Evolution – The Evidence of Why Scientists Believe in Evolution
Evolution, in this context, can be defined as: the belief that all living things, including man, resulted by natural changes from lifeless matter, with no supernatural intervention involved. If life on earth really came to be in this manner, by chance and from lifeless matter, then why are there so many intelligent people -- even PhD scientists -- who reject the theory? On the other hand, if this theory of evolution is not true, then why is it so widely accepted? One thing we all agree on is that we are all looking at the same evidence: the same fossils, the same geological features, and the same dating methods, for example. This indicates that the differences in our beliefs are not caused by the evidence -- instead they are caused by our interpretation of the evidence, and our interpretation is heavily dependent on the things we are willing to believe.
Therefore, we will take a look at some reasons why so many scientists are willing to believe in evolution. These reasons were described by James F. Coppedge in his book Evolution: Possible or Impossible,1 and it is easy to see that since the writing of this book in 1973 very little has changed.
Evolution - Scientists are Fallible People
The theory of evolution is part of the scientific domain, which involves accurate observation of evidence and controlled experimentation. The scientific method "is based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. The scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses."2 One problem of the theory of evolution is that it has not been established using such a scientific method. Dr. Jonathan Wells says about this: "The truth is Darwinism is not a scientific theory, but a materialistic creation myth masquerading as science."3 Many proponents in the field of science have been selling a philosophy rather than presenting scientific evidence. The harm is done when this philosophy is proclaimed as if it were scientific fact backed by experimental or observational evidence.
The public tends to believe that every scientist is 100 percent correct in every pronouncement. It is almost unbelievable to some people that scientists could be subject to human errors. But we must keep in mind that scientists are not perfect and infallible. It should not come as a surprise that history has shown us many examples of scientific error. We know that:
- Scientists can believe in things that are not true. Examples are the mistaken notion that the universe is eternal or the idea that vestigial organs and "junk DNA" have no functions.
- Scientists can make design errors and miscalculations. Some examples are the accidental destruction of the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1998 and the very costly repair project on the brand-new Hubble Space Telescope in 1993.
- Scientists can be dishonest like anybody else. A recent example was a widely publicized case in 2004 which involved accusations of fraud, embezzlement, and fabrication of scientific papers by a human cloning researcher.