Thursday, October 25, 2007


Science as Dogma

The New York Times has published a pathetic science report that ought to be included in the Religion section of the Times. Here’s the basis of their report:

In January 1955, Homer Jacobson, a chemistry professor at Brooklyn College, published a paper called “Information, Reproduction and the Origin of Life” in American Scientist, the journal of Sigma Xi, the scientific honor society.

In it, Dr. Jacobson speculated on the chemical qualities of earth in Hadean time, billions of years ago when the planet was beginning to cool down to the point where, as Dr. Jacobson put it, “one could imagine a few hardy compounds could survive.”

Nobody paid much attention to the paper at the time, he said in a telephone interview from his home in Tarrytown, N.Y. But today it is winning Dr. Jacobson acclaim that he does not want — from creationists who cite it as proof that life could not have emerged on earth without divine intervention.

So after 52 years, he has retracted it.

Dr. Jacobson referred to those citing his paper as refuting aspects of Darwinism “hideous.” He evidently hated what these skeptics of Darwinism were able to do with this little bit of science he created, so he decided to do something about it.

He re-read his paper, straining to find some rationale for retracting the paper. He found it. He made a couple of misstatements, in essence drawing some of the same preliminary conclusions that those who doubt classic Darwinism as a logical explanation of the creation of life. Not that any of the actual science in his paper was wrong. It’s just that in light of today’s scientific orthodoxy, it’s unpleasant to acknowledge the obvious problems with a theory that doesn’t adequately explain the real hows behind the how life developed.

American Scientist Editor Rosalind Reid defends the retraction:

His letter shows, Ms. Reid wrote, “the distinction between a scientist who cannot let error stand, no matter the embarrassment of public correction,” and people who “cling to dogma.”

Or, it shows the orthodoxy of those who hold that Darwinism can never be challenged on the basis of science, but must always be accepted as “gospel.”

Since creationists were able to use the actual science contained in Dr. Jacobson’s original paper, it was better to erase the science than allow any challenge to the orthodoxy.

Talk about people who cling to dogma, they can’t even let the old dogmas lie. Pathetic.

(Via Memeorandum)


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