Fwd: Re: Oragnutan relationships

pierre deleporte pierre.deleporte at UNIV-RENNES1.FR
Fri Apr 12 20:05:14 CDT 2002


A 12:52 12/04/2002 -0400, John Grehan wrote:
>>My view (minority of one probably) is that it is a mistake to present and
>>teach evolution as a doctrine.

Maybe the remedy is simply to present science as being not a set of
doctrines in the first place, thus implicitly no following scientific
statements are to be considered as doctrinal.

>>  The Academy states that evolution is the
>>only "scientific' explanation for why the universe is the way it is today.

I fully agree with that, given that "scientific" is properly defined (= not
dogmatic, by definition). As far as I know, the only present scientific
explanation of the universe is effectively cosmic and biologic evolution
(until possible alternative scientific theories are framed, but this is
trivial concerning science).

>>  There is nothing in
>>the booklet that gives any indication of what is the science of evolution,

I didn't read the booklet; maybe the mistake is to consider that the
philosophical status of science is self-evident for every reader. I would
agree that science (not only of evolution) should generally be presented
for what it is to the public, however complicated or "risquy" a fair
explanation of science may appear.

>>just a whole series of assertions about the truth of the universe. (...)
>>When it comes to the 'science' of evolution this emphasis seems to be
>>dropped in favor of arguing universal truths with creationists. After
>>reading the book I had no clue as to what was the
>>science of evolution. And from what I have seen of this book and other
>>examples of evolution being taught in schools (including my experience in
>>New Zealand) its no wonder so many people are skeptical. It is my view
>>(again probably a minority of one) that much of the problem with evolution
>>is generated by the way evolutionists and associated educators want to
>>focus on doctrine.

They surely should not, but alternatively, presenting "scientific truths"
as relative to the present state of knowledge (and not as absolute truth),
and science as a perpetual questioning in the process of improving
knowledge, immediately gives a handle for dogmatists to laugh at the
ridiculous "limits of science": but that's life, this one and only argument
of creationists is 100% predictible.
In my view the only possible debate is not about evolution, it's plainly
about science (or materialistic rationality) versus non-scientific ways of
explaining the universe. Once this is clarified, the absurdity of a
dialogue between two persons adopting a scientific versus a non-scientific
logic appears plainly. A more or less pleasant conversation is possible,
but no progress. Playing the same game requires adopting the same rules.
The first choice concerns science itself, before engaging in an
obligatorily sterile quarell of "alternative truths". The particular status
of scientific discovery has to be demarcated first, in order to avoid
playing on words with terms like "truth" (or "theory" as well).
Maybe this is what you mean, some way ?

(I apologize if this new avatar of the "good old creationism thread"
appears out of topic on Taxacom ... subtly disguised in ape's clothes this
time).

Pierre




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