Skip to comments.Conclusions From Uncounted Creation/Evolution Debates
Posted on 06/10/2006 4:33:28 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
Gentle FReepers, herewith I present a few conclusions I have reached after uncounted creation/evolution debates:
1. Creationism is a religious doctrine. This is not, as many claim, the arbitrary result of ACLU-inspired Supreme Court decisions like Epperson v. Arkansas, and Edwards v. Aguillard. Rather, those court decisions are inevitable, given the faith-based nature of creationism.
Is creationism really faith-based? Of course it is. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing scientific about it either. Imagine a competent scientist from Japan or India or some other place where no one studied the creation account in Genesis (or its Islamic counterpart). If he were to honestly and systematically consider the objectively verifiable evidence in reaching scientific conclusions, then:
a. it would never occur to him that the world is only 6,000 years old [How Old is the Earth];
b. it would never occur to him that there had been a miles-deep global flood about 3,000 years ago [The Geologic Column and its Implications for the Flood];
c. it would never occur to him that all species lived at the same time [The Fossil Record: Evolution or "Scientific Creation"]; and
d. he would inevitably conclude that all species are related by common descent, and that the relationships are becoming more clear all the time [Tree of Life Web Project ].
2. Regardless of the claims of some, creationism isn't the same thing as Christianity. Why do we say this?
a. First, because not all Christians are creationists, and therefore -- obviously -- creationism isn't essential to their conception of Christianity. We are very much aware that some denominations teach otherwise, and this essay isn't intended to be a debate among denominations. Further, this essay doesn't pretend to be a learned discourse about theology. It is unfortunate that we have a denominational (not scientific) dispute about evolution, but it exists.
In stating that creationism isn't essential, we are relying entirely on the statements of thousands of Christian clergy, e.g., The Clergy Letter Project, a strong, pro-evolution statement signed by over 10,000 Christian clergymen; Statements from Religious Organizations, a list of Christian and Jewish denominations, including Roman Catholics, that accept (or at least don't dispute) evolution; and the recent statement opposing creationism by the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the 70-million-member Anglican Communion.
Clergymen are usually not scientists; therefore their opinions (whether pro or con) have no special significance regarding the scientific validity of evolution. What the above-referenced opinions do indicate is that for all of these clergymen and their denominations, evolution is compatible with their religion.
b. Second, because not all creationists are Christians. To begin with, there are the Raelians, a sect based entirely on ID.
There are also a billion followers Islam. See: Why Muslims Should Support Intelligent Design, By Mustafa Akyol.
The Hare Krishnas also reject Darwinian evolution. Their website has this article: The Intelligent Designer.
There is also the Unification Church, founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. One of Moon's followers, Jonathan Wells, is a leading intellectual in the ID movement. He is the author of Icons of Evolution, and is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. Wells has written movingly about how Rev. Moon motivated his career in ID: Darwinism: Why I Went for a Second Ph.D.
2. Intelligent Design (ID) is not science. This is quoted from the Dover decision:
[After a page of references to expert testimony] It is therefore readily apparent to the Court that ID fails to meet the essential ground rules that limit science to testable, natural explanations. (3:101-03 (Miller); 14:62 (Alters)). Science cannot be defined differently for Dover students than it is defined in the scientific community as an affirmative action program, as advocated by Professor Fuller, for a view that has been unable to gain a foothold within the scientific establishment. Although ID's failure to meet the ground rules of science is sufficient for the Court to conclude that it is not science, out of an abundance of caution and in the exercise of completeness, we will analyze additional arguments advanced regarding the concepts of ID and science.
The evidence presented in this case demonstrates that ID is not supported by any peer-reviewed research, data or publications. Both Drs. Padian and Forrest testified that recent literature reviews of scientific and medical-electronic databases disclosed no studies supporting a biological concept of ID. (17:42-43 (Padian); 11:32-33 (Forrest)). On cross-examination, Professor Behe admitted that: "There are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred." (22:22-23 (Behe)). Additionally, Professor Behe conceded that there are no peer-reviewed papers supporting his claims that complex molecular systems, like the bacterial flagellum, the blood-clotting cascade, and the immune system, were intelligently designed. (21:61-62 (complex molecular systems), 23:4-5 (immune system), and 22:124-25 (blood-clotting cascade) (Behe)). In that regard, there are no peer-reviewed articles supporting Professor Behe's argument that certain complex molecular structures are "irreducibly complex."17 (21:62, 22:124-25 (Behe)). In addition to failing to produce papers in peer-reviewed journals, ID also features no scientific research or testing. (28:114-15 (Fuller); 18:22-23, 105-06 (Behe)).
After this searching and careful review of ID as espoused by its proponents, as elaborated upon in submissions to the Court, and as scrutinized over a six week trial, we find that ID is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community. ID, as noted, is grounded in theology, not science. Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents', as well as Defendants' argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum. Moreover, ID's backers have sought to a void the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. To conclude and reiterate, we express no opinion on the ultimate veracity of ID as a supernatural explanation. However, we commend to the attention of those who are inclined to superficially consider ID to be a true "scientific" alternative to evolution without a true understanding of the concept the foregoing detailed analysis. It is our view that a reasonable, objective observer would, after reviewing both the voluminous record in this case, and our narrative, reach the inescapable conclusion that ID is an interesting theological argument, but that it is not science.
Source: Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al.
