Sunday, December 9, 2007

Coexistence I - Can Creationism and Science coexist in the same person?

Oh My God, I hope so! Many of the most famous scientists throughout history were not only deeply religious but many of them were Theologians themselves. Religious conviction didn't stop Gregor Mendel from his genetics theory (which is part of the Modern Synthesis Theory of Evolution). Charles Darwin himself was trained as a theologian. Even today many seeking graduate degrees have found they can believe in religion and still be a scientist. Check out this article in the NY Times.

A line from the article I liked is: "Steven B. Case, a research professor at the Center for Research Learning at the University of Kansas, said it would be wrong to “censor someone for a belief system as long as it does not affect their work. Science is an open enterprise to anyone who practices it.”

Here is where I have problems with people like WIlliam Dembski, Michael Behe, Philip E. Johnson, and other current ID propoents. They let their beliefs color their work. During the Dover trial Michael Behe admitted to the lack of science in the current understanding of Intelligent Design. William Dembski creates esoteric math that not even other esoteric mathematicians can understand in what appears to me to be a serious effort to bullshit people into agreeing with him. Maybe Phillip E. Johnson doesn't belong in that group, he's not a scientist in any way -- he's a lawyer. But right now when anyone claims scientific proof of Intelligent Design, they are LYING!

I respect anyone who can objectively look at experiments and evidence and not allow their personal beliefs to interfere with their results. It should go without saying that I have issues with those people who allow their beliefs to color their thinking. Read about Behe's mousetrap and see what I mean. In my opinion when Behe discusses Intelligent Design he should remove his mortarboard. He doesn't have a doctorate in Intelligent Design and his PhD in Biochemistry should not be used to push pseudo-science. Take a look at Dembski's math and see the artificial and constantly moving line in the sand he draws to 'prove' his specific complexity silliness. Have a laugh at "Darwin on Trial" by Johnson for the longest and most drawn out tautological argument I have ever seen. At no point does he prove the theory of evolution is in any danger other than by lawyering arguments. He certainly proves he's a lawyer and used many legal hair splitting concepts to create the semblance of controversy.

OK, another bottom line for me. Regardless of beliefs, the ability to not allow your thinking to be prejudiced in some direction when the results don't support it is a positive thing. It's OK to have expectations -- science requires expectations, but when the results don't support them you have to be able to step back and explore why rather than force the results into the framework of your beliefs! Just ask Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, and many others who were able to see past their beliefs and come to many conclusions that are still as applicable today as they were when they were formed.

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