Evolution named 2005’s top scientific breakthrough – Yahoo! News

Evolution named 2005’s top scientific breakthrough – Yahoo! News

Students, it’s time for me to tackle research methods, and underlying assumptions. Specifically, the hubris shown by scientists when they fail to check their assumptions.

As the story linked above notes, there has been much research into “origins” in the past few years, resulting in “the journal Science on Thursday proclaimed evolution the breakthrough of 2005.” The article also points out that “Ironically, also this year, some segments of American society fought to dilute the teaching of even the basic facts of evolution.” In fact, the next paragraph states that “The journal’s editor in chief, Don Kennedy, acknowledged this was a reference to the rise of the theory of intelligent design, which holds that some aspects of nature are so complex that they must be the work of an unnamed creator rather than the result of random natural selection, as Darwin argued.”

So, let’s talk about this for a moment. All research carries into it assumptions. One assumption that scientists tell you they cannot carry into their research is the existence of a deity–or an “intelligent designer.” That makes sense, since to allow for that assumption would provide a convenient way out of any apparently unsolvable conundrum. However, this also excludes the possibility of finding what may be the actual answer. If one evaluates data, and must assume that a common creator does not exist, then one would most likely reach a conclusion of a common ancestor–evolution. On the other hand, when one looks at results, such as that noted in the article “including a study that showed a mere 4 percent difference between human and chimpanzee DNA” one who assumes a deity could argue that we have a common creator. In both cases, the assumption is that commonality relies on having some source in common, but that source cannot be a deity when viewed from the scientific perspective.

My only point is this–be honest. Scientists cannot prove God through any of their work because they have, a priori, assumed God away to allow for their work.

It is quite simply, like telling someone to walk into a room with no windows, but having light, and telling them they must assume away the existence of electricity. They will create many interesting, and perhaps plausible, explanations. They will just never be right.

Scientific history is actually replete with similar examples–examples where scientists created very elaborate theories to explain the world as they understood it, but “modern science” has since proved wrong. Remember “ether?”

I would recommend reading “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas Kuhn, if you want a “philosophy of science” perspective on the way scientific paradigms have shifted–and more interestingly how scientists throughout history have been dogmatic, and wrong.

Enjoy the holiday break, students!