Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stupid, ungrateful me

This is one of the first Pavlovian replies to a Scott Adams post which predicted such Pavlovian replies, and it is a familiar charge:
Much of our understanding of biology is based on [evolution]. If you have ever required medicine, then it is likely that you have profited from our knowledge of evolution.
Which proves that people like Scott Adams - who can write about anything however rude as long as he doesn't take the heretical step of expressing anything that might be construed as doubt about the absolute truth of "evolution" - and me are not only stupid (for not believing in "evolution", when clever people who advance medicine do), but also ungrateful (for suggesting that the clever people who make medicine might be wrong about something). Devastating!

So how do I defend myself against such a charge? Two ways. Firstly, by asking what the writer means by "evolution". There are few people who don't believe in "descent with modification and selection" to an extent. But "evolution" doesn't yet have explanations for many of the things that it claims to explain. Of course, it's working on those things - but if evolution doesn't explain something yet, then that aspect of it is of little use in ... well, medicine for example. And, unsurprisingly, it is in the disputed areas - those areas for which darwinists claim explanations are just around the corner, and their opponents claim can't be explained through ateleological mechanisms - that the heart of the debate lies.

Secondly, by asking what the writer thinks I (or Scott Adams) reject about evolution that has actually proved to be useful to medicine. One thing would do.