We saw a recent article in Forbes — How To Overthrow A Scientific Theory In Three Easy Steps. We agreed with it, as we do with many science-oriented articles, but it’s more fun to write about crazy stuff, so we didn’t blog about it.
Also, it wouldn’t be anything new to our readers because it was the same general idea as something we wrote ten years ago when this humble blog was new. That was Advice for Creationists, which was widely read at the time, and — as we learned later — it was assigned reading for some college-level courses.
We didn’t think much about the Forbes article, but it seems to have impressed the Discovery Institute, where this just appeared at their creationist blog: For This Physicist, “Overthrowing” Darwinism Is on the Table. It was written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Ethan Siegel is a physicist who writes a pretty consistently interesting regular blog for Forbes. Yesterday he offered thoughts on “How To Overthrow A Scientific Theory In Three Easy Steps.” He concedes, “Even our best theories of today may be superseded with tomorrow’s science.”
Gasp! Siegal “conceded” that. Interpreting it as encouragement for creationists, Klinghoffer says:
And no one, except perhaps some ultra-Darwinists, would disagree. He notes that theories have limits:
[Klinghoffer quotes Siegal:] Any theory, no matter how successful, has a finite range of validity. Stay within that range and your theory works very well to describe reality; go outside of it, and its predictions no longer match observations or experiments. This is true for any theory you pick. Newtonian mechanics breaks down at small (quantum) scales and high (relativistic) speeds; Einstein’s General Relativity breaks down at a singularity; Darwin’s evolution breaks down at the origin of life.
Wowie — evolution has unanswered questions! Klinghoffer leaps upon Siegal’s sentence and tells us:
That last point is the theme of Stephen Meyer’s first book, Signature in the Cell.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We haven’t read Meyer’s book, and we’re unlikely ever to do so. Presumably, he announced that the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — is responsible for the origin of life. Klinghoffer continues:
Siegel’s three steps are actually four:
[He summarizes what Siegal wrote:] Step 0: recognizing successes and failures of the leading theory.
Step 1: reproducing all the successes of the leading theory.
Step 2: succeeding where the prior theory did not.
Step 3: you must make new, testable predictions that differ from the original theory’s.
How does the Discoveroids’ “theory” accomplish any of that? Let’s read on:
Whether proponents of intelligent design have succeeded in any of those is a question you could debate. [Hee hee!] But it’s beyond doubt that they are trying, in a rigorous manner, to advance through each of those steps. [Hee hee!] It is striking that Darwin defenders typically refuse to acknowledge that or to address the science of ID. They are mostly content with name-calling.
Darwin defenders are so unfair! Another excerpt:
The ID research community isn’t alone, of course, as Sarah Chaffee mentioned here [link omitted]. The hunt is on for a successor to Darwinism: [quote omitted].
Yeah, the hunt is on. Tally-ho! Here’s more:
This means, in any event, that ID is a rival theory, a scientific theory, doing the normal work that scientific ideas must do to supplant a currently dominant idea. That’s not to say that ID will succeed. But to brand it is as a “religious” rather than “scientific” idea is plainly false.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Skipping a bit, we arrive at the end:
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t see any indication that Ethan Siegel has a drop of sympathy for design theory. But recognizing how and where the “overthrow” of Darwinian evolution could happen, if it were to happen, is a step in the right direction. It puts our question on the table.
If the Discoveroids’ “question” is on the table, our advice is to get up, excuse yourself, and find another table — one that isn’t covered with rubbish.
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