The following is a quote from this article in Time magazine:
It has been said that the spread of the scientific spirit in the 17th and 18th centuries was one of the things that stopped the burning of witches. Learning how the universe is governed by the impersonal principles of a final theory may not end mankind's persistent superstitions, but at least it will leave them a little less room.
I don't think I've ever read a more wholey arrogant and offensive comment. Just so we're all on the same page, I am assuming that by "mankind's persistent superstitions" the author is referring to belief in a creator God. If you think that is too generous an assumption, feel free to let me know, but personally I think the statement is particularly pointed.
I have, over the last little while, taken a particular interest in the evolution vs. Intelligent Design(ID) argument. It was inspired by reading a debate on another blog site about this issue. I was trying to refind the site to read some more but I'd lost the address, and so I did a Google search using some keywords that were relevant to this particular topic. As you'd imagine, the list of results was quite enormous, but what particularly caught my eye was the two or three lines of text that Google displayed for each page in the search results.
Result after result began by flaming the crap out of Creationists, who apparently invented ID as a means to bring their hokey ludicrous theory back into battle against evolution, which almost every page held up as being the most solidly proven fact science has ever discovered. All this, in 3 lines of text. I read through a few pages, and discovered that most of the results were all people stating the following, without providing any reliable evidence:
- Evolution is fact, as it has been proven by science
- Creation and Intelligent Design are superstition/hokey religion/crap
- All scientists who advocate Creation/ID are non-credible
- None of the above mentioned scientists' research can be referenced as evidence in debate, due to the previous point.
- Science will eventually know/explain everything
The last point is more inference from discussion the actual statement made in my reading. However, it is the most interesting. All debate I read is based on people's faith that not only is present scientific practice infallible, but that science will eventually have explanations for everything we could possibly want to know.
Horse crap, my friend, with a capital C.
I wrote a post on the blog I mentioned previously pertaining to this discussion, and I've quoted it for your reading pleasure below:
Now, the observations I received back from this comment were twofold: 1.) not all scientists are atheists, and 2.) we are aware of more then 3 dimensions. I'll leave number 1 alone, as I'm well aware of this fact and the guy was just fumbling for something to disprove. I was talking specifically about the subset of scientists who are atheists, not labeling scientists as atheistic. Number 2 however, interests me. Someone, anyone at all, prove a 4th physical dimension to me. Not using the logic of "we can't explain something, and a 4th dimension would explain it", but actually show me how it works. YOU CAN'T DO IT. Why not? For the same reason that there is no physical object that is truly 2 dimensional, and that if you pretend that pencil lines have no height on paper, you couldn't construct a truly 3 dimensional shape by drawing it. We can assume or guess or theorize that there are more dimensions, and they may well exist, but I think it's highly unlikely we could ever actually prove it, as it would be beyond our ability to observe.
You know, I think life is like a game of Quake 3. When I boot up my computer, and I start the game, there are characters running around a world which has a set of clearly defined rules. If you suddenly gave them intelligence, and then could ask them what their origins were, they would probably begin to investigate their environment and draw conclusions about how it came about - none of which would be even remotely like the truth. Why? Because from within the reality they exist in, they cannot comprehend or discover anything outside. They can test, and investigate, and probe the rules of their environment, but there is no possibility that they could "scientifically" discover ANYTHING beyond the bounds of the world they exist in, simply because the rules do not allow them to do so. However, it is possible that they could observe changes instigated by an outside force (me), and conclude that there must be something beyond themselves and their environment.
Science is all well and good, but it only acknowleges discoveries that hold true to it's beliefs. ...one of the rules says "if you can't observe it, it doesn't exist." This is why you won't see articles on creation or intelligent design in science journals - what reputable atheistic scientist would concede that science won't ever supply the answers? None of them would. To do so would be to dissolve their own worth. If God is the creator, then science will forever be at odds with this idea, as God exists outside the realms of provability and scientific observation. It's like trying to prove a third dimension to a 2-dimensional world. It just can't be done.
Here's what I think about all this:
Science is great for explaining things that are within the realm of the observable. You can observe the effects of penicillin on bacteria, or of reactions between various elements and compounds. You can even reproduce these things. However, you can't observe macro evolution. You can't observe the creation of the universe. You can observe the current state of animals and plants, or of planets and stars, but all you can do with that is theorize about what might have happened. And yet for some reason completely unbeknownst to me, scientific types think they can prove these things, and that they should be held up by all as fact. It's like the Quake 3 example - the actual truth could literally be anything, and yet by observing the inside of the box, they're trying to explain what the world outside looks like. Well, in this case they're trying to prove it doesn't exist.
I'm not out to discredit all the work science has done to better the human race. I'm just out to express my dissatisfaction at people insulting those who won't just blindly accept evolution as fact.
Shmer. OK, I'm done. Go nuts, people who feel it's important to defend the scientific faith.