Saturday, May 20, 2006

Evolution vs. .... Change!

OK, you may wonder why this debate is between Evolution and Change, rather than Evolution and Creation. The reason is simple: Evolution and Change are synonyms. If something Evolved, then it Changed. If it Changed, then it Evolved.

There are some subtle differences in usage that I am not qualified to explain. For example, we talk about the evolution of heat in a chemical reaction, but we would talk of the rate of change of heat in the same chemical reaction. Perhaps change is the integral of evolution?

Now we should look at change by itself. If my son comes home after driving my car and I observe the front end being badly smashed, I will ask him what happened. He will probably answer something like "well, um, er, you see, obviously the shape of the car changed"! I will need to be persisten: "Son, you did not explain what caused the shape change, or why it occured. Would you like to try again to explain what happened to the car?" Of course, he could then answer that King Kong kicked the car while it was parked. This, I would have to admit, does constitute an explanation. I might get annoyed again due to my disbelief regarding the explanation, but at least I could no longer object that he had not given me an explanation.

If my son were to have told me that the shape of the car had evolved, rather than changed, has he said something different? Not in the least. The problem is that change is an observation, never an explanation. The scientist insists that evolution explains the relationship between apes and humans. The fact is that invoking evolution has never explained anything. Evolution is either an observation or a hypothesis.

Of course, the entire justification for the inclusion of evolution in the science curriculum of high schools and universities is the incredible explanatory powers that it has. Scientists, like most other homo sapiens are easily enamored with the mystical aura surrounding words.