6 Common Misconceptions about Evolution
Misconception: Science is performed by consensus
It is not 'scientific' to assert the veracity of a theory based on the number of endorsements it receives. Scientists do not cast ballots to decide laws and theories. A repeatable experiment with consistent measurable results is the deciding factor. A set of expectations that are not contradicted by facts carries weight: majority rule only matters in government, not scientific accuracy.
It is not reasonable to assert the validity of any scientific endeavor based on the number of educated folks endorsing it. No theory has been 'proven' by majority decision. It is entirely possible that politics or incorrectly designed experiments or improperly interpreted results can cause a "majority of scientists", whatever that might be, to accept an incorrect conclusion.
Many theories once widely accepted by scientific communities have been completely debunked. One such theory is that of the "Four Humors" which will be discussed shortly.
Misconception: Science is what you study
Science is how you study, not what you study. Science can be performed on plants or people or economic systems.
- Design an Experiment
- Perform the Experiment
- Conclude / publish / report
Science can be performed on cellular biology or on the Extra Sensory Perception boasted by Las Vegas entertainers. Science can be used to investigate the claims of evolutionists, creationists, and charlatans. Science is a method, not an outcome or a subject.
Misconception: There is only one kind of evolution
Evolution is change over time, usually very small changes over very large increments of time. Evolution falls into two general categories. We apply two very broad terms: macro and micro. Macro-evolution represents the process of an amoeba morphing into a human being through innumerable small changes. Micro-evolution describes a particular bacteria becoming resistant to a specific antibiotic through a relatively small change or set of changes.
Perhaps the clearest demarcation lies in what we can observe and what we must infer. Scientists have observed antibiotic-resistant bacterium. Scientists have not observed a single-celled entity slowly changing into a banana over millions of years.
Misconception: A US Court ultimately decided ID is not science
Courts decide legal issues, not science. Courts are not constrained or directed to follow a scientific methodology. Lawyers and judges attend law school, not science school.
Yes, a US District Court judge wrote in a 139 page decision that that Intelligent Design is not science (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.) However, the US Supreme Court infamously ruled that African Americans could not be American Citizens (Dred Scott v. Sandford.)
These two cases are not functionally related but the point still stands:don't look to the legal system for validation of issues outside their purview because sometimes they get it wrong.
Misconception: Scientists are not biased
Mainstream scientific research as taught and performed at almost all reputable universities begins from the assertion that everything can be explained naturally. This is a bias. It may be a bias that most non-scientists readily accept, but nevertheless it remains an obvious bias.
When science starts from the premise that every mystery can be explained naturally or will eventually be explained naturally, it would follow that particles-to-people evolution is the only possible conclusion.
Sadly, bias also creeps into scientific literature. Politics, economics, and public opinion all influence the contents of journals and other publications. Editors work diligently to mitigate the effects. This author has participated in peer-reviews and peer-reviewed publications.
Misconception: A scientific theory is the same as a scientific law
Certainly a theory as posited from science is considered by scientists to be much more than an educated guess or an assumption. On the other hand, we do not use the terms "theory of photosynthesis" or "theory of gravity." A law can be represented mathematically. A theory cannot be represented mathematically. Theories change over time. Laws do not change unless they were initially in error.
A theory is an inference that fits the current set of facts. Theories change and are expected to change. For example, Western medicine was dominated by the theory of the "Four Humors" for over 2000 years. Dyscrasia was defined as the imbalance of these humors and was taught to be the direct cause of all diseases. German scientist Rudolf Virchow is credited with discrediting Dyscrasia and applying a more rigorous style of science to medicine. Interestingly, Virchow referred to Charles Darwin as an ignoramus.
More words formed into sentences
- Evolutionists: Why Can't a Shark Breed With an Eagle?
Wouldn't that be cool? A serious example of Survival of the Fittest!
More by this Author
Churning round and round in the basement, the washing machine usually spends its' useful life as an unappreciated member of the appliance family...
Ever been to a NASCAR race? I thought not. Here are my top 10 reasons why NASCAR racing doesn't rock.
Data Hiding is an aspect of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) that allows developers to protect private data and hide implementation details. In this tutorial we examine basic data hiding techniques in Java.