Thursday, March 16, 2006

Proof of a Ruse

I noticed in the Western Herald that Michael Ruse will be speaking on campus tonight. He is a defender of evolution against creation and intelligent design. I'm not planning to go, but this seemed like the perfect time to comment on something that Dr. Ruse said a while back.

Dr. Ruse claimed that evolution is just as well-proven as a mathematical truth like "2+2=4." "In the middle of the discussion, Dr. Ruse claimed that evolution is a proven fact, just as "proven" as 2+2=4. When challenged, he insisted the two statements are equivalently true."

I've been following the creation/evolution/intelligent design debate for a while, and I have to say that I was absolutely shocked by this statement. This is completely absurd. A mathematical statement like "2+2=4" is either an axiom or proved from axioms by deduction. Even assuming that everything the evolutionists say is true, evolution would be a scientific theory. Theories are proved by logical induction. To be scientific, a statement must be testable, and hence potentially falsifiable. No matter how much evidence there is for a scientific theory, it is always potentially falsifiable by subsequent observations. Thus nothing in science can ever be "as proven" as mathematics.

Did Dr. Ruse make this statement out of ignorance or an intent to deceive his audience? It makes me wonder whether the evolutionists know anything about science at all. In any case, this is good reason not to trust the evolutionists.


Dan said...

I don't think anyone who believes completely in evolution is well versed in math. The mathematical probability of a genetic sequence that describes a self supportive being happening at random (as in without an intelligent being directing it) is rediculously astronomical. It's so out there that anyone who honestly believes in evolution probably considers a lotto ticket a wise investment.

Anonymous said...

If one flips a coin 500,000 times, the probability of that particular sequence occuring is (0.5)^500000; quite the longshot. However, you will just have achieved it.

The probability of something occuring being favorable or unfavorable is not evidence in favor of or opposed to it, unless that probability is 0 or 1.

As far as Dr. Ruse's comments, while I do support the theory of evolution, I disagree with the statements he has made here. You are correct to identify the false claim he has made here. I cannot comment on Dr. Ruse's general opinions, as I do not know them.