Sunday, August 24, 2008

If you're still on the fence in terms of ID theory...

"The man who follows is a slave. The man who thinks is free." Robert G. Ingersoll

As a skeptic, one is faced with dozens of ideas that aren't backed up by sufficient evidence each day. One notion that skeptics seem to be continuously faced with is that old misconception that we really can't trust everything that science has to offer us. Truly understanding the scientific method would clear this up for any logical thinking person.
The basis of science and skepticism alike is collecting all of the evidence that is available, and making the most logical judgment based off of the results presented. I refer to it as a "best we've got" stance because taking a step back from politics and pop culture, you realize that all knowledge that we have about the world has been obtained through the gathering of empirical evidence and testing that evidence over time to see if it holds. The scientific method is nothing more than that.

Recently I was reading the blog Neurologica, by Dr. Steven Novella, host of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast, when I came across his response to yet another confused individual questioning how much trust we ought to have in science. His response can clear up this confusion:
"Science is, by its very nature, a self-corrective process. Science is the process of questioning our models of reality. Saying that it is important to question science is therefore redundant."

Science gives us provisional answers to questions in a massive world that is constantly changing. People are making amazing discoveries every day and if we try to say some things are set in stone (and we all know how much people like to follow rules that are set in stone), then we'll never really know anything.

So the scientific method and the evaluation of empirical evidence (which is the basis of skepticism), should not be confused with a belief or a viewpoint. There's a big difference between "I think John McCain would be a bad president because he has short arms." and "we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide", or "5+5=10". the first is an opinion (even if it seems so logical), the second is science, and the third is mathematics which is simple undeniable logic in it's rawest form. So the next time a proponent of intelligent design "theory" tells you the world is to complex to not have some omnipotent designer, explain to them that Darwinian evolution is backed up by MOUNTAINS of empirical evidence and therefore is logical and accepted by a majority of scientists. Explain to them that ID theory will have to be published and reviewed in a legit scientific journal, (not some janky psedojournal that their buddies threw together) or their ideas will never be viewed as more than pseudoscience. The last place it needs to be is a science class.

If the eye is so perfect, then why did I have to turn to science for prescription glasses?

Thats all I've got,


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