Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bryan Responds to Michael Shoesmith

The Observer (our local paper) published a response to Michael Shoesmith's letter to the editor about "Ida" (see older posts).

Read it on The Observer's site at

Here is the text (in case they remove it)

Sir:Michael D. Shoesmith recently wrote a disingenuous letter ("'Extraordinary' claims need a closer look," The Observer, May 22, 2009) promoting a creationist agenda, ignorance over knowledge and clearly demonstration he doesn't understand science. I will attempt to highlight his inaccuracies.
His use of language, "Atheistic evolutionist community," is just a standard creationist attempt to discredit a scientific field. It is disingenuous to label scientist like this. It is like saying atheistic physicists. Scientists are believers, non-believers and fence-sitters. Science is based in the natural world and not the supernatural.
Maybe God put these laws in effect. The reason scientists disregard "Intelligent Design" and accept evolution is the same reason they don't accept "Intelligent Falling" instead of gravity. Right now no one knows if something created or controls these laws. We only know laws exist.
Creationism is a supernatural explanation that has no place in science because it isn't verifiable. The saying "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is why science disregards creationism. There's enough lack of evidence to ignore creationism. Also, most times creationism tries to avoid the scientific process and go lose in court (Kitzmiller trial).
He says evolutionists "have claimed to be in possession of enough transitional fossils to close the books on the debate between evolutionism and creationism." It's not just fossils metaphorically closing the books, it's the mountain of evidence of DNA, comparative anatomy, geographical, speciation and interspecies fertility. These demonstrate the evolution theory's strength. No theory can explain everything and details will continue to be flushed out with more theories. A theory is one of the highest spots an explanation of facts can achieve within science.
I understand his caution towards new evidence. He writes about the hoax fossil Piltdown Man. Ida could turn out to be a hoax as well, but wouldn't help discredit evolution. Science is an infinitely giant puzzle. You can use wrong pieces but the image continually becoming clearer. Every piece could still move. This is what makes science "self correcting."
Michael and many creationists imply there are conspiracies amongst the scientific community in protecting the theories to keep funding. Science isn't dogma, it changes. He demonstrates misunderstanding by thinking scientists wouldn't want to disprove a major theory. Disproving a major theory like evolution would involve making an improved theory, relatively making them the next Einstein. What scientist wouldn't want that legacy?
He says scientists try to teach children that we are nothing more than animals. It's because it's true. If he's against teaching the truth, what he's really against is science. Promoting creationism is saying you prefer the supernatural instead of natural answers.
He asks why it is "such a big deal?" The better question is why are discoveries and theories behind them not as exciting to him as they are to myself and many others? Science is the one thing universally accepted as knowledge, so far as we can know. He's missing out on the wonderful discoveries and theories that profoundly connect us to the animals, life, the earth, the Milky Way and even the cosmos.
-- Bryan Haasen Bright's Grove

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