Creationist Wisdom #555: Evolution Isn’t Science

Today’s letter-to-the-editor isn’t new. It appeared on 05 April, but we just ran across the thing in the Quad-City Times of Davenport, Iowa. It’s titled Schools should not teach evolution. The letter attracted 55 comments.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. We’ll use only his first name, which is Frank. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

New science standards for schools in Iowa are being determined by a team of science education leaders … .

Frank refers to a newspaper article about Iowa’s pending adoption of the evolution-friendly Next Generation Science Standards. The National Center for Science Education wrote about that subject a few weeks ago: Anti-NGSS bill in Iowa dies. But that’s not the focus of Frank’s letter. He says:

Some members are expressing concerns with including evolution. I agree wholeheartedly with them; evolution is not science.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay, Frank. That got our attention. Tell us why evolution isn’t science. He does:

The scientific method requires that the results of research be repeatable.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The results should be repeatable? We see that claim all the time, and we’ve always wondered where it comes from. And what does it mean — we have to re-create the universe before the Big Bang can be considered a scientific theory? Do we have to re-create the Earth’s biosphere in order to demonstrate evolution? How about the meteor strike that killed off the dinosaurs? Do we need to repeat that too? Yes, that’s what Frank means. Let’s read on:

Evolution is not repeatable.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Index to Creationist Claims at the TalkOrigins website has a brief item on that: Science requires experiments that can be replicated. Evolution can not be replicated, so it is not science.. They inform us that the source of that clunker is old Henry Morris, the founder of the Institute for Creation Research, and they say:

1. Science requires that observations can be replicated. The observations on which evolution is based, including comparative anatomy, genetics, and fossils, are replicable. In many cases, you can repeat the observations yourself.

2. Repeatable experiments, including experiments about mutations and natural selection in the laboratory and in the field, also support evolution.

Yes — repeatable observations and experiments. And even then, as in the case of an observation during an eclipse, that specific eclipse doesn’t require repeating. Is this so difficult to understand? For creationists, it is. Frank continues:

Neither is creation [repeatable]. Both require an objective analysis of the evidence to come to the proper conclusion.

Frank makes no reference to the evidence for evolution — which is formidable — nor does he mention the evidence for creationism, which doesn’t exist. Does Frank worry that he can’t repeat Noah’s flood? Apparently not.

The remainder of his letter promotes a speech by a creationist at a local church. That event occurred two weeks ago, so this is where we’ll leave Frank’s letter.

Well, we learned something. The origin of the “repeatable” mantra was old Henry Morris. That guy was a bottomless pit of misinformation.

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9 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #555: Evolution Isn’t Science

  1. By Frank’s logic, we ought to toss History out of schools as well. As we can’t repeat the Napoleonic Wars, say, or the Age of Periclean Athens, they never happened!

  2. Good point.

    Actually, one can go further. After all, Noah’s flood isn’t repeatable, nor are any observations genuinely supporting its occurrence (since none have been made in the first place, despite claims to the contrary); all we have is hearsay, and the fact that it’s in the Bible doesn’t matter. It was hearsay to the men who wrote the Book of Genesis, too. And not hearsay from God, either–or at any rate, not that can be proven. The same is true of Creation.

    Even (whisper it softly) the story of Jesus’ life and ministry appears to have been lifted bodily from the life story of Hercules (Heracles). Both were targeted for death in infancy by jealous rulers (Herod and Zeus’s jealous wife Hera–even the names are similar); the childhood of both is only vaguely described; Jesus had twelve disciples, Hercules twelve labors; both were murdered (Heracles was poisoned by a jilted lover) and ascended into heaven (Olympus, in Heracles’ case) as fully divine, purged of all human weaknesses. This doesn’t mean Jesus is mythical, but the true story of his life appears to have been buried under myth, much of it coming from early Greek converts to Christianity.

  3. Zeus’s wife Hera. This site needs an edit button for posts!

    [*Voice from above*] That is beyond even my powers.

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    Wait, didn’t this guy do his research and find the scientific special exception clause for non-repeatable phenomena? I think you’ll find it in the Rational Wiki under “Last Thursdayism”.

  5. I think that the root of this description of science is known as the Baconian Method, after Francis Bacon’s description of induction: make observations, make a generalization of the observations, made more observations of the generalizations. This has long been shown to be inadequate to describe science. But it is still taught to K-12 classes, I believe. And it was also part of the roots of fundamentalism, in the 19th century Princeton Theology.

  6. I got something even better today:

    “evolution is not testable”.
    I quoted our dear SC:

    and showed him a link to an article of Nature where Evolution Theory was tested. His answer: “no matter how many links you give, I’m right. Evolution is not testable.”
    Yup, I disagree with our SC. Debating creacrappers can be great fun – though SC might argue it’s not actually a debate.

  7. @mnbo
    I think that for most people, including people who have no problem with accepting evolution, evolution is exactly about prehistoric extinct species, and the only possible evidence is fossils – especially human precursors; and that evolution is “only a theory”, rather than a process which occurs throughout the world of life. It is understandable that one might think that fossils do not fit the Baconian Method. (Finding transitional fossils which match the predictions is not all that well known. Although hominins present perhaps the most well known.)

  8. @TomS: For this guy evolution is stepping from one kind into another (he wrote it himself). The Baconian Method is a bit outdate btw, but irrelevant for my creacrapper. Like any other he has only one principle: everything that confirms his predetermined conclusions is acceptable.

  9. I can hear it now:

    Prosecutor: “The forensic evidence shows that the defendant committed this murder.”

    Defense counsel Frank: “Murder isn’t repeatable, so my client can’t be proven guilty.”