[forthright] To Darwin or Not to Darwin?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 17 May 2008 08:26:49 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
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Straight to the Cross


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COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH
 by Barry Newton

Will Ben Stein's film, "Expelled: No Intelligence
Allowed," succeed in raising questions of angst among
the entrenched voices of "Big Science?" From the
spigot of Wikipedia gush sources revealing the
standard ironic reaction by dissenters to Intelligent
Design. The customary party line mantra can be
represented by:

"...intelligent design meets none of the tests of a
scientific theory and is simply an updated version of
century-old creationist arguments. At a time when the
United States faces serious economic challenges, we
cannot risk derailing efforts to provide the best
possible science education for the next generation of
problem solvers."/1

"The fundamental problem with intelligent design as
science is that intelligent design claims cannot be
tested. ... Untestable claims are not scientific
claims."/2

"Scientific theories do not include God because
scientific theories must be tested. Testing requires
holding constant some variables, and no one can
“control” God; therefore, scientific explanations are
restricted to the natural causes that are testable."/3

Such quotes expose the crux of this divide actually
revolves around the philosophical question, "What is
science?" Furthermore, those making such
pronouncements seem to be oblivious to the
repercussions for evolution.

First, what is science? If the scientific
establishment wishes to limit science to only
discovering naturalistic explanations, regardless of
what might have actually transpired in the past, not
only is Intelligent Design excluded from being
scientific but the public should be educated to
realize that scientists are committed to promoting a
naturalistic ideology regarding human origins
regardless of where the evidence might point.

On the other hand, I suspect the commonsense answer
most people would offer will equate science with
discovering what is true now, and at least what is
likely true about our past. If an Intelligent Designer
actually did create life and if such an Architect left
behind evidence, such as objects which could not have
arisen naturalistically, then Intelligent Design would
certainly fall into the realm of offering scientific
explanations. Accordingly, the hypothesis of an
Intelligent Designer would be just as tentative and
scientific, as other scientific theories grappling
with the evidence to interpret the past.

Evolutionary scientists can not have it both ways.
Either they own all of the scientific answers, but
such conclusions are simply the output of a
narrowly-focused ideology in spite of whatever
contrary evidence might exist, or science examines the
feasibility and probability of all theories in light
of the evidence.

Second, and perhaps even more significant are the
repercussions of their scientific definition for
evolution. Lurking in the shadows of the preceding
evolutionists' quotes lies an untamed razor prepared
to cut through the smoke and mirrors to discredit
evolution as a legitimate science! If science is
determined by what can be tested which involves
verifying and falsifying theories, then even
evolutionist and Harvard professor emeritus Ernst
Mayer concedes that evolution can not stand up to the
same rigorous testing standards as the physical
sciences; the theory of evolution is categorically
different.

"(Falsification) is particularly ill-suited for 
the testing of probabilistic theories, which 
include most theories in biology. The occurrence
of exceptions to a probabilistic theory does 
not necessarily constitute falsification. And 
in fields such as evolutionary biology, in 
which historical narratives must be constructed 
to explain certain observations, it is often 
very difficult, if not impossible, to decisively
falsify an invalid theory. The categorical 
statement that a single falsification requires 
the abandonment of a theory might be true for 
theories based on the universal laws of the 
physical sciences, but is often not true for 
theories in evolutionary biology."/4

In plain English, testing the feasibility of a story
claiming to be historical is categorically different
from directly testing a theory about what works or
does not work. For example, how does someone conduct a
scientific experiment to test if Washington or perhaps
Napoleon may have crossed the Delaware? Even if an
experiment is performed today proving a person can
cross the Delaware or even if one species can be shown
to mutate into another, would such experiments prove
that Washington or perhaps Napoleon crossed the
Delaware or that macro-evolution occurred in our past?
No. They remain probablistic stories about what is
feasible. Feasibility does not constitute recounting
history.

If the scientific establishment chooses to limit a
priori such theoretical stories about the past to
naturalistic explanations, then they have been exposed
indeed. For if science is to be a bigoted bully
somehow permitting "testing" of its probablistic
naturalistic stories while denying similar "testing"
of probablistic Intelligent Design stories, then
certainly no intelligence is being allowed into the
classroom. The fury is over philosophical definitions
and assumptions, not the laboratory!

1/American Association for the Advancement of Science
www.aaas.org/news/releases/2008/media/0418aaas_statement.pdf.
Retrieved on 2008-05-16
2/The National Center for Science Education
www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/id.
Retrieved on 2008-05-16
3/The National Center for Science Education
www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/evolution.
Retrieved on 2008-05-16
4/Ernst Mayer, This is Biology: The Science of the
Living World, (1997), pp. 49-5

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