There is no alternative scientific theory to evolution.

In regards to the Supreme Court decision ruling that “textbook stickers referring to evolution as ‘a theory not a fact’ are unconstitutional”, the Discovery Institute says: “The bottom line is that what matters in science is evidence, not motives. In science you follow the evidence where it leads no matter the presumed motives of the scientists. There are more than 300 scientists who doubt Darwinism, that’s evidence that proves this is a scientific debate.”

And the competing theory is…nothing! There is no alternative scientific theory of how we got all these animals and plants and stuff. There is only an anti-theory which is it certaintly can’t be evolution. The alternative to Darwinism is currently nothing. Intelligent design is not a scientific theory. People don’t write papers with evidence and experiments that are peer-reviewed and debated and published like scientists do. Creationists just write op-ed pieces and lobby school boards. I repeat, there is no other theory to teach! These people are arguing against evolution because they can’t argue (scientifically) for anything else. Creation and intelligent design are not science. Believe them if you want, I don’t care, but we cannot teach them as science.

I don’t think science is at odds with religion — they are entirely separate things. Science is interested only in what you can “prove” and what you can predict. The word “prove” is always in quotes because in science you can’t really prove things are true, you can only prove what is not true. We often take observational evidence as proof but the underlying physics that explains why we observe what we do can never be proven, per say. It can only be supported or refuted by evidence. Example: matter is made of atoms, atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons and all of these are made of quarks (except electrons). How do we know this? We don’t. We have a model that explains what we observe very, very accurately. We can predict things with this model to a high degree of accuracy. Is our model of the atom “true”? We don’t know. All we know is it correctly predicts the results of experiments.

Evolution is another such theory. Is it true? We don’t know. We do know that it fits the evidence. It is a scientific theory in that it is based on sciences like genetics, evolutionary development, cell development and archeology. We have a model that explains why some animals are very similar and others are very different. It explains why we don’t see modern humans 100,000 years ago in the fossil record. The theory of evolution is based on the fundamental scientific tenant that whatever happened happened in a way that can be explained, in this case in terms of biology and physics.

So if creationism is to be a science it has to be a theory of biology and physics. If you want to believe that God pointed his finger and Adam appeared, that is fine, but it is not a biological/physical theory, it is religion. The theory of intelligent design is not a theory of biology or physics, it is based on a premise of a supernatural will and that takes it completely out of the realm of science. There is no scientific theory of creation because it’s not science. Note that the theory of evolution does not in any way imply that the hand of God was not somehow involved, only that, if so, God did his work in a intelligent and organized way which, when studied, yields beautiful physical relationships such as those we have discovered.

There is no alternative scientific theory to evolution.

2 thoughts on “There is no alternative scientific theory to evolution.

  1. Chad said: “Basically, what I am saying, is that I don’t see how a rational mind would have that much trouble fitting evolution into a worldview centered around God setting things into motion.”

    Exactly. I think it is funny that people don’t see god in the equations. If you believe in god then science is the process of understanding the mechanisms that god set in motion, and the laws by which he did so. That is cool! If you believe in God you should think science is about as cool as it gets — understanding God!

    I don’t believe in God, per se, but it’s all completely consistent.

    Michael

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  2. chad says:

    This is an interesting subject because it asks two important questions. What is truth? How do we know what we know?

    I’ve was suprised that creationists never latched on to evolution because, to me anyhow, it seems to fit well the “intelligent design” ideas. Intelligent design to me seems to go right back to St. Thomas Aquinas and his proofs of God. It’s been awhile since I’ve read them, but I seem to recall one of the stronger ones being the apparent order in the world–i.e. how can there be order from such chaos. Evolution would, I think, fit well within the argument. Basically, what I am saying, is that I don’t see how a rational mind would have that much trouble fitting evolution into a worldview centered around God setting things into motion.

    From what I understand of the “big bang”, time was created at the big bang; it did not exist before. So asking, “what happened before the big bang?” is not really something we can ask… My point being that there are unknowns in physics that still allow for some mystery–i.e. religion.

    The problems begin with a literal interpretation of the Bible. More than one passage exists in the Bible that probably wouldn’t come from an all-knowing divine being. People tend to ignore those passages today–for instance, they wouldn’t justify slavery by using the Bible–but they hold onto other ideas which don’t work well with science.

    I am just speculating, but there may be some sort of connection between Americans distaste in things academic and their distrust with science. I am thinking of all of the people who read The Da Vinci Code and think it’s literally true: they have no appreciation of how an actual historian would go about attempting to write history. Especially after some of the “new” Social History of the past 25 years, with it’s inclusion of things missing from the previous Grand Narrative of America, people have begun to associate the reconstruction of the past with some political agenda: “That’s just your opinion; it’s not true.” Research of this type is rejected when it doesn’t fit their worldview, which demands things either be true or false/black and white.

    Similarily, I think this same attitude has spilled over into Americans opinions regarding science. I was reading some reviews of Jared Diamond’s recent book, Collapse, on amazon.com and some reviews talk of his “liberal agenda” and give the book 0 stars. Diamond is a biologist who has recently turned to writing history. His most recent book details ecological collapses of past civilizations. The point could obviously be about potential collapse in the future. This idea is dismissed offhand as some “leftist agenda” and these people do not care about the research or the science behind the book.

    I am getting pretty fucking sick of hearing about the “liberals”. Just watch and see how much work is dismissed offhand by throwing out the phrase “liberal agenda,” or some talk show where the first question, to discredit someone, is “you’re a liberal aren’t you?”

    Basically then, I think Americans in general are not educated in the methods of either science or any other academic discipline for that matter. They’ve lost nearly all respect for intellect and rely instead on “common sense.” I realize this phrase is cliche, but we really do have a “divided America.” There are two groups of people, and we are not speaking the same language. As a result, there is no talking to each other–you don’t learn–you merely talk past each other.

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