Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus"

This is a quote by Christopher Hitchens who if you've read my blogs will know I admire. I don't know if he was quoting someone else when he said that but it doesn't really matter. What matters is that it made me think for a moment about what it says. It made me question my own beliefs for a moment and ask myself why I really believe in them.

I believe in evolution, but why? Is it because the majority of scientists do so? There is a problem with science and the scientific community that could become very dangerous. The problems is our tendency to believe whatever the scientific community tells us almost without question. If we hear one day on the news "scientists believe the Earth is now 4.9 billion yeas old instead of 4.6 billion years old" or that "scientists now think birds evolved from dinosaurs", we have this tendency to take it at face value and believe it simple because it is being made by the scientific community. A lot of Atheists do this all the time. I've wrote recently that I love the evolution vs. creationism debate. I really do wish it would go on forever. There is another debate over climate change raging on now and I still think we need to have rigorous debate on all of these issues.

Even though I firmly believe in evolution due to the evidence I've seen and read, I still think it needs to constantly be tested and retested from its critics. If the scientific community were to ever one day (not to suggest that is has never been in the past) become corrupted by individuals or organizations with selfish or evil agendas, they could have at their arsenal, a board of experts who yield tremendous credibility and influence over the beliefs of billions of people. They could use science to promote evil agendas that are counterproductive to freedom and true scientific inquiry. We must keep watch of this possibility.

The creationists think this has already happened with evolution. Some creationists think that there is a worldwide conspiracy among the worlds scientists to deliberately lie to the public over the evidence for evolution. Some like religious Christian and Biblical literalist, Kent Hovind whose debates with evolutionists I've seen, think they can disprove some of the science that evolutionists claim is true. We really need to see expert biologists and evolutionary biologists go at it in depth and to keep the dialogue continuing.

Is the science settled? I'm not sure, it is for me but we still need debate. I would actually hate it if evolutionists claimed victory and the debate was over. I love hearing the best minds go at it in debates on all sorts of issues. It's truly fascinating.

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