A colleague of mine sent me the following bait in an email:

evolution = science
creation = philosophy

Why is this so hard for people to understand? Fine, teach intelligent design, but do it in a philosophy class I can make sure my kids don’t take!!

I responded as follows. For those of you sick of the simplistic entropy argument, I used it because it is a simple illustration, and I felt no need to go into all the subarguments (closed systems, crystals, blah blah):

Your statement is hard to understand because it’s an oversimplification, and therefore, ambiguous. Ambiguous statements always lead to misunderstanding instead of clarity. More detail is what you need:

  • Macroevolution = an untestable theory of origins, a philosophy of science, with a corresponding worldview (naturalistic, materialistic, often atheistic) (doubtful
  • Microevolution = speciation due to genetic changes (two of the same kind can no longer mate) (happens)
  • Microevolution 2 = genetic mutation that causes some sort of survival benefit – and is passed on to progeny (never happens?)
  • Adaptation = change to a species within its existing genome – environment causes some genes to turn on or off (happens)
  • Natural Selection = differential survival based on some existing characteristic – is best explained by adaptation (using existing genome), not mutations (happens)
  • Natural Selection 2 = some people think natural selection = evolution.  Not true.  It is the proposed mechanism by which evolution supposedly works.  Though NS occurs, it does not prove that evolution occurs – that’s a non-sequitur
  • Intelligent Design = a theory based on informatics, showing that the creation of irreducible and specialized systems in nature are statistically impossible by chance alone (cool)
  • Intelligent Design 2 = is NOT a theory of origins, but merely an information view of nature.  Nor is it creation science – in fact, some of the main proponents of ID are agnostic (Michael Behe).  They are merely responding to the nonsensical claims of evolutionary theory with an alternate way of looking at systems. (cool)
  • Creation Science = a scientific model which holds certain Biblical assumptions about the origins and nature of nature.  They use these assumptions to organize and explain scientific data into a model that both incorporates what we see and predicts what we should see.

For example, it assumes that the universe was created perfect, and has been degenerating since the beginning.  Hence, it would agree with the law of entropy, which says that things go from a state of order to disorder in an unstructured, unguided environment.  Evolution, however, argues the other way, saying that by chance and the laws of nature, increased order and/or complexity could arise by chance.  These two models start w/ different assumptions and so organize the data differently, and predict cause and outcome differently.

BTW, most science today functions independently of evolutionary theory – if the theory of evolution were disproved tomorrow, most existing science would be unaffected because it is not really needed to explain how systems work or change.  However, the creationist view of a degrading, slowing universe, with an original design, fits very well with what we see.