Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Circular Reasoning for Darwin Day

Today is Darwin Day, so I'll take the opportunity to point out another example of very poor reasoning on the part of evolution activists...

You've probably heard it, evolutionists decrying the fact that the U.S. is falling behind other nations in science, where we've traditionally led the way. And the reason, they say, is our failure to accept the fact of neo-Darwinian macroevolution. Let's examine this a bit further.

First of all, on virtually every measure, the U.S. not only continues to lead the rest of the world but to do so by a wide margin. From aerospace to nanotechnology, through medicine and every science in between, the U.S. remains supreme and the place where the rest of the world comes to learn. So how is it that claims about our flagging abilities and knowledge arise? Here's how.

On tests covering scientific knowledge, American students fare more poorly than students from other industrialized nations. But here's the catch. Those tests include large sections that assess whether neo-Darwinian macroevolution is understood and affirmed, and it is this section that Americans tend to 'fail.' That is, Americans remain (much to the chagrin of evolution educators and activists) more skeptical of metaphysical naturalism than foreigners.

Objective appraisal of these tests leads to conclusions exactly opposite those of the evolution activists. For one, it could be inferred that the Americans taking these tests are more aware of the latest discoveries from a variety of scientific disciplines (which tend to undermine materialist assumptions), are better critical thinkers, or both. In addition, when one combines the continued prowess of American science on the more practical measures (like space exploration, medical technology, and such) with the finding that U.S. scientists understand evolution relatively poorly, one must face the possibility that the negative correlation is real. That is, belief in the theory of evolution actually impedes scientific progress. This would be easy to explain, since modern science depends upon a host of assumptions--including order and purpose in the universe and the reliability of our senses and reasoning to perceive and explain that order--that fit in well with a theistic worldview and are unfounded within (or, in the case of purpose, directly contrary to) the worldview of metaphysical naturalism.

But the case is even worse for the evolution activists, and that's because this exercise is a classic example of circular reasoning. The explanation for our (America's) sliding science status is our failure to embrace evolution. But our failure to embrace evolution is also the only evidence that can be offered to show that we are indeed sliding. The circularity here should be obvious to any clear thinker, but seems to escape the most articulate proponents of the fast-failing theory of evolution.

Happy Darwin Day!

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