Science and Conspiracies

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To start: I love science. It is fascinating and fantastic.

While clearing my RSS feed this morning, I came across Seth Godin's post about conspiracy theories. He contrasted conspiracies and science, saying, "as soon as anything appears to disprove part of the theory, the theory changes." Which is an excellent summary of the power behind scientific exploration: When something fails to work, we take another look at it. Science is "falsifiable"--testable--because it is based on observable phenomenon and hypotheses.

But Godin isn't talking about scientific theories and ideas. He is talking about conspiracies, and how they are typically un-falsifiable. Godin's point is a fair observation... he just presented it poorly. Which brings up one of my "conspiracy theories" (observations) regarding science: Scientific data and ideas are too often presented rather poorly to the general public... me.

The most recent example of this is the video Let's Talk About Evolution. I agree with much of what is presented. I raise an eyebrow, however, at the extremely vague nature of the video. I get that it was created by letting female scientists express their own opinions. Cool. But let me ask you: Can you tell when this video is talking about modification over time via natural selection, descent with modification via DNA recombination, modification via gene mutation, speciation, common descent, or abiogenesis?

I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty confident all of those are rather different areas of study. Granted, they all tie to this grand experiment, but the distinction between them has yet to be made clear in anything I've read or heard from those who promote teaching "evolution" in the classroom. My opinion: To properly teach about this important scientific idea, we must clearly distinguish between these elements.

So where does that leave me?

  1. Happy that "despite" my strong Young Earth Creationist upbringing I'm still thrilled to learn about this subject from all angles.
  2. Grateful that Sonlight's Science laid a solid foundation for my continued scientific education with it's heavy focus on hands-on science programs and challenges to think critically.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

P.S. To be fair, I looked up some negative reviews of Evolution: The Grand Experiment, and there are several critiques of this work as being outdated and misrepresenting vital information. That could easily be true. Granted, the books they suggest have similar accusations leveled against them. And so it comes around again: Learning about evolution is important, but what and how we learn about it is just as important.

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