Submitted by Steve Newton on October 23, 2008 - 17:16
Science is about debate
Summary of problems:Scientists sometimes debate issues. However, no scientists with educational backgrounds in evolution debate the tenets of standard evolutionary biology. No geographers debate whether the world is flat or spherical; no astronomers debate whether or not the Apollo missions went to the moon. Cranks will always be among us; some people even question plate tectonics or Einstein's theory of general relativity (McCausland 1999). However, the presence of a few cranks arguing does not mean there exists a genuine debate among real scientists.
Full discussion:The authors of Explore Evolution present their anti-evolutionary arguments to students as if they were part of vigorous, ongoing scientific debate about evolution. This debate does not exist in the peer-reviewed scientific literature or at scientific conferences. Even Paul Nelson, an author of Explore Evolution, acknowledges that their anti-evolutionary arguments have failed to persuade the scientific community. During a conference in 2004, titled Intelligent Design and the Future of Science, and hosted at Biola University (formerly the Bible Institute of Los Angeles), Nelson warned:
The current intelligent design debate has been going on for well over a decade, and I think the panelists and probably many of you will agree, it’s locked in a kind of holding pattern. This is not the first time tonight that you heard about molecular machines. Most of you, I think, a healthy percentage of this audience finds that evidence compelling … Yet the scientific community itself is unpersuaded. They’re unpersuaded. And they have two major criticisms of intelligent design and these are intimately related to one another. The first one is that there is no independent evidence for the cause, namely the designer. We don’t have any direct observational access to whatever being built that bacterial motor, if that bacterial motor was in fact designed and built by an intelligence. So, that’s the first one, there’s no independent evidence of the designer and there are no novel results and findings stemming from intelligent design independent of its criticisms of evolution.P. Nelson (2004) Molecular Machines and the Death of Darwinism