Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Why no missing links?

From the time of its creation by Charles Darwin, the theory of evolution has been about more than mere science. Nonbelievers have always seized upon it as a weapon against the religious and their creation explanations. And because they needed it for nonscientific reasons, they didn't much care if science could defend their claims.

Whether you're religious or not, if you believe in the scientific method, you insist that your theories should be supported by evidence. That no one else has come up with a theory that you think is "better" does not serve to prove your own. Yet the abusers of evolution science insist on stretching a thin layer of knowledge to cover a vast area of ignorance to this day.

This article gives a good example:
Matt Ridley, the science writer, kindly explained the lack of fossils before the Cambrian explosion: ‘Easy. There were no hard body parts before then. Why? Probably because there were few mobile predators, and so few jaws and few eyes. There are in fact lots of Precambrian fossils, but they are mostly microbial fossils, which are microscopic and boring.’
Tough luck pal. No evidence, no theory, no excuses. You may be 100% correct, but the theory must forever contain holes if you are. And this should be acknowledged openly by anyone practicing honest science.

The writer of the piece bemoans that "71 percent of adult Americans think that the evidence against Darwin should be taught in schools". Well, if we insist on teaching Darwinism in schools, why not? What's so special about Darwinism that it cannot be permitted to be challenged in schools? Why do high-school science classes have to address origins at all? - would the lack of it somehow reduce graduates' ability to be responsible citizens?

I'm guessing Richard Dawkins would say it does:
‘Imagine,’ he wrote, ‘that there is a well-organised and well-financed group of nutters, implacably convinced that the Roman Empire never existed. Hadrian’s Wall, Verulamium, Pompeii — Rome itself — are all planted fakes. The Latin language, for all its rich literature and its Romance language grandchildren, is a Victorian fabrication. The Rome deniers are, no doubt, harmless wingnuts, more harmless than the Holocaust deniers whom they resemble. Smile and be tolerant, just as we smile at the Flat Earth Society. But your tolerance might wear thin if you happen to be a lifelong scholar and teacher of Roman history, language or literature. You suddenly find yourself obliged to interrupt your magnum opus on the Odes of Horace in order to devote time and effort to rebutting a well-financed propaganda campaign claiming that the entire classical world that you love never existed.’
That's one whopper of a straw man - you can question Darwinism without claiming anything analogous what Dawkins suggests above. Either he's not too bright or he thinks we aren't.

And at least we can visit those ruins and read those texts. We can't see Dawkins' missing links. We insist on physical evidence for any other theory, why should we accept it for Darwinism?

You don't have to be religious to insist that science not be corrupted by ideology.

No comments: