Sunday, March 12, 2006

Answers to creationism

Here is a great article, 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense. It is very well written, addressing many of the arguments creationists try to use to disprove evolution.

One of the more interesting parts was the discussion of observing speciation, the beginning of a new specie. Many of the arguments I've heard address the fact that we have never observed macro-evolution directly. Well, it seems that we have. A specie is defined as a group of organisms that reproduces exclusively within the group. There were experiments performed on flies showing that after enough generations of seclusion, a group of flies would not reproduce with the original group they were from. This was observed in a laboratory.

The most problematic aspect of intelligent design is the idea that it is a scientific theory. Science is the study of phenomena through natural processes. Invoking a higher intelligence to create life is supernatural by definition: the designer exists outside of nature. Furthermore, there is no evidence at all for a higher intelligence other than faith. Is it even possible to scientifically prove the existence of a being that exists outside of our space and time? Like I've said before, faith is absent from science. If we do take Intelligent Design as a scientific theory, it must hold up to the same scrutiny as all other scientific theory. As such, Intelligent Design has no real evidence to support it and is as valid as the geocentric model of the universe.

One thing I'd like to address quickly is the fundamental argument for Intelligent Design: life is too complex to have been created by natural forces. This argument is completely baseless. There are hundreds of examples of extremely complex patterns and structures being created by a few simple constraints. Genetic algorithms, computer programs that use a form of natural selection of data, can solve extremely complex problems from a set of requirements. This is analogous to organisms adapting to the requirements of their environment. Natural selection is one of the most powerful mechanisms we know of for creating complex results in a small amount of time.


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