>I do not know what I would think of evolutionary theory and the
>history of the earth if I were not a Christian. But I judge
>the work in that area and compare it with the rigor that
>is needed to do good physics and realize that most, if not
>all, is very speculative and may border on bad science.
Well, as we know I'm not a Christian, and if I were one to
overgeneralize, that comment would might lead me to suspect
that being Christian can be a serious impediment to one's
ability to appreciate science. But as Ernst Mayr notes, this
is a chauvinism not uncommonly found in physicists (religious
and otherwise), so one's religion can't necessarily be blamed.
I really don't know how unfamiliar one must be with biology
and geology to authoritatively comment that "most [evolutionary
theory and earth history], if not all may border on bad science."
The field experiments on natural selection are intense and difficult,
and often subjected to months of rigorous statistical analyses. Most
good field biologists and evolutionary researchers are far better at
statistical mathematics and experimental design than either Moorad
or I. Granted, the signal to noise ratio in biological results tend
to be greater than in the simple physical systems which physicists
routinely study, but that doesn't make biology any less of a science
or less rigorous. And earth science *is* physics.
I've never met a physicist or chemist who has done a sabbatical in
a top biology laboratory that ever came away anything less than
great respect at how science was done by biologists. However,
if Moorad has the spare time and some specific cases in mind,
perhaps he could help the evolutionary biologists and
geologists by critiquing some of their papers and firing off a
couple letters to their journals. And then we can move on and
discuss why it is that large, multinational teams of physicists
have often published and then retracted claims of finding a
particular sub-atomic particle or of quantitating the flux of
neutrinos originating in the sun. It kinda makes me doubt whether
subatomic particles actually exist or whether the sun fuses hydrogen
when the physicists can't seem to come up with the right numbers.
Ah, but what do I know of physics to comment with any degree of
authority, I've only had a few semesters of it years ago and only
follow the occasional article that appears in Nature or Science.
If I assumed that such passing familiarity made me an expert on
the state of physics as a science, most physicists might die
laughing at my expense. And who knows what I might think about the
"science" of physics were I a Christian scientist as opposed to
being just a scientist.
- Tim Ikeda (email@example.com)
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