Saturday, October 26, 2013

Evolutionary Ecologist & Scientific Inquiry

Retired math teacher with a master’s in evolutionary ecology Roger Guffey’s op-ed of 25 October in the Lexington [Ky.] Herald-Leader was headlined “In defense of science and Kentucky’s new [education] standards.” His issue mainly concerned people objecting to the teaching of “[human] evolution and climate change” in the public schools. There’s no argument with evolution per se as it relates to things not human and there’s no argument with climate undergoing change constantly.

Even bona fide evolutionary-ecologists concede that global heat (without known industrialization) in 1100 AD was much greater than currently and that hot-cool cycles have obtained through recorded history. After the torrid 1930s-40s in the industrialized U.S., the “climate experts” insisted in the 1970s that a horrendous ice-age was threatening the world, as happened in one of the ice-ages (maybe the third) when the Ohio River was dug by a glacier either going or coming. After 40 years, still no ice-age!

Guffey worried that “creationism” was about to be taught as a science, though it’s always been presented as just a theory, and that will not change. Creationists hold that God created everything out of nothing in a way described in the Genesis account. Guffey knows both things so his actual intention in the op-ed was the putdown of “ignoramuses” who believe in creationism.

Guffey wrote that “belief systems lie completely outside the realm of scientific inquiry,” notwithstanding that his non-belief concerning creationism comprises a “belief system” of his own, i.e., that science has systematically disproved creationism, though there’s no scientific evidence relative to the origin of earth or anything connected thereto, only theories. I’m a creationist but I don’t believe the earth “happened” spontaneously 6,000 years ago and couldn’t care less if others believe otherwise.

Appropriate definitions. Science: “the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.” Inquiry: “examination into facts or principles.” Principle: “a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption.” (Merriam-Webster Collegiate, 11th edition)

By definition, consequently, scientific inquiry is gaining knowledge by examination into facts or comprehensive, fundamental laws, doctrines, or assumptions. Everything, including belief systems of any kind, is susceptible to scientific inquiry. Creationism is a religious belief-system Guffey submitted to scientific inquiry and determined its status (nonexistent), thus contradicting himself and merely opinionating, as a creationist does.

Using scientific inquiry, scientists developed the atomic bomb in the 1940s, a cold technological instrument. Guffey said “the religious and philosophical values we possess” are outside “the realm of scientific inquiry.” Yet, the decision concerning the bomb was based on scientific inquiry, i.e., determining how many people could justifiably die (especially U.S. GIs) on the basis of the values held by most Americans. The same situation obtained any time a field commander decided upon an attack…or not, determining the worth of a project vis-à-vis deaths and destruction.

Guffey said the biological constants that drive evolution are reproduction and competition; however, the constant that drives evolution is mutation, however structured or in what manner, competitive or otherwise. Reproduction is fairly automatic and predictable, but mutations can even be produced by outside influences—hybrid corn, for instance.

I hope the climate will be discussed in education in an informed manner. Global temperature, virtually unaffected by people, has not warmed in 15 years and sea-ice in the Antarctic region is at the highest volume ever recorded. The UN-IPCC (climate gurus) has been thoroughly discredited (Manhattan under water by 2100) not just through its main gurus’ self-admitted fraud of 2009 but by credible scientific findings. Students should understand the purely political aspect of the alarmism.

Non-creationists are driven by jealousy accruing to their inability to create anything. They can merely use, modify, combine, rearrange or otherwise configure elements that have always existed in some form to make—not create—things. They treat human evolution as a science instead of a theory to convince students that a supreme being is an impossibility because scientists cannot create (or even understand) it.

Periodically, the “missing link” in the evolution chain is ballyhooed as being discovered, along with pictures of skulls and bones, sometimes artificially fleshed out to resemble at least a biped, though usually with a lot of hair. Rubbish!

Educationally, after the legislature’s 1990 education-reform debacle harming two generations of students anything looks good.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark


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