…for this excellent essay on evolution and creation versus evolutionism and creationism. In one simple, well written essay he states the argument that I’ve been trying for years to find the right words to express. I bet he banged this out in an hour, then went out for a beer, which is why he’s the world famous science fiction author and I’m… me.
This does get rather involved in Aristotle’s four causes, so if you are completely unfamiliar, some perusing of this wikipedia article may help.
Also the pun in the essay’s title is truly terrible, once you finally get it.
What has always bothered me, and what I have always tried to express is how fundamentally stupid the debate between evolution and creation is. I’ve always found this very intuitive, yet impossible to explain. It’s like comparing apples and doorknobs. I’ve started writing on this topic many times, but I’ve never been able to express it as well as he just did, so excuse me if I quote at length:
You cannot draw a metaphysical conclusion from the physics. But it is baldly asserted by evolutionists that the “fact” of evolution has “proven” God unnecessary. This is as if the fact of the piano and the physics of vibrating strings “proves” there is no need for the pianist, as the music has been completely explained by the acoustics. One suspects that a step is missing.
You cannot draw a metaphysical conclusion from the physics. But it is baldly asserted by IDers that the “fact” of irreducible complexity has “proven” a Designer necessary.
The statement is silly on several levels. First of all, in philosophy God is not an hypothesis put forward to explain particular physical phenomena. Oh, wait. I am repeating myself. It’s almost as if they were mirror images of…. Well, ah, hmm. Let’s continue.
And with these two opening paragraphs, he lays out the crux of each argument and highlights just why they are so stupid. They are mirror images of taking data from one discipline and attempting to force a conclusion in a completely different discipline. The idea is just bizarre. We can’t prove something about gene expression from protein activity (or vice versa!) and these things are even in the same field.
And then there’s this delicious little tidbit:
…evolution of whatever stripe is only “moving matter around.” Something that has the form of an ape changes into something that has the form of a man. Matter is transformed; it is not brought into being. Creation otoh is continuous and from nothing. It is not something that happened long ago; it is happening right now. It is not a hypothesis explaining how something apelike became something manlike. Rather it explains how nature has the power to do that in the first place.
This is something I have never been able to successfully express before. Evolution presupposes creation. Something must first exist, in order for it to evolve.
It is true that I tend to slip into the ID “God as extremely efficient cause” language. To this, I can only plead ignorance of metaphysical language, and state that Mr. Flynn’s essay distinguishes what I was attempting to express much better than I have ever done on my own. I could not express the distinction myself, because I did not understand that there was such a thing metaphysics