Daily Archives: May 11, 2005

Saletan Misunderstands Falsification

falsifiable adj: capable of being tested (verified or falsified) by experiment or observation.

In What Matters in Kansas, Saletan plays the anti-intellectual line to a tee, portraying scientists as “sneering” know-it-all’s. Really, Mr. Saletan, ain’t that a little cliche?

Saletan says creationism has evolved, implying that its current incarnation as Intelligent Design is scientific because it “abandons Biblical literalism, embraces open-minded inquiry, and accepts falsification, not authority, as the ultimate test.” [emphasis mine] Yet, then, he goes on to say, “All you’re left with is an assortment of gaps in evolutionary theory—how did DNA emerge, what happened between this and that fossil—and the vague default assumption that an ‘intelligence’ might fill in those gaps. Calvert and Harris call this assumption a big tent. But guess what happens to a tent without poles.”

This is precisely why evolutionists do not “facilitate this collapse.” Using his analogy against him, one cannot knock down a tent with no poles because there are no poles to knock down. ID cannot be taken seriously because it is not scientific, and it is not scientific because it is not falsifiable. It’s not that the “new theory is too radical, offensive, or embarrassing to be taken seriously.” ID is not even a theory in the first place; it’s an assumption, as Saletan himself asserts.

That’s not a sneer on their faces… that’s exasperation.