Monday, 24 September 2012

The most unscientific belief EVER...

I got sucked into a debate on Youtube [i] a few days ago. It disturbs me how people can claim holding scientific views and still voice them in such an unscientific, obnoxious and downright vile manner.
I am not a scientist. But I respect Science, am fascinated by it. I have an odd personality that seem to account for that: I have a drive to understand the meaning, the underlying value of things. I am an “ INFP “according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), if you believe such things...
Anyway, I digress, here’s a memory more to the point:
My biology teacher in secondary school drove into us that the scientific method of inquiry is this:
1          1-      You observe a phenomenon, say life. You ask a question about it, say "how did it get here?"
2          2-      You do your research, go deeper into what you are observing.
3          3-    You postulate one or more hypotheses to explain what you are observing, say "evolution,  creation"
         4 - You devise experiments to measure whether your hypothesis/hypotheses is/ are true and carry them out.
4          5-     You evaluate the results
6          6-      If, and only if the results confirm your hypothesis, then that hypothesis becomes a scientific fact (and you can shout about it on the rooftops and expect receiving accolades from all over the world and maybe even a Nobel prize!)
This is of course a simple outline. It doesn’t cover everything you have to do but these are the crucial, basic steps before you can shout “Eureka!” and share your scientific breakthrough. That is why I respect true science. It supposes rigour, a sincere desire to get to the truth and be able to demonstrate it to be so without a shadow of a doubt.

Not a single one out of the people I was debating with was familiar with this method and blimey, it certainly showed in their comments. It was a plethora of verbal abuse, bullying tactics only sprinkled with pseudo scientific thinking . The only valid points that they made were the following:
When scientists use the word “theory” as in the phrase “theory of evolution”, they mean the set of principles on which Evolution is based. The phrase “theory of evolution” isn’t a confession that it is an unproven idea. My mistake.
I also learned that Michael Behe is a creationist. Therefore I was mistaken when I thought “Here’s a chap that doesn’t believe in God but still points out the pitfalls of evolution. Surely an evolutionist would consider his views at least worthy of attention”. My bad.

But none of my other arguments were countered rationally. Coming back to the scientific method mentioned earlier, Evolution hasn’t completed all the steps. Nobody has been able to recreate the evolution process in its entirety on a small scale in laboratories (or any other scale for that matter). As far as I know, scientists have only been able to recreate the “primordial soup”. No living thing has sprung from it. What about the supposed “missing links” that seem to come to the rescue of Evolution every now and then? They all turn out to be insufficient evidence after reasonable scrutiny. So why is Evolution taught as a fact? What happened to the remaining steps? Swept under the carpet? How is that scientific? One would argue that it is impossible to recreate something that has taken billions of years to happen. Well, surely having millions of scientists trying to help the process in their laboratories would cut this time short? Or more to the point, how do we KNOW that the process took billions of years? Carbon dating? Lately this process' reliability has been called into question. 
Now, I said it before and will say it again: I make no apology for believing in God. I have my reasons albeit not measurable in test tubes; I have researched them, assessed them, re-assessed them in the light of new insights and I still think that you can be scientifically minded and believe in God. Believing in Evolution is not a guarantee that you have a rational mind at all. Otherwise the individuals I debated with would have preferred reasoning to the use of expletives and all manner of verbal abuse.
Conversely, believing in Creation does not necessarily mean one is irrational. Otherwise why would pillars in Science like Isaac Newton (he was a theologian as well as a scientist) and Albert Einstein (author of the famous quote “God doesn’t play dice” with the world) believe in God?
Here is the worst though: if Evolution has not yet gone through all the steps of the scientific enquiry method and come out on top with the facts and figures, the missing links, the experiments, peer reviews etc, it is NOT an established fact. Saying it is does not MAKE IT science. Not true science anyway. Not the sort one can entrust one’s lives with unreservedly.
 I sincerely hope that science does not jump to conclusions like that in other fields like medicine...
I reflect a bit more on faith in other posts. I wrote a series I called "Faith = credulity?", if you want to delve deeper on the subject.

[i] Find my comments posted as “DidyJay” under the video "Creation / Evolution debate on Michael Corel Show"

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