-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
In a recent op-ed, entitled The Elephant in the Room, Rick Santorum, Republican candidate for President, decided to take on evolution and claimed that “the scientific consensus becomes an ideology that trumps the pursuit of truth.” According to Santorum, the “High Priests of Darwinism” challenged his amendment that suggested there is controversy surrounding evolution
Santorum cites a Gallup poll that suggests that only 14 percent of Americans agreed with evolution that “humans developed over millions of years.” This is an example of the logical fallacy: Appeal to Belief. The number of people not believing a claim is not, in general, evidence that the claim is false.
One of the scientific controversies in modern evolution theory is how processes such as mutation and natural selection and genetic drift contribute to speciation. This is probably not the controversy Santorum is talking about. Santorum’s “controversy” is strictly manufactured and religious in origin.
Santorum claims that the “pursuit of truth” is being trumped. If the “truth” is that evolution is false, where’s the evidence? In response to a question, biologist J.B.S. Haldane (1892–1964) reportedly said that the discovery of a fossil rabbit in Precambrian rocks would be enough to destroy his belief in evolution. Evolution is easily falsifiable and there are plenty of eager media outlets willing to spread the good news. However, there has not been one shred of evidence that falsifies evolution. On the contrary, every new discovery from multiple diverse fields of study add to the growing list of supportive evidence for evolution.
If this were the 17th century, Santorum would be supporting the geocentrists and writing about the “High Priests of Galileoism.” The evidence for evolution is as strong as the evidence for heliocentrism. Perhaps Santorum wants to teach the controversy surrounding heliocentrism. In an example of one of life’s little ironies, the “evils of Copernicanism” crowd is too crazy even for the creationists.