« Independence ban | Main | Midwest, AirTran »

May 21, 2007

Scientific method

Information about the scientific method might inform readers about whether or not both evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory are science.

The foundation of science, the scientific method, starts with a statement that predicts an outcome (a hypothesis). Evolutionary theory might posit: “Changes in organisms result from an evolutionary process.” Intelligent design theory might posit: “Differences among organisms result from intelligent design.”

These hypotheses are tested using data that can be obtained by one of the following methods: 1) conducting an experiment or 2) observing new, naturally occurring data. Each method requires the collection of data with clear descriptions of the methodology, so that others can duplicate the research.

If the data support the hypothesis, the research is accepted as supporting the underlying theory. If not, doubt is cast on the theory. A key point is that the data must have the potential for being either consistent or inconsistent with the scientific hypothesis.

Both consistent and inconsistent data are possible for evolutionary theory, but examples of inconsistent data have not been described for intelligent design theory. Thus, evolutionary theory is scientific, but intelligent design theory is not.

Jeanne Sebaugh
Columbia, Mo.

Comments

Dan Beyer

This is my second post on this subject today. My first one vanished into thin air and can't be found. Kind of like how facts and items that are newsworthy never materialize on the pages of the Star. Anyway, I read this letter this morning and was like, "What!?" Darwin's theory of (macro)evolution is science? Here's a idea dreamed up by this guy because he sees examples of (micro)evolution which everybody in the know knows exists. Only way back in 1859, Darwin didn't know DNA existed. So he made this incomplete conclusion with limited knowledge. Much like a child looks at a light and believes magic makes it happen, Darwin supposed single cell organisms were very simple globs and that over time, they would just turn into other things. Not only that, but Darwin thought that women, africans, and mongoloids were lower on the evolutionary scale not by scientific deduction but by very simple as well as racist observations. But that was back in 1859 at the infancy of life sciences. Alot has happened since then and here in the 21st century we know how wrong he was. That's why more and more scientists across the globe are rejecting Darwin's belief which has become a sort of tyrannical litmus test to prove if you're a "real" scientist or not. This was a flawed theory when he made it and in the many decades since then we can see even more clearly by the great scientific advances just how badly flawed his idea was. Science has grown up since those days of loony ideas like cocaine being good for you, radiation being healthy and women being less than men. With the discovery of DNA and learning how it's much more advanced than our own intelligently designed computer code is, the fossil record pointing away from (macro)evolution, Mathematical Probability not sustaining it, and many, many more fatal flaws, Darwin's theory simply collapses. Science should be allowed to go in the direction the evidence points it to. No matter how much the fewer and fewer drag their feet, science will and is going in the right direction. It's inevitable. Darwin's still-born conception should be laid to rest already for the good of science.

Engineer

eej5
I would agree that their is no basic incompatibility. There is ni dening that change occurred, but on how and why. I am agnostic as to both theories.
katman-Would you please explain how I have my "head in the sand"? As to your age, if that signifies anything, I'm probably older than you are.

eej5

Here's why this debate is fruitless. Science, by definition, is the atempt to explain things of the natural world in a natural way.

It has limitations. Science cannot explain the supernatural -- i.e. things created by a supernatural being or god.

Therefore, questions of faith and questions of science should not be debated -- there can be no win.

For those who believe in a supernatural being that "designed" life, there should be no conflict with evolution. Evolution is the explanation of the natural process.

If you believe that a supernatural being had a hand in starting the ball rolling, that's your perogative -- but it shouldn't be taught in science class. It should be taught in religon.

katman

Sometime, when you guys grow up I'd like to have this discussion. In my lengthy lifetime, I have come to know people of faith and people of science. More often than not, I have encountered people who embrace both faith and science. Too often we characterize people of the 'radical left' or the 'religious right'. I find life very comfortable somewhere in the middle. I have met too many 'engineers' with their head in the sand. Drop the labels and give people a chance to express their views. We are all human beings and we've come from somewhere that science will never explain.

KATMAN

Engineer

jack
My point is that the Theory of Evolution is not testable. There is no way in which it can either be proven or be disproven. You can show similarities among species, but that proves nothing one way or the other. The Theory of Evolution is very much a work in progress. Now, to expose my self to the other side; to me the mosr powerful argument against the "Designer" theory is that surely and omniscient, onnipotent entity would have done a better job.

jack

The final challenge should be "tangable, TESTABLE", proof. Anything else is faith not science.

This is the biggest problem I see in the whole "debate". The science side says to the creationists, "We accept for certain only those things we can test by tangible means. Anything else is still an hypothesis. Because of this, we accept the fact that there may be God in the equation." Actually, many are devoutly religious and believe that God MUST be involved somewhere.

The creationists say, "The Bible says it. There for it is true. We need no proof. Matter of fact, the lack of any evidence that we are right PROVES we are right. You are wrong and anti-God."

How do you have an actual "honest to God" conversation with a person in that mind set?

jack

They have also shown many different links between species down through the millenia. They are working and trying to prove their hypothesis in every way they can.

The creationist position that science is bogus because there are "gaps in the knowledge base" is frightening. At the same time, their claim that a lack of proof proves them right is even more frightening. It is "guilty until proven innocent".

BTW: What "proof" do the creationists present? What that the creationists claim can be tested other than by dieing?

I thought science was the pursuit of truth. It sounds to me like creationism is nothing but contempt prior to investigation.

Go ahead, offer me tangible proof of the existance of God and I will accept creationism as science.

Engineer

jack
Basically, all the Evolutionists can do is say "It happened". They cannot establish or explain how one species evolved into another.

jack

Creationism, no matter what you call it, is based on intuition. I look at an eye, or a flower and intuit, "That is so complicated or beautiful that it must have been designed."

That is fine as far as it goes. Many scientific discoveries have started out by someone's intuition that a certain thing is true. But then, something observable and replicable needs to be presented to confirm or deny the intuition.

I see none of this going on with creationism. The "proof" is that the thing is complex. Or the "proof" is that we currently have no answer to a given question.

It appears to me that the creationists, because they are not able to p[resent any proof of what they intuit to be true, are running a campaign to tear down the other theories. Sort of a, "I can't prove what I claim. So, maybe I can cause enough doubt that people will not accept your claim."

Personally, I am extremely glad that there have been science was not manipulated this way in the past. If it had been, so many of the good things we take for granted never would have been discovered.

Engineer

The definition of "Science" has been flexible. Some time ago, when some "soft" sciences were struggling for respect, a science was defined as an organized collection of data. One current standard on the evaluation of a theory is that you must be able to devise an experiment that, if it succeedes, disproves the theory. I see no way in which it is possible to devise such an experiment concerning evolution.

churd

katman, you just lost me completely. We shouldn't use a scientific approach to 'demean' creation or intelligent design, but we should teach it as science?

katman

J. Sebaugh, your argument is nothing short of outrageous. I am a proponent of evolution and the scientific method, but I would never use a scientific approach to 'demean' creation or intelligent design. A example of this is the issue of "what is life & when does it begin". I happen to be a pro-lifer. Be more careful and more understanding.

KATMAN

 
About KansasCity.com | About the Real Cities Network | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement | About Knight Ridder | Copyright