Abednego: November 2005 Archives

I've been on a bit of a blog hiatus due to work and some outside projects for my church (particularly, working on editing some material for a couple of books). I'm going to try to find a little more time to post -- although there's no guarantee I'll be successful -- but let me start off by pointing out a couple of interesting (and funny!) posts on Intelligent Design by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. See here and then the follow-up, here. If nothing else, I think these ought to highlight that (a) it's not very productive to go around misrepresenting other people's views, and (b) it's concievable that scientists could be wrong about evolution.

Adams also has a third post, here, on what he means by someone "credible" on the topic of intelligent design and evolution. He says credible experts are those who don't have financial or career incentives, or preconcieved notions. Well, it's a bit easier to meet the first two criteria than the latter. Pretty much any scientist who comes out in favor of intelligent design at a secular university has a financial and career incentive NOT to do so. I suppose in the interest of fairness you could argue that those who come out in favor of evolution at Christian schools have financial and career incentives to the contrary, but I'm not sure that's true anymore. Regardless, on the third point, I really haven't met many (any?) people who don't have preconcieved notions of one sort or another. So maybe Adams is right and no one is credible. I would point out, however, that a lot of people have turned their back on their preconcieved notions. Michael Behe himself, for example, began with the notion that Darwinian evolution is right and can do all that's claimed for it.

My own take on scientific evidence in general is that I try to avoid believing things just based on credibility or say-so. That's why, for example, I'm undecided about whether I think global warming is for real or not. I hear lots of noise on both sides, and it's pretty much overwhelmingly accepted in my area of science that it's real, but I've never yet had someone lay out the evidence in favor of global warming in a way that I find compelling; nor have I heard someone lay out the evidence to the contrary in a compelling way. My opinion is that when the evidence is really as compelling as people say it is, they should be able to explain it to me in a way that I'll agree that it's compelling. So, in the meantime, I'm really not sure -- all I've got to go on are "expert opinions", and I don't find those that convincing. After all, there have been an awful lot of Nobel prizes awarded to people who flew in the face of expert opinion.



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