3. ID is creationism. Consider the ID text, Of Pandas and People, which is favorably regarded by ID advocates such as the Discovery Institute, as indicated by their link to this article: A Report on the ASA Conference Debate on Pandas and People Textbook. This is the book that the Dover school board recommended and made available to science students, with these results:
As Plaintiffs meticulously and effectively presented to the Court, Pandas went through many drafts, several of which were completed prior to and some after the Supreme Court's decision in Edwards [Edwards v. Aguillard], which held that the Constitution forbids teaching creationism as science. By comparing the pre and post Edwards drafts of Pandas, three astonishing points emerge:
(1) the definition for creation science in early drafts is identical to the definition of ID;
(2) cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID; and
(3) the changes occurred shortly after the Supreme Court held that creation science is religious and cannot be taught in public school science classes in Edwards.
This word substitution is telling, significant, and reveals that a purposeful change of words was effected without any corresponding change in content, which directly refutes FTE's [FTE = the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, the publisher of Pandas] argument that by merely disregarding the words "creation" and "creationism," FTE expressly rejected creationism in Pandas. In early pre-Edwards drafts of Pandas, the term "creation" was defined as "various forms of life that began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features intact -- fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc," the very same way in which ID is defined in the subsequent published versions.
Source: Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al..
4. There is no virtually dispute about evolution in scientific circles. Therefore there is no "controversy" that needs to be taught in science classes.
As Project Steve indicates, over 700 scientists named Steve (or Stephanie, Esteban, or Stefano, etc.), about two-thirds of whom are biologists, have signed on to a statement that says:
Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to 'intelligent design,' to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools.
These Steves are only the tip of the scientific iceberg, because the name "Steve" is given to only about 1% of the population. Therefore, the 700 Steves probably represent about 70,000 scientists. See also Project Steve update.
The Steves alone are greater in number than all the scientists (of every name) who have signed statements questioning evolution, and most of the evolution skeptics aren't biologists. For example, the much-publicized list of 500 names (compared to 70,000) collected by the Discovery Institute includes only about 154 biologists, less than one-third of the total. Those 500 signed a rather ambiguous statement, which says:
We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.
[Note what a hollow statement that is, compared to the statement signed by the Steves; and also note what the hollow statement doesn't say: It doesn't say that those who sign it are creationists or advocates of ID (although some probably are). It doesn't even say that they reject evolution (although some probably do). It merely says they're "skeptical," presumably a term chosen to permit as many as possible to sign.]
In contrast, two-thirds of the 700 Steves are biologists, so the biologist-Steves are about 466 in number. The Steves being about 1% of the population represent approximately 46,600 biologists. Compare that number to the 154 biologists' names collected by the Discovery Institute. Those 154 are the totality of biologists who are evolution skeptics. Did you get that? The actual comparison is 46,600 biologists who accept evolution and a mere 154 who are "skeptical."
These competing lists clearly tell us that evolution skeptics are a tiny fringe group -- about one-third of one percent of biologists. Therefore, notwithstanding the unending demands to "teach the controversy," there literally is no scientific controversy about the basic principles of evolution. Scientists, especially those in the biological fields, are all but unanimous in their acceptance of evolution.
For more information, see The List-O-Links.
I believe a combination of both.
You are overstating the obvious.
And that is, at best, barely sufficient.
And, yes, we need to all be nice just in case we get moved to the Religion Forum.
I say that often. Sometimes it helps :-).
Have a good weekend!
Good post though. Should carry us through the rest of the weekend anyway.
Creationism is a religious doctrine.
That's a pretty stout limb you wandered onto :). Your other points are spot on as well.
Yeah, but I wanted to get it all in one place. Doesn't matter how active the thread gets. It's more of an archive of information than a debate.
I've been informed that the second and third of my major points are each number 2. I'll try to get by the embarrassment.
"I believe a combination of both."
Me too. It didn't happen in seven days. Sorry. Not beleiving in the seven day theory doesn't mean I'm going to hell. It just means that my God is such a good scientist that none of the authors of the bible could possibly comprehend the message they were trying to write. I skip over the things man tried to wrongly comprehend though and say, if there is no God, where the heck did it come from? I have no problem with a Big Bang theory, especially since the way the bible explains it, the Big Bang would have been a colossal Bang that had about 5 billion years all wrapped into seven days. But, what happened a couple of days before the big bang? Everything was null and void, and without form? Ok, what was it made of? Who made that? I can beleive in God without beleiving that the people who interpreted the the bible knew what the heck God was giving them. No, "God did it" doesn't work for me. I beleive God did it, but I want to know how. And to do that, I use the scientific method. Which gives us just about every piece of technology we have today.
A lot of this bears repeating, but this part in particular.
Yes, like Newtonism and Pastuerism and other studies that rely on a theorerical underpinning.
I mean, everything is a belief and all beliefs are equal, right?
But you have no proof, monkey-boy! </Luddite_mode>
(Thank God for the SBR!)
However I would like to see the very mistaken claim that Darwinism (whatever that happens to be) is separate from the science of evolution and is nothing more than a religion, addressed.
Although the many who describe Darwinism as a religion attempt to separate this imaginary philosophical position from the sciences it is quite apparent that they have a decidedly anti-science lean. It would be helpful to enumerate the many tactics used in the attempts to divorce the (many) evolutionary sciences which contribute to the SToE from 'True(TM)' science.
People with dyscountia should use the <ol> HTML feature.
The big bang is a good place to start. There was a formless void and then there was light.
In a fit of weekend caprice, this thread may get moved to breaking news.
If evolution is a religion, what are geology, biology, zoology and all the other sciences? Denominations?
No wonder inter-departmental battles are so nasty!
I guess that's a good topic for another vanity thread.
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