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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How Dare We Assume That There is Actually a Rational Debate Taking Place!

What is it with these idiots at the deceptively named Discovery Institute trying to say that evolution isn't supported by evidence? They say that mainstream scientists "consider scientific evidence to be only a secondary consideration to metaphysical considerations" when in fact they are the ones demanding a change to the teaching of evolution but not the practice of applied scientists! If that's not putting metaphysical considerations before real evidence, I don't know what is. Where are the calls to have medical researchers and professional biologists at companies like Monsanto and ADM stop considering the theory of evolution in their work? No! It's the educational curriculum they are trying to change. I don't see Monsanto lobbying the school boards to weaken the evolution curriculum. Metaphysical? I think not! Last time I checked, Monsanto only cared about one thing: MONEY!

I hope one of my paragraphs isn't taken out of context as the "only evidence offered for evolution". But if they must pick one I hope it is this one because it has links to massive quantities of evidence, much more evidence for evolution, and a compilation of such a ridiculous quantity of evidence organized in such a way as to demonstrate the beauty and grandeur in this view of life such that it can only be denied by someone who is willfully ignorant, below average in intelligence, and mean spirited. Aside from references to thousands of scientific papers, that last site, the tree of life web project, provides hours/days/years of fun for anyone interested in nature, and it helps to demonstrate that not only is there ample evidence, but there is more solid evidence than any one person can learn in a lifetime. If you can't find enough solid evidence for evolution to fill several books, then you didn't spend enough time exploring it.

But more interesting and relevant to me than the bulk of those mountains of physical evidence is my personal story. Once upon a time, I was a high school student. Naturally, the topic of evolution came up in biology and it sparked a little debate among a few students. We had it out and that was that. As time went on, my interest in evolution grew and then later began to dwindle again. I assumed that if I went into biology or geology or chemistry , I would learn more about evolution, but I was more interested in math and physics and computer science. I eventually ended up in computer science, and what should I find? Computer Science alone has more than enough evidence for evolution to fill a few books. Hah! And now, I can hardly go an hour without accidentally seeing evidence for evolution everywhere I look -- what kind of mindset do these people have that makes them not see the evidence? Do they really see irreducible complexity everywhere? Because everywhere I look I see the emergence of complexity from relatively simple components acting locally. Like a revelation, I can now see things emerging through a process of evolution -- and I know that it is true as much as I know anything else that I can see with my eyes. And I'm an engineer! If anyone should believe in "intelligent design", it should be me!

Still, biologists haven't yet gotten around to documenting the majority of the potential pieces of evidence for evolution coming from biology. I assure you, if the primary goal of biology was to collect unique forms of evidence for biological evolution, the quantity of evidence would be even greater. Biologists: get cracking! Just kidding, I know you have more important things to do, like apply the theory of evolution to real problems like curing disease or otherwise fiddling with life to make it better for us humans (or perhaps just to make money), and if the results work, that's more evidence that the theory was correct, but who cares about new evidence for a fact that was solidly established as strongly as anything else in science by well over 50 years ago?