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That's Not Science

Entry 268, on 2005-12-23 at 18:42:05 (Rating 4, News)

I was really pleased to hear recently that a US court has ruled against teaching "intelligent design" as an alternative theory to evolution in science classes. ID is the latest trick fundamentalist Christians have used to try to push their religious beliefs onto impressionable children. Supporters of ID say it is a scientific theory so can be taught in science classes. But the judge ruled that it isn't science at all, and he's right.

Science has a specific way of doing things. It involves formulating hypotheses based on observed evidence, finding a way to test those hypotheses, doing the tests and carefully recording the results, and reporting the results in an exact, repeatable form in reputable journals. After significant evidence has been collected, and many test have been done, a theory is finally formulated. That's how scientists arrived at the theory of evolution.

Note that the word "theory" here doesn't imply there is any doubt about the accuracy of the idea. In science a theory is a well supported set of hypotheses about how things work. So people who claim evolution is "just a theory" are just displaying their total ignorance of the subject.

Nothing is ever 100% certain, and any theory can be rejected later if more evidence is found, but no major theory has ever been completely thrown out, although some have been replaced with more accurate versions. For example Newton's theory of gravitation has been replaced with Einstein's general relativity. But Newton's theory is still "correct" except in extreme situations.

The fact is there is no scientific alternative to evolution. Look in scientific journals and find out how much research has been done into intelligent design. There is none. And if evolution is wrong we have no idea what else might have caused life to appear in the forms it does today. ID supporters will say its an intelligent designer, but there is absolutely no scientific support for this. It simply doesn't fit the observed evidence.

Its possible to say that scientific method is the wrong technique to find the answer to this question, but that's just false logic. Never in the history of humanity has a non-scientific finding been used to replace a scientific theory. We simply have no better method than science of establishing real truth in the natural world. OK, we can use theology to answer questions in a different way, but that's not science and shouldn't be taught in science classes in schools.


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