Thursday, April 08, 2004

Our friend the Piltdown Man
P. Z. Myers over at Pharangula today introduces us to Joe Carter, a creationist who has begun debating on comment boards at The Panda’s Thumb. Joe makes the typical Intelligent Design complaint that methodological naturalism (that is “science” to you and me) is incapable of recognizing the consequences of intelligent action or "design." That’s not true. Take the example of the Piltdown Man, a favorite bit of evidence for creationists who seem to think that because the evolutionists were wrong once early in the last century, they must be wrong in all things at all times, or some thing like that. Actually, the Piltdown is a great example of the self-correcting nature of science. It is also a fine example of how methodological naturalism, and even its evil sub-branch evolution, is perfectly capable of recognizing intelligent design. Piltdown was a fraud, manufactured by persons unknown. Science, in recognizing the intelligently designed nature of Piltdown, was also able to determine how it was manufactured and present some credible hypotheses as to their identity (adult, educated humans, probably of Northern European origin, most likely English males).

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