During a debate on "the origin of life," CNN host Lou Dobbs stated on his own authority: "The fact is that evolution, Darwinism, is not a fully explained or completely rigorous and defined science that has testable results within it." The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which advises the federal government on "scientific and technical matters," disagrees with Dobbs' "facts" about evolution.
The NAS considers evolution "the central unifying concept of biology" and "one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have." The academy's 1999 book Science and Creationism (National Academies Press, 1999) further states:
Progress in science consists of the development of better explanations for the causes of natural phenomena. Scientists never can be sure that a given explanation is complete and final. Some of the hypotheses advanced by scientists turn out to be incorrect when tested by further observations or experiments. Yet many scientific explanations have been so thoroughly tested and confirmed that they are held with great confidence.
The theory of evolution is one of these well-established explanations. An enormous amount of scientific investigation since the mid-19th century has converted early ideas about evolution proposed by Darwin and others into a strong and well-supported theory. Today, evolution is an extremely active field of research, with an abundance of new discoveries that are continually increasing our understanding of how evolution occurs.
NAS is comprised of 2,000 members and 350 foreign associates, including more than 190 Nobel Prize winners.
With Dobbs expressing skepticism on the scientific validity of evolution, the debate on the May 12 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight appeared to be stacked 3 to 1 against those embracing "the central unifying concept of biology." The discussion featured "intelligent design" proponent Jonathan Wells, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute; creationism proponent John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research; and Florida State University philosophy of science professor Michael Ruse, who is critical of allowing intelligent design and creationism to be taught alongside of, or in place of, evolution. From the May 12 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight:
DOBBS: The fact is that evolution, Darwinism, is not a fully explained or completely rigorous and defined science that has testable results within it. Like a --
RUSE: Now, who says that? Is that you?
DOBBS: I do. I do.
DOBBS: And, in that degree, if one moves aside from the issue and suggests that creationism be taught within a religious class, within the schools, and one looks at the prospect of intelligent design and evolution, with critical thought -- because you say life was 4-and-a-half billion years ago, the planet began 4-and-a-half billion years ago -- we continue to change our views scientifically on when what occurred, that is, in terms of missing links within the family tree of life on this planet. Is there anything wrong with criticizing evolution in your minds?