Sunday, February 06, 2005

Fame! : Good science : Good science:

To the editor:

As Kansas revisits the teaching of evolution, we should remember one incontrovertible fact. Evolution is useful, in and out of the laboratory.

Evolution is what brought Saturn's moon Titan to NASA's attention. Titan's oceans of methane and its water recall the conditions in which life developed on Earth.

Evolution makes testable predictions about the development of life. Naturalistic explanations allow us to apply lessons learned in laboratories throughout the universe. Chemical reactions on Titan may have converted the abundant methane to complex organic molecules. Biological processes may be regenerating that methane. These testable predictions are possible because naturalistic science allows us to apply lessons learned here, today, to events eons ago and on different planets.

Creationists' alternatives are less than useless. Without knowing their supernatural designer's desires and abilities, they cannot pose testable questions or make any testable predictions. Had NASA relied on the supernatural instead of science, they could neither choose missions, nor trust that Newton's and Einstein's theories would carry the mission to its target.

Today, evolution is as valuable to NASA as physics was to the Apollo project. Those of us on Earth also benefit from evolution; industries from agriculture to medicine, and the research laboratories that expose new horizons all rely on evolution.

Good science lifts our eyes and hearts to the heavens. The unscientific speculation of intelligent design creationism does no such thing. Rather than raising us up, it binds us down with dogma and unanswerable questions.

Joshua Rosenau,