How Not to Defend Evolution, Part One

Here at ScienceBlogs we often debate the best way of promoting science literacy generally, and an understanding of evolution in particular. Is a calm recital of the evidence a good approach, or does that merely come off as an uninspiring “data dump” to non-scientists? Does the vocal atheist wing of the party scare off moderates, or are they an essential part of any long-term solution? And what role does proper framing play in the public’s acceptance of evolution? All worthy questions, and while I certainly have my opinions on the subject, I don’t pretend to know the answers.

But there is one thing I am sure of. Any scientist or philosopher who is going to rush into print on the subject of evolution and ID ought to be very careful to make his points clearly and crisply. Get in, make your arguments, get out. What you must not do is litter your essay with worthless, pretentious, philosophical asides that serve no purpose beyond showing off all the esoterica you know. When defending evolution from creationist attack you must not give the impression the whole subject is beneath you. You must not phrase your points so sloppily that even as you intend to defend evolution, you nonetheless provide ample fodder for creationist quote-miners.

In other words, you must not write like Ian Hacking.


The Nation has just posted this lengthy essay by Hacking, a philosopher of science of some prominence. Of course, The Nation was the outfit that asked a Lehigh University English professor to review Stephen Jay Gould’s big book. So they don’t exactly have a good track record on this subject. This essay won’t help.

As so often happens, what I originally intended as a single post got so long that I have decided to break it up into two. So here we go! We pick up the action in paragraph three:

The debate about who decides what gets taught is fascinating, albeit excruciating for those who have to defend the schools against bunkum. Democracy, as Plato keenly observed, is a pain for those who know better. The public debate about evolution itself, as opposed to whether to teach it, is something else. It is boring, demeaning and insufferably dull.

So far so good. Hacking has made it perfectly clear both here and in the previous two paragraphs that he has little sympathy for ID or creationism. The gratuitous Plato reference is a red flag, too pretentious for my taste, but the really annoying stuff is still to come. That final sentence is likewise a red flag. If Hacking finds the subject so dull, why is he about to unload 4000+ words on the subject?

Now, with that opening you might expect a clear explanation of what is wrong with ID and what is right with evolution. And we sort of do! It’s just that since Hacking can’t resist introducing a lot of irrelevant esoterica into his argumentation, it’s rather difficult to ferret out the main thread of his argument. For example:

Many scientists who are upset by the ongoing lobbying insist that it is bad science or pseudo-science. Living With Darwin, Philip Kitcher’s brief and cogent manifesto, very rightly disagrees. Anti-Darwinism is, he says, dead science, recapitulating old stuff long abandoned. I prefer to call it degenerating.

The ice gets thinner. Whether anti-Darwinism is bad science, pseduoscience or dead science depends on which aspect of it you are considering. To the extent that it makes specific scientific claims that can be assessed against evidence, it is bad science. To the extent that it is a propaganda movement that apes the language of science to promote a religious and political agenda it is pseudoscience. And to the extent that, regardless of the merits of its specific claims, ID does not lead to any worthwhile research program and is merely a regurgitation long discarded ideas, it is dead science.

But phrase it the way Hacking did and you get the impression that scientists are wrong to say that ID is pseudoscience. I’m sure the folks at the Discovery Institute will have a good time pouncing on that little inadvertent concession. If they take notice of this piece at all they will argue that while Hacking is wrong to be so dismissive of the strength of ID claims, he at least recognizes that it is not pseudoscience. They will sarcastically praise him for his open-mindedness, while saying that at least he does not try to win the argument by definitional fiat, unilke his more dogmatic fellow travellers.

