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Science and Biological Evolution

03 March 2006 • 293 words • Piblished in TNT Mirror

Gift misled public on evolution and scientific principles

Not for the first time, Stephan Gift, a lecturer in electrical engineering at UWI, has misled the public about evolution and scientific principles.

In the Sunday Mirror (26.02.06), claims that there are “hundreds of professional scientists who disagree with the Theory of Evolution”. He does not say that there are thousands more who accept the theory. But this is, in any case, irrelevant. Scientific opinion is not determined by majority, but by proof. Gift in his letter quotes three scientists (a chemist, a medical researcher, and a zoologist) who claim evolutionary theory has no scientific basis. None of these quotes include a single citation that falsifies evolution. Indeed one of the scientists quoted by Gift, Professor Ariel Roth of Loma Linda University (a Seventh Day Adventist college), when asked in a court of law if “creation science” was really science (in the 1981 trial of Arkansas Act 590, the “Balanced Treatment Act,” which centered around the demands of creation scientists to have their assertions taught in public schools along with evolution) replied, “If you want to define science as testable and predictable, I would say No.”

Gift, however, merely finds a Biblical perspective on evolution “interesting” – thus abandoning the scientific standards he (falsely) claims do not support evolutionary theory. Gift also quotes Sir Ernest Chain, a 1945 Nobel Prize winner, as defining evolution as “a consequence of chance mutations”. This is an absurd caricature of the well-researched and documented processes of natural selection and genetic drift which drive evolution.

The fact is, no compelling evidence against organic evolution has been found, although there are plenty of real scientific disputes about specific processes within the paradigm. Gift’s assertions to the contrary are simply untrue.

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