Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Response to Darren

Recently I had an ID enthusiast comment on my blog. I am going to post his comment and my response. I am doing so in a post because my web links were "cut off". And by the by, I just want to say that I think this guy is intelligent and civil, and I intend to keep the conversation that way. I don't want to be the arrogant "more scientific than thou" type, I simply want to present the truth. And by the way, I think I need to clarify two things:
1) A theory is not a guess. It is a well tested natural explanation.
2) The fact of Evolution has no bearing on the issue of whether or not human life is 'sacred'. I think all human beings should be treated with dignity.

His Comment:

Should we teach flat earth 'theory' along with round earth theory too?

There is no such thing as a round earth theory. We can scientifically and mathematically prove that the Earth is oblate. Teaching creationism in public schools is immoral, illegal, and irresponsible. Intelligent Design Theory is not a religion. Teaching Genesis would be, however, ID theory is an alternative with its own scientific backing, and therefore belongs in the classroom.

It is irresponsible because we cannot teach future doctors and scientists such an unuseful and unscientific idea.

I would personally much rather have a doctor who believed in the sanctity of life than one who felt that survival of the fittest was a good alternative.

You would be wasting these children's time teaching them creationism when we could teach them the unifying idea of biology: Evolution.

Nobody is suggesting that we don't teach them evolution. It is also a viable theory and belongs in the classroom. I personally believe in a Creator, but that would not stop me discussing evolution. In fact I believed evolution unquestioningly for over 90% of my life. I still believe in micro-evolution [See next section]

This is something that actually has application: Estimating the odds of viri and bacterium evolving immunity to an antibiotic

Here I have to draw your attention to the difference between Micro-Evolution and Macro-Evolution. Micro-Evolution is where changes in genetic information causes change(s) in the animals characteristics. These characteristics can include things such as resistance to antibiotics and the colours of moths' wings. Micro-Evolution is proven fact. Macro-Evolution is still a theory, because we have not witnessed it happening, nor do we have sufficient evidence to prove that it ever has happened. If we had, there would be very few creationists, because we are not all ignorant.

My Response:

Hi Darren,

If ID is to be taught in classrooms, they need to first win over a substantial percentage of biological scientists. This is the way all ideas, including evolution, have made their way into classrooms.They can do this by:

1) Demonstrating that their theory has more explanatory power than Evolution.

2) Generating falsifiable scientific predictions and subsequently verifying them.In both cases, they have failed. The predictions which ID makes have been falsified. For example, the contention that irreducibly complex systems cannot evolve:

Jonathan Wells even made a prediction based on ID that has now been falsified:

On the other hand, Darwin's predictions have been beautifully confirmed. Here is just one example: Charles Darwin predicted that since we are anatomically most similar to the great apes of Africa, it was most likely that we evolved in Africa*, and therefore intermediate fossils (between a small brained knuckle walking ape and homo sapiens) would be found in Africa. Sure enough, this prediction has been proven true.Here are some of the skulls which have been found:

* The simplest explanation is that the common ancestor of chimps, gorillas, and humans lived in Africa, and that some humans wondered off, rather than the common ancestor living somewhere else and the gorillas and chimps migrating to Africa. Feel free to drop by the blog again sometime, you are obviously intelligent and capable of civil discussion, which I always encourage here.


W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

Proof only exists in mathematics.

There is no proof that the Earth is round or even oblate. One can always construct bizarro physics scenarios where our perceptions are fooled.

Bruce the Moose said...

It is my opinion that, at best, intelligent design has the vague possibility of being details within the theory of evolution. Even if these details are found to be valid, the bulk of the ToE still stands.

Plug of my topic on this matter:


AIGBusted said...

Hi Bruce,

I agree with you. Common Descent is very well supported, and even the staunchest creationists usually acknowledge that natural processes affected the way life is in at least some way.

You know, if you think about it, Selective Breeding is a form of design, which has certainly affected lots of animals on earth (Plants, Livestock, Dogs).

In the end, I don't think there is the slightest evidence that something from "the outside" (God, aliens, etc.) shaped the Evolution of Life.

SirMoogie said...

I have to agree with the ID proponent on this point:

"There is no such thing as a round earth theory. We can scientifically and mathematically prove that the Earth is oblate."

However, not only can we mathematically prove that the earth is an oblate spheroid, we can actually see that it is spherical, given access to space faring transportation, or satellite technology. The "flat-earth" vs. "round earth" theories, if such a controversy actually existed in the ancient Greek academies, left the realm of theory, and entered the realm of facts, the second we were able to make observations that the Earth is indeed an oblate spheroid.

The same is the case for evolution vs. alternatives. The second we were able to observe gradual descent with modification, through the fossil record and other avenues, evolution left the realm of theory, and became fact. How it occurred is a task for evolutionary theorists and their experiments.


AIGBusted said...

Hey Sir Moogie!

I was tickled to death to see your comment (Glad to have you as a reader!).

You know, the people who believe in a flat earth think that the photos of it were fake, so there is really nothing we could do to convince them.

I wonder how they explain the fact that you can travel to Russia through Alaska or Europe?

Anyhoo, "theory" always qualies as "fact" and that it defininetly means much more than an educated guess.

SirMoogie said...

Tickled to death? Alright. =D

On your point, I'm not certain I know what "qualies" means. Do you mean "quale's"? I agree that theories are more than educated guesses, but do treat them independently from facts.

AIGBusted said...

Qualies? I must have been drunk when I was typing that (just kidding). I'm sure I meant "qualifies".