Sunday, November 16, 2008

Science and Dogma - Keep them Apart!

Argggg another “debate” in our paper over teaching evolution in public schools.

I would like to end this debate here and now. Evolution is a FACT. All life has descended from a common ancestor. As much as my scientist self cringes at speaking the blasphemy of “fact”, that is apparently how it must be done. In truth, evolution is the hypothesis, and we can only reject it if we find evidence to support another hypothesis. If you believe in God then you must believe in evolution. All life, and I mean all life, is based on DNA. DNA was designed to mutate, mutations lead to good traits and bad traits. That is how it is done, that’s God’s model, to say it does not happen that way is to deny God his creation. Shame on you.

Now lets examine the stupidity of Don MCLeroy’s argument. (Mr. McLeroy is the Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education – lucky us!)

First – evolution is vital to understanding biology. Why are Asians and American Indians so sensitive to alcohol? Because they lack alcohol dehydrogenase. Why? Evolution. What are spines on a cactus? Modified leaves, Why? Evolution. If you want to teach kids to memorize terms, that is not science nor is it education.

Second, there is no other plausible theory for how life got to where it is today. None. The fact that you can’t explain how a flagella was developed does not negate the theory. The fact that you can disagree with the hypothesis posed on a particular aspect does not throw the whole theory out. The evidence points this direction, it supports the hypothesis. But more importantly it does not support any other hypothesis proposed.

Third, identifying the weakness is just a lame attempt at allowing those that will never accept evolution to have their say. This is designed to mask how the scientific process works. Since you will never "fail to reject" the hypothesis your purported weaknesses will always be biased. This is counter to how science works. We never say the hypothesis is true, we only reject or fail to reject. In science you must be willing to do both. You can talk about the weakness in evolution all you want, but if it is done only to discredit it and not support another hypothesis then you are hurting scientific reasoning and hence education.

The evidence on evolution, taken as a whole, leads science to say “fail to reject.” Would you propose also handing out literature in church pointing out the weakness to the idea of God? Would this threaten our children’s faith? Asking for scientific proof of God negates faith the same way that ignoring evolution denies how science and our world works.

Forth - The evolution side is not dogmatic. It is evidence based. If you truly want to let the test of scientific explanation win then put up your intelligent designer hypothesis to the same scrutiny but be prepared to be disappointed. Evolution detractors will never give up on their belief that it happened just like the Bible says. The Bible is the word of God – and you can’t deny that or you would….deny God. That is dogmatic.

I give credit to God for his model; you deny him his creation because of your Bible. So here's the deal. I will give up the theory that all life evolved from a common ancestor if another hypothesis is presented and supported better than the current model for evolution. Will you give up on ID if the evidence is not there?

The Eagle, Sunday, 11-16-08

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