At least his heart is in the right place. Surely we will now get some explanation of why ID should be regarded as dead science:

I take the word from Imre Lakatos, a philosopher of science who liked to flaunt the aphorisms “Every theory is born refuted” and “Every theory wallows in a sea of anomalies.” Both exaggerations have been true of evolutionary theories from the word go, but evolution has gone from strength to strength. Lakatos was a great rationalist, but following his hero Karl Popper, he did not think that theories are good when they are established as true. His unit of evaluation was the research program rather than the theory. A rational program is, he said, “progressive” in that it constantly reacts to counterexamples and difficulties by producing new theories that overcome old hurdles. When challenged it does not withdraw into some safe corner but explains new difficulties with an even riskier, richer and bolder story about nature. Degenerate programs paint themselves into smaller and smaller corners, skirting problems they’d prefer not to face. They seldom or never have a new, positive explanation of anything. In short, they teach us nothing.

There is no one philosophy of science that fully accounts for the evolving body of practices we call the sciences. I would not want to apply Lakatos’s model indiscriminately. It is a colorful way to point to the difference between the history of evolutionary biology since Darwin and anti-Darwin posturing that explains nothing. Anti-Darwinism is not pseudo-science or even dead science so much as degenerate science–and that, in pretty much the explicit sense, I owe to Lakatos.

Don’t misunderstand me. Hacking’s point here is a good and important one. Evolutionary theory has led researchers to one success after another. No form of creationism has ever done that. But goodness! So many words to make so simple a point! And why all the gratuitous references to Popper and Lakatos? Why, after writing such a lengthy paragraph about the views of two particular philosophers and the origin of the term “degenerate science”, does he then begin the next paragraph by adding caveats and restrictions to what he just said? It’s a weak and tedious way of writing, and one that sorely tries the patience of all but the most dedicated readers.

Still, I was doing okay up to this point. Hacking’s points are good, and while I don’t care for his writing style he is still on track to turn in a decent essay. Sadly, that now comes to an end:

The Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank, states that “neo-Darwinism” posits “the existence of a single Tree of Life with its roots in a Last Universal Common Ancestor.” That tree of life is enemy number one, for it puts human beings in the same tree of descent as every other kind of organism, “making a monkey out of man,” as the rhetoric goes. Enemy number two is “the sufficiency of small-scale random variation and natural selection to explain major changes in organismal form and function.” This is the doctrine that all forms of life, including ours, arise by chance. Never underestimate the extraordinary implausibility of both these theses. They are, quite literally, awesome.

The tree of life is one of our most ancient metaphors, recurring and profound. There it is in Eden, firmly planted in Genesis 2:9. It was initially free for all, unlike the infamous tree of knowledge, which grew beside it. Much earlier it was carved in stone on Assyrian monuments. The menorah is a tree with seven branches. The cross itself is a tree of life: Made from the wood of dead trees, it became the symbol of eternal life.

It would seem that Hacking believes the appropriate response to the Discovery Institute’s dubious scientific claims is to discourse on the history of tree metaphors. After this excerpt we are treated to three more paragraphs on that delightful but totally irrelevant subject. Paragraphs that include gems like this, incidentally:

Those who think that Genesis is just another old book should marvel that its authors got it right, in the very beginning, planting the tree of life in the human mind.

Oh bruh-ther. But fine, let us humor Hacking. Now that we are all sufficiently impressed with his erudition on the subject of tree metaphors, perhaps we can get back to the business of explaining why the Discovery Institute is wrong. Then again, perhaps not. We will take up that question in Part Two.

Comments

  1. #1 Matthew L.
    September 21, 2007

    I think you’re being unfair complaining about the wordiness of some passages. For example, somehow I think that a philosopher of science would not consider bringing up several philosophies of science in an essay discussing a topic in the philosophy of science to be “gratuitous references” at all.

    If you want to criticize some proposed scientific explanation—which ID at least pretends to be—you need a theory of what makes a scientific theory better or worse, which is something which in the end will rest on some philosophical beliefs. ID supporters, or creationists can always claim that their theory explains all the evidence, the problem is that their explanations are not very good. Explaining why they are bad, however, requires a philosophy of science.

  2. #2 MartinM
    September 21, 2007

    But goodness! So many words to make so simple a point!

    This coming from someone who apparently needed two posts to say “Hacking’s a pretentious wanker.” :P

  3. #3 Caledonian
    September 21, 2007

    Talking about metaphoric ‘Trees of Life’ creates the idea that biology’s tree of life (short, scrubby bush would be more accurate) is just another story told by mythmakers.

