Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears at the website al.com, the online presence for three Alabama newspapers, the Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times and Mobile’s Press-Register. The letter is titled Science priests can be wrong in creation debate. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:
I support the former science teacher in her faith in science (“Creationism: Shouldn’t be taught in school,” Your Views).
Yeah, “faith in science.” The letter-writer is referring to this earlier letter, written by a former science teacher. It’s about a bill pending in the Alabama legislature, about which we recently wrote The Purpose of Alabama’s Creationism Bill. Let’s continue with today’s letter:
The problem is not with science but with the scientific community. Every generation looks back to correct the errors of its predecessors. A scientist 100 years ago would have said the universe had no beginning, is infinite and unchanging. Now, the converse is true.
Yes, that is a problem with the scientific community. They keep revising their theories when newly-discovered evidence demands it. Let’s read on:
A scientist may believe there is no God, but if stated as fact, he is not behaving scientifically. He is creating a postulate that is not provable by scientific method.
That’s partially true. In the absence of evidence, God isn’t a scientific topic, so it definitely is scientific behavior to point out the lack of evidence — but not to declare that there are no gods. Today’s letter continues:
The writer [of the earlier letter] calls the teaching of creationism “scientifically false.” What experiment can be performed to disprove historical accounts?
There are two issues here, the first is one of terminology. Creationism isn’t science, so maybe calling it “scientifically false” isn’t technically correct (except where, as with the age of the earth, science contradicts many creationist claims); but it’s certainly correct to call it pseudo-science. The second issue concerns the burden of proof. The letter-writer refers to “historical accounts,” presumably those in Genesis. No one is obligated to disprove Genesis; its proponents have the burden of proof to support their claims. In the absence of corroborating evidence, there is no reason for anyone to accept such accounts as being anything other than myth. Here’s more:
She [the writer of the earlier letter] addresses “evolution” of bacteria. Resistance is more about natural selection (the process of adaptation within a species) than evolution. The capacity to survive the antibiotic is already present in a small number. These fittest bugs survive to create a stronger species, but not a different one.
That’s the micro-macro mambo, which we debunked here: Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Moving along:
The letter writer says the Bible is not a scientific textbook. True. But that does not make it inconsistent with science. She calls it “myth, legend and history” — value judgments outside the scope of science.
But it’s also true that the bible’s unverified assertions are outside the scope of science and don’t belong in a public school’s science classes. Another excerpt:
There is ample basis to hold current theories of origins with suspicion. Irreducible complexities within cells, the statistical improbability of life and the sheer necessity of intelligent design logically support a theistic viewpoint.
Oooooooh! “Irreducible complexities,” and the “statistical improbability of life,” and the “sheer necessity of intelligent design.” Those babble-terms, we are told, “logically support a theistic viewpoint.” This is a powerful letter indeed! And now we come to the end:
If God is, and he has acted, how foolish to exclude his role from discussion.
Right! So come up with some verifiable evidence — not just nonsensical phrases plucked from creationist websites — and the scientific discussion will be expanded. No legislation will be necessary.
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