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.