email - February 2006

Six Questions

We received this email from Sara.

My name is Sara and I'm a senior in highschool [sic]. I'm writing a paper on disproving evolution and was wondering if I could send some questions for an interview.

We said she could, so she asked us:

Q1: What in your opinion is the biggest flaw to the theory of evolution?

Q2: What is your opinion about Intelligent Design?

Q3: Do you think public schools should change their teachings on evolution? How?

Q4: Do you think Intelligent Design should be introduced as an alternative to evolution?

Q5: Some people believe that teaching evolution has caused negative things such as communism and Hitler's motives. Do you think that teaching evolution has had a negative impact on our society?

Q6: How do you think is the best way for creationists to spread the truth and get others to see the lies about evolution?

Just the Facts, Ma’am

What struck us most about Sara’s questions was that she asked for opinions, not facts. The second thing we noticed is that most of the questions have nothing to do with her stated agenda of “disproving evolution.”

We don’t know if Sarah is writing this paper for a science class, or an English class, or a philosophy class. We hope it isn’t a science class. Science should be concerned with facts, not opinions. We hope this is an English or philosophy class, and that the intent of the class is to give Sarah an opportunity to learn how to present opinions clearly.

Let’s answer her questions in more or less reverse order.

A6. We aren’t experts in communications or public relations, so we really don’t know the best method for creationists to spread their message.

A5. It is my opinion that the theory of evolution did not cause communism or Hitler’s program of genocide. Hitler may have used the theory of evolution as a justification for genocide, but he could have used some other excuse if Darwin’s theory were not available. I believe that most of society’s problems stem from selfishness. Some people might argue that evolutionary theory justifies selfishness, but history suggests that people were selfish before Darwin came along, so we can’t blame it all on him.

A2 and A4. Intelligent Design allows people to reject the theory of evolution without embracing Christianity and all the unpleasant baggage (tithing, loving unlovable neighbors, keeping Sabbath, judgment, etc.) that comes with Christianity. ID allows people to keep their options open. It allows them to recognize that the theory of evolution is scientifically unsound, so there must be some other undiscovered explanation for the origin and diversity of life. It allows the possibility that some supernatural process (not necessarily the God of the Bible) was involved.

The theory of evolution is not an adequate explanation for the origin and diversity of life. Schools should not lie to students and tell them that it is. Schools should admit that there is no provable, naturalistic explanation for the origin and diversity of life. If one can’t prove it happened naturally, then one must admit the possibility that it happened supernaturally. That’s all Intelligent Design is.

A3. Schools should teach pure science unmixed with speculation. Teachers should not say, “Animal X evolved the ability to live in environment Y.” Nor should they say, “An unspecified intelligent designer created animal X to live in environment Y.” Teachers should say, “Animal X lives in environment Y.” Anything beyond that involves unscientific speculation.

If science teachers choose to tell students that Gigantopithecus is an extinct ape that weighed nearly 1,000 pounds, and was over 9 feet tall, then they should also tell students that this recreation is based on three lower jaws and some teeth found in 10 different caves. There are no postcranial bones at all. 1 Even if someone did find some ribs or leg bones, there would be no way to tell that the ribs or legs came from the same creature as the jaw bones or teeth.

A1. The answers to the other five questions are merely opinions. Even question 1 asked for an opinion. It is difficult to give an opinion because it is like asking, “What is the biggest flaw in the idea that money grows on trees?” Perhaps the best answer (to both questions) is “It has never been shown to be possible in the laboratory.”

Countless origin of life experiments have failed to produce life, and have increased our understanding of how impossibly difficult it would be for life to begin naturally. Countless breeding experiments have shown that there are limits to how much variation can occur in species. Modern understanding of genetics and information theory make it clear that it would be impossible for an invertebrate to evolve into a vertebrate, or a fish to evolve into an amphibian, or a wolf-like thing to evolve into a whale.

Science is based on experiments which prove or disprove hypotheses. The experimental proof for macroevolution is entirely lacking. That’s the biggest flaw in the theory. Despite this, there are people who insist that it be taught in science classes.

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Footnotes:

1 Science, Vol. 310, 9 December 2005, "Ape season coming up", p. 1612 (Ev)