2008 Begins With Darwinist Call to Arms
Do the pro-evolutionists show any signs of compromise, contrition or consilience after unceasing pressure from critics for decades? Not in the slightest. If anything, their rhetoric is becoming increasingly bellicose. An example can be found in an article on today’s Live Science.
A survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted by the pro-evolutionist Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (see their Evolution Resources website), found that 61% of the respondents support the vague statement “All living things evolved over time.” This filtered down to 11% who support the common ancestry of all things by a natural process such as natural selection, and 36% who think God guided evolution. Regarding the question of human evolution, the survey measured 53% who believe humans had evolved, 32% via natural selection and 25% with guidance. The report acknowledged, however, that American’s views on evolution differ according to how the questions are asked.
Respondents who answered “scientific” questions “correctly” about plate tectonics, antibiotics and dinosaurs (at least according to the survey writers), were included in the counts of those most likely to support the teaching of evolution in schools, they said. However, according to the FASEB report, two of the questions presupposed a belief in millions of years – thus eliminating young-earth creationists at the outset. Not only did this skew the survey against some creationists who have scientific reasons for disbelieving the geological time scale, it scored those believing in vast ages of time as scientifically literate. Notice how the questions thus created a caricature of scientific literacy:
Although 69% of survey participants had some college education (27% were college graduates, and 14% had attended graduate school), only 23% gave correct responses to all three of the following statements: the continents or land masses on which we live have been moving for millions of years and will continue to move in the future (79% correctly agreed); antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria (43% correctly disagreed); the earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs (53% correctly disagreed). Respondents who answered all three questions correctly were much more likely to respond that humans and other living things evolved (78%) rather than that they were created in their present form (11%), and more favored teaching evolution (78%) than creationism (27%) or intelligent design (24%). In contrast, respondents who answered fewer than two questions correctly were less likely to accept that life evolved (36%) rather than to believe it was created in its present form (47%), and they were about as likely to favor teaching evolution (36%) as creationism (38%) and intelligent design (29%).
The survey, then seems to merely restate the obvious: creationists favor teaching intelligent design, and evolutionists favor teaching evolution. Presumably, some of the creationists had college degrees, too, but were labeled scientifically illiterate according to their acceptance of evolutionary presuppositions.
Whatever these results mean, the scientific societies were quick to capitalize on them. A coalition of 17 scientific societies issued a statement with no room for non-evolutionary explanations:
The introduction of ‘non-science,’ such as creationism and intelligent design, into science education will undermine the fundamentals of science education. Some of these fundamentals include using the scientific method, understanding how to reach scientific consensus, and distinguishing between scientific and nonscientific explanations of natural phenomena.
The FASEB journal’s editor-in-chief, Dr. Gerald Weissmann, was even more blatant: “In an age when people have benefited so greatly from science and reason, it is ironic that some still reject the tools that have afforded them the privilege to reject them.” These statements assume, rather than demonstrate, that evolutionary biologists use said tools, and their critics do not.
The article by “LiveScience Staff” ended by editorializing on the issue of intelligent design (ID). No proponents of ID were given a platform. The article stated flatly that intelligent design is not science by appealing to authority and majority, then gave Weissmann an opportunity to earn Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:
Scientists accept evolution as the best and only theory that accurately explains how humans and other species came to be so diverse. The theory is supported by many studies in many different fields of science. Intelligent design is a thinly veiled creationist argument designed to make the public doubt the theory of evolution, according to nearly all scientists and a 2005 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
“The bottom line is that the world is round, humans evolved from an extinct species and Elvis is dead,” Weissmann said. “This survey is a wake-up call for anyone who supports teaching information based on evidence rather than speculation or hope; people want to hear the truth, and they want to hear it from scientists.”
The coalition that issued the statement includes the National Academy of Sciences, the American Institute of Physics and the National Science Teachers Association. As with the pronouncements of any large organization, declarations are decisions of the leadership, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all the members. The Federation’s press release was posted on EurekAlert.
1. To be considered part of the “scientifically literate” group, respondents had to answer that humans did not live at the time of the dinosaurs. This ruled out all young-earth creationists, many of whom have scientific reasons for believing the old-age assumptions of the scientific community are falsified by evidence. Thus, only those predisposed to believe in long ages were included in the subsequent counts of those who believed evolution should be taught in schools.
This means war. We are not declaring war; the Darwin Party did, and there needs to be a response. The obstreperous, incorrigible Darwinists have had plenty of time to repent of their sins. Their only reaction has been to dig in their heels, stiffen their necks, harden their hearts, grit their teeth, stop their ears and scream. They are like bratty kids throwing a tantrum, and need a similar kind of discipline.
There are so many blatant logical fallacies and lies in the coalition statement, only newbies to CEH might fail to see them. If you are a seasoned reader, you can skip over the list unless you would like a review. (Keep in mind that what the evolutionists really mean by evolution is that humans have bacteria ancestors through an unguided natural process.)
- “non-science, such as creationism and intelligent design” – blatant name-calling. They should know full well that there are no demarcation criteria for science. This amounts to no more than labeling one’s opponent a heretic so he can be condemned.
- “will undermine the fundamentals of science education” – only if the culture’s chosen fundamentals require atheism. This is the fear-mongering tactic. Did they notice that most of the greatest founders of science were creationists?
- “using the scientific method” – There is no one scientific method. Give a philosopher of science an alleged “scientific method” and he will find examples of pseudoscience that use it and legitimate sciences that do not. ID and creationist researchers often do just as good a job at deploying whatever “scientific method” the Darwinites want to define as they claim to do themselves.
