There is much evidence that can be cited in support of evolution.
But it doesn’t add up to much. It may imply its conclusion, but it hardly proves it. Its like a huge mound of pennies: substantial in its bulk, but you’re not going to retire off it. To make up for the lack, factual evidence in support of evolution is complemented by a liberal dose of emotion, and the two in tandem account for evolution’s dominant position in popular thinking. Is not emotion, rather than factual evidence, the more influential of the pair?
Science, by it’s very nature, is ill-equipped to reach conclusions regarding our origin. It is too constrained by its own scientific method, the self-imposed modus operendi of scientists:
Observe what happens; based on those observations form a hypothesis as to what may be true; test the hypothesis by further observation and experiments; and watch to see if the predictions based on the theory are fulfilled. If they are, your hypothesis is strengthened. If not, you’d better rethink your hypothesis.
The emphasis is on things that can be observed. And manipulated. And experimented upon. Experiments should be repeatable so that others can verify any conclusions. These requirements lend themselves to physics and chemistry and such, but they don’t suit the search for our origins very well, for that search is a matter of history. History can’t be repeated, it can’t be experimented upon, it can’t be observed. Sure, clues can be examined and probed a bit….some tentative conclusions can be drawn….but science is left without it’s most treasured weapons.
Americans today watch a lot of CSI television shows. The steel-resolved (but attractive) heroes of those stories come armed with microscopes and lasers and test tubes and God knows what else. They solve whatever riddle and always nail the villain. If high tech cops can catch crooks this way, surely, scientists can do the same with our origins, viewers figure. But alas, our origins are infinitely more complex and clues are contradictory.
And if the scientific method cherishes repeatable experiments, it also disdains testimonials and anecdotal evidence. This type of evidence is inherently unreliable, say those champions of the scientific method. Yet what is history if not testimonials and anecdotal evidence? And again, our origin is history.
As to the emotional content of evolution, is it not revealed in this comment of H. S. Lipson? (Physics Bulletin, 1980, Vol 31, p 138, and reproduced in one of the Watchtower publications, which collects such statements) He discusses some dilemma or other regarding origins and concludes: “The only acceptable explanation is creation. I know that this is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory if the experimental evidence supports it.”
He uses a curious word: anathema. Is it a Freudian slip? It’s a word you might not expect a scientist to use. Are not members of that group coolly unemotional, unswayed by feeling, moved only by hard facts? “Anathema,” however, conveys intense emotion. Accursed, detested, and loathed would all do nicely as synonyms.
The primary support for evolution is emotional in nature, not factual. That’s not to say that facts cannot be garnered in support of evolution. They certainly can be. But those facts are not weighty or substantial enough to account for evolution’s rapid ascendancy and its present iron grip on modern-day thinking. Emotion accounts for it. Specifically, the emotion of anathema Lipson spoke of…..anathema towards religion with all its sordid history.
If creation is correct, then it puts religious leaders in the driver’s seat, and they are a smug, abusive, sometimes ignorant bunch. The times they enjoyed most authority is the time history records as the “Dark Ages.” They brought us the Crusades. They brought us the Inquisition. They brought us a virtual ban on reason and discovery. We all know the opposition Copernicus and Galileo encountered when they ventured that the earth was not flat and was not the center of the universe.
Of course, clerical ignorance was not the Bible’s ignorance. The Bible’s statements on earth’s position and shape are up to date:
He is stretching out the north over the empty place,
Hanging the earth upon nothing……He has described a circle upon the face of the waters, to where light ends in darkness…….Job 26:7,10
No reasonable person wants to cede authority back to these guys. Coming into more modern times they preached unqualified support for World Wars I and II.
Moreover, had they stuck with the Bible’s reasonable explanations regarding deathand suffering, they might have had something with which to counter the present “age of reason.” The Bible explanations may not be scientific, but they certainly make sense. But no! religious leaders long ago jettisoned such appealing teachings for doctrines that are incomprehensible, if not repugnant: doctrines like trinityand hellfire.
The emotional appeal of evolution is that, in one blow, religious leaders lose their authority. The rug is pulled out from under them. No longer are they the Guardians of Ultimate Truth. Instead, they become Guardians of Children’s Stories and Fairy Tales. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch. But alas, so thoroughly have religious leaders identified religion with God that people cannot separate the two, a point of constant frustration, though not necessarily surprise, to Jehovah‘s Witnesses.
So long as evolution maintains its grip in explaining our origins, religious leaders remain relatively toothless….a mere shadow of what they once were. The teaching will remain dominant for that reason. Any supporting facts will be sung to high heaven. Any non-supporting ones will be shunted aside, if not shouted down. Nobody wants to bring on Dark Ages II.