  4. #4 Roo
    September 21, 2007

    I took a Philosophy of Science class a couple of semesters ago, and came to the conclusion that one of the major points that distinguishes a philosopher from a scientist is they way they write. Philosophy is about showing off your knowledge, and making your points with verbose over embellished word salad. Scientists go for the clear concise approach. This is why we scientists need to stand up and speak in this debate, and not leave it to the philosophers. I have great respect for Hacking, Lakatos Popper, Kuhn, and the rest, now that I know what they think, but they’ll never, never be able to get it across to anyone that doesn’t have a tolerance for sifting through the bull-shit.

  5. #5 Comstock
    September 21, 2007

    I have lots of respect for Ian Hacking. I think you’re being too hard on him here. He’s writing as a philosopher of science, not a scientist. He has different concerns but seems to fall into the messy pro-rationalist, pro-science camp we’re all part of here. From reading some of his books, I suspect that what sets Hacking apart is his good-natured willingness to spend some time entertaining the ideas of people he disagrees with.

  6. #6 AxisofJared
    September 21, 2007

    If I’m writing a longer than usual post, I will often find myself going off on tangents. Jason, when you write a long post, do you plan it out somehow, or does it just come out that way? One of the reasons I read your blog is because of your precision.

  7. #7 scott fanetti
    September 21, 2007

    The issue here is that nuance and subtlety is lost on most people. The people that might be swayed by the discovery institute’s arguments would feel completely confused by Hacking’s meandering prose. Regular people need simple explanations that they can build into their own semantic networks of understanding.

    Evolution is something that is astonishly simple – simple enough for a child to understand. Loading it up with all the crap makes it inaccessible to people that did not have the benefit of a broad liberal arts education. They are more likely to just fall back on their indoctrinated ideology since they can at least claim to understand the religious arguments.

    People writing about evolution should always follow the KISS principle. Keep it Simple – Stupid!

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    September 21, 2007

    Hacking, quoted by Rosenhouse:

    Those who think that Genesis is just another old book should marvel that its authors got it right, in the very beginning, planting the tree of life in the human mind.

    No.

    The “tree of life” which Yahweh Elohim planted in the Garden was a tree whose fruit would make you live forever. The story about it is one of exactly two stories in the Bible which involve talking animals (count them: the other is Balaam’s ass). It bears the distinct appearance of a reappropriated nature myth; don’t forget that Gilgamesh also lost a plant of immortality to a snake.

    Modern biologists speak of a “tree of life” which describes the evolutionary relationships among species. The two have nothing in common; you cannot eat fruit from a cladogram.

    Genesis says, on the face of it, that a Magic Man created living things (some of which, like plants, arose indirectly because the Magic Man put some kind of generative power in the soil). Uncovering the truth about life required shaking off this fable. Why indulge in silly and shallow metaphor-speak in a vain effort to rehabilitate a Babylonian folk tale?

  9. #9 Jason Rosenhouse
    September 21, 2007

    Matthew L-

    The point of the lengthy paragraph in which Hacking discussed Lakatos and Popper was simply that scientists value theories that produce results. You don’t need any elaborate philosophical considerations to make that point, and you definitely don’t need to discuss Lakatos’ preferred terminology or who his heroes were.

    In general I think the importance of philosophy in responding to ID folks is overstated, but that’s a different post.

    Martin M-

    “Wanker” is a bit strong. I just think he wrote a poor essay.

    Roo-

    I think you’re overgeneralizing about scientists and philosophers — some philosophers, like Daniel Dennett and Bertrand Russell, strike me as admirably clear — but I do think you have a point. I think scientists value clarity above all else, whereas philosophers frequently don’t.

    Incidentally, I had a similar experience to regarding the philsoophy of science. In college I briefly considered majoring in philosophy. Towards that end, I decided to take a philosophy of science class. After three miserable weeks I gave up and dropped it. Most of the time I couldn’t figure out what the professor was talking about (and, yes, that reflects badly on him and not on me) and on the whole I saw little connection between anything the professor was saying and actual science.

