Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Scientists and Bad Logic

Related to my previous post on the history of the ID movement, below is a quote from Philip Johnson on how he got interested in Darwinian theory and why people who are not scientists are competent to evaluate the evidence and arguments:

GN: As a lawyer and law professor, how did you become interested in writing a book that analyzes Darwinism?

PJ: I was in England on sabbatical in 1987-88 and began reading on the subject. I found it fascinating and began looking into it further. I found out many interesting things. For example, some scientists at the British Natural History Museum were saying things that were completely contrary to the Darwinian theory, and they were being told to shut up and keep quiet. I looked into it to find out what was going on. While there, I bought all kinds of scientific books and read the scientific journals at the University of London, where I was a visiting professor. In retrospect, it's perfectly logical that I should get into this subject, because fundamentally it's all about the relationship between assumptions and proof. Specifically, people aren't always forthright about their assumptions.

Evolutionary biologists state their assumptions as fact. They state their assumptions emphatically, then treat them as proof. One of the first things I noticed was that some evolutionary biologists I talked to couldn't appreciate the difference between what they'd proved and what they'd only assumed. They didn't really understand the difference. Thus I wrote Darwin on Trial, which is really a critique of bad reasoning presented as legitimate science.

It does not take a scientist to identify bad logic. I started seeing it as soon as I started reading on this issue and following it in the media.


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