Wanna Play Ball Scarecrow?
Recently Larry Moran, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, asked for assistance. Professor Moran will be attending the upcoming “New trends in evolutionary biology” Scientific meeting at The Royal Society, and he has asked for help in deciding what question to pose to the speakers. For Douglas Futuyma, who will be defending the status quo against the scientific evidence, Moran already has a couple of ideas, such as:
As you explain in your textbook, describing the pathways to modern species contributes to the FACT of evolution and the FACT of descent with modification but how those genetic changes actually occur and become fixed is part of evolutionary theory. Do you distinguish between evolutionary theory and the actual history of life?
Moran, like Futuyma, defends the belief that the species arose by chance. As the all-caps help to illustrate, he is a modern-day Epicurean. And I’m sure Professor Moran would not disagree that this is a softball question—a setup for Futuyma to rail on those who think the scientific evidence is actually a problem for evolution. But Moran is mistaken here, as this is not a debate against creationists.
This line of defense—that scientific failures are relevant to the theory of evolution, but not to the fact of evolution—is standard theory protectionism, routinely used by evolutionists when they are presented with any of the many empirical problems with their Epicurean theory.
Not only is this argument a revealing own-goal (it provides a live demonstration that evolution is not exposed to the empirical evidence and is not falsifiable), but it is not relevant in The Royal Society meeting since the bad guys, in this case, are fellow evolutionists who simply are beginning to reckon with the science.
They completely agree that evolution is a fact. So Moran can set aside the silly canards about “the FACT of evolution and the FACT of descent with modification.”
On the other hand, Darwin’s God suggests a slightly different approach. If Moran wants to ask a meaningful question of Futuyma, why not query his fellow Epicurean where and how he discovered that “the Creator” would not likely have bestowed “two horns on the African rhinoceroses and only one on the Indian species.” That was, after all, one of Futuyma’s points in his book, Science on Trial.
And if there is time for a follow-up Moran might, as diplomatically as possible, ask the ardent evolutionist why anyone should take him seriously?
Religion drives science, and it matters.