Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Intelligent Stupidity 

How simply can I put this argument?

Scientific evidence in favor of evolution: buttloads, over the last several hundred years. And even when science seems to question evolution, that's part of the theory -- because a theory, in science, is just a set of working rules developed after much observation of the real world.

Let me put it this way -- do you want your kids taught an alternative to the Theory of Gravity? Right now, gravity is just a theory. We don't quite know how it works, but we do know this: jump off a tall building on Earth, you'll land on your face and probably break a few bones. Repeat that test a few hundred times, and in every case -- the jumper will land on the ground, sometimes on their face, often on their ass, but regardless of how they land, they will land after they fall. But, you fundies might say, "Gravity is just a theory. It hasn't been proven." Okay, fine. Keep tossing your kids off of tall buildings and see what happens.

Scientific evidence in favor of creationism, aka "intelligent design": nada, bupkis, nothing, nil, zero. There isn't a single artifact, fossil, thing, whatnot, widget, googaw, doodad, doohickie that in anyway proves or hints at or even indicates that creationism or "intelligent design" happened. Nothing. Nothing. Not a fucking thing. Creationism and intelligent design are not theories in the scientific sense. They are, at best, hypotheses. Hypothesis: a conjecture based on observed evidence, but not backed up by it.

Let me put it this way: Hypotheis: Unicorns exist, based on references to them in literature of the 13th Century. It's a valid hypothesis, but it ain't science. In order to make it science, I'd have to find hard evidence that unicorns did exist -- fossil records, eyewitness accounts, DNA evidence that existing species evolved from them...

In order for something to go from hypothesis to theory, it needs a buttload of evidence behind it. Darwin hypothesized that current species evolved from earlier species -- but then he found a buttload of evidence to turn that hypothesis into a theory, a theory that has not failed in the several hundred years since the Beagle set sail. True, the mechanisms via which evolution occurs have been questioned and debated. But, then again, the mechanisms via which an apple falls to earth have been questioned and debated as well.

No one questions that the apple will fall to earth when it pops off the tree. Some people may think that particles called gravitons cause it; others may think that fields as of yet unnamed may cause it; others may think that it's merely a remnant of Quantum theory. Those whys don't matter, because the underlying fact is true. On Earth (or any sufficiently massive thing) objects dropped toward the surface will fall to the surface.

And that's the theory of gravity in a nutshell: if you drop it, it will fall. Anyone can demonstrate this: drop something, it will fall. And if you want to say, "It falls because God says it should," fine. That is an hypothesis. Do your research and your study, and when you can show empirical proof that God causes things to fall, then you can add to the theory. Until then -- shut the fuck up.

The theory of Evolution in a nutshell: species evolve via natural selection, with those individuals that manage to optimize their reproduction being the most successful at survival. Given statistics and time, the individuals most successful at reproduction will predominate and survive, and the successful mutations of their genepool will survive; advantageous mutations survive while detrimental mutations do not. Over time, certain mutations will create species incapable of breeding with their parent species; ergo, new species.

How it happened...? Well, a lot of science and study has filled in a lot of the blanks. But if you want to try to fill in the blanks with, "Because God said so," fine. As long as you come up with the empirical evidence to prove it.

(I'll wait...)

Okay, I waited. What's that? No empirical evidence, beyond a few stories in the Bible? Guess what, kids -- the Bible is what's called "anecdotal evidence." That is, pure bullshit, and not acceptable. I won't even get into the raging impossibilities surrounding that whole Noah's Ark thing. Getting back to gravity, here's an anecdotal argument: "Apples fall to earth because the ether is thick, and it drags objects downward." Yeah, sure. A valid hypothesis -- until it's tested by science, which finds no evidence whatsoever for the existence of an ether -- which science hasn't found.

Science has tested Darwin's Theory over and over, and it tends to hold true. There's not one thing in the Bible that can stand up to the scrutiny of true science.

And so, "intelligent design" is a raving oxymoron. If you want to believe that some supernatural being nudged the Big Bang into action, fine. That's about as far as you can go. But from about 1x10-27 seconds after that Big Bang, real science has a pretty good idea what happened -- right down through the beginning of life on Earth, and its history up until now.

But don't hold your breath on what happened before 1x10-27 seconds after the Big Bang. 'Cause science is working on that, and the solution requires no Big Daddy in the sky, no ultimate creator. No nothing, beyond infinite time and infinite space.

Ask any statistician about that one. 'Cause, given infinte time and infinite space, you get one certainty: anything can happen, including a universe in which human beings exist. Or a universe in which unicorns exist. Or a universe in which monocellular organisms evolve to super-intelligence within the methane seas of the moon of a gaseous planet orbiting a red-dwarf star. Or a universe in which religiously-trapped idiots try to ascribe supernatural causes to events which can be explained entirely through science.

Ooops... think we found that universe. Unfortunately. Kids -- Galileo proved that religious thought about science was a load of shit 400 years ago. Accept it now. Noah, dinosaurs, Eden, whatever -- dump the fucking fairy tales. Darwin was right, is right and will continue to be right.

After all, what Darwin said can be tested and proven right. Give me any single assertion in the Bible and two scientists; chances are, it'll be proven to be pure bullshit almost immediately.

So, this modest proposal. "Intelligent Design" can only continue to be proposed to pissy-pants school districts if they consider it under its one true title: "Intelligent Stupidity."

Almost makes Flying Spaghetti-Monsterism look sane, doesn't it?

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