Saturday, July 01, 2006

Teaching the Flaws in Neo-Darwinism

Author: Edward Sisson, partner at Washington D.C.-based international law firm

This article does two things: 1.) It examines the lack of evidence for naturalistic evolution (which Sisson terms unintelligent evolution to contrast it with intelligent design or guided evolution), and 2.) It examines the style of argument from the unintelligent evolution camp and points out some serious deficiencies.

Toward the first point, Sisson compares unintelligent evolution with the now discredited theory of isthmian land bridges. Both theories served to provide an explanation of the world (or part of the world) without invoking supernatural causes or interaction. Both have a complete lack of empirical evidence other than the world or nature itself. Both are unsuccessful, though persistent, in locating self-validating evidence and yet both persist(ed) as "factual" theories. Both are also unnecessary except for dogmatic adherence to an underlying phiolosophical belief system. The isthmian land bridge theory was replaced (and against) the theory of continental drift just as unintelligent evolution is against (though not yet replaced by) intelligent design. Both are completely resistant to any form of change (regardless of any and all evidence) without an acceptable replacement theory which still upholds the underlying philosophical belief system.

Toward the second point, Sisson points out the arguments and thought processes used to justify and propogate unintelligent evolution. He makes multiple piercing observations. The most important one is this: The scientific establishment refuses to admit ignorance of a topic when it already has a theory of any kind that explains it (even if that explanation is notably incorrect or incomplete). Even if the theory is shown inadequate or unfounded, the establishment can not let it go until it has a new theory it can use in its place. This is quite different from the assumption that science is unbiased free inquiry into the natural order of things and will follow the evidence wherever it leads. Another way to state this is that science rejects out of court purely negative arguments. It refuses to give up any claims, rather it will only trade one theory for another.

Sisson also gives an enlightening discussion of how a scientist must think and the arguments he must employ to promote or establish his career.

This article is lively and informative, well worth the time.

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