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Author: coralville Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 25071  
Subject: Re: "truth is a word seldom used in science Date: 8/2/2001 9:12 AM
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xebec: These Darwinists have a philosophical bias so deep, they can't even see it, and go on an on about begging the question, which in this case is a non sequitor.

This characterization is a bit unfair. Biologists (the vast majority at least) accept evolutionary theory for two reasons. First, it explains a great many seemingly disparate observations (such as the fossil record, the similarities in gene sequences between organisms, the existence of vestigial structures) by a single model without resorting to the supernatural. Second, the explanation makes a number of predictions that can be tested and have been tested (for example that dolphins will be genetically more similar to cows than tuna).

The weight of empirical evidence in support of evolution is what gives it its appeal. In contrast, the anti-evolution crowd provides almost exclusively thought experiments of the type represented by Haldane's dilemma and Behe's writings. These are useful in identifying what current theories cannot adequately explain and where research can be directed, but they are not in and of themselve refutations of the theory. For example, in the case of Haldane's dilemma someone would need to show that the limitations in evolutionary rate predicted by Haldane's equations actually occur in the relevant animal populations. Otherwise, it is more likely that this dilemma results from an oversimplified or erroneous set of assumptions.

I'm not a physicist or a mathematician (in other words, I have a personality :-) but it seems to me that when a descrepancy comes up in some set of calculations one doesn't suddenly replace existing models of gravity or quantum mechanics for a belief in fairies. Instead one works within the existing theories by postulating the existence of a new subatomic particle or "dark matter" or a hidden planet or a bug in the program. This occurs because you can't simply ignore all the other evidence that supports existing theory. The same should be true with evolution.

I have no problem with those who want to replace evolutionary theory with something else. Just make sure that it can explain biological phenomena at least as well as evolutionary theory and make testable predictions that can be examined empirically (otherwise it is not a scientific hypothesis but rather a philosophical argument). For example, such a theory should be able to explain why humans have a vestigial tail bone in a way more satisfying than it simply being the whim of an intelligent designer (or interior decorator or whatever it is that ID stands for).
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