Sunday, February 10, 2013

Barry Fagin: Darwin Day reminds us of intellectual integrity

Barry Fagin reminds us of why evolutionary theory is such a good one and why it has withstood the test of time. He writes:
Evolution is a fact, but it is also a theory, in its most beautiful, scientific sense: A unifying set of ideas that withstands challenges from alternative explanations, connecting with existing knowledge in a consistent and powerful way.

There are maybe half a dozen or so truly great Theories in the history of humanity. These bold ideas are not only supported by an unimaginably vast quantity of evidence, but are also stunningly beautiful. Isaac Newton gave us the Theory of Gravitation in
Principia Mathematica. Two centuries later, Albert Einstein made it even more beautiful with his Theory of General Relativity. In between the two, Darwin gave us Origin of Species.

Evolution predicted that genetic information should be transmitted through a discrete, copying process that should be almost exact but with some errors. Scientists later discovered DNA, the molecule that did exactly that. It has accurately predicted what certain fossils should look like and how old they would be when found. Today, it identifies the most fruitful paths for new drug development. Without the knowledge produced by the Theory of Evolution, advanced genetic medical therapies would not be possible.
He is quite correct. Even creationists such as Todd Wood recognize the power of this theory as an explanatory framework and the evidence behind it. It is evident, even from the comments, though, that there are many who hold on to outdated or wrong conceptions of the theory. That is a shame.

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