Saturday, February 14, 2009


There's a Bright, Golden Smokescreen on the Meadow

My friend DR, from his blog Agnostic Popular Front (, posted a link concerning SB320, a proposed senate bill from the Oklahoma legislature, which reads, in part:

"The Legislature further finds that the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects."

He concludes:

All this bluster about helping "students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories" is so much smokescreen, designed to obscure an intelligently designed wedge which starts with "scientific weaknesses" and ultimately widens out to the first verses of someone's favorite holy book. If you doubt this, just go back and look at the campaign propaganda of the legislators sponsoring and vocally supporting this bill.

So, I posted my reply, to wit:

Dude, whenever anyone starts talking about the "overwhelming evidence" of evolution, I can't help from rolling my eyes. I've seen the evidence for evolution, and it's far from overwhelming. What I've seen is evidence that seems to support evolutionary theory, provided we assume it supports evolution and nothing else, and which seems to support other theories, provided we don't first assume that it's evidence for evolution. In other words, it's evidence for whatever we say it's evidence for. That does NOT suit my definition for "overwhelming."

To say that the debate is between evolution and creation is to oversimplify the matter entirely. If our choices are only 1) evolution and 2) creation, where is there room for anything like theistic evolution (to which I am an adherent), creation science, or intelligent design? Instead of framing the discussion purely in either/or terms of evolution and creation, it is far more reasonable to frame the matter in terms of intelligent versus unintelligent causation. Then, the discussion concerning evolution becomes: is evolution the result of blind, purposeless forces, or can it be understood in terms of an intelligence driving it in particular directions? This is far more interesting than the old Evolution/Shmevolution rigarmarol.

Besides, if we claim (as you seem to) that religion is purely a matter of faith, we undermine scientific inquiry itself, for this, too, is often requires a faith commitment.

One example, among many, is multiverse theory. This requires a greater faith commitment than most religions. Ockham's razor becomes impossible to follow. Tell me which idea is unnecessarily overcomplicated: that there are millions, billions, or even an infinite number of universes out there (for which we have not only zero evidence, but cannot prove by any devisable means), and our universe just so happens to be the one conducive to the random formation of living matter; or that the one universe we see around us appears designed, perhaps because it IS designed.

You claim that "All this bluster about helping 'students understand, analyze, critique,
and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories' is so much smokescreen." This is only an opinion, not a fact, (and, in MY opinion, incorrect, as demonstrated by your failure to back up the statement with any kind of evidential support, other than the simple ad hominem that we need only look at the Bible-thumping schlubs sponsoring the legislation to know what is "really" going on here).

I could just as easily submit that the real smokescreen here is from the evolutionists, who are so wary of the lack of substance within their own theory that the only way they know of keeping it intact is to insulate it from all criticism and to prevent it from being reasonably questioned. So, which one of us is right?

Well, ME, of course! ;-)

Labels: , ,

Where is the faith commitment in multiverse theory? I don't know how many universes exist, and I'd be skeptical of anyone who makes an argument that there are uncountably many, or only one. There is ample room for agnosticism on this issue, as in so many other areas of metaphysics.
I believe it was the Apostle Paul who defined faith as the evidence of things not seen.

I see one universe, and no more. Those who argue that there indeed ARE more universes, despite the fact that we just don't see them, are asking us to take a leap of faith.
I see one universe, and no more.

There was a time when "all the known world" meant only the island that one's tribe lived upon. Eventually, we came to understand the vastness of the planet, but assumed it was the only one. So also with the solar system, then the galaxy. Now, you say this time we've finally got it right, there is but one universe and the state of our knowledge as to the breadth of creation is finally complete. Given our track record, I have to remain skeptical.
Skepticism is healthy, to a degree. The only reason why multiverse theory is even discussed is because it gives the any-explanation-but-God crowd an excuse for ignoring the theistic implications of the universe's fine tuning. So what if the odds that natural forces gave us a fine-tuned universe are so remote as to be statistically impossible? We'll just pretend that this universe JUST SO HAPPENS to be the one out of an infinite series with all the right conditions conducive to life. I, too, am a skeptic, and when I hear otherwise intelligent people arguing for nonsense simply because they think there's something unscientific in reasoning that the universe is likely the product of a designer, the skeptic in me feels compelled to point out that nonsense spewed out in the name of science is still nonsense.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?