Re: [asa] Ross challenge to evolution

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Sep 11 2006 - 14:50:47 EDT

> "The all-too-familiar evolution-bashing reveals a failure to
> understand how science works," Ross comments. "People need to realize
> that the scientific community will not abandon their current working
> model, despite its flaws, until and unless a model with greater
> explanatory power and predictive success emerges to take its place. I
> see the RTB model, though still a work in progress, as a viable
> candidate.

While I'm not particularly impressed with Ross' previous claims about
evolution and suspect the RTB model won't get very far, he has a very good
point in this. Much antievolutionism proceeds as follows:

I think X is a problem for evolution.
Therefore my antievolutionary model is correct.

In fact, "model" is often an overly generous description; often no coherent
model is apparently in view and mutually conflicting claims are invoked (e.g.,
the Flood was so violently catastrophic as to explain geologic feature 1 and
so gentle as to explain feature 2).

Demonstration that a new or existing alternative model works better than the
prevailing model is a necessary part of bringing about a change in
scientific paradigms, despite Kuhn's neglect of the topic. This includes
both the somewhat subjective aspect of assessing which data are important
and which are merely noise and the more impartial aspect of comparing two
models and seeing which one provides better agreement with observations.

> Dr. David Campbell
> 425 Scientific Collections
> University of Alabama
> "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Mon Sep 11 14:52:02 2006

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