When I posted the rant on Evolution, I never expected this guy would have an objection to the content (I’ll quote him three times in this post, like this):
See my article Evolutionism vs. Creationism
So I read it. Like so many things friends tell me I should read because I’ll agree with it, I didn’t get past the opening without finding something to quibble with. Here’s the quote:
…whether a “creation” model deserves at least equal billing as an alternative theory to evolution. It does, but not in a way that would please the religious advocates of a biblical form of such a model.
I could not disagree with that opening statement more.
Occam’s razor (as he rightly point out later in the article) rules out external actors (like gods or George) because of the impact that such a thing would have on other theories or models.
People can believe pretty much anything they like, but the physical universe behaves in scientifically predictable ways. Creationism is a belief system, not to be mistaken for science; and therefore has no place in a science class, at all.
Contamination and alien invasion, or even “God did it” can have a place at the science table when they can come up with testable theories. Until then, I’m siding with the Pastafarians and insisting that it is the blessings of his noodly appendages that should be taught alongside other forms of creationism, if we are going to be teaching creationism.
…which doesn’t even come close to real science.
The cover article in the Dec. 2007 issue of Scientific American, Are Aliens among Us?, [abstracted here] discusses some of the alternatives to a single descent tree, including one I discussed in my article, “mirror” organisms. Any neutral scientific approach must always consider the possibility of contamination. All we need is evidence of organisms that can’t be placed in a single descent tree. So far no one has found any, but the subject will become more important as as explore space and begin to inadvertently cause biological contamination incidents.
…And without evidence, that pretty much covers classroom discussion. I’m not arguing against teaching critical thought, I’m arguing against teaching mythology as science.
Whether the molecules are right or left handed, natural selection will still occur, if more complex organisms occur.
Such questions also arise in the examination of paleoarchaeological evidence from the last one or two million years when variants of homo began to modify other species in their environment. If one finds some wheat or corn seeds, are they naturally evolved or human bred? Is that stone with a sharpened edge an early tool of hominids, or just an accident? Is that invasive species just something brought in from another place, or something manmade? E.g. Caulerpa taxifolia. For that matter, are those hominid specimens naturally evolved or the result of social selection within the hominids?
All of which speaks more to the fallacy of excluding the actions of the human population at large from the group of events deemed ‘natural’, than it does to errors in evolutionary theory. We aren’t the only species on the planet to use tools; and we aren’t the only species on the planet to modify other species to suit our needs.
As a species we are as natural a phenomenon on this planet as any of the others who came before us. It shows our own inflated sense of self to think otherwise.
It’s an important datum to note where the influence comes from; but it doesn’t make the effect any less natural, or any less evolutionary.
I will never understand the problem with Americans and Evolution. How so many people can doubt a science that is so easily demonstrable is beyond me.
[How do you explain dogs? Other domesticated species who have evolved a dependence on humans? Is the human species a stand in for god? Then how are we able to manipulate other species?]
I don’t know that the friend I quoted above has a problem with evolution so much that he doesn’t want to exclude other theories, but I have yet to see any other theory produce a single shred of evidence, whereas the evidence for evolution can be stumbled over as easily as the dog that lays down behind your feet.