Friday, April 08, 2005

Bull Malarkey

AP Wire | 04/08/2005 | Evolution hearings likely to be one-sided:
Steve Abrams, the state board's Republican chairman, called the contention that board members have decided the issue "bull malarkey," and said the hearings will take place even if evolution defenders don't show up.

"If they've got the guns on their side to defend (evolution), then why not defend it?" he said. "Instead, what they are going to do is take potshots, they are going to do the one-liners, they are going to do the 30-second sound bite instead of coming in and trying to testify and defend a position that they say is the only position in the world."
Dr. Abrams is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but this is hilarious. Compare The Evolution Project to The Non-Evolution Project. See how there's been tons of research published on evolution in the last 3 months, and none on the "alternatives," or even undermining evolutionary biology?

Science isn't about people, it's about ideas. What ideas will the creationists bring? They'll bring mud, and they'll sling it. But science is a process that clears dirt off of good ideas, and lets the bad ones get buried.

As Eliot Sober says in Philosophy of Biology,
It would be a distortion to call creationism a research program in biology, because creationists really do not to biological research at all. They criticize evolutionary theory, but they have not developed a positive explanation of their own of the adaptive complexity found in nature. Here I am talking about people, not propositions. Creation theory [his emphasis] may be thought of as an idea that can be evaluated in the long term by seeing whether it can sole problems that rival research programs are unable to address. There are many versions that the theory can take; only by exploring a good number of these can we reach a fair assessment of the theory's plausibility. A single set of observations may impugn one version of creationism, but to give the idea a real run for its money, other versions must be explored.

If we view creationism as a flexible doctrine that can be formulated in numerous specific ways, how should we evaluate it? The long-term track record of "scientific creationism" has been poor. Phrenology [discussed earlier] eventually was discarded; although it showed some promise initially, it failed to progress in the long run. Creationism has fared no better; indeed, it has done much worse. It was in its heyday with Paley [in 1805], but since then the idea has moved to the fringe of serious thought and beyond. Perhaps time enough has passed for it to be discarded on the rubbish heap of history.
I highlighted the bold text. Anyone who enjoys the argument for its own sake, but doesn't want all the biological detail of an evolution text or a popular book on evolution, should read Sober's book.

The point is, while creationism or the design argument (which he deals with and dismisses) may once have been of some interest, and may even be scientific statements, they have been so thoroughly rejected already as to be worthless, or as Dr. Abrams might say "bull malarkey."