Some guy in Virginia didn’t like this op-ed by David Barash, and didn’t like being characterised as an “illiterate troglodyte,” so he set out to demonstrate that he was an illiterate troglodyte. He wrote a letter that’s simply non-stop bogosity.
While it is a fact that Gregor Mendel proved a general theory of evolution in the mid-1850s, there is no scientific evidence that Darwin’s theory of evolution is scientifically valid.
I don’t blame you if you feel like stopping right there and not going on. It’s kind of a show-stopper, isn’t it? You can safely assume the writer knows nothing about basic biology. Mendel reported his result to the Brünn Natural History Society in 1865, and published in 1866. What he demonstrated was an abstract mechanism for inheritance that was the foundation of modern genetics. Not evolution, genetics. They’re different, you know.
And of course, there is lots of evidence for evolution.
Mendel’s theory stated that through natural selection a species would change over time to meet the changing requirements of its environment. He never proved or claimed to prove that species would change into new species, only that they would change in ways that would allow them to survive in their new environment.
Mendel’s theory said nothing about natural selection or the effect of the environment, or their ability to survive in an environment. He explained inheritance in terms of unit factors that were present in pairs in the organisms he studied, and that were passed on as single units in the gametes, and then reformed as pairs at fertilization.
In science, two separate terms are used to describe scientific thought. Science uses the term “law” to denote a proven fact that can be relied on in all circumstances. Science uses the term “theory” to label assumptions or concepts that are still unproven.
I note with interest that science has never labeled Darwin’s concepts as laws. They have always been, and in my opinion will always be, listed as an unproven theory.
He has a mistaken notion of what a “theory” and a “law” are. A theory is not a guess. It’s an integrated collection of observations and explanations that provides a framework for understanding new results, and for guiding the generation of new experiments and tests. It is not inferior to a law, and a law is not “a proven fact”; for instance, Dollo’s Law is more of a guideline, belike, as are the laws of piracy.
Barash states that the problem is that these events happen over long periods of time and are hard for “illiterate troglodytes” to comprehend. The fact is that if this really happened, there would be a complete and consistent fossil record of the changes. There is no such record.
Can the writer show me the skull of his great-great-great-great-grandmother? Almost certainly not, and not because he’s squeamish or respectful. It’s because it almost certainly doesn’t exist anymore. Bones decay, and the fate of almost all bones is that they crumble away. We do not expect a complete fossil record. It would be a little bit freaky, a lot crowded, and probably better evidence for god than evolution if a complete array of all of our ancestors was available for inspection.
While I will readily admit that I am somewhat illiterate in all of the ins and outs of scientific research, I am sufficiently educated to both read and understand that there is no proof of evolution.
First clause is correct. Second clause is obviously wrong—he is not sufficiently educated. We also do not discuss “proof” in any science — that’s for mathematics.
Show me the scientific proof of even just one instance of a species changing into another, and then I too will believe. Until then, please leave me in my ignorance and belief that an all-powerful creator of the universe created everything we see.
Here’s a list of transitional fossils, and another list of observed speciation events. I don’t think he’ll ever notice these links, though, so I guess we’ll just have to leave him in his admitted ignorance and god-belief.
Now for the really sad part. The fellow’s name is Richard Carr, and…
Carr teaches computer science at Hollins University and Virginia Western Community College and is an ordained Baptist minister.
Parents, I strongly recommend that you do not send your children to the computer science programs at Hollins University or Virginia Western Community College. You can do better than that.
The “ordained Baptist minister” part didn’t surprise me in the least.