09 November 2004

Enough already, Darwin was right!

Here is the latest installment in the evolution debate. I think calling it a "debate" is itself ludicrous. A debate implies that both sides have substantive argument. There is a really good artice in November's National Geographic. You can find the details of the here. There is a really good quote regarding this whole "it's only a theory" discussion:

If you are skeptical by nature, unfamiliar with the terminology of science, and unaware of the overwhelming evidence, you might even be tempted to say that [Evolution]'s "just" a theory. In the same sense, relativity as described by Albert Einstein is "just" a theory. The notion that Earth orbits around the sun rather than vice versa, offered by Copernicus in 1543, is a theory. Continental drift is a theory. The existence, structure, and dynamics of atoms? Atomic theory. Even electricity is a theoretical construct, involving electrons, which are tiny units of charged mass that no one has ever seen. Each of these theories is an explanation that has been confirmed to such a degree, by observation and experiment, that knowledgeable experts accept it as fact. That's what scientists mean when they talk about a theory: not a dreamy and unreliable speculation, but an explanatory statement that fits the evidence.

Should we caution our children Einstein's is only one of many diverse opinions? That we're only mostly sure that the earth goes around the sun? That they should be sure to keep an open mind on the whole electricity thing? After all, it could be the souls of our dead pets that are really powering our TV....

In case you don't want to seek out a copy of the National Geographic article (but you should), the answer to the question "Was Darwin Wrong?" is "No. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming."


Sharon GR said...

We should've gotten smarter pets. We've got 75 channels and there's still nothing good on TV.

Jeri said...

This is an issue that really gets my goat driving up the wall, to the point where I can barely speak coherently about it. Fortunately, there's a fantastic book called Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth P. Miller. He addresses all of the absurd claims by the creationists in a way that doesn't denigrate or dismiss religious faith.

What really gets me is how creationists are willing to use the weapons of postmodernism (namely, the relativism that says all "truths" are created equal) when it's convenient, yet they're content to swallow everything else on authority.

They also jump on every little criticism of Darwin by contemporary biologists as proof of creationism--i.e., if Darwin got a few details wrong, his whole house of cards tumbles. They don't understand that science is constantly tweaking itself as research creates a more complete picture.

Grrrr...Losing it...must go now.