Evolution and creation in our culture today garner a lot of emotion. A cursory reading of the events surrounding the two camps tells us that both sides care very deeply for what they hold to be true. That creationists have emotional attachment to their beliefs will certainly not be questioned by me. But the same situation is also true for the evolutionists. The language used by the poplular outspoken evolutionists, men such as Dawkins and Hitchens, tell us that there is an emotional attachment on the evolutionist side also. The emails linked in the previous post show such emotion-laced language.
People with strong emotional attachments to positions almost always have their reasoning affected. When we care very deeply for a position, we argue for it vehemently, and hold on to it out of our passions. Our logical thinking processes are affected. This is true for all of us, and particularly true for people on both sides of the creation and evolution debate. So I have skepticism about the conclusions of evolutionists, at least the popular ones, because they express so much emotion in their statements that it makes me wonder whether they are thinking clearly. Science makes no conclusions, but scientists do, and scientists are subject to all the various human frailties as any of us.
Another reason I am skeptical of evolutionism is the fact that it is so large and covers so much ground, I sincerely doubt how any one human could fully be expert in all facets of it. For the modern term ‘evolution,’ as popularly defined, covers many fields in the hard sciences: peleontology, microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, geology, astrophysics, anthropology, geophysics, thermodynamics, meteorology, petrology…….the list goes on and on. Each one of these major fields has sub-fields, specializations and sub-specializations. We must add to the list of sciences such reasoning that is required to make conclusions, such as logic, rules of evidence, conclusions from chance and statistics. Further, for most any given area of study, the information being published by the adademic community is at an astronomical level. Countless pages of technical material is available each month in the journals, so much so that technical scientists have to work hard to keep up with the information being published in their own fields, let alone all the other fields.
I am skeptical that anyone is capable of digesting everything under the broad umbrella of ‘evolution’ and coming to an air-tight conclusion. As Philip Johnson pointed out in Darwin On Trial, the evolutionists do not all agree on definitions of basic terms such as ‘natural selection,’ let alone agree on how all their research fits together into a unified whole.
Another reason I am skeptical is that I know a bit about how organizations work, including academic ones. Research money is not given for people who want to question already-established orthodoxy; careers are not advanced when one rocks the boat; tenure is not acheived by people who upset the dean. Those who are outside of the mainstream do not get articles published nor do they get speaker’s fees. So to get along, we go along. Academic freedom is a nice theory, but rarely does it exist in terms of the creation/evolution debate.
So we with the enormous amount of data being published, combined with the level of emotion surrounding evolution & creation, the orgaizational pressure to toe the line, and lack of study of logic and evidence by the hard sciences, I am a bit skeptical of what is told to me about evolution.
Note that the title of this post uses the term ‘evolutionism.’ I believe what evolution has become, at least to some, is a philosophical belief system.