Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Refutation, sediba, and CORE research

Feedback on my sediba paper continues. One reader asks, "Is your model designed to refute common ancestry?"

No, not at all. In fact, I don't really believe in refutation, especially with complex, high-level theories like common ancestry. The best we can hope for is replacement, by explaining all the data that common ancestry does and then some. I don't think efforts at naive falsification of evolution or common ancestry will work. Let's face it, we've had antievolutionists "refuting" evolution for 150 years. You would think that somewhere along the line, someone would have come up with the slam dunk that would have ended the debate. But here we all are, still arguing with the same arguments.

That's the program of baraminology (and CORE): Putting together an alternative model that makes sense of the data from a radically different perspective. My objective in my sediba paper, as in all my other creationist papers, is to understand. If I can contrast my models with evolution, I do so (especially if they contrast favorably), but my objective is not to "refute evolution" (which is impossible). As anyone can tell you, baraminology as a serious competitor of evolution has a long way to go, but I think it's one of the best things going in creationism today. It's by far the most active area of research in creationist biology.

For those of you already putting the pieces together in your heads, I do believe that "The Wedge" as a purely anti-naturalism or (more often) anti-evolution campaign cannot succeed. If ID is to have any staying power, it must develop its own theory of origins. That is, it must give a specific account of the origin of "specified complexity" or "irreducible complexity." It cannot remain neutral on origins and hope to pose any serious challenge to the dominant model in science.

Pure refutation is destined to fail.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.