- “understanding how to reach scientific consensus” – this is how politics is done, not science. Science is trying to get the world right, even if that is considered possible, a dubious pursuit philosophically even if worthwhile pragmatically.
- “distinguishing between scientific and non-scientific explanations of phenomena” – good luck. Since there are no demarcation criteria, any attempt to distinguish them is going to rule out some sciences they want to include, and let in some sciences they want to exclude. Drawing categories to include Darwinism and exclude intelligent design is as arbitrary as defining which food is delicious.
In addition, the “Live Science Staff” accelerated the error catastrophe:
- “Scientists accept evolution” – a glittering generality that overlooks that science is about demonstrating and proving things, not accepting them.
- “…accept evolution” – an equivocation because the word evolution can mean almost anything, even something a creationist would accept.
- “best…theory” – the best-in-field fallacy.
- “only theory” – a big lie. If by that they mean the only naturalistic theory, then it begs the question that the assumption of naturalism is required to do good science.
- “accurately explains” – only if you liken it to the Gribbleflix theory (see 12/19/2007 commentary).
- “explains” – the subject of scientific explanation is a huge problem in philosophy of science about which great thinkers disagree. One cannot assume that the evolutionary “explanation” is a good one without begging the question.
- “how humans and other species came to be so diverse” – if observed diversity is the issue, then variation by descent from original created kinds explains the observations, because abrupt appearance of phyla is the rule.
- “The theory is supported” – the issue of which kinds of observations can rightly be adduced in support of a theory is another of those knotty problems in philosophy of science. The Darwinists refute their own credibility by using any and every observation as support for their theory, even contradictory observations.
- “by many studies” – only by assuming evolution at the outset, as shown many, many times in these pages. If they want to pick the studies that support their belief, and ignore the many and serious problems in other studies, that would be an example of card stacking.
- “in many different fields of science” – many different fields of science support intelligent design, too, and prohibit evolution. Want to compare lists? The Cambrian explosion, the origin of life, the origin of the universe, etc.
- “thinly veiled creationist argument” – the bogeyman tactic. One’s motives should not be an issue in science. Labeling something “creationist” to discredit it without listening to their arguments is an a priori category error, unworthy of scientific objectivity.
- “designed to make the public doubt the theory of evolution” – Good, they believe in intelligent design after all. How did the creationist tactic evolve? If it evolved, why isn’t it a good thing? Are the Darwinists saying they believe in absolute truth and morals? Then they are no longer Darwinists.
- “according to nearly all scientists” – the bandwagon argument. Nearly all scientists denied plate tectonics till they accepted it, nearly all scientists denied the Missoula flood till they accepted it, and nearly all scientists ridiculed radio astronomy till they accepted it. Nearly all scientists accepted phony ideas, too, like phlogiston, caloric, alchemy and other blind alleys in the history of science, till they rejected them. Maybe some day nearly all scientists will reject Darwin and accept ID. Prove this is impossible scientifically. If that happens, will it define what is right? Science is supposed to be an open-ended search for the truth where the evidence leads.
- “and… Judge John E. Jones” – It is laughable that the Darwinists appeal to a non-scientist judge to rule on what counts as science or not. Undoubtedly they would be screaming if Jones had ruled against them. They would be declaring with holy indignation that no unelected judge has the right to define what science is; only the scientific community is allowed that privilege.
Taking up Weissmann’s SEQOTW is overkill at this point, but for the sake of completeness,
- “the world is round, humans evolved from an extinct species and Elvis is dead” – one of the funniest examples of negative association in a long time. Both sides of an argument can play this game. We refuse to dignify Weissmann’s childish fallacy with a counter-example.
- “wake-up call” – fear-mongering again.
- “teaching information based on evidence rather than speculation or hope” – Great idea! When do you start?
- “people want to hear the truth” – that’s right. Please repent and commence. Apparently the Darwinists now believe in truth. This implies intangible absolutes. From now on, no Darwinian stories will be accepted that assume materialism and relativism.
- “and they want to hear it from scientists” – Is it OK if we hear the truth from Bacon, Kepler, Maxwell, Faraday, Carver, von Braun, and other notable creation scientists? Picking only Darwin-loyal scientists would be card stacking.
It goes without saying that surveys and statistical inferences are fraught with problems and prone to misinterpretation. This exercise was elementary. If you have not yet mastered the art of Baloney Detecting, the new year is a good time to resolve to start an intellectual fitness program.
The coalition manifesto is what happens when the bratty kids achieve power. The good scientists are not the problem. Most scientists are simply carrying on the noble tradition of applying the best observational and mathematical rigor to problems in our understanding of nature as best they can within human limitations. It requires character: responsibility, integrity, honesty, fairness, and humility. Character does not evolve. Character development takes hard work, purpose and intelligent design. That alone refutes the Darwin Party’s own premises.
There have always been adults who never outgrew the habit of holding their ears and screaming, stomping their feet, refusing to do their homework or eat their vegetables, and wasting countless hours in trivial pursuits like video games. If you would evict your grown children for such behavior, and tell them “either get a job or you don’t eat,” then a similar housecleaning needs to happen at the leadership of scientific institutions, where adults who should know better are hooked on the XBox of contrived battles with imaginary bogeymen, and glutted with the junk food of simplistic rhetoric. Science can only thrive with the nourishment of a balanced philosophical foundation and the wisdom to apply character to issues of substance in the real world.