    Comstock-

    I had never heard of Hacking prior to reading this essay, but I gather from others that he is quite prominent in his field. Just to be clear, however, for the most part my objection is to the way he made his points and not to the points themselves (though see part two for some exceptions).

    And bad writing is bad writing regardless of the profession of the author. You don’t get a pass on vague, imprecise, politically tone deaf writing just because you are a philosopher and not a scientist.

    AxisofJared-

    Since precision is one of the main things I go for in my writing, I take your statement as a very high compliment. Thanks! Mostly what I do is after I write a first draft I read through it carefully, asking myself with each sentence whether it furthers my argument and, if it does, if I could express it with greater concision. My first drafts often have long tangents, but I try to get rid of them when I revise. I wish Hacking had done as much.

    Scott Fanetti-

    Exactly! That’s precisely what I was getting at. You don’t need a lot of philosophical maunderings to explain the flaws in ID.

    Blake Stacey-

    That statement from Hacking especially got under my skin. Glad I’m not the only one.

  10. #10 Blake Stacey
    September 21, 2007

    Jason Rosenhouse:

    I’ve written before about how people try to discuss physics metaphorically, using the everyday meanings of words instead of the technical definitions, and more importantly, forgoing mathematical reasoning for “novelistic” thinking. Though I hadn’t thought so much about it, the same probably applies to biology.

  11. #11 scatheist
    September 21, 2007

    Dan S @96
    “I must say, I’ve never been called a conservative good-ole boy before.”

    Then, I owe you an apology. I was very tired and got hopelessly tangled in trying to decipher what you were saying, which I superficially took to be a defence both of the potentially unmoral aspects of conservatism (what I found alarming in Haidt).

    “Anyway, though, if you’re defining “morality” as that which is classically treated in most studies of moral philosophy, or even, that which is most likely to promote moral behavior as we understand it, well, sure, no argument there. I just think Haidt seems correct to point out that in much of human experience, ~morality is defined far more broadly, and includes certain concepts left out of classical moral philosophy.”

    I agree that humans do define morality very personally and emotionally, though I see this as one of the chief barriers to developing fair standards of morality on which most reasonable members of society could agree. (Laws will always be necessary to deal with those who refuse to adhere even to reasonable standards.) In a sense, I am saying that I think that an effective moral contract does not comprise transducing highly personal disgust reactions into excessive control of genuinely harmless behaviors by other people.

    Even before reading Haidt’s article in Edge, I was aware that conservatives place much more emphasis than liberals on adherence to the dictates of chosen authorities. I think that the socially divisive problems that arise from this in-group loyalty stem from the sometimes, indeed too often, harmful messages promulgated by conservative authorities-of-choice.

    “On the other hand, I’d disagree with – among other things, probably including different moral systems being incommensurable- the idea that liberal morality is comparatively ‘impoverished’, as he puts it (yes, I understand that it’s a matter of relative importance, not total neglect).”

    I must have missed his saying ‘impoverished’, which would have disturbed me even more than his article did! I found his article very interesting and I did try those moral inventories – needless to say, I scored as a liberal.

    I did not take him to be saying that liberals lack a moral sense, but I did object to his implication that obedience/tradition/purity necessarily added to moral thinking. They could enhance moral attitudes, but only if the obedient, traditional, ‘sanctity-first’ message was actully moral according to the no-harm/justice criteria, and too often that is not the case.

  12. #12 scatheist
    September 21, 2007

    Duh on me! This is what happense when one has two windows open simultaneously. My last comment belongs elsewhere! My apologies and please delete both.

  13. #13 Wes
    September 21, 2007

    I study philosophy, and let me say that I agree with the charge that many (too many) philosophers seem to be writing simply for the sake of stringing together long strands of incomprehensible gibberish.

