Evolution is under attack again in Kansas. Many liberals are alarmed that the religious right are now trying to bring creationism back into the schools. They characterize the pro "Intelligent Design" (ID) folks as religious rubes with no respect for science. But this is not quite true.
Evolution has some serious gaps in it’s credibility. Here are a few.
One way good science tests it’s theories is by elucidating the conditions that might falsify their theory. Evolutionists are not fond of doing so. So here’s one.
How about if you found a morphologically modern human bone that was very old, say, near the beginning of the proposed evolutionary time scale? That would mean that modern humans existed at the beginning of your timeline when only primitive men should have lived. Do such fossils exist? Quite possibly.
What about if we produce lots of random mutations in test subjects and see if we can produce a higher order of creature? Not just a new species – I mean, speciation is not evolution in the larger sense. I have not heard of anyone doing this successfully, not even with fruit flies.
The claim that evolutionary biology can not be tested through experimentation and observation is a good criticism – basically we only have historical evidence, not empirical evidence. That leaves a lot of room for guessing and assumptions. With such a foundation, I would be slow to believe in evolution. (BTW, this is assuming that natural selection is not evolution, and NS’s existence is not proof of evolution in itself – it’s just the proposed mechanism).
Not only that, the creationists have done a good job of discussing the "gaps and contradictions" in the fossil evidence, such as the lack of precursors before the "Cambrian explosion," the continued debunking (by evolutionary scientists) of fossil ancestors in the human fossil record (debunked by both the discovery of new evidence as well as frauds and just plain bad science), not to mention the chaos that each new significant animal fossil find creates in the phylogenetic trees.
The ID people have one common sense principle on their side – the level of complexity we see in nature does not look like an accident. It appears self-evident that despite the arguments of Dawkins and Stephen Wolfram (the latter who does really interesting work), the improbability of evolution by random mutation and natural selection still seems absurd. And evolutionists have not done enough to convince people that their theory could really, as creationists like to say "create a prince from a frog."
While evolutionists go on convincing themselves that their theory is ironclad, they are steadily losing ground in the public arena because, in their arrogance and need to comfort themselves that no reasonable person would question their
religion, worldview conclusions, they consider their opponents rubes and religious fanatics.
Unfortunately, they have miscalculated just as the liberal democrats did in the last election. They only listen to one another and can’t believe that any reasonable person would disagree with them. And when they find that many disagree with them, they panic, thinking the whole world has abandoned reason. However, what has actually happened is that they have become so enamored with their theory, and need it to be true so desperately (since to not have it would throw their understanding of the world into chaos), that their paranoia only allows them to see the rubes and charlatans opposing them, while they miss their reasonable colleagues who don’t want to be locked into their poorly supported world view.
BTW, I’ve always wondered. For a mutation to be passed on to progeny, wouldn’t it have to occur in the germ cells, not just the somatic cells? What’s the chances of that? Have we done that in the labs? Maybe.
Hey, are you mad yet? ;)
Is evolution science?
One of the best things that has come out of the whole debate is the questioning and clarification around what the scientific method, and science are and are not.
However, when creationist try to apply the principles of falsifiability, forming hypotheses, using empirical data, using your model to incorporate facts and predict future discoveries, etc. to evolutionary biology, they seem to have a case that it fails on some accounts.
The typical evolutionary responses are that creationists are creating a straw man (misrepresenting true science), or are not true scientists but religious folks with other motives (ad hominem attack), or other such disingenuous responses. I admit, in some cases, creationists do create straw men (as do evolutionists when representing creationism or ID), but the truth is, most evolutionists don’t answer even the valid challenges and questions around what true science is, and how it is limited with regard to macro evolution, since it can not be directly observed.
Is ID science?
Here’s another arena where evolutionists are losing ground because they have a knee jerk reaction to anything that doubts evolution or looks like religion in scientific garb. While evolutionists opine about how ID isn’t a full-orbed explanation of origins (which it does not pretend to be), people notice that they are totally missing the simple point that it is making – that when we apply the rules of information science and math to the genetic and biological systems we see, the statistical impossibility of such systems arising by chance seems astronomic. That’s it! What evolutionists should be doing is engaging that argument rather than throwing up their hands saying "the creationists are at it again!" So what? When evolutionists resort to ridicule, not to mention the hubris found in words such as "surely" and "certainly," the thinking (and unthinking) public look at them and say "the ID folks sound reasonable, but you sound like the fanatic? Why are you not engaging them?"
Of course, many polite and intelligent discussions have gone on from both sides of this issue, but I’d say by the tenor of most posts on evolutionary boards and in science itself, the general response is one of lip smacking and condescension, not intelligent, clear responses.
Resorting to Obfuscation
This is probably just my perspective, but I have been watching the debate for over 20 years now, and one thing I notice. When evolutionists first started "losing ground" over the fossil record, they would berate their "low brow" opponents, and then would retreat to more esoteric fields of knowledge, or other scientific disciplines in order to maintain their superior position. "You see," they would intone, "all of science disagrees with you, and we have an integrated system of
belief thought that proves that evolution is the best explanation for the natural world we see."
Now, they are being challenged in the molecular world, where will they retreat to next? Choose a discipline – but maybe not physics, since those guys keep becoming religious as they peer into the sub molecular world (though, not Christian per se).
I am sorry that I am short on facts on this point, but it is getting late, and besides, that’s just my impression. I certainly don’t have enough evidence to make a conclusion. But then, if I was an evolutionist… ;)