Unscientific Experiment

Recently I was privileged to take part in a experiment similar to one done by PZM which I described here. As in PZM’s story, my experiment involved plumbing. However, unlike PZM’s experiment, mine was very unscientific.

I had this leaky kitchen faucet with plastic water supply pipes. Rather than fix it, I decided to replace it. The pipes had an unusual style of coupling that fit fine on the old faucet, but they didn’t fit the new faucet. When I described the situation to Wayne at the hardware store, he was able to come up with a special fitting and a hose adapter to hook up the new faucet.

Wayne used his practical knowledge of plumbing technology and some deductive skills, along with my sketchy information about my own plumbing, in order to come up with a solution.

The funny thing is that not once did he bring up any theories about natural selection, the evolution of species, the origin of human consciousness, sociobiology, the origin of life, the age of the earth, or the beginning of the universe.

Now then, I have read that if you do not accept the current doctrine on these subjects, you are not a scientist. Moreover, you are rejecting all the principles of science and rationality, all of human technology and civilization, and basically the principle that humans can know anything at all. The refusal to acknowledge that the current doctrine on these subjects is absolutely factual and completely true is a sign of weak, childish, irrational thinking. If the current doctrine on these subjects is not explicitly included in every area of human thought and behavior, the result will be a disastrous slide into savagery, economic instability, slavery, ignorance, and untold misery.

Yet, somehow, they didn’t come up. Maybe, just maybe, those subjects have absolutely no relevance to real life or, for that matter, everyday technology. Maybe those areas of scientific knowledge are completely derivative and mythological. Maybe the belief that they somehow matter is a completely unfounded superstition.

The old faucet was covered with hard water deposits and the old couplings on the water supply pipes were useless with the newer brass fittings, so I threw them away. I installed the new couplings, the new hose adapters, and the new faucet.

It wasn’t some funky woo force that “caused” the old faucet to become maladaptive and “caused” the new faucet to mutate into existence and take its place in the plumbing ecology. The old faucet was designed to work well, but it degraded over time due to interactions with other elements of its environment. The new faucet was designed to work with different fittings, so Wayne and I had to redesign its connections, and I installed it.

And in a classroom in Minnesota, someone blabbered on about the importance for the future of the human race that everyone give their enthusiastic and unqualified allegiance to the current doctrine of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Ho hum.


7 thoughts on “Unscientific Experiment

  1. This is worthy of the Unauthorized David Sophronismos.

    Dave, you’re an intuhlectuul. You can’t be working on plumbing.

    Experimental science is based completely on the present. As far as experimental science goes, like you say, it doesn’t matter what we believe about the past.

    In regards to the physical, they’re not really making any claims about the present based on the past, they’re making claims about the past based on the present.

    If they do make claims about the present based on the past, it’s because they first made claims about the past based on the present.

  2. I fixed my air conditioner, my brakes, and my sink all in the same week. But, somehow I get classified as a mindless, blubbering primitive if I don’t jump on the bandwagon and endorse the useless mythology of evolution. Go figure.

  3. It sounds like you’ve been engaging in two diverse activities, one of them being having a slammin’ good time.

  4. Funny thing is, most of the really huge advances we’ve had in science have nothing to do with the theory of evolution. In fact, a lot of them occurred before it was a theory. Actually, I find it interesting just how much Christianity in particular seemed to move science away from superstition and toward what is observable and measurable measurable.

    Louis Pasteur may not be the model of what we consider to be an evangelical Christian, but he certainly made a lot of interesting statements about his faith in God. He also is the one who is responsible for the wide-acceptance of the use of the scientific method…against the ridicule of those who opposed him. Who ironically tended to be strong Darwinists defending the idea of spontaneous generation. But that is another story.

  5. Your analogy works better if you go to your pastor for plumbing advice, knowing that he objects to the use of fluorine in the water system and refuses to use water out of pipes himself.

    Going to a hardware store for advice on hardware is analogous to going to P. Z. Myers for advice on evolution development biology.

    Louis Pasteur adopted much of Darwin’s methodology. Pasteur got no opposition from Darwin, nor from other biologists. In fact, despite Pasteur’s public opposition to Darwin’s theory, Darwin rose to defend Pasteur when the churchists went after Pasteur’s funding. It was creationists who went after Pasteur, not Darwin.

  6. Did you read my sendup of Myers’ original piece? That makes it pretty clear that no evolutionary theory would help one fix an engineered system.

    Evolutionary biology makes great bedtime stories for atheists, to reassure them that the Big Bad Theocracy won’t jump out of the closet and scare them. But the unscientific evolution groupies, as well as polemicists like Myers, make grand claims about how if everyone does not subscribe to the current version of evolutionary theory, TODAY, civilization will disappear in a puff of smoke, because it will mean the end of ALL science and technology. Hogwash. If there were no new converts to evolutionary theory for the next 50 years, it would have no negative consequences.

    I don’t really have any interest in Pasteur, but it’s fascinating to know that it was OK in his time for an experimental scientist to disagree with a theologically trained naturalist about the received doctrines of evolution, yet he was somehow still able to do important applied science. We are told now that it is impossible to do applied science unless you give your heart and soul to the current received doctrines of evolution.

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