    There are a lot of really interesting and really important ideas presented in philosophy of science, and it’s a shame that so often they seem to get lost in all the intellectual masturbation that goes on in humanities departments. It’s a shame, really. So many of the debates regarding interactions between science and culture heavily involve philosophical ideas and positions that a clear understanding of various philosophies of science, and their pros and cons, would be really helpful; but a lot of philosophers seem to be deliberately working against clear understanding and clear-headed thinking (which would have horrified many of the philosophers of the past…)

  14. #14 Caledonian
    September 21, 2007

    If you want to understand the philosophy behind the practice of science, you’d do better to go ask a scientist. Or even better, go read the works of scientists known for having written clear, concise examinations of the nature of science.

    Going to a philosopher is just silly.

  15. #15 Marion Delgado
    September 23, 2007

    IN.

    My point: you’re an idiot.

    Evidence: a philosophy of science expert wrote a philosophy of science article. You rambled on for almost 4,000 words and managed to say you didn’t like it because it was not one of your blog posts.

    OUT.

  16. #16 Stephen Huff
    November 15, 2007

    Everyone who does not accept Evolution as valid science will be condemned to heck for all eternity. (I use condemned to heck instead of another phrase to avoid language filters.)

    I am deeply concerned with the growth of anti-evolutionism in the US today. It may be exaggerated because of the elections as candidates say things to cater to their ‘base’ but it is absolutely terrifying. The dangers of denying that evolution is science cannot be exaggerated. The people who deny it, like those who crucified Jesus, ‘know not what they do’.

    1) Let us look at the reasons why people deny that evolution is science.

    The first and most common reason is that people are insulted to be told that they are related to monkeys. This shows up constantly in the literature of the anti-evolutionists. As in the title of the ‘Scopes Monkey Trial’
    http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/scopes.htm

    When someone is insulted, their pride has been offended. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins.

    “Listed in the same order used by both Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century AD, and later by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the seven deadly sins are as follows: Luxuria (extravagance, later lust), Gula (gluttony), Avaritia (greed), Acedia (sloth), Ira (wrath, more commonly known as anger), Invidia (envy), and Superbia (pride). Each of the seven deadly sins has an opposite among the corresponding seven holy virtues (sometimes also referred to as the contrary virtues). In parallel order to the sins they oppose, the seven holy virtues are chastity, abstinence, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins

    “[edit] Proverbs 6:16 – 19
    In Proverbs 6:16 – 19, it is stated that “(16) These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:” (quotes from “King James Version (KJV)” translation of the Bible). These are:

    (17) A proud look,
    a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
    (18) A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
    feet that be swift in running to mischief,
    (19) A false witness that speaketh lies,
    and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

    “While there are seven of them, these sins are significantly different in outward appearance from the seven deadly sins list that arose later. The only sin which is clearly on both lists is Pride.”

    The only one of the seven mortal sins in the regular list found in proverbs is pride. The act of rejecting a scientific theory because of pride is a mortal sin, and all who are guilty of it will be condemned to heck for all eternity unless they repent in perfect contrition for their sins. You must be humble when you stand before the throne of God, and science, by examining the works of God in creating the universe is analyzing and describing the throne of God, Creation itself. To attack a scientific theory because it offends your pride is a mortal sin. Everyone who denies that evolution is science is in serious risk of eternal condemnation.

    Now, a science completely independent of the theory of evolution has proven that we are related to Monkeys. Genetics and the typing of different genotypes has shown that we are indeed related to all other life on earth. Monkeys are our blood relatives, and that would remain a scientific fact if the ‘theory of evolution’ were proven false tomorrow.

    So denying that we are related to monkeys because it offends your pride is a mortal sin, and the fact that we are related to monkeys has been proven to be a solid scientific fact by genetics independent of Evolution.

    2) Evolution contradicts some peoples interpretation of the Bible.

    Again this is the sin of pride. Priests and Ministers and religious authority are not immune to pride. They base their power and authority in the world on their skill and ability in interpreting their religious texts. When something contradicts their interpretation their pride is offended and they react on the basis of their vanity.

