• How to Change How People See a Major Scientific Theory

    Creationists are forever trying to change how we view evolution.  Michael Behe has tried to redefine science to mean everything from voodoo to astrology.  Other creationists try to tell us that Intelligent Design is compatible with evolution and just is another layer on top of it.  Morris and Whitcomb’s The Genesis Flood proposed “scientific creationism” which was really invented by McCready Price in the early 1900s.

    Yet, they all fail.  Why?

    Because there simply isn’t any positive supporting evidence for their positions (any of the thousands that I have heard).  I continually ask creationists two questions.  The first is simple.

    Do you understand that even if you completely and totally discredit evolution right here, right now, it doesn’t mean that your notions of creationism are correct?

    This shows one of the hallmarks of science that creationists (and anti-vaxers and anti-GMOs and all the other anti-science people) just don’t understand.  It’s not enough to discredit one scientific position.  That really doesn’t mean anything.  I will note that it means something in the popular world because most people have the complete inability to realize that there are multiple options besides the two being discussed.  In fact, many people have problems dealing with more than one position.  For example, a creationist who has wandered over to this network is fond of claiming “my position can’t explain new body forms (or whatever)”.  Yet this creationist has utterly failed, in over two years, to correctly describe “my position”.  He can’t even conceive of the actual science, much less my ‘position’.

    The other question I routinely ask is

    OK, you win.  Evolution (or other science) is wrong.  Now what?  How does ID/creationism/etc. describe phenomenon x?

    Again, the most common response is complete silence (or a strong of vindictive).  Because creationists and other anti-science folks don’t understand that their pet notions have to actually do something.

    Science today is used to make predictions.  It is used to develop tools and make profits.  No creationist/IDist/anti-science notion has ever done any of that.  IDists have had numerous occasions to use their… ummm… skills to make predictions about various aspects of the world.  If creationists had predicted HIV immunity or the location of Tiktaalik or any of several hundred thousand other discoveries in the last 50 years of biology, then they might have a leg to stand on.  But they haven’t.

    The principles of evolution are used in thousands of businesses to create new drugs, help people, save lifes, generate new processes, streamline processes and products, even play the stock market.  There are dozens of evolutionary algorithms all over the world being used to create things that humans have never dreamed of.  Evolutionary algorithms have been used to play checkers, determine diesel engine parameters, design spacecraft and optics, streamline product construction in dozens of factories and find new drugs.

    Creationism hasn’t done anything.  Oh, they keep saying how great it would be if anyone actually used it.  But the proof is in the profit.  Businesses will do nearly anything to increase profits.  Even a tenth of a percent increase in efficiency can mean billions of dollars in savings for some companies.  So why don’t they use ID/creationist principles?

    Because they don’t actually do anything.

    I work in an office with no less than 10 mathematicians.  Most of whom have masters degrees.  I can pick up the phone and call 5 or 6 psychometricians who all have Ph.Ds in statistics.  And I still can’t get one IDist to walk me through ANY calculation for anything in ID.

    I tend to ramble, so here’s where all this came from.  How do you revolutionize a major scientific principle?

    This may be one way. If anyone gets Science and could send me this article from the Oct 12 issue, I would be grateful.

    Anyway, Dr. Newman is proposing a new idea about how body plans came to exist.  Basically, he’s saying that the chemistry resulting from the proteins that allows cells to stick together also allows the basic ‘shape’ of organisms.  And by shape here, we mean, the three layers of cells in all modern animals.

    Just based on the press-release, I have no idea if he has any evidence for this or if it’s just a hypothesis.  However, it would seem to be testable.  Recent research shows that, in the presence of a predator, yeast cells can form clumps of varying sizes, with 8 cells being optimal, and will remain in those clumps, long after the predator has been removed.  This would seem to be the early stage of something like a Volvox.

    This concept, like  the rest of evolutionary developmental biology, is new, but it does all the things that it needs to.  It explains something that wasn’t explained before.  It fits in with all the known observations we have.  It’s testable.  It’s falsifiable.  It’s discriminatory.  It’s good science.

    All the things that creationism isn’t.



    Category: BiologyCreationismEvolutionScience


    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat