Waiting for the evidence

Daniel Jarvis’ second installment in his series of articles about evolution and intelligent design is just as disappointing as his first. What sticks most in my mind is that he entitles this series “Consider the evidence” and yet he hasn’t presented any evidence. That’s an odd incongruity to say the least.

This article can be summed up as a long whine about the very nature of science. He doesn’t like how science sticks to the natural, observable world and leaves out anything supernatural. He says, “As long as evolutionists are able to control the definition of science to keep its curiosity tightly reigned in by the boundaries of materialistic naturalism, they win the debate every time.” Yeah? And your point is?

Jarvis, science has to be defined as materialistic, not because some cabal of scientists hate religion, but because it’s what works. It really is as simple as that. Science is about measuring and experimenting and observing. And, contrary to Jarvis’ demeaning of the scientific method, curiosity is a driving force. Tell me how to measure God, Jarvis. Provide some special creation evidence. Do a supernatural experiment. Figure any of that out and you’ll be one very famous man.

Jarvis likes to talk about scientists not being able to observe or experiment on past events. An often-used analogy to combat this silly argument is that of a crime scene. The detectives were not there to see the crime. In crimes where there are no witnesses to interview, the detectives need to examine the evidence and relate it all to what they know about the natural world. Trained investigators know about the physics of fires and bullets and blood splatter and all sorts of such things that could be related to the crime at hand. They never consider whether Bigfoot stopped by. They never consider angels pushing people out of the way or devils roasting people in midair. To bring in the supernatural would stop each and every investigation cold in its tracks.

The same could be said for investigating evolution.

Evidence isn’t limited to seeing something happen before your eyes. Evolution makes predictions about what we would expect to see in the fossil record, comparative anatomy, genetic sequences, geographical distribution of species, etc., and these predictions have been verified many times over. The number of observations supporting evolution is overwhelming.”

Jarvis makes the very common mistake of bringing in all sorts of extra claims to bolster his attack on evolution. The Big Bang? Honestly, Jarvis, I don’t think evolutionary scientists spend much time in that area of science. Flailing around like this is a big clue that the writer hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about.

The bottom line: Jarvis is wrong in supposing science is faith-based. And to use the supernatural to explain what is going on in our world requires Jarvis to come up with a way to measure and experiment with it. Good luck with that.

These articles by Jarvis are actually great examples of why we need stronger science education. There are too many people out there who don’t even know what science is or why the scientific method is our best tool for examining the world around us.

I’m looking forward to some actual evidence in this series that asks us to consider the evidence …

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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3 Responses to Waiting for the evidence

  1. bipolar2 says:

    ** “I have no need of that hypothesis” – LaPlace **

    Silly fundie rabbits:

    Philosophical trix are for kids.

    “Materialism”, “certainty”, “uniformity”, “induction”, “determinism”, “scientific law”, “universal causality” are as dead as God — the belief in them is no longer believable. Nor, is god necessary. Was it only 200 years ago that LaPlace said this?

    The brief rebuttal is
    1.There is no such process as “induction” from “the” facts of nature.
    2. There are no necessary empirical truths. (No science is certain.)
    3. Every empirical statement must be falsifiable in principle.
    4. To be part of science, an empirical statement must be testable, hence refutable.
    5. “Materialism” is no part of science. That doctrine failed 100 years ago!

    What follows from these now well-known propositions:
    1. No part of science presupposes any “uniformity of nature.”
    2. There are no “laws” in science — no need for a “law giver.”
    3. If any religion makes an empirical claim; then, it could be false.
    4. It must specify the conditions which would make such claims false.

    In practice, what does science have to say about fundie nonsense:

    Methodologically, whenever so-called “sacred” writings make claims about the natural world, they are subject to exactly the same forces of potential refutation as any other empirical claim. There is no “executive privilege” for God.

    In particular, Evolutionary Biology has proven (far beyond a reasonable doubt) that the fundie myth of animal and human creation is false. More importantly, Darwin solved the puzzle (for all species) : how can order arise from randomness.

    Let’s get the bottom line very, very clear:

    Since evolution through natural selection is true, then the fundie genesis myth is empirically false. Period.

    Biblical literalism is a damned lie. Period.

    There are no innocent “believers in” intelligent design any longer. They are dead.

    copyright asserted 2007

  2. Pingback: Florida Citizens for Science » Blog Archive » Why, yes, I did gain some new information.

  3. Michael E. Suttkus, II says:

    I wrote the following years ago, inspired by the idea of applying creationist ideals to police investigation.


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