Monday, April 6, 2009

"Evolution's" All-or-Nothingness

I came across this article this morning that references Robert Gentry, a Seventh-day Adventist scientist who advocates creationism. It is somewhat interesting because there is growing concern in Canada over the fact that its Science and Technology Minister does not believe in "evolution." The concern is so great because, according to one zoologist and evolution expert, "we're hampered in our ability to develop cures for diseases" if the Minister does not believe in evolution.

Two things strike me as odd in this article:
  1. As so often happens when talking about this subject, the term "evolution" is ambiguous in the article. This leads the reader to believe that, because the Science and Technology Minister does not believe in "evolution," this will somehow prevent the country from developing cures for diseases.
  2. It is not clear, however, why a belief in the idea that all life formed from a common organism billons of years ago is a prerequisite for developing cures to diseases. Isn't the acceptance of, what many label micro-evolution, enough?
The simple reality is, for many evolutionary biologists, if a person does not accept evolution from a common organism billions of years ago, then that person cannot accept anything else that is wrapped in the "evolution" package. You have to accept the whole package they insist upon, or you cannot accept any of it. It's all or nothing.

And, when this is the case, they are the ones who are really hampering our ability to develop cures for diseases.


Vera said...

How so?

Shawn Brace said...

Vera, whether a person believes or not that all living organisms evolved from a single organism millions of years ago has nothing to do with finding cures for a disease. And making it a litmus test for people prevents them from making a contribution to discovery of new cures.

Insisting that the Science Minister believes in the popular theory of Evolution, carte blanche, is to limit the pool of people who could make positive contributions to the discovery of cures. Saying that the discovery of new cures is limited by a person's agnosticism over the origins of life is a non sequitur.

Blake said...

Interesting that the article stated, "At some point, all science relies on a basic foundation of faith..." And then the bc zoologist says, "I have less doubt that evolution explains the organisms we see around us, I have more doubt about the sun rising tomorrow, because I don't know that will happen." What a looney statement! She thinks it is more likely that the sun won't rise tomorrow than her scientific theory is wrong....and we're supposed to believe these people are "objective" scientists. Statements like these expose the fundamentalism that has gripped such a large share of academia.

Shawn Brace said...


Thanks for the observation. I noticed that as well but failed to mention it. It does, indeed, reveal how "loony" these people are (with all due respect, of course). To say that the sun MIGHT night rise tomorrow morning?!