Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

From: David Campbell <pleuronaia@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Aug 20 2007 - 19:13:20 EDT

It is true that some young earth or intelligent design advocates have
done some good scientific work, but I'm afraid I don't know of any
examples of good scientific work that supports either a young earth or
intervention-style ID. Even the examples promoted by Wells of
purportedly bad evolutionary science do not hold up well. The
peppered moth example remains a perfectly good example of
microevolution. If Wells doesn't like using a posed photo of moths,
he should go into the woods and try to locate a light and a dark moth
(one of which will be hard to see and the other very likely to get
caught by a visual predator before you can get a picture) adjacent to
each other on a tree, positioned suitable for a good photo. It would
be a better use of his time than spreading conspiracy theories about
AIDS or cancer. Haeckel did exaggerate the similarities between
different embryos, though distinguishing between fraud and
self-deception (e.g., touching up to "correct" the less than perfect
specimen). However, this reflected his ideas about recapitulation
which actually would pose a problem for modern evolutionary and
genetic understanding. Correct embryos match evolutionary
expectations better than Haeckel's, because in reality embryonic
stages evolve rather than functioning as museums for past stages the
way Haeckelian thought envisioned them.

There are genuine examples of bad evolutionary science, but they tend
to get corrected by other evolutionary scientists.

Evolution combines historical aspects (the history of organisms over
time) and experimental aspects, not to mention the difficulty of
drawing a strict line between them. Experiments on genetics,
artificial evolution, etc. provide key data, and one can observe the
fossil record and make predictions about patterns that should be seen
in living animals or vice versa. Making a model of an extinct animal
allows you to experiment on its physical interactions with the
environment and thus to test ideas relating to the selective pressures
that favored its form.

-- 
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 Aug 20 19:13:40 2007

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