replace science as we know it with what they call "theistic science"--and, in fact, the Kansas State Board of Education is doing just that (check out Red State Rabble for the Kansas story).

10:51 AM  
Blogger M.C. said...

I'd put the "modern synthesis" explanation for the facts of evolution in the same category as the "geosynclinal theory" explanation for the facts of orogeny. And I trust accuracy of the consensus view of modern biologists to the same level as these consensus views deserved their hegemony.

There are a great number of facts which contradict the modern synthesis approach to evolution. One does not have to reject the historical reality of evolution in order to reject the explanatory power of natural selection of random variations as the driver of that history.

8:02 PM  

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