Controversial theories arenít science
To the Editor:
This is in response to Eric Thuma's column regarding Darwin's theory of evolution that appeared in the Feb. 25 issue of the Tri-City Times. The column is misleading about the details and the foundation of the controversy as follows.
Darwin moved away from belief in God as a result of his studies—in fact, he called himself Agnostic. To suggest that "Darwin's understanding of nature never departed from a theological point of view" based upon the quote given is misleading, especially for someone who allegedly "has studied and written about Darwin for over three decades." Darwin's autobiography describes how his studies led him away from faith. This immediately casts doubt upon the credibility of the NPR report.
Modern evolution does not even qualify as a scientific theory—rather it is a story about possible origins of life. A scientific "theory" must meet 4 basic requirements to be properly labeled a theory. It must: 1) originate from and be well-supported by experimental evidence, 2) be specific enough to be falsifiable by testing, 3) must make specific, testable predictions about things not yet observed, and 4) must allow changes based upon the discovery of new evidence. Evolution fails the first three of the four.
First, let's discuss what "part" of evolution we're talking about. Evolution is defined many ways from various sources; indeed, the scientific community cannot even agree upon a definition, which is an indication of its weakness. Most descriptions include two levels of phenomenon: 1) Change of a species through mutation and natural selection resulting in changes in successive generations, and 2) The concept that all life on earth has developed though small steps of natural selection into the variety of life seen on earth today. The first part is well-supported by evidence in everyday life, and is not disputed. It is the second part that is highly questionable.
Evolution is not well-supported by the evidence. In fact, there is virtually no evidence ever found of a chain of intermediate forms that had to have existed for evolution to have occurred. Darwin knew this and was perplexed by the lack of fossil evidence, but in his time there was only a small fossil record. He understandably presumed they existed and would be found in the future, however after 150+ years and hundreds of thousands of new fossils found, there is no record of any transition of even 1 major change in physical form. The lack of evidence should be viewed as damaging to evolution, but every fossil found is described by evolutionists as "proving" evolution when it proves nothing of the sort.
Evolution (as it is promoted today) is virtually not falsifiable. The circular logic goes like this: Evolution has brought about all current life through natural selection— "survival of the fittest." What are the fittest? Everything that survives is the fittest, therefore evolution must be true. Evolutionists describe the details of every organism on earth and explain how they have been wonderfully developed and honed through natural selection, and therefore stand as another example of the results of evolution. But a more honest approach would be to realize that the fact that an aardvark is very adept at collecting ants from the ground does not provide any information about how that ability came about.
Evolution has made no testable predictions about major physiological changes occurring. There are countless examples of minor adaptation, like flu viruses, moths, finches, etc. which are all very good examples of simple adaptations. However there has never been (to my knowledge) any test or evidence of major evolutionary-scale changes being observed. Proponents of evolution use examples of minor changes and extrapolate it into evidence of major changes, but this is simply not appropriate and is dishonest.
On the 4th requirement, evolution does meet the standard, indeed it is incredibly flexible as every new discovery can always seem to be explained by evolutionists.
Evolution is not scientifically proven, despite it being accepted and believed by many people.
Intelligent Design is also not scientifically proven, despite it being accepted and believed by many people.
I would submit that the evidence for evolution is about on par with the evidence for intelligent design. One who would evaluate the evidence from a purely objective viewpoint (although I doubt there are any such people on earth) would come to the same conclusion. Essentially those who accept evolution do so after viewing the evidence from their particular worldview, just like those who accept intelligent design do so after analyzing the evidence from their worldview. The same evidence is viewed differently based on one's worldview, whether they are willing to acknowledge this or not.
The spokespeople for evolution are largely non-theists, and many openly promote atheism. So it only follows naturally that they believe evolution. The converse is true for promoters of intelligent design. It's not really a battle over science, although the evolutionists (non theists) have attempted to use the scientific community to promote their worldview. It's really a battle over worldviews.
The scientific and academic communities are today dominated by those with a secular worldview. This is coupled naturally with their major funding source (federal and state governments) where the secular worldview also dominates and seeks to marginalize other worldviews by calling them "religions" and therefore disallowing them from the academic, scientific, and political arenas. Somehow the religions of non-theism (humanism, secularism, atheism, etc.) seem to have been accepted and are in fact being implemented as the de-facto religion/worldview behind many political and academic policies in America today.
One can consult the founding documents of our country to see that this new non-theist worldview conflicts directly with the values and authority that are the basis of the founding of this country.
So should intelligent design be taught in the schools? Only if evolution is. My suggestion would be to present both hypotheses along with their strengths and weaknesses, and also the foundational worldviews for each. Then the students can have the freedom to decide, along with their parents, what they wish to believe. The current promotion of evolution as "science," without mention of either its weaknesses or of alternative ideas, is a dishonest and unethical direct attack on opposing worldviews and should be stopped.
Scott A. Boerman, Lapeer
March 11, 2009