Alpine Summit

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Piltdown Pillow

I watched the History Channel's "Ape to Man" documentary about evolution tonight and they talk about Dr. Dart's discovery of A. africanus (Taung child) as a missing link. His discovery comes after the much more convenient (and later proven a hoax) discovery of the piltdown man. It gave me some thoughts as to the attitude science has towards intelligent design today.

I find it interesting that when an actually legitimate discovery came along, the scientific community dismissed it as some offshoot of gorillas- certainly not what it actually was. British scientists had the answer they wanted and weren't interested in new evidence that proved them wrong.

What I find interesting about this, is that during this time (mid 20's), everyone KNEW piltdown man was a scientific theory approved by the experts as legitimate. Only after several decades of blindly accepting piltdown as fact, they discover it's fake. Meanwhile, the ones who had different theories were laughed out of academia for their theories that didn't jive with piltdown.

Now compare that to today. I often find this "I can't believe these people are so dumb" attitude among intellectual elites, and those who refuse to acknowledge there's a god, when talking about intelligent design (ID) advocates. I often hear the refrain "evolution is a proven scientific theory" from evolution advocates. Well, piltdown was a "proven scientific" discovery at the time until it was discovered to be a hoax.

I refuse to hear people denigrate ID advocates because it isn't "scientific." Science is not perfect and I doubt any decent scientist would say that it is. A lot of those same scientists, though, will also criticize ID advocates because their method or reasoning isn't scientifically provable. Evolution has some fairly large holes too, though. So what makes science and evolution so much better if it's just as reliable (or even less so) as ID? Science looks at evidence. It looks at what people can see and touch and smell and hear. I guess in that case, science is better because it relies on physical evidence and so it's conclusions are validated over an ID theory because people can point to physical evidence. ID has never been disproven, and if we're willing to accept evolution because it hasn't be disproven, ID is just as valid of a theory as evolution.

Don't think I don't have faith in science. One need only flip that switch on the wall to see science work and certainly has a relevance to our lives; but the purpose of science, and what is often confused even by scientists, is to show how something happened or happens. Science never answers "why." The Bible says God created heaven and earth, plants and animals, man, and so on. That doesn't mean a theory of evolution is in conflict with the Bible. Evolution merely explains how God may have accomlished the great feat of creating.