Steve Jones: Why creationism is wrong and evolution is right

Professor Steve Jones presented a lecture at the Royal Society on evolution and creationism. The lecture can be watched at this link

Science is about disbelief. It accepts that all knowledge is provisional and that any theory might in principle be disproved. Some theories are better established than others: the earth is probably not flat, babies are almost certainly not brought by storks, and men and dinosaurs are unlikely to have appeared on earth within the past few thousand years. Even so, nothing is sacred in 1905 classical physics collapsed after a seemingly trivial observation about glowing gases and the same is potentially true for all other scientific theories.

Unlike ID, science is indeed tentative and can accept false positives. In addition, science can in fact accept our ignorance in some matters. This ignorance is often seen as evidence for design. Such gap arguments are what make Intelligent Design scientifically vacuous.

Many biologists are worried by a recent and unexpected return of an argument based on belief by the certainty, untestable and unsupported by evidence, that life did not evolve but appeared by supernatural means. Worldwide, more people believe in creationism than in evolution. Why do no biologists agree? Steve Jones will talk about what evolution is, about new evidence that men and chimps are close relatives and about how we are, nevertheless, unique and why creationism does more harm to religion than it does to science.

I will have to listen to Jones’s talk. I certainly agree with him that intelligent design does a lot of harm to religion. As far as science is concerned, it mostly serves to confuse people with what many have come to accept as a scientifically vacuous approach.

Steve Jones won the Aventis Prize for Science Books (then known as the Rhone-Poulenc Prize) in 1994 for ‘The Language of the Genes’. In 1997 he was awarded the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Prize - the UK’s foremost award for communicating science to the public.