    To deny that evolution is science because it offends your vanity by contradicting your interpretation of the Bible is a mortal sin, and unless you repent of it with perfect contrition you will suffer eternal condemnation.

    There is no necessary conflict between evolution and the Bible.

    ” 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

    26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.”

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=1&chapter=1&version=31

    Here in Genesis in the first story of Creation, God created animals first and Man last.

    “4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
    When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth [b] and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth [c] and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams [d] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- the LORD God formed the man The Hebrew for man (adam) sounds like and may be related to the Hebrew for ground (adamah) it is also the name Adam (see Gen. 2:20). from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

    Here in Genesis in the second story of creation God creates Man first and then populates the world with other creatures. It is impossible for them both to be ‘literal truth’. These two stories in the first few pages of the bible tell completely opposite stories of creation with regards to man. In one, Man is glorified as the last crowning creation of God. In the other Man is glorified as the first and most important of God’s living creations.

    It is impossible that these stories could be literally true. Evolution presents no more obstacle to Christian faith than the Bible itself does. There is no more of an automatic conflict between the Bible and Evolution than there is between the Bible and the Bible itself.

    In the face of facts like these, when a Priest of Minister condemns Evolution because it conflicts with ‘the literal truth’ of the Bible, it is apparent that this is pride and vanity run amok.

    Such men commit the sin of pride and then in their pride and vanity they mislead their followers into their own sin. Such sins will not be forgiven.

    Again, these men will suffer eternal condemnation because of their pride and conceit.

    3) In the cleverness of their pride and vanity, such leaders have decided that ‘intelligent design’ is science. On the contrary, the belief that ‘intelligent design’ is science is a trap laid by the devil to seduce men into sin.

    Men are naturally given to vanity and pride. They define themselves as ‘intelligent’, Homo Sapiens they call themselves. Then when they talk about ‘Intelligent Design’ they define God as “Intelligent”. So they say that they are the same as God. “Lo”, they say, “We are like unto God, the Creator of the Universe. He may have more power than we possess, but our minds, our intelligence is the equal of his.”

    Is there a more clear example of sinful arrogance and pride than this? Is it possible to imagine a more terrible, mortal sin?

    Indeed, this sin then leads them into terrible error. They say that since their minds are the equal of God’s they do not need science to learn how God actually created the universe, they can sit in their drawing rooms and decide how he created the universe without reference to the facts.

    There is a rather sad story about Einstein and Neils Bohr which illustrates this. Quantum mechanics offended Einstein’s sense of an orderly universe.

    He famously said, “God does not play dice with the Universe”.

    Neils Bohr another great physicist of the time replied, “You should not tell God what he can do with his dice.”

    This is the essential fallacy of intelligent design. It allows sinful man in his pride and arrogance to imagine that he is God, or the equal of God, and then to dictate to God how God should have created the Universe.

    You must be Humble, when you stand before the Throne of God, even if you are Einstein, and Creation is the Throne of God, and Science is the study of Creation. You must, therefore, show humility as a Scientist, but a humility towards experimental facts and inductive reasoning to help discover empirical truth, not a humility before ‘religious authorities’.

    Intelligent design is a seductive trap created by Satan to seduce men into the sin of pride. Everyone who denies that Evolution is in serious danger of eternal condemnation.

    4) Evolution is only a theory. This statement is widely made by the Evolutionists. It shows a profound ignorance of what Science is. Karl Popper a famous philosopher of science maintained “This problem arises from his position that the truth content of our theories, even the best of them, cannot be verified by scientific testing, but can only be falsified.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper

    Popper is subtle, and a bit extreme. His standard of experimental falsification could be used to deny that astronomy, geology, and meteorology are not sciences because they cannot be tested in a laboratory but are only based on observations. People argueing on the basis of Popper’s philosophy can get a bit silly. Still his point about all science being theories that can never be proven is essential to the understanding of science.

    Every part of science is ‘only a theory’. Gravity is ‘only a theory’, momentum is ‘only a theory’. Yet, these theories serve us well. Frequently they are falsified by new evidence, but they remain true and reliable in the context in which they were originally formulated. Saying that Evolution is ‘only a theory’ says nothing at all. It only shows a vast ignorance of science and the philosophy of science.

