Monday, March 9, 2009

Supporting Evolution -- and other Sciences

A close friend recently asked about my support of evolution and other sciences. Since she was asking a sincere question and not trying to equate support of Evolution as if it were just another 'ism', I gave her a straight answer. I think she was reading parts of my blog, but not getting the larger picture, at least the larger picture as I see it.

  • I support evolution, and other sciences because, for no other reason required, they work. That is my bottom line. Evolution makes a prediction, and guess what, it tends to come true, not because of wishful thinking, but because the evidence discovered matches the postulated theory. When it doesn't the scientists involved aren't afraid to keep looking and determine why if may have failed, and adjust the theory. This is how science works and evolution, and vaccinations, and light, and electricity . . . to name a few . . . fall into this paradigm of "It works!"
  • There are other reasons, for example scientific theories match the evidence, without any embellishment, or maybe I should with little embellishment. I mean look at the fossils found in the geological layer. Sure a scientist had to explain why it happened, but as we dug up more and more fossils, each one conformed to the explanation. We didn't have to re-invent the answer for every fossil we discover.
  • The third reason, for me personally, is not only does science works, and not only is it predictable, but it doesn't require me to jump through hoops in explaining it. Seriously, when I was a kid the whole St. Augustine idea was drilled into me and while he is considered the Father of the modern Roman Catholic Church, his stand of not attributing things to God directly, but sort of keeping God above the details made more sense to me than making specific claims that might later turn out to be false.
Let me run one of my favorite targets, I mean examples, at you. Ken Ham, the fundamentalist Christian who runs Answers in Genesis (AIG) and the rather foolish Creation Museum down in Kentucky. You know, the one the very scientific-minded Cincinnati zoo refused to be associated with. Has Ken Ham put forth any supported ideas and theories? No! He has simply re-stated in many different ways his personal beliefs. I guess the idea is that if you say something long enough and loud enough other people will believe you. Sure, he has a small following of hard-core believers, but have you read AIG or seen any of the reports on his 'museum'. Personally there should be an asterisk (*) every time you use the word museum when describing his little playground.

Second thing, does his AIG or 'museum' match the available evidence? No, it does not. He insists the world is only 6000 or so years old. To quote political comic Lewis Black, the man saw the Flintstones and thought it was a documentary. His beliefs, aside from his constant marketing and frequent whining about how unfair the real world is to him and his ideas, flies in the face of the evidence. He unabashedly loves the attention it gets him, and he certainly seems to pander more for attention than anything resembling science. I mean look what happened after the Discovery Institute tried to blame Racism on Charles Darwin, suddenly ken Ham is self-publishing a book on how he witnessed all this racism in the 70's and it's all Darwin's fault. of course from the 70's until just recently he seemed to have forgotten all about the injustices he supposedly witnessed! pandering, like a politician!

Finally, read AIG and look at the lengths, the great lengths, he has to go through to try and match his beliefs with the existing evidence. When he can't he simply denies the evidence as often as possible. Oh there are no Transitional forms, Oh Evolution cannot add information, Oh radiocarbon dating is inaccurate . . . oh his excuses are as numerous as they are entertaining. The most fun section for me is the one where he tried to put to bed some of the more useless apologetic arguments. It is fun watching how he taps dances on things like Lady Hope and the junkyard 747 in order to leave a kernel of doubt in the minds of his followers.

Some might say I have a closed mind about Ken and his cohorts. I guess I certainly do. But it is not without reason. Spend some time on AIG and see how silly he is for yourself. If you have a basic understanding of science and the scientific method you will quickly see that Kenny does not, for all his protestations of how 'scientific he is.

So for all the reasons why Science works, is predictable, and offers explanations that require no great leaps in logic or statements of incredible belief, in the faith-based context of the word, is why I support science and spend lots of time laughing at Ken Ham's antics. Remember when the Cincy Zoo severed a business relationship with his 'museum'. he tried to paint his 'museum' as just another tourist place and how it was all and atheistic plot he mostly blamed on PZ Myers. See how entertaining Kenny is?

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