Words of a Fether

Opinions on Faith and Life

Anti-Science: An Analysis

There’s nothing like peer pressure and shame culture to stifle what is loosely called free thinking. As people have always done, they vigorously defend the prevailing scientific view as what thinking people accept rather than clinging to outdated or backward views held in the past. By elitist mockery they force conformity of thought and call it free just because it doesn’t involve a supernatural entity or deity. They deem anyone not conforming as fearful or stupid, whether directly or by inference.

I mentioned in my previous blog post that the sciences of geometry and physics are showing signs of cracking in their foundations regarding the supernatural. They are reaching the point where they can no longer observe without changing the thing they’re trying to observe, or measure without altering the thing they’re trying to measure. When observation or measurement reach a certain point the accepted scientific methods can no longer be used... as if they were not to be seen with naturalistic eyes. And without direct observation or repeatable experimentation, it is, by definition, not science.

Now when we discuss the matter of origins, whether living or nonliving, we are outside the realm of the scientific method. In fact, the past cannot be scientifically observed or measured at all, even for something that happened yesterday. Everything science can do is limited to the present; it can only measure or observe what exists right now. Knowledge can be accumulated and stored of course, but the experiments were observed at the time and verified by repetition. So when science theorizes about something that happened only once in the past and was not observed, it is no longer science; likewise, when it projects the future, it is not acting according to science but to faith in its present calculations or theories.1 A theory may be derived by observations/measurements, but unless it is testable (falsifiable)2 by scientific methods, it is just a guess or belief.

By science philosophy’s3 own definition, then, any view that purports to define YEC4 as an unscientific or anti-science theory is itself unscientific/anti-science. If evolutionism itself refuses to discuss or include origins5, then any claim that YEC is anti-science or unscientific is disingenous or ill-informed at best. Yet I see many, many people, with a wide range of educational levels, all insisting that YEC is a laughable, backward, ignorant, fearful, and above all anti-science belief. So it is they who do not understand the definition and limitations of the scientific method, and who do not admit the faith they have in it as being every bit as religious, fanatical, and anti-science as YEC.

This blog post was prompted by the discussion of an Answers article.6 Keep the things I just discussed in mind as you read it, and look for misconceptions about both theories as well as logical fallacies. One important point to keep in mind is that scientists on both sides observe and measure the same things; the data is identical. The debate is thus not over raw data but interpretation, which in spite of the claims of the anti-design side is not science but philosophy. Each side insists that the raw data prove this or that, when in fact data can do nothing of the sort; people interpret the data. And when the true scientific method is employed, meaning sticking to the strict definition, all scientists agree on what is observed or measured.

Clearly, then, there can never be a conflict between the YEC and science, but only between one philosophical interpretation and another. That is, the question, Can evolution and creation coexist? is strictly and only a philosophical debate, NOT a science vs. religion debate. Whether the topic of discussion is origins or how the world and what it contains has changed over time, it will never be a scientific debate at all. I can hope/dream that someday both sides will admit this, but that’s all I can do.

  1. theory, fact, law
  2. def. of falsifiable: ’Falsifiable’ does not mean ’false’
  3. philosophy of science
  4. Young Earth Creationism: the earth and all it contains was created in six literal 24-hour solar days
  5. evo has nothing to do/say about origins
  6. Notes on the referenced article in particular: OECs (old earth creationists) will of course insist that evolution is an observed, tested, and measured scientific fact, but I find the basis for that claim groundless and circular. Measuring devices must first be calibrated; that is, one must first of all have some idea of the scale of the anticipated results. For example, an oven thermometer does not have the same scale as a body temperature thermometer, though both use the same unit of measure (degrees). In the same way, one cannot measure the age of a rock without first having some preconceived idea of the scale. Thus, if the scientist presupposes a scale on the order of millions of years, that’s how the device to measure it will be calibrated. Conversely, if the scientist presupposes NOTHING (truly the scientific approach), they will try a variety of scales. This principle of scale and calibration can be extended into other scientific disciplines as well. (Of course biology is much more complex, but here again we can only observe what exists in the present; all theories about the past are outside the realm of science. There are many other obstacles to biological evolution as well; see this blunt article for example.)
Posted 2012-03-27 under faith, Bible, text, Science, creation, evolution, bias, debate