Another atheist blogging on science and free thinking.
#atheist #atheism #evolution
There are many reasons why creationists have been unable to succeed (in the West). Evolution is still taught as a science; creationism in all its variants has been confirmed as a religious doctrine in a string of court-cases stretching over decades.
My recent epiphany on why biologists are winning is based on passion. Biologists are passionate about nature. There’s nothing easy about being a biologist. I’ve been shot at, nearly bombed by local insurrectionists, & caught some nasty tropical diseases. I’ve lost colleagues to malaria and to air-crashes.
In the process, we discover things. We find new species, we develop cures for diseases, we publish papers in peer-reviewed journals. The database Biological Abstracts records about 26,000 papers validating evolution in 2010 alone.
Creationists can’t match that. They can’t because they’re not passionate about nature. They’re not committed to understanding the natural world. They’re committed to a bronze-age fairy tale. And that’s not leading to new discoveries.There’s nothing in Biological Abstracts that supports creationism or intelligent-design being a credible alternative.
This is why biologists win. We win because we care more. We win because we have the facts and the research. We win because we don’t think sitting on our fat-arses in church is a viable scientific methodology. We win, because we are actually prepared to do the work that demonstrates evolution is true.
Sometimes I get this argument popping up. It’s an argument from analogy. Kind of, because we know houses were designed and built, and a house is like the universe, it must be that the universe was designed and built by a creator.
Like most arguments from analogy, it is a weak argument*. It is not an appeal to evidence. It is an appeal to all sorts of hidden assumptions and presumptions that get attached to it. It fails simply because those assumptions aren’t shared by others.
We can test the claim that houses are designed objects. This is based on the following traits:
* Indeed, if you have to make an argument based on an analogy that cannot be supported by evidence, chances are it’s fatally flawed. Please stop.
One of the key ideas in science is that it’s not about proving anything is absolutely true. Claims of absolute truth are common amongst religious people. Many prominent theologians and Muslim scholars in the Middle ages claimed it was absolutely true that the sun orbited the earth. Yet despite the confidence with which this assertion of absolute truth was made, it was wrong. Claiming something as absolutely true does not do anything to the validity of that claim.
Rather any theory is, and remains testable. That means it needs both positive evidence for confirmation, and it must be falsifiable. The condition of falsifiable means every body of science, every theory must be open to refutation. In a sense, every experiment or investigation is undertaken to see if the theory is false.
Given that a theory is able to explain and yield empirical facts, that confirmation continues to be accumulated, and that attempts at falsification continue to fail, a theory will be tentatively accepted. The great strength of science is that knowledge is updated to take into account new empirical evidence. The theory of Plate Tectonics for instance, was widely adopted by geologists after subduction of plates was observed trenches. This new empirical evidence was crucial to getting the theory accepted.
It is therefore nonsensical to demand that science proves something as absolutely true. What science can do is demonstrate that some theories are false and that some theories are supported by evidence.
Martin Luther (arguing against heliocentric solar system proposed by Copernicus)
Stephen Jay Gould