Evolution and the harmful effects of getting science wrong


(James McKay) #1

In the thread on Determining similarity statistics between the human and chimp genome I made this point:

You see this, for example, with the anti-vax movement, which is causing a resurgence of diseases such as measles that were once all but eliminated, thanks to the weakening of herd immunity.

In software development—my line of work—getting things wrong can result in anything from Facebook accounts being hacked right up to cars or aeroplanes crashing.

As far as the age of the earth is concerned, getting radiometric dating wrong would result in oil companies wasting a fortune drilling only to find that the oil was either too young or too old and they couldn’t economically get it out of the ground. See “Can Young Earth Creationists Find Oil?” on the Age of Rocks blog.

But my question is this: are there any areas of research where getting evolution in particular wrong could result in Bad Things Happening? I’d imagine there might be some areas of medical research where this could be the case, for example, but is anyone able to give some specific examples?


#2

If we don’t understand that bacteria can evolve resistance to antibiotics, we will use them unwisely and feed tons of them to livestock, and that could cause “Super bugs” that are resistant to everything to evolve. (Actually we have that now.)


(James McKay) #3

Nice one. But what about common descent? Something more into the “macroevolution” side of things rather than just “microevolution”?


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #4

In my opinion getting evolution wrong or any kind of science wrong is bad for science and bad for everyone. When scientists are fail to respond to legitimate criticisms, it weakens the scholarly fabric of our civilization, just as it does people of faith fail to respond to legitimate criticisms of their faith.

The deep rift in our society is testimony to this.


(system) #5

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