Yeah that’s a long title, but so is this ridiculous debate the religious keep trying to perpetuate involving Creationism, evolution, religion and atheism. This story is from a religious site – fair warning – but I’ve copied the contents of the story in its entirety here so if you’re opposed to vising those kinds of sites, you don’t have to:
MEDIA ADVISORY, Jan. 27, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — Tom Ritter, who taught physics and chemistry for over a decade, has filed a federal lawsuit against The Blue Mountain School District in the Middle District of Pennsylvania (13:11 – CV – 116), where he resides. This same district that rendered the infamous Kitzmiller decision in 2005. The argument presented in full:
Yeah, because the people of the Dover area just LOVED being the epicenter of the last controversy. I have an idea – why don’t we let the school district alone so it can, I don’t know, focus on teaching and stuff. But, I suppose that’s not really fair. I mean, this guy obviously thinks he’s on to something, so let’s look at what he has to say:
Evolution is Unscientific
“The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity.” — Richard Dawkins, famous Atheist
Biology studies organisms. It can also explain how organisms got that way, but studying organisms does not require explaining how they got that way, and the theory of evolution is bad science.
Poorly written argument is poorly written. Dude should have just kept going – and the theory of evolution is bad science and I hate it and it sucks. I think the reason this is so frustrating to me is that evolution ISN’T bad science. Darwin posited his theory something like 150 years ago and since then, people have been testing and revising it as new information becomes available. What this guy should realize having been a teacher with a scientific background is that the field of scientific inquiry and discovery is extremely competitive and there is a lot of attention, funding, fame, and respect to be had if someone is able to find a fatal flaw in theories as concrete as evolution. And it hasn’t happened yet. It may happen in the future – science after all is the search of knowledge via the practice of elimination – but it hasn’t happened yet. So saying evolution is bad science sounds to me like someone saying science is bad.
Evolutionists cannot demonstrate that three critical points are even possible, let alone that they actually happened:
(1) No one has demonstrated that life can be created from non-life. (Reports of artificial DNA do not alter this fact. Life is still required.)
Evolution doesn’t attempt to explain the origins of life. Claiming that evolution is flawed because it doesn’t explain something it was never intended to explain is a pretty poor argument.
(2) No one has demonstrated that a new “sexual species” can be created. (Since the definition of species is contested, for these purposes it is defined as an organism that can breed with its own kind and produce fertile offspring, but cannot breed with its ancestors.)
I don’t really understand what he’s trying to say here, but fairly recently I remember hearing about an “observed evolution” of a new species of finches. This observation was possible because of the rapidity in which finches develop – because of their short life spans and subsequent volume of generations in a short period of time. So is he saying that if humans can’t observe speciation from start to finish the theory of evolution is flawed or is he trying to say that because humans haven’t evolved into a new “sexual species” evolution is flawed? Or is he saying something else entirely?
(3) Evolutionists theorize the human brain evolved from lower forms. Over 50 years into the age of computers, machines can crunch numbers far better and faster than humans, recognize and use language and tools, and beat us in chess. Yet science has yet to build even a rudimentary computer that can contemplate its own existence, the hallmark of the human brain. (Contemplating your existence is best understood as imagining what will remain after your death.) And no animal, no matter how “intelligent,” can do this either.
So – because humans can’t build a computer that exhibits specific characteristics of human consciousness as defined by this man, the human brain couldn’t have evolved? And the assumption that animals lack the ability to contemplate their own existence is strange as well. How does he know? What about elephants who mourn their dead or chimpanzees who exhibit mourning behaviors when their family members – especially parents or children – die? How can that not be indicative of at least some kind of primitive value for life and awareness of the finality of death? This man seems to be willfully ignoring a whole heck of a lot of information in order to prove his point.
Why is it necessary for anyone to prove that animals contemplate their own death for the evolution of the human brain to be possible anyway? That seems like a very specific (and currently untestable) criteria to demand.
Ask anyone who espouses evolution if these three points are not true.
The thing is – I’m not a biologist. I have some education in science, but nothing extensive, and I was able to respond to these arguments without so much as a head scratch. Heck, if I’m wrong please let me know – I’m not in a position to try to act as any kind of authority on this stuff. But the specific arguments this guy is presenting are not new and have been fully addressed in both informal and formal settings many times. I’m not advocating any kind of “you don’t get it, just shut up and let the scientists do science” attitude by any means since science encourages questions. In fact, I would say questioning is one of the best practices to get into the habit of. However, when you ask a question, receive a response and then just arbitrarily decide that explanation isn’t good enough and continue to press the question as if it hasn’t been addressed – you’re no longer asking a question. You’re making a statement in the form of a question.
If evolution is unscientific, why teach it? Because no Creator means no God. In other words, evolution taught without a possible alternative is Atheism.
That isn’t true. Science doesn’t concern itself with the questions of spirituality because those questions are supernatural in nature. Science deals with the natural world and repeatable, verifiable data. Anything outside that realm is simply not any of science’s concern. It’s not like Darwin proposed this theory as a means to stick it to religion – he proposed his theory because he made observations about the natural world and drew conclusions from those observations. And those conclusions happened to have withstood the test of far more intense and intelligent scrutiny than anything being suggested here, which is why it’s not a hypothesis, but a scientific theory. A scientific theory is not the same thing as, say, someone having a theory about where she left her car keys. To perpetuate the attitude of “just a theory” – which is the same sentiment that this whole ridiculous lawsuit smacks of to me – is a perpetuation of scientific illiteracy.
Now Atheism rests on an article of faith (A strong belief that cannot be proven but is nonetheless believed).
Therefore Atheism is a religion.
It doesn’t take any faith whatsoever NOT to believe in something. Does someone who doesn’t believe in fairies have faith? What about a person who rejects the Greek pantheon? This particular argument is critically logically flawed.
And it is illegal to teach religion in the public schools.
(I am not defending creationism or intelligent design. But evolution has not proven its case, and until it does, saying it is the only explanation for present life is Atheism.)
Nothing in science is ever proven with 100% certainty. You can’t re-define science and then claim evolution doesn’t meet the criteria. I mean, you can, but don’t expect anyone with critical thinking skills to take you seriously.
And a lawsuit? Really? Way to put an additional burden on a school district during a time when, around the country, schools are feeling the pinch of the financial crunch more and more to the peril of students’ educations.
I don’t know if this is serious or not, but it’s ridiculous and hopefully it’ll be thrown out for the poorly thought out farce it is.