John Derbyshire makes an uncharacteristic error of logic:
You have to wonder how these people with such contempt for science and scientific method can ever summon up the courage to get on a plane. I guess aerodynamics, medicine, electronics, geology (you want petroleum, right?) and other useful fields are exempt from the critique, like Japanese businessmen being “honorary whites” in apartheid South Africa. Very convenient.
It’s hardly convenient, it’s a simple matter of observing whose models are precise and reliable, and whose are not. As I wrote in the chapter on Daniel Dennett, in reference to his doxastic division of labor:
Dennett also digs another logical hole for himself when he admits that only a tiny fraction of humanity understands what he describes as “the ultimate talismanic formula of science,” Einstein’s E=mc2 equation. He has no problem with the fact that most people are content to accept this scientific dogma on faith and leave the burden of understanding the details to the priesthood of scientific experts, then, seventy-seven pages later, turns around and declares that it is personally immoral for the religious faithful to practice this very same division of doxastic labor by placing trust in their pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams to make their moral decisions for them.
Dennett attempts to justify these contrary stances by stating that the difference is that the scientific priesthood really know what they’re doing, that they understand their formulas and use them to achieve amazingly accurate results, while the religious priesthood do not. But Dennett is demonstrably incorrect on both scores. Dennett’s two favorite sciences, cognitive science and evolutionary biology, are primarily distinguished by the way in which no one understands exactly how anything works nor has managed to construct any significant formulas, let alone achieve any results demonstrating the precision of the quantum electrodynamic calculations cited in Dennett’s example. Dennett himself confesses that human consciousness is a mystery, a phenomenon that people don’t even know how to think about yet, and while he is rather more sanguine about the achievements of evolutionary biology, he admits that the science which began with the Origin of Species still regards the way in which species begin to be a mystery, too, albeit one with more of the details filled in.
So while some sciences have proven themselves worthy enough of our complete confidence that we need not trouble our pretty little heads about them, to claim that we are justified in placing blind trust in cognitive scientists, evolutionary biologists, and sociologists because physicists really know what they’re doing is absurd.
– TIA p. 184-185
Bonus points to be awarded to those noting the startling departure from conventional evolutionary apologetics in the linked exchange. I need to alert my TENS instructor, he’s out of date!