Saturday, April 27, 2002

Creating a theory

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exaulted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
You could insert "science" instead of "philosophy" and be equally accurate. But science has been politicized, and shoddy science has sometimes been tolerated because it happened to offer comfort to a particular political outlook.

Today's case involves the theory of evolution, which provides comfort to antireligious people and is presented dogmatically as if there were no possible alternative. They may be right, but they shouldn't tolerate shoddy science in the process. To do so is to elevate dogma above science.

My experience in discussing evolution is that its dogmatic (as opposed to scientific) defenders claim that it explains the entire world of biology. But when I ask for examples of species changing from one to another, they can't deliver anything convincing.

Now Doug Turnbull has pointed out this and this to me as demonstrating that speciation has occurred. I suppose it's arguable by someone with a stronger biological background than my own, but I'll take it as a given.

Does this demonstrate evolution? Not yet. The only examples discussed for vertebrates are based on "morphology", which could well have put Chihuahuas and Rottweilers as different species. None of the examples were more than one step. The theory isn't complete until the entire chain is assembled.

And it gets harder toward the top as species are more complex and less prolific. The new species, which presumably cannot mate with their parents or siblings, must occur often enough so that they can find each other. And this must occur for enough generations to establish the new species. (whatever a species might be, that is).

And we've seen fraud here before, such as Piltdown man.

Perhaps these links will be discovered. But until those discoveries are made and successfully peer-reviewed, claims that evolution progressed from the first life forms and culminated in the development of modern man remain speculation, which places them on par with creationism.

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