30 October 2008

Theory of evolution on its way out...since 1904

A familiar and tiresome claim of creationists is that the theory of evolution is defunct and is about to be replaced by some sort of necessarily religion-based doctrine of nonexplanation. Unfortunately, the relentless badgerings of the Biblical and the intelligent design creationists are likely to trick the laypeople into believing that there have been recent breakthroughs in the field of "creation science" that are indeed undermining the foundations of evolutionary biology and leading to its imminent demise.

The fact is when it comes to creationism, nothing is new under the sun.

William Albert Locy* wrote this in 1915:

It is known, for illustration, that controversies are current among scientific workers regarding Darwinism and certain phases of evolution, and from this circumstance it is assumed that the doctrine of organic evolution as a whole is losing ground. The discussions of De Vries and others-all believers in organic evolution-at the Scientific Congress in St. Louis in 1904, led to the statement in the public press that the scientific world was haggling over the evolution-theory, and that it was beginning to surrender it.
Had the biologists indeed abandoned the evolutionary theory at the turn of the 20th century, evolutionary explanations of biological phenomena would by now be an almost-forgotten chapter in the annals of biology. The very fact that the creationists are still repeating the same old pathetic and baseless claims of the death of the evolutionary theory more than 100 years later shows that their target is still standing strong. It is even much higher now than they can reach with their pebbles.

Locy’s succint response sums it up:
Such statements are misleading and tend to perpetuate the confusion regarding the present status of the evolution theory. Never before was the doctrine of organic evolution so thoroughly entrenched in the mind of the scientific world.
In contrast, creationism, including the intelligent design variety, will never amount to anything more than a pseudo-intellectual nuisance in the history of science.


*William Albert Locy. 1915. Biology and Its Makers: With Portraits and Other Illustrations. Available from Google Books. The cited quotes are from pp. 348-9.

1 comment:

Jorgon Gorgon said...

Great quote; I believe I shall be using this the next time some nitwit tries to tell me that "evolutionism is in the midst of mortal crisis" or some such crap.