Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Misguided request to merge Science and Metaphysics

A Cincinnati Enquirer article calling for a theory that includes both Evolution and Creationism is heartfelt, but misguided. The merging of science and metaphysics cannot result in any form of scientific theory. They are and will remain isolated from one another for sound reasons. The only way for science to advance is for science to explore and discover natural reasons for the phenomena in the world. Attributing any action to the world of metaphysics would invalidate science! The realm of the metaphysical is not within science's purview, nor should it. It remains within the realm of philosophers and theologians to put in the 'Why' behind the 'How' of science. Science doesn't attempt to discover why we are here, only how we came to be here.

The recognition of "design" is a metaphysical manifestation, not a scientific one. There has been no science proving the existence of design, only recognition of the similarities between biological and biochemical mechanisms and those we know to be designed by man. While there are claims of advances in this area, there hasn't been any science to prove the connection between appearance of design and actual design.

Many scientist will agree their explorations into the enormous complexity of life has strengthened their personal beliefs, but Mr. Dressman's attempt to imply that the complexity is an automatic recognition of design is not appropriate. The author is falling into a trap where he confuses the appearance with the actuality. Science can appreciate the appearance, but cannot and has not proved the actuality of design.

The closing "Bringing metaphysics and science together in the process of developing chance-free theory in the classroom is not only appropriate, it is the only legitimate basis for biological studies." The implication that the only way to proceed is to merge both scientific theory and metaphysical explanations is false and wishful thinking on his part. Scinece has made many advances without having to resort to metaphysical claims.

The main thrust of Mr. Dressman's argument argument is the inability to accept "chance" in his view of biology. In logic this is referred to as an error based on personal bias. Just because the author has trouble accepting the role chance has played in evolution doesn't mean chance had no role! While he overemphasizes the role of chance, it is not the only mechanism at work. There are many other mechanisms that do not rely on chance. Evolutionary mutation may occur by chance, but it is by many other mechanisms that propagate a mutation into the rest of the genetic pool. Individuals mutate, but populations evolve -- and the mechanisms are becoming more understood today than they were just 50 years ago, all without including metaphysics. When I want to know how I came to be, I consult the scientist. When I want to know why I came to be I consult my parish priest. The answers are complimentary and not at all conflicting, unless I choose to be conflicted and refuse to accept either, or both, answers.

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