EDarr1776 at aol.com
EDarr1776 at aol.com
Thu Mar 18 01:18:59 PST 2004
In a message dated 3/17/2004 1:19:46 PM Central Standard Time,
gene at osolaw.com writes:
> What would your view be of a high school science text book that, for
> example, noted that Darwinian therory offers no explanation for how matter came to
> exist in the first place? Or, that macro-evolution is not subject to testing
> under general scientific theory? I think that is where I have concerns that
> some views of evolution are as much philosophical as they are scientific -
> and that teaching macro-evolution raises the same concerns in many ways that
> teaching ID or creationism would.
Origin of matter is well beyond the scope of evolution theory, so I'm not
sure why a biology book would need to address it in the first place -- but there
is relatively solid theory on how matter came to be, in physics. Darwin
didn't offer any conjecture on the origin of matter, and it has no effect on
evolution theory. It's not a part of require biology curricula in Texas, nor
anywhere else I'm aware.
I'm not sure what you mean by macroevolution not being subject to testing.
It's been tested in every particular, in every aspect of evolution theory.
While it is true that science used to be a much more closely-related branch of
philosophy, I do not think it fair to say that the extrapolation backwards of
evolution to include all living things is an unscientific leap. Evolution is no
less scientific than chemistry, physics, geology, or mathematics in that
These are matters that would be in question, but for the evidence actually
available. If we assume that the mechanisms of evolution are uncertain and
unproven, there would indeed be some difficulty in claiming them as science.
There's just too much research that shows the five pillars of Darwin's theory are
still true, and a great paucity of evidence that might challenge any of the
pillars, in any branch of biology including paelontology. Had evolution not
been observed in real time, there might be a case. But with so many examples of
evolution in hand, well documented, there is a great onus on critics to do
much more than ask questions -- they've got to demonstrate a spectacular failure
of the theory to conform to observed conditions somewhere. That's not
Which is why I have argued on this list that hypotheticals need to be
grounded in what the evidence actually is. I've always been struck by the
depositions in the Arkansas trial. Creationists under oath could not produce science to
back creationism against the disproofs, and admitted it. Intelligent design
can be held to no less high a standard.
All eleven high school texts proposed for Texas were approved without an
explanation for the origins of matter, I think -- one or two may have mentioned
Big Bang, but it's not necessary -- and without disclaimers against the theory.
If anything, I think they are too timid in the presentation, which is why so
many kids don't get it. The Advanced Placement books are better, I think --
and that raises a question of equity towards kids who are not AP biology
The National Academy of Sciences notes in their book to parents and teachers
on teaching evolution that "theory," in science, means a well-proven,
well-accepted explanation for what we see, and is not to be confused with
"hypothesis." Scientists call it a "theory of evolution" because it is so well
Under Texas rules, I think books that said evolution offers no explanation
for the origins of matter, or that evolution can't be tested, could be found
factually incorrect. Books can be rejected for failure to correct such things.
Of course, we may get a test of the regulations here, too.
Is there a good, science reason that biology texts should address Big Bang?
Is there evidence from any source that any part of Darwinian theory does not
work in the here and now? Then bring that evidence to the attention of text
writers, and it'll be in the books in the next cycle.
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