Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It Isn't Popular Because It's An "- ism"

As reported by Slashdot:

"... Carl Safina, an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University, has an interesting essay in the NYTimes that says that equating evolution with Charles Darwin opened the door for creationism by ignoring 150 years of discoveries, including most of what scientists understand about evolution — Gregor Mendel's patterns of heredity, the discovery of DNA, developmental biology, studies documenting evolution in nature, and evolution's role in medicine and disease. Darwinism implies an ideology adhering to one man's dictates, like Marxism, says Safina. He adds that nobody talks about Newtonism or Einsteinism, and that by making Darwin 'into a sacred fetish misses the essence of his teaching.' By turning Darwin into an 'ism,' scientists created the opening for creationism, with the 'isms' implying equivalence. 'By propounding "Darwinism," even scientists and science writers perpetuate an impression that evolution is about one man, one book, one theory,' writes Safina. '"Darwinism" implies that biological scientists "believe in" Darwin's "theory." It's as if, since 1860, scientists have just ditto-headed Darwin rather than challenging and testing his ideas, or adding vast new knowledge.'"

It seems like any way people can they want to see where the huge movement and momentum of "creationism" came from. I suppose for so long ... they thought they had won - public education, TV, books - all media saying there's no such thing as Creationism - then starting about 10 years ago more and more SCIENCE that is demonstrable, provable, and plausibly alternative started coming out. After my trip to the Creation Museum, seeing the movie Expelled, seeing the Discovery Channel documentary The Privileged Planet - I'm totally convinced that scientists have had their science backwards and that the reason "creationism" has taken off - isn't because its an "-ism". It's because more and more people have been able to see the truth behind evolution.

This scientist seems to think that creationists don't believe in evolution - in fact - to the contrary it compliments creation theory substantially - just adding intelligent design into the equation. I am the first to agree that some take creationism too far - but no more so than evolution being the ONLY answer to everything that exists as many scientists so allege.

What I haven't figured out is if the debate isn't actually over Judeo-Christian beliefs then why bring more people's attention to it such as articles in the New York Times?


Paul Douglas said...

The article has a point, turning Darwin's work into an -ism was a stupid idea. Darwin was a scientist, he believed in testing and discovery, not dogma.

People on both sides of this dispute are completely out of their shells. Denying evolution ignores observable facts of life, whilst decrying intelligent design as impossible or mocking it for being based n religion shows the same dogmatism these people claim to oppose.

The fact is, no one knows if creationism is real, but there's nothing to say it's not. Evolution is fact, but no one rational has ever said it disproves creation.

Anonymous said...

You're painting the word evolution with too broad of a brush. Creationists typically do not deny that there is evidence of natural selection in nature past and present. There is not a lot of debate that evolution within species occurs; the fossil record clearly bears this out.

What creationists decry is the notion that an incredibly detailed and complex universe and related ecosystems, plants, animals, etc. came out of nothing. There is no science here; it is complete speculation. Additionally, the notion that there was inter-species evolution, i.e. single-cell to multi-cell to fish to amphibians to lizards etc. has never been shown in either the fossil record or any current examples.

Evolution as a broad science is neither science nor fact. It is speculation designed to explain what cannot be explained outside of intelligent design. Don't refer to evolution as fact or something based upon testing and discovery because it isn't.

Paul Douglas said...

That is false, evolution is considered scientific fact because it can be tested and demonstrated. Do not assume it to be un-scientific simply because you find it implausible that all of this could occur without divine intervention - intelligent design - as one can easily suggest that intelligent design is completely illogical as if the universe needed an omniscient intelligence to come into being, how did that same intelligence come into being, given that it must itself be at least as complicated as the system it created?

I do not deny the possibility of creation, there is no evidence against it. But you do yourself a disservice to suggest that natural evolution is pure speculation and that "only" intelligent design explains the universe as it is and therefore must be true.

Saying "x is true because I say it's the only way that makes sense" is not science, it is dogma. Science is formulating a theory, observing reality and making a conclusion which can be tested.

It's ironic to go from calling Evolution and (indirectly) Big Bang Theory speculation and to call them "[not] science" to spewing the dogma that only creationism makes sense when there is equal evidence and likelihood to both.

I am not even an atheist. At the moment, I don't personally believe there is a Creator but I can understand why others would believe that and I accept there is evidence that there may be a Creator. What I won't stand for is dogmatist either of Creation or natural evolution because both sides are unproven.

Evolution is taught in schools because we can test it and find it to true. Intelligent Design is currently just one theory as to why evolution might take place and to suggest it disproves evolution is both irresponsible and wrong.