    When ignorant people try to dictate to scientists what is and is not science, they again commit the sin of pride. Again, people who do not accept Evolution as science are in danger of eternal condemnation.

    5) Judge a tree by its Fruit. I did some searches for this, it is a well known quote from Jesus, but it did not come up on the Bible search engines I used. Searching the entire web showed that it is a quote from Euripides as well as from Jesus.

    I did find the exact phrase that way.

    Matthew 7:16-20, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

    This is essentially the scientific method. Theories are judged by their fruits. Their fruits are twofold. A good theory allows you to successfully predict outcomes. That, in turn, allows you to act successfully in applied science to make the world a safer, better place.

    This being true, if Evolution is good science it should be bearing good fruit. So how is evolution helping us to make the world a better, safer place?

    Let us look at medicine. It is fairly common today on the news to see news about new diseases which have evolved resistance to our traditional anti-biotics. If we did not know about evolution, we could not understand and successfully oppose these new diseases. Evolution tells us how this happens and allows us to counter it. It tells us that by carefully controlling the use of anti-biotics we can prevent their use in circumstances which would allow bacteria to evolve resistance to them. This helps us keep drugs effective in fighting disease longer. It also tells us that we need to develop new drugs to counter the effects of evolution. The ‘Theory’ of evolution is actively saving the lives of our fellow human beings every day.

    I do not know of a single life which has been saved by creationism or intelligent design. On the contrary, creationism and intelligent design will kill people.

    A doctor who is a Creationist knows that evolution is false, therefore, disease cannot evolve resistance to penicillin. In treating his patients he will continue to use penicillin instead of the new drugs, and his patients will die. Then, on judgement day, standing before the Jesus, the King of Kings, the people he killed will accuse him of their deaths. What will his defense be? Will he plead that his pride was offended because evolution said he was related to monkeys? Will that justify murder on the day of final judgement. Will he say that his minister taught him that evolution was false and he trusted his minister more than he trusted scientists?

    Failure to accept evolution as science places people in severe danger of eternal condemnation.

    The above example will not happen often today. The anti-evolutionists today accept that bacteria evolve, or they find some other way to accept medical truths. Still, if we had stopped teaching evolution as science in 1925, then it would be happening today. Thousands, possibly millions of people would be dying of disease because we did not accept evolution as science.

    I do not know what horrors await humanity in the future because of creationism and intelligent design. I only know that judging by their fruits, if they are taught as science, it will lead to the deaths of millions, and the waste of billions of dollars in scientific research based on theories which are not science.

    When you murder millions of people because your pride is offended by evolution, you are committing a mortal sin. Everyone who fails to accept evolution as science is in serious danger of eternal condemnation.

    A few more demonstrations of the good fruits which evolution is producing in the world today.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/genalg/genalg.html

    “Creationists occasionally charge that evolution is useless as a scientific theory because it produces no practical benefits and has no relevance to daily life. However, the evidence of biology alone shows that this claim is untrue. There are numerous natural phenomena for which evolution gives us a sound theoretical underpinning. To name just one, the observed development of resistance – to insecticides in crop pests, to antibiotics in bacteria, to chemotherapy in cancer cells, and to anti-retroviral drugs in viruses such as HIV – is a straightforward consequence of the laws of mutation and selection, and understanding these principles has helped us to craft strategies for dealing with these harmful organisms. The evolutionary postulate of common descent has aided the development of new medical drugs and techniques by giving researchers a good idea of which organisms they should experiment on to obtain results that are most likely to be relevant to humans.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_algorithm
    http://geneticalgorithms.ai-depot.com/Tutorial/Overview.html

    If we judge trees by their fruits as Jesus commanded, we must accept Evolution as science, and reject Creationism and Intelligent Design.

  17. #17 Timothy Dubitsky
    July 17, 2012

    what are the benefits of green tea for skin, Your house is valueble for me. Thank you!…

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