Academy evolution/creation book

John Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Sun Apr 14 09:14:46 CDT 2002


Pierre wrote:

>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.

Agreed with the first part, but following the same content will reduce the
science of evolution to little more than speculative theorizing.

>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).

What the Academy book leaves out is what is the 'science' of evolution. Is
it simply nothing more than 'scientific' speculation? In its present form
this is how the science of evolution is portrayed.

>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.

As implied above, I this is not a suitable alternative. My view is that the
'science' of evolution should focus on research methodology, describing
research programs, and demonstrating how 'theory' generates empirical
progress. This is how the science of chemistry, physics, and even other
biological disicplines are taught, so why not for the science of evolution?

>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.

This is a philosophical matter over demarcation criteria that does not have
to come into play with describing the science of evolution any more than
any other science.

>Once this is clarified, the absurdity of a
>dialogue between two persons adopting a scientific versus a non-scientific
>logic appears plainly.

The trouble with this is that one even sees individual scientists
denigrating the works of other scientists as not being 'science' or not
'real' science.

>(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).

There was not disguise on my part. I brought the issue up very directly.
Since systematics is one of the cornerstones of modern biology (my opinion
yes, but I would hope there is some shared acceptance of this view in
TAXACOM) and as such the question of evolution as a science seems pertinent).

John Grehan

John Grehan




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