Archive for January 5th, 2011

January 5, 2011

The Model T and the Cadillac

by Neil Rickert

Whenever farmer Brown drove his old model T into town, the manager of the general store would make fun of it, pointing out its deficiencies.  It was noisy; the exhaust was smoky; the seats were uncomfortable; the ride was harsh; its fuel efficiency was poor.  But farmer Brown always shrugged it off.  After all, he needed that model T to get into town.  One day, when farmer Brown arrived in town, the store manager offered him a Cadillac as a replacement for the old model T.  Farmer Brown was not too sure about that.  The Cadillac handled differently, so he would have to learn how to drive all over again.  And it was a lot more complicated, so it would be harder to keep the Cadillac in good mechanical condition.  But, after experimenting with it for a while, farmer Brown recognized that the Cadillac offered him a number of advantages over his model T.  So he set nostalgia aside, and went with the newer car.

In a recent post at the Uncommon Descent blog, Barry Arrington comments that Newton’s theory of gravity has been replaced by Einstein’s general relativity, while Darwin’s theory of evolution continues to be accepted.  I’m not at all sure that’s a correct conclusion, for the modern theory of evolution is significantly different from what Darwin originally proposed.  However, even ignoring that, there’s another important point that is being missed.  Einstein gave us his general relativity as the Cadillac to replace the older Newtonian model T.  By contrast, the critics of evolution are just criticizing Darwin’s model T, but they have failed to provide a Cadillac that could replace it.